- Life In London Magazine
- London Weddings - A guide to getting married in London
London Weddings - A guide to getting married in London
Venues, flowers, caterers, photographers, dresses, clothes hire, the list goes on... read all our advice and tips for getting married in London.
This long, cold, winter is finally drawing to a close and as Alfred, Lord Tennyson once said “In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” As London's parks and gardens are transformed by the daffodils and crocuses and the blossom appears on the trees, thoughts of romance are not only the preserve of young men.
Spring and summer are the most popular time of year for weddings and London provides an obvious choice of location for your special day as there is a wealth of beautiful and unusual venues for your civil or religious ceremony and reception. However, bear in mind that a wedding in London costs, on average, around 15% more than in other parts of the UK, predominantly due to the cost of the reception.
Wedding Ceremony Venues
Civil wedding ceremonies have not been restricted to registry offices since the mid 1990s and numerous venues in London have been awarded civil licences. From London's most luxurious hotels to local pubs, from London Zoo
to Alexandra Palace
couples are declaring their love everywhere. Log on to weddingvenues.com
for a complete list of venues and weddings.co.uk
which provides contact details for the Registrar's Office in each London borough.
Unusual Venue Ideas
If you are walking on air at the thought of marriage, check out the British Airways London Eye for a wedding 135 metres above the Thames with breathtaking views across London. You can hire a private capsule, decorated with flowers, for up to 19 people and champagne will be provided to toast the bride and groom. The price for a weekend wedding starts at £2,000 with additional guest capsules costing £299.
Although the law does not permit civil weddings in a moving vehicle, those of a nautical persuasion can be married on the T.S. Queen Mary, queenmary.com
, which is moored at Waterloo Pier. Built in 1933, the Queen Mary underwent a £2.5 million refurbishment in 1997 and makes a unique and memorable venue for your ceremony. If you fancy sailing off down the Thames once you've tied the knot, check out Woods River Cruises, silverfleet.co.uk
. Woods have a fleet of ships and can pick you and your guests up from any London pier. Their events team can organise every aspect of your reception and offer a range of wedding packages.
The beautiful Tower Bridge
provides another unusual wedding venue with spectacular views across London. You will exchange your vows in the Bridgemaster's Dining Room and there is a choice of beautiful rooms for your reception.Football Ground Ceremonies
If you find the start of summer is marred by the end of the football season, why not hold your ceremony or reception at a football ground? I personally cannot imagine anywhere less romantic on earth, let alone London, but I even found a football website devoted to weddings, weddingsfc.com
. Charlton, cafc.co.uk
, Chelsea, chelseafc.com
and West Ham, whufc.com
are licenced venues so you can have your ceremony at these grounds. Many other clubs offer reception packages.
If you were bowled over by England winning the Ashes last summer, you can celebrate by taking your vows overlooking the wicket at The Oval
. Log on to surreycricket.com
for details of civil ceremonies held in the prestigious long room with views of the internationally renowned pitch where the Ashes were clinched.
One of the most beautiful locations for a London wedding must be the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
. Three hundred acres of gardens and stunning buildings including the Palm House and Orangery provide incredible scenery for your photographs. Reception prices start at £2,000 and the Kew Gardens website, rbgkew.org.uk
, provides details of approved suppliers for catering, entertainment, florists and photographers.
A Grand Wedding at St Paul's
One of the most memorable London weddings was in 1981 when Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married in St Paul's Cathedral in front of an estimated 750 million television viewers. However, you don't need blue blood to be married at St Paul's, although you or a parent do need to be a member of the Order of St Michael and St George or the Order of the British Empire. Check out stpauls.co.uk
for further details.
Notes on the diversity of Wedding Ceremonies
London is a hugely diverse and multi-cultural city and weddings of different religions and faiths take place across the capital. whichwedding.co.uk
contains useful information on different types of ceremonies and occasionz.com
is an events company that specialises in organising Asian weddings.
If you want to be married in an Anglican church, you or your partner will generally need to live in the parish. Go to the Diocese of London website, london.anglican.org
for lots of useful advice and information on religious ceremonies and a postcode search facility to find your parish church and other churches nearby.
The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in December 2005 and two people of the same sex can now enter into a union that is legally recognised. The registration of Sir Elton John and David Furnish was highly publicised but thousands of other gay couples have joined in civil partnership. Log on to thepinkguide.co.uk
for a copy of the Act and a directory of suppliers and venues who will be totally supportive of your big day.
So, you've decided on your venue but what about transport? Traditional red Routemaster buses were sadly taken out of service last year but they are available for hire and make a novel and enjoyable form of wedding transport. Log on to exclusivecar.co.uk
. If a stretched limousine is more your thing, check out stretched-4-u.co.uk
for limo hire in London.
Wedding Photographers in London
Be sure to capture your day with a professional wedding photographer that knows your venue and is local to the area to ensure the best results, see London-based wedding photographers
See All In London's directory of London-based photographers
London is one of the greatest shopping cities in the world so there is no better place to find the perfect outfit. If money is no object, The Wedding Shop, theweddingshoponline.co.uk
, has two luxury showrooms in London, one in Liberty, liberty.co.uk
and one in Fulham Road, and stocks designers including Vera Wang. Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Uma Thurman chose Vera Wang to design the perfect outfit for their special day but a bespoke dress will set you back at least £30,000!
Clothing Ranges for all budgets
In February this year, ASDA launched its budget wedding range, announcing it could dress both bride and groom for under £200. Log on to asda.co.uk
for details of outfits (including a dress for £60!) and a storefinder to locate stores in London.
Moss Bros, mossbros.co.uk
has morning suit packages for hire at reasonable rates in stores all over London. You can even hire top hats and shoes. If you would prefer a tailor made morning suit from Savile Row for your big day, check out Gary Anderson at garyanderson.com
. Made to measure morning suits start at £575.
have bridalwear departments and provide a range of wedding services. Department stores are a good bet if you want to purchase everything under one roof and offer a range of stationery, outfits for brides, bridesmaids and grooms and jewellery departments for the rings. Make sure you book an appointment if you want to try on dresses. John Lewis, johnlewis.com
, is a popular choice for the wedding list.
Paula Pryke, paula-pryke-flowers.com
, renowned for her innovative designs, is one of London's best known florists and has shops in Islington, Brompton Cross and Liberty. She also has a flower school in Islington if you fancy doing a bit of floristry yourself! Other beautiful florists in London include Serenata in Fulham, serenataflowers.com
and Kenneth Turner in Mayfair, kennethturner.com
Alternatively, take a look at All In London's Directory of Florists
There is an unrivalled variety of resources in London and it would be impossible to cover them all here. A good starting point is the wedding websites which contain directories of all the wedding services you could possibly need... see below for additional websites and resources.
In addition see All In London's list of Wedding Companies
for help in planning your big day and contain all kinds of ideas from wedding services through to Steel Band hire