First ever wedding takes place inside iconic Stoke Newington chapel

The first ever wedding ceremony inside the newly renovated Abney Park Chapel took place on Monday 12 February.

Besime Sahin, 24, from Islington, and Hakan Kuyar, 27, from Haringey, were the first lucky couple to be wed inside.

Besime said: “Hakan and I met 6 years ago. He used to work in a barbershop next door to my friends’ house. I used to walk past 500 times a day just to see him!

“I said on the day that we met that we’d get married - now look where we are!”

Abney Park Cemetery and Chapel received £5m funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund and Hackney Council.

Restoration of the much loved Grade II listed Chapel has included the addition of brand new stained glass windows, new seating at mezzanine level, bespoke lighting and accessible facilities.

Besime said: “I fell in love with Abney Park Chapel on the Hackney Venues Instagram page. I was hooked on the renovation updates being posted.

“I love the way it looks, and it being a brand new space was a big draw for me. I can’t believe I got to be the first bride!”

Abney Park Chapel is the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe, completed in 1842 by designer William Hosking. Formally used as a funerary chapel, the venue is nestled inside Abney Park, one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemetery gardens.

The Chapel has joined the Hackney Venues collective, alongside other classic heritage buildings in East London such as Hackney Town Hall and Clissold House.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney

Abney Park Cemetery - managed by our wonderful parks service in close collaboration with Abney Park Trust - is a magical place and an important site for nature conservation in the middle of Stoke Newington.

To see Besime and Hakan become the first to get married in the newly refurbished Chapel is lovely and I hope to see many more events take place in this amazing, historic space.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney

Abney Park Chapel is now available to hire for wedding ceremonies and receptions, private parties and memorials, performances, exhibitions, meetings and more. Find out more on the Hackney Venues website: https://www.hackneyvenues.com/the-chapel