24 hours in east London

Don’t go west. Head to the right side of town for the capital’s best warehouse wonders, hip hotels and urban cityscapes  

Shoreditch3.jpg_-_Copy.jpg

10am: dutch courage

The Old Blue Last and Stories on Broadway are popular for a quick pint. If you’d rather your man filled up on grub, suggest he takes his ushers for brunch. Polo Bar opposite Liverpool Street station serves up breakfast 24 hours a day. For something a little more extravagant, Duck & Waffle, up the Heron Tower, is also always open. Get the guys to soak up the views, as well as the booze.

1309_polo_bar_2.jpg

11am: get ready to rock

Shoreditch is the centre of east London’s action, so naturally there are plenty of modish hotels where brides can get a good night’s sleep and prepare for the day ahead in style. In keeping with this part of town’s cool credentials, both Shoreditch House and Ace Hotel London Shoreditch are hipster havens. Grab one of the latter’s suites, which comes with a living room, vinyl player and acoustic Martin guitar. Just in case.

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch - 1402_Ace_Hotel_2-resized.jpg

1pm: wedding bells

Looking for an altar? The City has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in London. Shoreditch Town Hall, One Moorgate Place and Hackney Town Hall make grand alternatives for a civil ceremony. For larger weddings, both Troxy and The Brewery will hold your army of guests. Eight Club Moorgate can now host intimate ceremonies, while the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall comes with its own atmospheric stage. Even non-brutalism fans will appreciate the Barbican’s leafy Conservatory & Garden Room, where good weather is guaranteed.

1205_Searcy's_at_the_Barbican_Conservatory_wedding5.jpg5.jpg

3pm: dinner time

Bit of a foodie? Hold your reception in a restaurant. 1 Lombard Street and Hawksmoor Guildhall both have beautiful traditional interiors, while Mark Hix’s hip Tramshed serves up vertical chickens (pictured, right) next to a Damien Hirst cow in formaldehyde. Cinnamon Kitchen, with its airy conservatory terrace, is a lovely (weatherproof) spot for alfresco-style receptions.

chicken-_Jason_Lowe.jpg

5pm: get the party started

Nothing says urban wedding like a warehouse space, exposed brick and reclaimed furnishings. There are myriad industrial venues to explore, including Ruby House and The Depository (where Dragon’s Den is filmed) in Stoke Newington; Shoreditch Studios (you’ve guessed where); MC Motors and The Roost in Dalston; and Friendly Place in Deptford. 

Alternatively, take over a Victorian pub like The Prince Arthur in London Fields. Take time to scout out some graffitti to give your wedding photos that urban edge – the tunnel outside Cargo is a good spot.

2am: off to bed

When the party ends, you’ll want to rest your head somewhere close by. For an opulent stay, check into The Rookery in Clerkenwell. Its top suite, resplendent in polished wood panelling, has a four-poster bed and the best copper bath we’ve ever seen. Over in Bethnal Green, the Town Hall Hotel mixes modern glass walls with period cornicing and ornate fireplaces. 40 Winks in Hackney, a location house owned by interior designer David Carter, is perhaps the most unusual stay in the area. It’s awesome collection of artefacts makes for a really theatrical atmosphere.

40_Winks_-_Copy.jpg


Top tips:

Shoreditch style

American favourite David’s Bridal has now opened its flagship store in the UK – at Westfield Stratford City. Expect cool colour blocking and high hems to hit the East End streets soon.

1402_David's_Bridal_Zac_Posen_reclining_(ZP345016SIT_AD_ZP_14S).jpg

If the shoe fits...

Vivienne Westwood might have made a name for herself on Kings Road back in the 70s, but the dame’s designer shoes (pictured) are now more likely to be spotted on Kingsland Road.

melissa-vivienne-westwood-687769-442414_image.jpg

Your little black book:

Got the dress? Venture to Brick Lane vintage emporium Beyond Retro for a few bridal accessories. Think silk gloves, headwear and pretty clutches. Flowers? head to Shoreditch new comer That flower Shop. Its bright, rustic stems will look great arranged in crates and jars. Oh, and don't forget to check out Shoreditch Grind. All that pavement-pounding will call for a coffee pit-stop.


This article was first printed in Square Meal Venues & Events, weddings 2014.