I have to admit, compared to all the other ‘real weddings’ I’ve seen online, this has to be one of my favourites. Why? In every photo there is a sense of real happiness. The bride, groom and guests all look like they are genuinely having the best time, laughing, dancing and celebrating the London love! Our That Bride Cathy Adams, a Hong Kong based journalist, spills the beans on how she met her now husband, how she DIY-ed her wedding from a distance and how Craig David (yes, you read that right ladies) made a guest appearance at the festivities…
All love stories have to begin somewhere. How did you two meet?
We met in a hostel dorm room in Krakow, Poland, in April of 2008. I was working in France as a teacher, and had three weeks off, so I decided to go travelling around Eastern Europe on my own. I’d already been to Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Krakow was my last stop. David was on a boys’ weekend for his birthday with his friend. Just as he came into our dorm room to ask me to the bar for a drink, I dropped a multi-pack of tampons all over the floor. I’d bought them in Vienna – it was 1,000 for about 5 euros! – so was surreptitiously trying to pick them all up. I mean, you just couldn’t find that many for that price back then.
Where was your first date?
If you discount the hostel bar that night, we met up in London a few months later and went to Bluu on Hoxton Square, then Zigfried von Underbelly next door. It was good fun – but incredibly drunken. I think we ended up in the Wetherspoons on Tower Bridge Road drinking cider (he hates cider). Thankfully the next morning he took me to Cafe Rouge in Hays Galleria which as a 21-year-old I thought was the height of chic.
Can you tell us about the first time he said he loved you?
I said it first – drunk after a night out in Brixton…
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
It’s quite simple! It was about a week before we moved to Hong Kong. I was over in Surrey visiting him and his mum. After lunch we went out for a walk around Ashtead Woods, and on our way back he stopped abruptly and just asked. It wasn’t fussy – just simple. There was no getting down on one knee and no ring – although he did whip a Haribo ring out of his back pocket that I wore for about four minutes before eating it.
Tell us about the ring.
I chose it myself in Hong Kong. It’s from Chow Tai Fook – a really simple diamond solitaire on a white gold band. Anything else felt too fussy.
What did you do for your hen party?
In Hong Kong, I hosted a drunken brunch. We ended up playing loads of games that involved buying condoms from 711 and talking to strangers in Sai Ying Pun. I think we ended up in El Loco Gringo drinking tequila… although it’s a little hazy. Back in London, my bridesmaids organised a yurt in the Cotswolds for me. It was a total surprise and I didn’t know where I was going until I got out of the taxi in a field. The whole weekend was so relaxing – sitting around the campsite, doing life drawing and obviously some aggressive drinking. I really appreciated all my good friends spending the weekend with me, catching up. Then a stripper turned up late on Saturday night, which was the highlight of the weekend. The poor bloke drove 50 miles from Bristol to a yurt at 11pm. What a trooper.
How did you go about planning your wedding? Did you go the DIY route or did you hire a wedding planner to help you out?
I did it all myself. I’m a master organiser and huge control freak, so handing over the reins to somebody didn’t really appeal. We knew what we wanted – a fun day with family and friends eating good food and drinking good wine. Everything else was extraneous.
Who helped you create your perfect day?
My parents, my bridesmaids and my colleagues! My mum and dad helped us out loads in the weeks before by taking delivery after delivery of wedding paraphernalia. My bridesmaids helped out with everything – set up, make-up, hair, nerve calming in the days before. And my colleagues – both current and former – helped out with design, photography, favours, etc. Working in publishing really paid off.
Tell us about the dress…
Wedding dress shopping was excruciating and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I searched designers I liked the style of (super unfussy, simple etc) and then made appointments when I was back in London last summer. I chose one after trying it on once – I just wanted to get it all done. Then two weeks before the wedding I decided it didn’t suit me and I didn’t like it, so changed my mind last-minute. Thankfully my designer (Emma Hunt London – would recommend in a heartbeat) was able to make it in just 15 days. It was a simple silk design with French lace overlay. I felt comfortable in it all day, which was the main thing. My shoes were electric blue and from J Crew – I think they were my favourite part!
Who helped you look and feel your best on your big day?
My bridesmaid Amy Wright is a professional make-up artist and has done my make-up for years, since we lived with each other at university. She knew what I wanted and did an absolutely amazing job. She even kept following me around to reapply my favourite Laura Mercier red lipstick.
What was the wedding like?
Drunken, fun, lots of laughing. I’m obsessed with trains so the theme was everything to do with the Tube – from the invites, to the favours, to the place names. London is our home so it was very much a London wedding – an open-topped bus (plus loads of prosecco) took us from the church in Borough to the Oxo Tower for the reception, where we ate dinner (curry) overlooking the City and the North Bank. Food and drink was very important: we chose wines from regions that we’d visited and loved, plus had a free bar stocked with all the dodgy liquor we’d picked up travelling around Asia since our move to Hong Kong.
The song for your first dance?
Didn’t do one – we thought it was super cheesy and something we’d never do in real life. So why do at your wedding?
What’s the most valuable thing you learned while wedding planning?
Keep your head. Ask for advice and support. Pay attention to the little things. Also – make sure you know what people are expected to do at every moment and where you want them to go. Organising an event for 130 people isn’t easy! Also make sure you have enough wine and beer for everybody…
Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
Try to stay relaxed and trust your suppliers to do their job. Write a running order of the day so you know exactly what happens when. Oh and try to organise it while in the same city – not from 6,000 miles away as I did…
What do you remember most about the entire experience?
Probably the morning, hanging out with all my friends in an apartment overlooking Tower Bridge
Is there anything you would have liked to do differently?
To not stress out too much – but generally I think our wedding day was exactly what we wanted. Just a fun, relaxed day where everybody had a good time. I’m a huge fan of Craig David and two of my bridesmaids organised a video message from him to be played after the speeches – so if I’m really going to ask for the moon on a stick I suppose I’d want him to actually turn up… (joking – his video message totally made my year).
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We spent a week immediately after the wedding in Paris then St Paul de Vence in Provence. We both adore France and given that we live in Hong Kong, it was great to just kick back and eat and drink. We’re doing a proper ‘maximoon’ in New Zealand in November – can’t wait!
All photos by www.sarahleggephotography.co.uk