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The Bride Wore Her Mother’s Wedding Suit to Her Ceremony at the Chelsea Registry Office

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Hannah Gill

Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.

Anna Olszewski-Lewis and Matthew Trounce intended to have a grand black-tie September wedding in Anna’s hometown, Lisbon. But by May, the couple realized their Portugal wedding simply couldn’t happen in 2020. Considering that most of their wedding party would be traveling from many different countries, it would be unthinkable to expect guests to travel to a destination wedding at this time. They decided on moving the black-tie event to June 5, 2021.

Anna and Matthew had always planned on having a legal ceremony in London at Chelsea Town Hall, but they decided to expand their guest list to twenty of their nearest family and friends. “We were adamant that COVID wouldn’t stop us from celebrating safely in 2020 and legally becoming man and wife,” Anna says.

While some might say the wedding planning process is stressful, Anna couldn’t disagree more. “It was really fun!” She insists. She seized the micro-wedding as a chance to throw the perfect English-country-garden-meets-the-Mediterranean-breeze soiree. While planning, Anna and Matthew made a very important realization…”We discovered just how many talented friends we have!” The couple says. Their friends Clara Ewart and Will Walker are the ultimate gourmands who throw the most fabulous supper events, so they hired the pair to do the catering. Their neighbor’s daughter is silver service trained and was able to round up her friends to waitress the garden party. Hannah Gill, in addition to being a great friend, is also an incredible photographer. Incorporating their beloved friends made this micro-wedding even more intimate and special.

Anna and her mother went to the New Covent Garden Flower Market the Friday before the ceremony and arranged the florals themselves. Anna used Papier for every paper item- from the invitations to the menus. Classic Crockery Event Hire handled the dreamy tablescape.

On August 22nd, the couple had their legal ceremony at the Chelsea Registry Office. “We decided to wait to exchange rings at our church wedding in Lisbon, but Matt commissioned Stephanie Lederle of Vow Jewellery, who designed my engagement ring, to create a diamond-and-yellow-sapphire gypsy ring for me to wear as a “halfway” wedding ring,” Anna says. What a perfect detail for a micro-wedding!

After the registry office ceremony, Anna and Matthew returned to their home where they were greeted by their nearest and dearest loved ones in the garden. This spot is particularly meaningful, considering this is the first home they bought together as a couple. It also has a lush garden. “A real rarity in London!” Anna points out.

The bride wore her mother’s wedding suit. “I used to swoon over my parents’ wedding album as a child, and, as my father passed away when I was young; it was an amazing way to have a special memory from their marriage as part of our day,” Anna says. This outfit was made by her mother and her grandmother, who was “the most glamorous person I’ve ever met and my absolute style icon,” Anna gushes. ​She borrowed her grandmother’s pearl earrings and mother’s gold bracelets to fully cover her “something borrowed” bases. She completed the look with ivory Aquazzura mules. Anna turned to AA Beauty for makeup. “Alexandra, founder of AA Beauty, always makes me feel like a million dollars and strikes the perfect balance of natural glow with a glamorous touch,” Anna says. For her hair, the bride booked London-based stylist Simone for loose Hollywood glam waves.

While the suit was so apropos for the registry office, Anna knew it would be a bit “stuffy” for the garden reception. She planned an outfit change for later that evening. She slipped into a bespoke ivory silk outfit designed by Constance Murphy, founder of luxury silk brand Harmur (and darling friend of Anna’s!). The palazzo pants were wide, featuring side-slits that flitted and flounced with every step. The backless halter top added a touch of allure to the look. She also switched out her grandmother’s pearls for vintage earrings from Hirst Collection Antiques in Notting Hill. Anna added soaring Malone Souliers platform sandals to pull the ’70s, Slim Aarons vibe together. The underwear situation was tricky for both outfits, especially this silk Harmur number, but her dear friend Ellie, founder of The Pantry Underwear, made sure Anna had the perfect undergarments.

Matt wore a Hackett suit with an Hermès tie that Anna actually gifted him on their fifth anniversary. That special day wound up being the day they got engaged!

The limited wedding party truly shone in their outfits. Anna’s mother wore Oscar de la Renta, and Matt’s mother wore custom Harmur. Anna’s sister and bridesmaid Isabella wore Olivia von Halle.

When the couple returned from the registry office, their guests greeted them with champagne in the garden. Then, they enjoyed a four-course lunch before a night of endless dancing. “We are party animals at heart!” The couple laughs. DJ Lewis Griffith will deejay their Lisbon wedding, but he made sure the micro-wedding had tunes to last all evening long and sent the couple several playlists to use.

“The memories we have from our lockdown wedding are beyond our wildest dreams, and we wouldn’t change a single party of that day… apart from a couple of extra faces!”  The couple says, still so grateful for this magical day.