A beautiful humanist wedding for Peter and Stephanie, with Martin Cheung Photography
Our midweek wedding is a blissful, breathtaking, glorious celebration of love at Nottingham’s Carriage Hall. Stephanie and Peter were married in April, which they chose as a time of new beginnings – and the perfect month to start their married life! The lovely couple always knew they wanted a humanist wedding ceremony: “Humanism celebrates the idea that we have one life to lead, so we need to live it in the here and now, that we need to make the most of life’s beauty and riches every day; it focuses on the goodness of humanity and community, family and friends; and the importance of love.”
“We worked with a wonderful celebrant, Laurie Cohen, to write a ceremony that was completely unique and personal to us. Working with a Humanist celebrant allowed us to reflect back on our relationship and really think about why we wanted to get married. It was a really lovely process and probably one of the most fun parts of planning the wedding!
Wedding photographer’s website:
We actually came across our photographer via looking for wedding videographers. We went to a wedding fair at the Carriage Hall where we met Daiga of No Ordinary Films and loved her work. We saw that her husband, Martin Cheung, was also a Nottingham wedding photographer and that we could book them as a package. Both Daiga and Martin had done weddings at the Carriage Hall before, so that seemed ideal!
We absolutely loved our photographer and videographer! Martin was very efficient when it came to responding to emails and enquiries in the lead up to the big day, which really helped put our minds at rest. Martin and Daiga were brilliant all day, highly professional and yet very friendly and fun. They weren’t intrusive and managed to capture brilliant shots without people even noticing they were there. We would highly recommend both of them.
I received the email with link to the photographs just as I was walking into work in the morning and had to restrain myself all day not to look at them without Pete! I’m glad I waited because it was so special to look through them together. We were both so pleased with the shots Martin had been able to capture and with the overall quality of the images.
We received the link to our wedding video whilst we were on our honeymoon in Bali. We managed to connect to WiFi whilst sat on sun loungers on Seminyak beach. As soon at the video started I started crying! Daiga had managed to capture our whole day perfectly in 7 minutes. Both Martin and Daiga are great story-tellers.
Our family and friends are a central part of our lives and we loved the idea of bringing everyone together for our wedding. What made our day so special was seeing everyone genuinely getting along and interacting with each other – even if they’d never met before! The atmosphere was amazing and we felt overwhelmed at the love in the room.
After much venue searching (we visited 8 different venues around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire) we found The Carriage Hall and absolutely fell in love with its high ceilings, huge windows and exposed bricks and beams. It was just the vibe we were looking for. The Carriage Hall is beautiful and elegant, but still managed to feel cosy and informal. The staff were absolutely fantastic too and ensured we had a seamless day and made sure everything looked and ran perfectly for us.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Full of love and laughter, uniquely personal and imperfectly perfect.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We mainly found all our suppliers through recommendations from friends and family, but it was useful going to wedding fairs too and chatting to suppliers to get a good idea of prices and what different people could offer.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Prioritise what’s important to you and spend your money on those things without regret (if you don’t spend your money on what’s important to you you’ll regret that more!). But do try to keep things in perspective. Don’t get too caught up spending money on something just because Pinterest/Instagram made you feel like that’s what you need to do – only get something if you really want it!
Some costs are unavoidable (like the venue hire) but you can get away with spending less on other things and they can look just as good as if you’d spent twice as much!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Definitely the photography and video!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
I made everything! I used to work as a freelance designer and still do a bit of design on the side, so I designed the Save the Dates and the wedding invitations and printed them myself. It was quite fun and saved us an absolute fortune!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I certainly did! My dress was nothing like what I thought I would go for. I had been madly Pinning lots of boho, 70’s style lace dresses – I wanted long sleeves and a high neckline… However when I tried on these type of dresses they did absolutely nothing for me – I felt like I was wearing my Nanna’s curtains! From trying on these dresses I also realised pure white was not my colour. I’m quite pale so I needed something that would compliment my skin tone. When I tried on my champagne-coloured, princess-style dress I just fell in love. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast – not the look I’d originally been going for, but quite fitting as we went to Disney Land for my Hen party!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
The dress was by Sassi Holford, bought from The Ivory Chapter in Melbourne, Derbyshire and altered by seamstress, Rachel Bull. The original dress didn’t have the bardot sleeves, these were made by hand by Rachel and she added extra applique detail around the waist to tie it all together.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I bought my wedding shoes from Rachel Simpson. What was bizarre was that when I showed my Mum my shoes she disappeared into her wardrobe and brought out the shoes she had worn for her wedding 37 years ago – without realising it I had bought a nearly identical pair!
And what did the groom wear?
Pete’s suit was from Brigdens Menswear in Derby. What was lovely about this was that my dad had actually bought his wedding suit from Bridgens when he married my mum 37 years ago!
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I bought the bridesmaid dresses from ChiChi London. Bridesmaid shopping was actually pretty painless. I gave the girls a choice between 5 different dresses and it just so happened to work out that 3 went for all pink and 4 went for the floral, so it worked out quite nicely!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Both hair and make up was done by Dana Berry for Beau Bridal.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Unfortunately our florist let us down spectacularly on the day, so we can’t recommend them. Despite having booked them months in advance and paying the full balance 2 weeks prior to the wedding as requested, our florist completely forgot our booking. I was waiting for my bouquet to arrive and when it hadn’t shown up by 12pm (we were getting married at 2pm) I rang The Carriage Hall to see if it had been dropped off there by mistake with the rest of our arrangements. This was when we found out nothing had been delivered! We rang the florist who replied with “What wedding?”. !!
I can’t describe how thoroughly disappointed we were and the amount of chaos it caused. My dad, cousin and brother had to drive out to a local garden centre and had me on FaceTime trying to choose some arrangements for the tables! (The staff at East Bridgford Garden centre were absolutely amazing). Pete and his Best Man had to leave the Carriage Hall when they were supposed to be greeting guests and and nip to M&S to buy me a bouquet! Our florist did manage to pull some things together in the end but it wasn’t really what we’d envisioned… still, we didn’t let it ruin our day!
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
One of the main reasons we loved The Carriage Hall was that it was already a beautiful venue. With it’s exposed brick walls, high beamed ceilings and huge arched windows it didn’t actually need a lot of decoration. We bought faux ivory and rose garlands for the window sills, strung some bunting across the mezzanine balcony and placed a few candles here and there, but other than that the interior didn’t feel like it needed much else!
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
I made quite a lot of things for the wedding myself: Save the Dates, invitations, table plan… for the table place settings I hand-wrote everyone’s name on parcel tags which took forever! I borrowed a chalk board from my work and wrote the welcome sign myself and I hand made a felt flower garland to sit on top. I enjoyed making all these elements for our big day, it really did feel like a labour of love!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We were a bit taken aback by how expensive wedding cakes were so we decided to go for a good old fashioned Marks and Spencer cake. We had a fun tasting session at home with the family and it was a no brainer to go for the chocolate cake with ganache filling!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Do it your way. It’s so easy to be swayed by other people’s opinions, but at the end of the day it’s YOUR wedding – everyone else is just a guest.
Also, a good spreadsheet always helps! My wedding planning spreadsheet had no less than 12 tabs and it helped me stay completely organised.
What’s the best thing about being married?
The best thing about being married is that feeling of being united as a pair. It’s that next step in building our lives together. We love that it’s now official! We’re finally husband and wife!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Hair and make up: https://www.beauhairacademy.com/
Groom’s suit: https://www.brigdens.com/
Bridesmaid dresses: https://www.chichiclothing.com/
Wedding shoes: https://rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk/