“It’s strange, you send these invites out in the depths of Winter, wait for the RSVP’s to drop through your letter box and then boom – you walk into a room with your heart in your mouth and 70 or so people are all there smiling and hugging you and wishing you well. It’s just the best feeling ever.” How perfect are bride Hannah’s words?
I don’t even know where to start with this wedding. I can hear Jonny laughing just looking at the photos. I think Hannah’s dress is my favourite of 2014! Yep. and her braid is epic. It’s all just so flippin’ happy and lovely and smiley and dancey and exactly what a wedding should be. without further ado I give you one of 2014’s most immense weddings.
Hannah The Bride: Jonny and I met 6 six years ago in the salon he used to work at in Halifax, West Yorkshire. I knew the owner and after a few ‘he said/she said’ whispers between friends a date was arranged and the rest – as they say – is history. We got engaged last July, on the fifth anniversary of our first date and we married on the Summer Solstice this year.
I’ve never actually been that girl who dreams of wedding gowns and colour palettes, so when it came to planning a wedding everything was a complete blank canvas. The only thing we knew for sure was that we wanted a day that was true to us, reflected our attitude to life and celebrated our relationship. Oh, and that included a kick ass party!
Jonny has a daughter, Ruby, from a previous relationship and I couldn’t wait to be able to call myself her ‘Stepmum’ rather than just ‘Daddy’s Girlfriend’. She was my one and only choice for a bridesmaid and was accompanied by the newest addition to our little family, our two year old son Woody, complete with bow-tie and Converse trainers. Ruby’s dress was the gold Estella dress from Monsoon with matching shoes, she looked perfect – as always.
So – the dress. Ah, that dress. I’m a little bit in love with it, which – if you know me – is a very strange thing. My go-to uniform day in day out are skinny jeans and a t-shirt, possibly vest if it’s sunny. The thing is though, when you agree to take someone’s hand in marriage and be their bride you’re also agreeing to be the centre of attention, like it or not, for a whole day and you’ve either got to suck it up and go with, or elope. I did the whole trying on traditional big white gowns that we’re beautiful and expensive, but just weren’t me. I scoured vintage fairs for something unique and different, I even bought a vintage gown that I thought was ‘the one’ only to be left feeling flat and awkward like I was playing ‘dress-up’ when I got it home. Then I saw the Hemmingway dress on the Temperley website. OMG. If I’d been asked to draw my perfect dress, I think I’d have drawn that. Modern, understated, and unique with a bit of an edge. It was so different to anything I had seen or have seen since and I just love it. Properly love it.
As for jewellery, I kept it to a minimum, I wore a silver bangle that my Dad had made – my Mum wore it on her wedding day almost 40 years ago so I guess you could say it was my something borrowed. She’s not getting it back though, sorry Mum.
I also wore some crystal stud earrings I found on Etsy, I like to think they gave me some positive vibes on my big day! Oh, and of course, my wedding and engagement rings. They were from a jeweller in Hebden Bridge called Element and the design is based on a rose root, they’re very different and totally beautiful.
As you’ve probably already guessed from my lack of girliness on the old dress front, I have very little clue also when it comes to hair and make-up – why do you think I married a hairdresser! Luckily for me, Jonny is now a stylist at Trevor Sorbie in Manchester and he works alongside the awesome Mai Ha – she’s done hair and make-up for everything from London Fashion Week to Italian Vogue, and yes, she did my hair and make-up. I knew I wanted an up do as anyone with bleached hair can testify, bleached hair and inclement weather don’t mix so the thought that it may rain on my big day (this is Britain after all!) made me plum for braids. Mai was brilliant, I showed her a picture from Pinterest of a model with amazing braids in her hair, nothing bridal, just a really pretty up-do and said “What do you think?” Literally 20 minutes later, bang – my hair looked like that! It may sound superficial, but the confidence I got from having someone as talented as Mai to help me look the way I did on my wedding day was out of this world – I felt great ALL day and the braids lasted long after Jonny had passed out asleep in the honeymoon suite.
Speaking of Jonny, his beautiful duck egg suit was from Paul Smith, purchased along with my brother Eddie’s suit on what sounds like a rather boozy shopping trip to London in the run up to the big day. I daren’t ask what he spent on it, but both Jonny and Eddie looked awesome. My other brother Harry wore a blazer from Ted Baker and Jonny’s best man James bought his suit from Next. We didn’t want the groomsmen to look too matchy and preferred them to wear something they were comfortable in and would wear again. As a gift on the wedding morning I bought Jonny a bottle of Green Irish Tweed by Creed – he never wears aftershave so I wrote a little note with it to say, if ever there was a day he ought to smell as good as he looks, today that was that day. He loved it.
The first thing we booked, other than the marriage licence and registrar (!), were the amazing Papakata teepees. I’d seen them a few years back when a TV production I was working on wanted to book them for a show and they’d stuck in my mind ever since. My amazing parents agreed to let us use their garden for the reception – Clough House Farm is the place I grew up and holds a really special place in my heart so to be able to have our reception their meant a lot to me – cheers Mum and Dad!
We chose to have our ceremony at the Town Hall in Hebden Bridge. Jonny and I live in Hebden Bridge and it’s such an awesome little place, full of independent shops, cafes and galleries. We couldn’t think of anywhere better to get hitched! The Waterfront Hall at Hebden Bridge Town Hall literally is that – on the waterfront, with huge concertina doors that open onto the river so we opted to have our ceremony in the hall with the doors open to the river, the ducks and the onlookers on the bridge! I’m a massive White Stripes fan so I chose to walk in with my Dad, Ruby and Woody to The White Stripes “We’re Going To Be Friends” – it’s such a sweet song and above all else reminds me that Jonny is my best friend. I remember feeling consumed with a mixture of excitement and nerves as I waited outside the hall for the music to start. As the opening bars played and our little party walked into the room the nerves just vanished only to be replaced by a feeling of complete calmness and a smile that didn’t budge all day.
We had two readings during the ceremony. The first was read by Ruby and my niece Ellie and was Yvaine’s Monologue from the film Stardust – they totally nailed it, not a dry eye in the house! Our second reading was a Barry Louis Polisar song called ‘Me and You’ read by my ace friend Rachel. It really just captures how even when we’re just hanging out, doing nothing or making fools of ourselves, Jonny and me just fit – he’s the easiest person to get along with I’ve ever met.
After the ceremony we had some fizz on the terrace and waited for our amazing vintage bus to arrive – the sun was shining and I just remember feeling completely overwhelmed that all these people had turned up for Jonny and me. It’s strange, you send these invites out in the depths of Winter, wait for the RSVP’s to drop through your letter box and then boom – you walk into a room with your heart in your mouth and 70 or so people are all there smiling and hugging you and wishing you well. It’s just the best feeling ever.
The vintage bus took all our family and friends up to my parent’s house and Jonny and me were whisked away for some couple shots with our amazing photographers James and Jo. I cannot recommend these two enough – they were our wedding superstars! As someone who hates having her photo taken, James just has a knack of making you forget he’s pointing a huge camera at you – it’s more like one of your mates is taking a few snaps while you chat away, until you get the pictures back and realise he’s completely talented and brilliant. He’s also pretty handy at helping brides climb wrought iron fences in 4 inch wedge heels if the mood so takes you, just saying.
After the couple shots we met our guests back at the bus at the top of the lane down to my parent’s house – cue confetti canons, baby photo-bombing and general merriment, the photos of the entire wedding party stood in front of the bus with confetti raining down are some of my favourite of all our photos – they totally capture what I wanted the day to be: FUN!
When we were trying to organise the food for our wedding reception we wanted something that would match the laid back feel of the day. We stumbled across The Travelling Tea Ladies after buying some of Lynne’s amazing macarons at a farmer’s market in Hebden Bridge one weekend. Lynne and her friend Becky run pop-up vintage tea rooms all over Yorkshire and make the most divine afternoon teas so we asked if they’d ‘pop-up’ in our tepee and they did! All their ingredients come from locally sourced or home-grown products and they completely tailored the menu to our tastes. Lynne also made the best macarons I have ever tasted for our dessert table and Becky baked a Persian Love cake to go with the apple pies and other treats. As for our wedding cake, well my mum baked it! We have a tradition on Sunday’s at home whereby all the family meet up for Sunday lunch at my parents followed by some of my mum’s awesome baking so it just seemed sensible to ask her to bake our wedding cake. (I’m not sure if she thought it was sensible, but hey!)
In the evening we hired the excellent Artisan Pizza Company to come and feed the wedding hordes with mountains of delicious stone baked pizza. The queue for the van was constant and I dread to think how much dough and mozzarella those girls got through, but it was amazing.
The flowers, buttonholes, stag antlers and my beautiful, enormous, bouquet were done by Fiona from Firenza Floral Design. Fiona is completely talented, eccentric and loveable in the best possible way, her studio is in her own beautiful home in the Ryburn Valley and she always welcomes you with a big hug and pots of tea. Her flowers were absolutely breathtaking, everything I’d imagined and I loved my bouquet so much I even gave it its own Twitter account for a week or two. Fiona also provided the flower stems for our teepee and my mum’s super talented friend Pat Greenwood helped the fill the many bottles, jars and vases I’d collected in the run up to the wedding. We accompanied the flowers in the teepee with a crown of tree bows that Jonny and my brothers harvested from an old oak wood down the lane. They used Oak, Beech and Rowan and attached them to the cross beams of the tepee which looked spectacular.
I honestly can’t thank my parents enough for letting us use Clough House Farm on our wedding day. We completely of took over the place really, friends camped for the weekend by the duck pond, a local farmer donated stacks of straw bales so we could build outside loos, we covered the orchard in festoon lighting and penguin postcards and built a pretty cool outdoor photo booth under an oak tree in the field – one of my favourite pictures of the day is the family portrait James took of me, my brothers, our parents and the family dog, Meg, in the photo booth. I’m a little bit obsessed with Wes Anderson and this photo was a little bit inspired by him – as was our table plan, we named all the tables after his films.
As our wedding – or certainly the reception part of it – was kind of DIY, we hired the utterly brilliant Charlotte from Eden and Eve to co-ordinate the day. I can’t speak highly enough of her, she’s a complete professional from building a riser for the DJ’s to finding plasters for Jonny’s sore feet, nothing was too much or too little – every wedding should have a Charlotte.
I, along with friends and family, did loads of DIY projects in the run up to the wedding – the most impressive of which were probably the favours my Dad carved out of oak. He made 70 individual oak acorn key rings for each of our guests, as well as painting the signs that were dotted around the party. It’s really nice to see the acorns hanging off friends key rings when we meet up!
I made all the invites using lino-cut printing and other stationary such as menus and orders of service using my limited knowledge of Photoshop, tracing paper and (more) penguin postcards. One of the more popular DIY projects we did were probably the Thank You’s we’ve just recently sent out to all our guests. I found a website called Newspaper Club where you can design and print your own newspapers, (I’ve always harboured secret dreams of being a journo!) so instead of Thank You cards, our guests all received their very own Wedding Edition newspaper to keep from the day.
I guess if you’re planning some DIY projects my only advice is to give yourself time, probably twice as much as you think you’ll need! They’re fun to do and definitely worth it if you want to give your day that individual touch but it’s easy to get carried away when you look at amazing blogs like Rock My Wedding to think “Oh, God, I must make 7000 origami cranes otherwise my wedding will suck.” No you don’t – you just need to remember why you’re doing this and above all else, enjoy yourself.