Posted on: January 31, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Welcome to Who What Wear Weddings, the destination for style-minded weddings. Expect insightful tips straight from the newlyweds, shoppable elements and plenty of must-save imagery as we share the nuptials of our favourite fashion people getting married. For upcoming features, share your submissions here.

“I was never that bothered about getting engaged until Conall asked me,” declares Rebecca Rhys-Evans, a London-based fashion and beauty editor (at Who What Wear UK, no less). “I told him numerous times over the years that if he were to propose, he better not do it in public or in a way that would embarrass me, as I would have no issue saying ‘no’. With this warning in mind, he did it in the most perfect, most ‘us’ way possible.

“After attending our friend’s wedding in Philadelphia, we took a trip to New York, and on the first morning when we woke up in our hotel in Brooklyn, he gave me coffee in bed (a ritual for us, like many couples) along with a wrapped gift. It looked like the shape of a book and it felt like a book, but when I opened it, it wasn’t a book I’d ever heard of. ‘Yo Bex’, read the cover. Conall and I met on Bumble almost exactly four years before and those familiar with how this dating app works will know that women have to send the first message. ‘Yo Conall’ was mine.

“The book, which Conall typed out and had bound, was a book of all of our WhatsApp conversations until we first said, ‘I love you’. The flirting, the tiffs, the (sort of) sexting… it was all there in print. When I first met Conall, he worked full-time as a conceptual artist, but this book, for me, will always be his best work. There was no kneeling (apparently the bed was too high and he would have looked ridiculously small), but there was coffee and us in a bound book—and that was enough for me to say ‘yes’. After that, we got ready and went straight to an appointment he’d made at Andria Barbone in the diamond district to find me a ring. I’d been following them for years on Instagram, and right there and then, he bought me my antique engagement ring of dreams.” 

After the engagement, wedding planning began and Rhys-Evans was faced with her self-proclaimed “biggest conquest” to date. Her creativity, industry expertise and love of secondhand items were reflected in every aspect of her wedding to creative director McAteer, resulting in a two-day event that saw them get married first in London—with a reception hosted at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)—followed by a countryside service and party at the bride’s family home.

Scroll on to read more about how the wedding unfolded in the bride’s own words, and expect plenty of vintage touches, a show-stopping cake, insanely stylish wedding looks (yes, there are multiple) and even bow-adorned pets. 

“As a fashion journalist, I thought that finding a dress would be the easiest and most fun part of the whole thing for me, but in the beginning, it was awful. We didn’t really start looking into wedding venues—let alone book a date—until around six months before we got married, so many of the bridal designers I often thought I’d look to couldn’t make me something in time, and I also wasn’t 100% sure about what I wanted.

“I had two ceremonies I needed outfits for, and all I knew was that I didn’t want to spend thousands and thousands on a dress too ‘extra’ to only wear once unless I absolutely loved it. I was so stressed; the pressure was mounting and I spent many hours that summer searching and searching for The One. In the end, it was the very first thing I saved in my wedding folder 18 months before: a Liberowe duchess silk suit with a peplum and miniskirt. When I first went to try it on at the studio, I was really just doing it to put it out of my mind, but the moment I met the designer, Talia Loubaton, and tried it on, I just knew. I felt so myself in it. After that, everything seemed to fall into place.

“The very last thing I secured was my hair and makeup—everyone I knew was booked. Thankfully, however, my talented friend Emma Small, who is honestly the best makeup artist I’ve ever worked with, had some work cancelled last minute and could step in for me and my mum. She did an Old Hollywood curl on my hair, with soft, glowy makeup.”

“My Jil Sander bamboo-handle bag was my wedding gift from Conall and I’ll treasure it forever. He loves his clothes even more than me, so he revelled in sourcing his outfits. On the first day, he wore a Reiss tuxedo that he already owned, with Grenson loafers and a Gucci monogrammed bow tie, which was my wedding gift to him. On the second day, he wore a beige Sandro suit, a black Our Legacy open-neck knitted polo shirt and Duke and Dexter loafers. Oh, and Prada sunglasses—he’s adamant that I mention those.”

“We didn’t do an engagement party but the night before the wedding we had drinks at 
The Standard Hotel with our close family and friends. It was the first introduction of my family to Conall’s transatlantic extended family, and everyone was so happy. The mood was totally joyous but it wasn’t overwhelming. We had our Friday ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall. The marble staircase inside and the proximity to our hotel, Nobu, made it a no-brainer.”

“Since I’m fussy and Conall works in creative design, we decided very early on that we’d design our invites ourselves. It saves money, and this way we could do exactly what we wanted. ‘Give me a mood board and I’ll design some options,’ Conall 
told me (for those who don’t know us, this is our relationship in a nutshell; I tell him what I want and he makes it for me—I’m spoilt, I know!).

“We ended up creating a monogram that went on our order of service for the Friday and Sunday ceremonies, as well as our place settings. We landed on a simple yet playful design in black and off-white that was inspired by the Bistrotheque menu (the restaurant that catered the Friday event).

“Along with our monogram, the invites read ‘Till Death Do Us Party’ and ‘A Party in Two Parts’ as we were making a weekend out of our celebration—a London event on the Friday for close family and all our friends, then a second event on Sunday with a church blessing and garden party at my family home in the Cotswolds.”

“Because we had two ceremonies—the official one in Marylebone Town Hall then the blessing in the village church next to my parents’ house—there was a lot to organise. Readings were hard to land on as we wanted them to feel right. The only one I always knew we’d have was The Orange by Wendy Cope. My friend Alex introduced it to me earlier that year, and the second I read, it I knew I’d ask him to read it at our wedding. The others were a mix of love poems by some of our favourite artists and writers including Tracey Emin and Charles Bukowski (I never thought I would read his poems on my wedding day, but here we are).”

“My biggest tip is to buy a physical video camera. We toyed with the idea of having a Super 8 videographer, but just couldn’t justify the expense, so we bought one of those handheld digital video cameras from Amazon the day before and had it sent to the hotel. We spent an entire evening of our honeymoon watching all the footage—it was amazing. There were so many funny, silly messages and clips, and all the important parts were well-documented by friends and family who took the camera into their own hands. My only regret is not giving people pointers to talk about, like ‘your favourite story or memory of the bride or groom'”.

“Music was particularly important to me. I walked down the aisle to Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th on Friday, and in the church on Sunday, to Frank Ocean’s cover of Moon River. When we signed our vows it was soundtracked with a mix of Prototype by OutKast, Gerry Rafferty, Elvis, and as an ode to my late father, Bruce Springsteen.”

“I always thought we’d have our dinner and party at Sessions Arts Club, but unfortunately it wasn’t big enough for our guestlist. I’m a huge admirer of its interiors though, and found myself asking PRs and friends who work in events for suggestions of locations that had a similar vibe—fireplaces, exposed plaster walls and dimmed lighting; something discreet but sexy.

“Someone suggested the Institute of Contemporary Arts for its beautiful Regency architecture. We were already familiar with it as a gallery but not a space you could hire. When we went to see it, it blew us away—the mouldings, the balconies and of course, the view.”

“It also has access to a garden which we hired for our drinks reception. It’s a quintessential Central London gated garden, just like the one in Notting Hill. What’s more, the ICA is a not-for-profit, and all of the proceeds made from hiring the venue space go straight back into the gallery, which was what sold the idea to us. That and the fact that their catering partner is Bistrotheque, one of our favourite restaurants and where we’d spent New Year’s Eve some years before. It was meant to be.”

“All our guests were instructed to wear black tie and black dresses—strictly no prints. I think a few guests (mainly my brothers) were reluctant to buy a tux, but seeing everyone look so chic on the day, so many people told us they were going to do the same for their wedding.”

“My wonderful florist, Genna of Hyperfloral, brought my floral and tablescape vision to life, with chocolate cosmos, dahlias, cream roses, carnations, amaranth and hydrangeas. I wanted dozens of mismatched antique silver candelabras and candlesticks with ribbons randomly tied over them. I spent a good month sourcing these on eBay, and in the end, had just under 100 candles dotted around.” 

“Because of my job, I spend a lot of time art-directing shoots, but this was my biggest conquest. As much as my dress, venue and invitations were relatively last minute, the wedding aesthetic was curated to a T. I wanted the Friday to feel elevated, with a slight gothic touch. Therefore everything had to be black, burgundy and off-white.”

“For anyone else getting married (or even planning a party), I’d advise you to always look towards secondhand. So much of what I sourced, from my outfits to parts of my tablescape, were all from eBay. Another recommendation for any brides-to-be: if you want a bespoke wedding dress, give yourself enough time to find it. Honestly, unless you know exactly what you want, please don’t make my mistake and scramble at the end—bridal dresses can take well over six months to make, so factor this in when starting your search.

“I was very prescriptive about a no-speech policy. To be honest, when I’m at a wedding, I find them f***ing boring, so why would I want to put my guests through that? I told Conall and my dad they could say a few words, thank people for coming and most importantly, address how great I looked, but in the end, they, as well as the best man, all came prepared with fully-formed speeches. They were hysterical. As is so often the case, the best man’s speech was essentially a five-minute roast of the groom, which just so happens to be my favourite topic! The whole time I was thinking, ‘This is fantastic—why did I fight this so much?'”

“We didn’t feel comfortable asking for money so we had a small registry for family who were adamant about buying us something we actually wanted or needed. We did say on our invites that whilst we didn’t expect anything from anyone, if guests did want to purchase a gift, we’d love their favourite book or album on vinyl. This was such a success. We absolutely loved going through them and reading the messages alongside, which said things like, ‘This compilation takes me straight back to my teenage years, trying to get into the discotheque knowing full well I was underage,’ or, ‘This book is one of our favourites, and a quote was taken from it for a reading at our wedding.'” 

“Special mention has to be given to my cake; I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. Created by the amazing Julia at SÜSS Cake Studio, I asked her for three tiers of frothy, piped goodness, with flowers, bows, blackberries and, if possible, two swan meringue statues on the top. I feel bad for everyone I work with because I don’t half ask for the impossible, but she really delivered. Cutting it, I felt like Marie Antoinette, and it’s pretty much all I ate all weekend.”

“For the first dance, we wanted a song that was uplifting and cheesy, something everyone—both old and young—would instantly want to sing and dance along with. The year before the wedding we were in Ibiza watching Horse Meat Disco, and they closed their set with a remix of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Boys Town Gang.

“As we were singing our hearts out with some of our closest friends, I exclaimed to the group, ‘This is going to be our first dance at our wedding!’ And so it was. My mum warned me that the intro was too long, and honestly, with our terrible dancing and stage fright we really felt it, but it did build a climax for that first chorus, and the room erupted into dance!”

“At around 9.30 p.m. on the Friday, just before our first dance, my best friends helped me get changed into my party dress; a Paco Rabanne long lace ‘naked’ dress with fluted sleeves. God bless my stylist friend Alison, who literally put my Skims bodysuit on for me.

I had wanted the cream silk Magda Butrym shoes for a while (not even for my wedding), but with my habit of staining everything I own, £1600 just wasn’t feasible. Then, two months before the big day, would you believe it, I found the slip-ons with the attachable bows in all their glory, in mint condition on eBay for £300.”

“As many of our guests are smokers and we didn’t want them to leave the party every time they wanted to light up, we hired the balconies as a smoking area and viewing point. We didn’t do favours, but we did serve Marlborough Lights on an antique silver platter—which I think our guests preferred. I also sourced several vintage matchboxes from old U.S. hotels, motels and country clubs—again, more great eBay finds.”

“For the Sunday ceremony everything was last minute. I had secured my By Malina frothy, lace-tiered dress a few months prior, but almost everything else was decided the hour before I walked down the aisle (which, for the record, I do not recommend). I was meant to re-wear the Magda Butrym shoes, but my blisters from Friday wouldn’t allow it. I was furiously texting everyone I knew to bring spare shoes for me, but in the end, I wore my much-loved Gucci slingbacks.

“The earrings were another story. I was meant to wear my mum’s wedding earrings—a gorgeous pair of ’80s drop pearls with a diamond bow at the top—but the pearls were too cream for the dress. So again, I looked to my usual favourites and pulled out my Shrimps earrings. Even the Nensi Dojaka veil, which I always knew I’d wear, I decided to pull over my face moments before leaving.”

“In yet another last-minute decision, I bought my Sandy Liang party dress on Depop the day before the wedding and picked it up literally en route to the hotel that day. There are no professional photos of me wearing this, but it’s probably for the best, as it’s completely sheer and I wore black lace knickers and a bra underneath it with lace socks and black ballet flats. My friend took the ribbons I’d adorned all the flowers and candelabras with and tied up half my hair with them. And finally, I got to wear my mum’s wedding earrings.

“After the party dress was on, we danced into the early hours. We had a bar in the garage (one of my most vivid memories is of my dad serving ice out of an empty plant-feed bucket, much to my dismay). Hats off to my older brother, Alex, who did a DJ set of Ibiza classics (I’m not sure what was a bigger hit, the tunes or the smoke machine), until my younger brother, Nick, managed to take over with non-stop disco. It was carnage and everybody loved it.” 

“Both our dog, Joni Mitchell, and the family golden retriever, Sybil, were dressed in ribbons which matched the tablescape and were allowed in the church. They sort of ran riot until I walked down the aisle, which we loved.”

“My wedding band is a plain and simple gold band that was my grandmother’s wedding ring. I love that it’s now mine, even though it’s ever so slightly too small. My engagement ring is an Edwardian European-cut round diamond in a platinum setting, with two smaller diamonds on either side set on a gold band. I love it so much and practically never take it off.”

Wedding photographers: Jordan Hare as first photographer, with some additional images from Jenna Smith and Jessica Gwyneth.

Venue: Institute of Contemporary Arts, Marylebone Town Hall, Duntisbourne Abbots Church.

Wedding Dresses: Liberowe, Paco Rabanne, By Malina, Sandy Liang. 

Makeup: Emma Small

Hair: Emma Small

Catering: Bistrotheque

Flowers: Hyperfloral

Invitations: By the groom 

Wedding Cake: Süss Cake Studio

If you’re interested in having your wedding featured on our site, please fill out our Who What Wear Weddings submission form here.

Leave a Comment