Photography by


Lester Gethings & Simon Nickell

October 23, 2015 in London, England


Lester Gethings and Simon Nickell first met in 2000 when they were both on holiday at the Hotel Romantic in Sitges, Spain. Every afternoon, people would gather for drinks at the hotel bar. “At first I was too shy to speak to Lester,” says Simon, “but I just loved the way he looked! He had the most incredible sense of style and elegance that I couldn’t resist.” After Simon left, the two arranged to meet up a couple weeks later and have been together ever since.

After a four-year engagement, Simon and Lester set a wedding date at the beginning of 2015 and the wedding planning process finally began. Lester had always envisioned getting married at the iconic Chelsea Register Office in London because it was where Judy Garland was wed in 1969, along with other notable celebrities, and booked it for October 23rd–also, Simon’s mother’s birthday.

With Lester being an award-winning wedding planner and Simon being a florist, the couple knew there would be high expectations for the event. They also knew they wanted to create an elegant, intimate city wedding with a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by their dearest friends. The boutique Covent Garden Hotel was also chosen as the reception venue. “I’ve always loved this hotel, ever since I’d worked for the florist who supplied its weekly flowers in the late 1990s; and we both love its discreet, quirky charm and elegance,” Simon describes.

The wedding day turned out to be far more emotional than either of the grooms expected. They got ready together in their hotel suite, where Lester had arranged a makeup artist for his mother, and where the couple’s friend-photographer John Nassari–began capturing some candid shots before heading over to Chelsea. “I think it finally dawned on us that we were married when we were handed our marriage certificate,” Simon says. “We were doing something that, until only a few years before, we could only have dreamt of; and now we were standing on the steps of the register office while our friends threw confetti over us!”

An elegant dinner party was set up in one of the Covent Garden Hotel’s private dining rooms, inspired by a scene from the film The Age of Innocence, where guests were seated at a table dressed lavishly in high Victorian style. Gilded baroque-style props and candelabras sat atop the table, along with a rich palette of hot pink and red florals for a dramatic effect. Personalized gold menus also featured a wide selection from the hotel restaurant, with wines including Sancerre, Crozes Hermitage, and Louis Roederer champagne.

As an ice breaker, the grooms created individual “anti-menus” presented as ribbon-tied scrolls. Weeks of secret detective work resulted in fake menus filled with each guest’s food nightmare, which was a brilliant way to get the evening going. The grooms also sat on opposite ends of the table, rather than side-by-side, remaining consistent with elegant dinner party tradition and etiquette. “This gave us the perfect opportunity to see all our guests,” says Simon. “One of our favorite memories of the evening was looking down the table and seeing everyone deep in conversation with their neighbors; so we knew we’d got the seating plan right.”

Even though central London was right outside the door, the newlyweds and their guests strayed no further than the hotel drawing room. “We had the place to ourselves, so it really was like being in the most beautiful grand townhouse,” Simon remarks. “Everyone was so relaxed and happy–we couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day.”

>Written By: Lauren Malamala

Reception Location: Covent Garden Hotel London, England; Event Design and Planner: Lester Gethings Wedding Planner London, England; Floral Design: Simon Nickell Design London, England; Stationery: Paperplain London, England;

Photography by

Cinematography by

Lester Gethings & Simon Nickell

October 23, 2015 in London, England



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