Hanna & Fred had their Spring wedding at the ICA in April this year. Before the big day, we did a pre wedding shoot together that you might want to take a look at here. Both Londoners themselves, they were keen on a central London wedding that would be super easy for all their guests to attend and they found a fabulous classical and elegant space at the Institute of Contemporary Arts to host their celebrations. The day started with Hanna getting ready on her own until her bridesmaids arrived at her hotel a stone’s throw from the ICA.
Like most Chinese weddings, there was an element of tradition mixed into the day, starting with door games for the groom and groomsmen when they arrived. The tradition is that the groom has to earn his right to claim and marry his bride – to prove he is worthy of marrying her, so all kinds of games are organised to mostly have fun and mildly humiliate the groom and his friends. The bridesmaids busied themselves with setting things up as Hanna got ready, and were planing a series of tricky questions for Fred the groom to answer, before he was even allowed in the hotel suite! Hard core! After putting on her beautiful traditional Chinese red wedding gown, Hanna patiently waited for Fred to successfully appear, though she was actually watching every moment via Skype! Oh the wonders of technology!
Their families arrived to watch the games and so the groom and his merry men appeared – there were sits ups, questions, then pass the seaweed mouth to mouth no less, putting on lipstick blindfolded (bloody hilarious), eating some horrendously toxic sour sweets whilst twerking, singing and finally and most importantly, payment of some money or ‘Li Shi’ in a red packet to the bridesmaids who were the gate keepers to the bride. After a bit of negotiating, and lots of drama, the sum was finally accepted and Fred was allowed to see Hanna.
The Tea Ceremony
A traditional tea ceremony then got underway with both Hanna and Fred serving Chinese tea to their parents and close family. Symbolic but very important in the Chinese culture. Red packets are handed over and jewellery for the bride. After the ceremony, and something to eat, the guys left and Hanna changed into a more traditional white wedding dress before making her way to the ICA for their wedding ceremony by taxi.
The Wedding Ceremony
The ICA is a fabulous place to visit with galleries laid out over several floors and a cafe that is definitely one of London’s best kept secrets. Most of their guests were already there waiting for the ceremony to begin and so it did. It was a lovely simple wedding in the huge elegant rooms of the ICA and after a few readings, some tears and lots of laughter from the couple they were married. April didn’t disappoint and we all headed outside in the glorious sunshine for confetti and champagne in the private gardens opposite. Hanna & Fred were keen to have some photos taken in and around their venue so we made the short walk to Trafalgar Square to take some shots in front of the national gallery and at various points along the way. Love the photos in front of the Delacroix exhibition posters at the national. Then back to their wedding breakfast and a chance to relax, eat and say hello to all their guests. Another Chinese tradition is for the bride and groom with their close family to visit each table one by one and to toast the guests so that was the next of many highlights during the day. A few drinking challenges and increasing merrymaking around the room, it was fab! After dinner they all headed into the opposite room for the cake cutting and dancing. One last tea ceremony and the evening celebrations were under way. A fabulous day with a wonderful mix of traditions with a couple who did it their way!
Thanks Hanna & Fred for asking me to be there to capture it all. It was a real pleasure. If you’re getting married at the ICA and would like to chat more about your wedding, get in touch here.