Six alternative weddings that tore up the rulebook
From edible vows to ‘buddymoons’, meet the Soho House members who said ‘I do’ to marriage, but ‘I don’t’ to tradition
Tuesday 4 October 2022 By Tilly Pearman
Not everyone wants a traditional wedding. In fact, when it comes to tying the knot, Soho House members are renowned for ripping up the rulebook when it comes to their big day. No meringue dresses and pick ’n’ mix tables to see here.
From replica Stonehenge bouncy castles and vows exchanged with chocolate mushrooms to and gold sequin suits (for the grooms), this year’s wedding season has seen a notable uplift in couples subverting convention. ‘Brides and grooms want to add their personality and creative flair to the day,’ says Soho House member Liz Linkleter and the woman behind some of this season’s most Instagrammable weddings and parties. ‘They want to stand out and they aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of tradition.’
Bridal designer Nikeen Asar has also noted a shift. ‘Brides have become braver in their choices, wanting something different,’ he says. ‘Many clients are now coming to me to get what is essentially a red-carpet look, often with super-high slits, open backs, plunging necklines, lots of sheerness, and vivid colours such as gold, orange and pink.’
Charged with a rebellious spirit, we’ve rounded up six alternative weddings from the Soho House members whose nuptials were anything but conventional.
1. The ritualistic wedding
Sophus Ritto, artist, and partner Laura
‘We met in a bar a few years ago and straight away I knew this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. After an intense ayahuasca trip, we got engaged. We knew we didn’t want to follow the normal traditional marriage rules. We wanted something that was special to us; something to match the intensity of our love. After a suggestion from a friend, we knew Mexico was where we wanted to get married. We chose a treehouse as the backdrop and Shaman Sergio to carry out the ceremony. We both love to create theatre in all our work and this day was no different. Everything we did had meaning: like the 200-year-old crown I wore, which was found on one of my trips to Tibet. The day was filled with pure love and intense passion. We were young, we were carefree, we were hedonistic.’
2. The desert wedding
Alexander Dengler, entrepreneur, and partner Marije
‘We decided to do a destination wedding and felt like Marrakech was the perfect place. It has this special energy, and given that we also got engaged there, we felt we had to share this beautiful city with our friends and family. Since everyone travelled all that way, we had to make it worth it. We made it a four-day celebration and made sure we showed everyone some of our favourite spots in Marrakech. We hosted a desert party and took everyone to the Medina for a rooftop dinner and drinks at Terrasse des Épices and had our wedding, followed by a pool party the day after at our favourite venue, Beldi Country Club.’
3. The bohemian wedding
Frank Lankers, CEO of Media Plan, and partner Camille
Frank Lankers and his partner Camille chose Scorpios beach for the backdrop to their bohemian-style wedding. Built around a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Greek agora, Scorpios became the perfect venue for them to tap into the artistic and spiritual community. Rich in bohemian spirit, the couple wed in a circle of love, on a beachfront dressed especially for the occasion.
4. The ‘all about the fun’ wedding
Liz MacCuish, founder of Good Culture, and partner Al
‘Everything about our wedding journey, from how we got engaged to the honeymoon, was non-traditional. We proposed to each other over cheese and wine at a corner café, and then stayed in the little cosy rooftop room at Soho House Paris. My brother gave me away, and I walked down the aisle to Beyoncé’s “Love On Top”. I wore gold, and no make-up, which honestly divided the room (a lot!). We had a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer – and just for fun, we had a Stonehenge bouncy castle.’
5. The friends-only wedding
Charlotte Holmes, wellness coach and partner James
‘My husband and I knew we didn’t want the big, traditional, white wedding. We decided we wanted to throw a party to celebrate our love in our favourite place (Ibiza) with our favourite people – the family we chose (our friends). We had a three-day celebration of love, culminating in “The Love Party”. Our friend, a fellow Soho House member, Chris Magee, is ordained and led the ceremony, during which we exchanged promises to each other with the addition of some special chocolate mushrooms. We then shared the party favours with everyone else.’
6. The buddymoon
Rachael Grayer, senior communications at Calvin Klein, and partner Bryn
‘Having relocated to Amsterdam from London almost four years ago, we really felt the effects of the pandemic. Not being able to see our friends and family (like so many people) was hard and so we knew that we wanted a London-based wedding. But one day just wasn’t going to be enough. We therefore decided to do something out of the ordinary and invited 28 of our best friends to join us on our honeymoon, turning this into a “buddymoon”. We all stayed in Villa Petrolo – a 17th century winery in Tuscany where we cooked, danced and drank the night away for a whole week. It was the most amazing buddymoon and such a great way to extend our wedding with our most favourite people.’
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