How to Elope in London

Miss Gen’s guide to getting married in a pandemic

Elopements & micro weddings have always been a favourite of mine. I love the intimate nature of these days and couples can really focus on what’s important. Lots of couples have already had to postpone their weddings (sometimes multiple times!) and in these uncertain times, couples may need to adapt & compromise on their original plans if they had wanted a big wedding. Remember the most important thing is getting married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, there’s always time for a big party later. So, if you’re considering a last minute elopement or intimate wedding, here are a few tips to help you plan your day.

I’ve been photographing elopements in London for many years & even some destination elopements like this one in Lake Como.

While it might not be possible to elope in Italy right now (maybe in the summer?!) You can plan a micro wedding or elopement in London. Getting married is an important milestone and start to a new life together. I can’t think of a more meaningful way to get married, than to have an intimate wedding & really enjoy time with each other. We all need some joy right about now.

Sarah-Jane & Luiz eloped in Marylebone

“Initially I had wondered if my wedding was too small to warrant a photographer. I knew I wanted to have some nice photos of the day but wasn’t sure there would be enough photo opportunities. I needn’t have worried. Gen was fantastic and it felt just like having another friend at my wedding which I think is super special especially when you have such a small guest list. One of my favourite parts of the day was walking the back streets of Marylebone, newly married, in the afternoon sunshine having fun with my husband. I had thought I’d feel silly posing for photos but Miss Gen’s approach put us totally at ease and she stood back and did her thing while we wandered around, it was all very easy and natural and not at all intimidating! I wish we could do it again!!”

Sarah-Jane & Luiz eloped with a handful of guests at Old Marylebone Town Hall & Chiltern Firehouse

Marylebone Town Hall elopement

Making it legal

Eloping does require some planning, firstly you need to decide where you want to have your ceremony & then give notice at a registry office. You need to do this at least 29 days before your wedding. You have to exchange vows if you’re getting married, unless it’s a civil partnership then vows are optional. You’ll need two witnesses, these can be guests or strangers. If you’re keeping the day super private, I’m happy to be a witness as well as your photographer – I’ve done it before!


The best Town Halls in London for micro weddings & elopements

Old Marylebone Town Hall

The Old Marylebone Town Hall is fast becoming my favourite London Town Hall for elopements & micro weddings. The expansive stone steps & columns out the front are perfect for confetti moments & classic, timeless couples portraits. There’s lots of space outside compared to other London Town Halls. Their rooms are beautifully decorated with period features, fireplaces and velvet sofas. There’s a range of rooms to choose from, some with dark wood panelling & some painted in lighter tones & there’s plenty of space for a socially distanced ceremony. The staff here have it all down pat, the experience is seamless, friendly & it’s been a dream to work here during 2020 for those brief moments when tiny weddings were allowed.

Islington Town Hall

Another favourite is the Council Chamber at Islington Town Hall. This is a truly stunning room, large & spacious with period features, lots of light & an airy high ceiling.

Chelsea Old Town Hall

A London classic, the steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall are an iconic confetti spot. The Brydon Room is a favourite here but this town hall is much smaller than some others so more suited to tiny weddings. They do have some larger rooms like the Small Hall, Main Hall & Cadogan Suite.

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Town Hall is another beautiful building with wood panelled rooms & a couple of wonderful Atria rooms. These are huge spaces with extra high ceilings, tonnes of light & a modern laser cut metallic wall making a really interesting backdrop.

10 Beautiful Town Halls for a London registry wedding

Old Marylebone Town Hall
Islington Town Hall
Chelsea Old Town Hall
Hackney Town Hall
Stoke Newington Town Hall
Battersea Arts Center
The Old Finsbury Town Hall
Greenwich Registry Office, Woolwich Town Hall
Mayfair Library
Morden Park Hall

10 interesting & unique venues in London for an intimate wedding ceremony

Hampstead Pergola & Hill Gardens
St Dunstan in the East
Fitzrovia Chapel
Town Hall Hotel
The Ned
Barbican Conservatory
Orleans House Gallery
Kew Gardens
The Asylum
Burgh House

Benefits of having a micro wedding

You really can do whatever you want

Throw traditions out the window. Or don’t. It’s really up to you. This is your day and you can do whatever you want. I’ve had couples who want to stop at their favourite pub for a swift half, others who did tequila shots outside a bar in the city, couples who want photos in numerous locations around London from an overgrown secret garden to street art in Shoreditch. You can get ready together at home or stay in a luxury hotel. You can have a first look & couples photos before your ceremony or you can see each other for the first time when you walk down the aisle. If you’re not sure what to do, I’m happy to work with you to plan the perfect, relaxed day that you will love.

Kara & Olly planned their perfect day, starting with secret vows at sunrise at the top of the Shard & a couples photo session around central London. Then they were married with an intimate ceremony at Hampstead Pergola & Hill Gardens, followed a relaxed picnic on Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath before returned to the Shard for a black tie dinner in the private dining room at Aqua. A truly spectacular day, Kara & Olly spent their day in all of their favourite places in London, sharing it with their favourite people.

More time for couples portraits

This means you can travel to your favourite spots in London, wander the pretty backstreets, stopping for coffee or a cheeky pint on the way. Jackie & Johannes eloped in December 2020. They had an intimate ceremony in the Mayfair Room at Old Marylebone Town Hall with just a handful of friends. While they were sad their families couldn’t be there (they all live overseas), they ended up having a wonderful day enjoying time with each other. After their ceremony & confetti on the steps with their friends, we walked through Marylebone & then caught a black cab to their favourite area of Hampstead. We stopped for coffee in the pretty laneways, complete with twinkly Christmas fairy lights and I captured natural photos along the way.

Spend as much as you want

Eloping means more money to spend on what’s important to you (rather than providing meals for distant cousins & acquaintances!) whether that’s an amazing dress, a bespoke suit, some ridiculous heels, staying in your favourite hotel or going for a Michelin starred meal. Just make sure you prioritise the photography, it’s so important to capture your story & be able to share it with your loved ones who can’t be there to celebrate with you. Invest in a Fine Art Album to remember your day & some copies to share your day with your parents – they’ll love them.

You can do it on a week day

With only yourselves & a few guests to worry about, you don’t need to block out a whole weekend or a precious Saturday. The Town Halls are so busy with a huge backlog of postponed weddings from all the lockdowns so weekdays are proving very popular for elopements.

You can still have an epic confetti moment

If you’ve seen my work, you’ll probably realise that I love confetti shots. I know the best confetti to buy, and you don’t need lots of people to create epic moments, just two people will do!

Wear what you like

Whether it’s a couture gown or a high street dress, there’s more scope for modern, creative fashion in an elopement. I’ve loved the non-traditional outfits that my brides have worn over the years. There’s so many options from bridal jumpsuits to coloured dresses, choose something that reflects your personality, not what you think you’re expected to wear.

You can still have a reception*

Celebrating with friends can still be a highlight of your day. An intimate dinner in a private dining room like Mateja & Stephane, afternoon tea at home like Olga & Xavier, a picnic on Hampstead Heath like Kara & Olly or drinks & lunch at Chiltern Firehouse like Sarah-Jane & Luiz. There are many options for relaxed, intimate receptions in London. 

*subject to government guidelines.

10 interesting & unique venues in London for an intimate wedding reception

Rochelle Canteen
Hackney Coffee Company
Spring at Somerset House
Chelsea Physic Garden
Zetter Townhouse
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Bourne & Hollingsworth
Petersham Nurseries
Swan at the Globe
Brunswick House

How to include virtual guests

As soon as weddings were allowed in July 2020, couples had to think of creative ways to include their friends & family who couldn’t be there to celebrate with them. Many couples have family overseas and with travel restrictions, it might not be possible for them to attend your ceremony. You can broadcast your ceremony live on Zoom or Facetime. This can be super simple, just on a phone or laptop. Your friends & family will be excited to witness your day and be part of such a big life event, even those on the other side of the world. I’ve seen family in Australia, New Zealand, Africa & the US, even with massive time differences, people love to be involved.

Share your day with friends & family who can’t be at your wedding

This is an important one. My job is to capture your day & deliver it to you in a way that you can relive your day & share your story. I always send an online slideshow to all my couples, showing highlights from your day, set to music (like this one above). It’s a really lovely, emotive way to relive the day, almost like being there. You can send the link to your friends & family, watch it with them & they can feel like they are there, sharing your wedding day with you.

You also receive a full gallery of high resolution images (of course!) & you can order fine art prints & framed prints straight from your gallery. You can also share this with your families & they can order prints too.

Create tangible reminders of your best days

Tangible, real life products are the best way to keep your story alive. Now that we’re spending so much more time at home, sometimes we need a little reminder of the wonderful days we’ve had together & walking past a wall with a framed print from your wedding day will make you remember & smile.

Fine Art Wedding Photo Album

Many of my couples order a Fine Art Album – a beautiful, heirloom book that tells the story of your day. These books are printed on fine art paper with lay-flat spreads and you can choose the cover materials & bespoke debossing. See more here

Go for it!

If a big lavish wedding is not for you or you’re at the stage where you are now thinking f*ck it, let’s get married and have a party later; then do it! At the end of the day a smaller wedding is even more magical & meaningful than a large celebration. Don’t just take my word for it, Lynn & Gareth eloped in London in 2018. We spent a few hours travelling around London in black cab’s stopping off at all their favourite places for relaxed couples portraits.

“Our decision to elope was definitely the right one for us and your photos capture so many sweet moments of just us, which best reflect our decision not to get drowned by the wedding complex. Thank you so much for the photos. They’re simply brilliant. We’ve had so much fun going through them (again and again). It was a pleasure working with you and I’m so pleased to have had you to capture our special day. ”

Islington Town Hall Elopement

Are you planning to elope in London this year?

I love photographing relaxed, elopements in London so if you’d like to work with me – fill in the form below & I’ll get back to you with pricing & info. I can’t wait to hear about your plans.
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