Hannah & Alex’s relaxed sunflower-filled wedding in Surrey, with Amanda Karen Photography
Did you see Hannah and Alex’s wedding rehearsal on the blog yesterday? I’m still in love with that pretty sunflower dress… which was a clue to all the sunflower loveliness coming up on English Wedding today! Theirs was a wedding weekend following American traditions but celebrated over two days at Great Fosters in Surrey – and our lovely friend Amanda Karen Photography was there to capture it all!
Pinterest fingers ready my lovelies, for a feast of sunflowers, summer blooms and fairy lights – and one of the prettiest backless wedding dresses I’ve ever seen! Huge congratulations to a happy and amazing couple – Hannah & Alex, you’re so good together and we LOVE your wedding!
Wedding photographer’s website:
“We didn’t have a strict style or theme but I think I would describe our wedding as ‘elegant cheerful’. The only thing my husband and I decided going in was that we wanted sunflowers which to us were so cheerful and when combined with the amazing beauty of Great Fosters allowed our wedding to be both elegant but also have a relaxed cheerfulness that was exactly what we wanted.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
I relied mainly on the trusted supplier list that Great Fosters provided.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
We chose to just have one wine option (one white, one red), and Prosecco over Champagne…no one could tell! We also didn’t serve hard alcohol at the rehearsal dinner. Also for thank you notes, we had one of our favourite pictures printed on card paper and just wrote postcard style on the back rather than having fancy stationery printed.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We bought our stationery through Ivy White. We worked with Rachel who was amazing! She listened to us and got us exactly what we wanted. She was so patient with so many little changes.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes! I felt so amazing in my wedding dress. I didn’t really believe a dress could make anyone feel the way my dress made me feel. It was so special to feel so beautiful on our special day.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
My dress is from Pronovias and I got it at the Wedding Dress Shop in Wimbledon.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My accessories were really special to me. My engagement ring is a pink sapphire that was designed from a pair of earrings that my mom got 30 years ago (that she never really liked as earrings). So we both have rings from the same set of earrings, but they look very different. I have always loved pink and cheerful colours, so I decided I wanted pink shoes to match the colour of my ring. A fun pop of colour that felt very “me”. I also got to pick them out with my mom, a fun outing I won’t ever forget. I am not one to normally wear heels, but I wanted to feel special on my wedding day so went for that option. My earrings also matched the pink sapphire to complete the look.
And what did the groom wear?
My husband got a suit made by Dunhill. Creating his suit was a great time, and really special. He lost his father 10 years ago, and so he designed the suit with my dad which allowed for special bonding before the wedding. He looked so handsome!
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My bridesmaids wore dresses from David’s Bridal. I needed to find a place where they would be able to get the dress no matter if they lived in the US or the UK so that slightly constrained my choices. I also liked the dress I chose allowed them to could choose any neckline style (strapless, two straps, or one strap). I wanted my bridesmaid’s to feel totally comfortable and beautiful on the day.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Carolanne from Carolanne Armstrong Hair and Makeup did my hair and make up as well as for my mom, and she did the hair for grandmother and bridesmaids. She was amazing. I don’t usually wear makeup and I was worried that I would look too made up on the day, but she really listened to what I wanted, and took the time to really get it right. She made me feel so comfortable and happy during the time we all got ready in the morning, which was invaluable as that was the time I was probably the most nervous. She even stepped up when a button fell off my dress last minute and she glued it back on with eyelash glue!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Lavender Hill Company did our flowers. They were excellent, they took my vague idea of wanted sunflowers in a more casual arrangement and created decorations that were truly spectacular. It was their work that meant our already lovely venue looked incredible. They were able to read my mind and really bring my vision to life!
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Great Fosters already has spectacular rooms and gardens but we did use fairy lights and lots and lots of flowers to really take the place to the next level.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Our wedding cake was made by the groom’s sister who is a pastry chef! That made it very special and also meant we could make any ridiculous requests that we wanted. So we had one tier carrot cake, one chocolate, and one lemon with sprinkles…because why not!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a close friend sing during the ceremony which was really beautiful. She did an acoustic version of one of our favourite rock songs by the Arctic Monkeys, lots of fun!
We used firebird events for our music during the party, it was a classic DJ set up and it was great. They really understood our taste. We had created a list of songs we love, and a list we hate and they took it from there!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Best words of wisdom I can offer is that you can make yourself really stressed by going to look at 10 different florists, trying a million different DJs, looking at hundreds or bridesmaids’ dresses, etc. Make a short list for each from people who you trust and then just pick. So many places have lovely flowers, just choose one that feels good and go with it. Don’t spend forever looking at every option, you don’t need to!
What’s the best thing about being married?
The best thing about being married is just getting to spend the time with the person I love the most!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
With thanks to Alex & Hannah, and to Amanda Karen Photography for submitting this wonderful Great Fosters wedding!
“We were (and still are!) so pleased with our wedding photographer! The photos she took capture our day perfectly. Elegant and intimate posed shots, as well as just lovely candid moments that allow us to relive so many great moments. I don’t really like being in front of a camera, but Amanda made me feel so at ease. Her warmth and professionalism allowed me to enjoy my wedding to the fullest degree!”