Sarah and Alex’s The Bull and Gate Wedding | Fun, relaxed pub wedding in North West London

15 April, 2024

It sounds like the start of a corny joke: an American woman and a Yorkshireman walk into a bar. But in actual fact, it’s the story of Sarah and Alex’s gorgeous, long-awaited nuptials! Their celebrations included an Islington Town Hall ceremony, a pint pitstop, a wedding reception at The Bull and Gate, and a summer heatwave, all of which I had the pleasure of capturing.

With one postponed wedding date under their belt (from December 2021) and a whole host of family and friends flying out from America, Sarah and Alex wanted to pull out all the stops and have a day to remember. In fact, they’d originally booked me for short coverage for a micro wedding, but after their first delay, they decided to have a big wedding instead! And as much as I love intimate weddings, I’m so glad: because I also bloody love pub weddings, and this one was just the best. 

Getting ready

As the sun beat down, both Alex and Sarah were super relaxed as they got ready. Alex had a few drinks with close friends and family at the first of the three pubs he’d visit during the course of their The Bull and Gate wedding, The Vineyard. This is conveniently located literally directly opposite their ceremony venue, so he was able to hop over when it was time! 

Meanwhile, Sarah got ready at home with her best friends and close family. With hair and makeup done and her dress on (a Truvelle design she got in pristine second-hand condition from Stillwhite, a great resource for preloved bridal), the only thing left for Sarah was her white heart-shaped sunglasses, which looked perfect as she strolled out of the house! 

Islington Town Hall ceremony

Sarah and Alex had chosen to get married in Islington Town Hall, specifically the Council Chamber. Aesthetically, it’s a beautiful room, with stained glass windows, a vaulted ceiling, and wood-paneled walls. However, it’s also a really great space for couples who want an intimate feel to their ceremony even if they have a slightly larger guestlist. This is because of the unique horseshoe formation of the room: guests are, at the furthest, only 5 rows away from the couple. 

Their ceremony was short and sweet, with a reading from Sarah and Alex’s sisters (Sarah’s brother walked her down the aisle behind her bridesmaids, who all wore pink floral dresses of their own choosing.) We then made use of the beautiful marble-floored hallways in Islington Town Hall before exiting to a joyful confetti shot down the steps! 

Wedding portraits in Hampstead

As Sarah and Alex had chosen a wedding reception at The Bull and Gate wedding reception, we’d originally planned for a walk around nearby Camden or Primrose Hill for the portraits session. However, because the weather was so bloomin’ hot we abandoned this plan and headed to the pub for a drink instead! 

Not just any pub, either: specifically, we went to The Washington in Hampstead, which used to be Sarah’s local. Armed with a pint and a bag of crisps, we took a few portraits in and around the pub, using the glorious booths inside (that window detail though!!!) and the cool maroon walls outside as our backdrop. 

Though it’s pretty tough competition, this part was my highlight of the day. It was so lovely to cool down, have a quick pint, and just hang out with them as a couple. Then, it was time to hop back into a cab to head to their Bull and Gate wedding reception. 

The Bull and Gate wedding reception

Funnily enough, I was doubly excited when I saw Alex and Sarah were having a Bull and Gate wedding because this pub used to be one of my locals, back when I used to live in Kentish Town (it’s still within walking distance from my mum’s, big up Mama Vidal.)

But personal connections aside, The Bull and Gate wedding celebrations are always incredible, in no small part thanks to the building itself. Through the rear of the pub the dining room – which is now the main space for a wedding reception – is awash with gorgeous light thanks to the skylights. The decor is incredibly cool too (I especially love the paint swatch squares on the otherwise sandwashed walls!), but maybe most impressive is its history: I mean, why wouldn’t you want to get married in a place that has hosted Coldplay, Blur, Oasis and Nirvana amongst others?!  

Yep, that’s right: the Bull and Gate used to have a live music venue that was an iconic stop on the indie circuit. In fact, the music hall was right where the dining room is now, and I think Sarah and Alex gave it a pretty good go in bringing back the party!

After drinks with their guests in the lounge and some portraits in the surrounding streets to soak up all of that gorgeous golden hour sunlight, Alex and Sarah entered the Dining Room to much fanfare…or should I say, flagfare. You might have seen (or been at!) a wedding where the guests have all waved their napkins in the air as the happy couple enter; Alex and Sarah reversed this by waving American and British flags as they walked in (and considering the worries of planning a wedding across the other side of the world during a global pandemic, this was especially poignant.) 

The rest of the night was a brilliant blur*: the speeches were hilarious (as was to be expected from Sarah, Alex and their crew), the food was delicious (as was to be expected from The Bull and Gate wedding team) and the dancefloor was so much fun, I didn’t want to leave! 

*Obviously, when I say it was a blur, I mean it felt like it because it was so much fun, not that it actually was, because I was snapping away at all the good things happening…luckily, Sarah and Alex have a full gallery to remember it by and to relive. Such is the joy of photos!

Relaxed pub wedding photographer

If you’re planning a The Bull and Gate wedding or a pub wedding elsewhere and are looking for a photographer to capture it in a fun, relaxed way, I’d love to hear from you – you can get in touch here to tell me all about your plans!

And you don’t have to take my word for it, either. Here’s what Sarah and Alex had to say about working with me:

“What can we say other than a huge thank you for capturing our day – heatwave and all – in such a spectacular way. We adore our photos and can’t wait to print them up properly. We feel so grateful and lucky to have had someone so warm, funny, and calming part of our team!”


Venue: Islington Town Hall, The Bull and Gate NW5

Styling & Props: Sarah & Alex

Sarahs Outfit: Truvelle Annie dress from Stillwhite 

Alex’s Outfit/Supplier: Moss Brothers

Wedding Squad’s Outfit/Supplier: Everyone selected their own outfit

Hair & Make Up: Laura Anne Makeup 

Flowers: Untitled Flowers

Cake: The Courtyard Dairy

Catering: The Bull & Gate

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