A lovely couple whose faith means lots, a church wedding with Dad presiding, a beautiful flower crown and Oxfam online suit – Boo and Charlie told us it was hard having to plan different scenarios for their wedding in spring 2021, but with 15 guests allowed, they used the opportunity to have a wonderfully intimate, small wedding… and it’s beautiful. We love the focus on sustainability, and the kindness that shines from this wedding – our gorgeous couple don aprons and serve their guests, and have left wonderful reviews for their favourite Yorkshire wedding suppliers below. Images are by lovely Hannah Beatrice Photography.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
Hannah and Luke have been family friends for years so it seemed like a no-brainer to have people we know and love. This felt particularly important with a small COVID wedding of 15 guests in that every single person counts (literally!)
On top of that, it was also really important to us that we considered the ethical impacts of our day (with a particular focus on environmental impact). Hannah has a fantastic eco policy, thinking about everything from equipment and printing to even having a carbon-neutral website; we loved that our day didn’t have to come at the cost of people or the planet.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We cannot tell you enough how much we loved them!
It is amazing to look back on the photos and realise how Hannah and Luke managed to capture so many little moments; we love being able to re-live the day every time we look at the photos. But what is even more amazing is that, despite capturing so many little moments, they never ‘got in the way’ or made us feel awkward or uncomfortable; there was no embarassing posing or awkward smiles . This was especially noticeable during the service. Our faith is very important to us and so the service was really the most important part, Hannah and Luke were able to capture it without ever getting in the way or interfering despite it being extremely intimate and with us all sat in a circle!
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We had quite a strict budget so didn’t end up having a videographer but had a wonderful friend who livestreamed and recorded the service, we watched this back the day after the wedding and loved being able to see what it was like for guests watching at home!
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
We got married in, and had our wedding breakfast in the grounds of, St Stephen’s Church, Bradford. Boo’s Dad is the vicar at the church (and married us) and so she really has grown up in it. It also holds a special place for Charlie who started coming along to some of the services after we started dating as teenagers. Boo’s parent’s house is also within the church grounds so it was very handy that she could just walk through her back garden and into the church! Funnily enough, we actually first met in the church when we were about 7 and both attended a kid’s club there (not that we remember meeting each other!)
We also love that the church has a great eco-policy (even with a bio-mass boiler) as well as being totally plugged into the community including having a charity (SHINE West Bowling) running from the church building so it also ticked all of our ethical boxes.
At the time, wedding receptions were only allowed outside so we set up a long table outside the church, thankfully the weather was beautiful and we didn’t need to bring out any of the gazebos on stand by! After the wedding breakfast we headed up to the Yorkshire moors around Haworth for a picnic, dancing, and a walk (because why not!?) Both being proudly “Yorkshire born and bred” we wanted to make the most of the gorgeous countryside around us and the flexibility that having a small wedding party gave us, it was beautiful.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
We both got our wedding outfits from charity shops (and encouraged our guests to do the same), this was always going to be a bit of a challenge but even more so in a year in which charity shops were hardly allowed to open! Charity shops felt like the perfect way to go as we wanted to minimise the environmental impact of our day and loved the idea of our wedding outfits funding some fantastic charities.
I managed to find my dress in the couple of weeks when charity shops were open in summer 2020. I went to St Ann’s Hospice Shop, Cheadle. Being aware that getting a charity shop dress meant reduced options, I didn’t have particularly high expectations that I would find one I loved. However, upon arriving at the shop we received such a warm welcome. The shop had a dedicated bridal section upstairs with so many dresses (probably %50) in a range of styles and sizes and a lovely changing room; it really felt very special and bridal. Throughout the entire appointment there was no pressure to buy anything and it was just a whole lot of fun!
After trying on a couple of dresses it ultimately came down to two. One of them (by Raimon Bundo) had a slight tear in the back so we bought the other one but, as we were leaving, the lovely shop assistant said they would have to scrap the ripped dress so suggested that we could take it for free and maybe use some of the material to customise the other dress. When we got home it felt like such a shame to chop up the dress and we were actually able to cut off the ripped bit (as the dress was very long), after washing it with my Mum (a scary experience!) it was good as new. In the end I decided to wear the free Raimon Bundo dress and save the other one for a celebration we’re planning to have next year. I loved how comfortable, and flowy the dress felt and the beautiful lace detail matched the relaxed nature of their day. Furthermore, I love that I could support a brilliant charity through buying a wedding dress and encourage anyone even considering getting a second hand dress to go and have a look- you won’t be disappointed.
I also went down the charity shop route but, due to lockdown, ended up looking online at Oxfam Online. I found a really nice blue/grey checked suit (brand-new from M&S) and a grey waist-coat. Oxfam Online was a great way to do this as I could try on a bunch of things and send back any I didn’t like. I felt great in the suit, it felt really special and I love that I’ll be able to wear it many times again in the future.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
We didn’t hire a florist and instead Charlie’s wonderful Mum, Angie, did all of the beautiful florals including Boo’s bouquet and flower crown! A lovely friend showed her what to do and they spent the day before the wedding tirelessly cutting, taping and arranging the flowers. They even foraged a bunch of the flowers and foliage from friends’ gardens; it made them even more special knowing that they were made with such love.
Another wonderfully generous family friend, Pauline, also arranged some beautiful flowers for the church, there really was so much love that went into it all.
The day before the wedding Boo’s bridesmaids and family covered the church in ivy and greenery, with Boo’s Aunt Sarah creating a beautiful archway too.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
We had a lot of cake (a wedding really is the best excuse!) Boo made a lemon cake for the wedding cake that was beautifully decorated by her sister-in-law Sarah. We made the felt fox cake toppers ourselves as a date-night activity (Charlie’s surname was Fox and we’re now the Hinton-Foxes so it was fitting!).
A wonderful friend, Andra, also made a delicious peach cake which was succulent themed and absolutely wonderful.
Quite a few neighbours and friends came to stand outside the church and cheer as we came out so it was lovely to be able to offer them some cake too.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
With so many loved friends and family being unable to join us, we asked those who couldn’t be there in person to send us a candle which we used to make an aisle for Boo to walk down. We can’t express how moving it was to see the church filled with candles, each symbolising a person we loved. Boo loved walking down between them all and realising how many people there were cheering us on from afar. Boo took the excuse of the wedding to really dive in with more creative projects including painting the order of services and invitations (printed by the print.work who are a great environmentally conscious printing company). She also designed an activity sheet (featuring a crossword, dot-to-dot, sudoku and more) that was inside the order of service and was sent out as part of a ‘virtual wedding pack’ (featuring popcorn!) to those watching from home.
There is also a part of the service where the congregation are asked if they will ‘support and uphold’ us in our marriage and (if they will) respond ‘we will’. We asked people watching virtually to send in a video of them saying ‘we will’ to play at this point in the service, there was a really touching moment when we were reminded of all of the people cheering for us from home. We felt that there were so many people who were such a big part of the day even if they couldn’t be there in person.
Another special touch was Boo’s veil which she embroidered with flowers from significant places on our story. It was even more special in that it was actually Boo’s mum’s veil from her wedding which was also worn by her sister-in-law.
We designed the rings ourselves at a wonderful jewellers in Bradford (Myron Hunka). Both of our rings feature 3 strands twisted together as this is a key picture from us (from the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 4:12). Myron was great at talking us through what he could do and also used as much recycled gold as he could.
So many of our guests also helped with the creative projects too. Charlie’s Mum, Angie, and Boo’s bridesmaid, Alice, spent hours making wax-print napkins and table runners to add some colour. A lovely family friend, Jean, also make colourful wax-print facemasks for our guests and Boo also used some of the fabric to make some aprons with our new names (that we’d kept as a surprise).
We have some incredibly talented musical friends and family who also contributed. Boo’s uncle Mike arranged and recorded a version of the song ‘How long will I love you’ from the film ‘About Time’ (we went to see it for our first date) which was played as Boo walked down the aisle. A wonderful friend Max also arranged and recorded a medley of some of our favourite worship songs/ hymns which we originally planned to sing in the wedding couldn’t (COVID!), instead he mixed them together to create a beautiful piece that we played as we signed the register. After we left the church we were greeted to a chorus of Zimbabwean drummers (again some more friends who Boo’s Mum asked to play as a surprise), this was particularly special as Boo and her family lived in Zimbabwe.
We had homemade curry for our wedding breakfast with a few wedding guests bringing their ‘signature curry’. We also served the curry to our guests ourselves as we loved the idea of starting our marriage by serving our wonderful family and friends.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We used the traditional vows (we love the idea of echoing words that have meant so much to so many people before us). We took time in the weeks leading up to the wedding to think through what each line meant to us and what we were promising each other as we said them- we’d really recommend this.
We had 3 readings from the Bible (Psalm 139: 1-18, 1 John 4:7-21, and Romans 12:9-16, 21); they spoke about God’s love for us, that as we love God we should love others and, what it looks like to love and care for those around us (what we want to do as a married couple!)
We also had some messages/ ‘words of wisdom’ from a few people who are important to us but were unable to be there on the day, this was instead of a typical sermon. These ranged from anything from prayers to advice for married life. We love looking back over them!
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Our first dance was ‘What a wonderful world’ by Sam Cooke. We picked it because we met, and started going out, at school and so it felt very fitting to have a song which was related to that. We had our first dance on the moors with music played on a Spotify playlist on some speakers. It was perfect.
How did the pandemic affect your wedding plans? Do you have any advice to share with couples planning their weddings right now?
It’s tough planning a wedding when there is so much change and so many unknowns, we found it difficult having multiple different scenarios in motion. We originally started planning for a summer 2021 wedding, however, it felt too hard to predict in advance so we decided to bring the wedding forward to spring and embrace the fact that it would be very small (with plans for a celebration a year later). The restrictions were a bit tougher than we thought they’d be (15 guests instead of 30) but we just took it as an opportunity to have the most intimate and lovely wedding and to do things we could never do with a 100+ guest list. Taking this approach of seeing it as an opportunity made us really keen to add certain touches like seating everyone in a circle for the service, cooking all the food ourselves, going for a walk, and even getting cheesy chips at the end!
Favourite wedding suppliers
Photographer: Hannah Beatrice (http://wedding.hannahbeatrice.co.uk ). @hannahbeatricecreative
Invite printing: print.work (https://www.print.work). @print.work
Boo’s dress: St Ann’s Hospice Shop, Cheadle
Charlie’s suit: Oxfam online. (https://onlineshop.oxfam.org.uk). @oxfamonlineshop