Tradition and teapots

Carly McLean, 30, and Sasha Shaker, 31, tied the knot on 4th November, 2011

Carly and Sasha said 'I do' in the history-steeped setting of Greenwich. Clever styling and delicate details made this celebration a classic affair with a vintage twist.

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Once upon a time


Carly met Sasha in 2005 when they started working at the same company. The pair began as friends and their relationship remained platonic until sparks flew when they went on their first date to St Christopher's Place in central London. As Carly says: "It was a bit of a slow burner."

Fast-forward six years and the couple were on a romantic holiday in the picturesque island of St Thomas in the Carribean. As they strolled in the surf on a balmy April's evening, Sasha bravely asked a shocked Carly to marry him - and the setting couldn't have been more perfect. She says: "We were walking back to our hotel room along the beach and there was a shooting star just after Sasha popped the question - all part of the plan apparently!"

A bride-to-be with serious vision, Carly took on the task of organising their big day in just six months.


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Fit for a princess


As they live in Greenwich together, the couple decided to host their nuptials in the riverside area of Southwark. Carly explains: "We have lived here for three years and love the area."

Guests congregated at Our Lady Star of the Sea - which is situated on the edge of Greenwich Park, close to the Royal Observatory - to witness Carly and Sasha say 'I do'. "I am an Irish Catholic and have always dreamt of a quaint church wedding," explains Carly. Following the ceremony, they made their way to waterside bar and restaurant, The Trafalgar Tavern.

For Carly, picking a location to celebrate becoming husband and wife was instinctual and instant. Speaking of the couple's first viewing of their reception venue in May, she says: "I loved it straight away - the views are gorgeous and it was the perfect size for our small wedding. The location was perfect because it is close to our home and the church and the views from there are beautiful. Also the building itself is steeped in history."


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The dream dress


Finding the perfect gown was something of a challenge as Carly tried on between 12 and 14 different styles before finding the one. The knot detail at the bust drew her to the Augusta Jones design that would eventually be her wedding dress.

She says: "I tried on many different styles and didn't feel myself until I tried this one on. I have always loved silk chiffon and had admired a Jason Wu dress I'd seen someone wearing on the red carpet that had a similar knot detail at the bust.

"I loved the elegant style and the way it flowed - the fuller skirted dresses swamped me and made me feel less like me."

She adds: "Coincidentally, the dress was called Carli which I only found out after I had chosen it."

Although she adored the gown from first sight, Carly had to customise the shape to make it the dress of her dreams. She says: "It originally came as a strapless dress or there was the option to have it one-shouldered but, as I wanted something vintage in style, I added small cap sleeves to it."

Tradition and teapots: Image 3 Carly found her dress in Sussex boutique White Mischief and praises staff for their light and relaxed approach. She says: "They let me make up my own mind and didn't try to influence my decision."

Having chosen a demure gown, the bride decided to make a statement with her accessories and opted for a veil and headpiece from Los Angeles-based e-tailer Doloris Petunia, which added a touch of vintage sparkle to the ensemble. Carly's make-up was kept natural and her hair twisted into a simple chignon by Dannique at grooming agency Beauty Call.

The finishing touch was a pretty posy of roses and lisianthus bound with lace and arranged by local florist Manchesters Flowers.

On the morning of her big day, Carly admits she was happy with her bridal attire. She says: "I still felt like me and not like a little girl playing dress up."

Naturally, Sasha's ensemble was easier to source and put together. The couple found his Kenneth Cole three-piece suit and gold-toned tie at House of Fraser.


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The wedding party wardrobe


Carly's bridesmaid was her sister, Hannah McLean, and she chanced upon her dusky rose full-length, strapless gown while browsing in high street favourite H&M.

"They only had one of the style left in her size so I thought I would just take it home on the off chance she might like it," she says. "We both decided it was perfect."

Bearing in mind the chilly season, Carly made sure she and Hannah were cosy despite their delicate dresses with faux fur wraps from Bee Gorgeous Bridal Accessories.

Meanwhile, Sasha's best man was old friend Mark Scrivener who was supposed to wear the same suit and tie as the groom. However, shortly before the wedding, disaster struck but was averted quickly. Carly says: "They realised at the last minute the wrong trousers had been sent so Mark ended up wearing his own suit."


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Seasonal styling


Sasha and Carly's wedding theme was a nod to an era gone by, from the 1954 Alvis Grey Lady that transported the bride to ceremony to the décor of their reception venue.

The couple's florist created displays for the front, altar and entrance of the church that reflected Carly and Hannah's bouquets, mirroring their colour scheme of muted pinks and lilacs and Hannah's dress.

Tradition and teapots: Image 5 Carly and her mum made the centrepieces using antique teapots and birdcages filled with fresh flowers, while long-burning tea lights created a romantic glow.

To make the event even more personal, the mother and daughter team also baked heart-shaped shortbread biscuits and served welcome drinks on vintage china cake stands. The décor of the big day was easy for the couple to decide upon as it reflected how they wanted the reception to feel. Carly says: "We wanted it to look vintage in style and feel relaxed."


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Happily ever after


The newlyweds jetted off to the Amalfi coast in Italy to celebrate their nuptials after the big day. Carly says: "I love the food and wine and it was the perfect place to relax and unwind. We stayed a few nights in a small boutique hotel called La Minervetta in Sorrento that has beautiful views of the Bay of Naples and gorgeous rooms. It is very peaceful and stylish - we loved it."


Carly and Sasha's contact book

The Shakers
Tel: 07968 969 184

Bride's dress
White Mischief
Tel: 01273 495566

Manchesters Flowers
Tel: 020 8858 1133

Groom's suit
House of Fraser
Tel: 0845 602 1073

In the Tree House
Tel: 07954 256 485

Gomes Photography
Tel: 07774 505 184

The Trafagar Tavern
Tel: 020 8858 2909


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