Dilston Grove wedding photographer

Dilston Grove wedding photography in London

Laura and Robert

This wedding is so special to me. I loved every minute of being Dilston Grove wedding photographer but I am so chuffed that the couple asked me for my availability on two dates and, as I was booked for one, they set the wedding for the other! It is the biggest compliment I could ever get!  

”We came across Joasis when we started searching for local wedding photographers for our wedding at Dilston Grove. We loved Jo’s style and checked out her availability for the wedding date when checking with the parents. We didn’t inquire with anyone else as we knew we wanted Jo. When we met her we spent about two hours just chatting about things, cycling, prints and the wedding. We booked her straight away as our wedding photographer and so pleased that we did. We adore the photos we have.”

Dilston Grove as a wedding venue

This relaxed and super stylish wedding was held at Dilston Grove in Southwark. It is one of a few less known London wedding venues that it is still very unique. It is one of the first concrete buildings in London and right now it is is an art gallery and creative space run by CGP London. With its bare, raw walls it creates a blank canvas for couples who have a vision for their wedding:

”We knew that we wanted to get married in London and we didn’t want a church wedding (sorry parents!). We search the internet and did our research on some venues in South East and East London. We had an appointment to see one venue but they didn’t turn up. We then stumbled upon Dilston Grove, and absolutely loved the look of it. We went to see it and booked it straight away. We were asked if we wanted to think about it but we said no. In the end it was the only place we saw so within two weeks of being engaged we had a venue and a date.”

Read more about wedding planning, table styling and inspiration below the photos. I am also sharing Laura and Robert’s love story and tips on how to ensure your wedding day is relaxed and enjoyable. 

So do scroll down to the end of the post.

How did you meet?

”We were introduced through friends, they actually tried to set us up a year or so before but it wasn’t until we were planning a holiday to India together did we realised we liked each other more than friends.  Going on a three week holiday when you’ve only been together a few weeks is sure to throw you in at the deep end, it was a success though! We got engaged in Copenhagen; we love bikes, food and Scandinavian design so this was a perfect place to start planning the wedding.”

Sally Lacock separates and tweed Kooples jacket for relaxed but stylish wedding outfits

Laura wasn’t set on having a classic wedding dress. 

I came across Sally Lacock on the internet as she was selling off all her pieces due to a move.  She was based in an old warehouse and had a great relaxing area for browsing her dressing and trying them on.  I liked the idea of a skirt and top and it turns out Sally had both which I loved. She designed the outfits so it was great to buy direct from the designer.

Rob - similar to Laura I wasn’t keen on a traditional wedding. We wanted each member of the wedding party to feel comfortable and add their own bit of style to the day. My outfit was from all over the place, trousers from Hackett, jacket was from the Kooples, the waistcoat and tie were from Mr Start in Shoreditch and shoes from Joseph Cheaney. It all came together as a bit of an accident really.

Mismatched bridesmaid dresses in dusty pink and sparkly flower girls skirts

I didn’t want all the bridesmaids to wear the same as they all have their own style. I suggested they find a dress they like that was muted colours. It just so happens they went for pink, one of them is in cream but I think the other three makes it look like pink! The flower girls skirts I picked up well in advance, I initially bought them as Christmas presents but then realised they’d work well for the wedding.

Wedding venue decor, DIY flowers and styling

Dilston Grove is such a fantastic and interesting space that we didn’t feel it needed much doing to it otherwise it would detract from the building itself so we opted for festoon lighting to enhance the venue. We had no theme, we just wanted the wedding to be quite relaxed and simple. We sought help from family and friends for the flowers, this meant a 5am trip to Covent Garden market. In addition to this, Rob’s mum brought most of the foliage from her garden it was a great way of saving money. We spent Thursday and Friday preparing the flowers and arranging them - turns out cleaning and filling 200 odd vases and bottles does take longer than you think. Thankfully lots of family and friends turned up at the venue on Friday to help. In the entrance room we wanted a statement piece, we’d been discussing this with our friend Petra and decided to go with foliage hoops. They turned out great and we loved it.

Lou Reed, Satellite of Love as First Dance song -  because it’s awesome! Barn / Ceilidh fun for the evening

We wanted to have a barn dance/ceilidh (the Scots would definitely say it was a barn dance) so we’d get everyone up dancing. Stomping Dave and Cut a Shine were able to provide music during the day too so they played outside in the park.

Wedding favours with a twist? Funny Instagram photos and hand drawn portraits 

We didn’t want to have favours per say so opted for instagram style photos of everyone as place settings. We also used these photos as the table plan and managed to hang them from a branch out in Southwark Park. We tried to find amusing photos of everyone so this created quite a few giggles. We also had Rosie Curran there offering a slightly different photo booth option, she hand drew pictures of the guests in a couple of minutes with 30% likeness. Everyone loved Rosie.

Why having a wedding coordinator was the best decision that helped us enjoy the day to the fullest

Because Dilston Grove is limited with it’s available space we hired quite a few different suppliers and tried to do all the food and drinks outside - this took quite a bit of planning and extra authorisation so we hired Laura from Devine Bride to help organise the day. She was amazing in the lead up making sure everyone knew how to get to the venue (it’s not as easy as you’d think) and she absolutely nailed it on the day. The wedding wouldn’t have been the same without her.

Italian style shared food, gin and tonic and dessert served outdoors

We loved the idea of shared food instead of three course meal. The weather was amazing and as for mid September it was very summery and warm. Our guests spend a lot of time chatting outside and having platters and pizza meant no one was forced to sit down for extended period of time. Van Dough came in their converted van and supplied all the main food and waiting staff - their pizzas, charcuterie and salads went down a storm and leftovers were eaten cold later.

After the ceremony we had The Travelling Gin Company serving gin and tonics and Canapés we provided by Suzanne James Catering.

After the main meal we needed the main room to be taken down so the band could set up. To encourage guests out of the room we served desserts and coffee outside.  Ben from Black Box Coffee arrived by bike and served hot drinks and some amazing espresso martinis. Meringue Girls provided yummy bite size desserts.

And final words of wisdom - hire a wedding coordinator!

Dilston Grove is amazing but it does have its challenges, as I expect all venues do. It has very limited space indoors which caused us quite a few issues in the beginning. In the end we decided to use a variety of suppliers who didn’t need access to indoor space. This meant we had quite a few in the end and something we weren’t able to manage. We hire a wedding coordinator and it was the best money we spent. Laura Devine made the day go without a hiccup and it was exactly how we wanted it to be.

Here is what Laura of Devine Bride said about her experience at working at Dilston Grove wedding:

The result of a dry hire venue, like Dilston Grove, is a completely different and very personal day, done exactly your way.  However, one of the main differences for me, as a wedding planner, is that there is usually a host or coordinator at hotel weddings (or at the very least, a duty manager), whereas at dry hire and marquee weddings, you will be on your own… Unless you hire a planner or on the day coordinator, of course! 

Hotel weddings are somewhat easier to manage because all the staff are part of the same team, and have all worked together before, and do the same things together week in week out.  So, at dry hire weddings, a coordinator is the glue that gels the team that have never worked together before – I am the link between all the deliveries, the venue owner, the celebrant, the caterer, the cake maker, the band, the DJ, …the list goes on.  A coordinator is the manager who knows how to set everything in motion, who know what’s going on, who will check up on suppliers, who will herd your guests, and keep things running to time. 

In my opinion, not hiring a coordinator for a dry hire or marquee wedding is like hiring a private plane without a pilot.  And… it’s always better not to ask a friend to help, because who wants a drunk pilot? 

From wedding photography point of view we cannot agree more! The day was super relaxed, everything under control and on time. That in turn meant that we had chilled time with Laura and Robert taking photos and they could enjoy being together and party with their friends and families without any worries. 

The rest of fab suppliers:


Shoes: L.K.Bennett  

Hair: Tracey from Cahoonas 

Make up: friend Nicky Goodsell

Cake of Cheese: Barbers

Invitations/Stationery - Rob hand drew these

This wedding was also published on Rock My Wedding. You can view it here.


If you enjoyed this Dilston wedding photography blog post why do not you check similar DIY and Italian food sharing barn wedding.  Jump here to check recent engagement photography in East London.

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Joasis Photography is a modern wedding photographer in London offering creative alternative wedding photography for relaxed couples.

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