Charlotte and Nathaniel’s day came in two parts. First and intimate ceremony and lunch with close family, followed by a pub reception at Balham Bowls Club with friends, retro games, doughnuts and cheese! This concept allowed them some time alone to celebrate their commitment to one another and provided the perfect oppoutunity for couples portraits around London with Irene Yap Photography. If you’re thinking of marrying now and partying later, there is so much inspiration you can draw from this wonderful wedding.
What Made Your Day Unique
We wanted the whole day to be stress-free for all our guests. We had an intimate morning ceremony with only family and a handful of guests who’d flown in from abroad, then they went off to lunch while we had our couple photos done with Irene. All our other friends joined us at the pub in the afternoon. We timed it this way so our guests wouldn’t have to wait around, and it’d feel more like a casual, fun Saturday for them.
Being a wedding photographer myself definitely helped! I’d already shot a few weddings at Balham Bowls Club, and it was one of our favourite London pubs anyway. Food is a top priority for us (always) and we knew Balham Bowls’ chefs were fantastic. We then worked in some other favourite food suppliers - Mons cheesemongers and Crosstown Doughnuts. I’d worked with Irene before and knew she’d get along great with Nathaniel. She’s phenomenally talented and we are thrilled with all our photos.
Balham Bowls Club
Don’t you just love the hanging birdcage chandeliers in Balham Bowls Club?! This iconic decor was one of the reasons Charlotte and Nathaniel chose the venue. In their words, “The ballroom is already charming, so not much needed to be done to it.” This didn’t stop them from incorporating personal touches. Including an incredible doughnut wall perfectly titled ‘Holey Matrimony.’ As well as booking retro gaming consoles company, JoyPad to entertain guests. Dance-offs were optional!
Inspiration & Styling
While we had couple photos taken, a few wonderful friends headed to the pub to decorate. I ordered lots of olive branches, gold candlestick holders and wildflower seed-studded name cards (which doubled as favours). Nathaniel is a keen woodworker and built a custom wall for the Crosstown doughnuts - a “holey” matrimony half for ringed varieties and an “unholy” half for filled ones. I made the rest of the stationery, including the cheese and doughnut flavour guides.
From the start, we agreed to forego any part of a “traditional” wedding that didn't mean anything to us, allowing more budget and time to dedicate to aspects of the day that reflected who we are. I know this attitude might cause conflict with certain family members, so open and frank communication is key. Rank suppliers in order of importance (different for every couple) to make it easier to allocate your budget going down the list. For example, we wouldn’t compromise on food, drink or the photographer; but I found both dresses and pairs of shoes for £550 total.
We kept the retro gaming consoles a secret from the majority of our guests. While we ate dinner, Joypad arrived and started setting up the SNES, N64 and Dance Dance Revolution mats. I saw a similar set-up at a wedding I photographed the year before and realised it was the perfect entertainment for guests who didn’t like to dance. What better way than a competitive game of Mario Kart to instantly make a new friend/nemesis!
Hands up who has been thinking about that doughnut wall ever since they clapped eyes on it? (I know I have!) If you’ve got some spare time, and would like to create your own, read our DIY tutotial for one you can create in just 5 minutes!. You can also listen to our DIY wedding decor ideas podcast whilst doing it, this might take a little longer, but will allow you time to sit back and marvel at your handy work.
Wedding Venue: Balham Bowls Club | Wedding Dress: Stylish Bride Accessories (via Etsy) | Grooms Suit: Gresham Blake | Accessories: Wedding band from Marcia Vidal | Shoes: Rose Gold Flats by Toms | Cheese Tower: Mons | Flowers: Faux (silk) flowers from Amarinthe Blooms in the hoop bouquet | Retro Gaming Consoles: Joypad | Wildflower seeded place name cards: The Manky Monkey | Doughnuts: Crosstown Doughnuts | Wholesale olive branches: Triangle Nursery | Evening Dress: ASOS | Evening Boots: Allsaints