Real Wedding: A Thailand Inspired Celebration in London with a Sottero and Midgley Wedding Dress
Shades of blue created a beautiful beach aesthetic, while Gemma amped up the glamour in a Sottero and Midgley Wedding dress.
The couple eschewed tradition when it came to their wedding cake, instead opting for a tower of Krispy Kreme donuts - a huge hit with the guests!
Photographer | Hannah Mia Photography
How they met and the proposal
Gary and Gemma met while they were at secondary school and started dating at 18.<br /><br />"After being together 10 years, there was some 'pressure' on Gary as to when he might decide to pop the question, so I knew a proposal was on the cards soon," says Gemma.<br /><br />"We are huge lovers of Thailand and have been back every January for the last five years, and in January of 2015 we were staying on Phi Phi for a few days. One morning Gary asked if I wanted to go for a walk."<br /><br />"The tide was way out so we walked right out into the sea over the sand and rocks. He then called my name and when I turned around he was down on one knee. I can't remember a thing of what he said as I was too anxious about seeing the ring as I was so worried I wouldn't like it. Luckily, he'd followed the photos I'd sent him and got it spot on!"<br /><br />"The main diamond in the engagement ring is from my mum's engagement ring from 40 years ago so it was even more special."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/what-to-do-if-you-dont-like-your-engagement-ring/22170.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: What to do if you don't like your engagement ring</a>
The wedding venue
Gemma and Gary originally wanted a beachside wedding in Thailand, so took inspiration from their favourite location to plan the big day of their dreams.<br /><br />They decorated their London venue, <a href="http://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-venues/devonshire-terrace_6693.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Devonshire Terrace</a>, with blue paper lanterns and streams of fairy lights, creating a truly magical aesthetic, reminiscent of the beachside bars in Thailand. <br /><br />"We wanted something totally different, venue wise, and thought London would be the best place to find this," says Gemma. "I also knew I wanted something that was inside that had an outdoor feel to it."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/venues/43-of-the-best-london-wedding-venues-for-city-couples/19904.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: The top 43 London wedding venues</a><br /><br />
The reception decorations
Gemma and Gary carried their blue hued theme through to the reception, crating a gorgeous laid-back look, which was spectacular and breathtaking in equal measures.
The Thailand theme
"All our tables were named after Thai Islands we had visited. It must have been fate that there were 14 tables and we have been to 14 different places!" says Gemma.<br /><br />"We wanted the table plan and table names to stick with the Thailand theme so we spent many weekends hand making all of them out of bamboo and rope. There were times we questioned why the hell we had decided to do this!" Gemma admits.
The wedding favours
"To fit in with the Thailand theme we provided sunglasses with our names over them as favours," explains Gemma.<br /><br />"We clipped a photo of who was sat in that place to them and that doubled up as name places. The glasses were worn by everyone all night long, even the band got their hands on them. My 91 year old nan still has them by her bedside today!"
The unique table plan
The table plan had a photo element too, as Gemma explains.<br /><br />"The table plan was a 'find your face to find your place' design. We trawled Facebook for weeks finding the worst photos we could of each of our guests. We then arranged them on a bamboo framed plan for everyone to see and find their table."
Personalised wedding invitations
"Our invitations were hand designed by my bridesmaid and best friend <a href="http://www.jodiephilo.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jodie Philo</a> who is a graphic designer," shares Gemma.<br /><br />"They fitted in with the theme we were going for and incorporated bits from the venue that we wanted, such as the festoon lights, the brickwork and the flowers we had chosen for the day. They also included a personalised map with famous landmarks with ''us' in mind. "
Not wanting to leave their beloved pooch out of the celebrations, Gemma and Gary popped a photo of their dog, Ledley, on the cards table. <br /><br />"We just had to get him into the wedding somehow!" explains Gemma.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/how-to-include-your-pets-in-your-wedding/20543.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: How to include your pets in your wedding </a>
The Sottero and Midgley wedding dress
Gemma's Zariah Sottero and Midgley wedding dress was purchased from <a href="http://www.bridesofberkhamsted.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Brides of Berkhamsted</a>. <br /><br />"It was A-line strapless with beautiful beading and embellishment on the bodice which travelled all the way down to the bottom," says Gemma.<br /><br />"It was a champagne colour underneath with a ivory overlay on top - the colour was stunning and so different."<br /><br />"I always wear baggy clothes so people were shocked to see me in a tight fitting number."
The navy blue bridesmaids dresses
"I wanted something different to the usual maxi, chiffon, floaty dresses," says Gemma.<br /><br />"I chose the beautiful Gatsby inspired dress from <a href="http://www.adriannapapell.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Adrianna Papell</a>. They were a navy blue/violet colour with beading all over. Everyone commented on how stunning they all looked."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/bridesmaids-flowergirls/29-beautiful-blue-bridesmaids-dresses/19618.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: Beautiful Blue Bridesmaid Dresses</a>
The groom and groomsmen
Gary knew he wanted to wear a navy blue, skinny fit suit, so it was just a case of finding the right one.<br /><br />The groomsmen wore navy suits too, with handkerchiefs to match Gary's.
The first dance
"As Gary and I aren't the most romantic of couples, the idea of a loved up first dance made us a bit nervous so we decided to surprise the wedding guests with a choreographed dance, reveals Gemma.<br /><br />"We had all the bridesmaids, groomsmen and our parents involved. The song was Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and the dance was choreographed by our two friends who are dancers by profession."<br /><br />"We had three rehearsals prior to the wedding day and it was such a giggle from start to end. You'd think we'd just won the lottery, we celebrated so hard after we'd performed it. We were even made to do it again later in the night! A memory we'll never forget! We can't hear Uptown Funk now without pulling out some of the wedding moves."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/entertainment/unusual-first-dance-songs-the-ultimate-playlist/22202.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: Unusual First Dance Songs</a>
The alternative wedding cake
Gary and Gemma eschewed the traditional wedding cake, opting instead for a tower of donuts.<br /><br />"It went down VERY well!" enthused Gemma. "It involved about 180 donuts and everyone just loved it! I'd never understood the whole cutting the cake ritual, which is why we didn't have a traditional cake."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/cakes/best-unusual-wedding-cake-tower-ideas/20719.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: The Best Unusual Wedding Cake Tower Ideas</a>
Advice for other couples
"Try to think out of the box sometimes. Weddings can become very monotonous with people thinking there are things they MUST follow as its 'tradition'... it's your day, do what you want!" suggests Gemma.<br /><br />"Try to throw some surprises in there as these are often the things that your guests will remember most."
Their best money saving idea
"For us, it was supplying our own wine and prossecco," reveals Gemma. "It worked out cheaper for us to buy our own and pay corkage on it; it's definitely something to think about when choosing your venue."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/venues/what-to-ask-your-wedding-venue/19602.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: What to ask Your Wedding Venue</a>