At the end of November, after just a 3-month engagement, J and I got married! We had a small, no fuss wedding, and absolutely loved it. I would recommend this to anyone who might feel the pressure to organise a huge wedding but secretly loathes the idea. There is too much expectation to put on a huge, stressful, expensive event. I hear that an average wedding in the US comes to something like $35,000? I really enjoyed resisting that pressure and doing things our own way. For extra rebellious inspiration I watched a few of those ‘Adam Ruins Everything’ episodes about how weddings are a rip off. The episode on engagement rings is also pretty good and inspired an entire post.
Anyway, it was a pretty easy decision for us. I’ve never envisioned myself having a large wedding, and actually always thought I’d elope to a sunny destination! In fact, we began to plan an elopement to Copenhagen (not known for being sunny, I know, but a beautiful city nonetheless), but after I blabbed about our plans to to my mom she convinced us to have a small ceremony in London, instead, so that a few people could be present. I’m glad she did, as it turned out to be absolutely perfect (for us!).
We turned our wedding into a multiple-day affair – partially because it was the day after Thanksgiving, and partially because we couldn’t have more than 12 people at our ceremony.
We started with a pre-ceremony photo shoot at the Holland Park Kyoto Garden. Lucky for us and unusual for London in November, it was an absolutely beautiful sunny day! We got really lucky in the weather department. I was emotionally prepared for rain and gloom, and was very pleasantly surprised.
Ceremony at Chelsea Old Town Hall: After snapping a few romantic photos in the garden we took an Uber to Chelsea Old Town Hall for our 2:45PM ceremony. It’s a beautiful venue, and I heard something about George Clooney being married there? We arrived through the side door, met with the staff in a side room to confirm all the details for our marriage certificate (name spellings, etc). The two officiants were ABSOLUTELY LOVELY and joked with us, calmed our nerves, and gave us directions on what to do. Next thing I know, I’m being escorted into the Rossetti Room by my father and the whole thing is happening! We didn’t choose to do any lengthy vows or readings, so the ceremony was pretty quick. The Rossetti Room is limited to 12 guests + us, so we had a very friendly and intimate ceremony with closest friends and family. Afterwards we walked out on the steps to do the traditional confetti throwing and group shots. As we were doing these a red double decker pulled up, and we became a bit of a show for them. It was fun!
Drinks: It was a bit early for dinner, so we walked over to a nearby pub for drinks – The Sydney Arms, where we got some champagne on the house, mingled, and opened a few gifts.
Dinner: Then we walked just across the street to Bumpkin Chelsea, where we had reserved a private dining room for 16. The food was delicious from their seasonal menu, we played our own music, had a few speeches, and it was a really great night! We had so many compliments on how beautiful the night was, and people appreciated it being relaxed and non-fuss!
Some other no-fuss wedding tips:
Make-up & hair: For a while I was considering doing my own make-up and hair. Then I caved in and booked a hair appointment in a Holland Park salon. Then I decided that traveling to the salon on the morning of my wedding wouldn’t be ideal, and that also, I wanted to get my make-up professionally done. All wedding-specific makeup + hair services are so expensive, I couldn’t justify a simple look I was going to go for. So I took a gamble and used the Blow Ltd app, which allows you to book various beauty services to come straight to your door. I booked a bespoke blow-dry & make-up service (a total of 110 minutes) for £79, which to be honest is pretty damn good for London prices! I was able to get £20 off because I was a first time user of the app and got a couple of discounts for signing up. I was afraid the stylist I’d get might be incompetent or do a bad job, but actually, she couldn’t have done a better job. I was really happy with the outcome. Major win.
Flowers: I had explored various options for ordering a bouquet from London florists, but again, SO EXPENSIVE for just one bouquet. We are talking a minimum of £50, but if you actually want a specific colour scheme, probably upwards to £80-90. I opted for a more creative and fun option – going to the New Convent Garden flower market at 7AM on a Thursday to pick up a gazillion flowers. We got about 40 rose stems and 40 stems of other filler flowers for a total of £30. I created a bouquet I absolutely LOVED out of these, and had so many flowers left over that they beautifully filled the rest of the house.
I was hesitant about making my own bouquet, because prior to this, I had no idea how this is done. But with google and pinterest, it’s pretty simple to figure out! Just make sure you have the necessary supplies (floral wire, floral tape, some ribbon, and some pearl-tipped pins, all of which can be delivered to your door via amazon in a few short days).
Dress: The dress taught me a bit of a lesson. I purchased a lacy cocktail style dress that looked great (on the model) from a high street store. I tried it on in the store, and purchased online when I saw that it went on sale. The fit wasn’t perfect, but the store assistant assured me it could be easily fixed by lifting the shoulders. I spent £30 to lift the shoulders, but the dress still looked a bit off. That’s when I realised I need to stop taking short cuts and hand it over to a proper, good tailor who could adjust the entire dress for me. The tailor’s fee was more than the original dress, but she did make it look fantastic.