I met the wedding crowd at Tower Bridge where we waited for the Boat to arrive to take us to Trinity Buoy Wharf. Along the way we went through a small storm which meant people took cover anywhere they could, luckily this was the only bad weather we’d have all day.
There’s a number of places to have your ceremony at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Alice and Richard chose The Drawing Room a venue that reminded me a lot of St Chad’s Place in King Cross, the venue my wife and I had our reception in… it’s now a burger restaurant!
They then migrated over to The Chain Store where they had their wedding breakfast and drinks out on the Trinity Buoy Wharf’s terrace overlooking the Thames.
Ok, it’s been quite a while since we wrote our last installment about our favourite venues, best London pub venues. So we’re now back with another awesome list of my favourite places to host your wedding day. These venues vary a little from the traditional pub, barn and country house options. But they still offer everything you need to host an amazing wedding in London!
As we are on lockdown right now, I know you can’t actually visit any venues. So we’re hoping that maybe this post could serve as a substitute whilst we’re stuck inside and hopefully give you a few ideas for when we’re released back into the wild.
The cobbles of St John Square outside gives you an old London feel before you even get through the door. Inside feels like a boutique bar and living room. It also had a science/academia/magic vibe going on, like a Hogwarts speakeasy… but maybe that’s just me.
I spent a long while just taking photos of the amazing selection of art, ornaments and taxidermy before I moved on to anything else. There’s more than enough for two weddings guests who’d never met, to get a conversation started.
At the far end, is the cocktail bar, serving a range of bespoke drinks catering to all tastes. It all feels well thought out and authentic rather than a venue trying to be something it’s not. Downstairs is the dining room and party area. It’s not huge but everytime I’ve been here the dancefloor has been in full swing. Need another drink? No need to worry, there’s a bar down here too. There’s also enough room to lay your evening food out.
The Zetter Townhouse has rooms upstairs for the couple and some of their guests, but if you do run out of space there’s always the Zetter Hotel across the road.
Any old part of London that can be kept and repurposed as something we can keep using and appreciating, I’m totally up for! Clapton Country Club used to be a Tramshed and it has thankfully kept that industrial work space atmosphere.
The brick buildings and reclaimed materials give the venue an intimate, rough round the edges feel, like a working artist studio. The main dining area is more urban but with an added rustic touch. It makes you feel comfortable and at home.
It’s a short drive away from Hackney town hall. So, you can get ready there in the morning, meet your guests at the town hall, say your vows and be back at the country club within the hour. Perfect!
After discovering this wasn’t the official cinema for London’s 2012 Olympic Games, I realised it was in fact an awesome cinema, restaurant, café, cocktail bar and fancy members club.
Whether you’re enjoying a film, sipping on a martini or enjoying the homemade food, the quality is consistent throughout. Each area works nicely on its own for any visitor, but as a whole when hiring the venue for a wedding, it’s really quite fantastic.
You can take the cinema theme and run with it, pinning up retro themed posters and adding a red carpet outside for selfies and groups shots, as one of our couples did.
The ground floor is the lovely bar and restaurant. The cinema is on the second floor and the third floor is the über trendy member’s bar. If you’re still around for the dancing in the evening, the top floor is where the disco is at!
The roost is hired as a studio space for artists and commercial shoots, meaning anywhere you turn your head there’s a beautiful backdrop, trendy graphic print or some retro, boutique prop. It makes every photo full of colour and character.
There’s a total of three floors and a basement, so as well giving your photographer an exhausting workout as they run up down throughout the day, you can also choose a different floor for each part of your wedding.
The top floor has two bedrooms opposite each other for the couple to get ready in, so as long as you’ve surrounded yourself with logistically, savvy ushers and bridesmaids who can coordinate the opening and closing of the two facing doors, you’ll get to the ceremony without without a hitch.
There’s a small garden out the back for any smokers, and a basement for late night beats if you want to push the party into the early hours. The Roost is also associated with two other venues, Dalston Heights and Friendly Place so if it’s already booked there are two other great options worth checking out!
I first visited Wilton’s Music Hall a few years back when a couple of close friends got married there. At that point, I’d never even heard of it, but I became immediately keen to shoot there!
If history is your thing, or London is your thing, or theatre is you thing… or just really cool things are your thing, then Wilton’s should be a big contender for your venue. It’s completely magical, filled with history and atmosphere.
The buildings have lived many lives – homes and an ale house in the 1600s, concert hall and saloon throughout the 1800s, a methodist mission saw it through the two world wars until the 1950s, and then it was almost all over when as a derelict rag warehouse in the 1960’s it was listed for demolition. No Londoner was going to stand for that. Especially John Betjeman, who fought with many others to save it.
Through many periods of restoration, it is now an arts venue. Though indeed restored, it’s very much frozen in time as a music hall – from the moment you walk in, it’s like finding yourself in Victorian London. You can almost see the popular entertainment acts play and hear the audience merrily willing them on.
You can hire the whole venue, which includes the bars, the Victorian staircase, and the Hall with its famous barley-twist columns – there are countless photo opportunities and backdrops, everywhere you look is steeped in faded Victorian charm. This venue is so special and completely unique and a fantastic place for a proper east-end knees up.
I hope you enjoyed our 5 cool and quirky London venues recommendations, if you have any other suggestions get in touch, we’re always happy to learn about new places and hopefully when we’re allowed back out I’ll be shooting a few of them soon!
If you want to see more images from our recent weddings then click on gallery on the main navigation.
Johnny used to work at The Londesborough Pub and what with it being one of the best wedding pubs in London, it seemed the obvious choice to host their reception.
They tied the knot at Islington Town Hall then jumped on their Routemaster bus up to The Londesborough. Before everyone else arrived, we took a stroll around the surrounding streets to grab a few, fun couple shots.
Natalie and Johnny had decided the food was to be entirely Vegan, which being a massive BBQ made me a tad apprehensive. Of course after tasting the Malaysian curry, I was proved totally wrong. The only place I could find fault was the fact I was’t allowed seconds.
After nervously putting off the first dance for as long as possible, they kicked off the dancing which then carried on into the night. These two were such a sweet couple. Always playfully teasing each other in the photos creating a genuinely fun, authentic set of pictures.
Sam and Steve were married in 2017 at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London. I’d been eager to shoot here after attending a wedding a few years ago – the walls feel alive with history, and no venue I’ve shot at before feels quite so much like going back in time. As the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world (the whole world!), it saw life first as a row of houses in the 1690s, followed by a merchant’s ale house in the 1820s, a concert hall in the 1830s, a music hall in the 1850s-80s, a Methodist Mission from the 1880s right through the Blitz until 1956, a rag warehouse in the 1960s and after half a century of campaigning to save and preserve it, it is now once again thriving with performance and art… and of course, weddings! To say Wiltons has atmosphere is an understatement. From the moment you arrive at the front doors, flaking its paint in all hues of red and pink, you know you have arrived somewhere special and completely unique. This paved the way for Sam and Steve to have a day their guests would remember for a long time to come.
This is the second post about my favourite wedding venues (part one can be found here) and this time I’m focusing on the building that is so many people’s humble home from home – the old English pub.
Pubs have really upped their game over the last few years and can now hold their heads high amongst the many wedding venues on offer. What they lack in grandeur and size they make up for in modesty, intimate down-to-earth atmosphere and of course, price!
There are so many great pubs in London and I don’t pretend to know them all, but the below are some of the ones I’ve shot in and can highly recommend. So, in no particular order, here are my top pub wedding venues in London – enjoy!
1 Carpenter’s Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF
The Depot (previously Shillibeers) is a few minutes walk from the Caledonian Road station and tucked away just below the Pleasance Theatre. It’s one of the bigger pub venues I’ve shot in, but still has loads of atmosphere. It also has a nice little cobbled area outside for those warmer days and for any group shots you might want.
36 Barbauld Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 0SS
This has got to be my most shot in pub venue in London, it has an unofficial partnership with Stoke Newington Town Hall which is a two minute walk up the road and the Londesborough seems to be the place to go after your ceremony. Packed full of warmth and atmosphere, The Londesborough has a nice long bar area big enough for 50-70 people to chat before moving down to the restaurant area for your wedding breakfast. Nice and cosy!
THE PRINCE ALBERT
60 Dace Rd, London E3 2NQ
I love this place. This pub has the perfect layout, a nice central bar with room for people to mingle around the outside. It also has a small garden and a separate upstairs area for the wedding breakfast, so whilst not enormous, it has enough space to cater for every part of your day.
240 St John Street, London EC1V 4PH
The Peasant is a great pub with a downstairs bar for the reception and a lovely french bistro-styled eating area upstairs. The downstairs is a traditional wooden bar area with a lovely tiled floor and enough room for dancing in the evening, but the restaurant area is the best feature – the decor and the layout gives off a lovely family feel.
53 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JL
As you can tell by the name, The Artisan has a trendier, urban, industrial style and is more cocktail bar than traditional pub but I’m still including it here, as it is such a great venue. Follow the long bar down into the seated, eating area which is a great sized dance floor in the evening.
ROYAL INN ON THE PARK
111 Lauriston Road, Hackney, London E9 7HJ
This place feels like a royal home with a bar plonked in the centre. A place from the mid-Victorian era, its large marble pillars and black and white chequered floors give you a sense of quality and sophistication without being snobby. It’s also right next to Victoria Park so you can do a quick 5k to burn off your meal.
29 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Based in the heart of Farringdon, this lovely little venue has everything you want from a London pub. It has a bar downstairs for reception drinks and an upstairs area for the wedding breakfast. The location is great for group and couple shots as well.
Park Row, London SE10 9NW
Located on the edge of the Thames, this pub gives off a nautical atmosphere, which isn’t surprising as it couldn’t be any close to the water. With a bustling pub downstairs, the weddings take place upstairs where you have your own bar, reception room and ceremony/dining hall which has loads of room to boogy when converted in the evening. This place has everything you need!
I’d been impatiently waiting for this wedding ever since Joanna enquired. The ceremony and reception were held in an urban, graffiti drawn warehouse space in Hackney called Swan Wharf which looked super cool and perfect for a London wedding… and it didn’t disappoint!
Daniel and Lewis had a beautifully simple wedding day with the ceremony at midday followed by a stroll around the grounds of York House in Richmond. Choosing to keep the guest list low, only two close friends were invited to the day, so I count myself very lucky to have been there to capture such a lovely, intimate celebration.
Mikey started his wedding day with dip in Hampstead Heath Men’s Pond with a group of his best mates and family – an activity I had never photographed before! Luckily the sun was shining and everyone seemed game enough to plunge in the cold water. The rest of the day was a blast from there – fun and modern elements of the day took the form of a reading from Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch during the ceremony, a first dance sung by one of the beautiful bridesmaids, and matching bespoke Converse for dancing (amongst other things!), whilst a more traditional edge was covered by the beautiful surroundings of Camden Town Hall for the ceremony and Gibson Hall for the reception. A London wedding at it’s finest.
I had a little help from a great second shooter called Dawn for the main part of the day, a few of these shots are hers.
This summer (remember that?!), Sofya + Jamie had an intimate wedding ceremony at the Mayfair Library in London for close friends and family. It was such a sweet, colourful affair – from Sofya’s floral headdress and dusky-pink knee-length lace dress, to the retro bunting, Mexican piñata, old school photos and dressing up hats at The Stag where the reception was held afterwards. Here are our favourite shots…
If an engagement shoot is any measure of the wedding then Kali and Thom’s wedding was going to be fantastic. With a 1920’s theme and set in the Farringdon’s Artisan restaurant and bar it wasn’t going to disappoint. After Kali and Thom had made their vows at Islington Town Hall, everyone jumped on a Routemaster bus for a quick drive through London (seeing some of the new James Bond film being shot near St Paul’s), the route ending at the Artisan where fun, food and dancing was had until the early morning.
Louise and Matt got married in Stoke Newington Town Hall, with the celebrations held in the unofficial reception venue, The Londesborough pub, just minutes down the road. It was a lovely intimate day with a super relaxed atmosphere. Louise and Matt were great fun and super stylish… does it get cooler than a new bride in her leather jacket?
It was only when walking up to the poppy filled moats of the tower that I realised I have never been here before. Anyone who reads newspapers, watched the news or been anywhere near social media would have seen the sensation that is the poppy display and here it was, right in front of me, quite a sight! I hadn’t taken a picture yet but the day was already off to an amazing start.
The chapel in the Tower is reserved for Military ceremonies only and today was one of only 16 weddings this year (like it wasn’t already special enough!). I had a chance to run round the grounds before capturing Courtenay take the 100 yard walk from her room across the tourist filled square over to the chapel. Heads were turning, cameras were snapping, I even got asked to move out of the way, sorry!
Having the opportunity to shoot a wedding at the Tower of London really was a privilege and something I’ll never forget. Sharing that with such a great couple like Courtenay and Rob was just perfect and I’d like to say a very big thank you to them both! Guys, you are very cool and I’ll be seeing you in Cyprus next year!
Clare and Gareth’s was one of those weddings that has been a while in the making – it was one of my first bookings just after I started out and also one that I was most looking forward to. I’d met Clare and Gareth for a quick drink to discuss the day and they told me of the details that makes them and their wedding so beautiful.
One of my favourite of these details is the Beetle in the photos, which is a very personal project Gareth has been working on for quite a while. It originally belonged to his family but was sold. Years later Gareth tracked it down, bought it back and started work on the renovation, with the promise to Clare that this would be the car they would use on their wedding day.
The day finally came to life in all its retro, East End glory a few weeks back and I loved every second of it. The venue was the amazing Stour Space, (which Clare tells me does the best breakfast in London!) a mix of café and modern exhibition space that’s a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park. As promised Clare and Gareth arrived in the newly renovated beetle, drove straight in the double doors and parked up in the middle of the room, where their champagne was waiting. What an entrance!
After shooting their engagement shoot, it was a understatement to say I was looking forward to Lydia and Andrew’s wedding… and they didn’t disappoint! The day was a vintage inspired trip back in time. The attention to detail was exhausting: from Lydia’s vintage styled dress bought from eBay, the 1960s red Cadillac taking her to the town hall, all the way through to the gramophone, old typewriter, the amazing 50’s classics sung by The Nightingales and finally the first dance which was a medley of swinging old school moves. On top of that, you’ve never met a happier (see the speeches pics for the evidence!) and more welcoming bunch of people – what a fantastic day!
I do love a London wedding (apart from it meaning I have a short journey to work!), I also get to see the places I’ve lived and worked all my life from a completely different perspective, and getting to experience this with people like Jessica and Tom make it even better.
This was a beautiful low key Camden wedding starting in brick lane and then moving on to islington town hall, finished with a London bus ride to Jessica and Tom’s local pub, to dance and drink the night away. Where better to celebrate with your friends?
Back in Summer last year I shot Chloe and Matt’s urban engagement shoot in Shoreditch, we had such a great day and I really loved working with them, so I obviously couldn’t wait for their wedding in early 2014!
I had the opportunity to shoot with both Matt and Chloe in the morning before the ceremony, they were married in Stoke Newington town hall and partied into the evening at The Londesborough Pub.
At Chloe and Matt’s request I’m not sharing the full story of their intimate wedding but here are a few shots of the day.
It’s the 31st December 2013, New Year’s Eve, a night of drinking, dancing and new beginnings and what better way to celebrate than to marry your best friend… and that’s just what Jessie and Huw are doing.
The whole wedding, from ceremony to reception was set at The Amadeus in Maida Vale, London. From the pictures you might have guessed that they’re a fan of the fairy light, which is no bad thing, and for me makes any wedding better.
The night ended with dancing, and lots of it. An impressive, well rehearsed first dance performance was shortly followed by everyone taking part in Céilidh dancing, after which the crowds counted down to the new year… although I would imagine this new year’s eve, unlike others, was no anti-climax for Jessie and Huw.
Here’s where we prove you can still have a beautiful, meaningful day celebrating love and friendship, while blowing tradition out of the water. Michael and Andrew decided to opt out of some of the conventional elements you might come across at a wedding, and the result was a relaxed, fun day, full of warmth and happiness at the Bingham Hotel in Richmond. Congratulations guys, it was a pleasure capturing the day!