East London has earned itself a reputation as one of the most achingly cool parts of the capital.
From quirky bars and innovative restaurants to revitalised lofts and warehouse spaces, the area is packed with creative neighbourhoods and trendy venues perfect for hosting your wedding.
Image: MC Motors
The diverse area covers boroughs including Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, taking in the uber-hip areas of Shoreditch and Dalston to the giant glass towers of Canary Wharf, markets of Spitalfields and dynamic development of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
Here are the coolest wedding venues in East London, ideal for any stylish couple looking for an urban venue that’s out of the ordinary.
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Images: Village Underground
A turn-of-the-century renovated warehouse that now houses a buzzing creative arts/co-working space, Village Underground is the industrial wedding venue your Instagram has been waiting for. The stark main atrium features a 10-metre high glass-panelled ceiling that floods the space with light, while their 19th century vaults feature raw, Brooklyn-chic Victorian brickwork. Consider it the ideal blank canvas for your wedding theme. And if you want to bring London to you, you can even hire Village Underground’s London tube train carriages (formerly of the Victoria Line) as a mobile venue.
The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green
Images: Museum of Childhood
One of the best-loved buildings in the East End, the majestic Museum of Childhood is an undiscovered gem for many outside the area. Museum venues are all the rage in 2018, offering exciting exhibits for your guests to explore as well as trendy and unconventional architecture as the backdrop to your day. With a marble floor laid by female prisoners from the Woking gaol and an impressive entrance hall, there’s plenty of talking points at this Bethnal Green stalwart.
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Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green
Images: Town Hall Hotel
Bethnal Green’s former town hall, this grand hotel marries stylish Art Deco interiors with cutting-edge modern architecture and painstakingly restored original Edwardian features for a design-lovers dream. If Art Deco, aged leather and polished oak are your thing, marry in the Town Hall Hotel‘s splendid Council Chambers, flooded with natural light; for urban glamour, pick the contemporary De Montfort Suite; or for luxury and elegance, Bethnal Hall is the perfect choice. Design geeks need look no further.
Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay
Images: Musuem of London Docklands
If quirky is what you’re after then the Museum of London Docklands wins hands down. Its galleries time-hop your guests through London’s history, from 17th century Pleasure Gardens to a stroll down the winding streets of Victorian Wapping – complete with a visit to a tavern and wild animal emporium on the way. Their impressive Rum Store can hold up to 240 guests so is ideal for a large venue.
The Roost and Dalston Heights, Dalston
Images: The Roost
These two East London venues ooze cool. Packed with a curated selection of antiques, props, furniture and artwork to dress your day, anyone looking for a creative, eye-catching space can do no better. The Roost (above) is a cosy four-floor Victorian pub with an eclectic mix of statement room designs.
Images: Dalston Heights
The Dalston Heights venue sits on the top floor of a former cardboard factory, with plenty of striking photographic backdrops and textures, including a gorgeous pitched roof with iron beams. The owners also have a third venue: the gigantic Friendly Place – a four-floor former spice warehouse, with a charmingly decaying conservatory, boudoir and huge studio spaces to house your guests – in nearby Deptford.
Oval Space, Bethnal Green
Images: Oval Space
Cool cats have ventured to Oval Space for a while for everything from fashion launches to club nights, but this giant space is a truly unique, urban setting for weddings. Looking over Bethnal Green’s iconic decommissioned gasholders, think of this an absorbent, industrial-looking sponge, ready to soak up all any theme or décor you throw at it.
READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Choosing A Wedding Venue
Wilton’s Music Hall, Whitechapel
Wilton’s Music Hall is the world’s oldest surving grand music hall and one of the East-End’s best-kept secrets. Tucked down a side street in Whitechapel, this huge barrel-vaulted hall seems almost untouched since its heyday, but is all the more charming for its wear-and-tear look. A balcony circles the room while a big proscenium stage stands front and centre. This is rustic, ramshackled and rough, but utterly beguiling.
READ MORE: Rustic Wedding Venues
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Dalston
Images: The Last Tuesday Society
Claiming to be East London’s most curious venue, admirers of the peculiar and strange will feel at home in The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities – a treasure trove of natural and mythical history from shrunken heads to mermaids. You guests can wander the museum and drink at their private cocktail bar, while a intimate party of just 10 can dine around a sarcophagus table containing a human skeleton in their underground Wunderkabinett. Above your head presides a caged lion skeleton, a suspended sea monster and some striking artwork. You can even hire a private petting zoo to join you at your event and a storyteller to delight and thrill your guests.
Arcola Theatre, Dalston
Images: Lidia Crisafulli; Arcola Theatre
Dalston’s Arcola Theatre – housed in a former paint factory – is an incredible community and arts space, championing established and emerging artists. You can support their fantastic work through hiring their studio space for a wedding. Studio 4 is a contemporary-looking, light and airy rehearsal space – all exposed brick and glossy wood floors – featuring its own bar that can serve drinks till 2.30am. For couples looking for history, theatre and an offbeat reception venue choice, this is it.
The Old Dairy, Clapton
Images: The Old Dairy
As the name suggests, this unusual venue previously housed cows that grazed up the road on Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes. Now it’s a versatile warehouse events space dripping in industrial aesthetic that’s ideal for couples wanting a bit of character and quirk for their wedding day. The Old Dairy is also licensed for marriages so you can tie the knot here too. Most importantly, pets are welcome so get your dog ready to be ring bearer (probably best to not bring any cows back).
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Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, City of London
Images: Chiswell Street Dining Rooms
Sneaking its way in with an the EC postcode, Chiswell Street Dining Rooms can be found in the City of London, inside a former brewery. Now an elegant restaurant and bar, it is licensed for civil ceremonies as well as being a reception venue for up to 200 guests. For anyone looking for a wedding venue with a real focus on seasonal food, Chiswell Street is the modern, upmarket venue for you.
Spitalfields Venue, Spitalfields
Images: Spitalfields Venue
London’s vibrant East End is home to Spitalfields Venue, a collection of unique venues set around the magnificently restored Baroque masterpiece of Christ Church Spitalfields. A stone’s throw from the historic Brick Lane, host an unforgettable banquet among the grand columns of the Nave, the vast Crypt, or the life and character of the Hugenot chapel of Hanbury Hall where Charles Dickens used to do public readings. For more intimate weddings, the elegant panelled Old Vestry Room is full of charm.
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MC Motors, Dalston
Images: MC Motors
Walking through the unassuming entrance into MC Motors has been described as stumbling on an Aladdin’s cave. This 6,000 sq/ft renovated warehouse is bustling with personality, from charmingly dilapidated walls to a bright skylight roof and an uber-trendy mix of furniture and props across its many rooms. Each room is a visual feast for your guests to discover in this hipster paradise.
The Octagon, Queen Mary’s University London, Mile End
Images: Queen Mary’s University London
Wow your guests with the stunning setting of Queen Mary University London’s Octagon. Like the name suggests, this vast eight-sided building is lined with shelves loaded with brightly-coloured books and dotted with busts of eminent authors. Raise your eyes skyward to one of the most beautiful domed ceilings in London. This is every book lover’s heaven.
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East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf
Images: East Wintergarden
Set in the heart of Canary Wharf, the 27-metre high arched glass atrium of East Wintergarden is a modern and iconic venue for your wedding. Your wedding photos will look spectacular among the show-stopping and bold curves of the Main Hall. Being in the centre of the financial capital, this venue is also wonderfully accessible from across London and beyond.
The Fable, Farringdon
Images: The Fable
Inspired by Aesop’s fables, this colourful restaurant and bar in EC1 is chock-full with one-of-a-kind details, leather-bound books and vintage gems, like their book nook – an ideal spot for a wedding photo. Spread across three floors packed with wild flowers and overgrown greenery, The Fable is an enchanting location for a wedding reception that’ll capture the romance and magic of your big day.
Sunborn London, Royal Victoria Dock
Image: Sunborn London
Looking for stylish, sophisticated and completely unexpected? Sunborn London is the capital’s first floating hotel – a luxury 128m super yacht moored in the prestigious Royal Victoria Docks that offers some of the best views of London. Swanky and sleek, few venues match the cool factor of your very own super yacht.
Lea Rowing Club, Clapton
Images: Lea Rowing Club
Couples wanting something completely different can choose the unconventional setting of the Lea Rowing Club, a recently renovated boat house perched on a tranquil stretch of the River Lea. Dance floor fiends will adore this venue; book your favourite live band or DJ and let the party continue until the early hours.
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The Brewhouse, London Fields
Images: The Brewhouse
If you’re a craft beer loving couple, then The Brewhouse – run by London Fields Brewery – could be the perfect spot. Nestled under two railway arches with a sunny courtyard in the middle, this unique space has already earned its cool cachet as a home for London music industry parties. Naturally there are stocked bars in each arch packed with local beers, plus a wood fire pizza oven in the courtyard for a relaxed non-traditional wedding breakfast idea. (There’s also a fully-functioning kitchen if sit-down is more your style.)
ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford
Images: ArcelorMittal Orbit
Yes, you can privately hire The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit, the world’s highest and longest tunnel slide, for a thrill your guests will never forget. Show-stopping reception surprises are a huge favourite among couples this year who wanted to entertain and delight their friends and family. Is there any cooler way to do it than a slide that gives some of the best views on London on the way down? The Anish Kapoor-designed Orbit itself is licensed for wedding and civil ceremonies, but let’s be honest, it’s all about the slide.
For Londoners still in search of something different, check out these unusual London wedding venues or, from across the UK we’ve rounded up our favourite alternative venues for untraditional couples.