Small Intimate Wedding at York House & Bingham Riverhouse – A Bride’s Story about Getting Married during the Pandemic

28 March 2021
Beautiful modern couple getting married at York House, Richmond upon Thames | Small intimate social distanced wedding | Rebecca Searle Photography

The current lockdown in London has got me looking back on the handful of wedding cakes that I did manage to make in 2020. And this blog post is a rather special one as I’ve invited one of my lovely brides, Jessica, to share her story about planning and having a socially-distanced wedding in the height of the Covid pandemic. Jessica and Harry definitely had more than their fair share of ups and downs from having to cancel their overseas destination wedding in France to then having to rearrange their London wedding. They were having to make decisions at a time where the government weren’t giving clear directives about what could and couldn’t happen and we really weren’t sure if they would be able to get married. But at the beginning of August on a beautifully sunny day, they were able to go ahead with their wedding ceremony at York House and then celebrate in the gardens of Bingham Riverhouse. Albeit with only 30 guests and social distancing but what a joyous wedding it was. Something that really shows through all the small weddings I’ve been involved in, is just how much the love shines through in these intimate ceremonies. The beginning of marriage, such an important and meaningful milestone in so many people’s lives – for me being witness to that happiness and joy is a real honour. So here’s Jessica telling you about the journey they went on to finally get married in August 2020:

Hi Jessica, thank you so much for partaking in this blog post! I remember when you first got in touch with me, you’d mentioned that you had been planning a destination wedding. I don’t know how long you’d been planning that but it must have been hard to let go of those plans. When did you realise that it wasn’t going to be able to happen? And what was going through your mind at that point?

Yes, originally we had been planning to get married in the south of France and had been planning since the previous August! When lockdown hit in March, I think like most people we thought it would last a couple of months and then all would be okay..! How wrong we were!

We took it day by day, week by week and made the final decision at the end of April to cancel – mainly as we had originally planned for 90 people to all travel to France from all over Europe. The main thing is that we wanted everyone to be safe and feel comfortable.

We then started the second wedding planning journey for our London wedding!!

Once you’d decided to have your wedding here in London, I recall there were a lot of uncertainties that you had to manage including whether you would even be able to have your micro wedding at all. It was hard to know whether you’d be allowed to celebrate with family and friends and how many guests you’d be allowed to have. I remember you weren’t even sure which venue you’d be able to celebrate in! So many things to deal with, I can only imagine how stressful that was for you. How did you both cope with the ups and downs?

We literally had so many ups and downs that we ended up planning the final wedding within about two weeks…! It was such a rollercoaster but we just tried to stay as positive as we could. I think it was just the constant change in government advice and simply not being able to put together anything ‘solid’ but you know what… it just didn’t matter and we had a great summer re-planning!

And were you tempted to postpone to 2021 or 2022? What made you choose to go ahead?

We were actually never tempted to postpone at all!! We were just sooo excited to marry each other and really we didn’t care in the end. As long as we could just do that, anything else was a bonus!!!

My one tip to any bride planning in this pandemic is to just think about what’s important to YOU! If that’s having 300 people then of course postpone, but for me it was just about the two of us, and so we were happy to go ahead!

I love that you were so positive about making the most of your celebration! Were there things that you went all out on, no expenses barred, to make your wedding day extra special?

Absolutely! As I said above, I focused on what was important to me. I’d chosen a beautiful dress and I was so lucky to have been able to enjoy that whole experience pre-lockdown, I took time to get a beautiful perfume and make myself feel good. And of course we were so lucky to have the best, 30 degC cloudless sky, weather so we had a free flowing bar. Considering there was only 30 of us we went all out!!

In light of the fact that a lot of people couldn’t get married, did that make your wedding feel all the more meaningful? And what were the highlights for you?

Ultimately we felt (and still feel) so so lucky that we were able to have our day with our closest friends and family around us, as, that was the most important thing. My heart absolutely goes out to all couples and families that haven’t been able to go ahead with their plans at all or are on hold. Just think, in the future nobody will EVER take weddings for granted again!!!

As we can see, a year later and a lot of couples are facing the same dilemmas that you guys had to make. Is there any advice that you would offer?

Make sure you follow your heart and have the wedding that YOU both truly want. If that means postponing then so be it, but sometimes life throws us curve balls (I’m sure marriage certainly does) and I think just try and make the most out of the situation you are in.

And is there anything you would do differently?

Absolutely not. One of the BEST things that we found and enjoyed is that all of the lovely people we worked with, to make our wedding happen, were small, local businesses. Which was SO important to us and also has so much meaning for us going forward as we have kept in touch with all of our lovely suppliers. I think that really helped to make sure that our wedding was so special. Everyone is so so passionate about their craft and their passion and help and support just meant that everything was absolutely perfect.

I guess the one thing I’d have done differently would be to not have worried so much in the lead up to the wedding day. As my 98 year old Nanny would say (who was at the wedding) “You can’t map your life out so just go with it!’

My guess is that you have no regrets. From the smiles on your faces in your wedding photos, it feels like it was the right thing for you to do! Looking back, are you still happy with the decision you made?

We really are. We spoke at length and really considered would we be upset going to other weddings in the future knowing our plans changed but you know what, our wedding was perfect as it was. In 50 years we can tell our grandchildren about our Covid wedding and it will remain just as perfect as it was on the day.

I absolutely loved working with Jess and Harry and am really grateful to be able to share their story with you. I just love how they feel that their wedding was as perfect as it could have been, which just shows that despite everything Covid has thrown at us, love will always win the day!

And as you can tell, they chose to have a really special celebration for their wedding day and splashed out on delicious food at Bingham Riverhouse, stunning flowers, an amazing photographer, a stylish car, gorgeous clothes and a 3 tier cake – taking the approach that it’s always best to have more! Small weddings definitely don’t have to compromise on style, you can still go big and bold. There are lots of advantages to having fewer guests where you can spend time celebrating with your nearest and dearest. It can give you more of a wedding budget too which means you can have all of the luxuries, you can get married in a beautiful venue, you can have amazing flowers, and delicious food and of course lots of cake!

Here are a few more lovely photos from their day:

Getting ready before a wedding | York House, Richmond upon Thames, UK | Socially distanced summer wedding at Bingham Riverhouse | Rebecca Searle Photography
Classic vintage wedding car at York House, Richmond upon Thames, UK | Socially distanced summer wedding at Bingham Riverhouse | Rebecca Searle Photography
Confetti moment for bridal couple at York House, Richmond upon Thames, UK | Socially distanced summer wedding at Bingham Riverhouse | Rebecca Searle Photography
Romantic bridal couple portrait at York House, Richmond upon Thames, UK | Socially distanced summer wedding at Bingham Riverhouse | Rebecca Searle Photography
Ruffled buttercream wedding cake for an outdoor summer celebration | Rebecca Searle Photography
Socially distanced summer wedding at Bingham Riverhouse | Rebecca Searle Photography


Venue: York House / Bingham Riverhouse

Photography: Rebecca Searle

Florist: Johanna Pedrick Flowers

Wedding Cake: Sugar Plum Bakes