So seven weeks ago we disappeared off and got married, just the two of us!
We have been engaged since July 2017 and after perusing many venues in the Norfolk/Suffolk area we always walked away feeling slightly deflated. Weddings are a beautiful celebration and how wonderful to spend the day with your nearest and dearest however, it just seemed a huge moneymaking event that felt as though it was for everybody else except us. After careful consideration we decided that ultimately we wanted the marriage, just not the wedding!
Of course it wasn’t just about the cost, it’s the pressure to put on a great day, the anxiety of the weather and if I’ll develop a massive zit the day before. What if aunty Mary doesn’t want to sit next to granddad and what if uncle Bob get’s drunk and starts singing on the top table (I don’t have an aunty Mary or an Uncle Bob but you know where I’m coming from)?
To cut a long story short, we booked Old Marylebone Town Hall in central London. Opened in 1920 it’s a stunning venue that has recently undergone a massive refurbishment that has taken 5 years to complete.
The building has so much history. Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach married here as did Paul and Linda McCartney, Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit and even Melanie Griffiths and Antonio Banderas!
They have seven rooms to choose from depending on your party size. We selected the Soho room, as it was just us two, our photographer, my hairdresser and one friend as a witnesses.
You can read more about Old Marylebone Town Hall here, it’s an interior lovers dream!
So because we kept the cost low here we decided to splash out on our accommodation and booked to stay at The Shangri-La at The Shard. I wanted to review the stay in case you are planning a very special getaway.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Shard, it’s the tall building on the left! The pod on the right is Coppa Club and a delightful place to enjoy lunch by the Thames.
Situated just south of the river in Southwark it’s an unmistakable building. The best thing about staying at the Shard is that you can always find your way back because you can pretty much see it from everywhere! It’s actually the tallest building in Europe.
Let’s talk about cost. It’s not cheap…but we figured it’s cheaper than a traditional wedding. It was £700 a night but that was for the Iconic London view room with a bathtub overlooking practically every landmark you associate with London.
You book the type of room you require with which landmark view, but you can’t actually specify the exact room, I guess because those with a bath in the window would be permanently booked out.
Not all of the Iconic view rooms have a bathtub with a view, it is down to the person dealing with bookings to decide on the day. We had obviously hammered home the fact it was our wedding, which I think went in our favour of getting one of the best rooms.
The Shard is a pretty phenomenal building. The security is tight, for obvious reasons, but the staff are so welcoming that you feel confident in your safety.
There are two restaurants and numerous bars along with a spa area on the top floor, which includes a small swimming pool overlooking the whole of central London. It’s a very weird feeling to be the highest person in Europe as you do backstroke in a deserted pool.
The room decor wasn’t our usual taste. We have stayed at the Dean Street Townhouse in London before, and the rooms there are a little more our style, but we knew we wanted to stay somewhere we would never normally fork out the cash for.
The bed is a super king and there is also a seating area, desk and of course extortionate mini bar (£7 for a mini tub of Pringles).
It’s the bathroom that knocks it out the park. Heated floor, TV built into the mirror, bath overlooking Tower Bridge, rain shower and even a heated Japanese toilet that washes and dries your bum, if that’s your thing!
Weirdly they selected a blue marbled carpet for the floor, I guess it coves a multitude of stains but personally I think a more neutral carpet would’ve finished the room off perfectly.
If you are not a fan of heights then this is not the hotel for you (obviously). There is zero movement from the wind but you are very aware, even at night, at just how high you are. Rather than hearing the usual hum of cars and people, the only traffic you can hear is aircraft! The first night I couldn’t sleep because it felt odd to be so high up, almost like a slightly giddy feeling. I was perfectly used to it by the second night however (or drunk from getting married!).
There are other room options too so if you are thinking of a treat for a weekend away then I highly recommend it. Also, if you have any questions about eloping then leave us a comment below and I can fill you in! I have recently been featured on a Get Wet Podcast which should be live later this month here with more elopement details if you’re interested.
Now where can we stay next to top this, any ideas?