How to plan a very small (secret) wedding

Lori & Jon's wedding, photographed by Nick Tucker

Anyone who follows me on social media will have noticed that I am now a married woman. After 19 years with the wonderful Mr Topper, I asked if he’d like to celebrate knowing me for half of his life by getting married. He said yes and so, last summer, we started to make plans… in secret.

We knew we wanted to keep things very small for our ‘big’ day – just us and two witnesses – so that helped immensely with certain parts of the planning, like the guest list! We made an appointment with our local registrar to give notice, and also booked their register office for our ceremony. We wanted to get hitched as close to our anniversary as possible (we got together on New Year’s Eve), so a December wedding was somewhat inevitable. This made finding somewhere to go for photos after the ceremony rather tricky though, as everywhere was fully booked with Christmas parties!

Lori & Jon's wedding, photographed by Nick Tucker

The next thing to arrange was the rings. As neither of us had worn rings on a daily basis or shopped for expensive jewellery before, we sought advice on this. I figured that trying on costume jewellery in Topshop hadn’t really provided me with adequate knowledge! Thankfully, my multi-talented metamour Manda (who was to be one of our witnesses) used to work as a jeweller and so could advise on the properties of different types of precious metals, the fit you need to look for so that it won’t accidentally slide off, and the various types of profile. After a bit of browsing, we both went for plain court platinum bands, made by the family run Wedding Ring Boutique in Greenwich.

When you’re planning a very small secret wedding, with no external pressures or expectations, you can take a look at all the ‘trimmings’ usually associated with weddings and work out what it is that you actually want. After the ceremony and the rings, we realised that the things which were most important to us were outfits, photography and food. Transport between the various locations on the day was also necessary, but it didn’t need to be a photogenic wedding car. We opted for something comfortable for the four of us and had the driver on call to pick us up and drop us off when needed. A glimpse into how the other half live!

Lori & Jon's wedding, photographed by Nick Tucker

Obviously, when it came to outfits, we already had ideas that we’d not yet had an excuse to splash out on. I went for a frock I’d been eyeing up for some time, the Fatale Embroidered Prom Dress in midnight from The Pretty Dress Company, worn with the Monroe Jacket from Collectif because bare arms are not great for a December wedding. I replaced the button on the jacket with a diamanté one that I bought from John Lewis, and accessorised it with a huge vintage brooch that a colleague gave me. My shoes were the navy Kurt Geiger peep toe heels that I wore as bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. I also went to Selfridges and treated myself to a red leather Vivienne Westwood clutch bag and navy leather Dents gloves.

Topper wore a bespoke tweed suit by Dress 2 Kill in Waterloo, with a lovely pair of blue suede Grenson shoes that I picked up in a sample sale (thanks to my colleague Holly for the heads up on that one!). His pocket square was from Cravat Club, and his lovely wolf lapel pin was a wedding gift from Manda.

Good photos of the day were extremely important to both of us – because they’d be the only way our families and most of our friends viewed the wedding, and because we both have a love of photography – but we wanted shots that were less ‘wedding’ and a bit more ‘documentary’. Thankfully Instagram came to the rescue where I discovered the amazing work of Nick Tucker. It’s tricky to get good fly-on-the-wall shots at a wedding where there are only four people, but he did us proud! After the ceremony and a couple of pints at our local (The Taproom, who kindly opened early especially for us), we said our goodbyes and headed off for dinner.

Lori & Jon's wedding, photographed by Nick Tucker

Our evening meal was another taste of luxury – two Michelin stars of it, to be precise – as we headed to Marcus at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge to enjoy the tasting menu with wine pairings. We were made to feel welcome by every member of staff that we interacted with, and the meal was so wonderful that Topper wasn’t even upset at the lack of a cheese course! It was a perfect end to a perfect day, and I can’t believe I still haven’t shared any of the hundreds of glamorous selfies that Manda and I snapped in the ladies’ room at the end of the night.

Huge thanks to Manda and Matt for being our witnesses, to Hop Stuff for welcoming us with beer, to Nick for capturing our smiles… and for Jon Topper for being the best husband ever.

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