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London elopement ideas for couples planning intimate weddings

London is a really diverse city so options for an elopement either in the city itself or nearby (ish) are endless.  This post covers everything from hip elopements to classic London elopement ideas, including escaping the city for more exotic locations.

I wrote this post about how to elope a while ago.  Since then a few people have asked for specific London elopement ideas, so I’ve put together some suggestions.  Keep reading for London and a few non-London elopement locations.

Making it legal

First let’s talk about the wedding ceremony itself:

This is the process for legally marrying in the UK if you’re a UK or EU citizen

Here’s the process for legally marrying in the UK if you’re a foreign national

The rules governing marriages in England and Wales are a bit rubbish, sadly.   You must legally marry in a licensed building, with a roof.  Yep, that’s right: no roof, no marriage.  Luckily there is a brilliant way around this and I’d highly recommend it.

You can split your elopement into two segments.  Either legally marry in your own country or home town, or head  to one of London’s many beautiful town halls to do the legal bit.  Once the paperwork is in place you can have a celebrant led ceremony somewhere meaningful or beautiful.

Working with a celebrant

A celebrant can help you to design an amazingly personal wedding ceremony and you can hold it anywhere (subject to permissions).  Some couples are a bit apprehensive about this, as they want the ceremony to be all encompassing.

Think of the legal ceremony as doing the paperwork.  Your celebrant led ceremony is your opportunity to make a commitment to each other.  With a celebrant led ceremony you can be much more flexible and creative when planning your elopement.

A hip East London elopement

east london elopement ideas

Stay at The Ace Hotel.  Breakfast at Duck and Waffle.

Hold your ceremony on the Ace Hotel Terrace,  The Barbican Conservatory  or the Zetter Town House.

Have an outdoor ceremony at St Dunstans in the East.

Tour around East London’s graffiti murals and street art.

Head out for dinner at one of East London’s best restaurants or hit Dalston or Shoreditch for a lively night out.  Bonus suggestions include ping pong, live music.

A nature inspired London elopement

london elopement ideasIf you’re looking for an elopement surrounded by nature, London has a plethora of green spaces.  Most of them technically need a photography permit, so do check this out before you set your heart on a location.

Search for a One Fine Stay or Airbnb property with a garden, or hop on a train and spend a couple of nights in a yurt.

Hold your outdoor ceremony on Hampstead Heath (and especially the pergola), in Epping Forest or at Kew Gardens.  Kew Gardens would make an excellent wet weather location, because of the glass houses (check their rules re use).  Have a champagne picnic (and even a butler?!).

A Classic London Elopement

classic london elopementStay at The Savoy.  Eat breakfast at The Woolsey.

Hold your ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall or at Burgh House.   Have afternoon tea at Claridges.  Explore central London in a Hackney Carriage and stop for portraits.  Book a private dining room at The Ivy.  Spend the evening at a cabaret club.

An elopement in two cities

paris elopement photography Stay at The St Pancras Renaissance hotel in London.  Have a Champagne breakfast at Searcys at the St Pancras Grand.  Hold your legal ceremony at Islington Town Hall.  Hop on the Eurostar to Paris.  
Have a celebrant led ceremony at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Tour the city and stop for portraits.  Check into the Saint James Paris.  Wander along the Seine.  Go for dinner in Le Marais.

A seaside elopement

seaside elopement ukNot technically in London but some of the UKs loveliest seaside towns are within a short train ride or drive of the city.

Head to Whitstable, Rye (which is a short hop from beautiful Camber Sands) or Southwold.  Have your ceremony on the beach or in a beach hut.  Eat fish and chips, oysters or lobster.

A destination elopement

european elopement ideas

Ok so this is me being a little self indulgent and telling you where I’d LOVE to photograph elopements.  If you’re planning to elope to any of the following places I’d love to come with you.  Iceland, Creer, Glen Coe, Ibiza, Santorini, Florence, Bali and, you know, any of the other millions of places that are on my bucket list.

If you’d like to find out more about my approach to destination weddings (and elopements) check out this post about destination wedding photography.

Are you planning to elope in London?  I hope these London elopement ideas help with your planning.  If you’re looking for an elopement photographer get in touch.

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  1. From Canada and eloping in London in July! Doing the legal bit back home and the ceremony on a different day in London. Staying at LSE bankside and planning on running around taking photos for the majority of the day before reservations at Gordon Ramsays’s Leicester square restaurant. I know London very well as I used to live there. Wondering if you know of any low key places for beautiful, private photographs. I am a photographer myself, so I know most shots that I want, but they’re all around central where there may be lots of people.

    1. Hi Bella. It really depends on the sort of backdrops you want. London is pretty diverse, as you’ll know. If you want leafy head to the pergola on Hampstead Heath or maybe Greenwich Park (you’ll need a permit) and for urban I always enjoy shooting around Shoreditch. The South Bank is fun and you can often find a quiet spot on one of the Thames beaches.


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