The power of love

Helen and Rob hosted an ultra-chic and contemporary celebration in a converted power station

Trendy West End restaurant Pollen Street Social was the spot Rob Ward, 33, chose to propose to his girlfriend Helen James, 32. “I'd had a stressful week at work and Rob knew I was desperate to try out Jason Atherton's famous eatery, so booked us in for a lovely dinner,” Helen divulges. “Just after we finished our main course, Rob got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Afterwards he admitted how stressed he'd been about the close proximity of the tables, so as soon as the couple next to us left, he seized his chance!”

Just a year later, the couple tied the knot at St Ethelreda's Church in The City followed by a contemporary celebration at The Wapping Project. Here, Helen tells us all about it

The power of love: Image 1aAs soon as we set eyes on the church and met the priest, we knew it felt right. St Ethelreda's is beautiful and is in an unexpected location in the heart of London.

The power of love: Image 1 We'd been to The Wapping Project for dinner a number of times and absolutely loved the look and feel of the place so it was an easy choice to make. The building used to be a hydraulic power station but has been restored into an amazing restaurant and art gallery.


The power of love: Image 2aI must have tried on around 50 dresses before finding the one! But as soon as I put Starlight by Monique Lhuillier on, it just felt right and I didn't want to take it off.

The power of love: Image 2 For the flowers, we didn't want traditional wedding blooms and asked our florist for an edgy, wild design in pink, grey and purple hues to complement the colour scheme.


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My four bridesmaids – best friends Chrissy and Janine, and cousins Jennie and Isabel – wore strapless, grey dresses in two different styles. They looked fab – even the pregnant one!


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Rob's best man was his best friend Jon and his ushers were his friend Gareth and my brothers, Rob and Tom. They all wore dark-coloured lounge suits and grey ties.


The power of love: Image 5aRob wore a dark blue slim-fitting suit with a silver-grey tie and pocket scarf.

The power of love: Image 5 My make-up artist Zuki Mayley was fantastic; she applied my heavy eye make-up and natural lips perfectly. The equally talented hair stylist Cassandra Rizzuto gave my up do lots of texture and volume – it looked great.


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We hired a vintage Nissan Figaro to take my dad and I to the ceremony and then Rob and I to the reception


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I splashed out on the Acacia headpiece by Jenny Packham.


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Helen's tip: Make sure the day represents you as a couple.


The power of love: Image 9aRather than a traditional cake, we asked the venue to create a sticky toffee wedding pudding and instead of cutting it, we poured hot toffee sauce over it. It was delicious!

The power of love: Image 9 Our guests travelled to the reception in a classic red Routemaster bus. They even enjoyed a little tour of the city en route!


The power of love: Image 10aA string quartet entertained everyone during our al fresco drinks reception in the courtyard, playing a selection of indie and rock tunes, rather than classical music.

The power of love: Image 10 Because the venue is full of candles, we kept the décor to a minimum. Our centrepieces were aluminium buckets filled with blooms.


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We wanted natural photos that captured the emotions of the day and David McNeil's images impressed us immediately. He even arranged for us to stop on the way to the reception and have some iconic London shots with Tower Bridge in the background.


The power of love: Image 12aInstead of a first dance, we did a first song! To kick off the karaoke session, we sang a duet of Happy Together by The Turtles.

The power of love: Image 12 As we both love karaoke, we hired Rockaoke, a live rock 'n' roll karaoke band. It was a surprise for our guests and went down a storm.


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For our honeymoon we travelled to Victoria Falls in Zambia, then went on safari in Botswana and finished the holiday with a week sunbathing in Mauritius.


Helen and Rob's contact book


Bride's dress
Monique Lhuillier at Browns Bride

Bride's hair
Cassandra Rizzuto

Bride's headpiece
Jenny Packham

Bride's make-up
Zuki Mayley

The Fresh Flower Company

Groom's suit
Tiger of Sweden

David McNeil Photography

Reception venue
The Wapping Project

DG Jewellery Design

String quartet
Manor House Music



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