Hester & Boris’s Chic London Pub Wedding

Note: This fabulous wedding was in Autumn 2019, so pre-Covid. It’s bizarre to see people packed in close proximity in a pub; eating, drinking, hugging, kissing and enjoying themselves! It’s a reminder of everything we’ve been missing and everything we need to get back to ASAP!

We love this simple, chic London wedding with Bulgarian traditions…

Q. What was the theme/style for your big day?

A. We didn’t set a specific theme or style for our wedding. We wanted it to represent both our cultures, Bulgaria and the UK, and to reflect the fact we were getting married in London. If we were to choose anything, I think it would be autumnal city chic with a relaxed atmosphere that made everyone feel welcome.

Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?

A. The most important thing was that we had all our loved ones there and that we had fun. We wanted people to feel relaxed and to be able to catch up with each other. A lot of our guests already knew each other from university or school but might not have caught up for a long time due to living in different areas of the UK or in other countries so we wanted to create a space where they could enjoy eating, drinking and talking with each other.

It was also really important that we both felt our cultures were represented in the wedding. While it was in London, we made sure that we had readings in Bulgarian, Hester said her vows in Bulgarian and we included lots of Bulgarian traditions in our reception.

A key part of our relationship is respecting, valuing and enjoying being a couple from two different countries with different experiences and cultural traditions so we definitely wanted to bring that feeling to our wedding.

Finally, we just wanted the paperwork! With Brexit coming up, it was important for us to get all the papers in order. Being handed over that piece of paper gave us a real sense of security and it was a key reason we decided to get married in 2019 (though we do also love each other!).

Q. How did you chose your venue and suppliers?

A. We wanted our wedding to be affordable so we could spend more money on our honeymoon and travelling! That was at the forefront of our mind when choosing the venue and suppliers. We wanted to get married in a registry office so that we didn’t have to pay for the registrar to come out to an alternative venue, but were also really lucky to have Islington Town Hall just down the road from us which is a beautiful venue! It also felt special to us because it was nearby, and the borough has family connections for Hester.

We chose our reception venue because it was next to our house and we could have the venue for free as long as we had a minimum spend. We’d looked at lots of other venues for the reception but most of them included expensive set menus which wasn’t something that we wanted. In hindsight, we definitely should have confirmed our guest list before we booked our reception venue but it all worked out fine in the end!

Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?

A. For us it was mainly about practicalities and cost, but we did have a look on Instagram and we got a lot of inspiration from friend’s weddings. We’d been to four in in the year before, all of which were really different. One of our friends got married in a castle in the west country, another had a budget wedding in a countryside marquee while another had a very small registry office wedding followed by a luxurious micro reception in an amazing photo studio. We also went to one in a cave (!) in Liguria, Italy so by the time we got to planning ours we had a good idea of what we wanted from our own wedding.

Q. Tell us about your dress.

A. I didn’t wear a dress! A big dress really isn’t for me and I always feel great in a good, well-fitted jumpsuit. It was a strapless cream flared jumpsuit which I wore with gold heels, gold jewellery and a big faux fur coat.

I wanted something that was suitable for the city with a little bit of Hollywood glamour!

The jumpsuit was from Reiss but I got it taken up at a local alterations shop. I didn’t actually visit a wedding dress shop which I kind of regret, but I’m going to wait until our 10 year anniversary and do that next time!

Q. What was on the menu?

A. We had a buffet of salad, new potatoes, quiche, salmon and stuffed peppers followed by three cakes from a Bulgarian bakery. We did have a vegan cake too which looked amazing in the photos but on the way to the venue it got destroyed and turned into a scrambled mess so we gifted it to the kitchen instead.

There was prosecco on arrival for guests followed by wine on all the tables. We followed up the meal with toasts with Rakia which is the traditional Bulgarian spirit which people drink at meals and celebrations. We think there were quite a few sore heads the next day…

Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?

A. We arrived at the venue together and walked down the aisle together because we wanted to enter the journey into marriage together right from the start!

Apart from the ‘traditional’ elements of the day – at midnight, we hopped on a public bus down to the Islington Angel and went clubbing at a cheesy pop club night where everyone else was dressed in Halloween outfits.

We ended the night at 4am in McDonalds!

Q. Tell us about your photographer – how you found them, how they fitted into the day and what you thought of your finished gallery.

A. Our Photographer Kerry was great! We really wanted relaxed photos which captured all the fun of the day. Kerry at Teddy Pig Photography was perfect for us with her documentary style and we love, love, love her photos! Every time we look back at the gallery, it reminds us of how great the day was and all the little bits we might have forgotten.

We found Kerry by looking through photos on our venue’s (Islington Town Hall) Instagram page. We wanted someone who’d shot at the venue before and loved her photos so got in touch!

Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?

A. We loved the whole day and we keep saying we’d like to live it all over again. We had so much fun, the ceremony was great but so was the reception and the clubbing. The best bit was having so many friends and family from all over the UK and Europe in the same place. It was an once in a life time opportunity for us to have all our loved ones in one room!

Saying that, if we were getting married this year and had to postpone the big celebration we would have still got married, just getting married was special enough and it would have been just as romantic and wonderful if it had just been us and witnesses!

Q. What was your first dance to/what did you walk down to the aisle to?

A. We walked down the aisle to Rihanna’s and Calvin Harris’ ‘This is what you came for’ and had our first dance to The Contour’s ‘Do You Love Me’

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