Black-Tie Party, For a London Wedding at The Ritz

In my experience, no two weddings are ever completely the same, and no two couples have the exact same needs when it comes to wedding planning. That’s why I offer bespoke services to all my clients. And every wedding planning stage is tailored to your needs. So, when a couple approached me needing consultation and coordination for their black-tie wedding, with The Ritz as their venue and ideas of partying the night away in London… I jumped at the chance to help!

brude and groom smile at their black tie weddign at The Ritz

For this couple, my consultation and coordination services involved supplier recommendations, as needed, meetings with suppliers (such as the venue and florist) to run over plans and confirm timings during the planning stages, and coming in at the end to coordinate the rehearsal dinner and wedding day. Making sure the couple could enjoy their day, stress free.

The wedding had the feel of Hollywood glamour meets royalty. Stylish attire and modern touches mixed with rich experiences and decadent details. It was the perfect combination for a US couple wanting a London, black-tie wedding.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The night before the wedding, the couple had a relaxed rehearsal dinner, at a local Italian restaurant. To give the guests a memorable experience from the start, we gave everyone a London welcome bag. I put the bags together with shortbread and biscuits from Harrods, tea from Fortnum & Masons, a Ritz map of London, and a red telephone box key ring, as well as a cereal bar, veg crisps, advill and personalised water bottles. It was the perfect way to give guests a taste of what was to come.

The First Look

The couple chose to do a ‘first look’ before their London wedding ceremony. I love this modern approach (I’m never one for following traditions just for traditions sake!). It’s always a really heartfelt and romantic moment, and a great opportunity for your more formal couple photos.

That’s exactly what the bride and groom chose to do. And as the bride entered, down the exceptional flight of stairs, Cameo Photography captured the groom’s reaction – looking up at his soon to be wife.

The Ceremony

With over 10 years’ experience in the wedding industry, I’ve seen a lot of ceremony spaces. From the unique and contemporary, to the traditional and sentimental. But I loved the couple’s choice of the Farm Street Church, in London, it’s one of the most stunning wedding ceremony venues I’ve worked at, so it was great to back there for their wedding. Really beautiful. And, as it was a relatively small wedding with just 60 guests, there was a sense of intimacy in the exquisite architecture.

The bride arrived, with her father, in the personal chauffeur-driven Ritz Rolls-Royce. Her dress fit the celebration – it was huge! Anything less would have looked insignificant in the grandeur. But it took 2 of us to help her in and out of the car.

As confetti isn’t allowed outside the church, guests waved ribbon wands as the couple left the ceremony. It was a unique and memorable touch that gave them a great photo opportunity without upsetting the church. I may be one for pushing boundaries and stepping outside the box, but some rules have to be respected.

The Reception

The bride’s parents regularly attend champagne evenings at The Ritz in London (despite being based in America), which is why the couple chose it for their black-tie wedding reception venue.

Once the drinks reception had started, and guests were mingling, the couple made their entrance together down the grand staircase. They then each opened bottles of champagne with a sword and the help of The Ritz’s wine sommelier (it’s a fun and daring French technique called sabrage).

During drinks, a live oil painter created a unique painting of the bride and groom in the Red Room (the bride’s favourite space at The Ritz). Not your average experience at a wedding, but so appropriate for the couple.

Drinks were followed by a 3 course meal, but with a difference. Instead of the standard starter, main, and dessert, the couple chose 3 savoury courses. First up was Langoustine a la Nage, then Seabass with Fennel and Artichoke, or Fillet of Beef, and finally Brillat Savarin cheese. It was fine dining at its best… perfect for the couple’s black-tie wedding vision.

The Details

The classic flower arrangements were provided by in-house florists, Paul Thomas Flower. Huge table centres stood on tall glass stands, with little bud vases around the bases. The flowers included roses, hydrangeas, and orchids – all in a white and pale pink/blush palette. The on-the-day wedding reception stationery was also provided by The Ritz.

Favours were miniature cookie wedding cakes, individually boxed and tied with ribbon, created by Abigail Bloom. The couple also gave guests Charbonnel & Walker chocolates.

The Party

After dinner, while we turned the dining room around for the party, a close-up magician, Maddox via Sternberg Clarke, entertained guests. He got the evening celebrations started with a great trick involving the couple and a Rubik’s Cube. We then had speeches and the cutting of the fabulous cake by The Abigail Bloom Cake Company in the Red Room. 

Once the main room had been turned around, the bride and groom performed a choreographed first dance. This was followed by a lovely father-daughter dance for the bride, which is a popular custom in America. Music was provided by the live band Bellissimo, including a great sax player. And during the evening, everyone enjoyed a dessert buffet that The Abigail Bloom Cake Company and I styled in the Red Room.

If you dream of a black-tie wedding in London, maybe even at The Ritz, and want the stress of planning such a memorable celebration taken off your shoulders – get in touch {insert link}, I’d love to hear from you.

Wedding Day Credits

Wedding Planner Always Andri | Photography Cameo Photography | Videographer The Dreamcatchers | Venues Farm Street Church & The Ritz | Church Flowers Helen Aristidou | Florist Paul Thomas Flowers | Cake & Dessert Table The Abigail Bloom Cake Company | Live Painter, Band & Magician via Sternberg Clarke | Makeup Artist Mariam Jenson | Hair Stylist Cassandra Rizzuto

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