I do so hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas – and if you’re back in work today I hope you’re looking forward to another lovely long weekend!! I’m going to brighten your day now with another brilliantly inspiring couple – this is Naomi and Chris, whose church wedding is such a joyous celebration I couldn’t resist sharing it again! Their photographer is Hannah K. Photography, and the venue is Alveston Pastures Farm in Warwickshire. Enjoy!
Naomi and Chris declared their love for one another at Westwood Heath Church in Coventry. Their religious ceremony was such a meaningful part of the day – but that didn’t stop this wonderful couple from leaving the church dancing down the aisle!
People always ask you – what colour theme is it? What are using to decorate? What’s the cake like? You can get wrapped up in all these things very easily and don’t get me wrong they help make your day beautiful! But, I found that what made my day joyful was the thought we both put into the vows, the songs, the moment we would stand and commit our lives to each other. So don’t forget the ceremony! Putting care and thought into this was when I knew we would have the most joyful day.
Our florist was the Orangery in Kenilworth. We had a mixture of light pinks, dark purple, Burgundy, a tiny bit of orange and a lot of greenery and white flowers. I wanted a wild arrangement that contained hints of October but avoiding a massive big bunch of orange flowers. They fitted in perfectly with my design, the dresses and the venue. They really tied the whole day together beautifully.
I had a nightmare with my wedding dress (the first one I chose, not the one I wore on the day!) – I found my first wedding dress in a little old boutique and fell in love. It was discontinued so discounted which was even better. I was told by the owner of the shop that it did not matter that it was quite big for me as they could easily take it in. Two months before the wedding I went for my first fitting. They pinned it and said they would call me in when it was done. Three weeks before the wedding I was told it wasn’t possible. PANIC. My mum and I took a day off work and went round several other stores and found this one at Brides of Solihull (who were the most amazing, helpful, friendly and supportive people I needed in my time of need). It was the strangest feeling trying to love a dress when you’d already pictured your day in a different one. But I look at the pictures now and think that it definitely turned out for the best and have no regrets.
Wedding photographer’s website:
When I was single and I had not yet met Chris, I became friends with another girl in the church I was currently attending. Later that year, she was engaged and planning her own wedding. Her photographer (Hannah) was a very good friend of hers and her now husband, and I remember looking at the photos from their engagement shoot and wedding and thinking to myself ~ if I get engaged she will be my wedding photographer! I loved the clear, gentle and warm feeling of her photos. From that moment on I was addicted to her Instagram account and her website. Therefore, when Chris did pop the question… our wedding photographer was the first thing I decided upon.
Hannah captured the day so beautifully. She was another friend in the house and another family member in the church. I was quite nervous about the photo side of the wedding as I found the thought of having a camera snapping at me all the time scary! I was constantly worried that I would receive my photos and find all of them with me pulling a silly face, but on the day, she was perfect! She was there when I needed her to be and I felt like she wasn’t there when I was simply having fun with our guests and still got beautiful pictures of conversations, laughs and hugs. She even saved the day by driving one of my bridesmaids as the taxi I booked didn’t turn up! What a hero!!
When Chris and I received our email from Hannah with the link to the photos we actually put off looking at them. She advised in the email to take time together, grab a cuppa, no distractions and sit through and enjoy, and well, we came up with excuses like ~ but we need to do this this evening ~ and ~ oh, but it’s getting late. Again I think both of us were scared as both of us have struggled enjoying being in pictures before. When we finally sat down and braved clicking on the link we were amazed by them! I loved the fact that she had captured moments I’d missed or forgotten and then smiled when remembering. I loved looking through my favourite moments of the day and finding that they’d been captured perfectly! I loved looking at all the happy faces of our guests and remembering the absolute joy I felt the whole day! Our wedding photos are a blessing and we will treasure the memories captured there for the rest of our lives.
Our wedding venue was a hidden gem! Before we got engaged I had in my head another venue for if I ever got married… turned out that venue was far over our budget. We started looking at village or church halls, but it seems this has become a very popular alternative for lower budget weddings and everywhere we went was fully booked for the year we wanted to get married. I was getting a bit nervous that we wouldn’t find somewhere for 2017 and I didn’t want to wait any longer to marry Chris. One day I sat at my computer and typed into google “barns for hire in Warwickshire”. In my head I was thinking of a farm barn I could convert with decorations into something beautiful BUT I found Alveston Pastures Farm. A barn you can hire but one that is not advertised on wedding websites. I rang up and arranged a visit. We knew it was the place the moment we stepped on the grounds ~ it even had a maze! The inside was beautiful with beams, heated floors and a gorgeous iron chandelier. It was only available the month we were wanting and we were able to have it on the date we had in mind. An extra bonus was you could hire it for the whole weekend (this was actually included in the cost) so you could set up and take it all down on the Friday and Sunday. They were so accommodating and friendly – I would recommend to anyone looking for something different.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Joyous, inspired by our love of books; the greatest celebration.
Your wedding style or theme:
I knew I wanted books, in particular Lord of the Rings to be involved but I didn’t want to run the risk of it being a themed wedding. I used books as inspiration of our decorations and we cut our cake with a replica of Aragorn’s sword but, we tried not to over run with these ideas. We wanted books to be a gentle underlying current of a beautiful and colourful October wedding.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Our caterer was given to us in a booklet of cards from the venues of caterers who worked there before. He was amazing and the food was just delicious! Several of our guests commented that it was the best wedding food they had ever tasted! We searched for a local Ceilidh band who would be committed to the traditional Scottish dances. My husband is half Scottish and we had a few there in kilts so it had to be the correct dances. We found our band searching on google and they had a youtube channel where we could observe past events they had performed at which helped assure us of the dances we would be doing. We used the same florist as our friends who were getting married a couple of months before us and they were so beautiful and perfect! They were exactly what we had envisioned and she suggested cost cutting flowers and ideas that could still help create the look we wanted.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Think – do we really need this? We didn’t hire a car as we didn’t think we needed to spend our money on a vehicle that everyone owns and gets you from A to B. One of our Ushers had a Landrover Defender which was perfect for our day and didn’t cost us a penny.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
A three course meal – we decided this was needed. I know from personal experience that you can get very hungry at a wedding and I decided that I did not want my guests to go hungry so I felt this was an expense needed. BIG TIP HERE! Ever eaten three canapes and still felt your tummy rumble? Instead of canapes we asked our caterer to provide bread, cured meats, pates and butter. A thick wedge of bread is so much more filling. It was so greatly received by our guests – it was also cheaper than going with the normal canapé options.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
One of our close friends is a graphic designer. He offered to put together our wedding stationery and all we would need to do was find a printer. I searched for ages for a floral wreath design to go on the front of our stationery and could find nothing I liked. I then got out the old box of our water colouring pencils and created it myself. I then photographed it, sent it over with the texts and hey presto, we had our wedding stationery.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I didn’t wear any jewellery other than my engagement ring and my pearl earrings I sourced from Etsy. I wore flat simple white shoes from New Look. I needed shoes I could dance a Ceilidh in and that I was going to be comfortable in all day (one’s that I wouldn’t mind getting ruined in October mud as well).
And what did the groom wear?
He wore grey tails and a tweed tie and waist coat to give it an autumnal feel.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They wore gorgeous midnight blue dresses from House of Fraser. I loved the Edwardian feel of them – they looked like they could simply walk into a Jane Austen novel. They all looked beautiful. I wanted something that would suit each of their shaped and sizes, that they would feel comfortable in and hopefully want to wear again.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We went to my hair dressers in the morning (I’ve been going to the same girl now for about seven years) and her and her friend did a marvellous job! We all did our own makeup as I wanted us all to feel comfortable with what we were putting on our face and to still look like us.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The venue was beautiful itself and already came with the fairylights in position! What more could I have asked for?! All we did on the day was set up the tables and extra guest book items (Oh and the boys put fairy lights up outside). The owner also let us cut down some ivy to hang around the edges.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
At times it was incredibly stressful but seeing it all come together at the end was so beautiful! We decorated lots of jars for the table, I made the seating plan myself and the signs around the room. We made bookmarks as the name place and the wedding favours and tied the tops with twine. I think my favourite decorations were the two wooden boards my dad built. One was at the Church saying ‘His love endures forever’ and the other said ‘We are going on an adventure’ which is a little hint to the Hobbit. To help decorate, I bought a second hand copy of the Hobbit on eBay for £2.00 and used it’s pages to decorate. Everything you see that looks like a page of a book is the Hobbit!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We wanted a simple, tiered cake decorated with flowers. Chris’ dad is also lactose intolerant so we wanted it to be lactose free. The layers alternated between being lemon and vanilla. My mum and Aunty spent two days before making the sponge and putting it together and I think they did a fabulous job. We thought there would be lots left over but Chris and I were lucky to get one slice each! My mum also made a fruit cake using my Great Grandma’s recipe (as this is my dad’s favourite)! And on the top she arranged for a wedding topper to be made of Chris and I reading books on a tree stump with our family dogs. They surprised me with this the day before! My little flower girl then decorated around the topper with glitter icing and Christmas penguins.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
The Ceilidh was amazing and so much fun! Everyone was up and dancing. We also had a few disco bits thrown in. There was a moment in the night where Tragedy by Steps came on (my all time favourite) and Chris was pulled to the front to dance with me… I don’t think that was his favourite moment though!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Being able to spend every day with your best friend.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
See all of our best weddings from 2018 in one wonderful collection! I’m calling it English Wedding Lite as we look back through favourite weddings from the blog’s archives – grab a cuppa and enjoy some of these lovelies!
Dinachi and Onu’s elegant Northbrook Park wedding // Rosie & Steve’s woodland wedding // James & Keye’s festival wedding // Tig & Piers’ glamorous celebration // Daisy & Will’s family-focused wedding.