I have been receiving more and more wedding submissions from couples opting for much more informal, city chic wedding reception venues, including recent Nu Bride couples Darren and Kathleen and Emma and Steve .
The wave of couples choosing to celebrate in trendy restaurants and bars as their backdrop is gathering momentum. Picking venues that they feel represent who they are, what they enjoy and where they feel comfortable. Castles and manor houses are absolutely breathtaking, but the formality and aesthetic is not for everyone and more and more couples are recognising they can do their wedding, their way. There are lots of less obvious wedding venue choices on offer, IF you look a little deeper.
Today I asked London wedding planner Louise Warren, who has also noticed this trend, to join me in sharing a few of both hers and my favourite established and up and coming London wedding venue treasures with you.
Louise: One of the first things every newly engaged couple thinks about as soon, is where to hold their wedding celebrations.
If I look back at my parents’ generation in the 1960’s, traditionally they had a ceremony in a church followed by a reception in the local Town/Church Hall. Needless to say, costs back then were a LOT less than what they are today and even in those days, weddings were seen as expensive!
Our western tradition sees couples choosing, hotels, stately homes, even castles to host their wedding day. increasingly more popular as there are a number of beautiful and stunning venues of this kind which allow you to hold your ceremony and reception in the same place.
However I would like to share a new trend which is currently emerging. There are a number of ‘alternative venues’ out there that are all waiting to be discovered for wedding receptions and what better place to start than in the beautiful and eclectic capital city, London.
My recent visit to four bars in particular, really has made me think ‘outside the box’ as a wedding planner.
Louise: A local in the heart of Maida Vale offers a traditional yet rustic environment to host perhaps a possible vintage themed wedding. With a range of quirky artefacts including a tin bath, the décor and the two floors offer ample space for a perfect intimate wedding reception with all your close friends and family.
The Sterling – Nu Bride Pick
A super cool semi-circular venue on the ground floor of the iconic Gherkin, in the City.
The vibrant space is available for exclusive weekend hire, this venue is the perfect hub for chic wedding celebrations for stylish trendy couples. I speak from experience, it is a great light and airy venue, with a very impressive and delicious food menu.
Plateau Restaurant – Nu Bride Pick
Offering stunning views of London, this East London treasure, sits on the top of One Canada Square Tower in London.
Plateau Restaurant also hold a wedding licence so you are able to hold both your wedding ceremony and reception celebrations here, from intimate to grand (up to 500 standing reception, 200 seated), with incredible views of London as your backdrop.
Louise: With its world class collection of over 300 gins and fabulous artwork, Graphic is located in the heart of Soho and is a perfect venue for those all-important pre wedding celebrations for couples. The venue offers the ultimate backdrop for an incredible cocktail making master class, gin tasting session or just a place to hang out and party with your hens and stags. A pure celebration venue where you could experience a delicious cocktail from a paint tin! Yes, really!
The Dock Kitchen – Nu Bride Pick
Stevie Parle’s London restaurant based in Ladbroke Grove, West London. The Dock Kitchen has a prime location and overlooks the Grand Union Canal and boasts its original brick arches and beamed ceilings against a modern and refurbished backdrop, kitted out in stylish Tom Dixon furniture. The Dock Kitchen is available for intimate – mid sized parties with a variety of room options and can also be available for exclusive hire
Central & Co
Louise: A stylish and relaxed brasserie and bar located right in the heart of the West End, next door to one of London’s most iconic theatres, the Palladium. Already experienced in hosting wedding receptions, (including a wedding reception that instead of cutting the cake, had a tower of profiteroles which the bride and groom poured chocolate sauce on to – love this idea!) Central & Co allows for creative wedding planning and welcomes couples to turn this venue into their ideal setting and with a private bar downstairs, for which you could turn into the cocktail or gin tasting area, this really would be a celebration to remember amongst your guests! The Urban Leisure Group is a young and dynamic company and each of their venues oozes creativity. Each venue works with local farmers and breweries to ensure the finest locally sourced food and drink is served.
The Swan – Globe Theatre – Nu Bride Pick
Get your thespian on at The Swan Bar and restaurant which is next to the famous Globe Theatre home to Shakespeare. The Swan is also licensed for wedding ceremonies and is nestled on London’s Southbank overlooking the River Thames. A great excuse to take some gorgeous pictures on the beautiful embankment after your ceremony or in the gorgeous fairy lit tree sky line at night.
Louise: I recognise the importance and that couples crave to be different and stand out from the crowd on their wedding day. Visiting venues outside of obvious hotel choices made me realise and appreciate just how wonderful such spaces as these are for creating a unique and trendy wedding space that in most cases, won’t cripple your bank account.
Thank you Louise for helping me highlight some little trendy hot spots.
During your wedding venue search if you want to move away from the grain and enjoy something trendy, opt for a space less obvious, think outside the wedding box. You may have a hidden treasure on your doorstep!