A modern and non traditional London Wedding in Stoke-Newington

Back in April I bobbed down the M6, via the coffee shop on the M6 toll road (my second home), to photograph the wedding of Elle and Damien Lewis at Stoke Newington Town Hall. It was a perfect day in many ways and I absolutely loved being there to document it for them. Here’s what they said (via Google Review):

Steve photographed our east London wedding in April this year and the results are outstanding. Our wedding was quite untraditional and the documentary style has captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly. Steve was such a dream to work with, and we would recommend him to everyone – no matter the style of your big day! Thanks Steve – Elle & Colin.

How did you meet?

In a bar on Tottenham Court Road through a work event; Elle thought Colin looked like Damien Lewis… she was drunk.

What made you choose your venue(s)?

Our wedding was never going to be traditional. Neither of us liked usual wedding venues and the formal order of service, which often becomes a box-ticking exercise. We had few stipulations: we didn’t want to spend a fortune on one day; we wanted the wedding to be in Stoke Newington, our adopted home in London (we both come from Cheshire); we wanted mind-blowing food and great beer to be the focus of the day; we wanted all of our family and friends to have a relaxed, unpretentious and most importantly fun day. The Town Hall was an obvious choice, it’s a beautiful building and 5min walk from our flat. The Rose & Crown was opposite the Town Hall, so convenient for a post-ceremony pint, but also is a great local pub with special character. Jones & Sons is a restaurant in Dalston that we’ve been going to for years with the most incredible modern British seasonal menu. As the venue is a restaurant that just-so-happens to work as a party space, we knew that we didn’t have to compromise on the food (which so often seems to be the case at more traditional wedding venues). We could also have dinner and dancing in the same space without the usual annoyance of having to move tables and chairs to make room, which made the day flow seamlessly. The industrial warehouse-style interiors removed any prissiness from the space that we usually associate with wedding venues.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the day. More wedding detail and info below the photos!

stoke newington town hall reflection on the hight street, creative photography documentary photography, groom getting ready wedding cats groom preparations at the rose and crown, stoke-newington page boy getting ready reflection of the groom in the window another reflection image photo of the bride and her mum before the wedding little fiat car for wedding transport detail photo of the boquet the groom standing at the altar, or the town hall friends and family in congregation arrival of the bride reportage photography, gusts watching the nuptials exchange of the wedding rings journalistic photo of people laughing silhouette of the bride and groom walking in clissoid park, london london wedding photography photos of the engagement ring london wedding pictures, on the routemaster bus messing about on the bus speeches in the venue, jones and sons. grooms speech, sitting on the bar instagram speech and photograph green socks and bride watching, emotion laughing bride making toasts during the wedding breakfast speeches and toasts cuddling, embracing festoon lights at jones and sons in dalston wedding details, flowers little pots of flowers, detail shots portrait of bride and groom, red container, wedding in london photo in front of orange shipping container nice photos of the bride and groom creative wedding photography, reflection in the mirror silhouette reflection father of the bride speech bride's dad, speeches best man speech photo kiss, speeches, in black and white, monochrome the roaming band, supertenants band, guitars, singing dancing dragging the shutter, wedding photography, band, reception dancing in the evening the dj singing and dancing the band getting people dancing and singing double bass, dancing, first dance, wedding dance party wedding party and entertainment in the evening more singing photos massive cheese wheel cutting of the cheese wedding cake

Bride’s fashion and accessory details

I hate traditional wedding dresses and the ridiculous cost associated with them. It was also important to stay true to my own personal style, and wear something that fit the occasion of a relaxed London wedding. The dress was from Ted Baker’s SS17 Wedding range, with shoes from New Look and a gold floral headband from Anthropology. After the wedding, I plan to have the dress made into a top and skirt so I can wear it again.

Grooms fashion and accessory details

The navy suit was from Aquascutum, bought off the peg from the Hackney outlet store and then tailored. I wanted to keep it classic, not too formal and have something I could wear again. The shoes were a new pair of my favourite Grenson Brogues, the shirt was from Eton and the tie and pocket square from Reiss.

Food, canapes, main menu, dessert

We opted for sharing plates as we liked the informality. Jones & Sons helped us to create an incredibly decadent menu of four courses of seasonal and modern British dishes. For starters we had venison carpaccio; monkfish cheeks; burrata on sourdough. For mains we had slow cooked beef shortrib; trout; truffled polenta. It was vital that we had a cheese course and we opted for a selection of cheeses from the Alpine Savoie region, as we are both winter sports fans. For dessert we had lemon posset and millionaire’s shortbread tart. The feedback from our guests has been that it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding, which was exactly what we wanted. We are also huge craft beer fans, so we created our own beer for the wedding with a company called Friendship Adventure. We had an Elle beer and Colin beer with illustrated bottles designed by our friend Matt Jacobs (@darkmattart). This went down a storm with our guests on the day and was a big talking point.

Wedding Cake

A huge 7kg wheel of Raclette cheese which we later melted over goose fat chips and pickles. Best evening food ever.

Entertainment – (musicians, band, dj etc)

Music is very important to us and we wanted to get our friends and family on the dance floor all night long. Elle had hired the band – The Supertenants – for a work event last year, so we knew what a great atmosphere they could create with their acoustic roaming set up. The DJ (Craig Duranti) plays at one of our favourite Stoke Newington pubs on a Friday night, and really understood our vision.

What advice would you give to others planning a wedding?

Don’t try and plan a “wedding”, try and plan a party that you want. It’s so easy to get swept up in what you think a wedding should be and all the boxes you need to tick. For us, we didn’t want to waste time, energy or money on the little touches, but instead focused on getting the things that were important to us right – food, booze, music, flow and atmosphere. Keep it genuine to you, don’t compromise and definitely don’t listen to other people’s opinions.

Other vendors who helped with your wedding:

The Rose & Crown pub is opposite the Town Hall and has 6 beautiful rooms above, including a bridal suite. We hired that out for our family which really added to the atmosphere. Also, a special shout out to Tara at Jones & Sons who managed the whole event seamlessly, and also managed to source our 7kg raclette and authentic alpine grill!
A Photo Booth (from King of the booth), which we made Alpine themed (Colin designed the backdrop) was really fun and we got loads of great pictures of our friends and family. We hired an old Routemaster featuring our names, which took everyone from the Pub to Jones & Sons We used redroutemaster.com For the place cards, Elle bought vintage ski resort postcards online (less than £10 for 100) and we stamped the names on the reverse.
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