CATHERINE & SARAH: Black cabs & Soho lights – An intimate London winter wedding

As we reflect on the last week’s tragic events that took place in our beloved city of London, the messages that that seem to cut through our heartbreak are ones of solidarity and love. So we feel there’s  no greater time to introduce our readers to this week’s Real Wedding of Catherine and Sarah. Who, with the help of some famous London backdrops, black cabs and the fabulous community of Soho take us on a ride as we explore their stunning intimate London winter wedding attended by only 5 guests!

Catherine a freelancer working in the Film industry and Sarah, an Engagement manager for a Headhunting search firm first met online in 2009. Catherine a Northern lass who was new to London, decided to strike up a conversation with local Sarah. The next day, they had their first date and as they say ‘the rest is history’! Catherine and Sarah both wanted to propose. However with Catherine knowing that Sarah hated receiving surprises herself, but loved arranging them for other people (but was notoriously bad at keeping them a secret) that a traditional proposal was becoming more and more unlikely! So as the couple sipped bubbles overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on holiday in Big Sur, California they both decided that they would love to get married this year!

The ladies opted to not buy engagement rings with Catherine instead finding their dream rings at an airport on the way back from a business trip  – Cartier’s Trinity Ring. These stunning pieces appealed to the couple as they loved the symbolism of each colour “pink for love, yellow for fidelity and white for friendship”. And just like their engagement, they did it together ordering the pieces at the one and only Selfridges department store, a location where Catherine had worked on TV series Mr Selfridges!

The couple saved money on VAT by buying their Wedding rings duty free at the airports Cartier store as they departed for a friends wedding. Great idea for designer wedding shoes as well! © Kate Hopewell-Smith

The couple planned their wedding in only 4 months spending a total budget of £4000! Gracing our W+P readers with some sound advice to “Go on gut instinct, do exactly what you want and make sure it’s a day that you can enjoy together and not just go through the motions, as it can be overwhelming. It’s about love and becoming your own unit, so make it all about you and not the guests/family.” continuing with “spend too long planning as you can drive yourself mad!” Well said ladies!

Both being winter babies and loving the way London sparkles during the Festive season, a cosy and elegant wedding in the city where they first fell in love, made the perfect backdrop to their stunning London winter wedding. “We wanted to celebrate the city we met in and roam the streets with our amazing photographer Kate Hopewell-Smith, capturing some iconic shots of our favourite city, on Westminster Bridge and in Soho.”

© Kate Hopewell-Smith

The couple originally wanted grey silk dresses (so on trend this year!) however really struggled to find ones they liked. With Catherine working away for most of the planning period, they took an easier road that they could still do together, ordering loads of dresses online and trying them on at home. “We helped one another choose, it was quite emotional when we found ‘the ones’, we did not expect to feel that, but we did!”

Catherine & Sarah’s beautiful wedding gowns are from high street brands Monsoon & Phase Eight, giving the couple convenience to order online & try them on numerous styles together © Kate Hopewell-Smith

The brides continued with the ‘one team one dream’ planning tradition, getting their hair and make up ready at Sarah’s parents house by Storme Make Up followed by  travelling to their suite at the Iconic London Shard together. With crisp blue skies, the happy couple had time to take in the panoramic views of London – from the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral while they waited for their guests to arrive for champers and canapes.

© Kate Hopewell-Smith

The wedding party then made their way to Mayfair Library for the ceremony in their traditional London wedding cars….Black Cabs of course!

The brides caught a Black Cab to their ceremony © Kate Hopewell-Smith

And encountered some equally traditional London Christmas silly season experiences in the process! With the brides fondly recalling “The first one called around to the hotel had lots of adverts on it, and initially we were disappointed, however someone had been sick in the back of the cab, so the next one was called over! This was a pure black cab, and the driver was adorable – he was really excited to be part of our big day, and we had such a fun ride to the venue”

© Kate Hopewell-Smith

By then it was dusk & the skies had turned from a baby blue to a dusty pink, so the Cabbie thought now would be a great time to stop to take photos at Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye.

The Cabbie pulled over so the couple could take in some of the most famous views, including the London Eye which made a perfect backdrop for the couple’s intimate shots © Kate Hopewell-Smith

Before they could be late to an important date, Catherine and Sarah got back into the cab and headed to the Mayfair Library, where they walked down the aisle hand in hand as guests showered them with bubbles.

The couple walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Beyonce’s Halo © Kate Hopewell-Smith

“The service was quick, but beautiful and emotional with Sarah’s Dad James’ speech leaving not one dry eye in the house, even making the Registrar cry!” During the certificate signing, the couple played Eva Cassidy’s ‘Blue Skies’, a well suited tribute to the miraculous weather of the day!

© Kate Hopewell-Smith

Kate Hopewell-Smith, their wedding photographer then took the couple via the Connaught Hotel, which was exquisitely decorated for Christmas for some shots before their reception dinner at the famous Michelin star and old family favourite Soho restaurant Gauthier 

© Kate Hopewell-Smith
The brides stunning bouquets were arranged by Florabunda, a local London business, provided as a surprise gift by friends ©Kate Hopewell-Smith

Not wanting to miss a chance to celebrate, the couple ducked into a bar along the way to toast their nuptials in the form of tequila shots! What the couple didn’t expect, was that would lead to some of the most stunningly breathtaking, organic wedding portraits you’ve ever seen!

Sharing an precious moment while they make a toast to forever © Kate Hopewell-Smith

Wanting documentary style photography, the couple walked through the lively streets of Soho on their way to their reception dinner. The couple were overwhelmed with the welcome they received from strangers “people came up to us to congratulate us and we felt so lucky – times have changed and people were so accepting and wonderful. It topped off a truly magical day.”

Catherine & Sarah chat at the one & only Soho establishment GAY club © Kate Hopewell-Smith
Catherine & Sarah take a stroll through Camden on the way to their reception dinner © Kate Hopewell-Smith

The bridal party topped the evening off with a reception dinner at Gauthier  in their exclusive ‘Hidden’ dining room (accessed through a secret door…how cool is that!) where they listened to jazz while enjoying a candle lit dinner of french cuisine, delicious champagne & great conversation. Finished off with none other than Christmas pudding of course!

© Kate Hopewell-Smith

So what closing pearls of wisdom can Catherine and Sarah share with our readers? “To do exactly what you want to do and stick with it. It sounds selfish, but it’s not because this day is about you and your love for one another, a declaration. It is not about having the perfect favours, or battling seating plans – you need to have confidence that the day will be perfect for you, as these people are attending because you love them and they love you”

The couple are planning on having a larger wedding for family and friends in Mexico in 2019, 10 years since they first met where they confidently say they’ll “tackle their ‘big day’ quickly with precision, so that our guests just have to turn up and enjoy the ride!”

Catherine & Sarah, we’re packing our bags!


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