Charlotte and Tom tied the knot on 4th November in 2020 at Chelsea Old Town Hall, and celebrated with Loved ones at a reception at Ivy Chelsea Garden.
The couple hard originally wanted to celebrate with a much bigger wedding in the bride’s native country of Australia, but multiple issues including Covid meant they ended up changing their plans drastically. It didn’t matter – as these lovely images captured by Rachel at September Pictures.
We had actually planned a big white wedding in Queensland’s Whitsundays for 4th April 2020 which was postponed (and eventually cancelled). When we decided we’d go for a tiny London elopement instead we went in the complete opposite direction.
I wanted it to feel a bit vintage and we threw in as many nods to my home and my family as possible seeing as they couldn’t make it over from Australia due to the covid travel restrictions. Our original wedding would have been in the tropical heat, by the beach and our London wedding was a bright, crisp winter day.
My father is a huge classic French car aficionado. He has a wonderful network of fellow collectors and enthusiasts around the world. I was driven to school every day in a beautiful classic Citroen DS and because my dad wasn’t able to be with us on the day we organised for his wonderful friend’s from Citroen Classics to collect Tom and I from our flat in south London and drive us to Chelsea Old Town Hall.
It was the most special way to arrive and I gelt incredible safe and comfortable in the familiar interiors of a classic Citroen DS – it was as close to having my dad with me as we could, especially not having him walk me down the aisle. He was very much there is spirit during that drive!
How They Met
Tom and I met when I moved to London from Australia in 2012. We were working for the same consultancy in the City and bumped into each other on various nights out. I thought he was a bit arrogant but turns out he was just shy and he fancied me, which was convenient as I thought he was gorgeous.
We got together in classic style at the office Christmas quiz after party and dated on and off for a few months. I got cold feet because I wasn’t sure I would end up staying in the UK and I didn’t want to get too serious too soon so we broke up briefly, tried to be ‘just friends’, but realised very quickly that we bring out the very best in each other, couldn’t keep away from each other and make each other stupidly happy. And we haven’t looked back since.
We moved in together very quickly, bought a dog, got engaged at home in June 2019 and have spent the past nine years setting off on adventures, growing up together and planning a brilliant future.
Tom wore a grey suit from Reiss, shoes by Loake Shoemakers, a tie (a gift from me) from Ferragamo, shirt from Hawes & Curtis and socks by Mes Chaussettes Rouges (because the Pope wears them!).
We choose Chelsea Old Town Hall for a number of reasons. It’s so iconic, historic and has had so many famous faces marry there. Tom studied in South Kensington so knows the area very well. We live in south west London and we’ve had so many wonderful dates in Chelsea over the years. Both our parents were married in small ceremonies at historic registry offices so it’s a nice tradition to continue. There was a bit of a war time vibe during Covid and it felt appropriate.
The ceremony rooms are bright and beautiful. We’d walked past so many couples having their photos taken outside with those iconic steps littered in confetti, it’s like adding a little something to the stratigraphy of London’s history. Also, the team at Chelsea Old Town Hall are all wonderful.
At the time we weren’t allowed to have anyone walk me down the aisle. However, as my dad couldn’t be there on the day I wouldn’t have wanted a substitute despite being incredibly close with Tom’s dad John.
My ring is a vintage pink sapphire and our wedding bands were custom made by Tom’s family jeweller from his village in Cheshire.
The celebrant at Chelsea Old Town Hall was absolutely marvellous – she was very modern in her interpretation of the ceremony and charmed all of our guests entirely. We chose the traditional vows – their simplicity and familiarity connected with us and still makes me emotional to reflect on those words.
We found our wonderful photographer Rachel from September Pictures through Love My Dress.
Rachel’s photos could be album cover art – they are so cool. She has the best eye and can make anyone look like a Rockstar. She was incredible on the day, she knew the venue and made us feel completely comfortable.
We chose The Flower Stand Chelsea as it was local and the team are just wonderful, kind and nailed my haphazard brief. We also had buttonholes for Tom’s Grandad, father and his best man
As a side note – Tom sent the team a photo of my wedding bouquet to the team who recreated it (supersized) for our 1st anniversary. Amazing!
My custom painted leather jacket was by Jade from Painted Love Customs who included Australian wildflowers and David Austin roses as a nod to mine and Tom’s background.
Natasha from Ruuby did my hair and makeup in the morning. I was so lucky – we had the best chats and she made me feel like a film star.
We held our reception at the Ivy Chelsea Garden in their private dining room which was perfect for the twelve of us. It’s wonderful to be able to go back to the same place for anniversaries now. The décor suited our style perfectly and the staff were incredible considering that the nation was going back into lockdown at midnight that evening. They made us feel so special.
We bought gluten free cupcakes from Flavour Town Bakery as we couldn’t have a cake due to restrictions at the time. However, my mother-in-law and auntie-in-law also bought a lemon drizzle cake which we ate in the hotel lounge after we’d had our reception.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for Tom) we weren’t able to dance due to covid restrictions at the time.
We stayed over at the Sloane Place Hotel @sloane.place who put us in their suite with a bottle of champagne and let the whole wedding party sit together in a private room at the back after our reception had finished.
We sat on sofas and sipped champagne until midnight when the UK went back into lockdown. I cannot thank the hotel enough for their kindness under such incredible circumstances. We had breakfast in bed the next morning and woke up to a city completely quiet and deserted.
There was something so special in the air that night and morning – a real sense of relief that we’d made it in the nick of time.
I have several! Getting ready at home with Tom in the morning. He helped me into my dress and kept me cheerful and calm.
Driving to the venue in the classic Citroen DS that dad had organised which made him feel part of the day and through me right back to doing the school run together as a child.
The electric energy on the day knowing how lucky we were to have our wedding when the nation was going back into full lockdown come midnight.
It felt extra special especially as it was my mum’s 70th birthday and we’d picked the date on that basis.
And getting married in London meant that Tom’s grandad Alan was able to come. He was the one who planted the seed in my head that we should just go for it when he cornered me in September 2020 after a family lunch and said how much he’d like to see one of his grandchildren get married (he’s 96!).
He smiled ear to ear the whole day, sat up with us until midnight surrounded by his family and you could tell he was overjoyed.
Words of Wedded Wisdom
The piece of advice I’ve given to all my friends who have got engaged after us is to stay together the night before and wake up together in the morning. You have so little time just the two of you during the day. Waking up and having an excited morning cuddle, having breakfast together and Tom helping me into my dress are some of the best and happiest memories of my life.
Otherwise, just do your own thing. Do what makes you both happy. Don’t try and please everyone else. Don’t hold back on the things that are important to you.
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Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.