It takes two

26 Feb 2014

It takes two

Alan and Neemat celebrated their wedding twice with a London ceremony followed by a party in Lebanon

Alan Winwood and Neemat El Yafi

Where: Ceremony at Chelsea Old Town Hall, followed by reception at 170 Queen’s Gate, Imperial College London

Photography: Matthew Marsh

Unlike most brides, I was lucky enough to celebrate our wedding twice. Given our different backgrounds, we decided to hold a celebration in each of our home countries. With a huge reception planned in Lebanon, Alan wanted to show me how quintessentially cute an English wedding can be. We didn’t have a venue in mind, but wanted somewhere meaningful to us. We discovered that Imperial College London, where Alan studied chemical engineering many years ago was also the perfect spot for a wedding reception.

We really wanted to keep the event intimate and personal. Alan’s mother, Maggy, kindly offered to bake the wedding cake, while his sister, Natalie, took care of all the planning and last-minute details.

On the day, I woke up early nervously reciting my vows over and over. Chelsea Old

Town Hall proved ideal for our ceremony. After the ceremony, there was a surprise in store for me – a tour around London in an original London routemaster bus (which the guests loved), enabling us to take the most incredible wedding photos on Westminster Bridge. We felt like true celebrities.

You don’t realise how much work goes into planning a wedding reception, but with the help of a great team at 170 Queen’s Gate the day passed without a hitch. The venue was beautifully traditional and decorated with gorgeous flower arrangements on each table that matched my bouquet. The wedding cake, beautifully decorated with flowers, was layered with our favorite flavours – carrot and chocolate. Alan, who is not very big on public speaking, made the most touching speech, making us all laugh and cry throughout.


Photography: Matthew Marsh, Mellow Photographic, 07921 828658,

Venues: The Brydon Room at Chelsea Old Town Hall, London, 0207 361 4100,; 170 Queen’s Gate, London, 07872 850335,

Dress: David’s Bridal,

Flowers: Igloo Flowers, 0207 403 7774,

Cake: Maggy Winwood (groom’s mother)

Catering: 170 Queen’s Gate, as above

Transport: Timebus Travel, 01727 866 248,; iChauffeur,

0208 400 4829,

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