I’m absolutely blown away by this morning’s wedding. Not only are the details divine, the Pronovias dress to-die-for and the planning, by Outrage Events, utterly fabulous, but Cassy’s write up of her and Mark’s day really comes from the heart – as did Cassy’s efforts for the entire wedding.
Frankly, any bride who gets married under a chuppah styled out of a giant birdcage adorned with brightly-coloured ribbons and a rainbow of flowers, is an absolute winner in my book. But Cassy takes the originality one step further with beautifully illustrated wedding stationery, matching bespoke smoking slippers for her and Mark (yes really!), a silent disco, and personalised hangover packs for every guest. I’m telling you, I love, love, love this wedding with a cherry on top!
There are all sorts of wonderful wedding vendors involved in this W-Day, including two of my much loved Smashing Suppliers, make-up artist Philippa Louise, and the immensely talented photographer and film-maker John Nassari who alerted me to this wedding in the first place. I’m such a huge fan of John Nassari’s. Not only are his images and film some of the best in the business, but he is a fantastic guy to boot – just a total pleasure to be around. Cassy certainly agrees – just read what she has to say about him! In fact I will hand you over to her right now for the full report.
how we met
Cassy, the Bride: Mark and I met when I was 13 years old and Mark was 17! He was a very close friend of my older brother and from the time we first met until we started going out, he was often in and around my life at my brother’s parties and birthday’s. My brother was naturally very protective and made it very clear to all his friends that I was completely, 100%, absolutely out of bounds! That being said, Mark was always ‘my favourite’ out of his friends and we got on amazingly well. When we started hanging out more regularly and on and one on one basis, just over 10 years later, that’s when the true foundation of our realtionship started. From there it went from strength to strength and we soon started going out (much to my brother’s absolute horror) However, once Mark explained his intentions were only honorable and I rationalised that actually this was a good thing, my brother realised it was a great thing one of his best friends would perhaps be his brother in law! Two years after we got together, Mark proposed and the rest, as they say, is history.
an English country house for a weekend wedding
We got married at Luton Hoo. I had previously stayed there with my mum on a mother-daughter weekend away so it always held fun and special memories for me. I absolutely loved the grounds and beautiful ornamental garden and in theory, being the end of May, we were supposed to get married outside and the views are absolutely breathtaking. I also loved that it was slightly different and not many people had ever been there.
From the very beginning we wanted our wedding to be a full weekend of activity outside of London so that people could make a ‘trip’ out of it. As a number of our guests were coming from overseas we had to account for accommodation and this was where Luton Hoo really stood out. With the hotel separated into three locations and over a thousand acres of land, we were able to host Saturday’s afternoon tea for the girls in the historic Mansion House, whilst the boys had a golf day on the course. All guests then got together for a Saturday night BBQ at the Country Club and then the wedding was at Warren Weir which we completely took over so could make as much noise as we wanted and weren’t hampered by finishing times!
No theme… just doing things differently to the norm!
My theme was that there was no theme aside from the fact that it had to be different to the norm! I was very excited to include all colours, smells and textures throughout the ceremony and the ballroom with an informal, mismatched but elegant style. I guess the main idea was bringing the outside, inside to evoke an enchanted garden. We used the amazing Outrage Events for everything from start to finish. Ben Kreiger and Katy Cresner were instrumental in matching my vision with the right suppliers. I had a very strong and clear idea of the look and feel for the entire day – myself and my dad are extremely detail orientated so it was no mean feat that they managed to exceed our expectations far beyond our wildest dreams.
We wanted the wedding to feel as personal and informal as possible despite it not being very small. We made lots of wooden signs to go everywhere included lines like, “We are so glad you’re here” as we really wanted people to know just how happy we were they had made it to Luton Hoo to celebrate with us. We also chose to use everyone’s nicknames on their place cards instead of their normal names so that everyone felt loved and treasured!
We also wanted to thank everyone for staying the night at the hotel so created personalised hangover packs, left on the door handles of each room with water, energy sachets, paracetamol, sweets, plasters, room incense and personalised M&Ms (Mark’s initials are MM and mine are now CM so it was too perfect not to do!)
Beautifully illustrated wedding stationery
We felt the invitation was the start of the wedding and we wanted mine and Mark’s personalities to be evident from the very beginning. Melissa Greenwood’s illustrations were perfect – not too serious, beautifully drawn, bright and colourful and totally personal. Melissa meets you for a consultation and speaks to you about all the things that make you happy, that you share together and any ideas around the wedding. She then creates an entirely bespoke illustration to fit with your invitation measurements and draws you’re very own magical world. Her professionalism, dedication (she sends you images as she goes along so you can amend details if you aren’t happy) and skill are unparalleled and I would highly recommend her. The bonus part is that you get to keep your original artwork as well!
In terms of turning all her beautiful material into printed invitations, escort cards, menus and so on, it was Pete Hay at Big Day Designs who tirelessly worked with me to create the most perfect combinations of Melissa’s designs, choosing the correct fonts, getting the colours and formatting ‘just perfect’ and ultimately printing stationary that I will truly treasure forever.
Oh.. and for the cupples, instead of having our names printed on the inside, we had ‘Happy Cupple 31 May 2015’ which Mark, my husband came up with!
make up, hair and the key to feeling good
I always knew I wanted people I know around me on the actual wedding day so I chose my hairdresser who I have been going to for the last 10 years and who I knew I could implicitly trust and rely on, and a good friend of mine’s sister Philippa Louise Makeup who understood exactly the sort of dewy, better than normal but natural look I was going for. I also went for regular acupuncture sessions in the lead-up to the wedding to ensure I was as calm and serene as possible!
a Pronovias dress that felt absolutely right
My dress was from Pronovias on Bond Street. I was down to the final two (after about 6 failed appointments elsewhere and numerous dresses) and couldn’t make up my mind. One was incredibly elegant, chic and unlike anything I would ordinarily wear – perfect for a white-tie wedding (which we weren’t having) and one was fun, easy to move in, had a low back (which I knew Mark would like) and felt like I owned it already. I decided I wanted to feel like myself and despite loving the other dress, went for the one that felt like would fit into my current wardrobe. On consequent dress fittings I grew more and more in love with it and never regretted my decision once! I think it’s so easy to get carried away and be a certain ‘type’ of bride but ultimately, I would always recommend choosing what suits you and feels most comfortable.
I bought the veil at the same time as my dress and kept it long and simple. My mum gave me a pair of her diamond earrings and I bought us each a Monica Vinader bracelet to wear – mine in white with the date and our hashtag engraved and my mum’s in red to match her dress with a personal engraving. I also added a diamante head-band for when we went through to supper to add a bit of sparkle to my evening attire.
bespoke matching smoking slippers!
As I am taller than Mark, heels were (thankfully) out of the question and we actually had bespoke smoking slippers made by Penelope Chilvers mine in an off-white and Mark’s in a navy to match his suit with our initials embroidered on. This was a lovely personal touch that was quite discrete but we knew about. We have both since wore the shoes and loved it as they will always be more than just another pair!
The handsome groom
Mark decided to be as bridal as me and wouldn’t let me see his suit before the big day! He always looks so incredibly handsome and our wedding day was no exception – he wore an absolutely beautiful three-piece navy suit from Dolce & Gabbana with an unbuttoned white shirt which he paired with his grandpa’s cuff-links and beautiful button hole, courtesy of John Carter. He wore great navy socks with red polka dots that he bought for all his ushers and best men from Happy Socks and his monogrammed slippers. I hadn’t seen him for a whole seven days so the Badeken Room was incredibly emotional and it was so amazing to see him.
bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys
I had three bridesmaids who were my sister in law and two cousins who are like sisters to me. Between Mark and me we have seven nieces and nephews so these were our amazing flower girls and page boys who were cute to toot! I wanted them to have similar dresses but to all be in different colours with the flower girls in pastels and the bridesmaids in jewel like tones that we were able to pull out in the flowers and décor.
a wonderful connection with our very talented florist
Ben and Katy were insistent from the very beginning that I had to meet John Carter and they were absolutely right. We were soul mates from the word go and he included me in every step of the journey, from trips to Covent Garden Flower Market to brainstorming sessions at work and home all the way to Luton Hoo at our site visits. He incorporated all my ideas and made them 100 times better through listening to what I said, looking at the things I like and understanding the feel I was going for. The flowers were an amazing mix of everything both colour and flower wise. There were peonies, artichoke flowers, chamomile, ornamental cabbages, fragrant herbs and so much more (I wanted the room and chuppah to be a sensory experience). The button holes were amazing and he even made beautiful corsages for my bridesmaids and best girlfriends at my request. We worked amazingly together and fed off each other’s ideas. I will never forget walking into our tasting when he had set a table up as it would be at the wedding – I started crying there and then for the sheer beauty! The entire experience with John was utterly amazing and I really miss not seeing and speaking to him so much!
an amazingly colourful and sensory chuppah design
The chuppah (which was meant to be outside but sadly never made it due to glorious English summer rain) was one of my favourite parts of the wedding. I always said from the beginning that I didn’t want anything that I had seen before and Ben Krieger found us the most amazing ornate bird-cage to work with which actually would have been beautiful without anything. However, myself, my dad and John Carter, our amazing florist, worked long and hard on the concept. My dad supplies ribbons so we knew we wanted that to be a feature and I wanted a growing garden that looked like it had just been picked. Combining the two created something really special. My dad didn’t want me seeing anything before the actual moment when I walked in and when we did, I had to stop just to take it in! It was honestly the most magnificent, joyous, explosion of colour and beauty and definitely what dreams are made of!
As the chuppah was such a show-stopper and such a rainbow of colours, we kept the rest of the ceremony very simple with natural seats and walkway so it could really be the focal point. The lighting was also key in this case and Ben Kreiger set it up so it really shone! Our Rabbi, Moshe Mayerfeld helped us word a printout explaining the different parts to a Jewish wedding which I then designed and personalised. We wanted the wedding to feel inclusive and as there were a number of non-Jewish guests we were keen for them to understand what was happening too!
music for the ceremony
We wanted to ceremony to be very traditional and had a fantastic chazan (Shlomo R Gerzi) who came to see us and went through each of the songs and their meaning so we were able to get a real feel and sense of the mood and atmosphere.
We chose Jason Millan as our caterers who were instrumental in making the wedding food and drink so memorable! No request was too much, no idea too creative and no detail too specific. We were very keen to have food that was different to the norm and Jason and his team, especially Michelle Lewis, Head of Events, did everything they could to make that a reality. From dipping our watermelon martini glasses in gold, to sourcing 200 bento boxes, testing recipes to re-create our favourite duck and watermelon salad and somehow make kosher beef crispy for our chili beef, the taste and presentation have long been spoken about by all our guests since the wedding!
our fabulous photographer
Photography and film were incredibly important to both of us and we looked at and met a number of photographers and videographers before finally meeting John Nassari as a recommendation from Ben. From the moment I saw his work, I knew he was perfect – his ability to capture fleeting moments as well as big picture scenes is astounding and there was an instant chemistry when we all met for the first time. I was confident he would give us pictures to enjoy for long after the wedding and his style definitely did not disappoint! He absolutely captured the energy, love and colour of our day to perfection.
For our first dance we had a medley of the original Sam Smith’s Latch which then changed into the Disclosure remix which was then followed by Calvin Harris’s, Feel So Close. We were keen not to dance for an entire three minutes alone but rather be surrounded by our friends and family so instructed my bridesmaids to join us the moment the beat kicked in for the Disclosure remix and get everyone up on the dance floor!
Incredible live music entertainment
Muzika were our chosen band and they were absolutely amazing. Before me and Mark entered the ballroom, we peeked through the doors and the energy on the dance floor was electric! The best thing was that it truly felt like they enjoyed playing and doing their thing and we couldn’t have asked for a better band to really give us the party of our life! They got everyone dancing on their chairs, on the stage, on shoulders, anywhere! They were absolutely phenomenal at the Israeli dancing! They were also incredibly flexible playing a huge range of songs from current to older ones that our parents friends knew all the words too and were even happy to play two unplanned sets as the appetite for dancing was so insatiable! They are all so talented and we were just blown away by how amazing they were!
a silent disco
We were sure from the very early stages of planning that we didn’t want to finish our big day at 11.30pm and were thinking of creative ways in which we could extend the party. A silent disco was the clear answer and Ben organised a DJ to play and take requests as well as more chill-out playlist for those who were calming down! This was an amazing addition to the party and all our friends (and some of our parent’s friends too) absolutely loved it! I will never forget taking off my headphones and hearing everyone sing out loud to Pharrell’s Happy – with Jason Millan providing the necessary egg muffins, cheesecake and a continued supply of drinks, we were eventually kicked out at 2.30am!
A super fun speech by the groom
I have to start with Mark’s speech which was truly the most original I have ever heard! As there were so many people involved in our story, he decided to include them all with the use of sake (our shot of the night to accompany our Oriental feast) each time he mentioned a name, that person had to stand up and do a shot, therefore creating a great atmosphere that meant people got in the mood to party as well as being able to see which family and friends were involved in our journey of becoming husband and wife!
Working with brilliant wedding suppliers
I also want to talk about our stage design which was a real feat of workmanship by Ben and his team. Instead of a regular step-up stage, with the help of numerous pieces of disused wood, they built the most amazing pergola and covered it with festoon lighting which looked absolutely spectacular. The tables all had different coloured napkins and all the arrangements were spritzed with jasmine. To be honest I don’t think there was one defining moment, more the amazing people we worked with in the 13 months we spent planning the wedding and our beautiful family and friends who defined just how special the weekend was.
advice to other brides and grooms
My biggest piece of advice is remember this: you are marrying the man of your dreams so anything else is just a bonus!
I think it’s hard not to become totally overwhelmed with the number of options and decisions you will have to make as a bride. I have event experience but planning a wedding was like nothing else. It is the most emotional, fraught, beautiful, special and unique time of your life so try to keep it a positive experience as much as possible. Ultimately, no matter how much you plan, you just have to let go on the actual day be surrounded by everyone you love and simply enjoy!
One thing I really recommend is spending the final week or at least a few days apart. By this time, we were simply having logistical conversations and had no time to enjoy each other. Moving back to my parents for the week was such a lovely thing to do; a special opportunity to spend some quality time with your family before your next chapter as well as both having some space for yourselves and the ability to carve out time for each other and really speak without all the wedding stuff. It also makes that moment when you see each other in the Badeken so heightened and magical. I felt like having that week to decompress before the mania of the actual day was so important and really gave me perspective and time to miss Mark!
Watch Cassy & Mark’s wedding film
Cassy and Mark’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography and film – John Nassari
Wedding planners – Outrage Events
Venue – Luton Hoo
Catering – Jason Millan
Bride’s dress – Pronovias
Groom’s suit – Dolce & Gabbana
Groom’s socks – Happy Socks
Flowers – John Carter
Band – Muzika
Make up – Philippa Louise Makeup
Stationery illustration – Melissa Greenwood
Stationery design – Big Day Designs
Bespoke slippers – Penelope Chilvers
Rabbi – Moshe Mayerfeld
Chazan – Shlomo R Gerzi