A trip to Selfridges is often a must for engaged couples looking to pick out rings, party favours or to find that perfect outfit. But now, fans of London’s famous department store can take things one step further and get married right inside the venue.
In May this year, Selfridges announced it had obtained a temporary licence that allows couples to have a “non-traditional ceremony” at the Oxford Street venue.
And that’s exactly what Carlene Noel, 40, and Danny Sains, 47, did on Saturday. The couple, who live in Billericay, Essex, became the first couple to say “I do” at Selfridges, in an intimate afternoon ceremony.
For the event, the couple opted for the Just-The-Two-Of-Us package to keep the event small and unique. Only their children – Carlene’s son Carnell, 10, and Danny’s daughters Nancy, 12, and Lola, 13 – were in attendance.
After the ceremony ended with a toast and cake cutting, the experience continued with a personalised tour of the store, a shopping session at the Shoe Galleries for Carlene, a wedding lunch at Brasserie of Light, drinks at The Cinema at Selfridges, followed by a private screening of Grease at one of the cinema’s three screening rooms.
Carlene, who runs Carlene’s Closet, a personal styling and shopping business, opted for the package in part because she has history with Selfridges.
“I’ve always wanted our wedding to be special and unique. Danny and I agreed early on that it would be a very small affair with just the children and so finding a suitable venue, both great for a small wedding and out of the ordinary, had been a concern until I heard about Selfridges hosting weddings. I worked at Selfridges in London nearly 20 years ago for a couple of very happy years, and have loved the store ever since, so it just felt like it was meant to be,” she says.
Danny, who is in the process of setting up his own pie and mash business, says that being the first couple to tie the knot at the location made it all the more special for them and the children. “With Carlene’s job working in fashion and the both of us wanting something a bit different for our special day, we just couldn’t have asked for anything more fitting,” he says.
With Covid-19 postponing most weddings in 2020, there has been a surge in demand for UK wedding venues in 2021, leaving couples struggling to find a suitable space. Selfridges launched its wedding service as a solution to give “alternative options to couples seeking non-traditional ways to celebrate their love”. Its ceremonies are held in a suite on the fourth floor, with the service also available for civil partnerships.
The store has two other micro wedding packages, designed for a maximum of 20 guests. The Earth-lovers' wedding package allows guests to have a one-to-one Resellfridges appointment to find vintage or rented wedding outfits, Earth-conscious make-up applied by their beauty concierge team and a wedding coordinator to assist on the day.
There’s also an All-Out Extraordinary wedding package that includes a three-course meal in a private dining room at Brasserie of Light, and an in-house DJ.
Selfridges has had a difficult year, owing to the pandemic drastically altering consumer habits. Earlier this year, it was reported that the Weston family, which owns the group, had put it up for sale. Branching out into the wedding business was widely seen as a way for the brand to engage with its existing customer base while drawing in new shoppers.