Planning a London wedding from abroad

I am hopelessly in love with London and always will be. It’s got such character and history, and it can be glamorous and gritty and quirky and charming all at once. With so much to see and do, it makes a perfect location for a wedding, no matter where in the world you happen to live. You can find out more about just why that is in this post in praise of London as a destination wedding location.

london wedding taxi

Planning a destination wedding can be stressful, and when you’re making all your decisions from overseas it adds a whole new dimension to the logistics and the thought processes. A celebration in a city like London requires careful planning and consideration, but don’t let the idea of planning from a distance deter you, the rewards and the memories will be so worth it, I promise you. I’ve been planning distinctive, creative weddings in London for ten years and I am still in awe of every single celebration I work on. Today I’m sharing some of my top tips on planning your London destination wedding, to help you minimise the stress and get the most out of the city and what it has to offer.

London wedding views accross the river Thames

TAKE YOUR TIME

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is: don’t rush it! Plan a long enough run-up that you can come over and visit London at least once before your big day. Get to grips with the geography of the city and meet some of your suppliers face to face if you possibly can. A London destination wedding planner can absolutely help with this – liaising with suppliers and providing on-the-ground detail when you can’t be there in person (more on this later), but nothing can quite replace the feeling of walking through your chosen venue and seeing the spaces first hand. 

BE STRATEGIC

It’s oh-so tempting to dive right in and get chatting to photographers, florists and other creators of gorgeousness, but keep the practicalities at the heart of your planning to start with. Focus on choosing your venue first. It has logistical implications as well as stylistic ones, and it will help you to work out your accommodation and transport options for your guests. Your venue is the key to unlocking many other pieces of the wedding puzzle, and there’s a wealth of choice available to you in London. From urban warehouses and quirky townhouses to boutique hotels, award-winning restaurants and everything in between, I truly believe there is something for everyone in London, no matter your style, taste or budget. I’ve written a series of blog posts showcasing some of my favourite London venues – why not check them out to get you started on your search?

SHAPE YOUR CELEBRATION

Weddings today come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no one set of rules that you have to follow. What is going to best suit you and your loved ones in terms of the overall shape of your wedding? If you’re travelling a long way, will you only be able to bring a select few people with you to your London destination wedding? Does an intimate celebration appeal, or do you want to have a legal ceremony back home with everyone present, before jetting off to London to make some memories with your nearest and dearest with a celebrant blessing and a serious party? If you’re looking to get legally married in the UK, there are some restrictions and extra things to consider. It’s worth discussing these options with your wedding planner before you start, but here’s an initial bit of information to get you started in a blog post I wrote here and on the Gov. uk website here.

London canal Camden desitnation wedding planner

STAY LOCAL

When it comes to accommodation, it is tempting to let your guests have free rein over their choice and the vast range of options available in London. However, a word of warning: London is big, and it can sometimes be complex to navigate. Don’t make travel to your venue more hassle than it needs to be, and take the time to research accommodation options close by. I recommend selecting options within a 5 tube stop radius of your chosen venue, to keep travel time and stress to a minimum for those not familiar with the city. It’s worth utilising Airbnb, which has some total gems to uncover across the capital. When it comes to hotels, here are a few of my favourites that I hope you’ll love as much as I do:

The Ned: Amazing contemporary design and incredible service.
Ham Yard: Just the right balance of quirky and luxury.
The Ace Hotel: Coolness encapsulated.
Andaz Liverpool St: Modern, sleek design with heart.

London destination wedding townhall wedding

THINK BEYOND YOUR WEDDING DAY

One of the many joyous things about a London destination wedding is the chance to make your celebration a (fabulous) part of a larger holiday with all of your favourite people. So make sure you’re thinking about what else you want to do with your loved ones while you’re in London! Talk with your destination wedding planner about facilitating pre-wedding drinks or dinners, and a relaxed brunch the day afterwards, and consider how you can make the trip the most fun for your guests. I love it when my couples go the extra mile with little thoughtful touches (which I’m always more than happy to help source and put together.) Why not leave a welcome pack with some typical English goodies, maps and suggestions of fun things to do or spots to visit that have particular meaning to you in each of your guests’ hotel rooms? 

Be careful not to overfill your itineraries though! It’s about balance – facilitate their fun, but don’t turn it into an obligatory and exhausting route march around London!

HERE TO HELP

If you’re reading this and feeling a little overwhelmed – please don’t panic! As a destination wedding planner it’s my job to be your woman on the ground, and to help with everything listed above and more. I have a little black book of tried, trusted and talented suppliers across the industry that I can’t wait to share with you, and I’m on hand on Skype to talk you through all the details, and make you feel as present as possible even when you’re thousands of miles away. 

London destination wedding couple outside red London telepone box

If you’re planning a destination wedding and looking for creative assistance and advice, then I’d love to talk to you. Get in touch, and let’s have a chat to see how we can work together to put together a London destination wedding that’s worthy of you. 

Looking for more reasons to get married in London then take a look at my Top Tips for a London Destination wedding blog post here.

Photograph Credits: Islington wedding couple and building Siobhan H Photography | River Thames view of O2 Paul Joseph Photography | Telephone box, London wedding venues Cecelina Photography | Couple crossing street and by phone box Pippa McKenzie Photography

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