The Wedding Gallery is set to open at the end of October in the Grade I listed former Holy Trinity Church at No. 1 Marylebone.
The 20,000 sq ft building has previously been used for office space and fashion shows and has undergone refurbishment to house everything a bride and groom might need for a wedding.
As well as browsing the usual dresses, suiting, and accessories, shoppers will be able to book wedding photography, order wedding stationery and flowers, taste cakes and catering options, and organise wedding insurance. There’s also an opportunity to hire DJs and speechwriters and a room for watching wedding bands and singers on a large screen, where they can then be booked directly.
Couples who haven’t yet organised their venue can book the 400-capacity space attached to the shop for their ceremony or reception.
Dresses at the Wedding Gallery will start from £800 and go up to over £100,000 for custom couture designs.
According to a survey of 4,000 couples commissioned by the website hitched.co.uk, the average wedding now costs £27,000 – double the average cost of four years ago. The growth is attributed to increasing numbers of same-sex couples and over-45s tying the knot. Venue hire, honeymoons, and catering account for the biggest chunk in most wedding budgets.
George Hammer, founder and owner of the Wedding Gallery, said: “Our plan is to take all the sweat out of it. You know, turn the process into something that’s a pleasure not a torture.” He also admitted that the new business venture carried some risk after he’d invested millions into it, adding: “It’s not like we can look at what Harvey Nichols or Harrods or John Lewis are doing. There’s no benchmark for this kind of business.”