Exclusive London Destination Wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral
October 25, 2023
Photos courtesy of
How many people can say they were married inside St Paul’s Cathedral in London, England? Well, considering it is the location of royal weddings like Prince Charles and Lady Diana and only about 30 couples a year get to claim this historic landmark as their ceremony venue, the answer is… not many!
In fact, couples must be granted a Special Licence of the Archbishop of Canterbury to even take their first steps toward saying “I do” here. “Marriages are conducted according to the rites of the Church of England – usually in the Chapel of the Order of the British Empire located in the Crypt,” states the official St Paul’s Cathedral website.
Kathryn “Kate” and Justin were among the lucky few to have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to live out their wedding day like true royalty. So, when it came to deciding whether to hold a wedding state-side (where the couple resides) or in Kate’s home country, the answer couldn’t have been more clear.
“Ever since I was a little girl,” the bride says, “I had dreamt of being wed at St Paul’s Cathedral, so there was no doubt in my mind when I actually was invited to do so. I remember when I opened that letter how I cried tears of joy! We were granted a rare and special license to be wed in the Chapel of the Order, inside St Paul’s Cathedral, due to a family award called ‘The Order of the British Empire.’”
From the jump, Justin and Kate were both committed to showing guests a good time (their invitation boxes filled with live moss, firefly lights and keys with wings were a signpost of that goal.) To the bride, this meant crafting a once-in-a-lifetime type of party across the pond.
“We wanted it to be unforgettable from start to finish,” the couple remarks. “We were so excited to show everyone around Londontown that we actually decided (kinda last minute) to host a whole week exploding with celebratory activities.”
The aim for the couple–aside from getting married, of course–was to bring their American and British families and friends together in homage to the integration of two cultures in Kate and Justin’s marriage. However, without hiring a wedding planner, the bride would have to take on the joy and challenge of planning a wedding week abroad. Thanks to her expertise in the field (Kate is a licensed wedding planner herself) she could approach this massive task without many reservations.
Since a large number of the couple’s guests would be traveling overseas, Kate and Justin chose to introduce them to the UK and kick off the wedding week with a British summertime sleepover at Hedsor House (where some of Netflix’s “The Crown” was filmed).
“The only hiccup we had there was our fireworks were canceled due to ‘extreme heat’ – being the hottest day of the year,” Kate recalls. “We had a stunning day, nonetheless, and Pizza Express came to cater a midnight snack.”
In the morning, the group had a lovely sit-down breakfast to finish and then took shuttles into Central London. Thursday night was rehearsal dinner and a rooftop party at Sabine’s “until the wee hours of the morning.”
On Friday, Kate, Justin, and their guests had an elegant high tea followed by a real rehearsal inside St Paul’s Cathedral.
“They, of course, are quite strict when it comes down to it,” Kate says about planning the events held inside the cathedral. “Understandably, this is to preserve the beautiful stone inside the building. Small adjustments had to be made such as stilettos could not be worn without heel covers and I could not have any florals on the ground or up the aisle. Luckily, the stunning and detailed architecture inside spoke for itself!”
When Saturday arrived, the time had finally come for the couple to be joined in holy matrimony. The primary inspiration for the wedding was a regal, elegant English affair with a classic white and sage green palette.
“I adored the St Paul’s team and am so thankful to them for how well the ceremony went,” the bride says. “Justin and I collaborated very closely with our officiant, Father Andrew, throughout wedding planning and enjoyed quite a few tea times at his home in preparation (which was so fun!) He really took the time to get to know us, and understand our stories and backgrounds – translating these communications into his service on our special day with such classic charm. We were both left impressed.”
In a St Paul Cathedral first, the couple’s Yorkies, Tybalt & Rupert, got to play a part in the ceremony while looking quite dapper in their monogrammed tuxedos with matching top hats. The bride’s bouquet was another element that added to the especially memorable ceremony.
“Many moons ago, my Nan had made her own wedding bouquet out of white roses from a bush she cultivated,” Kate tells us, “so when it was time for my Mother’s wedding, she did the same for her. Remarkably, that same rose bush is still alive and kicking in West London, so my Mama took some trimmings and created my bouquet for me. That was incredibly special to me, so I had it preserved in resin right after our wedding.”
After the picturesque ceremony with beautifully traditional wedding vows, the couple took their first steps as newlyweds through a large floral arch inspired by Princess Beatrice. The bride adds, “with many onlookers and tourists peeking through the surrounding gates.”
Two double-decker buses then arrived, as the barricades were lowered in front of St Paul’s for the special occasion, to retrieve the guests from the gardens and whisk them away down the River Thames to a lavish dinner & dancing surprise at Banqueting House. This special reception venue is part of the Historical Royal Palaces as it is the last remaining portion of the Palace of Whitehall.
“Guests had no idea this was coming because I intentionally left it off the invitation suite,” Kate says.
A timeless, gold and white palate wedding reception followed, as sweet memories were made with dear friends and family. The fairytale week came to a close with an afterparty at The Ned.
When all was said and done, the couple decided to thank their guests with something unique a few months later.
“I decided to start playing with some designs and templates on Canva and had them printed onto actual big newspapers,” the bride says. “Inside the newspapers, I added a Christmas card of us as newlyweds, along with a very special scratch-off card, and a little laser-engraved double-decker bus that read “Mrs & Mr Hauge, Just Married” like we had on the actual wedding day. The scratch-offs were custom-made for us by an Etsy seller to announce our pregnancy in a very fun way – so everyone was a winner!”
When it came to personalization, it’s fair to say that Kate and Justin’s London destination wedding took the cake. From save-the-dates in the form of extra-large custom calendar cookies in pink mailer boxes to exclusive “I do’s” inside a historic church, this one may just be a Destination I Do favorite.
From bride and groom to now parents to a beautiful baby girl, Kate and Justin leave couples with this sage advice:
“Be true to yourself because there is nobody else in the world who is just like you! Each couple, and their story, is a magical one-of-a-kind tale. True love does exist. ‘Love at first sight’ is a real thing. Destination weddings are worth it. When you know — you most definitely know. Don’t let the butterflies ever stop. Keep dating each other forever. You’ll likely forget to eat any wedding cake after the cutting, so definitely have the cake for breakfast!”
Vendors: Photographer: Andrew Bayda; Photo Assistant: Inna Nova Photography; Event Concept & Venue Hire: Storied Collection; Ceremony Site: St Paul’s Cathedral; Reception Site: Banqueting House; Florist: Lavender Green Flowers; Stationery: Laura Elizabeth Patrick; Hair: Willis Galbraith; Makeup: Katie Daisy; Gown Designer: Netta BenShabu & Reem Acra; Groom’s Attire: Pepi Bertini & Alexander McQueen; Children’s Attire: The House of Petunia; Videographer: Denee Motion