Fish & Chip Shop Wedding – Alison & Andrew

A Fish & Chip Shop wedding in Islington, North London for Ali & Andrew on Christmas Eve morning.

Okay, that title’s a bit misleading….the ceremony was in the Mayor’s Parlour at Islington Town Hall. The reception was in a fish & chip shop, but then that’s misleading too. The Fish and Chip shop…..well…this is Islington! 😉

So, this chip shop, across the road from the town hall on Upper Street. It has more than battered Cod and Haddock. There are Oysters, Lobster, Wild Halibut, Cornish Brill, Herring Milts, Slip Soles, Wild Salmon…and of course, Champagne….oh, and I think, fish finger sandwiches.  So, you guessed it, this is not your ordinary high street chippy, but a stylish little restaurant set up by a former head chef of The Ivy.

This was a small, intimate wedding. My last wedding of 2013. Ali, Andrew and their daughter, Betty, with thirteen friends. I’ve shot several weddings at Islington over the last couple of years and I’ll be back in a few weeks, and they have to be the friendliest registrars anywhere. So many registrars, vergers, vicars, priests, etc could learn from these guys. Professional, friendly, smiling. For example, when it came to the signing of the register, I was not told “No Photographs!” on pain of death and that it’s ‘against the law’ (zzzzz) but was I going to shoot it as they sign?….”so much nicer that way.” 🙂 ( It made nice photos and the World didn’t end!)

So after the ceremony it was a short walk over to the restaurant. Young Betty behaved beautifully throughout. When my coverage was up, she was fast asleep on the couch, just as the others got their main course. Perfect.

Here are a few images…..and after the photos, another story of that day. A look behind-the-scenes...

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 Mayor's hat in the Mayor's Parlour
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Mayor's Parlour wedding ceremony
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Guest photographs the wedding ceremony on his iphone
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Grroom places ring on bride's finger in the Mayor's parlour
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Bride and groom and their daughter leave Islington town hall
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Fish & Chip Shop Islington
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Fish & Chip Shop wedding in Islington
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Fish & Chip Shop wedding party
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Fish & Chip Shop wedding meal
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Here’s a behind-the-scenes story…

There was another story to that Christmas Eve.

Weddings in Islington are usually quite straightforward for me from my home in Sussex. A train, tube and a short stroll. But a storm was approaching the UK in the early hours of December 24th. Would the trains run? If not, how do I get up to Islington? I don’t drive to Central London weddings – train and taxis ( when you are carrying equipment worth over £16,000 ) work better – no unknowns like traffic and particularly, parking. So the fallback plan was to drive to Morden in South London, just up the A24 from me and catch the Northern Line tube where it starts.

I have never missed a wedding. I’ve got up from my sickbed a few times. I’ve arrived four hours early to beat a big snowstorm. I’ve dodged and weaved traffic jams enroute……but this was to be the closest I came to having to make that call to a bride and groom.

So, up at 5am and online. No trains, nothing, zilch, no service. Okay, plan B. The wind had been very strong all night, it was calm now. Our neighbour’s bin was blown across our drive, so as I packed the car I also picked up all the soggy rubbish. I then noticed a gap in our fence. One of our 70ft conifers had crashed through the fence and now lay across the road next to our house, blocking a junction. A second tree was leaning badly. Waking my wife and leaving her to deal with this, I set off. ( A friend came to help armed with a saw and muscles ). Two miles up the A24, blue flashing lights, road closed. Cut through a village and aim for the A29 – village road flooded. Cross a stretch of road with a river bursting over it, get to the A29 – more blue flashing lights. Tree down, road closed. Back over the new river and head for the M23 – which had been closed for part of the night due to flooding. Get to the M25 – gridlock. Head north on the A217 – gridlock, road flooded. Cut down side street – dead end. Force my way back across the traffic jam and head east. No idea where I am, just turning down any road not blocked and relying on the TomTom sat nav to figure out alternatives. Down windy country lanes, partially flooded or blocked roads. Past road closed signs. Twice I thought I’d hit puddles too deep – especially after I went past one car that wasn’t attempting one black mass. Through one tree that it looked like a 4×4 had ploughed through the branches – a few scratches on the bonnet. Eventually though I got to Sutton and the way lay clear to Morden. Parked up and finally sat down on the tube – I’d made it. A journey that should have taken maybe 35 minutes at that time of day/year had taken a very stressful two and a half hours.

The vagaries of travel can be the most stressful part of covering a wedding. Getting from A to B to C, trying to park, train cancellations, traffic jams, etc. This took it to a new level. But at least my ‘not missing a wedding’ record remained intact. Taking the pictures is the easy bit!

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