We’re beginning the week with pure summer time bliss. Think larking around in pretty fields with horses, the exchanging of vows in an enchanted sunken garden and fete games on the lawn. There is something just so special about those long balmy days and it’s evident why the summer is undoubtedly the most popular time to get hitched. When you view these divine photographs and accomanyting story, you’ll certainly have your heart set on a summer wedding day.
Paul and Chloe chose to get married on the 23rd July 2016 at Lanwades Hall in Suffolk. They were especially attracted to the venue after learning that the hire money went directly to The Animal Health Trust, a charity close to their hearts. It was of course a spectacular setting for their outdoor humanist ceremony and with the gardens in full bloom, it made for some striking portraits too. They decorated the marquee in wild blooms, natural materials and fun bunting. Chloe’s yellow and navy bouquet was just so pretty and looked so lovely against her custom made lace gown. The gents meanwhile all wore tailored blue suits and contrasting yellow ties with tan shoes. They looked very dapper. Being musicians, the music was a big priority for the pair. Chloe’s brass band came along to play a welcome concert, and a fun arch way for the newly-weds to exit, a trumpeter friend played the ceremony music and a swing band got the guests up on the dancefloor in the evening.
Many thanks today goes to Miss Gen Photography for sharing these utterly beautiful images.
THE PROPOSAL | We met at one of Chloe’s friend’s house parties in September 2012 and we dated for two years before moving in together exactly two years to the day after meeting each other. In July 2015, we went on a trip to New York and Boston. I proposed on Spectacle Island, one of the Boston Harbour Islands, overlooking the Boston skyline. We had a romantic picnic then I surprised Chloe and she said yes!
THE VISION | As simple as sounds the vibe of the day was ‘FUN!’. We wanted all our guests to have an awesome time, in a beautiful setting, and be outside as much as the weather would allow us! Fortunately the weather was so incredible that even I (the groom) got sunburnt… but we didn’t mind at all.
The Civil Ceremony was intimate and relaxed which took all tension out of the day. Chloe them changed into her wedding dress as the rest of the guests arrived. We had the brass band playing as everyone took their seats for the Humanist Ceremony. The Humanist Ceremony was also relaxed and very enjoyable. Our celebrant, Elizabeth, had got to know us well and gave a beautiful story of how we met and our lives together. We also had an heart felt reading from Chloe’s brother Alex, and a humorous mini-best man speech from Paul’s friend Phil.
Throughout the day there was a general theme of blue and yellow, slightly linked to Lego. The suits were blue, with yellow polka-dot ties. The flower bouquets had yellow and blue flowers mixed with white roses. There was a garden party game/festival/wild meadow flowers vibe in there as well!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We choose Lanwades Hall in Suffolk not only because of the stunning house and grounds, but because the hire money went directly to The Animal Health Trust, a local charity. As animal lovers, this made the venue even more special in our eyes. We also wanted to ensure that as many of our loved ones as possible had the opportunity to be involved, which led to some interesting elements, notably a ‘brother of the bride speech’, a ‘bridesman’, a homemade wedding arch from Chloe’s dad and a semi impromptu performance by Paul’s band.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I met Suzanne from Vintage Trousseau at the Excel wedding fair and instantly loved her collection, her warm personality and her approach to creating the right dress for each of her brides. I went along to her studio one weekend and managed to narrow my choice down to three dresses (which was definitely a challenge as they were all so beautiful!) before deciding on the final style. I adored my dress – it felt both classic and quirky, and having it completely made to measure meant that I felt amazing on the day. The entire process of choosing, tailoring and perfecting the dress was one of my favourite parts of the wedding.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | As neither of us are religious, we felt that a traditional church wedding wasn’t for us, but wanted something with a more personal touch than a standard civil ceremony. One of our friends mentioned Humanism to us, and we managed to find a wonderful Humanist celebrant, Elizabeth Donnelly, who spent many months getting to know us and conducted the most wonderful outdoor ceremony, blending humour and emotion to create something that felt truly unique. Prior to the Humanist ceremony, held at 3pm with 120 guests in the sunken garden, we had an officially Civil Ceremony in one of the beautiful rooms of Lanwades Hall. This was at 12pm with only 20 immediate family members. This was a really intimate part of the day that allowed us to get any nerves out the way early on.
Music is large part of our lives – I play the cornet and Paul plays both guitar and piano, so we wanted our day to be filled with as much music as possible! I have played in a brass band for 18 years and they performed an outdoor welcome concert as our guests arrived, which perfectly complemented the sun, drinks and the garden party feel. Our ceremony music was played by a good friend of mine, who is a professional trumpeter from the Czech Republic, and we had a fantastic swing band – The Swinging Little Big Band – to kick off the evening celebrations off.
Our first dance was The Wannadies ‘ You and Me Song’. We wanted something heartfelt, silly and ultimately fun (hopefully like us!) and it was a perfect choice to kick off the evening celebrations.
THE FLOWERS | The majority of our flowers came from a small florist- Brenda’s Flowers in Soham – near to the wedding venue. Given the beautiful setting of the sunken garden at Lanwades Hall, we wanted the flowers to have a similarly wild feel, and decided on a colour scheme of yellow, white and blue to complement the Lego theme of our wedding. We also bought seasonal flowers locally the day before to add the final touch to the tables.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Miss Gen had been the photographer at a friend’s wedding the year before. Her natural approach and the style of her final photographs really appealed to us. We have some very camera shy family and friends, so a documentary approach worked wonderfully and put everyone at ease. We have stunning, relaxed shots that very much captured the feel of the day.
Having seen Miss Gen in action at a friend of mine’s wedding, and viewing the result, I knew she had an amazing style and relaxed manner during the big day which we really wanted.
Her service ever since we first made contact with her has been incredibly friendly, professional and thoughtful. Leading up to and during the big day we had no worries about the photography. We knew we were in safe hands.
We love that all the shots came in colour and in black and white. This brings out something special in each one. It was great she caught all our guests off guard and showed then having a great time on the day. Also, we were very lucky and had amazing weather on the day which meant the sunken garden, in which the Humanist ceremony was held, really came alive.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Chloe walking down the aisle on both occasions. I have never seen her smile so much and look so excited! The whole day was awesome and we both wish we could do it again!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be really organised and make great spreadsheet so you know everything is taken care of. Allocate roles to members of the wedding party so they know what they’re supposed to do and you can relax. Have drinks on hand as people leave the ceremony. Ensure all the guests have something to do while you are off having a few intimate photos.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Miss Gen Photography
Dress, Veil/Headpiece | Suzanne Harrington – Vintage Trousseau
Brides Shoes | John Lewis
Grooms Suit | Next Bright Blue Suit
Grooms Accessories | Watch
Grooms Shoes | Russell and Bromley
Bridesmaids Dresses | Noa Noa
Makeup Artist | Kate Fletcher
Hair | The Cutting Room
Florist | Brenda’s Flowers
Venue | Lanwades Hall, Newmarket
Decor/styling | Bride, Groom and families
Cake | Angela Coulson (she’s a family friend)
Caterer | Anglia Hog Roast
Stationery | Save the Dates and invites all made by the Groom
Musicians | The Wicken Coronation Band, Saulo Paiva and The Ifs, Buts, and Maybes
Band | The Swinging Little Big Band
Paul and Chloe, thank you both so much for sharing your super special story with us today xo Lou