The Story Of. Ellie & Max

If there ever was a couple who were destined to be together, it was Ellie Robertson and Max Poynter Hall, who grew up just one street away from each other in Ladbroke Grove, West London. After nearly fifteen years of friendship, they tied the knot under the star- painted skies of St Francis of Assisi, celebrating at the iconic St JOHN in Farringdon - complete with a giant raspberry tart and even bigger disco-ball. We speak with Ellie Robertson of Net-A-Porter, AnOther Magazine and former Vogue Editor about her blissful September nupitals.

TSO: Hi Ellie. Your wedding looked beautiful. How did you choose your venue?

“I always knew I wanted to get married at St Francis of Assisi on Pottery Lane. It was the church I grew up attending and received my First Holy Communion; my Goddaughter was also christened there – so it was deeply personal to myself and my family.

The ceremony was beautiful. I tried so hard not to cry throughout the vows, and did so well until the very end where I shed a tear or two!

"After our vows, this perfect beam of sunlight shone through the windows of the church as if illuminating us both with a spotlight - it was just perfect."

We had an exquisite choir and a string quartet, who we had borrowed from the nearby St Stephen’s Church. A soloist sang Ave Maria while we were signing the register – it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. We were originally meant to be having our reception at The Belvedere, a former ballroom in the middle of Holland Park. Sadly, it shut down last year during the first lockdown and hasn’t re-opened – so we had to go back to the drawing board. It was a hugely stressful time as weddings were being cancelled left, right and centre and venues booking up fast for the years ahead.

"I was determined not to panic book somewhere under pressure - it had to feel personal and uniquely 'us'."

Suddenly, something clicked: Max had spent years working within the wine department at St JOHN in Farringdon and we’ve spent so many birthdays and special occasions there – so it made so much sense to celebrate our wedding there too. We know everyone that works there, so we were very much surrounded and supported by friends all the way – it felt really familial.

TSO: Can you tell us a little more about why and how you chose your beautiful wedding dress?

“I always wanted to wear Vivienne Westwood. I deeply admire Westwood as a designer, as an activist and as a person. And I love that her designs flatter every type of body.”

Another significant impact Covid had on our wedding was the wedding-dress shopping. Many of my initial appointments had to happen on Zoom – which is such a surreal way to shop for a wedding dress! My first and final store appointments at Vivienne Westwood were separated by about five months because of lockdown. By the time the store re-opened a whole new season had arrived, so I actually ended up finding a dress I loved even more than the one I’d originally had my eye on. You could call it a pandemic silver lining or even serendipity!

I love how Westwood thinks about sustainability; the bridal team is looking at offering a service whereby you can have your wedding dress dyed and altered after your wedding day. I love the idea that I could rewear it again and again.

After dinner, I changed into a gorgeous silver dress by The Vampire’s Wife. We had this ginormous disco ball which made the dress shimmer so magically on the dancefloor.

TSO: What accessories did you decide upon wearing?

I wore a pair of diamond earrings very kindly lent to me by Jessica McCormack – one of my favourite jewellery brands. I love how her pieces are totally timeless but always with a slight twist, never too traditional, which really spoke to how I saw my bridal style. Max proposed with a beautiful Theodora Warre ring and then we chose my engagement ring together from one of London’s oldest jewellery shops – Hancocks in Burlington Arcade. I co-designed my wedding ring with Bear Brooksbank which was such a wonderful experience. Whilst I didn’t wear them on the day, my husband also surprised me on the morning of our wedding (via my
mum!) with a gorgeous pair of Sophie Bille Brahe pearl earrings.

My veil was particularly special to me; I found it in the eponymously named Jane Bourvis in Portobello Arcade. Jane sources vintage wedding dresses and veils and lovingly restores them. My particular veil is from the 1930’s! Not only that, but Jane was one of mine and Max’s neighbours growing up which was another lovely, local and personal connection that imbued the veil with even more meaning and tied the day together.

TSO: Tell us a little more about the lead-up to your wedding. How did you prepare yourself ahead of the big day?

I started over a year before the big day, by seeing an acupuncturist – Ross J Barr – who totally changed my life actually and I still see regularly now. I think the term ‘centered’ can sound a bit corny but it’s probably the best way of putting it. I felt calmer, more grounded and emotionally more prepared for the big day from the very first session. Around three months out, I began to visit a personal trainer. Aside from our training sessions and nutrition overhaul, they recommended daily meditation. Taking just ten minutes out to meditate each morning made me feel totally in control and far more rational – no mean feat in the midst of a global pandemic!

On the day itself, I think the meditation was part of why I was able to feel so incredibly present, something that I’d worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve amidst the excitement of the day. Six months prior, I also began to see the lovely Rhian Truman for a monthly facial appointment. The night before the wedding, I saw her for some facial massage which was brilliant for sculpting and gave me a wonderful glow.

TSO: And did you have any pre-wedding jitters?

I thought I wouldn’t sleep a wink, but I slept straight through and woke up feeling totally refreshed. I wasn’t nervous at all. I felt the calmest, most serene I’ve ever felt in my life, with a kind of clarity I’ve never experienced before.

TSO: So lucky! What else did you do the evening before?

The evening before, my mum hosted a drinks party for my Irish family who had flown over, and then I had dinner with my immediate family. We actually went to the restaurant my Mum and Dad had dinner the night before their wedding more than 30 years ago. In the morning, I woke up and went to a reformer pilates class – the teacher thought I was mad being there – but really embraced it with a wedding themed playlist for the session and ‘Going to The Chapel’ to close the class.

TSO: How about the little details that made the day uniquely you? Let’s start with the cake!

As soon as we decided upon St JOHN – about a year ahead of the wedding – the head pastry chef, Alex, texted me right away to start discussing dessert ideas. We started with what was in season and from there, I tentatively suggested a giant raspberry tart. I waited with bated breath – half expecting he’d say no, but received a very excited ‘yes’. And so we set about creating a tart that would feed 100 people, that would in theory require a tart tin with a metre circumference. We did a lot of research and there just wasn’t a tin big enough on the market – so after a few months, I’d more or less given up. But – Max wouldn’t let me give up on my dream and rang around about half a dozen metal factories, who basically all laughed at him – until one kind man suggested using industrial ducting and spare sheet metal. And so my husband lovingly made a meter tart pan himself to make my dream dessert a reality!

TSO: That’s so romantic. What other moments will you treasure forever?

The range of emotions on my husband’s face when I secretly arranged a brass band to join our first dance, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli. He was surprised, and then confused, and finally very moved.

What else? The speeches were just incredible. My father is a poet- so he read two poems he had written for me – and Max’s speech was wonderful. I think everyone had a lot of fun – we got through an astonishing amount of champagne! Max did a great job in choosing all the wine and the food was just amazing. I ate so much! St
JOHN is the best food in London, in my opinion.


TSO: How did you source your photographer and what was it that attracted you to their style?

Emilie White was the first vendor that I booked and by far my easiest decision.
Being a Photo Editor myself, I was extremely particular about the photography. Plus it’s the only thing that you get to keep from the day that lasts forever, so it has to be right. I didn’t want anything cheesy or particularly bridal – I just fell in love with her photos. They’re very editorial in their aesthetic and really romantic, with a focus on captured moments rather than posed pictures. She also shoots a lot on film, which was really appealing to me. I spoke to a couple of different photographers on Zoom before deciding, because I really wanted to make sure we got along on a personal level too – that’s so important. Other than your husband the photographer is probably the person you spend the most time with during the day!

TSO: What words of wisdom would you impart on any upcoming bride-to-be?

I got some great advice before ours, the best of which was:

– Don’t feel too tied to tradition; by all means read into what’s customary, but then
interpret it however feels right for you.

– Stagger the speeches! We did one between each course which meant people stayed really engaged and they never felt like they were dragging on a bit… However, I would say finish with the last one before the mains, as after the mains people are harder to keep focused (read: too much wine!)

– Don’t be stingy when it comes to the photographer. The photographs are the only thing that last past the day itself, so it’s crucial that you love them.

Brands & Services Credits

Wedding Dress – Vivienne Westwood
Veil – Jane Bourvis
Bag – Shrimps
Earrings – Jessica McCormack
Engagement ring – Hancocks
Wedding ring – Bear Brooksbank
Shoes – Prada
Party Dress – The Vampire’s Wife
Max’s suit – Casely-Hayford
Flower girl – Simone Rocha for H&M
Church – St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane
Reception venue – St John, Smithfield
Flowers – Rachael Barker
Photography – Emilie White
Hair – Grace Amelia at Hersheson’s
Makeup – Jennifer Oliver
Nails – Simona at Dry By, Hersheson’s


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