Today’s pretty celebration is very much up my street as I adore smaller weddings. And the little mice, sausage dog and all the carefully crafted little autumnal touches throughout the day make this a fabulous feature to start our week! Sophie is absolutely gorgeous and gives an amazing review for Che Birch Hayes Photography (Herefordshire) which you’ll find just below the photos.
“Our venue is so beautiful it didn’t need much but we wanted to make it personal so we put quite a bit of thought and effort into making it special. My mum has a great eye for these things so was a great help in this department, she knows my taste well.
Organising and planning is one of my favourite things to do so Matthew said at the beginning, ‘you sort it and tell me where and when to be there and I will be’! He did enjoy helping chose the menu options though, for some reason he is more opinionated on food than fairy lights!
I love crafting, Matthew not so much, but some things are best left to the professionals. For a while it felt like we spent half our time spraying everything and anything copper, Matthew joked that he couldn’t sit still for too long or he’d end up copper. It trickled into our home too and each day a different mirror or lamp turned copper!
We sprayed wooden acorns, cut out copper leaves, printed photos and printed out facts for our table number frames. Matthew reads fact books to me when I can’t sleep so we put our favourite facts for our guests to enjoy. We gathered it all in a wardrobe in the spare room as my parents and Mum and I spent hours just gathering it all and looking at it all, talking about where things would go, Matthew nicknamed it the cupboard of joy.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We couldn’t have been happier with Che, it felt like he was one of our guests and he has fast become a friend. (www.chebirchhayesphotography.com)
Che came to see the church with us before hand and the orchards next door that we wanted to have a few pictures taken in, he met my family and immediately my Mum loved him. He even turned up to help us set up the venue the day before! The small details of the day were our favourite part of planning the day and Che noticed and captured all of them.
Che fitted in seamlessly to the day and everyone loved his company, we had lots of compliments from guests about how nice our photographer was. His enthusiasm for all of our ideas and plans was lovely too, he just got us.
“This was a lovely wedding which was very family orientated with the bride surrounding herself with close family and friends and choosing to have the guests pretty much the same all day. She took great care in creating some lovely copper themed decorations and her sister being a florist did some beautiful bouquets with even one inside a pair of hunter welly boots outside the church 🙂 The bride’s best friend is also her pet sausage dog and he made and important appearance with a little bow tie during the preparations. The bride and groom also decided to have some couple photos just outside their church in a local apple orchard. This was quite a lovely and intimate wedding with a lot of details!” ~ Che Birch Hayes
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We’d been looking at lots of local photographers online, neither of us is particularly comfortable in front of a camera, Matthew in particular, so we were a bit nervous about it.
We found some photographers did a lot of posed and group shots, and it would have felt forced for us. If you ask Matthew to intentionally smile for a camera, all sorts of weird things happen to his face!
We came across Che’s website, we were drawn to his name as he is also a Birch (although we spell ours differently) and he had just done a blog post of his own engagement to Becky, at Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower, my sister lives in Swansea and their trip away Glamping was exactly the sort of thing we’d enjoy and we immediately felt comfortable with Che and of course his photos are beautiful.
Che came to our house to meet us before we booked him and it was pretty much a done deal, we’d decided we loved his work and from his media presence he seemed like our sort of person, but he had one more test to pass!
Our dogs are a huge part of our life and Fritz, our miniature dachshund would be part of our wedding morning preparations so they needed to get on! We just don’t quite trust people that don’t get on with dogs, but Che had our whippet on his lap and was playing tug of war with the saus and his toy fox within 5 minutes of arriving.
Matthew and Che has similar interests and were chatting away within minutes which was a sure sign for me (Sophie) because Matthew had just sat back and let me do all the talking for all other wedding plans but Che would be with us and a part of our whole day so they needed to get on. We’d been to a wedding the month before where the bride had said to us ‘help me, keep the photographer away from me, he’s driving me nuts’ which was the last thing we wanted for ours!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Che was obviously as excited by giving us our pictures as we were about receiving them which was really special as we didn’t feel at all like just another one of the many weddings he’s shot or another business transaction and when you put so much into your day it’s really nice that others appreciate it too.
We were just expecting a link to an online gallery to be honest but Che gave us a gorgeous wooden box with a USB stick and some of his favourites of our pictures already printed as a present, the presentation made it even more special. We put the photos up on our tele and spent all evening going through them together, re living our perfect day, it was such a happy buzz. The thing that really got us was just how Happy we looked in the pictures. It was such a happy day full of love and they really show that.
We got married at St Peter’s Church in Dormington, just around the corner from Sophie’s childhood home and in the same Parish as Matthew’s. We had pictures taken in the orchards Sophie’s family have walked the dogs in for years and then had our reception at The Greenman Inn, Fownhope, Hereford.
The Greenman has been our favourite pub for years, the interior is beautiful, warm, relaxed and rustic. Perfect for an Autumn wedding, they have a lovely function room with oak beams and floor boards, antler decoration and feature walls.
We didn’t want a huge venue, we don’t really enjoy huge groups of people but love eating out and The Greenman’s food is exceptional.
We were able to set the venue up exactly as we wanted and they were so accommodating, everything ran smoothly and we would highly recommend The Greenman to anyone.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A perfect autumnal day full of happiness and love.
Your wedding style or theme:
We love Autumn, it’s our favourite season for walking the dogs in our wellies and then coming home to a warm woodburner so we wanted the perfect autumnal day.
We used copper and navy as our main colours and added bits of autumn and the countryside with acorns, pheasant feathers, fairy lights and a fire pit.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We found Che through a Blog post and I bought my wedding dress from Ashton Rose Bridal after a friend recommended them to me.
Sophie’s sister Anna is a florist so did our beautiful flowers, our friend Hannah made our gorgeous cake (salted caramel, mmmmm).
We had our favour mice made my the same lady that made my sister’s knitted mice for her wedding favours 4 years previously (she had a vintage theme so used vintage fabric on their tummies and we had autumnal copper fabric on ours).
We made or bought all of our own decorations, sourcing things online mainly.
Our hair and make up stylist, magician and band were all recommendations of friends.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Spread sheets! We love a spread sheet! You have to, have to, have to, work out your budget first and get accurate costs, work out where you can make savings and what you want to spend a bit more on. If you don’t all of the costs just spiral.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We are glad we didn’t cut out all of the little touches. Sophie & her Mum had months of fun planning all of the decorations and personal elements. We also hired a magician to entertain our guests before dinner and he was a huge hit.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We bought a printable PDF invitation on Etsy and had our invites, menu’s, order of service and table plan all put together in the same font and style by the same lady and then had them printed at a local printing shop.
We did cut out hundreds of Birch leaves (our surname being Burch) from copper card to scatter in the invitations and use as table confetti and that was a real labour of love and sore hands!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes. I was dreading wedding dress shopping, I am not the size 10 I used to be and I struggle to find something I like for a normal occasion, I’m my own biggest critic and thought it was going to be a disaster but it was so much fun.
I went with my Mum and I picked it straight off the rail in the second boutique we went into and said ‘this is what I’ve always imagined wearing’!
I sparkled all day and as we had an afternoon/evening wedding it was perfect.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Ashton Rose Bridal, Hereford. Alfred Angelo.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My mother in Law bought me my earrings and bracelet from Swarovski, they are so sparkly and I’m like a magpie, drawn to bling even though I don’t normally wear it.
My shoes were from Debenhams, a bargain but perfect, Navy glitter and incredibly comfortable!
I had a fur wrap from Etsy and hair slides also from Etsy, Etsy had so many wonderful bits and pieces.
My Veil my granny bought for me from Ashton Rose.
And what did the groom wear?
He wore his own Navy suit as he is very comfortable in it and didn’t really want a new one and he had a copper tie and a feather buttonhole, he also had pheasant Barbour socks and his groomsmen all had them to match.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My 3 sisters and my best friend Chelle wore Monsoon Navy Maxi dresses.
I chose the dress, they tried it and loved it! It couldn’t have been easier! We accessorised with little fur wraps from Debenhams and embellished belts.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We hired in the professionals for hair and make up.
I had my nails done at B’s Beautique, 3D eyelash extensions at The Beauty Hut, Hereford and Maria of Sprinkle Magic Mua did our hair and make up.
She was fantastic, I had so many trials for my hair, I am so fussy and didn’t know what I wanted! Everyone has one wedding stress – my hair was mine and I was a pain but she was wonderful with me and we got there in the end!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
My sister trained as a florist before becoming a full time Mum and she did a wonderful job of our flowers. She turned my parents garage into a florists shop for the few days before and ordered the flowers from Just Flowers, a local supplier and did the arranging herself whilst I looked after my niece!
I didn’t want anything too uniform, I wanted whites, creams and thistles and I send Anna a few Pinterest pictures and she just created perfection!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Matthew only really likes plain sponge cake so we weren’t going to go too fancy but then we had Salted Caramel icing at a friend’s wedding earlier in the year and there was no other option, we loved it, everything in our lives was suddenly salted caramel flavoured, it’s surprising how popular the flavour has suddenly become. We’d asked our friend Hannah to make our cake, she’s made some great ones for friends and family but hadn’t made another wedding cake other than her own before so she was quite nervous about it, especially when I changed my order to a fondant covered cake with copper hand painted stripes like I had seen on Pinterest! It was a lot of fun practising painting the stripes on dummy cakes with her and having a live photo update of the making procedure sent to me and made our cake so special, it was incredible and went from being a part of the wedding that didn’t really matter to us to one of our favourite bits.
She’s since been commissioned to make more cakes since which is great!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We booked The Playboys, our friend Greg’s band, Matthew loved them when he saw them play the year before, I think it was their smallest gig ever but it was perfect for us and my sister and her boyfriend certainly did, they owned the dancefloor!
We also booked Kiegan Vallely, a local magician and our guests absolutely loved him.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Make sure you spend your day together, it would be so easy to get swept away by it all and barely see one another, it was really important to me that we shared as much of our day as we could, after all it was all about us!
What’s the best thing about being married?
We haven’t found a downside yet 🙂
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms: