A small, simple and intimate wedding in London

12 Oct 2021

Held just a few days after this year's petrol crisis erupted, Tracey Joseph managed to get to the church on time and marry her long-term partner Tony Miller in a simple and intimate church ceremony 

The proposal

Tony and I dated for five years back in 2004. On our first date, Thursday 29th April, 2004, we went to see Kill Bill 2. We went to the movies almost every Thursday until we split up. We didn’t see each other for more than ten years until we rekindled our romance in 2019.

Tony proposed to me on Thursday 29th April, 2021, 17 years after our first date. He hired out a screen at the cinema and they showed Kill Bill 2. They made a heart-shaped pizza for us and then Tony proposed. It was by far the most romantic gesture anyone has ever done for me.

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The planning

We postponed our wedding from the 17th July, 2021 to 25th September, 2021 because the government kept changing their rules on weddings. The wedding was planned in just four weeks, and during that time we got Covid and had to isolate. My daughter, who was seven months pregnant, was even admitted to hospital. It was a very stressful time. 

There were no Covid restrictions when we got married, but we decided to still keep it small. We did face problems getting suppliers due to the short notice. We had no theme or colour scheme, but a lot of the guests turned up in navy, including my daughter and sister who both wore off-the-shoulder navy dresses and looked like bridesmaids anyway. 

There were a couple of people I wished I’d invited. We tried to keep the numbers to family and close friends only, but I wish I invited some of my colleagues that have been through a lot with me.

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The venue

We married at our church, Arc Church in Forest Gate, London, where we also cut the cake and had a toast. We then hopped in our all-white London taxi and went to our hotel. It worked out so well that the partner of one of my four sisters, Sharon, was inspired and wanted a similar wedding. They're now getting married in the spring. We're so glad that our wedding was an inspiration, micro-weddings are amazing. 

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The dress

My original dress didn’t fit me anymore and so I had ten days to find a new dress. I was getting anxious and there were a few tears. In the end, my sister persuaded me to go to a bridal shop. I was not convinced that they would have a dress for me as a five foot, plus-size woman. When I told them the date, they assumed it was 2022 rather than in 10 days’ time.

I tried on lots of lovely dresses but there wasn’t enough time for alterations. My sister showed me a dress that I wasn’t really keen on but I tried it on. It fit perfectly but then the sales assistant told me that it was a Vera Wang dress and my heart sank, I knew it would be over my small budget. The assistant went away and said she’d see what she could do. She came back and it was on sale and the same price I’d budgeted for. It could only be God!

I absolutely love my dress, I've even worn it in the house since – it makes me feel so beautiful. 

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The flowers

I’d forgotten about a bouquet and four days before the wedding, contacted a local florist. Unfortunately they couldn’t do it as they had a couple of funerals to provide flowers for. My mum got on the case and said that she’d get me a bouquet and to send her some pictures of what I wanted. I sent her some pictures of hydrangeas and, on the morning of the wedding, she turned up with the most beautiful bouquet. Guests at the wedding didn’t believe that the flowers were real. Mum really came up trumps, and the bouquet really set off my dream dress.

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The ceremony

My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle; I walked to Jennifer Hudson's Give Myself, which is one of my favourite songs. I was marrying my Mr Right and I didn’t see anyone else. We’d waited 17 years for this day and although there were so many setbacks and challenges, we made it. I wanted to run, but my mum held on to me... tightly.

We danced out of the church to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole, as the lyrics resonated with our story.

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The catering

The most important investment was the food at our church. We got a caterer from my church to do us some Caribbean finger food: jerk chicken sticks, salt fish fritters and Jamaican vegetable mini patties. It was all so delicious.

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The cake

As with everything about our wedding, it was last-minute. We asked the baker whether she would be able to bake our cake and luckily, she had a cancellation and so was able to create the two-tiered monochrome Victoria sponge cake that we wanted. It was a winner and looked like the wedding: simple and beautiful.

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The honeymoon

We were supposed to go to Greece a few days after the wedding, and we had to take a Covid test the night before our flights. Tony's was negative and mine was ‘inconclusive’, so we were unable to go. We were gutted, but instead acted as London tourists; we went to the theatre, for a couple's massage, on a London bus tour and enjoyed long walks in the capital city.  

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Steal their style:

Photography: Scott Collier Photography
Venue: Arc Church, London
Dress: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal
Hair: Montana Joseph
Make-up: CECE MUA
Lashes: BeeLashFull
Stationery: (by bride)
Cake: Emily's Cakery
Flowers: Meades Florist
Transport: Luxe Wedding Car Hire
Entertainment: Maryla Abraham

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