I hope you are ready for elegance and sophistication this Monday afternoon folks. Amanda and Brian’s gorgeous wedding has more than a touch of class about it and I’m delighted to be blogging the first ever wedding to have taken place at the the coolest new hotel kid on the block, the Rosewood London in High Holborn.
And as for the photography well….I don’t know how on earth Amanda and Brian ever chose what to put in their album, I was in raptures over the shots of the stationery and the rings before I even got to the delicious details and all important ceremony and party shots.
There’s a bride and groom that positively exude the whole happy-ever-after. There’s an utterly mesmerising chuppah. There’s laughter and crazy dancing and guests having the time of their lives. There are stunning portrait shots. It’s essentially a whole LOT of city chic glamour people, all courtesy of the genius that is David Pullum.
Oh and then there’s THE dress.
Just before I hand over to Amanda for her wedding report, I must just add that I was thrilled to hear that she was inspired to make a bride’s speech after reading an article in the Times, in which I was quoted, that talks about how the modern day bride is finally breaking her silence. I certainly feel that when you put your heart and soul into the planning, you do want to express yourself and say something… Amanda, being a rocking STG bride, has more to say on the subject (and so much more!) in her heartfelt and detailed write-up below.
A ‘DESTINATION’ LONDON WEDDING VENUE
Amanda, the Bride: Our wedding was held at the Rosewood Hotel in London. Since Brian and my father are from New York and we live there we had about 90 people traveling in to celebrate with us, so it was very important for us host them in a place where people would feel like they are experiencing a weekend in luxury in addition to being there for us as our guest.
Planning a wedding from afar can be tricky so we hired a wedding planner to help co-ordinate all the details- the wonderful Jamie Landesberg from 4thePeople! After looking at a couple of venues she was floored by the plans presented to her by the Rosewood (they were due to open that October and we would be the first wedding on the books)! As Rosewood lovers, we have stayed in a few of their properties, we knew we could trust them so we actually went ahead and confirmed the venue before even seeing it….very unlike us- being the type-A New Yorkers that we are!
THE AMAZING TEAM AT THE ROSEWOOD
On our visit to London in December we landed and basically drove straight there to see the hotel in its glory- and glorious it was!! We were so thrilled with everything, it felt like a true mix of London and New York glamour which couldn’t have been more fitting. The staff at the hotel was like none other, we started working with Mark Scholfield (Director of Events) and his team immediately, and unlike most brides I actually miss speaking with them everyday! They made this time in our lives just magical and unforgettable.
PERSONALISED DRESSING GOWNS
Mark Scholfield from The Rosewood suggested my mum and I stay a night in the hotel to get familiar with the layout and rooms which was lovely. We fell in love with the dressing gowns so my mum had them order custom ones for us…Bride, MOB, MOG & MOH
ROMANTIC, SIMPLISTIC AND MODERN
I am not one for themes or colours to be honest… my vision was really romantic, simplistic and modern I would say….amber lit, a ton of candles and simple yet stunning white flowers. The colours of the stage / dancefloor / tablecloths etc all spun off that which turned out to be whites and greys in order to let the candlelight shine.
DESIGNING OUR OWN INVITATION
We looked at a number of stationary companies both in London and in the States but nothing stood out. Brian and I are very picky when it comes to pretty much everything so it wasn’t long before we realized we needed to just design our own. We wanted our invite to give people a taste of what to expect at the wedding, that modern elegance, so we stuck to greys and whites and incorporated a gold shine. The pouch which the invite sat in was a last minute addition which we were so thrilled with.
We decided not to print ceremony booklets and instead went for something a little more simple, we just had cards printed and placed on each chair that said ‘Music Starts, We Get Married, Everyone Parties’- that, together with the menus and escort cards, were all matching stationary to our invites.
THE PERFECT DRESS BY AMSALE
I really did not enjoy shopping around for a wedding dress believe it or not. Maybe it had something to do with my mum not being around but I just didn’t like the experience at all until I walked into Amsale on Madison Avenue. Known to me as the ‘bridesmaids’ choice, I wasn’t expecting to find ‘the one’ but WOW, she had the perfect dress for me! It was originally a one shoulder dress which I didn’t want but we just had it made without that and it came out perfectly, I want to wear it again and again!! I am going to have it shortened and dyed black, Brian’s idea
THE BARE MINIMUM OF JEWELLERY
Due to the elegance of the dress I want it to speak for itself so I wore nothing but diamond studs kindly borrowed from my mum’s friend (and my gorgeous engagement ring of course)!
Brian is 6”4 so I always feel better in a heel! I found these Sergio Rossi booties with a heel that could last all night, with my mum in Saks one day (before I was even engaged) and said those are the shoes for my wedding one day!! We just feel in love with them on the spot. So when the time came we literally ran into the store and picked them up, like we were buying ice cream! They had this new pewter grey color that was identical to our invite pouch so I was really excited. My mum wore the shoe version so we matched…
‘NO MAKE UP’ MAKE UP
Luckily one of my besties is Lauren Hersheson, daughter of the renowned Daniel Hersheson, so I was in the best hands! Lauren is a make up artist in her own right with celebs and editors quoting her as the go-to for a ‘no make up’ make up look which is exactly what she is genius at. I LOVED how I looked, as she would say ‘the best version of myself’. Daniel had one of his stylists come and do my hair, Gemma, she was fantastic and after a couple of trials we honed in on what suited my face and overall look the best. My maid of honour, Charlotte, suggested I purchase the Daniel Hersheson hair extensions as it helped her hair stay in place for her wedding so I did I am so grateful, my hair lasted all night long and I now use them for other events which is great!
THE HANDSOME GROOM
Ahhhh, Brian was just gorgeous. He had a suit custom made by Martin Greenfield, an American Master Tailor. It was perfectly fit to his body as if it had been sewn on him and the lining had black and white polka dots which added some fun. He designed it off of a Tom Ford tux. His shoes were black velvet slippers from The Belgian Shoe company. He also had cufflinks made from 2014’s English coins for himself and our brothers (his best men), they were super cool and unique.
NO BRIDESMAIDS, BUT A MAID OF HONOUR
I had my best friend Charlotte as my maid of honour. I told her to pick whatever she wanted to wear, within reason, as I wanted her to feel just as special as me. She found a dress in the states which we brought back for her and she looked absolutely gorgeous.
Everything was so special about our ceremony! Having my 90 year old grandma there all the way from LA sitting with us under the chuppah was definitely a highlight for me.
While there were over 200 people watching us it felt like just me and Brian standing there, we could have been anywhere, it was just about us which I loved. His emotion was infectious and I just kept thinking how lucky I was to have found my perfect person.
The rabbi, David Mitchell from West London synagogue, made the ceremony so fun and did a great job coordinating everything in a humorous yet structured fashion.
A week before the big day the rabbi emailed us separately and asked us to send him three things we love about each other and three things that make us laugh about each other…we were not allowed to discuss. Here were the results which he read aloud under the chuppah…
Amanda: Three things I love about Brian:
1. He always knows how to turn a negative into a positive
2. He continues to help me work on being my best self
3. He makes me love life that much more
Amanda: Three things that make me laugh about Brian:
1. He pretends that my OCD-ness drives him mad but I know he secretly loves it
2. He thinks he can loose a few pounds in one day just by having a salad for lunch
3. He thinks garlic and onion are acceptable daytime foods
Brian: Three things I love about Amanda:
1. How Amanda takes care of me, no detail forgotten, she thrives on knowing / anticipating what I like and making sure I’m comfortable, it makes me so happy.
2. We are compatible with the same values, that means we’re on the same page all the time / when it matters, and when we’re not, it’s just a surface level thing.
3. Amanda is fun, she likes to have a good time and makes a good time wherever she is.
Brian: Three things that make me laugh about Amanda:
1. You will never hear Amanda say “I don’t know” – ask her anything and she will makeup an answer quickly and confidently. If you’re not paying attention you will definitely believe her but if you are, you will raise an eyebrow and have a great laugh
2. Amanda thinks out loud – that means anytime she’s asking a question, it’s not really a question, it’s an in progress thought that she’s really just working through. The ensuing back and fourth is hilarious.
3. Amanda is organised, just like me, everything needs a place! That’s critical in my book. But sometimes all Amanda has time to do is organise, she can make a day or a few hours out if arranging and rearranging
Another part I want to relive over and over was, believe it or not, the SMASHING OF THE GLASS! As that glass broke our band, Muzika, burst out with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ . It sent shivers down my spine!
Oh and the Chazan, Marc Finer, sang like an opera singer!
THE CHUPPAH DESIGN
Our florist, Gloria Baker was a magician! My mum’s local florist recommended her to us as she had just moved to London from Chicago and was looking to get her business going. Well, after the job she did for us I am quite positive her phone won’t stop ringing. The chuppah was just breathtaking, like our friend said it was an ‘ethereal sight’. When first meeting with Gloria I was quite adamant about what I wanted but once she came back to us with a proposal on what she imagined after meeting us I gave her the reigns and she didn’t need any pulling back. The chuppah in particular was the best one I have seen and is the topic of many conversations I have had post-wedding.
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
We choose John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’ to walk into. I had the procession walk to the melody of the song and then as I entered with my dad the band broke into song. It was perfectly timed and perfectly executed. Soon after we got engaged we heard the song on the radio and I remember feeling so emotional. It is such a ‘real’ song, the words portray everything I feel about Brian and our relationship. No one is perfect, we all have our imperfections, but that is what we love most about each other and what makes us perfect for one another.
CLASSIC , SULTRY. SEXY FLOWERS
Since childhood I have always loved baby’s breath, not a typical choice for a wedding but I couldn’t resist. After speaking with Gloria Baker, our florist, about it, and seeing how others used it on Pinterest, it was clear this was the road to go down.
Gloria’s selection of flowers (baby’s breadth, Norma Jean roses , white mini callas, white ranunculus, white anemones with black centres, white double peonies and garden roses in my bouquet) had a unique architect installation feel and totally personable and fitting with the sentiment of exactly the feeling we wanted to create. It was classical yet edgy and sexy at the same time . We’re a young couple and she wanted to keep it very sultry. Soft whites and a ton and ton of candles! She used hand picked crystal vases, white lace candles from Italy and these stunning white clay vases with cut out ‘florettes’ from Paris…It was a truly magical setting. Something that despite any trends, we would do the same 10 years from now.
We chose the one and only David Pullum. There was no question after seeing his pictures from my friend Meredith’s wedding. He captures those moments that you think no one can see and that you aren’t even sure you remember yourself and turns them into art. He is a pure genius and I feel honoured to have been a subject of his work, truly.
COCKTAIL HOUR, CANAPÉS, FOOD, CAKE, A CANDY BAR AND A MIDNIGHT FEAST!
Bjorn van der Horst, Director of Food at The Rosewood, was a godsend and yet another yank in our team! What he produced far exceeded all expectations. He catered our Friday night welcome reception in addition to our wedding AND our brunch the morning after. The food was insane.
It was very important to Brian that we have a lavish cocktail hour, the one hour which we, bride and groom, would not be attending (men!), so Bjorn went all out. Stations galore in addition to delicious canapés, people were asking if there was to be a main meal…
The cake was three tiers, bottom was chocolate, middle was lemon and the top was gluten free for me We actually ended up cutting the cake the next morning as we didn’t want to do anything but dance all night!
Midnight feast was a must! Mini everythings and the most incredible candy bar (aka sweet shop) you have ever seen. The next morning the team had the shop resurrected for us in our suite, touches like that were normal at this point.
Living away from London we had to trust our friends and wedding planner on entertainment in order to at least populate a list of those we had to entertain. After speaking with Jeremy Horowitz at Muzika it was clear this was the band for us – having a live band was always what we had wanted and imagined. The band had guests on the floor ALL night, each artist was better than the next which I think is super rare. We were so thrilled with the band and we also had Muzika do our production for us, lighting, dancefloor, stage etc it all turned out great!
Our first dance was to Mary J Blige’s ‘I found my everything’ that was on a playlist I made Brian soon after we first started dating. Another song which rings true for us.
My brother was our MC and boy did he entertain! He was the cutest, perfect, handsome, warm and loving host that ever lived!
We had a bar along the width of the dancefloor which was genius, definitely something I would recommend. The dancefloor was also custom built for the room which added a polished finish.
A HASHTAG TO CATCH PICTURES ON INSTAGRAM
We had a hastag for the evening #bramanda which is what Brian’s cousins call us!
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
I read a Times article, which Karen is quoted in, that talks about the modern day bride and how more and more women are taking to the stage during their weddings to do a speech. I was so inspired that I too decided to get up there. I am happy I did, I think, it was important to me that my thoughts and feelings towards our family, friends and husband were heard. I wanted to express MY love…I only met Brian two years ago so its been somewhat of a whirlwind and I am still on cloud nine that I have met him, let alone married him, which is why I was so excited to share that with everyone! Let’s see the video and then I will tell you how I really feel about it…
Also, try and get some sleep leading up to the big day, I was so jet-lagged all week unfortunately that I was quite run down and had to keep it together. Adrenaline does kick in, as everyone says, but you are still not prepared for the overwhelming emotion which your body is experiencing for the first time.
Finally, stand on the stage! It’s the best view of all those people who love you, such an amazing feeling. Electric! Oh and don’t forget to dance with your dad, wish I did more!
AMANDA + BRIAN’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – David Pullum
Event Planning – Jamie Landesberg from 4thePeople
Venue + catering – Rosewood Hotel
Bride’s dress – Amsale
Bride’s shoes – Sergio Rossi
Groom’s attire – Martin Greenfield
Groom’s shoes – Belgian Shoe Company
Make Up – Lauren Hersheson
Hair – Gemma from Daniel Hersheson
Entertainment + production – Muzika
Flowers – Gloria Baker
Rabbi – Rabbi David Mitchell
Chazan – Marc Finer