Amy and Mark’s relaxed, fun, colourful Coltsfoot Retreat wedding with Becky Harley Photography
Hey lovelies! How are you all this beautiful Thursday morning? I’m already planning the blog for August – it’s a crazy busy summer of weddings which is wonderful 🙂 If there are any photographers out there who’d love to see their favourite summer weddings on the blog, do get in touch! I also have a handful of sponsor slots available from today, which I’m offering a lovely saving on – so pop me an email over if you’d like to know more (email@example.com) But most importantly – Amy and Mark. These two are just gorgeous, and their day is full of individuality and character – it’s just perfect. Images are by lovely English Wedding sponsor and Hertfordshire wedding photographer Becky Harley – and they’re outstanding. Becky gets a glowing review from our happy couple, who have shared all the details of their day with us here. I hope you love this one as much as I do!
We got married at Coltsfoot Country Retreat, near Knebworth in Hertfordshire. It was the first venue we saw, and we instantly fell in love with the gorgeous surroundings, the intimate feel and the resident dog! It was really the view from the ceremony room that sold it to us. We loved the idea of saying our vows in front of the big window, which framed views of horses in the field opposite. The food was amazing too!
We’ve been to a lot of weddings in recent years and wanted ours to feel uniquely ‘us’. We didn’t fancy a matching colour theme, so instead chose a palette of bright pastels, and geometric shapes, with metallic highlights such as terrariums dotted about the room. We tried to weave in some of our favourite things, including a fire pit and s’mores bar to remind us of our annual camping trips with friends, pictures of our parents and grandparents at their weddings, gin bottles and (my favourite touch!) little gold dogs to hold the place cards on the tables! We also had a yummy gelato bar instead of canapes as a nod to Mark’s Italian heritage. Most of our suppliers were local businesses – the florist is just down the road from our house, and the gelato came from a local Italian cafe.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We’d looked at a few photographers’ websites and Becky’s stood out with the gorgeous light and colour of her work. We were visiting a wedding fair with some friends who are also getting married, and recognised her name and photos on one of the stands. We got talking, and immediately felt comfortable with Becky. We booked later that day when we got home.
We went for a drink with Becky shortly after booking to have another look through her albums and discuss our likes and dislikes – and we really clicked with her. She took the time to listen to our wedding plans, and right from the start we could see her mind ticking over with creative ideas about how to capture our day. We were a bit unsure about the idea of an engagement shoot, but Becky made us feel completely at ease, and we got some lovely images despite the weather not being so great.
On the day itself, Becky was friendly, fun and unobtrusive – but assertive enough to get our guests all looking smart (and in the right direction!) for the group shots.
Lots of our friends and family commented afterwards how lovely Becky and second shooter, Mike, were – and they even took a photo for our Polaroid dress-up guest book!
We’re so happy with our photos and our beautiful album – they really capture the fun, smiles and memories of the day. We would highly recommend Becky to any couple looking for a photographer who is patient, professional and creative – but also a fun, friendly and thoughtful person to have with you on your special day.
Becky put some stunning ‘sneak peeks’ up on Instagram shortly after the wedding, and we were so excited to receive the rest! She also sent us a cute slideshow of the highlights while working on the full album, which was great to share with friends and family. I (Amy) was at work when an email came through with our finished album, and it took all of my powers of restraint not to sneak a look before I got home. We hooked the computer up to the TV, sat back with a glass of wine and relived all the wonderful moments of our day together.
Contacts & booking – Becky Harley Photography (Herts.)
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Relaxed, fun, colourful, full of wonderful memories and very ‘us’!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Decide which elements are most important to you, and concentrate your budget there. Don’t feel you need to spend lots on things that you’re not so fussed about! If it’s not important to you, chances are it’s not important to your guests either!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We’re really glad we paid a little extra for a second photographer to work with Becky. Some of our favourite snaps in the albums are ones that would have been missed without an extra person snapping away, like our guests’ reactions to special moments in the ceremony, or snaps of the boys playing Mario Kart at the venue while the girls were getting ready elsewhere!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Mark’s sister, Rianna, is a product designer, and while graphic design isn’t her usual focus, she’s still pretty nifty with Photoshop. She kindly agreed to design our stationery for us and we were so happy with the finished result. She clearly has the patience of a saint, because we were terrible clients who knew exactly what we wanted, and simultaneously had no idea. We had a recommendation for a local printer, who turned it all around at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought stationery. Having our own personal designer also meant we could have a few unique touches. Rianna surprised us with a little wedding logo, which we had printed on stickers, transfer tattoos and even flags for the wedding car!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I did, but then once I’d bought it, I had a bit of a crisis of confidence and panicked about whether I’d chosen the right one! It was the first dress I tried on in the boutique and despite it being nothing like what I’d imagined, I loved it, so I cancelled my appointment at the next place later that afternoon. The long wait for it to arrive was agonising, (is it too poofy? Do I look too ‘princessy’? Should I have tried on more before deciding?!) but once I put it on with all my hair and make up, I knew I’d made the right choice. I had so many compliments on the day, and looking back at the photos, I’m so glad I chose it!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
‘Carrie’ by Rebecca Ingram (Maggie Sottero), from The Bridal Boutique in Aston Clinton
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I wore lilac shoes from Rebecca Simpson – originally I was looking for them to be my ‘something blue’ but the lilac ones were heavily discounted in the sale, and I loved them! I just wish more people had seen them under my dress!
Instead I borrowed a ring with a blue stone from my Nana (old, borrowed AND blue!). I had a hair piece full of little gold leaves in my hair.
I had two pieces of jewellery that were given to me on the day – a bracelet from my parents that fitted with our geometric theme, and a handmade silver necklace that my husband had designed with a friend who’s a jeweller, which included our wedding logo on the back.
And what did the groom wear?
Mark wore a blue tweed suit with a grey waistcoat, blue tie and brown shoes. The groomsmen’s suits were similar with a different waistcoat and tie. They were rented from Jack Bunneys – stunning quality, perfect fit and great service. The ties were made to order, so the boys got to keep them.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
We had a bit of a challenge finding dresses for the girls who all have different body shapes – particularly as my sister in law was eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding! In the end we found some gorgeous mint green dresses with a tulle skirt and sequin top from ASOS – and we even managed to find one in a maternity version.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My usual hairdresser (Rebecca Wilcox) put my hair up, and also styled my three bridesmaids’ hair. It was great to have her there, because we’ve known each other a long time, and had plenty of time to plan and prepare (e.g. growing my hair and experimenting with colour). I also hired a great makeup lady called Cathryn Ayling who made me, the bridesmaids and both mums look radiant in a few short hours!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Shane at Maples Flowers (Hemel Hempstead) was incredibly patient as we showed him lots of photos of spring bouquets on Pinterest, despite it being an autumn wedding! He helped us find alternative flowers that would be in season in September, and in keeping with our colour palette. My bouquet had roses, stocks, yellow craspedia and lots of eucalyptus foliage.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Not a lot, no. I’d seen a picture of some hanging origami shapes on Pinterest and decided to dress part of the room that way myself. It proved quite fiddly and took a lot of time to make them all, but it added some pops of colour to the room and tied in with our geometric theme.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
See above! Mark’s mum also made some pretty little bonbonieres of sugared almonds in another nod to Italian tradition.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Our amazing, talented mums made our stunning cake together. We’re so lucky! Mark’s mum, Gianna, spent weeks making beautiful sugar paste flowers that matched my bouquet (she paid several trips to the florist to study the blooms) and my mum made the cake itself, and little models of our family dogs, Dexter and Kaylah, to sit on top!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We booked a local band called The Honeymooners who were FAB! They kept us dancing all night, even when we were completely exhausted, and learned a number of songs for us including the first dance.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Having someone to share the important things in life with. And the not so important things too!