Updated: Apr 6
On a dark and gloomy day October day during the second lockdown of 2020, we took over and transformed one of Londons most hidden gems 'Browns Hotel' London into a devine and sumptuous garden of delight.
Browns Hotel Mayfair
The Browns Hotel history is an illustrious affair and a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Londons Mayfair district. It is considered one of the oldest hotels in the city of London and is highly renown as a luxurious establishment from its birth in 1837. Browns Hotel is also the chosen haven for wealthy guests from around the globe having hosted royal guests from Queen Victoria to the American president Theodore Roosevelt.
A Secret Garden Wedding
The idea to focus the entire wedding towards indulgence, romance and intimacy was the inspiration behind this exceptional styled shoot. This emerging new trend born out of the measures taken during lockdown to restrict contact between households, couples were forced to go ahead with weddings that were restricted to six people in attentance. Though draconian and harsh during a time when our hearts yearned for a return to normality and reconnection with loved ones; the pain that we felt tugged at my heart strings to push my creativity in a whole new direction and way of looking at weddings.
Sources of Inspiration
I couldnt help but reflect at the time on the stories my mum had shared with me, and how painfully challenging it had been to plan a wedding without her close family members; and of how they had planned a smallish wedding to get by, with plans for a proper celebration when things got better. Sadly though, life took over and those plans that she had began to fade as the years went on.
I wondered how things might have been different, whereby instead, of feeling compelled to splash out for a big wedding, what if they did the opposite by eloping and splashing out on themselves and few of their loved ones? I remember as a child how much my aunts used to enjoy being photographed in their lace negligee's whilst holding a glass of babycham. It was as close as they would ever get at the time to emulating royalty sipping champagne - so this shoot pays homage in so many ways to the subliminal memories that I fostered as a child.
And so the idea of a lush and decadent Secret Garden Wedding was born - from what began as a crazy idea of getting married at home - this seemed to be the perfect solution for couples whose only dream would be to keep their wedding dreams alive.
Finding the ideal location was hard initially and so when the team at Browns Hotel London said yes, I danced and danced. My heart was pounding with energy, excitement and awe. The thrill of 60's inspired decadence with a modern twist, influential guests and cocktails inspired by icons like Mary Quant, Jimi Hendrix and Sophia Loren; It felt like this was an oportunity to 'Go Bold or Go Home'.
With the help of another colleague - the lovely Cynthia from Kimberley Rose Events - who I know I drove crazy! We set out to recreate an indoor garden wedding complete with hidden love notes among the foliage, a bombshell bride with the sass and style of Miss Loren and James Bond style with Martini cocktails, I truly hope that you will be inspired by my braveness.
A Garden Wedding Inspired Ceremony
You perhaps may have noted this far, that the bride, having already worn two dresses is going all out with a third gown just for the reception dinner. The place settings amidst the decadent florals created by the talented Louise Langdon required a gown that was equally as stunning. And so, the bride wore the only gown fit for an evening reception - Angelica.
The Wedding Party
In pictures is perhaps the only way to best describe the latter end of the celebrations. The champagne flowed, the bride changed once more into a sequinned ivory bridal jumpsuit - fit for a princess. Relaxed, totally at ease after a long day and finally feeling ready for a party.
Verdict - I think we smashed the sass and style out of the Browns Hotel on the day by injecting a quintessentailly British wedding venue with a hip modern twist, in line with their signature cocktails, weddings couldn't possibly get any better than this.
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The Secret Garden Wedding Story
TO AN INCREDIBLE TEAM OF SUPPLIERS
Photographer - And Your Story
Videographer - Julia Semashko
Venue - Browns Hotel
Planning & design - Kimberley Rose Designs
Wedding dresses - Cynthia Grafton Holt
Floral design - Louise Langdon Florals
Hair & Makeup - Hair & Makeup by Adie
Rentals - Duchess & Butler
Wedding Cakes - Elizabeth's Cake Emporium
Stationery suite - Dahlia by Lauren
Hair accessories - Hermione Harbutt
Linens - Just 4 Linen
Shoes - Jimmy Choo
Wedding Rings - Lily Arkwright
Marketing Strategist and Professional Writing Consultant - Belinda Alvarado