Red roses and 1950s elegance at a London wedding: Hannah Davy and Jonathan Sims

07 Mar 2016

Bold pillar-box red took centre stage at Hannah and Jonathan’s beautiful wedding which was scattered with scarlet roses, 1950s style and elegance at Eltham Palace in London

Photography by Cove Photography

How did you meet?
We met at work, like most people do these days. We had known each other for a few years as colleagues, but one night after a work quiz night we got chatting and I realised what a lovely guy he was. He finally asked me out on a date and the rest they say is history. We have been together seven and a half years now and have never looked back.

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Tell us about the proposal. 
Both of us ran the London Marathon in April 2012; my first and Jon’s third. We didn’t run it together as he is a lot faster than me, but he was waiting for me at the finish line with our parents. We hobbled to the bar together where we had hired an area for all of our friends and family to meet us in afterwards. About an hour after being there, Jon asked me to pop outside with him for a catch up. I had no idea why but figured he wanted to speak about the marathon, as we hadn’t really had a chance to yet. Then in front of all our family and friends (and quite a few strangers) he struggled down to one knee and proposed… and of course I said yes! I was not looking my best but he obviously didn’t care about that.

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How did you choose the venue?
We knew we wanted a venue that was a little bit different with a nice outside space, as we hoped we would be able to have drinks and canapés outside. As soon as we went to see Eltham Palace in Eltham, London we knew it was perfect. The grounds include a moat and are beautiful. The Palace itself is quite something… half Tudor style and half 1930s art deco. I have never seen anything quite like it.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a particular theme, but a friend of mine had got married a few years before in a pillar box red, halter neck 1950s style dress and I fell in love with it. It was bold, fun and stylish - everything a wedding should be. I knew from that day I wanted that dress to be my bridesmaids' dress. Additionally, my favourite colour is red and so there was no other choice for the colour scheme for the day.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I wanted to find a short dress so that everyone could see my amazing tailor-made red shoes and I could dance freely without tripping over my hem. I found a '50s inspired ankle length dress that ticked all the boxes and also worked really well with the bridesmaid dresses. I knew it was the dress!

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Where did you find the suits?
Jon got his suit and the groom mens’ suits from Topman. He didn’t want a traditional morning suit but wanted something a bit different. The boys wore modern cut, bright blue suits with red ties and pocket squares. They looked so stylish and cool.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.
The flowers were a simple arrangement of bright red roses and green foliage. We wanted something simple but that would stand out.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We were not too concerned about small details as for us it was all about our friends and family having fun and celebrating with us. So for us, what was important was a live band and a free bar to make sure everyone – including us – really got into the party mood. The band were fantastic and the dance floor was never empty so we knew we had achieved our aim.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I remember feeling overwhelming happy and honoured that we had so many friends and family around us. I wasn’t nervous at all, as why would I be getting married to my best friend?

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What was your most memorable moment?
The day whizzed by and was a bit of a blur but one of the most memorable moments was when we had some time alone to have our pictures with our photographer - Cove Photography. It allowed us to have a moment of calm during the day and could just focus on us. Also, our fantastic photographer was also a friend, so the fact that someone we knew was taking pictures of our special day really meant something.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The most challenging aspect was the guest list. Jon and I have quite big families and also big groups of friends, so it was so hard to not invite everyone but unfortunately we couldn’t due to the venue restrictions.

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What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
The free bar/alcohol and the band were the most important investment for us as we wanted the day to go with a swing and everyone to enjoy themselves.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
The song we chose for our first dance was ‘More than Words’ by Extreme. It is one of my favourite songs and the words mean a lot to us.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.
My cousin made the wedding cake for us. It was a tiered cake with red and white flowers on it and she also made loads of gorgeous cupcakes. It was her wedding gift to us. It meant so much as it was all handmade and decorated by herself and she used my grandmother’s cake stand that my grandparents had used at their own wedding. They were married for 60 years so hopefully that is a good sign.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
There were a few small hiccups on the day, but to be honest I didn’t really notice. As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t think I would change anything, apart from trying to step back a bit more and take it all in as the day goes so fast.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I had some good advice from a friend which was ‘don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t get too drunk’. Excellent advice. Things will go wrong but you just need to take it in your stride and perhaps I should have listened to the second piece of advice a bit more… but you can’t follow every piece of advice you are given!

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Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to South Africa and Mozambique. It was a great mix of culture, adventure and relaxation. The best part was the three day safari we went on. It was absolutely breathtaking to see such wild, beautiful creatures up close.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Don’t get too stressed and bogged down with the details and worrying what others will think. It is your day and you should do or have what ever you want. Focus on what is important to the both of you - whether it be the photos, flowers, cake, band or whatever, and then the other bits will just fall into place.

Break it down into tasks/jobs and don’t think you have to do it all yourself. Delegate responsibility to others, rope in creative friends to help with the table plan or your mum to help source favours etc. The worst thing you can do is be a bridezilla and think you have to do it all yourself. And remember, there are bound to be a few things that don’t quite go right on the day (we had a printing error on the Order of Service that said the ‘Bridge and Groom exit’ rather than the ‘Bride and Groom’) but just let it go as no-one cares - they are there to celebrate you!

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Steal their style:
Photography: Cove Photography, covephotography.co.uk
Venue: Eltham Palace, Eltham, www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/venue-hire/weddings/wedding-venue-finder/weddings-eltham-palace/
Caterers: Acclaim Food, www.acclaimfood.co.uk
Florist: Mimi Fleur, mimifleur.co.uk
Band: The Supertones, www.supertonesband.co.uk

To see more beautiful London weddings order your copy of London Bride on Buyamag here.

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