Carly & Dan’s chic & modern Aviator Hotel wedding, with Kristian Leven Photography
A wonderfully chic wedding in Hampshire, with exquisite styling and a lovely bride and groom. Stunning florals and a fabulous colour palette “we chose burgundy as our main wedding colour based on how good Dan looked in a burgundy tie 🙂” – this relaxed wedding in a beautifully modern venue is everything. Huge thanks and congratulations to gorgeous couple Carly & Dan, and our heartfelt thanks to London wedding photographer Kristian Leven for sharing the images of their day.
Dan and Carly have two great pieces of advice for other couples:
1. Do make sure you manage to spend some time with your new husband / wife during the day. This was something people kept reminding us to do, and we’re glad they did!
2. Lots of things make weddings feel like performances – they’re not. A wedding is the start of your marriage, and then a celebration of that. Remembering this will make you less nervous.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
We spent a lot of time googling, spoke to people at wedding fairs and considered our venue’s preferred suppliers, and realised there are different styles of wedding photography. We wanted someone who could document our day, as it happened, without it feeling like a photoshoot, but still create some brilliant images that would transport us back to the day and all the emotions, and that would still be fun and interesting to look at years later.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Absolutely! Kristian was great on the day – very calm, very professional, lots of our guests said how friendly he was… but obviously it’s the final set of images that matter most. We got the full set about a month after the wedding, and were blown away. There are images of pre-wedding nerves, happiness, laughter, pride… And some very clever compositions. We can’t rate Kristian highly enough.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We weren’t going to have a videographer, deciding that investing in a great photographer would be better than trying to use the same budget across both a videographer and photographer. However, my brother-in-law, Brad, is a videographer (just not for weddings), and offered to create a video for us. We didn’t want to put any expectations on him, and said his first priority should be to enjoy the day, but in the end he took it really seriously. When we watched what he’d created a couple of weeks after the wedding, we were amazed. It means so much to us that we now have a film of our wedding, and has also been great to show some of our elderly relatives who weren’t able to be there on the day.
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
Our venue was the Aviator hotel in Farnborough, Hampshire. We’d stayed there once and remembered being really impressed with it, so it was one of the venues we initially shortlisted. We visited 4-5 venues, some which were far more traditional, grand (and expensive), but we sometimes felt like just another couple. Hayley, the wedding co-ordinator at Aviator, was completely different – she listened carefully to what we wanted, took time to answer all of our questions, and ultimately we felt we could put our trust in her and the team. Throughout our planning and on the big day itself, the venue team were absolutely brilliant.
Aviator is a luxury hotel, but also very down-to-earth and relaxed. It is also only about 15 minutes from where we live, which wasn’t a big factor when we were choosing our venue, but actually having the venue (and therefore all our suppliers) so close to home was really handy when wedding planning.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
Dan hired his suit from Black Tie Menswear, Crowthorne. He wasn’t sure what he wanted at first, but the team there helped to quickly narrow it down and it was all quite straightforward. We also chose burgundy as our main wedding colour based on how good Dan looked in a burgundy tie 🙂
My main dress was Justin Alexander, bought from Tilly Mint, Fleet. I was quite indecisive and even after buying it I wondered if I’d made the right choice, but on the day it felt exactly right. I changed into a Needle & Thread dress for the evening party, which was much lighter and easier to dance in. It felt like a real party dress. Ben and Adrien at Nortier Shallow, Basingstoke, did all the alterations on both dresses – and my bridesmaids’ dresses – and were brilliant.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
Yes – but actually changed florist just 3 weeks before the wedding. We weren’t sure what we wanted and didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with the original florist we booked. With only 3 weeks to go we made the decision to cancel, and re-book with Sarah at Olivia Brooke Floral Design. We felt terrible about cancelling, but it was the right decision. Sarah was fantastic and after just one face-to-face meeting it was all sorted. Her flowers are beautiful and we’d absolutely recommend her.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
My (Carly’s) cousin Sian made the cake. She is a food stylist and private chef, and came up with some great ideas. In the end we went for one tier of carrot cake, and one tier of coconut and passion fruit; both with buttercream icing, golf foil and flowers provided by our florist. The cake looks beautiful and was delicious!
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
We had a bit of a travel theme for our wedding breakfast. Our favours were little suitcases filled with Lindt chocolate, our table names were places in the world that meant something to us, and our table plan was also travel themed (and designed by my talented brother-in-law, Brad).
Something else we did that is a bit more unusual is hire a magician. We came across Danny (Red Hat Magic) at a wedding fair. He showed us a couple of tricks and we were sold. Our guests loved him – and so did we! It was a great way to keep people entertained during the quieter parts of the day.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
For our readings we had an Apache Blessing, and A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton. We wanted one that was thoughtful and more traditional, and one that was more playful, that would make people smile.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
The One by Kodaline – we listened to a lot of songs over a lot of evenings, and this one just felt right for us.
How did the pandemic affect your wedding plans? Do you have any advice to share with couples planning their weddings right now?
We got married a year later than planned due to Covid, but it was straightforward because our suppliers were all brilliant about it. Hopefully the days of postponed weddings are over but if they return, our advice is just to talk to your suppliers and go from there. We offered to stick to original payment dates to help suppliers with cash flow and know this was appreciated.
Favourite wedding suppliers
Hair & Make-Up: http://www.epbridal.co.uk/
Wedding dress: https://tillymintweddings.com/
Evening dress: https://www.needleandthread.com/
Bridesmaid dresses: https://www.sassandgrace.co.uk/
Groom / groomsmen suits: https://blacktiemenswear.co.uk/