The Contemporary Bride’s Guide to Wedding Planning

Whether you’re escaping to the country, travelling abroad or heading to the local town hall, the location and wedding venue are an opportunity to get creative and think outside of the box. When it comes to planning a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life, the backdrop sets the tone for the rest of your day. There are more options than ever for you to find the place that speaks to you, works for your budget and helps the day to run as seamlessly as possible, so look for places that mean something to you as a couple or resonate with your aesthetic. The memories will last a lifetime. 

“Like many I’m sure, we toyed for months on where to wed. We loved the idea of going abroad. A chateau in the South of France? Lovely! A traditional Italian church ceremony followed by a traditional Italian feast? Fabulous. But ultimately, the logistics that would be involved in planning a foreign wedding kept us in London. We wanted somewhere that wouldn’t cost the earth for our guests to come to, something cool and photogenic, so the ceremony will be at Marylebone Town Hall. Weirdly, I was initially obsessed on having a venue that had exposed plaster walls and old fireplaces. We looked at lots of gorgeous venues that fit these criteria—Brunswick House, Sessions Arts Club, Below Stone Nest and Clapton Country Club—but in the end, they fell short on either capacity, cost or carriage time. (We wanted a party that would go on past midnight—sue us!)

“Then we looked at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Pall Mall, and it blew us away. No, it didn’t have exposed plaster, but it did have balconies that looked over St James’s Park. We could have a license until 2 a.m., and there’s a garden which we’ve hired for a drink reception. It’s also apparently one of the only venues you’re allowed to light candles. Big win. After this, we’re going to continue the party the next day in the Cotswolds in my parents’ garden, with a blessing in the village church. I had my 16th, 18th, 21st and 30th birthday celebrations there, so it only feels right to do it all over again for a wedding, right?!” — Rhys-Evans

“I’ve become known as the ‘traditional bride’ in the office, as we chose a church ceremony and a historic house and garden for our wedding and reception, but the almost gothic and grand setting of the church building with our personalised touches feels more Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet than ‘stuffy’ formality.

“Like Rebecca, a London wedding was always our intention, and in the spirit of echoing the feeling of summer in the city, we chose to make colour and florals the star of the show. Our clothing palette and reception venue are a neutral backdrop, and we’ve chosen big, bright floral arrangements and colourful tableware to bring the space to life. Fingers crossed for good weather, as we’ll be throwing the marquee doors open for dinner and spilling into the gardens for the evening.

“Although we wanted to stay local for the ease of our guests, I’d recommend choosing a venue that allows you to have as much space and variation as possible to give your guests room to mingle and makes the most of the location you do settle on. We’re in the middle of West London (so easy tubes home), but it’s also quiet enough and surrounded by enough greenery to convince us we’re in the countryside… for one night anyway.” — Farrell

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