Posts Tagged: Soho Wedding

Alternative Union Club Wedding – A Soho Jazz Inspired Wedding Party

WEDDINGS, Elegant, Informal

There is a lot to be said for bride and grooms like Hels and Lewis. They had a fuss free, low key affair that was centered around their families and their love of music and books (he’s in a band, she’s a magazine editor), and of course each other. Photographed by the fabulous Laura McCluskey, this stylish pair had a sweet Marylebone Town Hall ceremony followed by a cosy reception at The Union members club in Soho. What I love most is that they carefully considered suppliers who’s style fit theirs and then let them roll with what they did best. And the results? Well, I think they speak for themselves…

I love Hels’ style, a sort of modern relaxed vintage and if you haven’t already looked at the credits, can you believe this dress is from Phase Eight on the high street? She makes it look a million dollars!

My dress was really inexpensive and didn’t require too much hunting around – I saw it months before the wedding while I was still looking for vintage dresses. I tried it on and my sister – the Maid of Honour – cried her eyes out when I put it on (in a good way), so I went with it. I had three other bridesmaids, including Lewis’ sister and two old friends, who in keeping with the relaxed feel of the day, chose their own dresses.

My hair and makeup was by The Chapel Islington, who I know and trust through my job as a magazine editor. They came to the hotel (Dean Street Townhouse) on the morning of the wedding.

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Lewis’ Nan is in her 80s and can’t travel, so we decided to stay in London for the wedding. Lewis had been to the Union for a meeting and when he showed me photos it looked like it was our kind of place. We went to meet the manager and his staff, and everyone was so friendly and relaxed and helpful that we stopped considering other reception venues straight away. And since neither of us is particularly religious or wanted a long, formal ceremony, we thought a civil service at Marylebone Town Hall would be best for the marriage itself.

We didn’t want themes or colour schemes to take over – we were never into the idea of a wedding that cost the earth and looked like it had been planned with military precision. We just wanted a cool party. So we decided very early on that the only guiding aesthetic principle would be that everything should be to our tastes and fit in with our characters. And since the Union has so much charm and this amazing, mixed-up interior anyway, we didn’t have to do much to the reception venue. We provided the flowers, a 1940s record player, some of our favourite jazz records, photos of us with our friends/families/dogs, books for favours (with little bookplates we made ourselves) and the seating plan for dinner. That was it. We also liked the idea of getting married in Soho – the heart of London – where we have both worked at one time or another.

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Having just recently worked with The girls from the Flower Appreciation Society I was thrilled to see that they had sprinkled a bit of magic on this wedding too. Hel’s said “They make these incredible, rambling, earthy bouquets of British wild flowers and the stuff they did for our wedding was jaw-dropping. They have this really unique and beautiful vision that a lot of suppliers lack. They’re artists, really.” I fully agree!

We wanted to keep things informal, colourful and a little offbeat. This might have been inspired by the old jazz music and imagery we both like so we had some jazz touches like the table names (Django, Satchmo, Ella, Nina and Chet) and so on (our dog is called Django!). But generally we just left our suppliers to do what they do best. We didn’t think we’d get the best results by sticking our oars in and trying to control everything to the nth degree: we hired them because their work fit our vision of what flowers/photos/etc should be, and we let them get on with it.”  Such a refreshing attitude from a couple!

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Lewis designed these colourful, transparent vinyl stickers that we used for the seating plan, bookplates and, later, the thank-you cards. The books went down well, too – for favours we gave everyone a copy of one of two novels by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – either The Little Prince or Wind, Sand & Stars. I was reading the former when Lewis and I first got together at the age of 17; Lewis found the latter in a house in LA where we stayed while he was recording his last album earlier this year. They’re both beautiful books and we each read something from one of them as part of the marriage service. 

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Special Moment…

The ceremony was fun, and the London bus to the venue afterwards was nice, sat amongst all our friends and family. The speeches were brilliant. Most memorable, though, is probably the fact that we managed to get married on probably the only sunny Saturday in London during the whole of May or June!

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These are some of the most gorgeous portraits I’ve seen. Amazing work from photographer Laura, and all in a hotel room! Love the bath shots…

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Planning Tips…

Everyone’s different but keeping it simple and true to our tastes worked for us. Choosing less obvious suppliers really helped us to get character with minimal effort. Oh and good parents: we have the best parents and they made a lot of it possible!

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For their music the couple made a playlist full of music that they thought would suit everyone.  It started with lots of jazz and smokey lounge, the first dance was Sam Cooke’s Nothing Will Ever Change This Love – then it was disco, Motown, soul, reggae, old pop, new pop… everything we love. I think we ended with The Beatles’ In My Life. Everyone danced non-stop, it was great.

These guys are effortlessly cool and it’s refreshing to see a beautiful wedding that didn’t cost the earth, or take over their lives but was everything they wanted and still full of personality. Congratulations to you both and thanks to photographer Laura McCluskey for kindly sharing her work.

Photography: Laura McCluskey / Venue: The Union Club, Soho / Wedding Dress: Phase Eight / Accessories: LK Bennett / Grooms Outift: Jacket Melinda Gloss, Jeans Acne, Tie Drake’s, Shoes Opening Ceremony / Hair + Make Up: The Chapel Islington / Flowers: The Flower Appreciation Society / Cake: Pomp De Franc