How to Host the Ultimate London Wedding | Weddings in London
More than just our capital, London is one of the prime destinations for hosting a wedding. With so many classic, traditional and modern wedding venues, London has something for all budgets and tastes.
The key, however, to throwing the wedding of the year lies in one keyword: hosting. This means putting on an event that puts the guest experience at heart. And of course, in doing so, you’ll be creating a day to remember.
Whether you’re planning a glitzy Mayfair affair, an urban Barbican wedding, or the country respite of a Kew Gardens wedding for your setting, here are a few insider tips for hosting the ultimate London wedding.
A Ceremony to Remember!
Venue booked, bridesmaids chosen and wedding photographer organised; once all the essentials are sorted, you can focus on the finer details.
The first part of any marriage is the ceremony. There are 50 churches in the city of London, and many more in greater London, as well as countless venues and registry offices dotted around the capital.
Start with dressing the venue. Sustainability is one of the top wedding trends 2020. Therefore give some thought to recycling or sharing flowers with other couples. Fresh flowers can last up to four days without water, plus it may help with costs too. This doesn’t of course mean compromising on the day – speak to your wedding photographer to agree the best angles for photos in advance, strategically placing flowers in shot.
On the sustainability theme, some modern wedding venues allow digital ‘order of services’ instead of paper versions. This can be a fun way to bring an interactive element to your wedding day. You could even have a sing-along App to bring the lyrics to life!
If you’re planning to ‘go big’, then give plenty of thought to music at the ceremony. A live pianist, harpist, opera singer or church choir, can elevate the occasion.
Keep readings original – use quotes from films, poems from artists, lyrics from songs. This is your chance to put a meaningful twist in a way that a considered host can.
From A to Z
When it comes from getting from A to Z, there’s plenty of great ways to get creative. London’s iconic red buses are a fun way to transfer guests between venues – you can even customise the journey with photos of your guests on the bus, and a novelty bus ticket for the ride!
In London, water taxis are another option. For instance Kew Garden weddings and those near to the river bank have good access to some of the charter boats available for hire, these tend to start from around £1,000 for two hours.
Iconic black taxis (and white versions) can be ordered for smaller parties, or just for the happy couple. They bring a touch of pizzazz to proceedings, making guests feel like the VIPS they are. Go on, why not roll out the red carpet while you’re at it!
Dazzle guests with Weddings In London
And now to the fun part of the day… the wedding reception! This is the part that most guests look forward to, as they get to let their hair down, with fine food and drink on offer. This is also the part of the day where you get to put your stamp on things.
Even cheap wedding venues can be dressed up to sparkle, or personal touches added to make it special.
Live music is a great backdrop to create the right atmosphere. Many couples opt for classic violinists playing pop tunes. Or, with an abundance of talent available in the capital, why not plug in one of the many DJs on offer, to get the party started!
Food and drink is the most important factor for guest hospitality. Most modern wedding venues in London will have canape selections and reception drinks for guest arrivals. For the wedding breakfast, long banquet tables have become a popular choice for large gatherings. Weather pending, why not take this outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery that the city offers? Be sure to include disposable cameras for guests, even with a wedding photographer – these are always much-loved ways to capture intimate moments.
Keep the drink flowing and don’t forget the non-alcohol version, it’s one of the big wedding trends of 2020! You might want to create bespoke cocktails named after yourselves or something personal to you – it’s all part of the theatre!
Speaking of which, there can be a long period between arriving at the venue and the wedding breakfast. To keep guests occupied think about the entertainment. Garden games, a magician or a wine tasting class are all fun ways to bring this to life.
Making lasting memories, why not create a dress-up box with plenty of props? This can be a fun way to get your wedding photographer to capture some silly moments with guests – all amusing for sharing later.
Since you’re in London, think about creative backdrops for your wedding photos too. The city skyline offers a romantic backdrop at night. Come late night, guests can use sparklers to create a cute photo. This might be something you choose to use for your thank you cards later.
Speeches and games
Wedding speeches are one of the most anticipated moments of the big day. It’s also one of the most memorable, so you may want to ask your wedding photographer and videographer to stick around to capture these.
As the ultimate host, you may also want to consider live ‘link ups’ for absent far-flung relatives or friends. This is a lovely way of making everyone feel involved and part of your celebrations.
After the speeches you might also want to introduce some games; think a pub-quiz style that covers questions about the guests in attendance. It’s always a good way of bringing people together.
Party all night!
As day turns to night, you’ll want to keep the hospitality flowing. Light snacks are always a much-welcomed treat. Food stations are one of the wedding trends 2020 will see more of, bringing an informal approach to dining.
Then of course, there’s another hosting highlight – the wedding cake. Traditional three-tier cakes are always popular, but for a centrepiece that guests will remember, why not try something different? Tiered cheese tower cakes, doughnut cakes and cupcakes all make an Instagram-worthy photo! For lovers of all things kitsch, ‘cake pops’ can be a fun alternative to the traditional cake.
With the party in full-swing, look after guests with flip flops and flat shoes to soothe tired feet. Song requests or karaoke are other uplifting ways to get guests fully involved.
Modern wedding venues today have excellent facilities, including speaker systems and free WiFi throughout – be sure to make the most of these.
With the months and sometimes years of pre-planning ahead, you’ll want your wedding to be a day to remember – for you and your guests.
The good news is that there’s plenty of little hospitality touches that can transform your big day. With guests wellbeing in mind, prioritise food, drink and entertainment. These tend to be the key factors for enjoyment.
Other areas such as transport, accommodation and printed materials all lend themselves to customising too. Even if you’re on a budget with a cheap wedding venue, there’s plenty of touching ways you can ensure guests have a great time, with little cost to yourselves.
And don’t forget, when the party is all over, our memories and photographs will last a lifetime – so have fun!
Gary is a wedding photographer based in London, please do get in touch to discuss your big day.