Welcome to the simply awesome wedding of Ciaran and Kemi. Each phase of this day had me super excited to be there – beautiful, great fun, unique and quirky. So starting near Alexandra Palace for a LOT of bridal party prep – Kemi and her 8 bridesmaids, 3 flower girls and her mother were all getting ready in the flat while 'Yes to the Dress' was on TV. There's something about the glorious chaos of a wedding morning like this that I love. And as Kemi stepped out in her bridal gown, her closest friends were overjoyed and overwhelmed.
As many of you will know – I don't drive yet. And I don't need to in London! There's awesome public transport, but on this occasion I was asked into the bridal car to ride-along with the Bride, her father and step-dad. As we made our way to Islington Registry Office in a white 'black cab' I couldn't help but soak up the atmosphere and familiar sights of our capital.
Kemi arrived at Islington registry office and I ran ahead to meet Ciaran in the Council Chamber before the bridal party made their entrance.. Ciaran was looking smart and stood surrounded by family and friends, with a smile on his face. As Kemi walked in the guests broke out in spontaneous applause. And the little ones weren't quiet about being super-happy to see the marriage either!
After a quiet moment alone, the new Mr & Mrs O'Grady walked through a shower of confetti and on to the transport.. Obviously the best way to transport a wedding party from Islington to Stroud Green on Arsenal match day is on vintage Routemaster busses.. my inner child was delighted with this! And I wasn't the only one – not only were the guests thrilled, but so were most of the people we passed.
"There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere."
- Vivienne Westwood
Next Stop: Pizzeria Pappagone for the wedding breakfast! I was LOVING this place.. and didn't want to sit down for my break. Soon after the hand made pizzas were sent out, the speeches began.. it's difficult to put into words how palpable the love was in that room. The closeness of the bond between family and friends, and the full hearts spilling over - it was a privilege to witness.
Back to the busses for the guests, and on to the reception venue in Camden. But for the bride and groom it was a short trip to the Regents Canal towpath, to board their own special wedding transport..
Yes, a wedding 'narrowboat' was waiting; decorated, stocked with champagne, music playing and a space just for two at the very front. Ciaran poured 2 glasses of champagne, passed one to me and had a drink from the bottle himself! Then we all hopped on, and quietly floated underneath a bridge...
Passing by joggers (shouting well-wishes) and even friends they knew, Ciaran and Kemi made their way along the canal. Stopping near the bridge next to the reception venue, where their guests were waiting with a traditional Irish Cèilidh band... prompting the bride and groom to take a cheeky pre-first-dance on a table top.