Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Places we aren't getting married

The Boyfriend and I sent out our wedding invitations last week. Now that all our friends and family know where we are getting married I thought I'd write about places that we aren't - but did consider -getting married.  I always liked stumbling across these kinds of posts when we first started looking for venues.

Eltham Palace

Entrance Hall Eltham Palace
Before we lived together, The Boyfriend and I used to spend alternate weekend's at each others flats.  One sunny Sunday afternoon I grumpily agreed to tear myself away from the Eastenders omnibus to go some English Heritage place a long bus ride away somewhere in an insalubrious part south London.   It started to rain. 

Eltham Palace, however, won me over in seconds. It is the childhood home of Henry VIII extended and rebuilt in the 1930's by the wealthy Courtauld family. The history of the building and the family is genuinely interesting - the family's pet lemur had its own quarters - and the art deco detail and rooms are stunning. Mrs Courtauld's bathroom with gilded tiles is my favourite. The gardens are also beautifully maintained.  Oh dear, I'm getting distracted. 

Before we even got engaged, The Boyfriend and I both secretly looked up the Eltham Palace as a wedding venue.  I looked it up the details on my way back to north London that weekend!  You can get married under the beautiful glass dome in the entrance hall with you friends and family in a circle around you.  There's a drawing room for smaller weddings or a vast medieval hall for the reception. This pretty wedding shows Eltham palace nicely.  In the end it wasn't for us - a combination of location and cost but it is beautiful. I've noticed there's a discount for weddings next year too.

Kenwood House

We also thought about getting married in the Orangery at Kenwood House.  It's not far from where we live, it had the sense of occasion that we were after and backs onto Hampstead Heath. We thought about renting out our local pub for dinner and then all back to ours for a late party. This would have been a lead option however Kenwood House is being refurbished and won't reopen until next year. This put paid to the idea early on and there are no detail's on the English Heritage website about the reopening at the moment- the photo's come from the old website.  Probably just as well as I don't think our little flat could have coped! 


Marylebone Town hall- Purple Room
The dining room at the Orrey

The Bar at the Orrery
In the end we went to see a handful of venues across London.  Guildhalls, National Trust property, other historical buildings, and hotels like this one and this one.  None of which were quite right for us.

Our reserve option was Marylebone Town hall with our reception at The Orrery, which is one of my favourite restaurants in London.  Personally I think Marylebone is the prettiest of all the town halls in London, with beautiful marble staircases and art deco glass. The photo from their website doesn't really do it justice, but it definitely has wow factor.  You can see it better in this wedding, which I absolutely love. It really seems to capture everything we want in a wedding. Elegant, beautiful, modern, happy and fun. 

The Orrey would also make a fabulous reception venue. It is around the corner from Maylebone town hall and has 1930s styling, a beautiful light filled dining room overlooking a little church yard, separate bar and a pretty roof terrace.  The food is sensational and the service polite and warm.  Every time we go I think the portions are small but I always leave with a very full tummy and The Boyfriend can never manage cheese, which is unusual for him. 

Our Venue 

The original brief for venue hunting was somewhere in London with a sense of occasion, amazing food and outside space, easily accessible for our friends and family. 

There was one standout place.  We only made the appointment as we were going to be in the area anyway and we thought we might as well.  But were impressed from the start. It just has a really lovely feeling.  It doesn't even have outside space but it doesn't feel like a compromise.  I'm so so excited about getting married to The Boyfriend!Can't believe we're getting married there.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

I ♥ the Olympics

"Look mate, this is my country. This is where I grew up, this is where I started life. This is my country and when I put on my Great Britain vest I'm proud. I'm very proud. The support I got today was unbelievable. I couldn't believe it. It was the best moment of my life".   Mo Farah

The Olympics.  Nuff said really.

Oh, alright if you push me. 

It has been so great.  London has felt so positive and vibrant since the Olympics started. I initially thought it was all the wine we had drunk that night, but the joy from The Olympics Opening Ceremony seemed to be universal. An articulation and celebration of being British recognisable to everyone (almost).  It drew a close to the pre-Olympics cynicism.

It's just been glorious.  We waited for the torch by Ally Pally, we saw France v Russia in the semi finals of the womens' basketball, paused on the mall to catch a bit of road-race cycling and marathon, watched television in the canteen at work and when we got home.

Physical and mental endurance. Charisma and charm.  Focus and hard work. Extra-ordinary, ordinary people. Shared national experience. Mo Farah, Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton, woman's sport, Bradley Wiggins, public transport, Lewis Smith, Jessica Ennis, Usain Bolt, Andy Murray, Yohan Blake, Greg Rutherford, The Brownlee brothers, Tirunesh Dibaba, Jamaica, Chris Hoy, Nicola Adams, London. All winners.

The Boyfriend is a bit sad that its all over. He cheers up when I remind him we've got tickets for the para-Olympics. Even more when I remind him its 10 weeks until the wedding.