Little London Elopement in Chelsea on Christmas Eve

WEDDINGS, Elegant, Informal

Photography by Dominique Bader

After planning a ‘big wedding’ Michael and Ashleigh re-evaluated their plans and chose to have a secret little London elopement on Christmas Eve. Utterly romantic, despite the rain they said ‘I Do’ at Old Chelsea Town Hall followed by enjoying an evening at The Rosewood Hotel for lobster, jazz and cocktails. 

Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy

There is just something so incredibly romantic and heartwarming about today’s real wedding (complete with umbrella, how typically ‘London’), and it’s such a pleasure to share Michael and Ashleigh’s incredibly intimate day.

It’s not an uncommon story to hear of couples who are planning for a traditional ‘big’ wedding but find during this time the pressure, stress, politics and even finance perhaps all too much and they question their wedding plans. For couples who are quite private people, who may worry about being centre stage an elopement or simple wedding ceremony with just the two of you makes complete sense and that’s just what Michael and Ashleigh chose.

It’s a reminder to us all to not get carried away by what others do, or what we think we should do – and that to be truly happy means being yourselves on your wedding day, whatever way that is. Plus, look how gorgeous, relaxed and happy they are, it clearly was the best decision they made!

I love that on Christmas day they were able to tell their families they were married! What a wonderful Christmas present…

Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader - Chritian Louboutin Shoes Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader - Rosewood Hotel Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader PhotograhphyLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader PhotograhphyLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader PhotograhphyLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique BaderLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader PhotograhphyLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader - Bride in Black Coast OutfitLittle London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader - Bride in Black Coast Outfit Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader - Bride in Black Coast Outfit Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy Little London Elopement in Chelsea at Christmas by Dominique Bader Photograhphy

There is just something so incredibly romantic and heartwarming about today’s real wedding, and it’s such a pleasure to share Michael and Ashleigh’s incredibly intimate day.

It’s not an uncommon story to hear of couples who are planning for a traditional ‘big’ wedding but find during this time the pressure, stress, politics and even finance perhaps all too much and they question their wedding plans. For couples who are quite private people, who may worry about being centre stage an elopement or simple wedding ceremony with just the two of you makes complete sense and that’s just what Michael and Ashleigh chose.

It’s a reminder to us all to not get carried away by what others do, or what we think we should do – and that to be truly happy means being yourselves on your wedding day, whatever way that is. Plus, look how gorgeous, relaxed and happy they are, it clearly was the best decision they made!

I love that on Christmas day they were able to tell their families they were married! What a wonderful Christmas present…

A Perfectly Imperfect Proposal

We met back in 2005 at work when Michael and I were just 21 and 18 – neither of us could have imagined that 10 years later we would be married! We were together for 3 years when Michael proposed during a weekend away at our favourite place in Cornwall – it had been my birthday the week before so I didn’t have any suspicions that he was going to propose! He had a romantic proposal under the stars all planned for the Friday night but as with all best laid plans it went a bit wrong and he couldn’t propose until the next morning – which he did at 6.30am, waking me up with a cup of tea and getting down on one knee next to the bed!

JUST THE TWO OF US

When we first got engaged we both knew we wanted to get married at Chelsea Old Town Hall in London with either a few close friends and family members or just the two of us alone – we’re not big party people and not used to being the centre of attention so it seemed perfect to us.

But as we began to plan, the wedding grew into a big traditional church wedding in the New Forest! About 11 months before the day we realised we just weren’t looking forward to it so we called Chelsea to see if they had availability for a marriage ceremony, which they did – on Christmas eve! As we hadn’t yet sent out any wedding invites we were in a perfect position to do it, so we booked it right there and then.

COCKTAILS, DINNER & JAZZ AT THE ROSEWOOD HOTEL

With only weeks to plan we kept everything as simple as possible – including the guest list! As we tried to decide who to invite we realised that there were so many friends and family members who we would love to celebrate with, that if we invited them all we may as well have just kept the big summer wedding, so we chose to get married completely alone instead and in secret with our incredible photographer and her husband as our witnesses which perfect for us. The night before the wedding we stayed at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn and had the most amazing night celebrating – with wonderful staff, a beautiful room, amazing cocktails, live jazz and lobster macaroni and cheese(!) – it could not have been more perfect and we can’t recommend the hotel enough.

BACK TO BLACK

I originally had a big white lace and tulle Pronovias wedding gown for the church wedding so when it came to finding something to wear for the elopement I knew I wanted something much more simple. I ordered a black lace top and a black skirt from Coast which came the day before we left for London. I always wear black so I really felt like me – plus the skirt was long at the back and a little shorter at the front to show off my sparkly shoes!

I kept my jewellery simple – just my engagement ring, wedding band plus a pair of minimal rose gold bar earrings which, again, I received really last minute and absolutely loved! I did my hair myself as I knew exactly how I wanted it – plus it was so windy and rainy on the day that I knew I wanted a relaxed soft curl rather than anything too fussy. I also did my make up myself with the help of an amazing make-up artist at Mac who I can’t thank enough! The afternoon before the wedding I stopped in at Mac in Southampton and Martha helped me pick everything I needed for the day including the most lovely soft berry lipstick!

My flowers were from McQueen’s in London, a mix of pink, lilac and burgundy roses, astrantia and silvery foliage tied with a black velvet ribbon.

Michael decided to go for a classic three-piece navy suit from TM Lewin with a white shirt and silver-grey woven tie. He paired this with black and navy derby shoes from Loake and a simple silver tie-clip and cufflinks.

CHELSEA CEREMONY

The ceremony was really simple, we decided not to choose music or readings as we wanted to just enjoy the moment and not worry about extras. The registrars were so friendly and made us feel completely at ease, our photographer Dominique and her husband Samuel were our witnesses which made the whole experience so intimate and absolutely perfect beyond words.

Chelsea Old Town Hall is such a beautiful building with a gorgeous entranceway, I’m only sad that it rained so much that we weren’t able to get more photos outside on the steps – but Dominique and Samuel were incredibly amazing and got completely soaked just to get a few shots of us which are our absolute favourite pictures – so we can’t thank them enough for that!

DOMINIQUE BADER PHOTOGRAPHY

When it comes to the photography on the day I don’t even know where to begin. Dominique was so incredible and words can’t describe what a big part she played on the day. Years ago I saw an intimate elopement she shot for a couple at Chelsea Old Town Hall and it was the first time in my life that I felt I could see myself getting married one day.

That wedding and the photos were so utterly perfect and it was in the back of my mind for a long time, all through the planning of our big church wedding. When we decided we were going to elope there was only one photographer that we wanted and that was Dominique! With not much notice and asking her and her husband to be our witnesses and work on Christmas Eve (knowing from her blog that they have a young daughter) I thought there was no way she’d be able to do it but she agreed! And we are so grateful. She is so talented, her work is natural and beautiful and she was able to put us both as ease during the day. She has such a fun, warm personality and you truly feel like a friend is taking your photo.

PRIVATE AFFAIR

Getting married privately was so right for us and we’re both so happy that we did it. I can’t express how wonderful it felt telling my parents on Christmas day that we were married and how over the moon they were for us – their acceptance and happiness was the best gift we could have ever had! Skipping all the stress of the big wedding was worth all the stress of cancelling it and I would encourage anyone who wanted to elope to just do it! I only wish we had planned it from the beginning and had more time to enjoy the details instead of having to rush everything but regardless it was wonderful and we are very happy with every part of it.

Thank you to Michael and Ashleigh for sharing their day their way, and to their wonderful photographer Dominique Bader (and Samuel!) for capturing such a wonderfully romantic and intimate celebration. 

  • Dominique

    Thank you for the beautiful feature Charley, it looks fantastic! Thanks to Ashleigh and Michael too, for inviting me to capture their wonderful day and for their kind words xx