“We weren’t planning a traditional white wedding so didn’t want the typical group photos”, Robyn told me. It’s something I’d never thought of before: formal group shots are so laden with tradition… but really, is that how we even do photography these days? Perhaps there’s a better alternative for you as well, than the half hour (or more!) of ushers dashing around gathering up relatives to stand in a variety of lines?! (And you can read more about traditions and how to break old fashioned wedding rules in the FREE English Wedding Book, if you haven’t already read it.) But today we’re all about gorgeous couple Robyn & Matt…
This brought tears to my eyes – “When you know, you know. I would have married him in a binbag with no guests and been as proud to be his wife as I am now. Fiona said to me once that “love is as easy as putting socks on” and that is my advice: Marry someone who is easy to love.” ~ Robyn.
“Without the help of our amazing friends and family, there’s no way we would have been able to pull it all off! From hanging a fairy-light canopy and our best man making us light up letters, to transporting 60 slices of tree trunk and a large dresser, I’m sure we will be repaying favours for many years!”
Images are by fabulous wedding photographer Fiona Walsh Photography. Discover more from Fiona here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Robyn & Matt
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
Choosing the right photographer was SO important for Matt and I, we wanted someone who would be unintrusive, had an eye for spotting all the special easily-missed moments and took natural, candid shots. We weren’t planning a traditional white wedding so didn’t want the typical group photos. We also knew that the groups we wanted photographed would naturally form. As soon as I cam across Fiona’s website I fell in love. Completely. There was one photo of a bride’s father as he saw her for the first time, and I emailed her immediately and had booked within a couple of days.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Without a doubt, Fiona was the best decision we made when it came to our wedding, other than each other of course. On the lead up to the wedding she joined in my excitement when I just wanted to gush, she gave me some fantastic advice and reassured me when I felt a little overwhelmed. It’s absolutely obvious that Fiona is utterly in love with what she does, and we are so thrilled with the photos we received.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
I received the photos via email when I was at work and it was the longest afternoon of my life. It’s safe to say it was worth the agony of waiting! Matt and I settled in with a glass of our wedding wine and first watched the YouTube slideshow Fiona put together, I cried the entire way through. There were so many moments I hadn’t realized were happening behind the scenes and seeing the smiles on the faces of our guests as I walked down the aisle, my husband and his best men getting ready and my parents as I walked in for the first time was something I will remember, and treasure, forever.
We decided pretty early on that we would rather wait a couple of years, DIY our lives away and save up for our perfect day, than have a wedding a little sooner that wasn’t so us.
We chose the Mount Somerset Hotel because of its location and reputation. The hotel itself is beautiful, but it was the knowledge that the most tricky part of the day (the ceremony) was in the hands of experts. My bridal party, parents and I stayed the night before at the hotel so got to enjoy the spa and the rooms before the big day, it was a great way to unwind and get ready! The staff were fantastic and handled any little hiccup with grace and professionalism. We opted out of canapes, but the welcome drinks, mulled wine and mulled cider, were delicious (or so I’ve heard, I put mine down and never saw it again, as is the way on the busiest day of your life).
The reception was held at Willam’s Hall in Stoke St Gregory. This was the most time-intensive part of the wedding. Without the help of our amazing friends and family, there’s no way we would have been able to pull it all off! From hanging a fairy-light canopy and our best man making us light up letters, to transporting 60 slices of tree trunk and a large dresser, I’m sure we will be repaying favours for many years!
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Winter woodland wedding with hot Chocolate, Pie and ugly crying!
Your wedding style or theme:
We went for a winter theme, but I was absolutely adamant I didn’t want anything Christmassy! So we opted for a woodland theme, and our colours were Dusty pink, Charcoal and Gold.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Recommendations from friends and family, blogs! Reviews. I was very fussy!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
It’s not always cheaper to make things yourself! If you want high quality invitations, you won’t actually save much (or any in our case) by ordering them online. Materials can be very expensive so leave yourself time to shop around.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Photographer and ceremony venue!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
My sister painted it (I know right!) and then spent days and days huddled around her laptop getting it absolutely perfect. We were so so grateful and it’s a great tribute to her that Fiona, our photographer, said they were the best she’s ever seen!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
In short, no. I knew I wanted a tulle dress, with no silk, satin, lace, colour, anything! And I just couldn’t find this in the local area anywhere! I ended up buying a very bling-y number and my amazing seamstress spent hours picking it all off! I also had the sleeves taken off and it taken in a lot on the waist. It wasn’t until I saw it on, after the endless alterations, that I knew it was perfect. I never really had that aha moment!!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Proposals Bridal Studio, Coventry. Victoria Jane for Ronald Joyce: Greta 17718
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My shoes were custom made from a seller on Etsy called Christy NG, my veil was bought from Preloved (Great idea for those trying to save money!). I wore the earrings my mum married my dad in which meant a lot to me, and no other jewellery. My perfume was a gift from my groom, I wore both Blackberry and Bay and English Pear and Freesia cologne from Jo Malone. Everytime I smell it I get transported back, so I would highly recommend brides get themselves a special fragrance if budget allows!
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
We bought their suits from Moss Bros, and hired the waistcoats and ties from Debenhams.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Having young, gorgeous and fun-loving bridesmaids I knew it was going to be tricky to find a traditional dress to suit them all. We went with a dusty pink number from ASOS and they all styled it however they liked. They all looked so beautiful on the day and I couldn’t have been a prouder bride to have such strong and fiercely loyal women by my side.
Our flowergirls were in dresses from Debenhams and completely stole the show, as they were always going to. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a cheeky smile was always going to be a killer combination.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I ummed and ahhhed about this for a long time because I’m pretty proficient with make-up and I only wanted loose curls in my hair. In the end I bit the bullet and decided that when else in life can a girl spend a morning drinking prosecco with a crew of makeup and hair stylists fawning over them? It was another fantastic decision.
Our Makeup was done by the wonderful Helen Johnston, who not only created exactly the look I was after but had my entire bridal party CRYING with laughter. Helen is amazingly intuitive, she knew before I’d even said it when I wanted something tweaking and was incredibly adaptable throughout. I miss her sometimes, I wish she could do my makeup every morning and have me in stitches before I head into the office.
Our hair stylist was Stacey Jade who completely blew me away. I was more fussy with our hairstylist than any other supplier as I knew no one wanted typical bridal/bridesmaid hair. I searched for months for someone who would give us a more modern look that wouldn’t budge no matter how (badly) we danced. I really can’t recommend her highly enough, every wedding needs a Stacey!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our flowers were from Edwina’s flowers, the florist who lives in the village we married in. It was important to us that we supported local businesses where possible. I knew I wanted a very relaxed bouquet- nothing too structured, and that I liked eucalyptus leaves and dustry pink. Other than that, the flowers were completely her design and I LOVED them. In honesty, I’m not a massive flower fan! I much prefer plants that can live on after the wedding, so we kept it as simple as possible, our thank you presents were all succulents in pots from sainsburys.
Our confetti was made by my amazing mum! She collected all the old arrangements from work before they were thrown out and dried out the petals. I believe that towards the end there was quite the process in place with her collegues! This is making me realise truly how many favours we pulled…
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The hotel needed very little decoration, which allowed us to put all our effort into completely transforingm the barn. The before and after photos are quite staggering, if I do say so myself! We hired gold gilt chairs, tables, giant letters and hung over 300m of fairy lights!
One of my favourite things was the installation in the entrance hall. We collected wedding photos of every married couple at the wedding and hung them up with a sign that read: “All we know of love, we learned from you” which is as true now as it has always been.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We spent months making signage, painting jars, printing menus, collecting and spray painting sticks, making napkin rings-We even made curtains!
My favourite homemade touch were our favours. Sadly, Matt lost his Dad in 2013 after a short battle with cancer, and I also lost my beloved Grandma that year. Knowing that such important people in our lives would not be there, we wanted to nod to them in some way.
Our favours were a shot of Jack Daniels in memory of Matt’s Dad and a mini Victoria sponge (made by Matt’s mum) with little commemorative labels. We knew that to those who knew and loved them, this would be a sensitive and personal way to remember them, and to all others it was not too brazen.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We chose a vanilla cake, filled with cream and jam. My very talented Auntie made our huge ombre creation the day before, on site! I know she found it quite stressful so we are very grateful for her hard work. It really was absolutely beautiful. She even made little peas in the pod Bride and Groom Cake toppers!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a live band for the reception who absolutely blew everyone’s socks off! Levi and the Bean are a 2-piece from Bridgewater, Somerset and were recommended by a friend. They were amazing and we still have people ask about them even now! We were especially grateful that they gave us some extra numbers because the crowd were still going mad!
On the day tips and advice:
My main advice would be in defense of marrying young. Although Matt and I have been together over 6 years, we always got a few strange looks when people realized we were marrying at 22 and 23. What I would say is: when you know, you know. I would have married him in a binbag with no guests and been as proud to be his wife as I am now. Fiona said to me once that “love is as easy as putting socks on” and that is my advice: Marry someone who is easy to love.
What’s the best thing about being married?
I didn’t expect to feel any different after we got married, many people told me it doesn’t change much; but actually, I do. My favourite thing about being married is that feeling. I can’t quite put my finger on it, things haven’t changed as such, I just feel more.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Fiona Walsh Photography: http://fionawalsh.co.uk/
Sticky Date Catering : http://www.stickydate.info/contact-sticky-date/
Stacy Jade Hair: http://www.staceyjade.co.uk/
Mid Somerset Catering Hire: http://www.midsomersetcateringhire.co.uk/
The Mount Somerset: http://www.themountsomersethotelandspa.com/
William’s Hall: http://www.stokestgregory.org/life_villagehall.html
Light hire: https://www.facebook.com/loveissweetlighting