We dare you to take one look at today’s stunner of a Jew-ish wedding and guess how long the couple spent planning it. Two years? One year? Six months? No, no, and no! Lauren, a travel writer (of Princess with a Backpack fame!) and Christopher, a tax lawyer, planned their wedding in a mere eight weeks! SAY WHAAAAT?!
That’s not a typo – this fab day really did come together in a mere two months, without even a planner to expedite the process. And not only that, the couple planned their ultra-chic London day just shortly after relocating to the city from NYC!
The globetrotting duo (Lauren is Australian, while Christopher hails from Denmark) found a perfect venue in Spring Restaurant.
The elegant space had tons of built-in décor, from hanging foliage to fairy lights; all the couple needed to do was throw in some stylish modern florals in white and green from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Hayford & Rhodes to make their venue was 100% wedding-ready.
You might expect that a Jewish-Australian-Danish wedding would yield some cool cultural fusions – and Lauren and Christopher didn’t disappoint. It just takes one look at Ivan Franchet’s stunning photos to see the energy and the love that went into the day.
The touching ceremony embraced Lauren’s Jewish heritage with touches like a gorgeous pared-down chuppah from The Chuppah Design Co (the creation of our own former blogging bride Lauren Beadle!) as well as Danish tradition, in the form of a beautiful Danish love prayer.
And the couple incorporated some fun Danish traditions into their reception (hint: one involves kissing under the table!). Read on for all the details from lovely Lauren, who looked absolutely model-perfect in her elegant lace Pronovias gown…
A London Wedding
Lauren, the bride: We got married at Spring Restaurant, Somerset House, London. We had just recently moved from New York to London a few months before and because our friends and families are based all over the world (my family is based in Australia and my husband’s friends and family are in Denmark), we thought London would be the perfect neutral ground to celebrate our wedding in our new city.
When I was looking for venues in London, I walked into Spring and immediately fell in love with the space. It was perfect: blue pastels on the walls, matched perfectly with the soft pink velvet lounges, tan leather dining chairs, blonde wood floorboards and crisp white tables.
As it was the end of March, spring had officially begun, and what better place to celebrate than Spring in London. Spring also happens to be run by celebrity chef Skye Gyngell who is originally Australian; her signature style is seasonal and elegant, providing dishes that are unique with a farm-to-table approach.
Our hotel (Langham London) was perfect for getting ready and staying the night of the wedding. Clearly, they have had many brides stay there before, so nothing was too much to ask, and the service was incredible. We also had a fantastic large suite, which gave 3 of us (mum and sister included) plenty of space to get ready for the big day.
A Dream Venue
We didn’t use a wedding planner – it was all me! I somehow managed to arrange the wedding within 8 weeks. What made the wedding “us” was that we only invited 25 guests each, so it was a really intimate wedding.
Also, as a travel writer with a background in architecture, we are always finding great interior designed hotels and restaurants to review, and Spring was no exception. It had the perfect blend of style – chic, whimsical, and elegant – we could have hoped for. It really was just “us.”
In terms of decor – the space itself was so gorgeous – with the foliage hanging from the glass atrium and the fairy lights that shone above the dance floor – the best part about the space was that I really didn’t need to do much to make it a dream wedding venue.
As we only gave our guests a few weeks’ notice, our wedding invite was simple – white background with a gold swirl framing the important “save the date” and wedding invitation details.
Hair + Makeup
I love wearing my hair down and just wanted to look like the best version of me… so I had a hairdresser recommended by a friend to provide soft waves, and a makeup artist who I met when she had applied my lash extensions a few months before. I had seen her work on editorial shoots and thought she would be great for the wedding.
A Pronovias Dress
My dress was from Pronovias. I had tried a number of dresses before, but as I had such a short window of time to select the dress I had to pick something ASAP. I knew I wanted long, lace sleeves due to the unreliable weather and something fitted to suit my body shape.
Luckily the clever seamstress at Pronovias knew how to basically sew me into the dress, and it had enough boning to hold me up without wearing a bra (even during the hora). I loved the low back with the lace detail and the buttons up the back that looked so classic.
When I tried it on I knew it was the one; I felt it looked amazing on my body and was elegant and romantic. It didn’t hurt that it somehow made me feel tall and skinny with curves in the right places. Pronovias also could do a rush order, getting the dress tailor-made in time for the wedding.
A Traditional Veil
I decided only a couple weeks before that I wanted a really traditional veil. The veil was also from Pronovias and had a gorgeous, classic lace trim, which made me feel so pretty. I loved the fact the veil was so traditional and created a new look for the ceremony and a more modern look for the reception after once it was removed.
I tried on literally hundreds of shoes. I didn’t have a budget here, so I took home lace Louboutins, Jimmy Choos, Nicholas Kirkwood… you name it, I tried it. But finally I felt best in a 10mm high platform champagne shimmer heel from Jimmy Choo. My advice would be to take a pair of your heels in your closet that you know are comfortable so towards the end of the night when no-one is looking or caring anymore you do the switch – it was a game-changer.
The handsome groom
The groom wore a custom-made Issac Abbott tux, Hugo Boss tuxedo shirt with black buttons, and Tom Ford tie. The groom and all the groomsmen wore matching tuxes and white with a hint of green lapel flowers. It was so special seeing him under the chuppah waiting for me as I approached; I could see he was holding back the tears!
A Maid of Honor in Green
I only had a maid of honor as I felt that was most appropriate for the size of the wedding. She ended up wearing a long, deep green silk dress, that worked perfectly with the groomsmen and their white and green flower lapels.
A Simple Chuppah
I had inspiration from celeb couple Guy Oseary who married Michelle Alves in Brazil with the most simple, gorgeous chuppah, and I thought there was something so magical about something so pared down. It was all about the meaning of the chuppah rather than making it about “keeping up with the Joneses.” The chuppah was made by The Chuppah Design Co who were amazing!
A Multicultural Ceremony
We combined both our traditions into the ceremony – obviously my background is Jewish, so we had the walking around the groom 7 times, ketubah, chuppah, and rabbi, but to highlight my husband’s traditions, a good friend of ours said a beautiful Danish love prayer (in Danish). It was a truly special and memorable ceremony, and I soaked up every minute.
Made Me for Loving You
Processional was really hard to choose! I ended up electing Tori Kelly’s Made Me For Loving You and really fell in love with it. Our walking down the aisle after the ceremony song was You’re The Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne, which I really love and is good fun. Our first dance was Ed Sheeran’s Perfect (how could we not!). The DJ ended the night by playing New York New York by Sinatra, which was so perfect for us – all the guests created a circle around us and it was like one big group hug. Loved that!
White and Green Flowers
Hayford & Rhodes were amazing and very accommodating. I organized the flowers last minute because I couldn’t decide on the direction, but ended up with a stylish modern arrangement – mixed white flowers with a hint of green. We used this color scheme on the tables, in my bouquet and on the groomsmen’s lapel flowers. It gave it that fresh “spring” feel without distracting from the focus of the interiors.
Our fabulous photographer
I found Ivan Franchet through a friend who had seen his photos from another Jewish wedding. I instantly loved the way he styled his photos; the only problem was that he lived in Paris. I wrote to him and persuaded him to come to London to capture our day and he was worth it! I love our images and am amazed by the way he managed to capture our love and our guests’ joy.
A Fantastic Cake
Spring restaurant had a celebrity chef on hand, and GC Couture made our delicious cake with a mix of vanilla, coconut, and chocolate on top. It was heavenly eating the cake when we got home to our hotel room after the wedding.
DJ as Wedding Gift
What made the day so great was the itinerary. We wanted to make sure our guests were kept on their toes the whole time (quite literally). The itinerary was as follows: 1. Ceremony, canapés & drinks, dancing the hora, sit down for starters, speeches, first dance followed by 10 minutes of dancing, then to main course and 3 more speeches, dessert, cake cutting, ending the night with dancing again!
Even during the main course where we were sitting the longest the whole night, the Danish crowd have a tradition: when the groom gets up to go to the bathroom every man in the room must get up and stand in a line to come and kiss the bride on the cheek until the groom gets back to the table (and vice versa for the bride).
Another great Danish tradition throughout the dinner is for the guests to stamp their feet and clap their hands for bride and groom to kiss under the table or even on the table! I was not going to do either in my dress, but we did duck down semi under the table and gave a kiss. It was a super cute tradition and all the Jewish guests loved the entertainment.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I would say if you’re going to have a destination wedding (which ours felt like, as all our guests were from out of town), be prepared to have a 3-4 day line-up of events. We were lucky enough to have my cousins here, who generously had Shabbos at their house for 20 guests, which was a huge help to manage all the plans.
Also try and book one hotel for all guests and the day after the wedding meet for breakfast to regroup after the big day and say any goodbyes before the guests leave and head back home. I have to say, having only really organized the wedding in 8 weeks, I had no time to overthink – the dress and the venue had to be the first things out of the way and other decisions just had to be made quickly. Sometimes not having too many choices or too much time actually helps. Another great help was selecting a restaurant as a venue, so you are guaranteed the food is good rather than selecting a venue and relying on caterers.
Lauren & Christopher’s little white book
Photography – Ivan Franchet
Flowers – Hayford & Rhodes
Venue – Spring Restaurant at Somerset House
Bride’s dress and veil – Pronovias
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo
Groom’s attire – Isaac Abbott, Hugo Boss and Tom Ford
Makeup – Aga Makeup Artist
DJ – DJ Jez Pereira
Cake – GC Couture
Chuppah – The Chuppah Design Co
Preparation – Langham London