The latest in our series is fashion PR and blogger Katie Impey. After a long proposal, sad circumstances prompted her to plan the perfect wedding in just nine days - here’s how she did it...
He proposed eight years ago. We’ve been together for 16 years, and he popped the question when I was pregnant with our eldest daughter. He had something very romantic up his sleeve, but it didn’t go to plan because I had scheduled a hair appointment which I refused to cancel - it was my last one before the baby! Instead he set up the baby’s cot in the nursery, and when I went in the ring was lying inside it. It was very sweet, but it wasn’t the extravagant proposal he’d planned. I’m going to blame the pregnancy hormones!
A good friend of his runs a branch of Mappin and Webb, and when I used to work in town I would pop in to see him on my lunch break and try on all the rings. So when Grant decided to propose he went straight to that friend - he had all the information, including my ring size.
We knew it wouldn’t be a quick turnaround because obviously we were about to have a baby, but life took over. We moved house, we travelled a bit, and then we had another baby. We actually planned a couple of weddings in that time - we looked at Ibiza, or something big in London - but for one reason or other we never followed through.
My mum was diagnosed with cancer in August last year, which put life into perspective. And then in March, sadly, her prognosis was deemed terminal, and we were told we only had a few weeks left with her. I went into over drive. I decided we had to get married whilst she was still here - I knew if we didn’t, then I never would. So that was that.
We planned it all in nine days. The priority was booking Chelsea Town Hall - my mum’s from Manchester, and in the 70s she used to work for George Best. He was her absolute idol, and she always fantasized about marrying him at Chelsea Registry Office wearing a white suit - like Bianca Jagger. So we wanted to fulfil that dream for her, and come down those famous steps. Legally you have to give 28 days’ notice of your intent to marry, but obviously we didn’t have that time, so with the help of my mum’s consultant, I managed to get that period wavered - we had to have special meetings with the registrar, but luckily everyone was so understanding. Chelsea Town Hall had been closed for refurbishment for a year, and we got married on the 1st of April - the first day it was reopened.
We picked the Ivy Chelsea Garden for our post-wedding meal; it’s just a 30 second walk from the registry office, and is somewhere we’ve had lots of family birthdays and celebrations, so it seemed very natural to head there after.
The Guest List
We just had our parents, my brother and his fiancé and our two daughters. Half my family is based in Manchester, and I didn’t want the pressure of people coming all that way and then my mum being poorly. We made a decision from the day we decided to do it that if she wasn’t physically well enough to be there, we would go just my husband and I, and my brother and his fiancé as our witnesses and then go and spend time with my mum. I knew if she couldn’t be there, I didn’t want the whole big celebration.
The Day Itself
She was on such amazing form. We got married at 3.30pm, we left my parents at 2.30pm, and we let her sleep right up until the last minute - I think about one o’clock. A close friend of mine is an amazing make-up artist, so she came and did her make-up - she just looked fabulous. Like a million dollars.
We kept to a few traditions - we spent the night before apart, we stuck to traditional vows, and I borrowed my nan’s diamond and sapphire ring as my something old, borrowed and blue - the dress was new. I travelled with my mum and dad, and had them both walk me down the aisle. We wanted a few unconventional touches; one was playing music during the ceremony. We took 5 minutes to dance around the room to Marvin Gaye’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. It’s a song we’ve always played as a family - the girls loved it.
I’ve always loved Zimmermann and have long thought their white dresses make a great alternative for weddings. I went in there on the Thursday before we got married on the Monday. I tried on a few dresses, and even though it wasn’t a traditional bride moment, I still knew mine was the one when I tried it on. My kids were with me and we had my mum and dad on Facetime too.
I wanted to track down the iconic Manolo Hangisis in ivory, but I just couldn’t find them in time. I have a blush pair, so just wore those in the end, but actually they were perfect. I’m not a big make-up wearer, so I wanted to look as natural as possible - my make-up artist friend does a really good skin, which is so important for bridal make-up. I had my hair as normal - down and tousled. I didn’t want to do anything traditionally bridal. I wore Chanel Blanc white polish on my hands and feet, which I ended up doing myself as the mani/pedi I had the weekend before the big day had chipped. I also went to Jo Malone for a bespoke fragrance pairing appointment, which I can’t recommend enough for brides. I went for Tuberose Angelica with Pear and Freesia, which will always remind me of our special day.
The girls’ dresses were from a brand called Bardot Junior via Alex and Alexa. I had already spotted them at their press day back in October - they were broderie anglaise, had beautiful fluted sleeves - I just loved them. They’ll definitely wear them again over the summer.
Flowers are a big thing for me, they’re one of my biggest extravagances. I went to a florist called Chez Michelle - she used to be based at Borough Market, and she’s just moved closer to London Bridge station. My husband has been buying me flowers from her for the past 16 years, and she always does a mini bunch for the girls, so I roped her in to do my wedding flowers on the Wednesday before, and she exceeded all expectations with such a quick turnaround. I had a bouquet for myself, mini ones for the girls, plus headbands for them with coordinating flowers. I went for all white, wild spring flowers - ranunculus, blossom and anemones.
We didn’t have a cake. I always said I wouldn’t - you put ‘wedding’ in front of cake, and suddenly a load of extras zeros go on the end of the price. A friend sent some biscuits from Biscuiteers - that was a cool alternative.
Follow Katie @themumlifestyled