I’d been lucky enough to have shot a wedding at this lovely boutique east London hotel before and remembered all the amazing spaces and original 1920’s decor of the place. Once one of east London’s proper old town halls with original wooden panelled round council chamber, Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel is now a unique hotel, wedding and events venue. A stone’s throw from Bethnal Green tube along the commercial road, it’s location and eclectic look have made it a favourite for films on location (Atonement, Lock Stock…) and no doubt has hosted many a show biz party!
Oksana and Ben were both getting ready at the hotel that day which makes capturing things on both sides much easier. It’s great when that happens as I’m able to tell the story from both the bride & groom’s angle, which feels more complete to me. Oksana had a massive suite on one wing of the hotel, big enough to host her 6 bridesmaids, parents and half a dozen or so family members who’d gathered there to start the day’s celebrations early with her. Team Oksana!! With Russian, Argentinian parents and guests from literally around the globe, and with drinks flowing, it was a loud and boisterous crowd that morning. Happy chaos. Ben’s preparation with his English/ Sri Lankan parents and best man on the other side of the hotel, were much calmer and quieter with a few glasses of whisky to start things off.
Wedding Ceremony at Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel
This was one of those weddings with so much going on everywhere. As I was able to see both bride and groom before the ceremony, I got a real sense of them, who they were and how they connected with everyone around them. Ben said they’d only wanted their closest friends and family there that day and they’d had a hard time picking who to invite, but they had very close, special relationships with everyone there. For them, being able to be themselves, feel the love and connection with everyone (they’re real hippies at heart) and totally do their wedding their way, was the most important thing. They’d met at work – Oksana had been a boss of sorts to Ben and things just blossomed. He couldn’t have hidden how truly madly deeply he loved this chick! They were gorgeous together.
And so the prep was all done and Oksana with her gorgeous dusky pink dress on, everyone slowly made their way into the council chamber for the wedding. The light was incredible that day with incredibly strong sunlight basking everyone in the ceremony room, adding some extra magic to things. Oksana was as nervous as a bride could be, but once Ben had taken her hand, you could see that things felt right again. You could really feel the love from this crowd as the ceremony took place and moments later they were married, and we were all heading outside into the late autumn sunshine.
Eat Drink and Be Merry
We took a bit of time out for photos and time for these two to catch up before getting back to the drinks reception which was in full swing. Music from pianist Adam set a classy tone as the newly weds invited their guests into dinner to eat drink and be merry. There was no downtime at this wedding, no quiet moments or lulls. People make weddings. It’s as simple as that. People in this case who’d travelled long distances to be here to enjoy, celebrate and share the love – it was such a mixed crowd of cultures that clashed beautifully and harmoniously. Fabulous speeches with honest dissections of both their characters done with lots of love and affection, I’d never seen so many hugs! This lot were BIG huggers!
Cake and more fizz and a lot of laughter all around. And so the evening ended with a brass band, not your usual type of wedding music, but a pretty incredible sound and surprisingly good vibe to party to. I could hear them all the way down Patriot street after I’d left. What a wedding! Love, romance, much laid-backness, hugging, so much vodka and fizz, happy tears, gorgeous food, lovely people, happy times. To see their full gallery, click HERE. Oksana & Ben, I wish you peace, love and much happiness. Planning a wedding like this? I’d be honoured to be there to capture some magic for you too! Get in touch here.