When it comes to planning a wedding in London, word on the street is that DIY-ing it isn’t necessarily the cheapest way to do it these days, once you add in all the additional costs you’ll need to factor in (food, drink, security, tableware, actual tables and chairs, facilities, decor… etc. etc.).

But the one element that can really make a difference in bringing down the DIY cost is being able to supply your own drinks for your wedding, because – let’s be honest – venues are getting into charging pretty ridiculous amounts for providing their own wine and bar.  Even those that sort of let you BYOB can end up charging insane fees for corkage alone, which makes it really hard to justify the cost, and a lot of weddings end up with a cash bar as a result.

What if you could find a great little spot in London that did let you BYOB?  Well, let’s talk about 3 London wedding venues which are legitimately dry hire, where you can actually BYOB and not get stung on the flip side!!  Starting with one of our favourite London wedding venues to shoot at…

Trinity Buoy Wharf

How utterly cool is this east London warehouse space??!

The Chainstore at Trinity Buoy Wharf sits alongside the river, and you can creep up the adjacent lighthouse for a bit of privacy and a bird’s eye view. 

There’s also the cosy Electrician’s Shop around the corner, which you can use for your ceremony or drinks.  Make sure you get a pro photographer in for this one though, as it is daaaaaark down there!!

Trinity Buoy Wharf is a total dry hire, so you can invest in making it whatever you want for your day.  Mainly a big, epic party!!

The Amadeus

Ahh, The Amadeus Centre in Warwick Avenue… we have such a soft spot for this cute venue, and let me tell you why (skip the next paragraph if you’re just here for the venue tips!!).

The first place that Joey and I lived together was just around the corner from The Amadeus; I used to walk past the pretty blue building on my commute to work back in the day.  We even wanted to have our own wedding there as we thought it would be pretty special to get married in our neighbourhood, but having a big Sri Lankan family made this a no-go sadly!

The Amadeus is a beautiful but low-key event space (well, two spaces really, with a downstairs room on the sly), and it’s a totally blank canvas for you to add your own flavour!! 

It’s perfect for a cosy winter wedding or a big knees-up after a registry wedding at one of London’s many town halls… and, even though we’re based in Tooting now, we still have a mega soft spot for Warwick Avenue, so – if you do end up here – please let us shoot it for you??!

Waldorf Hilton London

Ok, a bit of a curveball here but the Waldorf Hotel in central London is also a bit special to us – because it’s where Joey and I did end up getting married back in November 2010!!  Funnily enough, this grand old hotel on the Strand does have enough space for my big Sri Lankan family…

The Waldorf London is not strictly BYOB, but here’s the thing; if you’re having a fusion wedding of sorts like we did, and you’ll need to bring in specific caterers for dietary or cultural purposes (e.g. kosher / halal etc.) then the hotel will let you do that… and then your arrangement is with the caterer rather than the venue, so you can go to town bringing your own booze, with no extra corkage from the venue.  Insider alert!!

The Waldorf has a selection of spaces and rooms for hire, including of course the hotel rooms for overnight guests, and the restaurant lays on a mean buffet breakfast the morning after to soak up those hangovers…


If you know of any other dry hire venues in London that you think we should check out and list here, just let us know in the comments!!  Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of getting married in London – whether it’s a a big party or a short midweek pub wedding – we can sort you out with some great photography for your day, just get in touch and let’s make a plan!!

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Sarah and Mike got married at Winchester House in Putney, having fallen in love with the beautiful space, and it being right next door to their favourite pub!  There’s something very special about getting married close to where you’re living at the time; all those memories wrapped up together.  We love shooting these sorts of London weddings!

They met when they both worked for the same fashion company; Sarah in the design department and Mike as a developer (who created their whole wedding website, with a live countdown and everything!).  They got engaged whilst on holiday in Portugal last summer and, the week after that, they attended their best friends’ wedding where we met them!  You can see that lovely wedding, of Sarah and James, which we photographed here.

Sarah and Mike have set off for a couple of weeks of blissful honeymoon relaxation in the Maldives, and we’ve just sent them these teasers to remind them of their beautiful wedding!  So much love, thought and care went into this day, and – notwithstanding a slight shoe mishap, rescued by mum! – it was an all-round glorious wedding for the sweetest couple! x

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With thanks to:

Wedding venue // Winchester House
Bridal prep // Blakes Hotel
Dress // Rime Arodaky
Shoes // Alexandre Birman
Flowers // Botanique Workshop
Suit // Reiss
Bridesmaids’ dresses // Reformation + Rime Arodaky
Flower girls’ dresses // The Mews Bridal
Make up // Holly Bliss Makeup Artistry
Hair // Sophie Ruggiero
Stationery // Laura Neads
Cake // Hayley Stanton
Caterer // Create Food
Band // The Phonographs
Piano entertainment // Henry Lawry
Hot dog stand // Ideas Box
Bride’s wedding ring // catbird
Groom’s ring + engagement ring // David’s Jewellers

There’s something pretty cool about London weddings; that feeling of urban chaos that weaves through the city.  We’ve shot loads of Islington Town Hall weddings, and it was a pleasure to be asked back for a wintery wedding (you’d never believe this was February…).

Our lovely couple have requested privacy for their photos, which is totally cool by us; though they’ve very kindly agreed to sharing some detail photos from their wedding, to give you a feel for both our wedding photography and an Islington Town Hall wedding!

The bride got ready for her wedding at the Rosewood London, which we adore!!  There are so many cool spaces within the hotel itself, but my personal favourite feature is the building architecture itself.  I’m a bit of a sucker for that light, bright, uniform stone which reflects the light beautifully.  Coupled with the copper doorways and hall, the entrance of the hotel is a dream!  It’s a battle for the top spot with the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, but that’s a post for another day!!

So, back to this lovely London wedding!  The wedding ceremony took place in the Council Chamber at the Islington Town Hall; a stunning circular space with great architecture, that really lends itself to an intimate-feeling ceremony, even though it has a reasonably large capacity.  This is because of the way the room is laid out; you can get a good view from pretty much any of the seats!  There’s also a little balcony which you can hire out separately for more guests.

The wedding party then proceeded to The Albion pub just a 10 minute walk away, for a glorious knees-up!  We’ll save a few photos of the decor and styling our couple went with for part 2, which you can take a peek at in this post.

I hope this gives you some food for thought for your London wedding, we adore shooting them so get in touch if you’d like to chat more about your plans!


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With thanks to:

Ceremony venue // Islington Town Hall

Reception venue & catering // The Albion Pub

Dress // Laure de Sagazan

Shoes // L K Bennett

Hair // Gigi at The Chapel

Flowers // Worm London

DJ // Disco Wed

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We’ve been to Pembroke Lodge in London for a few weddings, and each time it has been a wonderful day.  Amita and Pete’s civil wedding at Pembroke Lodge was no exception; the wisteria was out in full force, along with some sunshine and blue skies (a surprise to all of us!!).

These two childhood sweethearts met during sixth form and – having spent a fair bit of time apart due to work in different places – are now looking forward to setting up home in Kingston together.  It’s so lovely to see Amita and Pete together; they are truly their most relaxed selves together, which is amazing to see.

We’re looking forward to sharing the full set of photos from their Pembroke Lodge wedding with them, but first, there’s part two of their wedding to come next weekend, with the Bengali wedding taking place at the magnificent Kew Gardens.  We can’t wait to see everyone again and share more photos from all the celebrations with you!

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With thanks to:

Wedding venue & catering // Pembroke Lodge

Dress // Phase Eight

Groom’s suit // Paul Smith

Tie clip // HandStampedWotNots

Hair & make up // Beauty by Anuja

Wedding cake // Little Bear Cakery

Flowers // Plant Passion

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Jess and Robbie’s Brixton East wedding was a rather fun one for us!  Back in the old days of (dare-I-say it) Deloitte, where Joey and I met, we worked with the lovely Jess who joined our team as a scholar.  Much mischief took place.  Fast forward several years, and I was delighted to reconnect with Jess when she got engaged to Robbie!  It’s so nice when years have gone by, so much has changed but then you just fall back into your old selves once again.  Quite the honour to go from spreadsheets to photos with this gal!!

Jess and Robbie got married on Guy Fawkes’ night, which incidentally was a sweet ode to when they’d met 5 years earlier through mutual friend Jess, one of the lovely bridesmaids.  They chose the Law Society on Chancery Lane for their ceremony, taking a couple of raucous Routemasters down to Brixton for the party at Brixton East.  We loved shooting in both of these spaces; so different in style and mood, but both have such character.

These two really are such a sweet, fun and adoring couple, and it was wonderful to get to spend this very happy day with them and their faves.  Enjoy these teaser photos, can’t wait to share more soon!

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With thanks to:

Ceremony venue // The Law Society

Reception venue // Brixton East

Caterer // The Mobile Pizzeria

Dress // Madeline Isaac-James at Vow Bridal

Mens’ suits // Moss Bros

Bridesmaids’ dresses // Eliza and Ethan

Hair & Make up // Gina and Jey at Gloss

Wedding cake // Pip and Little Blue

Flowers // Windmill Flowers

Hair & make up // Shelley Greenham

Routemasters / Routemaster Hire

Limo // Absolute Style Limousines

Band // The Madhatters Teaparty Band

Stationery // Feel Good Invites

Extra thanks to family and friends for brownies, cakes and gin bottles!

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When we met Sarah and James, aka ‘Gran’ and ‘Elmo’ (love a good nickname!!), James, Joey and I were sitting in The Hoxton Hotel in Holborn, whilst Sarah waited for us in The Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch.  Ooooops!!  We hot-footed it across to Clerkenwell to meet Sarah, where we had a chuckle and caught up with these two as if they were old friends.

Sarah and James met whilst waiting for taxis outside Proud in Camden, and got engaged at the Grange in St. Pauls – a beautiful engagement ring alongside a Céline handbag, what a lucky gal!  A buyer for New Look, fashion is in Sarah’s genes!!  She’s got the most incredible style and carried her Rime Arodaky dress with ease.

A sweet service and cocktails at St. James’ Church in Clerkenwell (accompanied by their gorgeous dog Archie!) was followed with a drinks and dinner reception at the cool Eight Club in Moorgate; sure, it rained, but that didn’t stop this wedding being a corker!!

Elmo and Gran, we hope married life has started with a bang and we can’t wait to see you soon for your viewing! x #ElmoandSivswedding

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Credits:

Bridal prep // Rosewood London Hotel

Ceremony venue // St. James’ Church, Clerkenwell

Wedding venue // Eight Club, Moorgate

Dress // Rime Arodaky

Shoes // Nine West

Suit // TBC

Bridemaids’ dresses // Ghost

Flowers // Botanique Workshop

Hair // Amy Harding

Make Up // Anna Mccann-Ellerington

Invitations // Laura Neads

Entertainment // The Tom Fitzpatrick Band

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Neera and Mark met over 11 years ago at Warwick University, when Neera had just started and Mark was about to graduate.  Now you’ll find him educating our city youngsters and practically running a primary school in south London, while Neera works for our old frenemy, Deloitte – turns out we have rather a lot in common with our mutual love for the south west corner of London (Clapham for them, Tooting for us!).

They got engaged on Waterloo Bridge, which also happens to be their favourite spot in London – so we made a plan to get a few precious minutes on the bridge with them on their wedding day, and it was quite possibly one of the highlights of their day!  Their stylish wedding started out at home for Mark and Claridges for Neera (in a beautiful suite, no less!), and they tied the knot at the gorgeous Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall.

We’ve sent this little preview of photos from the ICA wedding via our app across the pond to Las Vegas, where our happy couple are embarking on their 3+ week honeymoon – we hope you enjoy these from not-so-sunny-nor-exciting UK as well!!


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Ceremony & Reception venue // The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Caterer // Peyton Events

Bridal Prep // Claridges

Flowers // Stem Flowers

Hair & make up // Kaz Fernando

Wedding dress // Pronovias

Bride’s shoes // Jimmy Choo

Bride’s headdress // Jenny Packham

Groom’s attire // Reiss Personal Tailoring

Bridesmaids’ dresses // Vera Wang at David’s Bridal

Groomsmen’s attire // Young’s Hire at Debenhams – ties from Reiss

Wedding cake // The Abigail Bloom Cake Company

Entertainment // Under the Covers

Harpist // Kat Arney

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Annette and Lenny came round last night for their viewing with us – we love sharing wedding photos in this way, making a bit more of an occasion out of the whole experience and continuing the wedding celebrations for as long as possible after the big day!  We popped open some fizz and settled in to go through the photos from their Roce ceremony and wedding at Kew Gardens in London on the big screen.

For their wedding day, Annette and Lenny were able to take advantage of quite a few of the beautiful spaces at Kew Gardens, from the glasshouse Nash Conservatory, on to the lawn by a pretty lake and fountain, then the Princess of Wales Conservatory and finally the bright and stunning Orangery.  The added bonus of it being a gloriously sunny day made the whole occasion even more perfect!

The happy couple planned all the decor beautifully, and tied in the fresh coral colour palette with the existing palm styling at Kew, finished beautifully with the table plan painted by the bride’s mother.  The place settings were mini potted air plants that guests could take home, and the tables were finished with decadent gold cutlery.

The sun shone down, drinks and delicious food flowed and the party burst through, complete with a conga line led by Lenny’s mum!!  All in all a spectacular day, and we wish our friends Betty and Lenny a very happy married future together! x

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Credits:

Ceremony  venue // Ealing Abbey

Reception venue // Kew Gardens

Event planner // Kat @ Kew Gardens

Catering // Laguna

Flowers // Bergdorfs

Hair // Tanya @ Kristina Gasperas

Hair comb // TBC

Make up // Bride’s own

Wedding dress // Ivory & Co. @ Boa Boutique

Bride’s shoes // Kurt Geiger

Bridesmaids’ saris // Custom-made – materials sourced from Ealing Road & Mumbai

Flower girls // Dresses from Next / Cardigans from John Lewis / Shoes from Marks & Spencer

Groom’s and Groomsmen’s attire // Moss Bros

Page boys’ attire // Marks & Spencer

Ties and Bow Ties // Tie Obsessed via Etsy

Wedding car // Karma Kabs

Entertainment // Atlantic Soul Orchestra

Wedding cake base tier // Marks & Spencer

Macaron tower // In Love with Macarons via Etsy

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We do love a spectacular wedding cake, and our dear friend Liz of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium creates them in spades!  This lovely lady’s creativity is off the charts – if you think something isn’t possible in a wedding cake, Liz will take your challenge and prove that such a cake can exist in our world!  Love it!

This six-tiered, mint-shaded beauty was set up for a wedding at The Connaught; one of London’s finest 5 star hotels and wedding venues.  The lovely bride was Jennifer Holden of Raspberry Bespoke Events; clearly a lady of great taste!

You can see some more of Liz’s stunning cake creations on our blog here.

 

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