When the lovely (soon to be) Mrs Romy Finbow approached us to do the flowers for her wedding, we knew that as a creative producer at My Beautiful City and her choice in gold jewellery alone, this was going to be special. And then she showed us her mood boards. Mind. Blown. No two Grace & Thorn weddings are ever the same, but we were already in for something unique. Romy very kindly chatted to us to share her thoughts on how to make a day with a difference and a mood board to match.
How long did you have to plan everything?
My partner and I had been together since University so when we got engaged we weren’t in a rush to get married. We spent just over a year planning our wedding - I loved having a long engagement and enjoyed every minute of it. I spent the next year visiting Kempton Market really early on Tuesday mornings to source candle holders, hoard linen from The Clothe House in Notting Hill and yarns from The Cloth House in Soho. I even found beeswax candles from an amazing hut in Hackney. This was also my opportunity to work with all the amazing contacts and suppliers I’d made across the years at My Beautiful City. And of course, my lovely friends, who pulled together to help. From designers, photographers and the most delicious cake makers - they made it the whole thing more personal and it was so touching.
Where did your inspiration come from?
All of my inspiration came from things other than weddings! Events I’d worked on or things I love. In particular, my family have a house in a little fishing town in Cadaques, Spain (the home of Salvador Dali). Simple European aesthetics, ceramics and colours all played a huge influence. I was very inspired by the interior designer, Axel Vervoordt, who practices wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic with no translation in English, but essential means a beauty that is found in imperfection and incompleteness, like the rough surface on Japanese tea cups. Lots of inspiration came from dinners we’ve done at My Beautiful City and places I’ve eaten. I’ll always remember when I walked into Primeur, Stoke Newington, for the first time for a friends birthday, I thought, I’m using that, and that!
Colour was very important. Everything I wear is black and white but I love colour around me. I knew i didn't want to go down the usual route of pastel colours - so I went for sienna yellow pots. My partner’s mother is a designer and they both love colour, so this was very important to him too - the lining in his jacket was a psychedelic palm tree print! Textures and smells were also a big factor, raw beeswax candles, raw yellow linen and bowls of waxy lemons and David Austin roses.
What’s the secret to a mood board masterpiece?
Because of my background in events, I’ve always used mood boards to house my inspiration and create an aesthetic for a project. I collect images that inspire me onto my desktop, so I have a good bank to start from. I ran all the mood-boards by by husband-to-be - and as long as there was colour and we were doing stuff differently, he was happy.
Country mansion or local watering hole?
As soon as I got engaged my mum joked I was going to get married in car park because we do events in such weird and wonderful places. My partner and I both grew up in London (my parents moved out to the country when I was 5), so I knew I wanted to get married here. My challenge was to find that mix of urban but somewhere still quite rustic. Through my work I’d seen so many unusual and beautiful spaces and I wanted to work with my contacts. There is still a lovely novelty getting married in London, friends can jump on the night bus home.
We choose Christchurch in Spitalfields. It’s such a wonderful area (very near Nik’s shop). Tracey Emin and Keira Knightley live down the road while you have the hustle of the city on the doorstep. Churches can often feel lofty but I worked with Alexander Mcqueen’s lighting designer to lower the lighting and make it feel more intimate. We also placed lights behind all the stain glass windows which looked beautiful. The night before the wedding we stayed at my friend’s guest house, The New Road Residence in Whitechapel - a beautiful guest house you can rent for the weekend but everything in it is for sale. The colours of the flowers looked so beautiful in the space.
How did you decide on a florist?
I discovered Nik through an article in Another Magazine on the top London florists. I work with a lot of florists in London but at the time we wanted a specific project that needed something quite fresh.
Nik created the most beautiful dinner settling with unbelievable flowers - from then on she was my go to florist. I just approached her for my wedding because I knew she would get it. I showed her my mood-boards and she put together a Pinterest board for me. We worked in sync with each other. Nik even had the sienna yellow jugs I wanted made especially for me! She surprised me with them on the day.
What were your first thoughts on flowers?
I go to a lot of weddings and flowers are such a magical part of it, but sometimes they just conform to what a wedding should be. Nik’s wedding bouquets are always feminine but totally unusual. We started with colour and with it being Spring. I wanted to avoid cliched whites and pinks so Nik suggested purple - and i don't like purple - but they worked so well. I decided against flowers in the church because the Reverent said you either go all out or none at all! My friends get married there at christmas and they just had a candle lit Christmas Tree, it was magical. I had initially wanted big pots of mimosa, but it was wrong time of year. Nik suggest Forsythia instead, which had exactly the same aesthetic. We felt it needed some greenery in there so we went for olive branches. I loved the silvery tone of the branches with the dark wood, gold and white in the church. In the end, I went for two huge olive tree in black pots either side of the altar and a big arrangement of forsythia at the front.
What came first, the bouquet or the dress?
I had no idea what I wanted for the dress - just not something typical. I also love simple clean aesthetic, so nothing too big or fussy and certainly no lace! I designed it with my best friend who is a designer. It was a real work in progress through lots of experimentation, I even tried on a coat back to front! This is why it has a high neck and open lapels on the back. The sleeves were long and tied around the wrist, creating a simple opening to hold the bouquet. I wrapped the bouquets in raw yarns from the cloth house - the sleeves were my favourite part. For the bouquet we chose something simple and elegant. We chose anemones, peonies chocolate and yellow ranunculus and David austin roses brought a softness to it.
What advice would you give to other soon-to-be-brides out there?
I think it should stem from things you really love and putting together images is a really nice starting point. When it comes to choosing a florist, it has a lot to do with trust. Nik was so intuitive in seeing references and getting a general feel, I left her to work on it. She told me what was and wasn't in season and gave me beautiful alternatives - don’t get bogged down with having the exact flowers you want or shipping them over from Holland, there are perfect alternatives which will still match your aesthetic. In the end, a wedding should be a reflection of the people getting married. In all the thank you letters we received people said it was such a reflection of the two of us! And a lot of people mentioned the flowers too.
Finally, we loved meeting your mum, how is her green gaff coming along?
My mum has always loved plants - she is a frustrated florist! I’ve brought her vouchers for the workshop with Nik, she’s so excited about it.