Gemma + Pete – A London Bride MC Motors Wedding

MC Motors Wedding London | Photography: Aneta Mak | Planning & Styling: London Bride

This MC Motors wedding was one of my all time favourite weddings to work on, it’s taken me a while to blog it as it was featured both online on Style Me Pretty and in print in You & Your Wedding magazine so a little patience to blog was required!

The East London venue, MC Motors was such a great canvas to work with (and handily around the corner from me and the couple!) but also I loved Gemma and Pete’s creative brief of ‘Distressed Elegance’ for their November wedding.

Gemma and Pete are a super stylish couple and were keen for their wedding to reflect their London lifestyle – combining their love of the urban city with but with a sophisticated, creative aesthetic and the key was very much that they wanted to enjoy their day with all their wonderful friends and family.

I thought I’d share a few of the early concept boards which I created for them, which is nice to look back on and in fact I’d like to think we stayed quite close to the initial concepts!


Many of the elements which I proposed in the boards such as wild ivy, hanging festoons, gold foiled stationery and berry florals were all final elements included in the wedding.


Overall the day was full of fun, food style and sophistication all captured in effortless and timeless fine art photography from Aneta Mak, who shoots mainly on film which really does just add to the beauty of it all…

Gemma and her bridesmaids got ready at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green. They chose one of the amazing apartments so that all the girls could have their hair and make up done together whilst sipping on bubbles of course! The fantastic Sev at Hepburn Collection created a beautiful modern classic up-do, whilst Mariam Jensen gave Gemma a flawless radiant complexion.
Gemma’s stunning gown and veil were by Halfpenny London, an effortless fit on her, the elegant fabric draped just perfectly, teamed with a thick sash which tied in a bow, and for the ceremony she chose to combine with the sweet lace overlay shrug which provided beautiful detailing for the back.
As a hint to the lace accents of Gemma’s dress, the bridesmaids wore Navy lace dresses from Whistles which were perfect for winter city chic. Being Scottish, some of the groomsmen and Father of the Bride sported kilts whilst the groom incorporated a touch of the bride’s heritage with his tartan tie.
The ceremony took place at the beautiful art-deco Town Hall in Islington, after which guests were treated to Champagne aboard a London Routemaster bus to the warehouse wedding reception at MC Motors in Hackney.
The bride and groom had some precious time together along with their photographer Aneta Mak who captured these stunning portraits. I remember just how much they were beaming after the ceremony and these images of them are just so incredibly romantic. That location is just perfection!
As the guests arrived into the street-like atrium bar, they were treated to ale and Champagne as well as oysters, shucked by hand and served by Oystermeister. As a surprise, we then arranged to have the couple arrive in their London taxi straight into the al-fresco style area which was such a fun moment as we lifted the shutters at their arrival to a round of applause!
We transformed the warehouse, which is essentially a film and photographic location, into two decadent spaces for drinking and for dining and dancing. Whilst the adults were enjoying the reception we also created a room for the young children to play, create and watch cartoons in which I have to say is a welcome addition for most parents when at a wedding!
In keeping with the theme we wanted to use the structure of the room to create atmosphere so The Flower Appreciation Society draped beautiful ivy from the industrial walls, poles and ceiling beams scattered with dahlias and festoon lighting was hung to provide warm lighting for the dark winter’s evening. There were thoughtful touches such as taxi cards so that guests could make their way home safely and for a nightcap there was of course an abundance of Scottish whisky served on a whisky trolley for those wanting a break from the dancefloor!
As huge foodies, the catering was a key element to the day and the menu reflected their love of enjoying London’s culinary delights with home-made terrines by the Groom’s brother (who is a chef), spit roast chickens, indulgent cheese boards and a hearty evening hog roast. With the meal taking centre stage, inspired by indulgent supper clubs, the table decorations were elegant but with a relaxed bistro feel. Antique brass candlesticks and cut glass decanters for the wine added a decadence to the styling among the relaxed berry florals.
The menus which were each tied with a mini sparkler to be used for the toast, completed the bespoke gold foiled and screen printed stationery suite onto rustic brown kraft paper which I worked with a designer to create, and the couples friend hand drew the table plan onto an ornate mirror for a touch of luxury and a focal point for the guests.
After some amusing and heartfelt speeches, for the evening, Gemma swopped her delicate lace shrug for beautiful embellished and sparkling detail for a glamorous transformation ready for the first dance. A true Scottish party wouldn’t be complete without a ceilidh so after dinner guests took part in a traditional (and very lively!) dance followed by a brilliant DJ party set by the Wedding Smashers.
It was such a fun wedding with a great team that was true to the couples style. They’ve just celebrated their first anniversary so congrats Gemma and Pete and of course huge thanks to the wonderfully talented Aneta Mak for letting me share the beautiful images.
Wedding Photography: Aneta MAK Photography / Planning + Design: Charley Beard of London Bride / Ceremony Venue: Islington Town Hall / Reception Venue: MC Motors  / Wedding Dress: Halfpenny London / Bride’s Shoes: Rupert Sanderson / Hair: Severin Hubert of Hepburn Collection / Makeup: Mariam Jensen / Groom’s Suit Tailor: Cad and The Dandy / Floral Design: Flower Appreciation Society / Wedding Catering: Roast Hog + Oyster Meister / Wedding Cake: Groom’s Mother / String Quartet: Tyburn String Quartet / Ceilidh Band (Traditional Scottish Dancing): Lochnagar Ceilidh Band /  DJ: Wedding Smashers / Vintage Hire: Classic Crockery / Lighting: Peachy Productions / Transportation: Traditional Travel Black London Taxi / Cinematography: Ewan McNicol (family friend) of Lucid Inc.

  • Elsie

    WOW, looks like a very cool East London wedding! We got married in Islington Town Hall too x

    • chantel

      I love this venue. Really thinking about changing my intended location. Do you know how much the location and props cost to hire?

      • Charley

        Chantel, it’s best for you to get in touch with the venue direct, just follow the link! Thanks!

  • Annabel – Love My Dress

    Charley, this really is beautiful. Having been following your blog/work now since around 2008/09 when I started planning my own wedding, I can honestly say your portfolio has blossomed in the most spectacular way and you have some truly stunning weddings to boast about, and rightly so. This is such a gorgeous wedding and I love Ed’s film photography too. Wonderful stuff Xx

  • Liz Shuttleworth

    I am getting married at MC Motors in May and I really love these chairs – they are perfect – but I can’t find anything similar! Where did you get them? Thanks so much! x

    • Charley

      Hi Liz, they were sourced from Rayners Hire.