The number one honeymoon destination in 2022 is the United Kingdom, according to Expedia’s latest poll. And in Jewellrybox’s 2022 LGBTQ+ Wedding Index, London is ranked as the best LBGTQ wedding location. With the Platinum Jubilee, Bridgerton’s continued hold on viewers, Spencer’s debut last year, and even Love Island, it’s clear England and its capital’s charm has not wavered. It’s a favorite destination amongst Over The Moon Brides as well—from the colorful streets of Notting Hill to the glamour of Mayfair for all things wedding related—it’s a bride-to-be’s paradise. Our adoration for all things cottagecore began before it was even a trend and we’re drawn to English garden-inspired weddings, so what better city to find a wedding dress, host a bachelorette (ahem, “hen”) party, exchange vows, or spend a romantic honeymoon in than London? From where to stay and what to do to where to shop and get the best mani-pedi (plus, find that perfect cup of tea!), we present our complete bridal guide to London.
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Where To Stay
From The Doyle Collection, The Kensington Hotel is the place to be. Located on Queen’s Gate, this five-star property is in the charmingly posh neighborhood of South Kensington. Whether you’re shopping for your wedding dress or on a mini-moon, the suites are spacious and full of royal splendor. The Brompton Suite features a regal four-poster bed, free-standing Victorian roll-top bath, marble bathroom, and Waterford crystal chandelier. It can be combined with a Luxury Studio Suite for the ultimate “getting ready” experience or hen party.
When you’re not marveling at the design of the suites, head to The K Bar for a drink in a dapper setting or Town House for a bite to eat—we highly recommend the shrimp pasta. Booking afternoon tea in the Drawing Room is a must.
Engaged couples, Pro Tip: You can get married at The Kensington in many of its spaces like the light-filled White Room or The Library. Both are beautiful settings for memories that will last a lifetime.
What To Do
Afternoon tea is practically required when visiting London, but where’s the best place to sip Earl Grey like Her Majesty? Our best recommendation is Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on Piccadilly Street—named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 2012, when she formally opened the room, in the company of their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge. The salon may be very well-known, but it’s for good reason. The beautifully decorated rooms feature lattice-detailing and whimsical artwork, and the actual teapots and cups are adorned with delicate chinoiserie.
Whether the reservation is for you and your plus one or you and your entire bridal party, each person gets their own setting with a tray of savory and sweet treats. Those with dietary restrictions fear not—the kitchen is very accommodating. When it comes to selecting a brew, we highly recommend the Wedding Breakfast tea, which was blended in 2011 to commemorate Prince William’s proposal to Kate Middleton.
Even if you’re new to the world of face masks, toners, and serums or you don’t have a nine-step skincare routine, we urge you to visit Dr. Barbara Sturm in Mayfair. Now, if you have booked one of our Dr. Barbara Sturm Experiences, you have the option to go to a salon for a skincare consultation, where you’ll discuss any goals and concerns with a professional, who can curate the ultimate batch of products that will have your skin feeling clean and happy by the time you say, “I do.”
If you can’t commit to a full experience, we urge you to book a facial—you will not regret it. The Signature #SturmGlow Facial is the ultimate self-care. The London flagship is beautifully designed with white marble and lots of mirrored surfaces. Once the lights go down in the treatment room, you are transported to heaven. There are just a few extractions and plenty of lotions and potions that give your skin the ultimate post-facial glow. And the best part is walking out with a professional skincare regimen.
Bonus Content: Dr. Barbara Strum’s Recommendations
We asked the doctor herself for her favorite London spots. She suggests sneaking off to Mayfair and trying to get into Maison Estelle, a private members’ club. If you can’t work your way into one of the elite spot’s restaurants, visit ROKA instead for Japanese robatayaki and sushi. Toast to your impending nuptials in the champagne bar at Scott’s and toss back the restaurant’s specialty dish, and a known aphrodisiac—oysters!
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Nails & Brows Mayfair—a favorite salon of Meghan Markle’s—also tops our list. The salon specializes in natural yet elegant nails and sculpted and refined brows. Founder Sherrille Riley says a lot of her bridal clients are still gravitating toward timeless colors and shapes. However, there has been a recent uptick in London brides playing around with subtle art (see above). Be prepared for lots of compliments post-mani.
Looking for a great bridal beauty team for the day of the ceremony? Whether you’re preparing to say, “I do,” in London or getting ready for a glam night out, there’s no better on-demand service than Ruuby. Makeup artists, hair stylists, massage therapists, nail technicians, and other professionals are available to come to your hotel, home, or venue. The beauty concierge service also offers bespoke bridal packages for 360-degree support with offerings like lymphatic drainage, vitamin drips, and nutrition help. Book your makeup and hair trails while you’re in town for the ultimate glam squad experience. Helpful Note: Over The Moon’s Editorial and Social Media Manager, Shayna Seid, recently tested out the makeup and hair service and absolutely loved it. She had a few concerns beforehand about whether a makeup artist she hadn’t met before would be able to do Asian makeup, but it was an incredibly seamless service, and she was happy with the outcome.
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Where To Shop
Whether you have “the one” or are still browsing, London is one of the best places to shop for a wedding weekend wardrobe. Situated on a quaint pedestrian street near Euston Square is Halfpenny London—one of our favorite bridal labels. Designer and former celebrity stylist Kate Halfpenny’s gowns speak to the “classic with a twist” bride and have versatile pieces like overskirts, tulle jackets, and lush veils. You need an appointment to view the showroom with a stylist. When you go, be sure to try on OTM Bride favorites: the Mayfair dress and the Christian skirt.
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Another favorite London-based wedding dress designer is Hermione de Paula, known for her bohemian flair and ultra-luxe personalization. Our August 2022 cover featured OTM Bride Alessandra Cecconi wearing a floral HdP gown on a sandbank. The best part? Alessandra will be working with Hermione to shorten the dress, so she can wear the design again and again—stylish and sustainable. Make an appointment to visit the showroom in Hampstead Heath (we highly recommend taking advantage of the 90-minute option), where Hermione’s world sits in a magical Grade I-listed historic English Heritage building. There, you’ll browse the latest collection and see all of the custom embroidery and embellishment opportunities.
If you are royally obsessed like us, book an appointment at Jenny Packham, one of Kate Middleton’s favorite designers. The Mayfair flagship showcases the bridal collection in a private area downstairs. The stylists are kind and attentive, as you peruse the samples. Pick out your favorites to try, and they’ll hand you white or ivory Jimmy Choos or Christian Louboutins in your size. If the weather allows, we recommend stepping out into the courtyard in the designs you particularly love and twirling in front of the tall mirror—true core memory moments in the making.
What better to accessorize your aisle style with than Jessica McCormacks’ bridal jewelry? Half a block away from Jenny Packham at 7 Carlos Place is the jeweler’s six-story townhouse. Walk-ins are very welcome, whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, bands, or other sparkling pieces to wear on your wedding day. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, and Dakota Johnson turn to McCormack on the red carpet and in real life. And, an Over The Moon editor already found her dream bespoke engagement ring during her recent trip to the townhouse’s Bridal Floor.
Walk less than 10-minutes from Jessica McCormack’s townhouse to Maison Michel‘s London flagship. A part of Chanel’s Métiers d’art since 1997, the millinery’s bridal collection is phenomenal and could convert anyone into a daily hat or fascinator-wearer. While the brand is stocked by many international retailers, its own brick-and-mortar is exceptional, so don’t miss the opportunity to visit this special space in Mayfair. The Jackie Pillbox hat and New Bonnie felt beret, both with attached veils, need to be tried on to be fully appreciated. The label’s styles can carry a bride-to-be from engagement party to honeymoon and beyond.
For less formal fashion—think bachelorette and honeymoon—go to one of Rixo‘s two London locations. New dresses, separates, sleepwear, and accessories arrive at the stores each week. The Duchess of Cambridge was seen earlier this year in the Izzy shirt dress in a pink marble zebra print. Keep an eye out for co-founder Orlagh McCloskey’s wedding and more from Rixo coming soon on Over The Moon!
Where To Eat
Follow in the footsteps of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and make a reservation at Dean Street Townhouse for dinner—the place where the couple went on their first date. The two reportedly met in the private dining area of the Soho restaurant, called The Slug, which is for Soho House members only. If you frequent Soho Houses, you’ll know what to expect menu-wise—and if not, you can never go wrong with the burger. The scene is the real draw though as you’ll inevitably find yourself amidst a fashionable, young London set.