Lana and Rory dreamt of getting wed in Vegas, but after Covid hit they had to change their plans like many couples in 2020/2021 – changing from a destination wedding to an intimate wedding with just 30 of their friends and family.
Both Graphic Designers and lovers of typography, they hit gold when they were able to book Gods Own Junkyard for their reception venue; a neon sign filled gallery based in Walthamstow. It provided all the Vegas feels but much closer to home. Lana and Rory’s graphic design skills also came in handy for their stationery, personalised gift bags and embroidered wedding jackets… in honour of their dog Sumo!
Over to Lana to tell us more about their day…
Lana & Rory…
How did you meet and get engaged?
We met at university where we were 2 in a class of 12 studying Graphic Design in 2008, and we got engaged on a surprise trip for Lana’s birthday (& to our dogs favourite beach!) Camber Sands. Rory proposed using a vintage locket comprised of 4 sides inside – one for each hand written word!
Was there an overall theme to your day?
There wasn’t massively an overall theme to our day, I originally had dreams that we might elope to Las Vegas for an Elvis wedding, and then to visit the famous Neon Boneyard for a honeymoon trip… but we wouldn’t have been able to have our best friends join us. And then of course covid happened. So we kinda re-planned our wedding around this dream! We used fair-ground style designs & tickets as inspiration for our invites, which we designed ourselves, being graphic designers and all.
God’s Own Junkyard is a local Neon Sign gallery of our dreams based in Walthamstow, so we were super excited when they agreed to hold our reception! We absolutely love that place, and knew it was perfect for us. We generally just wanted it to be an easy, low-key, casual & cheap for everyone to attend wedding! We never wanted anything huge as that’s not our style so this was just perfect for us.
How would you describe your day?
We can’t describe our day as anything other than the BEST! The only thing that we would’ve obviously wanted was to have everyone there – as we only had 30 guests that lived close by attend. We’re planning to have a party at some point later on down the line, so we can celebrate with everyone though
How long were you planning it for?
We got engaged 1.5yrs before we actually got married, so I guess you could say that long. Although Covid meant that everything was paused & then we had to reschedule our wedding by 2 months, without knowing if that one would go ahead either. Which meant we had to rush around cancelling, rescheduling & finding places to work alongside covid regulations at that time.
It was pretty stressful, but we both agreed that everything that happened lead us down the right path to the day we had, it all worked out so well thankfully & became the best casual wedding day we could’ve hoped for in the end.
How was your day unique to you?
Our day was unique to us as it was quite low key and casual. Both of us being designers we had a vision of the style we liked and went with that – which ended up being a bit eclectic actually but oh well! We made gift bags instead of drinks and canapés, so everyone had a unique customised party bag hand lettered by Lana, with their favourite drink, and a few other goodies too – a small bottle of tequila, some snacks and confetti.
We also added 6 disposable cameras spread out through the bags for a few guests, which read “Take a picture & pass it on!” We tried to add small details that we thought were personal & working around the covid restrictions at the time. We also had to have all our guests in masks during the ceremony, which was quite a unique experience for us.
Where was your wedding / reception venue and why did you pick it?
The brilliant God’s Own Junkyard, in Walthamstow, London. It’s one of our favourite places to visit, we’re both such huge typography & signage nerds that it’s basically the dream venue for us. We both love everything neon & it’s a very well known place in the area, we live not too far away so it was absolutely perfect in every way.
Before Covid, when we were planning a large wedding with everyone we would have wanted attending, we knew this venue wouldn’t have capacity for our guests so wouldn’t have been able to use it… but Covid meaning we were restricted on guests, we then knew this was the place for us! We both said to each other that if they couldn’t accept our booking, nowhere else would be what we would want! We were so lucky to have been able to celebrate there, it’s a really special place to us.
Who was your wedding photographer and why did you chose them?
The incredible Lex Fleming!! We’d been looking into wedding photographers for a while and we kept coming back to Lex’s images when looking for inspiration…her work is really unique, she has such a creative eye for detail, poses & backgrounds – we just knew it had to be her! We were SO happy when she said she still had the day free once we’d rescheduled our wedding, all of her photos came out even better than we’d hoped for, they really show the atmosphere and fun we had on the day, and we don’t think anyone else would have been able to capture that how she has, we will treasure them always.
Oh, and she also came with us on the tube to the venue, and got some excellent shots of the journey, she wasn’t phased by the chaos of our unplanned trip at all – don’t get uber in rush hour. (Hire Lex, you won’t be disappointed!)
Your outfits! Tell us more about them! Was there any special details, accessories or reasons behind your choices?
For my bridal outfit, I had a maxi (small train) high necked, backless Vera Wang Ivory dress, with my old reliable Dr Martens boots. I’m a bit more of a dress down kinda girl, so I always knew if I was wearing a wedding dress it would be boots or trainers for me! I’d spent such a long time over the year, and then what with lockdown after lockdown, and being unable to try on any dresses for such a long time… I had no idea what would look good on me. I’d seen so many I loved but being unable to try them on and see if I looked like a potato (!) I waited until April 12th & booked a dress trial day as soon as shops opened up again. I took my sister & my best friend, along with my assigned stylist, we picked out only 4 dresses I liked, and one of them just happened to be ‘the one’ as soon as I tried it on. The girls agreed & it was as easy as that in the end! I wanted something fitted, while not too revealing, so chose to go backless with a high neckline at the front, business at the front, party at the back haha!
In the evening I then changed into another backless, black floral embroidered dress, so I could relax a little, and not worry about wine getting spilt on me! I usually wear dark colours, so that felt a little more ‘me’ after wearing Ivory. I also custom embroidered some wedding jackets for the two of us on my 100 year old industrial chainstitch embroidery machine! Rory had a ’til death’, & I had ‘just married’ one. They both featured our dog Sumo’s face on the back holding an orange flower – to match our flowers, as she couldn’t be with us in the evening & we knew we’d miss her, so she attended via our jackets! She did attend just before the ceremony though, we had to have her there, she’s the love of our lives! She wore a tuxedo that i embroidered “I do too” on, it was adorable.
Tell us about your wedding flowers? Was there a particular theme or colour palette?
We went with a well known Tottenham local florist named Thelma’s. She’s been there for many years and so we visited her one lunch break to discuss our rush job flowers! & she was so brilliant, she knew exactly what I was after, once I’d shown her my dress. We went for an orange colour theme, as that’s our fave colour. I had a kind of tropical / wildflower orange & palm leaf bouquet that we made together with Thelma! She also taught us how to make the buttonholes the day before the wedding too, it was almost like a quick workshop for us! Afterwards we dried them out & still have them to keep at home, as we loved them so much. Now we can keep them forever.
Which decorations / props did you use on your wedding day? What was the overall look you were trying to achieve?
We actually didn’t use a thing! As our reception was at God’s Own Junkyard – which is a Neon warehouse/bar/gallery, the owner said we didn’t need to bring a thing. The place is so brilliant as it is. Easy wedding planning right?!
Let’s talk food! What style of food did you go for and why?
For food we went with a friend of a friend who runs Vegan Demon. They are a brill pop-up who catered our menu to all of our tastes & dietary requirements! We wanted all of our guests to experience delicious vegan food for one day, and for everyone to be able to eat – I have dietary requirements so that was super important to me for everyone to be included, and with a good meal…and as it was our day we thought why not!
Working with Vegan Demon, we came up with a Japanese inspired fast food menu, as we figured its a casual micro wedding, we wanted it to be laid back with street food. Japanese food is both our favourites, & so we had a menu consisting of Aubergine Bao dogs, vegan sliders, mac & cheez, dirty fries & all the sides you could want!
Cake! Who created your wedding cake and what theme did you go for?
One of Lana’s oldest friends Bakewell Bakes made our cake! We designed our dream cake, & she brought it to life so beautifully! Going with the orange theme, we had an orange and white gradient cake with perfectly handcrafted sunflowers & daisies on. It was so beautiful… and we had leftover cake for about a week after, which we were pretty happy about too!
Tell us about your wedding stationery – who designed them for you and what style did you go for?
We did! Both of us being Graphic Designers, we always knew we would do them for ourselves, having worked on lots of wedding stationery and signs in the past for clients, it kind of gave us an idea of what we liked & didn’t (for ourselves) over the years. We wanted a design that truly represented us both, and what our style is as designers – so the invites were actually really important to us.
The design was based on vintage signs, fairground tickets & our love for neon signs & typography, so I think we did a good job. I really loved the finished stationery, we received lots of compliments on the invites too, which was really nice!
Tell us more about your hair and make-up for your wedding…
I (Lana) have pretty short hair, so there’s not too much that can be done with it to be honest, and i’ve never really been a hairstyle person either. So having a bob, I de- cided to have my usual style, but wore a gold headband as a bit of a more special look (It turned out super handy as it was crazy windy that day!). In the evening when I changed dress, I took the headband off and stuck to my usual style.
I considered getting a make up artist but decided against it after a few trials, I just didn’t feel like me, and it began to feel like something I felt I should do, rather than something I wanted to do. So I again, stuck to my normal style, but a bit more of an exaggerated version of my cat eye black eyeliner. I really like the 60’s style make up looks, and decided to go for something similar to that, just some trusty black eyeliner and some big false lashes! I wore some gorgeous Opal earrings from Jewel & Wonder for the ceremony, & some heart earrings to match my dress in the evening from Wolf & Moon.
How did you entertain your guests throughout the day?
Errr… alcohol? If that’s an acceptable answer? It was all a bit of a rush around due to Covid restrictions at the ceremony, quickly in and out so once we left, it was raining and we all pretty much wanted to get inside! We headed to God’s Own Junkyard & once we arrived their were welcome drinks & the entire venue full of Neon Signs for our guests to enjoy all to ourselves. And to be honest after not being able to see each other for so long be- forehand, we were all just so happy to be together again! Those of us we could have with us anyway. It was just great to be together, have a drink and a party finally!
Looking back, what was the stand out moments of your day?
One of the stand out moments of the day for us would be the tube ride! We tried to get Ubers to the reception but at that time of day the traffic was so bad, we jumped out & join our friends and family on the tube, unplanned! We got so many great pictures out of it and the whole experience doing that trip in our wedding gear was pretty great really. We also loved the amazing speeches our best man & Maid of Honour wrote & read for us – we knew it was nerve wracking for them so we really appreciated it, and their kind words of course <3 Then cutting the cake & drinking WAY too much Tequila!
Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their wedding, for either the planning or the lead-up?
Even though you will, try not to stress about everything going one hundred percent to plan at all times, things will happen as they happen sometimes – good & bad! and you can’t always be on top of it. Plan as much as you can before the day obviously,
(it’ll be all you do for a while!) but our point is that things probably will change slightly on the day to what you’d imagined, don’t let it ruin your day, after all, it is your wedding and all adds to part of the story. Hey look at ours, it rained SO MUCH that day, i worried for my dress, my hair etc – but in the end we just embraced it & got some pretty great moments in pictures to remember forever! Oh, and an awesome unplanned tube ride too!
GORGEOUS! Thanks you so much Lana and Rory for sharing your day with us and to URU supplier Lex Fleming for capturing the day for beautifully :)