Relaxed Stylish & Local Same Sex Wedding in London

WEDDINGS, Informal, Modern

Photography by Fiona Kelly

wandsworth-same-sex-wedding-london_0041Paul and Fabien kept their wedding local with their ceremony and reception moments from their home in Battersea last August. From their super stylish pink and blue suits, to heartfelt words in the ceremony and handmade touches for their guests, there were certainly a fair few tears shed in this beautifully local wedding. 

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DOUBLE PROPOSAL

After literally ‘bumping’ into each other on Valentine’s night, after five years together a very special evening turned into a double proposal! I loved reading this story from Paul.

We met in a club called, on Valentines night in 2009, having literally bumped into each other with both of us spilling our drink on the other! We both laughed it off and got chatting to each other and the rest, as they say, is history. We moved in together just over 2 years later.

It was towards the end of 2013 that we started talking about getting married, following the government passing The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) act in July that year, so proposing was not unexpected, we just didn’t know when it was going to happen. I took the initiative to pop the question first, having purchased a silver claddagh ring with an emerald as the heart. I had decided that I would propose in our home as we both hate unwanted attention.

So on 9th July 2014 I left work early, having purchased 100 tea lights, white roses and some bubbles. On the living room table I had the bubbles on ice, the roses in a vase and had made a heart shape out of tea lights with a framed photo of Fabien and myself in the middle of the heart. As Fabien came through the front door that evening I was waiting in the hallway for him, too excited to sit in the living room plus the heat off the 100 tea lights was making me sweat!

He knew, straight away, that something was up and as he entered the living room he said ‘Oh my, it’s actually happening’ and so down on one knee I got, opened the ring box and asked if he would do me the honours of being his husband. Once he said yes and we had kissed and hugged he then got down on one knee, produced a ring from his wallet (which he’d been carrying around with him since January) and asked me also if I would do him the honours of being his husband. It was such a special moment, extremely emotional and joyful also.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Fabien and Paul chose to celebrate their day locally with both the ceremony and reception all within moments of where they live in Battersea. I love the idea that they can walk past the venues where the happiest of memories lie daily.

Our overall vision of our day was that we wanted our wedding to be both informal and local. Fabien is French (and has lived in London for the past 17 years) and I am Irish (and have been living in London for the past 11 year) and as we had family travelling to London from both countries (and one of my brothers and his girlfriend travelling from Australia) we wanted everyone to get a feel for where we call home, in Battersea. Our wedding ceremony was held in Wandsworth Town Hall, 15 minutes drive from our house. The reception was held in The Woodman Bar, opposite where we live. Our flowers were arranged by a florist who works at our local garden centre, Battersea Flower Station and the red double decker bus we hired, to transport guests from ceremony to reception, was as local as we could get.

The most important part of the day for us was the ceremony itself and that our families and friends were there to witness us legally becoming husband and husband.

PINK AND BLUE PASTEL SUITS

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two more stylish grooms! Each with their eye for their own colour and style, the pale pink and blue suits perfectly complement each other, and as a bonus they came from the High Street!

Fabien and myself wanted our wedding suits to feel very special and under no circumstances were we going to wear matching suits. Fabien had wanted to get a pale blue suit and I had wanted a pale pink. We had looked at several designer suits however struggled to find our preferred colours, we even struggled to find these colours when researching bespoke options. So it came as a surprise to both of us to find our ideal colours on the high street!

Fabien got his at Moss Bros and I found mine in River Island. We then got the suits tailored to us, for more of a fitted feel. We had not asked our witnesses, Sheila and Toni, to wear anything in particular. Nor indeed had we asked our Best Men, Ander, Conor & Kenn, to wear anything specific.

Both Paul and Fabien chose to get ready together by themselves on the morning of the wedding. Whilst that’s not always a first thought for some couples, I think that to be together before the whirlwind of the day begins must be such an exciting way to start the events and as they say, quite calming to have each other’s support.

Getting ready the morning of our wedding we had decided to get ready together, with no family, friends or photographer – we were both glad we did this as it allowed us to share in each others excitement and when one of us got stressed, the other was able to keep us calm.

WANDSWORTH WEDDING

The ceremony took place in the Grand Chamber in Wandsworth Town Hall. The main entrance and stair well in the Town Hall is stunning, with endless marble and gorgeous art deco features. The Grand Chamber itself is a beautiful space, with high ceilings giving it a light and airy feel. It also has tiered bench seating, in a semi-circle, which meant that each of our guests could see the proceedings as we exchanged vows. Once all of our guests were seated, Fabien and myself were led into the room by each of our Mothers. As we walked in ‘Magic’ by Robin Thicke played through the sound system. As we signed the register, ‘La Vie En Rose’ by Grace Jones and ‘Green Garden’ by Laura Mvula played. After the register was signed, my sister Mary and our friends Adam and Sarah each read a verse of the following poem:

The One (author unknown)

When the one whose hand you’re holding

Is the one who holds your heart

When the one whose eyes you gaze into

Gives your hopes and dreams their start

When the one you think of first and last

Is the one who holds you tight

And the things you plan together

Make the whole world seem just right

When the one whom you believe it

puts their faith and trust in you

You’ve found the one and only love

You’ll share your whole life through

And as we left the chamber as husband and husband, ‘Love at First Sight’ by Kylie Minogue played as our guests clapped and cheered!

HANDMADE DETAILS

Fabien arranged the flowers and over the course of our engagement, collected various white / cream wedgewood vases in different sizes and shapes, from several local car boot sales. We had asked for a mix of summer flowers, with a wild and meadow feel to include hydrangea, roses, chamomile, scabiosa, cow parsley and peonies in pastel shades of pinks, blues and yellows.

Fabien also created our wedding favours, which were handmade candles in vintage tea cups, with a spoon per cup and saucer with the guests names on them. Fabien purchased the cups and saucers from several car boot sales over the course of our 13 month engagement and made the candles himself, with lime and basil scent.

MOUTH WATERING MEAL

We choose our wedding reception venue, The Woodman in Battersea, mainly as the food they serve is delicious. Upon arrival at the venue, guests were offered Prosecco with grapefruit juice and canapes of salmon, beef, goats cheese.

We had pre asked our guests to choose their starter and mains, and they choose between starters of homemade black pudding with caramelised apple, Baked Irish goats cheese with a fiery tomato and chilli jam and salad, Salt and pepper squid with aioli or Garlic and herb wild mushroom risotto. Main food dishes were Fillet steak medallions with roast onion and madeira jus, Pan fried sea bream with fennel confit and capers vinaigrette, Herb roast breast of free range chicken with ratatouille or Baked potato gnocchi with tomato, roast vegetables, smoked cheddar, pesto, parmasen.

Dessert was a selection of mini cakes, severed to the table on boards so guests could help themselves. We also had a cheese tower with 6 different types of cheese, a mix of British, French and Irish, As our wedding cake we had a French strawberry fraisier cake, with R2D2 and C3PO (from Star Wars) as cake toppers. Evening food was mini hot dogs and burgers.

We had two DJs, who work as a team, both being friends of a friend . They played lots of soul music whilst our guests enjoyed canapes and drinks. And when it came to hitting the dance floor he had everyone up and dancing, and at times walked out amongst our dancing quests asking for any requests – which went down a treat. The lighting they provided was perfect as well – the giant disco ball a big hit. They really did an excellent job and listened to what we wanted and did I can’t recommend them enough.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Our photographer Fiona Kelly did an amazing job, from start to finish, and thankfully, on the wedding day had a second photographer who took photos of our guests at the reception, whilst Fiona, Fabien and myself headed down to the Thames for some beautiful shots. Fiona did a fabulous job of catching all the key moments of the day, and so so much more, without being intrusive. A true professional and a really nice person as well. Highly recommended.

Having a second photographer is so useful for exactly this reason, meaning you don’t have to choose between spending time on your portraits or having shots of your guests enjoying themselves!

REFLECTIONS

We highly recommend if you can find a beautiful venue, to keep your wedding as local to your home as possible. Both Fabien and myself love walking by ours every day – it really does bring a smile to our faces daily, remembering what an amazing day we had surrounded by wonderful family and friends.

Absoultely love that they can walk past where so many happy memories were made every day. That folks is the beauty of a London wedding…

Huge congratulations to Paul and Fabien and thank you for sharing all the details from your gorgeous day. Thanks also to photographer Fiona for sharing her beautiful images.