Jonny & Soma’s elegant rustic Heaton House Farm wedding, with Simon Biffen Photography
Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope you’re all doing ok. In case you missed it over the weekend, I wanted to share lovely Annabel’s Love My Dress update on covid and weddings, and all the amazing work the #whataboutweddings campaign is doing. Please read if you haven’t already – progress is being made, and this is super important. Meanwhile, I’d like to share a really special wedding with you today. Lovely couple Soma and Jonny were married in pre-pandemic times at Heaton House Farm, and our fabulous friend, English Wedding member and Somerset & UK wedding photographer Simon Biffen Photography was there to capture their day. The personal touches are inspired, the styling is fabulous, the bride and groom look AMAZING and the images are out of this world.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
Simon was a friend of a friend who had shot their wedding beautifully. We loved the way he worked and so asked him to do our wedding too. Looking through his website we knew he would capture some amazing memories of our wedding day.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Picking Simon was the first decision we made about our wedding and we loved his approach and the end results. His relaxed style got some great candid shots and even the posed photos didn’t feel forced, in fact it was a fun way to spend some time together as a couple on our day. He put us and our guests at ease which really comes through in his pictures. He had a great eye for the light and when the weather broke in the evening got some breathtaking sunset shots.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
Bruce Marshall at LoveTwoFilm (https://www.lovetwofilm.co.uk/) was our videographer. It was really important that we met with him first so he understood what we wanted and we could talk about his approach to the day. We didn’t want it to feel like we were being filmed, and Bruce was so discreet one of our groomsmen didn’t actually realise it had been until we sent him the highlights!
We would recommend watching a variety of wedding videos to know what you want, or don’t want, for yours and having a list of anything you want to be captured in full.
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
We planned our wedding with six months’ notice, so availability played a big part! We really wanted to have an outdoor wedding, but with the British weather needed a venue with a beautiful indoor alternative just in case. Heaton House Farm in Staffordshire provided the perfect setting, and we were really impressed with how adaptable the space was to make the day flow naturally.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
Soma: I had an idea of what I liked in a dress from magazines, but it wasn’t until I tried different styles on that I really understood what suited me. It was important to me to have a dress that made me feel comfortable throughout the day, and that I could laugh, eat and dance in! I also didn’t want a white dress, as in Hindu culture white isn’t associated with weddings.
My maid of honour took me to the Wedding Gallery in Knutsford who, despite a large selection, had only two dresses that weren’t white but champagne or gold in colour. It sounds like a cliche, but as soon as I tried my Pronovias dress it felt perfect. After that, no other dress I tried made me feel like the best version of myself. I went back with my mum for the final, honest opinion before deciding, and she loved it. Over the next few months the Wedding Gallery made adjustments that made the dress even more beautiful. When I look back on the day I remember not only how I looked, but how I felt.
Jonny: Apparently there are 17 steps in having a bespoke suit made. Soma had suggested the idea, which I was sceptical about to begin with. A lot of focus is on brides and their wedding dresses and while I wanted to look good on the day, I’d never pictured myself in a bespoke suit. When I finally decided to go with the Reiss personally tailored service, I had no idea how many choices were involved. From material, to colour right down to the melton (the fabric under the collar, I learned) there were hundreds of options. It was all worth it, when I took my parents for the final fitting it fit like a glove and I loved wearing my suit on the day. To add extra colour to my blue suit I bought a gold waistcoat and wore a blue and gold tie. My mum then made a pocket square for me from the same material, making the whole outfit completely unique. The fact that I still have my wedding suit makes it even more special.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
Living in Manchester, we often walked past the entrance to Frog florists in the Northern Quarter. We didn’t know if they catered for weddings, but after we decided to get married they were the first to come to mind. We wanted flowers and foliage to be a big feature of the day. We booked a consultation and were blown away by what they had to offer. Suzie took us through all the options and helped us to decide on the bouquet, buttonholes, aisle decorations, centrepieces, and an amazing flower arch. On the day the weather was very changeable, and they initially started setting up inside. When the decision was made to go ahead with the ceremony outdoors, they worked quickly to adapt this and make the outdoor pagoda look amazing.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
No – we planned the whole day ourselves but the staff at Heaton House Farm we amazing at coordinating with all the other suppliers to make sure the day went smoothly.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Oh my god, the cake. We planned on having more cake tastings than we did, but we went to the Frostery in Uppermill. Having seen Suzanne’s creations online, we were won over by the great flavours and intricate decoration. Our 3 tier cake had layers of chocolate, vanilla and lemon, and was decorated with an abundance of realistic sugar flowers reflecting the wedding theme. She even took details from the dress and incorporated them into the layers. It was so beautiful that some of the sugar flowers were preserved and framed as part of a gift from my parents.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
We had a lot of fun planning the little touches and flourishes that would make the day even more special for us, and for our guests.
As our ceremony was in the afternoon, we wanted guests to be greeted with refreshments, but weren’t keen on the standard cups provided by the caterers. We spent a few afternoons trawling local charity shops for vintage teacups and saucers, accruing quite a collection, which we used for welcome teas, coffees and gin cocktails. After the ceremony we donated them on to charity shops.
One of the groomsmen was landscaping his garden and provided branches of laurel and bay which the venue staff arranged to decorate the barn and entrance hall. We had pictures of our families and childhood on trestle tables in the entrance hall, along with a bowl of Peruvian lily buttonholes for our guests made at home by family and friends. We spent the months before the wedding collecting and drying different flowers to make a colourful collection of confetti.
The table plan was made from a repurposed picture frame painted gold and lined with lace overlying a cork board. Individual table cards were hung from champagne bottle corks, with the tables named after places we had travelled together. Inside the reception hall, table cards were mounted onto dowling rods in empty gin bottles we had collected. My mum customised the wedding favours of miniature jars of honey, decorated with dried flowers and sequins, and miniature succulents in organza bags.
As beautiful as our cake was, the final flourish was a Lego cake topper.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We wanted our ceremony to be personal to both of us so we wrote our own vows for the service. We also chose two readings, the first was an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the second was the poem ‘Love’ by Roy Croft.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Jonny: Our first dance was to That’s Amore by Dean Martin. Soma and I had danced to it at a friend’s wedding in Italy years earlier and it was a very special memory. Suggesting this song as our first dance was part of my proposal, also on holiday in Italy, so it couldn’t have been any other song for us.
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