Estelle and James got engaged during lockdown. Like many couples this past year, the pandemic putting a hold on their dream celebration and their wedding planning took a bit of a back foot. Luckily, their fun pre-wedding shoot with Paul from Ginger Beard Weddings around some of their favourite places around London, reignited their excitement back into the planning process.
Over to Estelle and James to tell us more about their stomp around London and what they have organised for their own big day…
Estelle & James…
How did you meet and get engaged?
We met on Bumble in December 2016. We had a very brief exchange over the app before scheduling our first in-person date, which took place one day at Strongroom Bar in Shoreditch. Four years and a couple days later on Christmas Day 2020, James popped the question during a sunny afternoon walk in a nearby wetlands park.
How long have you been planning your wedding?
We’ve been planning in bursts and spurts since we got engaged. Because we got engaged during a lockdown Christmas, there was not much to do so we only researched locations for a couple days before quickly deciding on Trinity Buoy Wharf.
Trinity Buoy Wharf has a special place in our hearts because it’s just down the road from the first place we lived together, so we used to walk around that area quite a lot (especially during lockdown 1!) – we probably discovered, enquired and paid our deposit in less than a week’s time!
After securing a location, we booked Chris Adnitt of The Wedding Arrangers to be our planner since he’s had a wealth of experience with the location, then moved to one of our most important expenses for the wedding day – our photographer. We found Paul Williams (Ginger Beard Weddings) and took a Zoom call with him – we got along with him so naturally that we booked him right away!
But since booking Paul, we’ve kind of taken our foot off the pedal on wedding planning – so when our pre-wedding shoot came around, it was actually a great check-in point to remind us how excited we were to plan our wedding and it’s reignited some excitement. Next, we’re excited to be diving into our wedding food and drinks menu.
Have your ideas changed since you started planning?
I think we were a little surprised by how much of the budget ends up going towards food and drink – to be fair, we hope to invite 200 people (we both have big families!) so we were probably a bit too hopeful to think that feeding 200 mouths would be easy!
What kind of wedding are you hoping to have?
We hope it will be fairly relaxed despite being large. Trinity Buoy Wharf lends well to the more casual atmosphere we hope to achieve. The scattered works of art and quirky converted industrial buildings make it an interesting location we hope will surprise and delight our guests.
What did you love about your pre-wedding shoot?
We chose places that were meaningful to us as a couple, so having the chance to see those places in a new light with Paul was really special. We returned to our first date spot (Strongroom Bar), our old apartment block (London City Island), and our wedding venue (Trinity Buoy Wharf), so it was like we were revisiting the big milestones of our relationship (both past and upcoming). We also appreciated the opportunity to work with Paul before our wedding day because we’re both a little awkward in front of the camera, so building a rapport with him helped us relax and feel confident about what our actual wedding day will be like.
What has been the most stressful part of your wedding planning?
Picking a date that would work for everybody was a little stressful, especially with uncertainty about what international travel will look like in 2022. But at the end of the day we know we can only control so much in this wild and wacky world; we know that if we have hurdles in the future, we’ll find a way to get around them.
What has been the most fun part of your wedding planning journey?
The fact that we’re working towards the next big milestone in our relationship has been a really fun and rewarding experience. At first wedding planning felt a little overwhelming because there are so many different things to decide – location, lights, music, timing, attire, food, drink, activities… the list goes on! – but since hiring our planner, Chris Adnitt (The Wedding Arrangers), we’ve felt a lot more at ease about everything; Chris is the most organised person we’ve ever met and he is great at helping us visualise how all the different components come together for the full day.
Have you got your wedding outfits sorted?
James: No… but I will.
Estelle: Yes! The short version of the story is that I had my eyes on a particular dress by an Italian designer my sister tried on four years ago, but the dress was at the very upper bound of my budget so I was hesitant to purchase. A few weeks months ago, I randomly searched online to see if anybody was selling that exact dress and saw a new listing on stillwhite.com by someone who was also based in London and who also had similar measurements to me. I reached out to her and it turns out she was a 20 minute drive from our house. She kindly loaned me the dress to try on; lo and behold – it fit! I couldn’t believe my luck. I’ll forever think of her as my fairy godmother.
What are your plans for after the wedding – are you off on honeymoon / mini break?
We haven’t planned it yet since international travel is still so uncertain but we’re hoping to take some time off to do a 3-month adventure through Central and South America.
Any top tips for others going through the wedding planning journey?
Don’t get tripped up on the details and enjoy the process! It can be easy to get worked up about finding the perfect little thing for each and every aspect of the wedding, so when we get in a tangle we try to remind ourselves our goal is not perfection – it’s simply to see all the people we love enjoying their time together at a party… and the best parties are always a little messy anyway!