London Marathon Wedding With Two Running Brides!

Lisa and Jemma met in London, almost nine years ago when Lisa was a personal trainer. Four years later they were training for their first marathon together – a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer, which Jemma lost her father to that year. Running helped her cope, and it soon became their favourite thing to do together, completely occupying their weekends with training, followed by several G&Ts and a good pie. They wanted their wedding to reflect all these things that they love; running, London, pie, Haribo and friends.

They got married on the London Marathon start line then ran the marathon and ended the day with a big party at a bar on the finish line! “We both love running so much, and there is something truly special about the London Marathon,” Lisa began. “We’d run 15 marathons between us, but had yet to run London together. We had jokingly said for years that our dream wedding would incorporate the London Marathon, but we’re too obsessed with getting a good time to stop (!) and didn’t think it would be possible to get married beforehand. One day, during a post-run tipsy picnic, we sent out some scoping emails to the Greenwich registrar, and she agreed if we could find a willing venue. The registrar we spoke to that day was the person who conducted our ceremony and she was brilliant.”

Their ceremony has held at 7am at the pub at the start line for the marathon. “As the roads closed at 7am, everyone panicked and arrived early and saw us in our hoodies and jeans!” Jemma laughed. “The ‘start’ sign was visible from the window of the ceremony room. Our registrar was so lovely and seemed genuinely thrilled to be conducting our ceremony. We had 50 close friends and family (the most we were able to fit in the venue!) We weren’t expecting to be as nervous as we were. Our readings were entitled Marriage is Ugly and Marriage is a Marathon read by Lisa’s cousin and my best friend.”

“We gave everyone party bags with Marathon maps, flags, whistle, cheering sticks, snacks and drinks in”, they Lisa. “We had coffee and cake with our guests (made by Jemma – my dad was a baker, so it was important to be to get some baking in the wedding!) for about 10 minutes, before quickly changing into our running gear – white running dresses, veil, flower crown, garter (which had to be removed due to chaffing!) and blue shoes and heading off to the start pens. Our actual wedding breakfast was a huge bowl of Frosties, almond milk and Lucozade!”

“The crowd during the race were just brilliant”, Jemma remembered, “catching sight of our ‘Just Married’ vests and cheering us along. I didn’t get a personal best race time that day, but Lisa did (we both ran 3:27) and I kept telling her it was symbolic! We refused to take our Marathon medals off for the entire reception, despite the hideous red ribbons not being the best compliment to our wedding dresses!”

One thing they did find difficult in the run up to the wedding was finding their non-running wedding dresses. “Wedding dresses are a ballache to find in the UK if you don’t want something traditional. We ended up shipping one in from Barcelona, and buying the other during a holiday to Los Angeles, then getting them both taken in by a lovely seamstress.”

They even managed to fit in a bit of DIY-ing in between their training, “We made the shortbread name places; homemade shortbread biscuits with each person’s name stamped into the biscuit (they took forever to make!) and the table plan which was a London marathon route map, with each table being given a mile marker name. The cakes and muffins for the ceremony snacks were also homemade. Lisa’s cousin made us hoodies to wear afterwards with our names and ‘London Marriageathon’ printed on the back.”

Not surprisingly, running the marathon together was their favourite part of their wedding day, “Repeatedly looking at each other throughout the marathon and marvelling at how brilliant it was was amazing. Also, dancing with everyone until gone midnight, despite half the guests been at the ceremony with us 18 hours before. We had six black toenails between us, but still managed to wear stilettos until the small hours!”

“Nothing was extravagant, but it was exactly what we wanted and we wouldn’t change a thing”, they concluded. “We wanted a simple, fun wedding and definitely had that. We invited people to the wedding by text and Facebook! We did our make up ourselves and didn’t have hairdressers – we just about had time to wash it before the 7am ceremony and again between the marathon and party, and Jemma actually arrived at the reception with wet hair! We did save money on our cake though as our friend made our brilliant wedding cake as a gift. It was completely perfect and we were very grateful.”

“The best thing about planning our wedding was the moment we realised our ridiculous idea was actually possible, and then texting everyone to tell them to save the date! We loved shopping for our running outfits, and spending our weekends travelling from bar to bar, sampling their food and wine in pursuit of the best venue to have our party. We didn’t take anything too seriously, so short of the registrar not showing up, or us breaking a limb in the days beforehand (Lisa got a stress fracture in the days before London Marathon 2016, meaning she couldn’t run), nothing would have been the end of the world. In the end, nothing went wrong. In retrospect, we wouldn’t have done anything differently, except maybe bought more Haribo!?”

“Our advice for future brides and grooms is brainstorm the most ridiculous ideas you can think if for your perfect wedding, then see if you can make them happen!”

Supporting Cast

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