Charlotte in Shona Joy for her Intimate Chelsea Wedding

6 Shona Joy bride copy

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.

The Vibe

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.

The Photographer

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!

The Dress

I opted for a long sleeved satin dress from Shona Joy’s bridal collection. I wore this with shoes by Sezane.

I also wore a veil by AM Faulker and bridal crown was Tilly Thomas Lux – both suppliers I discovered through Love My Dress.

My engagement ring is a vintage pink sapphire and our wedding bands were made by Tom’s family jeweller from Poynton. I also wore a bracelet my sister in law had made with our wedding date. My bag was from And Other Stories.

I loved the simplicity of the dress, the vintage styling and the gorgeous frill cuffs which draped so beautifully. My custom leather jacket added a bit of an edge and my green shoes were a nice pop of colour. The pearl bag tied the look together and complimented my incredible crown from Tilly Thomas Lux. I chose the Nefertiti crown with help from Sally – it suited the vintage vibe and is a lovely nod to our Egyptian honeymoon.

My original wedding dress was from Savin London, but that is sadly unworn other than for fittings which were wonderful. The dress I wore on our wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall was ordered online from Australia. I thought it was a nice touch to wear an Australian designer for our London wedding.

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.

A Postponed Wedding

Our original wedding was planned for 4th April 2020 in Australia. Suitcases were packed, my dress had been picked up, I was fretting constantly about how to best transport it on a 24 hour flight. All the bridesmaids and groomsmen had their suits and dresses. All of our guests had booked flights and accommodation and Tom’s parents had already flown out to Australia in early March.

I’d just had a lovely little hen do with my British girlfriends who couldn’t make the journey and woke up the next morning to news that Australia had shut it borders. So we postponed with our original venue who were very kind and understanding of the exceptional circumstances. Naively we moved the wedding to the end of October 2020 but it quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to happen so moved it again to April 2021.

The reason we’d chosen to marry in Australia is due to my mother’s health. She is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s so we had very quickly arranged our Australian wedding in order for her to be present. Unfortunately her health rapidly deteriorated from mid 2020 and the reasons we’d wanted to have a wedding with all the family together while mum could still recognise and enjoy their company disappeared. Instead we chose to marry in London on her 70th birthday. We gave notice exactly 29 days before the ceremony after a good long think about what was important to us. And thank goodness we did! If we’d chosen Thursday the 5th instead it wouldn’t have happened – the UK went back into full national lockdown on midnight of the 4th November so we were truly blessed to sneak our little wedding in. Thank you mum!

I think if anything it taught us to stick with what suits you best. Do what makes you happy. If that means going all out and having the biggest part on the planet and waiting to spoil your friends and family rotten – go for it. If it means eloping and making the day just about the two of you, crack on. Our absent family loved being able to watch us get married in their PJs from across the globe and everyone has said the decision we made was the right one. At the same time, my girlfriends who have waited to hold their weddings after restrictions eased have had an incredible time as everyone is so grateful to be there. Just stick to your guns and do what makes you happy.


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 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.

Favourite Moments

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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Additional Credits

The below suppliers and venues are featured in this article, but are not part of the Love My Dress Wedding Directory.


Credits & Thanks


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.