How to prolong the memories of your special day to last a lifetime?
Wondering how to prolong the memories of your special day to last a lifetime? This month we speak to Gareth Hacker founder of Bespoke & Bound, a London based company creating incomparable handcrafted luxury albums.
With incredible attention to detail, his specialist team provide the ultimate design experience for a bespoke album to cherish and pass down to generations.
How was Bespoke and Bound established?
In 2010, when looking for a wedding album for ourselves, my wife and I couldn’t find anything that felt personal enough. We wanted an album that captured our unique day but we only found old-fashioned, poorly crafted generic albums. At the time my photography studio was next to some artisan leatherworkers, making products for Harrods, Liberty and other high-end clients and individuals. I approached them with the idea for a wrap of leather to hold pages which I planned to design and print - and the first album was born.
When we showed our handcrafted wedding album to all our friends who were getting married, they loved it and asked if I could create unique albums of the same quality for them.
From this experience I realised that, like us, people want to have a wedding album that will be passed down and enjoyed through generations, the leather improving with age like a fine wine. This motivated me to create Bespoke & Bound, a company that now consists of a small, tight-knit team of skilled artisans, each person the best in their field.
What is your consolation process with couples who are looking to have their wedding albums printed with yourselves and how can the albums be personalised?
The process of creating a Bespoke & Bound album begins with a consultation, during which we offer design ideas, discuss materials and the presentation and editing of the images or content. The team favours a clean-cut, contemporary design, which allows the focus of the album to be on the images. As my background is in photography, I use my expertise to edit and retouch the clients’ images so that each one is perfect.
The team’s leatherworker, Leila Watts, uses only the finest vegetable-tanned Italian bridle leather to create the album covers. We use organically veg-tanned bridle leathers in ten colours. Many of our clients opt for the signature colour of the wedding day itself. The marbled paper within the front and back covers of each album is made by hand using traditional methods, while the album spines are handmade and wrapped precisely in suede. Luxurious Japanese-made tissue interleaves can be added to protect the pages, and solid brass screw posts allow pages to be added and replaced if required. The finished album is then delivered in one of Cat Taylor’s sleek handmade boxes.
The majority of the albums take around four weeks to complete, although some require much longer, depending on the clients’ specifications, amount of content and vision. It takes around half a day to cut and make the album and the album spine. Then we emboss the cover and, again, we can do anything our clients’ request from simple names and dates to elaborate crests or emblems that are meaningful to them. This can be plain or in gold or silver foil.
The final part of the process is in thinking about every family member in the Bridal party and how we can give them a lasting memory of the day. We offer a package of two additional A4 albums for the parents of the Bride & Groom, as the day is just as important to them. We have received so much praise for these as family members often have a sense of anticlimax after the wedding is over. The excitement of receiving their own personalised album makes them feel so appreciated and uplifted and is a gift they treasure for a lifetime.
For individuals holding their celebrations at The Langham can the logo be embossed on the cover?
Absolutely. We are delighted to be working with The Langham to create a unique offering that only their wedding clients will be able to own. An exclusive Langham photo album that captures everything that is special about this world leading wedding venue. If clients wish, we can feature the Langham crest along with names and dates on the front of the album. Through our partnership, we have access to images from the hotel’s own archive which can be weaved into the story of the wedding day, such as the iconic exterior of the building itself. We can even feature a line drawing of the building, either embossed onto the front cover or within the leaves of the album.
What would you say sets you apart from other similar companies?
I would say that one thing that sets Bespoke and Bound apart from the competition is that every client gets real personal attention from start to finish. Being a small company, the number of people involved in any project is very small, we deal with the client directly from start to finish. We aim to create wedding albums that surpass our client's expectations.
What is one of the most exciting projects you have worked on?
We have been fortunate to have an illustrious clientele and have made albums for Elton John and David Furnish, Adele and even Her Majesty The Queen. However, the album that really touched me was for a gentleman who wanted to give a timeless gift to his wife for their 10-year wedding anniversary. It was a really lovely, romantic piece to create; he wanted the album to tell the story of the couple’s relationship throughout their lifetime together. It covered the early days when they were falling in love in their twenties, through to their wedding day and then the later years covering their travels together and having children.
It made me think about wedding albums in a different way. The majority of couples tend to focus on the day itself but, actually, a wedding album can be so much more. It can tell a whole love story from the first day a couple met with the wedding day being the the most recent chapter. The exciting thing about a Bespoke and Bound album is that it can be added to over time so that, as the story progresses, so the album can evolve. I think this has been important during the pandemic when weddings were smaller with less photo opportunities. Couples can still create the album of their dreams by telling the whole story of their relationship in their unique way.
Why do you feel it’s important for couples to invest in the ultimate wedding album?
Our intention is to create albums that are an antidote to image storage in this digital age. So many images of weddings and other events are stored away on phones and hard drives and clouds. Most of us from my generation and older have memories of sitting on sofas, floors and beds with parents and grandparents looking through bound photograph albums of prints of holidays, births and weddings. These memories that I have are some of the fondest and strongest from when I was a child. Something which sadly I feel has a chance of being lost.
A Bespoke & Bound album will surpass the lifetime of its recipients, each one is designed to last and age beautifully to be passed down and enjoyed through generations.