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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Destination Wedding London: Get the Inside Scoop on Saying "I Do!"

Words by Courtney Kellar
Intro by Courtney Cox and words by Scarlett Entertainment
Images courtesy of Visit London Images

I’m fortunate enough to have traveled all over the world, both for work and for pleasure. There’s no doubt London is one of my favorite cities and I have an on-going love affair with all things British. So, when this information crossed my desk, I knew it had to be on
Destination I Do’s blog. Hopefully, all of our brides-to-be will love London as much as we do!

A bride’s handy guide to getting married in London

London has been the city of choice for numerous celebrity and royal weddings over the years; in 2011, London hosted the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, watched by millions all across the globe.

Those looking to tie-the-knot in London will be pleased to know that civil wedding ceremonies have not been restricted to registry offices since the mid-1990s. As a result, hundreds of venues in London have been awarded civil licenses and brides and grooms-to-be are currently spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a venue in the UK capital; from London's most luxurious hotels and popular visitor sites like the London Zoo, to famous landmarks like Alexandra Palace and Hampton Court Palace (for those wanting some traditional British grandeur!).


Once the all important question of where to get married has been decided, couples will need to look at how to get to the church on time. Luckily, there is a plethora of choices when it comes to traditional wedding vehicle hire companies in London. But for something a little out of the ordinary, how about an iconic London red Routemaster bus to get you to your own wedding? These icons of London transport were sadly taken out of general public service in 2005, but they are available for hire and make a novel and enjoyable form of wedding transport.


London is one of the greatest shopping cities in the world, so there is no better place to find the perfect outfit for your special day. If money is no object, the world famous Harrods department store has its own weddings dress boutique. As London is one of fashion’s great cities, it is home to some of the best clothes designers in the world. Brides-to-be will be able to browse designer wedding dress stores to their hearts’ content, with outfits by household names including Vera Wang. Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Uma Thurman chose Vera Wang to design the perfect outfit for their special day, but a bespoke dress will set you back at least £30,000!


Organizing entertainment for the big day couldn’t be any easier, as London boasts a huge range of world class entertainment options perfect for any marriage ceremony, wedding breakfast or reception. Scarlett Entertainment are experts in entertainment for destination weddings and below is a selection of some of the most popular wedding entertainment options.

1) Rat Pack singer – Swing singers are a popular form of entertainment for wedding reception parties and this act is no exception. Performing as a solo act or with a big band, this is one of Scarlett Entertainment’s premier London based crooners. Kevin has performed at a huge variety of venues and his long list of high-end clients is both impressive and enviable.

2) Metro Band – Party bands are the perfect entertainment option for a wedding reception when guests are ready to let their hair down and hit the dance floor. Performing with 8-15 members, Metro Band are one of the most dynamic acts around providing the ultimate party experience! Playing everything from Lady Gaga to Sister Sledge, this versatile high-end party band is guaranteed to get wedding guests on their feet.

3) Classical wedding singer – An ideal accompaniment for any wedding ceremony, a classical wedding singer can help set the right mood. Zoe is an extremely experienced soprano with an impressive list of clients and performances; including an appearance on Channel 4's ‘The Wedding House’ television series.

4) Former X Factor finalist Laura White – This former X Factor contestant is one of Scarlett Entertainment’s most sought-after finalists. Extremely popular for weddings, Laura White’s amazing vocals - mixed with her soul/chart covers repertoire - are guaranteed to impress guests.

5) Wedding Magician – For something a little out of the ordinary to entertain guests during the wedding breakfast or drinks reception, Scarlett Entertainment can offer on of the UK’s top close-up magicians! Stephen has an impressive list of previous high profile clients which include performances for celebrities and royalty.

London Wedding Factfile

London Marriage License Requirements

Both of you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven days immediately before giving notice at the register office. For non-UK residents, you must have an entry clearance granted expressly for the purpose of marriage in the UK, and you'll need to show proof of name, age and nationally – preferably in your passport and also a birth certificate. Of course, if you've been married before you'll need to show an original divorce or death decree.

For a list of London Borough Register Offices click here.

Getting married in a church

Most people in the UK can be married by banns in their local church. It is now also possible to be married in a church other than your parish church if one or both of the couple has a 'qualifying connection' with another church. Information and advice about all aspects of getting married in the Church of England can be found on the official Church of England website.

Different rules apply to foreign nationals without the right of abode. It is recommended that all non-UK passport holders are married by Common License. For more information on getting married within the UK for non-UK citizens click here.

Same sex marriages

As of December 21 2005, same sex couples can form a Civil Partnership in the UK, which grants similar legal rights as opposite sex couples receive through marriage.

Costs

On average, the cost of a wedding in London is around 15% more than in other parts of the UK, predominantly due to the cost of the reception.

Top 5 unique London weddings venues


Eltham Palace - For those looking for a traditional British wedding there is plenty of choice in the UK’s capital, including South London’s Eltham Palace. Not only does it offer couples plenty of British style and Grandeur, but it is set within tranquil moated gardens and boasts a unique mix of medieval Tudor and Art Deco styles.

London Eye – This venue is not for those with a fear of heights, as the wedding takes place 135 metres above the Thames with breathtaking views across London! You can hire a private capsule on the London Eye for your special day, decorated with flowers for up to 19 people and champagne will be provided to toast the bride and groom.

T.S. Queen Mary - Although the law does not permit civil weddings in a moving vehicle, those of a nautical persuasion can be married on the T.S. Queen Mary, which is moored at Waterloo Pier. Built in 1933, the Queen Mary underwent a £2.5 million refurbishment in 1997 and makes a unique and memorable venue for your ceremony.

Tower Bridge - The beautiful and iconic Tower Bridge provides another unusual wedding venue with spectacular views across London. You will exchange your vows in the Bridgemaster's Dining Room and there is a choice of beautiful rooms for your reception.


The Westminster Register Office The Westminster Register Office, with its choice of four beautiful rooms, is one of the most popular venues in London for weddings. Its famous steps have seen numerous well-known couples over the years, including Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman, Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach, and Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit.

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