Inside celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarkes star-studded wedding to Kelly Simpkin

Celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke and his partner Kelly Simpkin had a double celebration when they combined her 40th birthday party with their wedding – with the nuptials very much second on the agenda.

Their party plans turned into a magical wedding day with a beautiful ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall, where stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Jude Law have previously tied the knot. Sign up below – for free! – to see our exclusive pictures and interview from the couple's beautiful big day!

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The couple, who have been together for 14 years, put their unique twist on every aspect of the day, even arriving together after getting ready at their London home.

Kelly looked ethereal in a floor-length bridal gown she’d designed herself. “She looked stunning,” gushed Nicky, 63, who had styled his bride’s hair before the ceremony.

Kelly carried a bouquet of roses, chrysanthemums, eucalyptus, olive, oats, amaranthus and celosia, which she had picked from New Covent Flower Market and the couple’s garden.

The bouquet and matching headband were created by Kelly’s florist mother, Jacqueline.

Nicky, who has styled the hair of famous faces including Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Freida Pinto, and Diana, Princess of Wales, wore a black tie suit by his friend William Hunt.

Fashion designer William, a guest at the wedding, also lent the couple a silver Porsche 911 Targa to travel to the town hall.

When the service began, Nicky walked up the aisle first holding the hands of their son Nico, four, and two-year-old daughter CeCee.

The sight of the two children drew a large “aww” from the guests. Nico wore a three-piece velvet suit and CeCee wore an ivory flower girl dress.

Seconds later, Kelly walked up the aisle on the arm of her father Malcolm. They were accompanied by a soundtrack of one of the couple’s favourite songs, the Hall & Oates track Had I Known You Better Then.

There were around 30 guests at the ceremony, including Nicky’s 98-year-old mother Rena and his four siblings.

Registrar Nikki McKim conducted proceedings and when she asked for the rings, Nico stole the show when he walked over to hand them to his dad and took a bit of persuading to sit back down again.

The bands were designed by the couple’s friend Stephen Webster, who also created Kelly’s bespoke diamond and rose gold engagement ring.

When the pair were declared husband and wife, there were cheers and applause from their loved ones, before the newlyweds walked out to the sound of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

After the ceremony, wedding guests boarded a double-decker bus where they were driven to the reception at the Crypt at St Etheldreda’s.

The happy couple made their way there in the Porsche. “Other drivers were waving and giving us the thumbs up,” laughed Nicky.

Kelly, who first met Nicky when she worked as a hairdresser at his salon, had personally decorated the tables in the atmospheric venue, with details such as candles and garlands of eucalyptus, bay and olive leaves.

“We wanted it to have a rustic theme, with lots of foliage. We didn’t want anything that looked too structured or formal,” she said.

The decor fitted in perfectly with the exposed stone bricks and arches in the Crypt, which has played host to famous parties in the past – in fact, Henry VIII’s three-day wedding feast was held there in 1531!

Among the celebrities who arrived at the reception were Anthea Turner, Lisa Maxwell, Caprice Bourret, Nick Ferrari, Lee Stafford and his wife Jessica-Jane Clement, and socialite Henry Conway, who appeared with Nicky on Channel 4 programme The Jump.

Guests dined on a three-course menu that included a starter of caramelised red onion and goat’s cheese tartlet with lemon thyme, a main course of coq au vin, and a dessert of pavlova with berry compote, ginger confit and crème Chantilly.

Nicky and Kelly, who got engaged in 2017, had deliberately not chosen a top table or to keep all family seated together.

“We mixed up the tables – we knew which people would get on,” said Nicky. “We’d also chosen a later wedding with a 4pm start so we could go straight to an evening party. We wanted a night that felt informal and fun.”

The pair had different entertainment throughout the evening, including a saxophonist, a pianist and a roaming band. There was also a DJ, and Kelly’s two-tier birthday cake was presented on the dance floor.

“The dance floor was full all evening,” said Nicky. “People put their disco pants on! Even the children were on their feet and were brilliant. Everyone said how well behaved they were all day.”

The couple had opted out of wedding traditions, such as speeches and a first dance, which made the evening feel like one big party.

“Before the wedding, people told us to make sure we stood back to take it all in and we did that. It was even better than we could have imagined,” Kelly smiles.

Here, the newlyweds tell us all about the big day and why Nicky changed his mind about getting married again…

Kelly, you used to have your own fashion brand and you designed your wedding dress yourself…

We booked the town hall on a Friday and by the Sunday the dress was designed. We were lying in bed one night and I sketched out the design and that was it. I based it on a dress that I’d previously designed, one of my favourites.

Then when I had my first fitting, I changed it a tiny bit. It was made by Tanya Dimitrova, who used to do my samples for me. It was lovely to go back to Tanya, someone I know so well, as she has made so much for me in the past.

You put your creative mark on the rest of the wedding, too…

Kelly: We had about two months to plan it and it was quite hectic! My mum is a florist so she did all the flowers. But I handpicked everything and I bought all the vases and candles. I also designed the menus and the table plan. I went to art school and I like doing those kinds of things.

You opted not to have a completely traditional wedding…

Kelly: No best man and no speeches, which I think my dad was relieved about! We just wanted to have a real celebration for the wedding. We’ve been together so long it was just about making that complete and to share it with the children. For us, we didn’t want the real textbook wedding, which can be quite stressful.

Nicky: The fact this started as a party and then turned into a wedding has meant we haven’t done this in the ‘normal’ way. That’s not to deride anyone who has traditional weddings, it just wasn’t for us. There are people we haven’t seen for months due to the pandemic, and we wanted a big celebration.

Nicky, you hadn’t felt a strong desire to get married again in
the past…

Nicky: I don’t want to sound like Victor Meldrew but I don’t particularly feel I need some governing body to tell me how I feel. But there are other people to consider, and doing a wedding this way was right for us.

Kelly: To be perfectly honest, I was more bothered about marriage pre-children. It used to be so important to me and I would always go on to Nicky about it, but I’m more relaxed about it now. We’ve been together so long, we’re going to remain together, so we thought, “Why not just do it legally and have a good party?”

Nicky: If this had been Kelly’s 39th birthday, we might not have had a wedding like this. We were thinking of going away and getting married with just witnesses there.

Why do you feel you’re a good match as a couple?

Nicky: I think Kelly is more suited to being with somebody older and I’m probably better with somebody younger. Kelly isn’t somebody who wanted to go out clubbing when she was 25. She’s quite measured in that sense. There are references that I might make to music or film that Kelly might not know, though. [Laughs]

Kelly: But I love that. I think I have a kind of constant education, it suits my taste – I like that.

And you’ve been together for 14 years…

Nicky: We didn’t have children straightaway, everything has kind of been more considered.

Kelly: We know each other inside out. I’ll say something completely random and he’ll be like, “I was just thinking that”. It happens a lot. I might go and do something or buy something and he’ll say, “I was thinking of doing the same”. We’re just on the same wavelength. I think we drive each other absolutely mad sometimes but that’s normal. I don’t think any normal couple would not have their moments!


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Did now feel like a good time to get married?

Kelly: I used to think my life would be getting married at 25, having a child at 26 and 28 and it’s worked out so differently. And then when I was pregnant with Nico I was thinking, “I wish we were married”.

But you take what happens in life and you make the best of it, and actually looking back I think this was the nicer way and I’m pleased we did it this way.

How are your work projects going?

Nicky: I mainly divide my time between seeing clients in our Mayfair salon and working on our Nicky Clarke electrical range. We’ve just launched infrared products such as hairdryers and straighteners – I’m really proud of them as they are so much kinder to hair.

Technology has changed so much. We also have our haircare range and I’m also working on a new range of clean products – watch this space!

Kelly: I’ve launched WeTwo – a haircare range specifically for pregnancy, postpartum hair loss and beyond. I also developed a women’s intimate wash with my business partner, gynaecologist Claire Mellon, under the banner WeTwo Prescriptives.

I realised when I was pregnant with Nico that nothing like this existed, and hair goes through so many changes throughout pregnancy and other poignant times in a woman’s life. It took three years to create the products and now I’m working on a menopause range, too.

Are you having a honeymoon?

Nicky: Yes, we’re in Bath for a few days. Just to have a little break and a lie in!

Kelly: We didn’t want to be too far away from the children. But
we’re hoping to do a family holiday in the new year, so we can have a way of marking the celebration all together.

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