Looking for The Perfect London Venue? Don’t Miss Out on This Historical Gem
Situated in the heart of buzzing London, Te Criterion is a beautifully opulent Grade II listed venue with a suitably rich and famous history. Walk in the footsteps of celebrity names and faces from TV, flm and books; from the meeting point for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith; this venue oozes glamour and sophistication from a time gone by. Te breathtaking ceiling, created using 24 carat gold mosaic tiles, with ornate marble and bejewelled walls, really is the perfect backdrop to your big day. Fully licensed for civil marriages and partnerships it gives you the fexibility to have both ceremony and reception all under one roof.
Looking for The Perfect London Venue? Don’t Miss Out on This Historical Gem Photo Gallery
Having a large do? Te Criterion can seat up to 250 guests for a decadant wedding breakfast, and don’t worry, there’s no restrictive fnish time like other city venues! You have the option of a 3am licence so you can relax and party the night away without the celebrations ending early. With bespoke, tailormade packages available (there are some great Sunday deals!), this is the unique venue with that wow factor you’ve been looking for.
Book a tour and enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne whilst being shown around by the dedicated wedding planner. Tey will be there on your big day, poised to put you at ease and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. From the fowers to the food, everything at this magical venue will be taken care of – leaving you to enjoy every moment. We’re sold.
Would never happen. So I’m not sure how I found myself proposing to him as the sun set over Brighton beach seven years later. With our earlier, anti-marriage chats frmly etched into my mind, it was a big risk. When Sam and I frst met as English students at the University of Sussex, the thing that attracted me to him was how impulsive he was. He once booked us onto a spur-of-the-moment trip to Africa – and we weren’t even a couple at the time! He’s even been known to pick me up suddenly as we’re walking along the beach and wade into the sea, fully clothed. I’ve always loved that about him. He’s always ready for the next adventure. As I fell deeper in love with Sam, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Te idea of making a grand gesture to celebrate our commitment to one another was suddenly appealing in a way it had never been before. But I still couldn’t shake our mutual aversion to tradition and wondered if there might be a more unique way of showing Sam – and our friends and family – what he meant to me.
It was 2010 and I’d been working in an art gallery in Brighton. During my lunch break, I would ofen look in the window of the jewellers opposite, and one day a two-tone platinum men’s ring caught my eye. I decided to save up to buy it as a present for Sam. Ten it struck me: I could make it an engagement ring – I’d propose to him. Te idea certainly went against tradition, and that appealed to my own spontaneous side. I just had no idea how Sam would react. I’ve never been the kind of person to sit around and wait for things to happen – if I decide I want something, I’ll just go out and get it. Being a feminist, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t make the proposal; it was almost instinctive. For Sam, though, it turned out to be the biggest shock of his life. On the day that I’d chosen to ask him, I suggested we took a walk along Brighton beach.
Even though it was only April, the sun was shining and the beach was absolutely packed, so it felt more like mid- summer. I hadn’t told anyone what I was planning, not even my mum, because I wanted Sam to be the frst to know. Containing my growing excitement was the hardest part – the ring had been burning a hole in my handbag for weeks and I couldn’t wait any longer. My initial plan was to spell out “Marry me” in white stones, but the beach was so busy it just didn’t feel right. I was getting increasingly nervous, worried that the moment might never come. But as we walked towards the Victorian bandstand on the promenade and the sun started to set, I knew that I had to seize my chance. I had my arms around Sam’s neck and the box with the ring in my hand. He said something about what a brilliant spot it was. I looked up at Sam and said, “Te kind of spot for me to ask you to marry me?” and showed him the ring.
At frst, he thought I was only joking. He said, “Tat’s not real – it’s just a ring from a cracker!” But when he realised I was serious, the adrenaline kicked in. We both started shaking, and Sam said, “Yes, of course!” We hugged in the middle of the bandstand for ages, feeling giddy and elated. A lot of my friends couldn’t get their head around the fact that I’d proposed to Sam and not the other way around. Most said they would never dream of doing the same, because they wouldn’t ever want to miss out on the experience of being proposed to. But I wasn’t bothered – Sam going down on one knee isn’t his style, or mine. In any case, he’s pretty laid-back and he doesn’t value tradition, so I don’t think that he would ever have asked me. None of that matters, though. I love that our story is unique, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We married in a barn in East Sussex on Friday 13 September 2013 and called the event “Wedfest”.
Te wedding wasn’t about tradition, or religion, or complying with other people’s expectations – for starters, I walked up the aisle on my own. Also, I didn’t take Sam’s surname, and we asked the registrar to change the fnal part of the ceremony to, “You may now kiss your husband”. We partied till the early hours with our families and our closest friends, then everyone camped out in an adjacent feld. Sam and I spent our wedding night in the bridal tent, which came complete with chandeliers, bedside tables and a king-sized infatable bed. Te whole thing was a celebration of Sam and me. Yes, that might not work for everyone, but the day wasn’t about anyone else, just the two of us. And it was absolutely perfect.’ ‘Lucy has always had a lot of front. When we frst met in a bar at university, I was struck by her confdence. She was clearly a girl who never did anything by the book, and I immediately loved how she would fght convention and question everything. So I suppose the proposal was a very Lucy thing to do. A lot of my female friends have said they’d never have the courage to do it – they’d rather the man took the lead. But most women aren’t like Lucy, and her forthrightness is one of my favourite things about her.
When people ask me what it feels like to be proposed to, I always say it’s the greatest compliment anyone can pay you. And not only was Lucy brave enough to go against tradition by popping the question; she also passed up the chance of receiving the compliment herself. She gave it to me instead, and I think that’s the most wonderful part of all. When Lucy proposed, I was totally of-guard – I didn’t have the slightest clue what she had been planning. At frst, I honestly thought she was messing around, but when I realised it was the real deal, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I genuinely never expected to get married, but the minute Lucy asked me, it suddenly seemed like the best idea in the world.
We were the frst in our group of friends to marry, and I still think the way it all came about was the most original. Until it happened to us, marriage wasn’t something I’d ever believed in. But it has brought us closer together as a couple in the way that any big life event does. People say your wedding should be the greatest day of your life, and, of course, it’s one unlike any other. But I don’t like to think that we’ve peaked just yet – there are many more happy days to come.’