The Story Of. Julia & Stefan

Photography By The Curries

The Story of Julia Brenard and Stefan Ferguson comes complete with the twists and turns of many couples wed throughout the pandemic. Planned for 2 1/2 years across 2 countries & 5 different dates, when their wedding finally arrived it came filled with dancing, flower-bombs, Schnapps and a heavy helping of high-fashion.

We catch up with Julia, Contributing Editor at British Vogue, Freelance Stylist and Fashion Consultant a few weeks after her intimate, East London nuptials.

TSO: Hi Julia! Tell us about your journey in becoming a bride… 


JB: “It was quite a long one! Stefan and I have been together for over 10 years and got engaged in the Dominican Republic about 3 years ago – so long before the pandemic. Stefan proposed with a beautiful ring from Completed Works, who also made our wedding bands. When we first got engaged, we wanted to honour Stefan’s Swedish heritage with a destination wedding – but somewhere where no one else had been, so in July 2019, we went out there on a location hunt. We settled on Skåne in the South of Sweden, situated in the most beautiful countryside. Initially we were due to have 150 friends attend. Come 2020; everything had to change. 


I was in Italy when the pandemic hit. One night I sat up in bed and thought, “Oh my god, we’re going to have to cancel the wedding!” So we postponed it by a year, thinking it would be fine, but it wasn’t, of course. 


TSO: So what happened next? 


JB: We were always originally going to do our legal ceremony at Hackney Town Hall; we’ve lived around East London for the past ten years and wanted a straightforward ceremony, followed by an intimate lunch. In the end, we decided to make the London wedding a little bigger. 


We booked the whole of the upstairs restaurant for lunch at Bistrotheque and initially planned our evening do at Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green. Then, a week before the wedding, the government restrictions got moved again, so we ended up having to slash our guest list further and move the evening-do to Bistrotheque so we would be there all day.


Neither of us is particularly romantic about marriage; we love each other and have been together for so long, so marriage wasn’t a huge deal for us – we just wanted a big celebration – so when that kept getting cut down, it was upsetting. But when we did have the ceremony, it was really emotional, and we realised how much it meant to both of us. 

TSO: What did you do in the lead-up to your wedding? How did you calm your nerves? 


JB: The night before, we all stayed at Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel – my sister and I shared a room there and the bridesmaids another, and we all went for dinner. I didn’t sleep very well – I’m not sure anyone does! 


In the morning, I had my makeup done by friends, makeup artist Janeen Witherspoon and hair stylist Kei Terada, and got ready in a bridal robe by La Perla. I remember putting on a classical bridal playlist to try and stay calm – everyone kept the champagne flowing, and we ordered room service. 

"Getting ready on your wedding day is a bit like a fashion shoot in that you always think you have lots of time - and then it just flies away!"

When I was ready, Dad and I got in a white London Cab to Hackney Town Hall. I hadn’t thought about it, but because our ceremony was restricted, it meant most of the guests were already standing outside – that was a bit nerve wracking! 


TSO: Talk us through your wedding look.. 


JB: I found my dress pre-pandemic at Gabriela Hearst’s New York boutique when Stefan and I were on holiday there. I’d been looking at so many things, I think, especially as a stylist, you are very specific about what you like. They had a few shapes which you could make up as bespoke, so I got quite an individual experience with them. 

"It’s challenging to choose a dress. Some advice given to me was, 'Think about what your favourite item is in your wardrobe - what you feel and look good in - and use that as a base to choose a dress' - which is what I did."

Initially, the dress was long with a train, but when the wedding moved from Sweden, it felt a bit silly to have this huge dress in Hackney, so I cut it off to midi length to be more comfortable. Also, I wanted something to cover my shoulders and back – initially, I was going to go for a blazer – but they convinced me to go with a cape which I just fell in love with. 


Accessories-wise, I went for a pair of really cute and very comfortable pair of Jimmy Choo mules. Having worn Birkenstocks almost exclusively for nearly 18 months, they had to be comfortable! I borrowed diamonds from Ana Khouri for my jewelry, who sent over some beautiful pieces – she does very modern, fine jewelry. My bag was by Savette, a New York brand – a new brand I love, they have minimal chic styles.


TSO: How about the rest of your bridal party? 


JB: Stefan wore a tailored Mr Start suit and bespoke Budd shirt with a Swedish embroidery of a Blekinge flower on the collar by Cressida Jameison. I went for the Simone Rocha x H&M collection for the flower girls, and for the page boys and my Dad, we had them fitted in John Lewis suits. As our wedding was smaller, we didn’t assign our bridesmaids or ushers with outfits, instead, gave them the freedom to dress themselves. Of course, any styling advice was gladly given!


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


JB: We sourced The Curries through word of mouth, after checking their instagram I quickly realised they were ideal for us. Less traditional, not cheesy and captured those unplanned moments. Then re James D Kelly our party photographer – he is a Vogue party photographer so say no more! 

TSO: And how about the little details that made the day uniquely you? 


JB: We had some lovely personal details, like our invites. The Artist Annie Morris had generously offered to give us some of her illustrations when I styled her for a shoot at British Vogue, so we had all our invitations, order of service and name cards decorated with her work – which was very special.

"We used Sage florists for our flowers, who were fantastic. I thought, 'if we’re going to have a smaller wedding, then let’s have loads of flowers.' They made a huge flower bomb for the personal ceremony, which exploded over our heads which was just incredible."

TSO: When you did manage to get everything into place, what are your favorite moments that made the day for you?


JB: For me, it was seeing everyone together in one place after such a long time. Everyone was so joyful – and happy to be out again. We were only allowed 8 people in Hackney Town Hall to see us getting married, so Bistrotheque was kind enough to let us stage a personal ceremony so all of our guests could see us walking down the aisle and our flower girls and page boys could have their moment too which was great. We were so lucky to have our friends involved in every aspect of the day, from performing the blessing, singing us down the aisle, all the way to the readings. The lunch was just fantastic; very long and boozy; Bistrotheque knows how to put on a good party! 

TSO: How did the party unfold? 

JB: It’s a Swedish tradition to have Schnapps after the meal – so after a shot of that – the party really started. 

"For my evening look, I slipped into a Miu Miu embellished dress with feathers and a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s. The party started with '80's power ballads DJ’d by a friend of ours, then continued dancing with DJ Butch Queen into the early hours."

TSO: Other than all of the restrictions that were beyond your control, was there anything you would have done differently? 


JB: Something I wish I’d done was video the speeches. They were amazing – and I can’t remember all the details of them! 


TSO: What would be your words of wisdom for any brides-to-be?


JB: Start a mood board early on and start a spreadsheet! Work out with your partner who is planning what; I’m more visual, whereas Stefan is better at admin. Divide the tasks! Finally, don’t leave things too late – and try not to do too much the week before. 


TSO: How do you see modern weddings changing? 


JB: I think people are doing things on a much smaller, more personal scale. People are going to be much more open to casual weddings these days, and they can be anything from dinner at a restaurant to larger-scale affairs. I think at the moment, people are so grateful for weddings – no one has wedding fatigue anymore, that’s for sure! 




The Curries

James D Kelly


Bridal Outfit 

Gabriela Hearst 

Miu Miu 

Manolo Blahnik 

Jimmy Choo 



La Perla

Rigby & Peller Bespoke


Bridal Party 

Simone Rocha for H&M 

John Lewis



Mr Start – Made to Measure 

Budd Shirts 

Embroidery by Cressida Jamieson

Shoes – Harrys of London



Jewellery & Accessories

Completed Works

Ana Khouri

Savette New York  





Lancome Mascara, Chanel vital Lumiere foundation, bronze eye cream & lipstick 



Kei Terada using Oribe 



The Nail Room, Clapton



Sage Flowers  



Lilli Vanilli 



Hackney Town Hall 

Town Hall Bethnal Green




DJ: @butch_queen