I’m not even sure I know where to begin with Keith and Hannah’s big day.
Do I start with Hannah’s oh-so-light-as-a-feather-yet-perfectly-bohemian flower crown or with their voluminous hydrangea floral arch at the end of their hay bale aisle?
Perhaps I’ll begin with the adorable flower girls who just exude personality or the sassy bridesmaids (I need their dresses in my life!). Actually I might just kick off with the beautiful wildflower arrangements and the motorbike and the portraits in the meadow and the super-fly Granny who totally rocks Hannah and Keith’s festival wristband favour.
Actually you know what…I’m just going to let you lovelies experience this heart-warming, life-affirming, hearty big day for yourselves.
It is immense.
Hannah The Bride:I feel like I need to start by saying that I should not really be the one writing this report. The main man himself, who spent months hand-making invites, endless hours creating a table plan, days upon end creating centrepieces was my hubby-to-be aka…Groomzilla Keith! Being a teacher with little time on my hands, my role generally consisted of checking Rock My Wedding weekly and reporting back to my husband with all the ideas for him to magically turn into reality. Somehow he totally pulled it off and I learned a lot about my new hubby-to-be’s endless talents.
When deciding on the venue, Keith and I had always had this idea that we didn’t want our wedding to just be one day. We wanted somewhere with exclusive use which would be our little home over the two days. When we visited Haslington Hall, it fitted perfectly with our vision and we knew that they would do anything to accommodate our needs. We loved the house which is full of character and it also had acres of land – perfect for the outdoor ceremony that we had dreamed of.
I opted for a natural style with my hair and make-up – nothing too heavy! I enrolled two trusted friends who I knew would not let me down – Sarah Jayne and Paul Fletcher. They did a brilliant job!
I must admit, wedding dress shopping was not the pleasurable experience that I thought it would be. After visiting numerous boutiques I didn’t see a single dress I liked, let alone think was ‘the one’. I’d set my heart on a dress with detail/focus on the back and had a very specific idea of what I wanted. Luckily, one of my good friends said she would be honoured to make my dress and so the excitement begun. I showed her the pictures and she helped them come alive.
I wanted to keep the maids’ dresses quite a neutral, light colour so champagne was the colour of choice. Luck was on my side again, when the wonderful Jessica from Sheshea said that she would make these too. She did the best job and the dresses were absolutely beautiful. Our beautiful flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon.
Our theme started off slightly vintage, then shifted more to rustic and eventually we settled on a festival theme two day wedding and Wedfest was born! For one year prior to the wedding we raided every carboot, charity shop and charity warehouse going. I showed Keith some ticket style invites to fit in with our festival theme and a few months later they were all ready to send out! He also created lanyards for our order of service and little personal touches such as hand-made crates, signs and tree stump centre pieces.
We had a travelling theme running throughout our day and instead of table numbers we had postcards with different destinations that we had visited from around the world. We used ‘Find your face to take you place’ for our seating plan which the guests loved – find the funniest, most embarrassing pictures of your guests that you can!
For our favours, each guest had a personalised festival style wristband which fitted in perfectly too. I remember dancing to the band outside and looking around and seeing everyone sporting their wristbands and lanyards.
Flowers were a huge part of our day/theme and I wanted flowers everywhere! I wanted to steer clear of the more formal arrangements and instead wanted wild flowers. The wonderful Marcia from Flowerworks did the most amazing job. The wild flower bouquets and button holes were unbelievable.
Me and Keith wanted to make the ceremony as personal as possible. We’ve both been through some tough times together and the day was about celebrating life and looking forward to the future. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place when Keith muttered the words, ‘You helped to save my life…’
In keeping with our festival theme, we planned cocktails, outdoor music and sunshine for our reception. As soon as the band began to play, the sun beamed through the clouds…a perfect moment! Our band ‘Fletch’ sang our first dance Jason Miraz ‘I won’t give up.’
We decided on a roast dinner for our meal and had chilli and curry for our evening food which went down a treat! We also booked Polly’s Parlour a vintage VW campervan for our ice-cream desert. As soon as Polly arrived, the sun came through the clouds!
My sister bought me a ‘forget me not’ charm for my bouquet with a picture of my oldest sister on who sadly passed away two years ago. It was a lovely thought and meant that she got to walk down the aisle with me on my special day.
I had spent quite some time creating bridesmaid boxes for each of my girls. I used a website called Rollip to create polaroid pics with personal messages on and made photobooks of our best memories together.
You can’t control the weather so just roll with it. This year was one of the best-summers we’ve had for a long time and the only day that it rained non-stop was on our wedding day…typical! I think I was in a mood for about 2 hours when I woke up and I was worried sick because we were getting married outside. As soon as I saw Keith though, I didn’t even notice the weather and everybody still had the best time.
When I asked Keith for his advice, he said to preferably marry someone who is going to contribute to the wedding planning process so that you don’t have to do it on your own. Ha! Keith was the most stressed he’s ever been in his life organising this wedding and that’s because he pretty much did it all himself.
Having a two day wedding did increase the cost, but it was so worth it. The next day we had a huge celebration – fancy dress, silent disco, BBQ, Karaoke and sunshine (it was the hottest day of the year!) If I’d had to have left the venue early the next morning when the sun was beaming (bearing in mind it rained all day on our wedding day), I think I would have shed a tear. Instead, I lay on a hay bail with my new husband wrapped in a crochet blanket.
At the top of my priorities list was always to get a good photographer. If there’s one piece of advice I would give to anyone, it would be to make sure you get a photographer who suits your style and that you do your research. Anna Hardy is totally amazing! Both Keith and myself felt so relaxed and she’s got so many amazing, timeless shots which we can cherish and look back on when we’re old, ugly and wrinkly!
A few weeks before the wedding, when the budget was all gone, me and Keith had a little disagreement over a videographer. I’d read a few blogs (on RMW of course!) where brides had said this was either the one thing that they regretted not having or the one thing that they would never had done without. So, I decided to get a credit card and book a videographer! When I came across Blooming Lovely Films, we hit it off straight away and the style of her films fitted perfectly into the theme of our wedding. When the day has gone, the food has been eaten, the flowers have died and the dress is locked away in a cupboard the two things you keep forever are your photos and a video. Make sure they’re perfect!