Updated: Apr 29
A few years ago, the word ‘eloping’ might have conjured up the image of slipping away in the dead of night without anyone noticing, only to hike somewhere highly remote and tie the knot there. So, how can London elopements be a thing?
Well, nowadays, the idea of eloping is more often used to refer to a smaller, more intimate wedding. Of course, you can still do the above, but it includes more contemporary, city-style microweddings too. And I’m very glad about that, because London elopements are some of my faves EVER!
I’m lucky enough to have shot a fair few London elopements now, including a Hackney Town Hall Wedding, a Marylebone Town Hall wedding, an Islington Town Hall wedding…the list goes on! What I love most about them is the freedom that they give couples, to get married the exact way they want to.
So if you’re looking to have an uber-cool, unique London elopement, here’s 5 ways inspired by some of my brilliant couples who’ve done exactly that:
1. Pay homage to iconic, historic London
What makes London, and therefore London elopements, so magical? Its mixture of new and old, of history and innovation, of iconic, instantly recognisable elements. So why not have some of these at your wedding as a fun nod to the city where it all happened?
For example, Jade and Chris’ Chelsea Town Hall wedding was just the two of them, so they asked two Chelsea Pensioners to be their witnesses. The Chelsea Pensioners are famous and quintessentially British, unmistakable in their smart scarlet coats and distinctive hats, and I thought it was genius to have them play such an honoured role in the day!
Then, after the ceremony, we took a stroll through South London, shooting in front of red London telephone boxes, on the stunning Albert Bridge, and in Horseguards Parade, too. Another London classic is a red Routemaster bus. Or why not hail a black cab, like Kara and James after their Islington Town Hall wedding?
Maybe you prefer the quieter back streets of London, where you feel like you’ve stepped back in time (but without sacrificing any style, of course.) Esther and Josh, who had a Marylebone Town Hall wedding, went for a just-married stroll down some beautiful, picturesque mews, which still have that classic London feel without anything overtly traditional.
2. …whilst making the most of the contemporary city vibes too
On the other end of the spectrum are the newer, more contemporary parts of the city that also play their part in making London elopements so special. Kara and
James’ Islington Town Hall wedding was an excellent example of this: the venue is right in the heart of Islington, smack bang opposite loads of cute cafes, restaurants, and bars. With that in mind, Kara, James and I hopped over the road to take some shots in front of the shopfronts.
What I love most of all about these (other than how good Kara and James look, of course – more on that below!) are the passersby captured in the background. For me, this truly sums up the joy of London elopements: being in the midst of such a vibrant, forward-moving city. Hopefully these photos will always take Kara and James straight back to their Islington Town Hall wedding day, and they’ll be able to feel that just-married joy, basking in the love from strangers wishing them well all over again!
3. Wear whatever you want
Even if it’s not typically “Wedding”-y. Of course, this should be true whatever plans we’re talking about, but it’s especially true of London elopements. Just because they're slightly more laidback affairs doesn’t mean they have to be any less luxe, so you should wear what you feel wow in.
For example, you could opt for a bridal dress that’s not white. For her winter wedding, Jade chose a Ghost number made in a beautiful dusky pink silk, which she wore with a fur coat to keep the chill at bay. Kara wore metallic, silvery Ganni for her Islington Town Hall wedding day – round of applause for that incredible feather detailing at the bottom, please…
Alternatively, if you’re going for chic, sleek city style – why not go for a bridal suit? Esther brought the Bianca Jagger beauty to hers and Josh’s Marylebone Town Hall wedding with an all-white trouser suit from Reiss. Just add a bouquet and heels, and you’re ready to go.
Or, perhaps you’re feeling trainers, for a wedding look that’s casual but oh-so cool. To accompany her cherry red suit, Lauren wore white trainers for a super cool urban look. In matching heart-shaped sunglasses, Shiraz had also accessorised to the max with a pink fedora and long, trailing white veil.
4. You can walk between venues
When looking at transport for both London elopements and London weddings, one mode that often gets overlooked is walking. If you hadn’t considered it before and it’s possible for your wedding plans, then I’d really recommend it – not only is it good fun and a great way to work off any nerves you may be feeling, but it’s also a very chill way of getting from A to B. Plus, it makes excellent photos, as you can see with Esther. I met her and her squad at the Landmark Hotel, and once they were ready to go, we strolled over to the venue for their Marylebone Town Hall wedding ceremony.
Why not go one step further and make the most of it like Lauren and Shiraz did, and carry a cute love heart balloon on your way?
5. You can go to the pub!
Ah, the pub – one of the country’s most beloved institutions. With nearly 4,000 pubs in the capital, they can be a beloved part of London elopements, too. Even if you haven’t hired out the venue or booked a table in advance, the juxtaposition of a glamorous wedding outfit and a cosy pub is the stuff of glamorous dreams. Let’s face it, the pub is the place of dreams – so why not visit on your big day?
BONUS TIP: A note on Town Halls
I couldn’t write a blog post on London elopements without giving a special shout out to Town Hall venues now, could I? You can probably tell my love for them throughout this post – I’ve mentioned a Marylebone Town Hall wedding and an Islington Town Hall wedding as well as a Chelsea Town Hall wedding above, but there are so many more beautiful choices to choose from too (e.g a Hackney Town Hall wedding). If you thought they were just stuffy, functional offices; think again. So many of the London ones feature stunning marble interiors and wood-panelled rooms to die for, giving them so much character and charm!
And if you’re in the midst of planning one yourself and are looking for a fun, creative wedding photographer who LOVES London elopements - then feel free to get in touch! Whether you’re planning an Islington Town Hall wedding, Hackney Town Hall Wedding, Marylebone Town Hall wedding, or somewhere I haven’t yet mentioned here, I’d absolutely love to chat to you about shooting your big day.