Gemma and Dan combined movie-star style with vibrant touches for a perfectly personal day
“As soon as I saw Dan, I knew he’d be special to me,” says Gemma of her husband, who she met at a Lindy Hop dance class. “I’ve always had a soft spot for tall, skinny, clever guys!” Fittingly, on their wedding day in April in Leicester, the couple sealed their marriage with a Lindy Hop first dance to Muse’s Neutron Star Collision.
Photography: Rosie Parsons, rosieparsons.com
A civil ceremony in Leicester Guildhall was the perfect venue for Gemma and Dan’s vows. “Additional personalisation seemed like an extra worry for the day, so instead, I thought about what marrying Dan meant to me and wrote my vows on a card that I gave him on the wedding morning.” Gemma walked down the aisle to Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me and the pair walked out as Mr & Mrs to Starlight by Muse.
Then the couple’s 70 guests followed them to Leicester’s quirky Hotel Maiyango for dinner and dancing. “We’d eaten in the restaurant several times so we knew we loved it there,” says Gemma. “We – and many of our guests – aren’t big drinkers so the quality of the food and the feel of the venue were really important. Plus, we loved their Moroccan-themed wedding décor!”
Gemma had her grape-coloured silk Fifties-style prom dress and bolero made by one of her fellow Lindy Hop dancers, Jema Hewitt of Kindred Spirits, who makes one-of-a-kind period-style gowns. “I’d never seen myself as a ‘girly’ bride and I loved working with someone who got under the skin of what I wanted. Having a fellow Lindy-Hop-er make the dress was ideal, as it was great to dance in!”
Some Harriet Wilde embellished shoes and jewellery made up of gifts from Dan and from her family were the perfect finishing touches to Gemma’s oh-so-her outfit. Jema also made her a hair comb, and she underpinned the whole outfit with vintage-style underwear from What Katie Did.
Dan looked super-smart in his three-piece lounge suit, made bespoke by John Pearse, worn with a Duchamp tie and Church’s shoes.
The bridesmaids wore pretty muted purple dresses from Debenhams, with Next shoes.
“I really liked the idea of English country flowers in loose arrangements, which I thought would work better with my Fifties look than exotic blooms,” says Gemma. Roses, alstroemeria, lisianthus, paperwhites, snapdragons and calluna made up the table centres and bridal party bouquets, by Knighton Flowers.
“Hotel Maiyango were brilliant!” says Gemma. “They sourced the table cloths, tea lights, lanterns, chair covers: it was great not to have to set up on the morning of the wedding! We bought some pretty tealights from a shop in Camden to add to it all.”
“We named the tables on a Casablanca theme,” explains Gemma. “We watched the film together at the start of our relationship and it seemed the ideal way to tie in our vintage and Moroccan themes with something that had meaning for us.” A graphic designer friend made the table names to match the stationery.
Gemma and Dan thanked their guests with delicious macaroons from Macaronique. “They went down a treat and we bought far more than we needed, but they all went! We also had Cancer Research UK pins, to remember lost loved ones.”
A buffet laden with Mediterranean and Asian food kicked off the party, while to follow, the couple served super-pretty cupcakes in vanilla, raspberry and cherry flavours and a fruit cutting cake.
The Mesh Band got the party started playing everything from Fifties’ music to current hits. After their unique Lindy Hop first dance, the couple added a sweet touch by dancing with Gemma’s parents to Ella Fitzgerald’s Sunny Side of The Street. “But the most surreal moment of the day for me had to be dancing with my parents to Sex on Fire!” laughs Gemma.
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