Falling in love on stage is usually something only fairy tales promise, but for theatre director Cat and actor Theo, their curtain call cued the onset of a lasting romance. Their worlds collided in central London, in an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s dramatic short tales. Little did they know that their strong connection would become the script of their very own love story.
‘With freedom, flowers, books, and the moon, who could not be perfectly happy?’ For Cat and Theo, this legendary Oscar Wilde quote forms the foundations of their one-of-a-kind relationship. Rewind back to winter of 2012, and rehearsals are underway in an intimate theatre venue hidden beneath the arches of Waterloo East station. Cat knew from the moment she met and directed Theo in her play, she was attracted to his enchanting performance, and his kind and gentle personality. Once the show was in full swing, their bond eventually blossomed into something more, and since then they’ve never looked back.
Together, Cat and Theo share a passion for theatre, animal conservation and travelling the world. On one particular adventure together, Theo knew that a private secluded beach in Indonesia would make the perfect backdrop to get down on one knee. Surrounded by nature’s treasured gifts: freedom, flowers and the moon, Theo proposed to Cat and they knew instantly that they wanted to channel the unforgettable intimacy of this moment into their wedding day.
Photos courtesy of Tash Busta, a contemporary reportage photographer whose personalised approach captures special occasions naturally and organically as they unfold.
Belair House Wedding in Dulwich
Summer weddings in South East London are unrivalled at Belair House, a beautiful manor house wedding venue surrounded by lush parkland and a characterful local village. After an 18 month engagement, Cat and Theo had plenty of time to plan and ponder about which London wedding venue would suit their vision best. As they parked up on the horseshoe drive at Belair House, its quaint symmetrical dolls house style won them over immediately. Having a small venue was their priority, so Belair House’s capacity of up to 80 guests ticked all of the right boxes. The venue’s accessible Dulwich location on the outskirts of London also made it easy for their guests to drive, or take a short 20 minute train ride from London Bridge or Victoria. Belair House is a historic country villa on the cusp of the city.
Wedding Ceremony and Reception in the Ballroom at Belair House
Cat and Theo hoped for a South East London wedding venue that could host the ceremony, reception and lunch all in one place, and Belair House in Dulwich provided the perfect solution. The Georgian property also has a desirable dose of exclusivity, with a one wedding per day policy. This meant that Belair House felt like a private residence on the day, and they could enjoy it as if it were their own. Cat and Theo were joined by 35 close friends and family members, so they chose to hire just the first floor of the manor house. This ensured the wedding party was never swamped by space and the bubbly atmosphere was retained throughout the entire celebration.
Cat wanted to choose a comfortable free flowing dress rather than a formal white wedding gown that she could only wear once. This gorgeous pale blue floral design by Ted Baker fit the romantic summertime style that she was after, and Theo followed suit with a linen three piece and a playful pink bow tie to match.
As they say, less is more, and Cat and Theo chose not to have any bridesmaids or groomsmen as they wanted all guests to feel valued in their special moment. Instead, most of the guests took part in various other ways. For example, Cat’s best friend created her natural dewy makeup look, their close theatre colleague did the hair styling, and Theo’s old friends performed the ceremony music with a jazz piano and saxophone. Everyone had a role to play in their stunning close knit Belair House ceremony conducted by a Southwark Registrar.
In between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, the Gallery Bar was used for a drinks reception. It’s a wood panelled suite with a built in bar that is great for entertaining guests whilst the Ballroom is turned over for the seated meal. Belair House in Dulwich offers the best of both worlds for a small London wedding: a light and airy ceremony space, and an atmospheric bar all on one floor.
For both the ceremony and reception in the Belair House Ballroom, Cat and Theo kept the decorations natural and uncomplicated, with cascades of fresh foliage and pink peony accents by Stem Flowers. The elegant limewash chiavari chairs complemented the graceful boho aesthetic, and the large windows lit up the room with a natural warmth. Belair House’s bright simple interior is a blank canvas for memorable wedding events and a desirable backdrop for clear and vibrant photography.
The wedding took place on a Sunday in June, so for Cat and Theo, it seemed apt to treat their guests to a traditional roast dinner, with chicken, beef or vegetarian as the main component. Belair House’s in-house menus cover a wide range of contemporary British cuisine, and the catering team provided them with a memorable meal that suited the dietary requirements of every guest. Cat remembers the portions being deliciously generous, so no starters were needed. To follow, the desserts included a rich chocolate mousse and a spiced apple dish. Afterwards, the classical cake cutting took place in front of the fireplace, where the mantelpiece was adorned with a stunning spray of summer florals.
Enveloped by leafy parkland on the outskirts of London
The iconic red carpet staircase at Belair House is a timeless scene for wedding photography, and Stem Flowers embellished the handrails for an added decorative touch. Outside, the setting turns into another photographer’s paradise, where a maze of shady forest trails meets wide open lawns. Dulwich village is also just a short walk away, where strings of independent shops, restaurants and the world’s first public art gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, give guests plenty of reasons to stay and discover the pleasant town. Belair House in Dulwich certainly is a scenic destination to marry in suburban south east London.
Belair House wedding reviews
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Brides Gown: Ted Baker / Brides Shoes: Anniel / Cake: Lilika's Treats / Caterer: Belair House / Celebrant: Southwark Registrar / Ceremony Venue: Belair House / Flowers: Stem Flowers / Gift Registry: The Wedding Shop / Grooms Attire: Hockerty and Alex Crane / Grooms Shoes: Bobbies Paris / Invitations: Papier / Photographer: Tash Busta / Rings: Bride: Tiffany & Co and Justin Duance / Transport: Morse Cars / Venue: Belair House / Venue Decor: Belair House and Stem Flowers / Wedding Night Venue: Lime Wood Hotel & Spa