Real wedding: London calling

Real wedding: London calling

It just had to be London for Lyssa and Joe – the city where they’d met and fallen in love – and so they planned a three-centre celebration in the heart of the West End

Photos: Anneli Marinovich
Real wedding: London calling
It simply had to be London for Joe and Lyssa, so they planned a three-centre wedding in the heart of the capital

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or Lyssa and Joe, there was only one possible choice when it came to wedding location. “It had to be London,” says Lyssa. “We met here and wanted to throw an unforgettable celebration.” Lyssa hails from North Carolina in the United States, while Joe is from Ireland, so with friends flying in from all points west, it made sense to choose classic London locations.

From this starting point, Lyssa and Joe planned a three-centre wedding celebration around Mayfair and Covent Garden. Their choices blended something old with something new – in great bridal tradition – beginning with a civil ceremony in genteel Mayfair, moving on to iconic Covent Garden restaurant The Ivy and then hosting the evening party at contemporary event space Icetank.

Real wedding: London calling
Lyssa and Joe had met in Mayfair, so selected Mayfair Library for their ceremony. Adjacent Mount Street Gardens was the perfect spot for photos

Lyssa and Joe had met and work in Mayfair, so Mayfair Library in Audley Street – a lovely late Victorian building steeped in history – was a natural choice. An added benefit was that the library is adjacent to Mount Street Gardens, a tranquil oasis that is perfect for wedding photographs. For their wedding breakfast, the private dining room upstairs at The Ivy restaurant had a very special significance for Lyssa, who says: “The Ivy was my late mother’s favourite London restaurant”.


With an international guest list and three wonderful locations, the theme for the day became, as Lyssa sums it up: “London glamour with a personal touch’’. Great care went into these personal touches. “I’m from North Carolina, where monograms are popular, so we put our initials and names on anything that didn’t move: the napkins, matchbooks, maps, cocktail stirrers, favour ribbons, and so on.”

Stationery was an important part of establishing the theme and BerinMade designed a lovely bespoke diamond print stationery suite for the invitations to echo the harlequin windows of The Ivy. On-the-day stationery – order of service, map and itinerary – was essential and Lyssa and Joe worked with Cute Maps, a company they found via Its beautifully designed and quirky guides were an essential navigational aid and also made lovely mementos. Lyssa says: “Cute Maps were so much fun to work with”.

Real wedding: London calling
As this was a chic city wedding, Lyssa chose a short gown with detachable long train from House of Mooshki

As this was a chic city wedding, and with some walking between locations, Lyssa wanted a more contemporary take on the traditional wedding gown, choosing an elegant short pencil gown in satin and guipure lace with tulle overlay and detachable train from House of Mooshki for the ceremony and wedding breakfast. She says: “I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress, so I looked further afield and purchased a blush pink dress from Cheshire Bridal Wear in Altrincham, near Manchester during one of their House of Mooshki events. Linda and the rest of the team were so amazing. After three fittings with them, they felt like family; when my dress was ready, they offered to drive it to me in Surrey!”

For the evening celebration, Lyssa chose a simple long white evening gown with Grecian-style bodice and pink wrap. With a three-event celebration, she also had the perfect excuse to change shoes and swapped her daytime Jimmy Choos for fabulous Yves Saint Laurent heels.

The May weather was set fair on Lyssa and Joe’s wedding day and after the ceremony guests mingled in Mount Street Gardens before boarding a chartered red London bus for the trip to The Ivy for a very special celebration meal. Lyssa says: “Guests loved the champagne and mocktails, food and incredible Ivy service”.

From there, it was just a short walk through Covent Garden to Icetank for the after party. They had settled on this smart studio and event space for a complete contrast to the more traditional elements of the daytime event. Lyssa says: “We wanted a modern and cool white space to decorate as we wished. Our evening caterers, Purple Grape, put out a fantastic Southern American-themed feast, including pulled pork, beer-battered fried chicken, and spicy shrimp”.

Real wedding: London Calling
From The Ivy, Lyssa and Joe walked through Covent Garden to their evening venue Icetank – taxi drivers wound down their windows to congratulate the newlyweds and it was, as Lyssa says: “a great London moment”

Despite the logistical challenges of guests flying in from abroad, and a three-venue celebration, the whole day ran without a hitch. Lyssa and Joe did have some assistance – and that’s one of their key tips for other brides and grooms. “We would recommend an on-the-day coordinator to ensure things go smoothly. Anna MacDougall from Bride and Glory was fantastic. Joe and I did most of the planning ourselves, but still wanted to make sure that we had someone to handle the logistics of the day. Her attention to detail was superb, and we were able to relax on our wedding day knowing that everything was safe in her hands.”

Real wedding: London calling
The evening venue, Icetank, had a very cool West End vibe and guests were treated to a Southern American feast, including spicy shrimp and fried chicken

Their other great tip is to tap into the networking capabilities of the experts you choose. Lyssa says: “We recommend using vendors who know each other. We found Anneli (our amazing photographer) through the Icetank. My wedding-hair stylist Kasia and make up artist Kristina were recommended by Anneli, as was Blue Sky Flowers’ owner Liz Inigo Jones. It felt like one big team getting ready for the day, and everything flowed so well.”

With everything in hand thanks to their team of London wedding pros, the high point of the day for Joe and Lyssa was the short walk – dressed in their wedding finery – through Covent Garden to Icetank. “We walked there on our own, which meant we could grab 15 minutes together – it was so sweet. And as we walked, strangers wished us well and many black cab drivers rolled down their windows to congratulate us. It was such a great London moment!”

Wedding coordination: Anna MacDougall from Bride & Glory;
Photography: Anneli Marinovich Photography;
Ceremony: Mayfair Library;
Venue (wedding breakfast): The Ivy;
Venue (evening): Icetank;
Food (evening): Purple Grape Catering;
Wedding gown: House of Mooshki Sophia gown;
Wedding shoes: Jimmy Choo (day); and Yves Saint Laurent (evening);
Hair: Kasia Fortuna;
Makeup: Kristina Gasperas;
Groom’s suit: Graham Browne;
Groom’s shoes: Joseph Cheaney & Sons, Jermyn Street;
Flowers: Blue Sky Flowers;
Wedding stationery: BerinMade;
Wedding map/itineraries: Cute Maps;
Transport: Ensign Bus Hire;
Bride & Groom Transport: Cartel Executive Chauffeur Services; 020 8997 0000
DJ/Karaoke: Sternberg Clarke;