Victoria, 28, and Jan, 36, met at a mutual friend's Christmas party in 2008, but the meeting very nearly didn't happen. “Both Jan and I almost didn't make it to the do as we each realised we'd lost the address of the venue,” Victoria recalls. “I was about to turn back and head home when a friend called and gave me directions, whereas Jan bumped into some revellers on the street who were on their way there,” she adds. It must have been fate because the hosts ended up having to kick the smitten pair out as they were the last ones to leave.
A few weeks later, the couple went on their first official date. “Jan emailed me to say he had two tickets to see the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and his friend had let him down,” Victoria tells us. It transpires there never was a friend and Jan's bold move paid off as two years later, he popped the question to an elated Victoria.
“Jan took me to Barcelona as a surprise birthday treat. We hiked up a mountain to see Gaudi's famous Parc Güell and at the summit, where we had a breathtaking view of the city, Jan got down on one knee,” Victoria recalls.
Just seven months later, the couple tied the knot. Here, Victoria explains all about how their big day came together.
We chose our photographer, Celine Chaplin, after spending some time trawling through blogs before deciding she had the best portfolio of images on her website. I loved the look and feel of her work and she captured the essence of our day wonderfully. We would absolutely recommend her.
I wanted an elegant but undone look with the flowers and I entrusted everything to my amazing florist, Liz Inigo Jones. She created the most beautiful bouquets using dahlia, roses, sweet peas and hydrangea with herbs and foliage.
One of the best decisions I made was wearing a headpiece. I chose a bejewelled, art deco-style Jenny Packham design and I loved it. It was a statement piece but I felt it was justified by the simplicity of my dress. I also had a belt made to match it, which helped bring the outfit together.
I tried on around 10 off-the-peg dresses before deciding to have one made for me. I wanted something sleek, simple and not too bridal. I chose a local designer, Susie Stone, and told her I wanted Black Swan meets Ginger Rogers. Somehow she knew exactly what I meant and it was perfect.
We were living in London Bridge at the time and loved it, so wanted to get married locally. It wasn't until another venue fell through that we even considered Southwark Cathedral. It was an honour to say our vows in such an awe-inspiring and historic place.
We had walked past Cantina Vinopolis on numerous occasions but had never eaten there. I was checking out all the options around Borough Market so made an appointment with the manager, Kayley Kong. She was extremely helpful and I knew I would need someone like Kayley who could take charge and be trusted to get the job done. As for the venue itself, I loved the exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings and open kitchen.
My friend Maddalena is an artist and she offered to fly into London a week early and help design and make all the table name cards. We opted for a blue and gold colour scheme and decided on mythical kingdom names as a theme.
I had three bridesmaids; Genevieve Sheppard, Megan Edmiston and Madeline Jacobson Sohn. I've known Genny since I was born, Megan and I have been best friends since we were three and Madeline is my little sister.
Jan had his bright, navy blue three-piece suit tailor made. It was the first time he'd ever been fitted for a suit and he really enjoyed the process – though he was under strict instructions from me about what to choose!
My cousin Lyla Elichaoff and my goddaughter Madeline di Giorgi were our flowergirls and our good friends' son, Felix Thomas, was our pageboy. They are each very special to us, so we wanted them to be included in the celebration.
I had my hair styled by Karen Taylor at the Richard Ward Salon in Sloane Square and my make-up was applied by Charlotte Ribeyro. Both women were recommended by my aunt, who I trust implicitly on such matters, and they were wonderful.
The venue's interior really spoke for itself so we didn't need too much decoration. Each table had tall candelabra and a large floral arrangement on a platform in the middle. The flowers actually caught fire halfway through dinner, which was quite exciting!
We travelled to the ceremony in London black cabs then walked from the cathedral to the reception as it's only round the corner. It was lots of fun passing through the cobbled streets with tourists congratulating us en route.
We hired a great band called The Motorways. Jan was in charge of finding the live music and we chose this particular band because of the wide repertoire of songs available and also because the lead singer has a really beautiful voice.
I completely forgot about a cake until three days before the big day! Luckily, my two amazing friends, Jennifer and Joanna, offered to bake one for us. It was perfect in the end – they decorated it with ivory-coloured icing, roses and greenery. It was delicious.
“My best man was Tim Clark, he's my best friend and the most decent bloke I've ever met. My brothers Daniel and Stefan were groomsmen and both the ushers were women – slightly unconventional but we wanted to include them in the day. They were Jennifer Ellis, Tim's partner, and Victoria's cousin Anna who travelled from New Zealand to be there.” – Jan
We had a great party in the evening. Once Jan and I hit the dancefloor, everyone joined us and we had a lot of fun. It was a priority for us to really let loose and feel good, and I'm proud we managed to achieve that.
We headed to Bali for a fortnight to celebrate our honeymoon. We chose the destination because it's hot, exotic and has great spa resorts.
Blue Sky Flowers
Laura Bezant Jewellery
Celine Chaplin Photography
Date Posted: Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Cufflinks are a great gift for grooms as they can wear them on the big day, and these opening envelope cufflinks are extra special as you can personalise wooden letters for them to remove and read on the morning of your wedding. Priced £50 from www.mariaallenboutique.com
Planning your big day? Search our comprehensive directory of service providers from your area:
From Brent to Barnet, Hackney to Haringey, here are a selection of real weddings from previous issues of Your London Wedding magazine.
We're looking for local newlyweds who have said 'I do' this year. Any couples can enter the competition: it doesn't matter whether the event was large or small; modest or spectacular.
Whatever worries you have regarding your big day, our experts are here to guide you through. Pose all your wedding-related queries to those in the know.
Tips on featuring your wedding day in the magazine, meeting the team and much more.