Top Four 'Don’t Make Me Sell My Kidney’ Wedding Necessities North London
Written by: E J Stedman
Getting married, as it transpires, is a massive pain. Just as you tick another seemingly pointless task off your endless checklist, another will leap out of nowhere and bite you on the arse. It may seem like all fun and games and first, but if you can come back to me six months before the Big Day without having had a nervy b, I will eat my aforementioned list.
That being said, as a charming and generous person I am more than happy to share the wisdom I have accrued thus far in the planning of my own hysterically expensive party. Especially considering I’m literally never going to use any of this information ever a-fucking-gain. At least, I hope not.
1. Give notice with Haringay or Islington
Wedding planning is full of surprises: none of them fun, all of them expensive. SURPRISE! You have to let your local council know you’re going to get married, for no other reason than Because-We-Said-So. SURPRISE! You have to do it in person. Both of you. I know. SURPRISE! You also need to give them £70 for the pleasure. SURPRISE! You need to do it at least 28 days in advance, and 70 days in advance if one of you is foreign (because apparently the council is racist or something).
SURPRISE! But you can’t do it more than a year in advance because reasons.
Fortunately, both the Haringay and Islington council websites make it super easy to book what day and what time you’d like to go in. SURPRISE! As long as it’s Monday – Friday, 9-5pm.
2. Go dress shopping on Fonthill Road
Oh man. What a treasure trove of excitement. If you are on a budget but want to look like a goddamn princess, Fonthill Road is the place for you. The street is bursting with bridal gowns, as well as mother of the bride outfits and bridesmaids dresses.
If you are looking to be pampered, you are in the wrong place. No prosecco, no coo-ing assistants, and no changing rooms. You heard it right – no changing rooms.
Get yo’ cheap ass over to some fancy stores, let them woo you and fill you full of booze, and find the right style of dress for you.
Once you’ve sobered up you can work your way down Fonthill Road with a dress in mind, haggle with the occasionally terrifying shop assistants and be safe in the knowledge that you’ve saved yourself many hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
3. Get married at Islington Town Hall
Let’s cut the crap. Finding a venue is probably the worst bit of the whole ordeal. It’s expensive and time consuming and emotional and I never ever want to do it again.
Plus to add some real fun into the mix, most of the cheaper venues won’t have a wedding license – that means you can’t have a legal ceremony there. Natch.
So you have to fork out ANOTHER load of cash to have the actual ceremony, and then transport everyone from venue to venue and the whole thing is a big load of balls.
OR! You can just cheekily have a fake-ceremony (blessing) at the reception venue; you can walk down the aisle (corridor, whatever), profess your undying love for each other and snog in front of your relatives without having to worry about how to transport 70 people – some of whom are super elderly – or paying through the nose for ceremony only venue or any of that bollocks.
Then get your beautiful, bargain behinds to Islington Town Hall, and in exchange for £120 you can get legally hitched in 20 minutes. That includes the registrar fee, the room hire and the certificate.
No walk-ins, no personalised vows, no nonsense. Save all that jazz for the blessing, and just think of it as a legal procedure for tax purposes.
4. Get the hell out of here
I mean the whole thing is a logistical nightmare. You may have noticed that I’m finding this wedding malarkey to be a massive faff – bearing in mind it is literally my job to organise shit for other people, I’m still finding it a complete ‘mare.
Once you’ve got some of the big stuff out the way (legal requirements organised, dress bought, venue booked) just get on a train and fuck off for a day or so.
The furthest you can get away directly from Finsbury Park is Peterborough or Cambridge. Go there, drink pints upon pints and let yourself forget about the enormous mess you got yourselves in by agreeing to legally bind yourselves to each other for. Really, think about it – no good reason at all.
Engagement photo courtesy of E J Stedman.
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.
Holy smoke, her nipples are on fire! Somebody pass the woman an extinguisher. Wait, why is she climbing into that giant margarita glass - does she not know it's highly flammable? She's going to need to be doused with a sizable portion of aloe vera gel at this rate, the poor lamb.
If there's anything the new moon today has told us, it's that it's time to be our true selves. That's what my horoscope told me today anyway. But what does that mean exactly? It means that if you want to eat honey loops for lunch, you 100% can. It means if you feel like learning how to make a bouquet instead of working on your tax forms, you 100% can. It also means if you want to learn how the deep throat (singing technique) you don't have to explain yourself. You're keeping it .
Our exclusive meeting with Eroc: the Beyonce of the skateboarding dog world. Eroc the french bulldog is making waves. With fans like Tony Hawk, BBC Radio and over 30k followers on Instagram (and counting), Eroc has also become something of an online sensation. His viral status comes and goes, randomly popping up on online social media channels every now and again to generate hundreds of thousands of views and clicks via the likes of Buzzfeed, Time Out and rogue iPhone filmers.
We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!” These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object. It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.
This Friday sees the release of Malian master musicians, Trio Da Kali’s new album Ladilikan. Fusing rich, expressive vocals with traditional instruments like the balafon and bass ngoni, this is a beautiful mix of ancient Mande culture and contemporary Malian sounds. Luckily for us North Londoners, we have the opportunity to see the trio play live in the rather fitting ethereal surrounds of Stoke Newington Church next month.
Walking along Monsell Road in Finsbury Park, we spy the charming exterior of a shop looking like something out of a children’s book circa 1932. Beneath a green and white striped awning, a whimsical new world of mini animals awaits. Once inside we stumble about the store in hushed awe, reaching over a book of minuscule carpet samples/ family of miniature otters to tap a tiny bell.
Whether you’re looking for something to entertain your kids, your friends’ kids or that particularly large man child in your life, you might just have lucked out. Snug are hosting an open air screening of The Incredibles next Saturday evening. There will be tasty sourdough pizzas from Sodo Pizza (Upper Clapton) and ultimate authentic curries from Rice n Spice, Northwold Road.
Coming soon to a Tufnell Park near you is a whole new vegetable patch of delights / wheat field to run vicariously through. It’s time to get excited for Ceremony: a brand new bar/restaurant serving modern British veggie cuisine. Although the website remains tantalisingly mysterious, you can glean more info from their well stocked insta.
Sound baths, pit parties, fake cheese and nipples, these are a few of our favourite things, said no one ever. Bored of drinking down the pub every evening? Unlikely, but bare with me. Sometimes you just want to let down your hair, shake it off and do something down right odd of an evening... followed by a pint at the pub.
It’s been a few months since the last instalment of Online vs Offline. I deleted Bumble, Happn and Tinder, flirted with the idea of match.com, went to a friend’s wedding, heard the vicar call my name instead of the Bride’s and reflected briefly on the crushing inevitability of my own spinsterhood before realising everyone was laughing in the pews and I should probably join them.
Gluten-free cake consumers, vegan cheese enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of pies and drinkers of tea; your time is now. Buy food of a quality & variety you can’t easily find in the shops, from organic meat to vegan cheese, fish caught that morning to pickles which have been fermenting for months, at Stroud Green market.
Who’s up for free entry, free cake and free folk (except for a jaunty little hat that is passed around for donations)? Get down to The Finsbury this Wednesday eve for a little mid week hootenanny and celebrate some of the best in new live music from the ‘acoustic, singer-songwriter & indie-folk scene’. Host with the most, Zoe Konez (“Ridiculously talented, Konez handles her guitar like she was born with it” - For Folk's Sake) will be deftly introducing each act from gin soaked folk popster herself, Penniless Cove to German indie band, Kalon.
What if you could mix the joys of your local Sunday car boot and all it’s dog perving potential with your favourite vintage clothes shops and high end antique markets? Within the sparkling depths of Dalson’s former ABC cinema, you’ll find The Big London Flea: London’s largest indoor vintage market.