We’re getting your week off to a very beautiful start here on the blog by reliving the wonderful wedding of Hannah and Joe.
When the two of them see today’s post they will be in Australia on a somewhat mammoth honeymoon as they decided to leave for a year’s travelling the day after saying their ‘I dos’. Guys, we salute you!
Their departure therefore made their boho wedding a leaving party also which meant it was all the more important for the big day to be an enjoyable one. Looking at the pictures we think it’s fair to say the memories will be living on back home in their absence.
With images by Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography.
hannah says: We got engaged while on holiday in the South of France with my parents, Gran and my two brothers. On our second day we went to a beautiful village in the mountains called Minerve. We all had lunch together and then went off in smaller groups to explore. Joe walked me up a steep hill with stunning views of the mountains and whilst shaking with nerves, got down on one knee and proposed. I burst into tears and when we’d finally calmed down we ran off to tell my family who were thrilled.
We set the date for the 14th August 2015. As I’m a primary school teacher we knew we wanted the wedding in the summer holidays and we were hopeful for good weather around then! It also meant my brother and his family could come over from Australia to be part of the celebrations.
As Joe is from Derbyshire and I’m from Cheshire, we looked in both areas for a venue but finally fell in love with Abbeywood Gardens in Cheshire. We love the outdoors and this venue has stunning gardens surrounded by fields and forests. The staff were also really friendly, laid back and helpful – we just knew straight away it was the right place for us.
We wanted an outdoor wedding and the venue had a beautiful pagoda near a pond which we thought would be perfect for our ceremony. Of course, we live in England and so it rained for most of our wedding day but we didn’t mind as we had a beautiful ceremony in the huge glasshouse where you could still look out at the flowers.
We wanted a laid back feel to our wedding and I loved the whole boho/vintage/rustic style. As we did not have a large budget having this theme meant we could save money by having lots of homemade things.
In keeping with the boho/vintage theme we used a few different pastel colours as the scheme throughout the decorations and liked the whole ‘mishmash’ idea. We had lots of pinks and purples in our bunting and sweet peas on all the tables so I chose sweet pea colours for the bridesmaid dresses too.
I tried loads of dresses on in the shops and loved a few of them but not enough to justify spending £1,000 to £2,000. The main thing I wanted for the day was for people to have fun so we gave ourselves quite strict budgets for our outfits. I looked on eBay one night and fell in love with a boho style dress from Australia and bought it for £140. Of course it didn’t fit when it arrived but my mum’s friend spent weeks adjusting it until it fit like a glove. It was so comfortable and I loved that it was a tenth of the price of some of the dresses I had tried on!
The dress came with a big beautiful plain bow at the back and my talented friend took it away and encrusted it with some dazzling jewels that matched the jewels on the sleeves of the dress perfectly.
My mum and I then went to a fabric store and spent £15 on netting and accessories to make my veil.
Joe wore a light grey coloured suit from Red Herring in Debenhams, along with the two best men, four groomsmen and father-of-the-bride. For accessories Joe and his groomsmen chose braces and bowties, which matched the colours of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Footwear wise he wore a pair of beige suede shoes from New Look.
My bridesmaid dresses were the hardest part of the whole planning! I knew straight away I wanted them all in different colours to keep in line with the theme. I fell in love with the Twobirds dresses which each bridesmaid can wear in a different style to suit them but unfortunately they were out of my price range. It took about one year and buying four different dress styles until we finally found the right ones! We went for InOne Clothing which were similar to the Twobirds dresses.
On the day of the wedding, my bridesmaids and I had our hair done by Kelly Grant who was a friend of a friend. We all loved our hair styles and considering Kelly lost an hour because of the power cut, she did an amazing job getting it all done in time! My friend Kate Gately, who had recently qualified and set up in business as a makeup artist, took care of mine and my bridesmaids’ makeup.
When we first got engaged one of my bridesmaids told me someone she went to primary school was just starting out as a wedding photographer so was charging a really good price. We met up with Jessica O’Shaungnessy and had a drink, chat and looked at some of her work. She’d done two other weddings and her whole style was exactly what we wanted. She has a skill for encapsulating natural moments which is the style of photographs we wanted. We weren’t keen on having lots of posed group shots, we wanted natural moments caught on camera. She also gave us the option of editing our pictures with a vintage style which of course was right up our street!
On the wedding day Jessica was perfect as we expected. She was so laid back, friendly and fit into the wedding party like a guest! We had lots of compliments from guests about her and you can see from the pictures what an amazing job she did.
To fit in with our natural boho style I wanted the wedding flowers to look like I’d just picked them out of a wild flower meadow. Conveniently my mum and dad have a wild flower meadow! So with the help of my mum’s friend, who had taken a number of flower arranging courses, we put together my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets with flowers from our garden and a few from a market stall. This took all morning and into the afternoon with the corsages too.
We bought loads of gypsophila from a market stall (pre-ordered) and then went on a hunt around my mum and dad’s garden and wild flower meadow. Along with the gyp, sweet peas were our main flower as the colours matched the bridesmaid dresses perfectly. As soon as we’d decided on sweet peas my mum and some of her friends and neighbours began growing lots for us! The day before the wedding we drove around collecting gorgeous bunches of sweet scented flowers, which were put into painted jam jars on each table and in white jugs around the venue.
We used vintage style bunting bought online along with some made by my mum and hung this up with lots of lights and some wooden hearts around the venue. In the run up to the wedding, I had great fun going to charity shops with one of my bridesmaids to get a few extra bits, such as a suitcase from World War 2 for the cards to go in, and an old step ladder, which we decorated with lights and flowers.
For the favours, my mum and I baked some of her famous coconut oat cookies which we then wrapped in grease proof paper and tied with string and a personalised tag saying: “Made for you with love”.
The wedding cake was one thing that Joe and I didn’t agree on straight away. I’d always pictured having cupcakes whereas Joe is a massive carrot cake fan (I hate carrot cake!) So as a compromise we had both. One of my bridesmaid’s sisters is amazing at making cakes. I told her my ideas (carrot cake and lots of cupcakes with pastel coloured icing on) and she produced the most scrumptious cakes ever. During the planning stage my bridesmaid came round to my parents’ house with cake pops that her sister had made, they were so delicious we then had to add them into the wedding order too!
We decided to go for a buffet style wedding breakfast to fit with our relaxed feel so had a selection of meats, salads, fish, along with a trio of deserts. Joe and I (and a lot of our family) are massive foodies so we preferred the idea of going up for seconds and choosing your portions! The food was all delicious.
For the evening entertainment, we chose to have a disco as most of our guests love a good dance! Our DJ was really helpful and great fun on the night, he even took some fantastic pictures of the disco once the photographer had left.
All throughout the planning stages of our wedding we had a huge amount of input from family and friends, which kept the cost down but also made our day feel even more personal and special. My oldest brother is an IT whizz and so he and his friend created an awesome photo booth for us and I spent a fun last day of term with my class making some awesome props to use in the booth (don’t tell my head teacher).
My other brother is an arborist in Sydney so when he flew home for the wedding he and my dad cut up a log into 12 inch circles to use as table centres. Joe’s mum created a fantastic vintage looking sweet table, which was a massive hit with the adults as well as the kids.
My mum put together a fun travel quiz of places we would be visiting on our travels after the wedding and I put together a kid’s activity book in case they started to get restless.
I really wanted to have some lawn games for people to play but unfortunately we couldn’t afford to get any. However, on the day, my mum and dad surprised us with some amazing fairground games that they had hired, which were so much fun to play! Finally, filmmaker friend of ours Andrew Lawrence, filmed the whole day.
Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Abbeywood Gardens to other brides and grooms. It’s a beautiful venue and the staff were brilliant on the day, really helpful and friendly!
I have so many fond memories of the day, though something I will always remember is my dad’s speech. He told lots of lovely and funny stories about me and just when I thought he’d finished he began singing his own version of ‘I loved her first’. For the last verse my mum stood up and joined in too! Safe to say myself and half the room were a blubbering mess!
Joe says his favourite parts of the day were seeing me for the first time when I walked into the venue and when we walked into the wedding meal as husband and wife for the first time. Everyone clapping and smiling made us feel so special and loved.
During our engagement, we had initially booked a two-week honeymoon to Thailand leaving the day after the wedding. However, a year into the wedding planning we were both getting itchy feet to explore the world and were ready to leave the jobs we were in. So we decided that we would continue to travel after Thailand for a year or more! This made the planning and actual day very emotional as it was a farewell party as well as a wedding. The whole lead up to the wedding was crazy when I think about it. We were planning the wedding, working full time, selling everything in our home and planning our world trip! We went off to the wedding venue with our rucksacks packed for over a year away from home – amazing!
As we write, we have spent two weeks in Thailand, a month in India, a week in Hong Kong, two weeks in China, a week in Japan, a week in the Philippines, a week in Malaysia and we’re coming up to our final two weeks in Indonesia before we head to Australia where we plan to work for about a year. We then want to travel around Oz and South America before heading back home.
We’ve had the best three months of our lives and having our wedding the day before we left made it all the more special. We feel like the luckiest people alive to be living our dreams together as husband and wife.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the planning part! The actual day is over in a flash and so many things can go wrong or not go the way you expected but you won’t care, it’ll be the best day of your life. So enjoy the part that lasts the longest, organising it all!
Another tip is to get friends and family to help as much as possible. You’ll be surprised how many people will have skills or knowledge in areas that can help make your wedding a more special and personal experience. I found that people really like to help with any skill they have to make your wedding day special.