The Asylum Chapel autumn London wedding

The Asylum wedding photographer

Lauren + Edward


The Asylum Chapel is one of the best London wedding venues. This is a fact. It is a dream of many London wedding photographers and I feel pretty chuffed to have shot for the second time. Being Asylum wedding photographer had been on my bucket list for some time and I am super proud to share images from Lauren and Ed’s wedding with you. The crumbling walls, fading murals, stained glass windows of this decaying building located in Peckham provide a special atmosphere for wedding ceremonies. Currently, the building is run by Maverick Projects offering this space for wedding, events and art project hire.

Read more about their love story and wedding planning below the images.

Here is what they said about working with me as their Asylum wedding photographer.

”Jo was superb. We wanted images, not just to record the memories, but to stand alone as art in of themselves, and that’s exactly what we got. Her style and confidence delivered exceptional images, and every shot we imagined we’d want of the day, and those we hadn’t even thought of, were delivered. All communication was exceptionally professional and the service she provided really stood out from the crowd. She wanted to meet in person to ensure we vibed, she offered a free engagement shoot - which was the most beneficial thing ever, as it turned out I was supremely awkward when being photographed, and delivered over 200 images more than we’d paid for, in addition to some lovely freebie prints and magnets. She was such a joy to work with.”

I definitely loved this gorgeous wedding of Lauren and Ed. It has posed some lighting challenges as the ceremony was held on a rainy end of October afternoon and there was very little natural light coming in. I had to use flash lighting but my main goal was to maintain the ambience, candle lit ‘altar’ and reflect cosy autumnal feeling with my Asylum wedding photography. Here is the result, you may judge for yourselves - comments are welcome!

Our love story.

Ed and I met in Australia when we were 18 and Ed was teaching cricket on his gap year. We became acquainted again when I moved to London when I was 23 and started going out soon after. Five years, a house and ginger cat named Genghis later, Ed proposed just before Christmas on a walk through Hyde Park and we went to one of our favourite restaurant afterwards to celebrate. Over Christmas we decided we wanted to have a relatively short engagement to avoid the hype and pressure of the wedding industry and thought October would be the best time as Autumn has always been my favourite season and the practicalities of being a teacher and Ed having work commitments meant we needed to do it in that half term.

The Asylum Chapel and Beagle as our wedding venue.

Being Australian, there wasn’t anywhere in London that was particularly sentimental as a venue and Ed didn’t have anywhere significant to him he felt urged to book, so we set to googling cool venues. We wanted to avoid the more traditional locations and do something that was a little more us, and when I saw the Asylum we thought, ‘hey, we live near by, why not make it a local wedding’. They were all booked up for the weekend we needed for my half term, so booked the Thursday somewhat unconventionally.

Then we set to finding a local venue and settled on a Italian restaurant with great food that will remain nameless as they cancelled on us with two weeks before the day. With some very focused googling, we emailed any restaurant that sat 70 in the South/East London area and Daniel at Beagle in Hoxton came to the rescue. He was the most professional and calming person to deal with and the total antithesis of our previous venue’s management which was horrific. It worked out beautifully and the food was unbelievably tasty.

Our fantastic transport company - London Retro Bus Hire - moved us from place to place, and waved any extra cost when we had to change the destination venue. It worked out beautifully as we ended up going over London Bridge with a gorgeous view of Tower Bridge and all of London lit up at night for all our guests to revel in.

For us, the most important element for the reception venue was delicious food, as it’s what we spend our weekends seeking out. We didn’t want the standard wedding food - dry chicken or limp fish that comes out at all different temperatures. We wanted London at its best and Beagle delivered: beef that was rare and seared to perfection, served in the cast iron pans it was cooked in; duck like any French restaurant worth their salt would prepare; cauliflower cheese of dreams that never ended, green beans with actual flavor and the most heavenly crumble and sticky pudding for dessert. It was unbelievable and our guests were awestruck that they were served such tremendous food at a wedding. And the most surprising part for all was that there was such an abundance of it. There was actually food to spare, which brilliantly was sent straight to the bride, who was not ‘so busy I didn’t even get a bite or drink all night’.

We had the place till 2.30 in the morning and danced the night away under the arches. Guests mingled under the outside heaters sipping espresso martinis which seemed to be the flavour of the night, with the bride sipping hot toddies with whole cinnamon sticks, lemon and honey to aid in voice recovery, kindly offered by Daniel when he realised I was struggling. It was perfect, impressive and oh so seamless.

Our wedding outfits

The Bride:

I thought I knew exactly the type of thing I wanted: a lovely simple lace dress with long sleeves. But after my first trip to a Bridal shop I was thrown and full of frustration: white looked horrific on me.  I went straight to Liberty, a design refuge in high street London, determined I was going to find something that actually suited me, that I could wear again. I found the most divine red lace Valentino gown. Alas, it was over £8,000 - definitely not my ‘sherk the wedding industry’ budget. But, it started the idea that red was the colour.

One afternoon I stumbled across some images from the Comme des Garcon exhibition showing at the Met in New York. I saw a painting of a skirt and knit from their Autumn 1995 collection and thought it was just crazy enough to work. They were a brand I love to wear and do fantastically quirky and modern things. The skirt was humorous, adaptable and something I thought would make my grandma, a model and seamstress with great style, laugh. The assistants at the Berwick Street Cloth shop pointed me in the direction of Sylvia Young, owner of Beau Monde, as the ideal dressmaker for the job. When we met, I knew she was perfect and got what I was trying to achieve. The rest fell into place and my outfit, set off by some great pink velvet Guccis and sentimental jewellery, came together exactly as I wanted. And best of all, it’s all separate pieces and reduces to a suit I can now wear to work.  

The Groom:

Thought he could wear one of his work suits. Was ‘guided’ away from this idea and nudged in the direction of a tailor, Fielding and Nicholson, in Shoreditch, who made a killer suit, in good time. They didn’t faff about, the owner wasn’t too big to get involved in the sale and produced a suit well worth the investment.

The Asylum Chapel and Beagle decor and styling.

We felt the venues would speak for themselves, and were shocked by the cost of flowers quoted by florists, which are typically only used for a few hours. For us the decision was simple, we’d do it ourselves. My cousins, aunt and the groom trecked off to New Covent Garden Flower Market at 3am on the Tuesday before the wedding with some ideas and cash in hand, and got buying. We spent just under £500 all in - vases (which we now use in the garden), candles, wire, a whole host of flowers, and some excellent foliage.

We spent the day arranging and were blown away with our creations - and had a great time in the process, with much tea prepared by the groom and a hearty breakfast to get us through.

Our usher-extraordinaire came around on the morning of the wedding to pick up the arrangements and take them to the venue in his little Golf Polo and they did a stunning job at whacking it all together. The end result was beautiful - and at a fraction of the cost.

The Asylum Chapel wedding ceremony.

We only met our registrar the day before the wedding. (If it’s not clear by now, we weren’t the typically pressuring couple who saw this as the one big day in their lives - we definitely did things to the beat of our own drum). Ricardo was introduced to me by Ed as ‘the love doctor’ (my one moment of extreme panic when I pictured some Adam Sandler, Deuce Bigalo Male Gigolo type character, marrying us). All alarm was eased through when we met to go through the process.

We knew it would be a different kind of ceremony, as he had spunk, something we were pleased with which greatly put us at ease.

When it came to the day, he certainly pulled it off with a plum, getting some great laughs in and bringing his signature style to make the ‘dull formalities’ much more engaging for us and our guests.

We had three readings, by Simon Armitage, Charlotte Bronte and Carol Ann Duffy, looking at love through a witty and pithy lens, pulled off spectacularly by our usher, my Aunt and my brother, who’s Australian accent and dry delivery only added to the poem by Armitage.

Our favourite part of the day

The whole thing from start to finish was a joy. But the speeches, food and readings were some of the most outstanding points of the day.

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Inspiration Board:

Ceremony Venue: The Asylum Chapel run by Maverick Projects

Wedding breakfast venue: Beagle

Wedding Dress: design by the bride and Beau Monde

Shoes: Gucci

Harpist: Iona Thomas

Cake: Michelle Roberts

Catering: Anna Caldicott and Beagle

Bridesmaid Dresses: Scanlan and Theodore

Groom’s suit: Fielding and Nicholson

Groom’s shoes: Loake

This wedding is also featured on Love My Dress blog!
Have a look here.

To enquiry or book me as Asylum wedding photographer, or London wedding photographer do get in touch.   

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