Anna and Simon’s Vintage Chic London Wedding at the Dorchester by Rachel Hudson

It’s the start of another week, so may I bid you a very happy Monday! It’s another hectic week coming up at Boho HQ. I had an amazing wedding on Saturday and I have another one coming up this Saturday! So lets crack on with today’s wedding which has been sent into me by Rachel Hudson. It’s a gorgeous London wedding which took place in the Dorchester in London. It’s full of light, beautiful photography and lots of pretty vintage details and the prettiest Bride!

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The lovely couple are Anna and Simon who were married on Friday 15th June, ‘We had an intimate ceremony at the Penthouse, The Dorchester, London for 30 guests with the reception at the Orangery, Buxted Park Hotel, East Sussex for 68 guests and a total of 80 in the evening. We booked both venues in November (7 months before) and all the little bits came together after the new year.’

‘Our wedding was a relaxed elegant affair filled with lots of love, laughter surrounded by friends and family. A laid back day reflecting our personality.’

Dorchester Wedding

Dorchester Wedding

How they met
We were both living on opposite ends of Portobello Road when my French flatmate, Michel, asked if I would like to watch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the BBC. Unbeknownst to me we were going to pick up his work colleague Simon before heading to the BBC studio. Unfortunately both of them got the day wrong and it was actually the day after so we went for a drink instead. This gave Simon and I more time to get to know each other and we got on like a house on fire. However at that time both of us were actually seeing other people so we left it as was. A few months later Michel was planning to move back to Paris and he had his leaving do in Hoxton. We met each other again and rekindled what was there and the rest you can say is history:)

The proposal
He asked for my dad’s blessing when we were in Brunei in September when we came back from climbing Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia. However Simon ‘officially’ asked me when we went for a walk after Sunday lunch at his folks place in Kent and bent down on one knee when we stopped to climb over a stile.

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The Venue
We had our first date at China Tang at The Dorchester back in August 2006 before watching an open air screening of ‘The Night of the Hunter’ at Somerset House. I’ve also worked at Dorchester Collection for 9 years so it was very easy to organise and coordinate as it was just across the road from my office.

How did you choose your photographer?
I scoured various wedding blogs to find the perfect photographer and I stumbled across Rachel’s pictures on the Rock My Wedding blog. It was very important for us to invest in a good photographer as these are pictures you will look back time and time again and look back after many years. I loved her style of photography and how she captured the special moments so organically and so naturally. We also had a ‘couple shot’ before the wedding which was hugely beneficial as we got to know each other and got Simon and I used to being photographed together. She also shared Simon’s love for vintage VW Beetles which was a bonus . I was thrilled with Rachel and her pictures and it was great to be photographed by someone you felt completely at ease with. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

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The Dress
I bought my dress a Carolione Castiglliano called Magical at a sample sale. I really didn’t have any set idea what kind of dress I wanted however I knew what I didn’t want anything too fussy and meringue like as I am quite petite (5ft 1) and didn’t want the dress to wear me or drown me. I thought I wouldn’t want strapless as I felt too exposed however, when I tried it on I didn’t have ‘the one’ moment but the look on my friend Daisy’s face was priceless I knew it was something special.
Accessories: Acacia Headpiece and bracelet Jenny Packham. My sister’s earrings were something borrowed, the ‘ I Do’ at the bottom of my shoes were the something blue and my tennis bracelet was something old which my mum gave me.
Shoes: Jimmy Choo and Jenny Packham for Emmy. Why have one pair when you can have two?? I bought these shoes way before the dress. My only minor regret was that they weren’t high enough.

The suit
Simon had a bespoke suit made from Cad and the Dandy which was recommended by our friend Andy.
Simon’s shoes – Grenson
Best Men/Ushers suit – Next
Bridesmaids – Coast

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My vision was vintage, rustic chic so no real colour pallet. I kept a scrap book of images from various magazines (weddingy and non-wedding)

Lots of canapés after ceremony.
Starter – Onion Tart topped with Goats Cheese, Grape, Hazelnut Salad and Balsamic Syrup
Main – Roast Rack of Local Lamb with Sweet Potato Puree, Chestnut, Mushroom and Julienne Mange Tout or Fillet of Seabream on a Pea and Mint Potato Cake with Pak Choi and a Crème Fresh Dressing
Dessert -Dark Belgian Chocolate Truffle Mousse with / Pistachio Ice Cream

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The  hardest decision (harder than choosing the dress!), was deciding on the band. I searched various websites and listened to various demos over and over again. We then decided on a brilliant electro swing band called Swing Zazou which were brilliant as they got everyone up and dancing. The dance floor was never empty, even though we had a screening room showing the Euro 2012 England match (and we won). Simon had a friend who knew the DJ Rusty Egan who played a fantastic first set.

Peonies, sweetpeas, dusky pink and lilac roses, hydrangeas. I used the florist at the Dorchester, Wendy, and used Country Garden in Tonbridge for the Buxted Park reception. Jan from Country Garden was Simon’s mums friend. Both florists were spot on with the flowers.

Rustic touches, distressed white wicker hearts, vintage birdcages, chiavari chairs, white paper lace bunting, antique looking tea-lights, storm lanterns, (without the tea-lights as the groomsmen left it in his car!), I had a candy station, cheese table, and a little suitcase to put my cards.

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Personal touches
• I had the tables named after the herbs that grow in our window boxes in our flat in London.
• The seating plan was made from an old le creuset wooden rack holder I found in Simons folks loft. I nailed some pins and tied some lace from one end to the other and then I wrote guest name and the table where they were sitting on brown luggage tags and tied them on to the lace with some mini keys.
• For wedding favours we gave locally sourced honey. We bought some jars wholesale and tied little keys and labelled them ‘Meant to bee – ’

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Special moments
There are so many!
* Walking down the aisle seeing Simon for the first time after two weeks apart as I was in Madrid and Lisbon with my mum and sister before the wedding arriving only the night before the wedding.
* As we were coming down the lift to reception as husband and wife. All our guests including, my work colleagues (as we got married on a Friday), were lined up at the foyer of the Dorchester to send us off
* Seeing Simon’s labour of love, his red Beetle, looking all shiny and new amongst the Buggatis and Rolls Royce in the forecourt.
* The speeches. The best men equally as funny; Mardi, who gave me away and made me well up, and of course Simon who just winged it on the day
* My Lola’s (my best girlfriends/bridesmaids) getting emotional on the day

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• There are lots of magazines giving you count down of things to do several months before – don’t let this put you off if you haven’t done it according to their schedules but use this more as a guideline of tasks you need to do rather than sticking rigidly to their deadlines.
• Break the tasks into manageable pieces and don’t let it dictate your life. Enjoy designing your day as this is a once in a life time opportunity.
• Use moodboards to show what kind of flowers you like to give an idea to the florist.
• I took photos of the venue from every angle to help me decide how I would decorate the place. It was very helpful to keep visiting the venue as well as there were some areas you could easily forget about.
• On the day itself, let go and soak up every moment. Things won’t always go to plan but it will only be you who will realise! No-one else will know how you intended it to be,  so just relax and focus on the bigger picture.
• We had our reception and wedding venue about 50 miles apart. I wouldn’t advise this but we really wanted to get married at the Dorchester and have the reception closer to Simon’s folks.

Biggest surprise
The weather was really miserable in the run up to the wedding and I vowed not to look at the weather forecast until at least 4 days before but it only drizzled a little and we were able to be outside for photos.

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Supplier Shout Outs
We were very lucky to have such an amazing group of people to help put our wedding together

  • Photography – Rachel Hudson Photography – http://rachelhudson.co.uk  – this was one of my best decisions. She was so warm and so genuinely excited about the day. Also I was super lucky to see the photos very soon after the wedding as I heard some people have to wait for months to see them.
  • Ceremony Venue – The Dorchester – www.thedorchester.com  – five star service
  • Reception Venue – Buxted Park – Suzanne was extremely patient with me and answered all my questions I had, the staff were very friendly and service was seamlesswww.thedorchester.com
  • Florist at Buxted Park – Country Garden  – Jan was a dream to work with and she was instrumental in pulling the flowers and decorations all together www.country-garden-florist.co.uk
  • Cake – Fondant Fox  – my friend Carla was amazing in designing my cake! I sent her a sketch and moodboard and she transformed it into the most scrumptious piece of art www.facebook.com/FondantFoxCakeDesign
  • Chair hire and other – Pollen 4 hire  – great company to hire from. I got my chairs, birdcages, and storm lanterns from them  www.pollen4hire.co.uk
  • Cheese Cake – The Cheese Shed www.thecheeseshed.com
  • Swing Zazou’s  – Band Agency – www.vitalimusic.com

Also a huge thank you to my wonderful mother in law Ronny and Simon’s sister Laura who helped me with all the last minute things that needed to be done. We also had a small BBQ the day after which meant we could spend more time with our guests and make a whole weekend of it.


For more information on Rachel’s work go to:
[email protected]

About me – I am based in Tunbridge Wells in Kent but happy to travel anywhere! I like to photograph things in a natural way. My portraits and wedding photos are relaxed, timeless, and have been described once like a fondant fancy! I like people to look at my images and feel the emotion and spirit of the moment. I love natural light, a dreamy and romantic feel, soft light and airy colours and beautiful black and whites.

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