Who is in the mood for an ultra glamorous wedding set against the jaw-dropping backdrop of London’s iconic Shard? Well you’re in luck because I have exactly that on the blog for you this afternoon.
I’m such a huge fan of London, my home city, and all its iconic landmarks, so I’m very excited to be blogging Smashing The Glass reader, Alana’s, wedding to Michael, that took place at the capital’s highest wedding venue (at 125 metres above sea level), The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard.
The hotel occupies floors 34 to 52 of Renzo Piano’s 1016ft tall building on the banks of the River Thames, and this was the first wedding ever to take place at the newly-opened hotel, in August of this year.
And it gets even better. Alana and Michael’s candle-lit ceremony took place just over the river at the breathtakingly beautiful Bevis Marks Synagogue, which is also a record-holder. It’s the oldest synagogue in Great Britain (it was built in 1701) and it is also the only synagogue in Europe which has held regular services continuously for over 300 years.
Alana, The Bride: We chose to get married at Bevis Marks Synagogue as it’s not only breathtakingly beautiful and so impressive historically, but also very welcoming. For our reception venue, we wanted somewhere a bit ‘out of the ordinary’ that people might never have visited before and would be excited to go to. My mum said that she had found somewhere interesting and new and Michael and I actually guessed that’s where it was!
The Shard speaks for itself – whether you love it or hate it – and the view is so wonderfully impressive. The space was airy, chic and luxurious and it was The Shangri-La Hotel‘s first wedding so it was exciting for their team too. We also love that you can see The Shard from so many spots all over London so we will often spontaneously be reminded of our special day.
NO THEME — JUST A DAY ABOUT US
I’m not one for themes and colour schemes and we both wanted to keep it informal and just a day about us so that nothing felt forced. We didn’t have a wedding planner – we all pulled our weight – and the team at the Shangri La were just fantastic. Our other main wish was not to have a sit down meal as we personally find them lengthy and rigid.
PERSONALISED LONDON SKYLINE CUPPLES
Inspired by the venue, we had personalised kippot (cupples) made by Hebrewear with the London skyline embossed onto them.
We chose a very simple look for our invitations -minimalist and chic! They were white with embossed gold, gold being my favourite colour. I saw the design on the wall at the only wedding fair I went to and liked it and didn’t want to look at 100’s more so we just adapted the design and gave it our own twist.
For makeup I used Louise Shooman Stone who was brilliant. She immediately understood what myself and the bridal party wanted and the make up lasted all day and night.
A CUSTOM-MADE NUDE-COLOURED WEDDING DRESS
I didn’t look in any wedding shops or try anything on as I knew I wanted something completely unique, designed from scratch. I had an incredible dress designer (who has asked not be named I’m afraid) who completely understood exactly what I wanted and who made the whole process one of the best experiences of my life. I wanted it to be a little creative and I didn’t necessarily want to wear white or ivory as I don’t think those colours are particularly flattering on me.
I was absolutely thrilled with the final result. It suited the party atmosphere and was totally unique.
My dressmaker kindly made some stunning pins from the left over beads and crystals from my belt and some crystals that she had in her kit. I also wore some earrings from my late grandma.
MULTI-COLOURED SPARKLY SHOES
I actually wanted nude shoes, but couldn’t find any to match! A few weeks before the wedding I purchased some 5.5 inch multi-coloured sparkly wedges by Albano that partly complimented the pink in my belt (and also had the ‘blue’ for the old, new etc) and they were relatively comfortable and fun so I gave up looking for nude shoes and went with those!
THE HANDSOME GROOM
Michael wanted to wear navy to keep it informal and had a suit made for him by Gieves & Hawkes that he could also wear for work. I helped him chose a tie from Selfridges that complimented my dress and he chose the rest.
He wore a boutonniere that also complimented his tie and my dress, but we didn’t go for anything matching.
The venue made everything special as it was lit by candlelight. We were very fortunate as our rabbi (Rabbi Berger) really took the time to get to know us as individuals — and as a couple — and gave a wonderful address that really resonated with us.
My favourite part was doing the badeken on the aisle as I got to walk the second half of the way with Michael. My good friend from university delivered the priestly blessing which was also special.
THE CHUPPAH DESIGN
Bevis Marks is very strict on what you can do with flowers to respect the 300 year old building. The poles are very thin and we had a brilliant florist called Funky Flowers who helped us choose flowers and scattered petals and tea lights to create a romantic atmosphere.
NO BRIDESMAIDS AS SUCH, JUST A SPECIAL GROUP OF FRIENDS
I didn’t want a group of bridesmaids as I didn’t want them to be wearing the same dress or anything that they didn’t want to wear. My sister was my bridesmaid and chose her own dress, and my good friend from Australia flew over and led my dad and I in to Bevis Marks by candelabra and gave a wonderful speech. My friend who I have known all my life came to get ready with us in the morning and my best friend was my witness; I had everyone around me who was important and no arguments.
THE CHUPPAH DESIGN Bevis Marks is very strict on what you can do with flowers to respect the 300 year old building. The poles are very thin and we had a brilliant florist called Funky Flowers who helped us choose flowers and scattered petals and tea lights to create a romantic atmosphere.” width=”750″ height=”501″>
We used Liz at Funky Flowers who was very creative and helpful, and we mainly went for roses as they were in season and were ivory, pale pink, latte and lilac to compliment my dress. We didn’t have a sit down meal so there were no table centres, but there were flowers on the bar tables and around the venue.
The Shangri La’s florist also helped design a stunning floral arch to enter through in pink and white.
THE CHUPPAH DESIGN Bevis Marks is very strict on what you can do with flowers to respect the 300 year old building. The poles are very thin and we had a brilliant florist called Funky Flowers who helped us choose flowers and scattered petals and tea lights to create a romantic atmosphere.” width=”750″ height=”1511″>
I discovered Blake Ezra via Facebook and thought he took the most creative and brilliant images of any photographer I had ever come across. When we met him it was a no-brainer — Blake and his team didn’t get in the way and judging by our engagement photos and preview blog, I just know that the photos are going to be amazing.
NO WEDDING CAKE, JUST FANTASTIC DESSERTS
We didn’t want a cake as the desserts (including Yuzu cheesecake and passion fruit creme brà»là©e) at our venue were fantastic and better than any wedding cake either of us have ever tried!
A DJ AND A PERFORMANCE BY ANGELO STARR
We wanted a DJ to create the informal party atmosphere, and my parents additionally booked Angelo Starr which was a total surprise. He performed an amazing set!
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Do what makes you happy and make the decisions that you want, regardless of other people’s opinions. I read on Smashing The Glass that somebody said they regretted not having a videographer. The whole day was a blur so I’m really looking forward to seeing the film by our videographer, Charlotte Armitage.
ALANA + MICHAEL’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photographer — Blake Ezra Photography
Ceremony Venue — Bevis Marks Synagogue
Reception Venue + Catering — The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard
Bride’s Dress — Designer has requested not to be named
Bride’s Shoes — Albano
Groom’s bespoke suit — Gieves & Hawkes
Groom’s tie — Selfridges
Florals — Liz at Funky Flowers
Entertainment —Angelo Starr and Uptown Events
Kippot (cupples) — Hebrewear
Stationery — Invitation London
Videography — Charlotte Armitage
Make up — Louise Shooman Stone