I can’t help but do a little jig whenever I spy a wedding wreath and Naomi and Andy’s gorgeous rose, snapdragon and twiggy affair that adorned the door of their wedding venue at The Hare & Hounds in Bath is no exception.
In fact the jig turned into more of a full scale riotous dance when I spotted that Naomi had chosen to dress her maids in simple ivory tea dresses complete with matching brogues. So unbelievably chic! Much like Naomi’s cable knitted jumper when they ventured out for portrait shots later in the day.
There’s so much to point out and wonder at in this wedding – be it the abbey where the pair got married or Naomi’s delicate floral headpiece or even the contemporary and refined table name pennants that decorated their reception. I’m off to pin…who’s going to join me?
Naomi The Bride: Andy and I met and still live in Sheffield, right next to The Peak District, his parents live in Norfolk and I grew up a few miles outside of Bath so we were pretty spoiled for choice of beautiful locations. We settled on Bath for many reasons – not least because it was where we first decided to get married and bought my engagement ring – but it was easy for everybody to get to and allowed people to make a weekend of it.
Getting married in The Abbey was incredibly special for us. It is a spectacular building, but it is also where my family go to church. Edward, the Rector made the service so personal and blew everybody away when he gave us a shepherd’s crook he had brought back from Orkney, inspired by our choice of Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’. Our other reading was a poem by Pete McKee, taken from ‘The Joy of Sheff’ in which a Sheffield man tells his wife he’ll love her ’Til the end of their days’. He’ll deny this, but sources maintain that Andy joined the choir I used to conduct as a way of getting to meet me, so we were very happy to have the amazing Abbey choir singing some of our favourite pieces. As we walked out of the church, our friends surprised us by playing a peal of handbells.
We fell in love with The Hare & Hounds for its simple interior and spectacular views but what really made the day was the incredible events team. They were almost as enthusiastic about our ideas as we were and made everybody feel so at home. It was just like a big family gathering, which is e xactly what we wanted.
The Flowers and Decorations
Everything was inspired by the countryside and hedgerows where I grew up. My Mum and her friends are brilliant gardeners and grew a lot of what we used. At the front of the Abbey, we had pots of foxgloves and jars of cow parsley, at the pub we had big branches of silver birch and a garland along the bar. Our flowers were arranged by a family friend, Joanne from The Floral Touch who captured what I wanted perfectly – big and wild with cow parsley, ferns and peachy roses like the ones in my parents’ garden. The bouquets and buttonholes were tied with velvet ribbon. The tables were decorated with medicine bottles filled with flowers picked from the hedgerows and as it g ot darker we lit beeswax candles which made the pub feel so cosy as the mist rolled in.
I asked my friends to choose dresses for me at my first appointment at The Mews in Clifton. It was such a relaxed and fun way to start looking and it was lovely to watch them excitedly picking things out. As soon as I tried on the Delphine Manivet, it just clicked. I felt feminine without being girly, classic without being old-fashioned and it was so comfortable. I later took my sister, Mum and Grandmother to see it and their tears sealed the deal. The gorgeous Debbie Carlisle made my hairpiece, which I picked out with her over a mug of coffee. I wore a raw-edged Juliet cap veil for the church, a cable knit jumper when it was cold and changed into a pair of lacy shorts in the evening so that I could dance properly. I did my own makeup so that I would feel like myself and my hair was put up loosely to allow me to take it down later on. I wore ivory oxfords and my watch which Andy bought me as a wedding gift.
Andy wore a gorgeous three-piece suit in the softest grey wool with a dark blue bow tie and matching oxfords, all from Ted Baker. He wore his Grandfather’s watch and a signet ring he was bought for his 18th birthday.
The Wedding Party
It was very important to me that bridesmaids were comfortable and that they actually liked what they were wearing. We chose simple, ivory tea dresses from Ted Baker which they wore with ivory brogues. Andy didn’t want his groomsmen to have to match or spend money on something new or hired, so they wore their own suits with matching bow ties – the burgundy version of Andy’s.
The Hare & Hounds absolutely nailed the food. There were drinks and canapés whilst people played games outside and the main meal was a feast! We started with a board of local meats and cheeses with asparagus and roasted veg. We then had three roasts – slow-cooked pork belly, lamb shoulder and lemon and garlic chicken – alongside a vegetarian tagine and delicious salads. The dessert was ‘build-your-own Eton Mess’. Everything was laid down the centre of the tables for people to share like a family meal. In the evening there was more local cheese with a big pork pie and homemade chutney. The cakes were made by our friends. There were three layer cakes – Black Forest, Passionfruit, Pimms – and a Kransekake.
There aren’t many things we love more than a good boogie and one of the best nights of dancing we ever had was at our friends’ wedding, which was played by Agent Smith. We were thrilled that they agreed to travel all the way from Manchester to play for us. The dance floor was full all night and the staff were dancing behind the bar. We weren’t planning to do a first dance, but ended up having an impromptu rock-out to a cover of Valerie, Andy sang with the band and the lead singer crowd-surfed off the bar. People still talk about it and it blows our minds every time.
Neither of us is very comfortable being photographed, but having a friend behind the camera allowed us to relax completely. Tori was a trooper all day, but she particularly amazed us when, with the light fading rapidly, she whisked us off in her car; driving us around the lanes like only a farmer’s daughter could to take our pictures in the rain. She stayed far longer than she had planned and must have been exhausted, so we were very pleased when she put her camera down and joined us on the dance floor. Everybody at the wedding fell in love with her and the photographs she took surpassed anything we could have imagined.
One of my favourite things we did was making our own stationery. My mum painted a beautiful wreath of flowers for the invitations and I drew an illustrated map and did all the calligraphy. We had them printed by a fantastic local company and had a lovely time putting them together.