Tuesday 16 February 2021
A romantic intimate London wedding
Wedding & Event Photographer Flo married her best friend Ollie during lockdown 2.0 on the 6th September 2020 (postponed from the 27th June 2020).
Their intimate ceremony took place at Chelsea Old Town Hall followed by a reception in the garden of their Battersea home. This was completely different to their original plan for a large summer wedding for 200 guests in Oxfordshire with a marquee reception, overnight glamping and a brunch bbq the next day. Instead they decided to marry when the restrictions allowed 30 guests and although it was far from the big wedding they had planned their uplifting story is bursting with love, celebration and positivity. After hearing all the lovely details from Flo I invited her to feature on our blog to share her experience and offer some inspiration and advice for couples considering a 2021 wedding which may have restrictions.
“I wouldn’t have changed a thing, it was the most special day of our lives. If you’re hoping to marry this year be open minded, flexible and try not to stress too much. You have each other and that really is the most important thing” Flo Brooks
When did you decide to proceed with getting married despite the restrictions?
I was toying with the idea during the first lockdown, as we had already been engaged for a year. Once lockdown was easing a little we decided to commit to the new date. I was however worried about paying for a second round of deposits to suppliers without the guarantee that we would actually be able to get married. We therefore booked the ceremony date and decided to hold off on confirming anything else until the last month, just in case! Surprisingly, you can organise a wedding very quickly during a pandemic as lots of suppliers have last minute availability.
As I am a wedding and event photographer myself, work was pretty scarce last year so it was great to have the opportunity to be creative and have something to look forward to. I wanted to create a day that we and all our friends and family would look forward to coming out of this isolating time.
For us, the main thing about getting married was having a special day with each other and beginning the next chapter of our lives together.
What timeframe did you have to adapt your plans?
One month. It is amazing what you can plan in such a little time. Our original wedding was planned over the course of a year and on reflection it felt drawn out and lost momentum a bit. I would definitely recommend a short engagement to people in the future.
Did your priorities change?
Yes! As a photographer I have seen so many beautiful events and I was so excited to create something myself but during the pandemic our priorities changed. Our focus was to give ourselves and our guests an amazing experience during this dark time. Of course I wanted everything to look lovely still, but I wasn’t obsessing about every single detail looking perfect like I was before.
What changes did you have to make to ensure your wedding was covid secure?
Reduced guest list – we had 27 friends and family plus our dog Sammy
Live streaming - Ollie’s sister and her boyfriend who live in Australia sadly weren’t able to come so they watched the ceremony via a live stream. It was so sweet as they got all dressed up for it.
Masks – we had bespoke masks made for the ceremony so that guests could take something away to remember our day by.
Screens - Chelsea Town Hall was kitted up with screens between the registrar and us.
Transport - we couldn’t transport everyone together so we organised Rickshaws to take all the guests (in their households) back to our house from Chelsea Town hall with a lap of Battersea Park where we go and walk our dogs each day.
Reception – this had to be outside and for lunch we seated everyone in a socially distanced way.
Antibacterial hand gel – we obviously ensured we had a large supply of this!
Did you incorporate a theme for the day?
Yes, we chose the theme ‘When Life Gives you Lemons’ Covid19 being our lemon.
The wedding styling had a Mediterranean feel with eucalyptus hanging from the roof of our marquee, lemons everywhere and a giant paella. Thankfully we were blessed with a gorgeously sunny day as everything was outside to keep within the rules. Our amazing caterer Lara made the most delicious paella with seafood (Ollie and I ate this on our first date). We loved having the food cooked in front of the guests as an interactive experience. We wanted our guests to feel like they were on holiday as no one has really been able to travel this year.
What were the highlights from your special day?
The whole thing. It was just so wonderful being amongst our closest friends and family and having a day to share with them all. I think emotions were flying so high because of the fact that we were able to have a party after everyone had been cooped up for so long!
What I loved about having an intimate wedding reception was that everyone was able to chat and rather than guests splitting off into little groups we were all one big group together. It was also so special having the lunch at our house in Battersea, London as it was personal to both of us. It’s hopefully somewhere we will be for a while, so we can tell our children that this was where we had our wedding celebration.
Can you offer some words of wisdom to any couples currently considering what a wedding with restrictions might feel like?
Personally I would just say go for it. A small wedding is so perfect and you can really make it amazing as there are less people so your budget can go further. We honestly had the most amazing day that we could have ever asked for, and feel very very lucky that we were able to celebrate with the small number of guests that we did. Our wedding was special to us just the way it was: it’s our own marriage story, and that is what is important!
Caterer: Lara Rodgers from Luna Larder
Flowers & Event Organiser: Ali Rodgers
Rings - Sophie Breitmeyer
Photographers: Barker Evans
Groom’s Suit: Hackett London
Headpiece: Fernanda Lewis Millinery
Invitations: The Putney Painter
Masks: Cotton Sense
Just 4 Linen: Just 4 Linen