The Pink Pumpkin's Kim Balasubramaniam married Chara in a rose-filled extravaganza at riverside venue 45 Millbank
As director of award-winning wedding planning company The Pink Pumpkin, Kim spends her days designing perfect parties for other people. So how on earth did she choose a theme when it came to planning her own big day?
Photography by Polly Alexandre, alexandreweddings.com (additional still-life photography by You & Your Wedding)
“I’ve always adored pink – I even named my company after it! – so it was a natural choice for our colour scheme, along with ivory and black,” she says. Bride’s dress: Novia d’Art. Bridesmaids’ dresses: Maids to Measure
“Rather than a defined theme, we brought together all the things we love to reflect our personalities and our life together,” Kim explains.
Guests got their first hint that this would be an extra-special event when they were greeted at the ceremony with a bag of essentials and treats for the day, including this DIY order or service. Kim created all the stationery with pearlised card and wallpaper from Laura Ashley. “My mum, sister and I also spent the Thursday before the wedding making hundreds of shortbread hearts for the bags,” Kim says. “The label read, ‘Stella’s shortbread, as perfected by Kim and her late grandma after many batches and taste tests during the school holidays’.”
Kim’s mother handmade the glamorous mini totes using ivory calico fabric and black lace.
Also in the bags were London-themed goodies and copies of the ceremony readings. “They were all from children’s books, so I had postcards designed for each one with the cover of the book on the front,” says Kim. “Each set of postcards was held together with a tiny heart-shaped tack.” Custom-made stickers referenced the couple’s favourite things.
To get guests mingling, the couple also created packs of ‘Team Balasubramaniam’ trading cards so people would chat to collect a full set of maids and ushers.
Elegant details, like these silver pots and antique books, were everywhere inside the venue.
Black velvet ribbons and pretty diamanté buckles inspired by the sash on the bride’s dress adorned napkins at each guest’s place.
The glam celebration was anything but stuffy. Playful touches were sprinkled throughout, too, like this team sheet-style table plan inspired by football-mad Chara’s all-time favourite squad, the 1994/95 Blackburn Rovers.
“While a football-themed wedding is a bride’s worst nightmare, there are ways to bring subtle touches into the day,” says Kim. Tables were named after players from the Rovers squad, but the stationery reflected the refined aesthetic of the other details. “They were printed onto pearlised card, backed with black card and the Laura Ashley wallpaper, then placed in miniature gold easels on each table.”
As favours, male guests received cute football-shaped sweets from Chocolate Buttons, artfully packaged in small black boxes tied with black ribbon.
Meanwhile, the girls unwrapped boxes tied with pink ribbons containing unique wish bracelets handmade by Kim with Swarovski crystals and hemp.
“You make your wish when you put the bracelet on, and when the string breaks, your wish will come true,” Kim explains.
The bride and groom’s seats were decorated with colour-themed hydrangea initials, but every guest was treated to a special adornment, too: mismatched chandelier crystals hung from the backs of each chair as a pretty, decorative take on place names.
“I’ve always loved the Old Hollywood glamour vibe of icons like Rita Hayworth,” Kim says of her look. Severin Hubert of the Hepburn Collection styled her hair, while Mariam Jensen did the make-up.
The bride’s outfit also combined frothy textures and monochrome elegance. She teamed her Novia d’Art gown with a tiara from Halo & Co.
With help from her sister, Kim customised her gown with a black velvet sash, voluminous skirt and diamanté detailing at the neckline. Kim adds: “My sister also embellished by Karen Millen peep-toes with 5000 Swarovski crystals!”
Kim’s bridesmaids rocked the aisle in bespoke black floor-length chiffon gowns from Maids to Measure.
“I told my florist, Cindy Kirkland at Creative Works, I wanted a really blousy bouquet to go with the texture of my gown, and she did me proud,” Kim says of the beautiful bundle of avalanche roses, lisianthus and jasmine. “It was bound with ivory satin ribbon and finished with a diamanté brooch.”
“At the reception, I just had roses in ivory and various shades of pink, from the palest baby pink to vibrant fuchsia,” Kim says. We had absolutely no foliage at all, just hundreds of single stem roses and piles and piles of petals. They looked so glamorous and also went perfectly with my skirt.”
Flowers by Cindy Kirkland at Creative Works, assisted by Tiggy Johnson at Idyllic Days
To reflect Chara’s love of science, the couple also created floral escort cards, which were displayed in test tubes on wooden racks. “They were placed on a table in the entrance hall, and each rose was tied with a piece of pearlised paper printed with the guest’s name and table they were sat at,” Kim says.
With a dress as fabulous as Kim’s, it’s little wonder it inspired many of the party details too – including the incredible cake made by the bride’s mum. “There were about 400 sugar roses on the bottom tier,” Kim reveals.
Groom’s outfit: William Hunt at Hugh Harris
She and Chara chose traditional fruit for the three-tiered tower, then surrounded it with cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery and a selection of meringues and marshmallows.
“The best weddings should be instantly recognisable as an event planned by the couple, and that’s what inspired us,” Kim says. “Everyone knows how dotty we are about our cats Simba and Nala, so no one was surprised to see them feature in our day – we named our photobooth from Say Fromage in honour of them and had cat-themed props like ears and whiskers for guests to play with.”
“Also remember that DIY doesn’t necessarily have to mean rustic,” Kim says. “We managed to pull off a really glamorous wedding but made most of the finishing touches ourselves. Never underestimate how long things will take to make though!”
“We are well known amongst our friends for throwing a good party,” Kim says, “and we wanted to throw the party to end all parties! From start to finish everything we did had our guests in mind. We wanted them to have the best time – and hopefully they did!”