Stephanie and Toby met at work in Houston, Texas, where their friendship soon turned into a relationship – despite the fact that they knew it would soon become long-distance. "He was an offshore geophysicist, whereas I was onshore in Texas," Stephanie explains. "He would be at sea for five to eight weeks at a time, during which we would talk on the phone every night. The distance strengthened our relationship."
Toby would split his time onshore between visiting his family in the UK and across the pond seeing Stephanie. The couple decided to get married after a lot of frustrations when Toby would visit Stephanie in the USA, as immigration didn’t like the frequency of his trips. “We knew we’d be together forever, so why wait?” Stephanie says. “We got married on our own, but my husband still wanted to do a proper proposal, which lead us to having a big wedding with all our family and friends two years later during our anniversary week.” So Toby popped the question to his wife on a romantic trip to the Ukraine, before jetting off to Morocco for an engagement-moon!
The pair decided London was the place to hold their celebrations, and set the date for 29th June, 2019. We caught up with Stephanie to find out more…
The historic Drapers’ Hall was the setting of choice. “Several members of the royal family have attended events there. In fact, Harry and Meghan were there a few months before our wedding,” Stephanie says. “It’s also featured in a number of films, from GoldenEye to The King’s Speech.” The central location next to Tower Bridge was a winner too, given that half of the guests would be coming from the States. The thing that sealed the deal was the beauty of the venue. “As we were planning the wedding from the USA, decorations would be another thing to sort out,” Stephanie says. “So we picked a gorgeous venue that had its own flair. You can see in the photos the shocked look on our guests’ faces when they walked into the dining room and saw the stunning ceiling!”
The wedding palette was pink with rose gold touches. As the couple are both geologists, they used that as a subtle theme throughout too, from the styling touches to the agate-themed stationery. "We had slabs of rock cut and polished for our centrepieces, along with flowers and a candelabra," Stephanie says. "We also had a pink geode cake! The topper was a replica of us with our two corgis. They were back home in Texas so it was nice to incorporate them."
A friend photoshopped the couple's corgi's heads on to some royal-looking bodies and had them printed on canvases. "We put them up in the venue, alongside a portrait of the Queen," Stephanie says. "They blended in so well that people thought they were the Queen's dogs!"
In the evening, a DJ got the party started, along with two electric violinists who were identical twins. "We also had a photo booth," the bride says. "A copy of each photo went into a guest book – that was a real hit!"
Stephanie found her showstopping Enaura Bridal gown at Kleinfield Bridal in New York, which is where Say Yes to the Dress is filmed. "There was an Enaura Bridal trunk show in the store and the designer was there," Stephanie tells us. "I couldn't quite find a dress I liked, so he designed a one-of-a-kind dress for me, with two looks. There was the main dress, plus an overskirt and off-the-shoulder straps. This gave me a regal look for the ceremony, but I could then take off the skirt and straps to allow me to dance the night away!" The dress was very well travelled, first being shipped from NYC to Houston, then back to NYC for Stephanie's hen party, then on another flight to London. "I got really nervous when the airline said that they would have to start putting carry-on bags in the hold," Stephanie says. "Luckily, the staff were great and let me board early and make sure my dress was safe in the cabin."
Toby and his groomsmen looked dashing in Ted Baker tuxedoes. The groom also wore mini geode cufflinks, which Stephanie gave him as a wedding gift. The bridesmaids stunned in sequinned one-shoulder gowns, tying in beautifully with the bride's shoes. "We also wore matching bracelets that I bought as gifts for my bridal party for being the best friends anyone could ask for!" Stephanie tells us.
As the couple were already married, it allowed them to have a more personal ceremony lead by one of their good friends, and featuring vows they had written themselves. They also wanted to include a unity ceremony, and decided to mix gin and tonic in a symbolic gesture. "We went to The Ginstitute in London to make our own gin a couple of days before," the bride explains. "We then picked a FeverTree tonic that went best with our gin and used that in the ceremony."
The sort-of-newlyweds had a surprise for their guests too. "During my speech I revealed that we were already married," Stephanie laughs. "Most people at the wedding didn't know that we had already been married for two years. It was amusing to see everyone's surprised faces, and no one could believe we were able to keep it a secret! Overall, I think we were most excited about having everyone we cared about in one place."
Stephanie's words of wedded wisdom: "Figure out the best time to interact one-on-one with your guests; we made a point of walking around each table during dinner. We had the catering team give us our food first so we could eat quickly and then have time to mingle before the drinking and dancing starting."
Hair and make-up
Venue and catering