A white, black and gold wedding at Claridge's, Mayfair
31 Jan 2020
The wedding of Taylor Jayne Cole and JJ Haynes was spectacular in every way, featuring a custom-designed Galia Lahav dress, 14-tier wedding cake and a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes signed by the designer himself
How did you meet?
My friend was dating JJ’s cousin at the time and they introduced us in our local bar. We are so glad they did.
Tell us about the proposal.
Both of our families flew out to Costa Adeje for Christmas 2016. It was Christmas Day and JJ had rented a private glass room overlooking the sea with rose petals. His dad began by raising a toast and asking us all to say something, commenting on what we wanted 2017 to bring us. JJ went first and got down on one knee in front of everyone and asked me to marry him.
We are both very family orientated, so for them to be there at such a special moment was the best. Only JJ, his dad and my dad knew, so it was as much a surprise for everyone else as it was for me.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Our theme was classic, sleek, luxurious and timeless glamour. Our colour scheme was white, black and gold as I love classic colours that are timeless.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Claridge’s Hotel for our reception. When I was young, I remember seeing a celebrity wedding in OK! magazine and saying to my mum that I want to get married at Claridge’s. It stayed with me ever since.
The venue is just beautiful with so much history and class. I fell in love with it the second I saw it and never viewed another venue. It has a mirrored ballroom which reminded me of Cinderella.
Every time someone asked me where we were getting married and I said Claridge’s, I was always greeted with such a warm smile. Everyone knows how special a venue it is.
When did you know you'd found the dress?
When I tried my dress on, I felt I could have got married in it there and then. It was everything I wanted and made me feel so special.
I tried on around five dresses in total. I only took my maid of honour mum and chief bridesmaid as I wanted it to be a surprise for everyone else.
It was a backless Galia Lahav dress with a dramatic long fishtail skirt. I was lucky enough to meet the designer, who flew in from Israel and sketched me and my dream dress. He also custom-designed and gifted me a dramatic long veil which was amazing and extended past my dress.
The dress was so big that my mum booked for the head seamstress of Browns Bride to come and dress me in my suite at Claridge’s, and also attend the rest of the day to assist me with manoeuvring it.
I paired this with a custom pair of Louboutin shoes, which were signed by Christian Louboutin. It was a real memorable moment in my wedding build up as he is my favourite designer. He signed the bottom of my shoe and also added three blue stars for my 'something blue'.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had seven bridesmaids: my sister, cousins and best friends. They wore black off-the-shoulder custom dresses with a train and lace detail from Australia. My best friend, Bonnie, wore a tuxedo to match the ushers as she hates dresses and I wanted her to feel comfortable.
We all stayed at Claridge’s the night before, so we woke up in the morning and there was no rush to get ready... it was lovely.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum wore a champagne coloured dress from The Wedding Shop and bought the biggest hat in the shop to match. She paired her outfit with Jimmy Choo heels and a matching bag; she looked amazing.
Where did you find your suits?
JJ had a custom one-off tuxedo made by Edward Sexton who dresses Mick Jagger and Daniel Craig. The jacket had a detailed jacquard pattern and the buttons were customised to match his watch. This was paired with black Louboutins (both of our favourite brand) and he also had an evening shirt.
Dominic from Edward Sexton also attended Claridge’s the morning of the wedding to dress JJ in his suite, which was very special.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Our flowers were supplierd by Claridge’s very own in-house florist, McQueens. When I had our initial consultation, I said I wanted everything to be big and white. We had huge white and green floral arrangements in clear vases on each table to create a floating effect, with a halo of pure white flowers around the bottom.
We also had a loose floral arch surrounding the entire entrance and climbing the stairs. The top table matched and had an array of flowers draping down the sides.
My flowers were white roses to match JJ's tuxedo buttonhole. They also added two little lockets around my bouquet with pictures of both mine and JJ’s grandparents in as they are no longer with us, which was a nice touch.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- My family love a party, so for us it was all about the guests enjoying themselves. Every time we planned something, I saw it from a guest’s point of view. I didn’t want everyone to feel that because it was Claridge’s it was a formal sit-down event and wanted everyone up dancing. From the second we entered, people were dancing and singing on the microphone.
- We had a free bar, which eveyone enjoyed.
- I had so many people message me about my first dance with my dad. I know father-daughter dances are usually slow, but we chose REM's Losing My Religion and we danced like crazy. Everyone was in a circle cheering, it was the best and summed us up.
- We also had the doormen from Claridge’s in their uniform and top hats walk guests form the church to the hotel, which had never been done before and added to the day.
- For a personal touch, we continued our emblem from our invitations through to our cake and also in the centre of our dancefloor.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
It was my favourite moment of the entire day, seeing all my family and friends there meant everything. And to have my dad give me away made me feel so lucky. We had a 10-person choir serenading the congregation as we walked down the aisle. I won't ever forget it.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
My mum and I attended an appointment with the head of Farm Street Church Music and chose every song. We got married in a Catholic church and the music was so important to us. We also had JJ’s sister and my brother do a reading each, which we chose and meant so much to us.
What was your most memorable moment?
Walking into the reception room to You're Just Too Good To Be True with all of our friends and family clapping, cheering and singing along. To see the room finished and all the hard work in place made me so happy.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The guest list. I had around 240 guests and that wasn’t even being brutal. I could have had so many more, but you need to draw the line somewhere.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important things for us were alcohol and music.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose Stephanie Mills' Never Knew Love Like This Before. Every word summed up how we felt and it is such an upbeat and happy song, which suited us as a couple. Our first dance was so enjoyable, we are not slow dancers so being ourselves felt right.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had Trevor Francis from BBC's The Voice. He has so much swag and soul and sang reggae. When we initially booked him, my mum arranged for him to come to our house on my birthday and sing to me. He is fun and gets the crowd involved.
Also, Lee DJ, who everyone was talking about, dropped so many good tunes and wore his leopard print suit while doing shout-outs to the crowd. Everyone went crazy for him and so many of my friends have booked him off the back of our wedding.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was my favourite thing ever. I met with Karisha from Crème De La Cakes after seeing her on Sky TV’s Extreme Cake Makers. Again, like our flowers, the brief was 'huge and luxurious'. It was a 14-tier all-white cake with the most stunning detail, similar to the cake styles in Lebanese weddings.
Karisha made it easy; she was so helpful and truly added to our experience. When people were arriving, they thought it was a statue... they couldn’t believe their eyes. And we cut it with a sword, which was always a dream of mine.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
The day before the wedding, I checked the weather and a thunderstorm was due. I couldn’t believe it, especially in July. So I ordered 100 white umbrellas for our guests as they were walking from the church to Claridge’s. However, on the day the it was dry and the sun was shining, so I was left with 100 unused umbrellas.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
How fast time flies! I wish I could go back and do it all again.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Mauritius, staying at the One & Only Le Saint Géran. Our wedding was in July 2019 and we went on honeymoon in October to avoid hurricane season. It gave us something nice to look forward to and the perfect excuse to unwind after the wedding blues set in.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Enjoy it. You never get this build up again; once it is done, it's done. Do whatever makes you happy, it’s your day. Also, involve as few people as possible as too many opinions confuse things.
Steal their style:
Photography: Pippa Mackenzie
Videography: HD Moments
Production and toastmaster: Just Seventy Productions
Church: Farm Street, Mayfair
Venue: Claridge’s Hotel, Mayfair
Dress: Galia Lahav from Browns Bride
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bride's make-up: Emma Mack MUA
Bridesmaids' make-up: Jeyanney Calderbank
Bride's hair: Spreranza Dwyer
Bridesmaids' hair: Gemma Jones
Cake: Crème de la Cakes
Stationery: Bella Collection
Cars: Crystal Chauffeurs
Music: Trevor Francis (The Voice)
DJ: Lee DJ
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