Real wedding: Art house style

Real wedding: Art house style
Rekha and Matt's London wedding was all about pared-back and relaxed elegance

From the classic architecture of their artists’ haunt venue to the timeless floral arrangements, Rekha and Matt’s wedding showcased their shared love of pared-back London style


Photography: Anne Schwarz

When Rekha and Matt began planning their wedding, their first big decision was the venue. They opted for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), just off The Strand. As Rekha says: “We thought it spoke for itself, with its beautiful, simple Regency style”.

Beyond the glorious Nash architecture, a key side benefit of the ICA was its location – situated on The Mall opposite the lush green space of St James’ Park. It had everything they wanted for their celebration: “It brings with it history and occasion. Plus it has panoramic views of London.”

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With its glorious Nash architecture and views over The Mall, the ICA’s elegant spaces required minimal dressing


The couple wanted to do justice to their elegant backdrop and chose an inspired colour theme – neutrals blended with corals and a hint of vintage lilac to offset the pale blues/greys of the ICA’s high-ceilinged reception spaces. Hackney Florist The Flower Appreciation Society created a series of lush informal designs using seasonal blooms: “They had hardly any direction from us,” says Rekha.

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Rekha’s gown was designed by Charlotte Wilden and featured pale gold-blush silk layered with silver grey mesh, Chantilly lace and chiffon. The frilled bodice featured crystals, beads and sequins.


While the main palette was restrained, Rekha and Matt introduced very personal touches. “We wanted to include an Indian element to the day,” says Rekha, “So we put together a contemporary-style display of a bronze Ganesh garlanded in flowers”. This gave guests the opportunity to celebrate in the traditional way by saying a Puja (blessing) after the wedding ceremony. Rekha also had intricate Mehndi (henna) designs created on her hands.

Rekha’s gown was custom-designed by Charlotte Wilden of Wilden Bride and featured a pale gold-blush silk as a base, layered with silver grey mesh and overlaid with Chantilly lace and chiffon. With its delicate frilled bodice featuring crystals, glass beads and sequins, and the waist defined with soft grosgrain ribbon, this was a romantic dress with timeless style credentials.


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With the ceremony and reception in one place, Rekha and Matt put the organisation in the hands of the planning team at the ICA


With friends and family gathered to celebrate, there were still opportunities for Rekha and Matt to enjoy time alone. The high point of their day was the glass of champagne they shared together after the ceremony on the balcony of the ICA building. Rekha says: “Looking down at all the tourists, it felt like a royal wedding!”

The planning experience was relatively stress free, thanks to their decision to put their faith in a team of local and experienced suppliers, meaning they never had to travel long distances to plan and organise. Rekha says: “All of them had such a cool London style, so we never had to worry about things being too ‘wedding-y. We didn’t fuss over too many details – such as name cards for tables and the like. The less we had to do, the less stressed we were”.

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There were lots of informal and personal touches to create a relaxed celebration – Rehka says they chose not to worry about details such as name cards for tables


They were particularly grateful for the support of the ICA’s planning team. Rekha says: “We had a dedicated planner from start to finish, who answered pretty much every one of my emails (even the ones I had forgotten I’d sent) within a day. On the big day, the staff were a perfect combination – military precision without being obtrusive”.

Rekha and Matt had chosen a cake with a difference, a delicious croquembouche from Boulangerie Jade. “Perhaps the coolest wedding cake every,” says Rekha. They had also selected fine cheeses and meats from The French Comte in Borough Market – a very London-local touch.

Real wedding: Art house style
Bridesmaids wore elegant navy gowns, the perfect foil to Rekha’s pure white gown


Their celebration was captured by photographer Anne Schwarz. Rekha says: “Anne is an amazing photographer; she kept things so tasteful and never cheesy, plus it was just lovely to have her there on the day.”

If Rekha and Matt have one regret, it’s that they were so laid back on the day they had forgotten to sort out transport after the party. Rekha says: “I did wish I’d booked some transport back to our Covent Garden hotel room, instead of having to hail a black cab in my wedding dress – although there was something quintessentially London about that!”.

Real wedding: Art house style
Tablesettings were elegant and restrained, with simple vases of lush summer blooms, tealights and white linen

Art house style: Rekha and Matt’s wedding sourcebook


Photographer: ANNE SCHWARZ,

Wedding gown: ; CHARLOTTE WILDEN,