It has been a little over a month since Andrew and I tied the knot. Our intimate wedding in London was a day that exceeded all our expectations, and I have to admit, a small part of me is still giddy over how wonderful and beautiful that day was.
Full disclosure, I have been one to roll my eyes at some women who make such a big deal over weddings in the past. While I still would not be the type to ever go for an extravagant wedding, I’ve realized why a woman can get so caught up on her wedding day. I humbly admit that I get it. I now understand. I have never felt as much love as I did on my wedding day. It’s addictive.
This love translated to a range of emotions. I went through it all – from sadness, to fear, to joy, to bliss. Being far from home, I missed my family and friends. However, distance didn’t stop them from making me feel the love that they shared in my big day. In fact, it made me feel the love from them, my new family and friends, and my husband more intensely.
My husband and I had to survive periods of being in a long distance relationship for a couple of years before we tied the knot in January. He is an amazing man, and I am a very lucky woman. I picked well! (Thank heavens.)
Our wedding day was a perfect day in London. The weather was cold but sunny, which is apparently a blessing in January. We really hoped to make our wedding day intimate and elegant, but fun and cozy. We got married in the Rossetti Room of Kensington and Chelsea Old Town Hall with his family and a few of our friends. We then had an amazing wedding lunch at Fera at Claridge’s. More of our friends and family joined us for drinks and dancing later at the Hack and Hop near St. Paul’s.
My heart still fills to the brim with love whenever I relive this special day.
Below are some details of our wedding, which may come in handy if you’re planing an intimate wedding in London as well. I’ll be writing more about our wedding preparations and suppliers in other posts soon. I’m posting these blog posts this month before my extended wedding fever makes other people’s eyes roll. LOL.
Wedding License: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – Rossetti Room
We chose to be married in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for a number of reasons. Firstly because it is gorgeous and has an old world charm about it. I saw the pictures and knew right away that I wanted the venue. The second reason is more technical. Usually, you get married in your area of residence, but as a foreigner, our circumstances were different. I had to get a wedding date reservation to be able to apply for my fiance visa while I was still in Manila. Kensington and Chelsea offered this service and gladly let us secure a reservation for our wedding date despite me not being in the UK yet. Not all registry offices would allow this.
The people also made a real impression on us. They have been accommodating, friendly, and very professional throughout the entire process. From booking our date, to the confirmation interview, to the day itself – they were all very pleasant and lovely. On the day of the wedding in the Rossetti Room, the superintendent registrar who officiated our wedding, and the deputy registrar who conducted our pre-wedding interview, were both engaging and charming. They even doubled as event organizers, as we literally just showed up with our guests and they offered advice on everything from how the program would flow to where the best spot is to get our photos taken.
Wedding Lunch: Fera at Claridges
Having our wedding lunch at Chef Simon Rogan’s Michelin starred Fera at Claridges was amazing, to say the least. We were all very impressed by the culinary experience that we received in Fera. The food and wine was simply outstanding. The venue, in itself, is a statement to elegance and decadence. This upscale and gorgeous restaurant definitely lived up to expectations.
I can also say that we got lucky with our reservation in Fera. Reservations are usually made months in advance, but we were able to secure our booking for their private room. The reservations team in Fera was also very accommodating and professional. I’m not sure if they would usually be child-friendly, but they were able to accommodate our party of 10 with smaller children because we booked the private room and it was for lunch service. The private room was definitely a good idea, as it gave us the privacy that we needed to really enjoy the company of our wedding party. I’ll be writing about child-friendly London restaurants soon.
Wedding Drinks: Hack & Hop
I loved Hack & Hop so much that I feel slightly protective of it, almost to the extent of not sharing it to people. Ha! I came upon Hack and Hop while looking for charming English pubs in London for private hire. This is almost an impossible task because we were looking for one that would be willing to close shop to people on a Saturday night. Our other criteria was also that it should be a venue with an interesting selection of craft beers, which my husband is a big fan of. Of course, it also had to fit a reasonable budget, which for a reservation made 2 weeks before the event, for 60 pax, is a request that is nothing short of crazy. However, luck smiled upon us and gave us Hack & Hop. It is a charming little gem of a pub that is tucked away in one of the streets near St. Pauls and is a little-known treasure to gastro-pub and craft beer lovers in London. We tried the food and drinks when we made our reservation, and it was delicious! The place was small but had that traditional English pub aesthetic. We booked the pub for 5 hours and paid for an open bar. Zed was so relaxed about the entire arrangement, telling us that we are in control of how the spending will go through out the night. The bar staff were friendly and gave the party a cozy vibe, which was what we really hoped for.
Photography: Aleksandr from Perfocal.com and Krstian Data Photography
One of my requirements for this wedding before anything else was a good photogrpaher. Not only will great photographs help you relive the moment, it’s also a way to share the special day with others, which in my case was of utmost importance. Our two photographers were everything and more than a girl can ask for on her wedding day. We had to get two because we had a 2-3 hour break in between for our wedding lunch. Aleksander from Perfocal.com covered our ceremony and Krystian Data Photography covered our wedding drinks. My main request is that the photos should look natural, and that moments, more than poses, are captured. Both Aleks and Krys hit this request right on the head. They were such incredible and talented individuals and I highly recommend them if you are looking for a wedding photographer in London. I will be writing about them in another blog post later on.
It was a day to remember, and Andrew and I couldn’t have made is as wonderful as it turned out to be if not for our family and friends. If I could do it all over again, I’d do it exactly as we did, except maybe with my friends and family present. At the end of the day, it isn’t elaborate wedding flowers, a gorgeous wedding dress, or a big and fancy guest list that would make a wedding a success. It will be a success because of the love that you and your husband, along with your friends and family, share with one another. It is a feeling that is irreplaceable and priceless, exactly what you should mark your forever to begin with.
To everyone getting married in 2016, cheers to us, and may your big day be full of love!