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Stylish city wedding in London

Sue and Ben mixed quirky Seventies and glam Thirties details at their chic retro wedding

Sue and Ben – The Proposal

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Photography: Tom Gold

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Sue Trotter, an accessories designer, was about to give up dating sites (“I met a few undesirable characters!” she says) when she chanced across Ben Brodie’s profile. The couple had their first date in Covent Garden, eating rare steak (a mutual love) and chatting into the night.

“Conversation was very easy and we have a similar sense of humour so I was having a lot of fun. When Ben put me into a cab at the end of the evening (cue awkward, cheek-bashing kiss) I went away with a big smile on my face!” Two and a half years later, Ben proposed after a friend’s wedding. “We had talked about it but Ben was recently divorced and I wasn’t sure how keen he was to marry again. We were with some friends at a country house after the wedding, watching fireworks when he turned to me and just said ‘Let’s get married!’. I burst into tears and said yes!”

Sue and Ben – the ceremony

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The couple married in November 2009 at the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) in London’s John Adams Street. “Ben and I decided we wanted a London wedding, as we both love the city and grew up in the surrounding suburbs,” says Sue. “When we found the RSA (via the Westminster registry office guide) we fell in love with it. The vaults there are so special, and had that
church feel, without having to have a traditional church ceremony. Perfect!” The couple were married in a civil ceremony, and said vows they adapted from those at Paul Newman’s wedding.

Sue and Ben – the dress

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“I was very lucky to have my dress designed by my Matron of Honour and best
friend Hayley Clements,” says Sue. “It was made from platinum silver silk satin-backed crepe with an overlay of georgette. Hayley and I designed the beadwork on the back and front parts of the bodice, and Hayley knew an talented lady who made the design we drew up and stitched it onto the dress, whilst adding more beads onto the fluted sleeves and along the back of the bodice. It was amazing to know that no one else in the world has a wedding dress like mine!” She accessorised with peep-toe shoes from Dune and a headdress, earrings and matching cuff made by Ben’s brother’s girlfriend, a jewellery designer.

Sue and Ben – the bridal party

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Ben wore a dark navy three-piece suit and navy patent shoes from Ted Baker with a floral shirt in purple and teal. His Italian silk tie was from Selfridges.

Sue’s three adult bridesmaids wore black strapless tiered column dresses from Monsoon and the flowergirl, Sue’s god-daughter, wore a beautiful white dress and matching cardigan from Debenhams.

Sue and Ben – the theme

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Sue’s inspiration for the day came from a mixture of her favourite eras – Thirties and Seventies – and a touch of old Hollywood glamour. “The bridesmaids, my parents and I all stayed at Claridges’ the night before the wedding, which has the exact feel I wanted to achieve. I’ve always loved Art Deco styling and was also a great fan of the Seventies Biba era, which was my inspiration for the invitations and decor of the day.” Sue and Ben designed the cute stationery, with its retro lovebirds design, themselves at home. “I think this was the part that gave me sleepless nights, because the design changed every day! I had so many nightmares about them. But I was so pleased at the way they turned out.”

Sue and Ben – the flowers

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Sue carried a big bouquet of white lisianthus, purple freesias, phlox and trillium from Flowers By Karen, while the three bridesmaids carried smaller versions. The mothers of the bride and groom both wore freesia corsages, while the men wore purple thistle buttonholes.

Sue and Ben – the party

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Guests feasted on smoked fish soup with croutons and pork and leek sausages with sweet potato mash, onion marmalade and pea
Gravy or wild mushroom pastry parcel, followed by rhubarb and gingernut cheesecake for the boys and, for the girls, a white chocolate and peach bread and butter pudding.
“My friend Zoe made the cake,” says Sue. “She owns Boutique Cake Studio (01708 224 990). I wanted a victoria sponge cake to cut, and a fairy cake tower. We topped our cake with a mini Lego us!”

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A lively party followed, with guests dancing until midnight. “Our first dance was to Mirrorball by Elbow – we love the lyrics, and they said everything we wanted to say about our relationship.”