Looking For A Wedding Venue? This Couple Got Hitched In The Natural History Museum
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Looking For A Wedding Venue? This Couple Got Hitched In The Natural History Museum

This might just be our new favourite London wedding venue

It’s not uncommon for galleries and museums to become a special spot for lovebirds. They make the perfect setting for meet-cutes, first dates and even anniversaries. But what about the wedding day itself? This couple had the wedding day of dreams at one of London’s most iconic cultural hubs: the Natural History Museum. Here’s how the space was transformed (in less than two hours, no less).

This Couple Got Married In The Natural History Museum – And The Results Are Stunning

During the day, you’ll find the Natural History Museum flooded with natural light, visitors flocking the halls and corridors and the quiet hum of chatter around its many exhibits. At 5pm sharp, the buzz of people usually file out of the museum, leaving it peacefully dark and quiet overnight. We say ‘usually’ because, on this occasion, the Natural History Museum had entirely different plans in store for a certain bride and groom.

Wedding at the Natural History Museum

Once the last of the museum’s visitors exited the building, wedding planner Chenai Bukutu and her team at ByChenai Events quickly set about preparing the space for the newlyweds – who were finishing up their vows just 15 minutes down the road at Mount Street Catholic Church in Mayfair. ‘The Natural History Museum is a spectacular venue but it comes with its logistical challenges,’ admits Chenai. ‘It’s usually open to the public until 5pm, so we had a very, very tight window to set up the space. I think we literally had an hour and 40 minutes to set up the Hintze Hall for dining and Fossil Way for guests’ arrival and the cocktail reception.

‘The couple were based in the US, but they had already secured the Natural History Museum as their venue,’ she continues. ‘They got in touch with me as they had been referred to my work by a past client; they wanted a planner to execute a wedding for around 200 guests who’d be travelling to London from all over the world. Their main criteria for the night was elegance.’

Tables set for wedding

A quick look at photos from the dinner, reception and party show that Chenai definitely nailed her brief. The museum, which can look a little grey thanks to London’s shoddy weather patterns, was bathed in a golden light that gave the space a warming, opulent feel – with LED candles (‘Historic buildings don’t permit real flames,’ Chenai tells us) littering steps and tables, and the arches of the museum’s famous Hintze Hall backlit in syrupy shades of bronze. Even Hope, the Natural History Museum’s resident whale fixture, looked more refined than usual dusted in the room’s new amber glow. ‘We collaborated with Event Concept on the technical production,’ explains Chenai. ‘I knew lighting would play a key role in giving this vast space a softness, contributing to the overall ambience of the evening. I was insistent on warm tones for lighting; we only changed to bright party style lighting for the dancing after dinner to create more of a club feel.’

The lighting was offset by the champagne-toned tablescaping of the dining setup, which featured beautiful floral displays made up of neutral coloured bouquets, vintage-style glassware and (again) LED candles nestled in glass candelabras. The floral arrangements weren’t there to just look pretty, though. ‘It was important to our couple that the florals had a life after the event – it’s not always possible, but I was proud we could do it on this occasion,’ Chenai says. ‘Mary Jane Vaughan helped with the floral design, and we ensured all the table arrangements were set in trays rather than vases or bowls so that they could be gifted to guests at the end of the night.’

Wedding cake

As for the food, Chenai tells us that this was ‘a plated affair by Moving Venue, who also provided a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of set up. They were instrumental in getting these spaces ready in time.’ The three course dinner, plated up beautifully by the team, also came with endearing nods to the bride and groom – including ‘his and hers’ alternating desserts. This was topped off with a stunning five-tier wedding cake created by London-based baker Bloom & Crumb, who teamed up with the Mary Jane Vaughan on the intermingling florals (real and sugar) weaving between the tiers.

Once plates were cleared and glasses empty, the tables were pushed to the sides to make way for a dancefloor. ‘The party vibe was brought by one of our favourite DJs,’ adds Chenai. ‘DJ Baj is excellent at reading a room and getting people on their feet.’ And so the night melted away, now under a medley of jewel-toned lights, as the wedding party danced into the wee hours of the morning – or at least until the Natural History Museum opened its doors once more to the city’s daytime visitors.

A Wedding Night At The Natural History Museum

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Tables set with flowers in the Natural History Museum
Wedding tables in the Natural History Museum
Set table
Flowers on table with blurred background
Long wedding table in the Natural History Museum
Floral arrangement
Exhibition room with soft furnishings
Party in the Natural History Museum

Images courtesy of ByChenai Events (c) Zeal Photography