top of page

Real Wedding | Alexandra + Charlie

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Charlie is British and Alex is American; though she spent most of her 20s abroad and met Charlie in the U.K. while both working at the University of Cambridge. Charlie is a scientist and Alex designs events and experiences. 

Here are some of the other ways friends and families described them in their toasts:  Charlie: “polite brit,” “collected calm,” “overwhelmingly pleasant.” Alex: “Skips over pleasantries,” “extroverted energy,” “refined immaturity.” And yet somehow, it works!


Why did you decide to get married where you did?

Charlie and his siblings grew up in a beautiful home in southwest London. It’s a place filled with so much love and warmth and we couldn’t think of a more perfect setting to celebrate our marriage.  

How many guests did you have?


What was your budget?

$20k (USD) 

Tell us about your outfits.

My everyday style is pretty androgynous but when I dress up, I tend to be drawn to a very feminine look. I’ve loved Cecilie Bahnsen for over a decade now. There is so much romance and playfulness in the silhouettes, exaggerated sleeves and hand-crafted details, so it was pretty much an immediate decision when I started thinking about what to wear. I also love the utility of The Faber Dress. I needed to be free to walk around in (potentially wet) grass and break it down on the dance floor; but on the day, we also ended up climbing on top of our ceremony hut, through the vegetable patch, and exploring Charlie’s dad’s wine cellar (amongst many other shenanigans) and the dress remained flawless.

I’m also looking forward to re-wearing the dress as much as possible. I have a little knitted vest and black monkey boots that I want to style the dress with. I just need to find the right occasion!  

Charlie wore a sand colored, linen-wool blend suit from Indochino and a white dress shirt from David Donohue. We found the perfect tie at Keezer’s: a shiny, off-white, ultra-skinny tie from the 60s paired with a hammered gold tie pin. 

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

It was important for us to honor our friends and family, as well as the home and garden that we were lucky enough to have as the backdrop to our celebration. 

To do so, we asked each of the Gilberts at home to sit for a portrait in a meaningful place, with a cherished object, or performing a daily ritual captured so beautifully by Carr + Senteno in a series of mini photo shoots. Things were more spontaneous in the garden - hey we’re taking environmental portraits!- but the images capture some perfect essence of who everyone is today and we’ll cherish them forever.  

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate? 

We didn’t feel tied to any wedding traditions and instead focused on creating moments of connection and fun for ourselves and our guests. To begin our ceremony, Charlie’s sister Georgia led a mindfulness exercise to bring everyone fully into the space. She asked the guests to visualize the first time they had met one or both of us and what their first impressions or strongest memories were. She then asked everyone to turn to the people next to them and spend a few minutes sharing. 

Next, it was time for us to enter the ceremony. Instead of walking down an aisle, we got up and struck a pose on the platform while Georgia led a blind drawing exercise where everyone had to sketch a portrait of us without looking down at the paper. It was so silly and fun but also a really nice way for us to look out at the top of our ceremony and take in our grinning loved ones.

During the cocktail hour, we laid out everyone’s name cards, each with a riddle on the back in the format of, “You’re sitting with someone who....” It was a light touch activity for mingling and was an opportunity for us to think about some of our favorite facts and stories about everyone there.  

By the way, six is a magic number for table seating because it’s the largest group of people who can still be in one conversation (something I had noticed from hosting many dinner parties but crystalised in Priya Parker’s amazing book “The Art of Gathering.”) 

Instead of a wedding cake, from the very beginning, I had this image of a giant pavlova and so many people came together to make it happen. Charlie’s sister and her partner found a gorgeous plank of unfinished wood and spent days sanding and varnishing it. We also asked our friend John, who is a regular in the Christmas pantomime, to sing a song while the pavlova was being brought out.  

On the day, we tasked four “Pavlova Bearers” with a slow, sombre procession balancing the dessert on this great plank of wood but, of course, John’s booming lyrics had everyone in tears. It was one of the most deliciously memorable moments of my life.

Any tips for couples getting married?

My first piece of advice has to do with the days after the wedding: try to actively push aside any feelings of regret or insecurity you might have. Being sad that such a special day is over is one thing, but a lot of time, money, and emotional energy goes into planning a wedding so it’s completely natural to over analyze or wish you had done certain things differently. But there is nothing to gain from indulging those thoughts (unless you plan to host another wedding soon!) so just focus on re-living all the wonderful moments. 

On a happier note, a friend told us that the best advice she got on her wedding day was to stay holding hands with your partner.

Of course, on the actual day, Charlie and I naturally slipped into individual hosting roles but I do think this piece of advice helped us cherish more time together on the day than we would have otherwise. 

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Dot Dining was a joy to work with. Helena and Bea made incredible food but also brought their expertise in hosting and styling. They immediately got our vision for an elevated, intimate backyard celebration. As someone who has worked with many caterers over the years, I think Dot Dining is one of the best out there!  

Carr + Senteno was also the perfect photographer for the day. Rachel was totally on board with the environmental portraits and experimental staged shots we wanted to capture and really was the one who brought them to life. She was also such a helpful source of advice and positive vibes throughout the whole journey!

Photographer: Carr + Senteno @carrandsenteno | Ceremony Location: Charlie’s family home and garden | Reception Location: Kew, London | Celebrant: Alex’s sister-in-law Megan | Hire: Stretch + Tents @stretchandtents | Ceremony Space: Charlie’s dad’s exercise hut | Flora: Flowers grown by Herbaceous Hoarder @herbaceous_hoarder (Hayley Giles) and arranged by Alex and Charlie’s sister | Catering + Beverages: Dot Dining @dotdining | Pavlova Cake: Dot Dining @dotdining | Alexandra's Dress: Cecilie Bahnsen @ceciliebahnsen | Charlie's Outfit: Indochino suit, David Donohue shirt + Keezer tie | Engagement Necklace: Agmes @gmesnyc

bottom of page