Hold on to your seats folks, you are in for a real treat this wonderful Monday morning! Yes that’s right, it’s time for WWW readers Hannah and Ben’s rainbow nuptials, which were held at Enchanted Garden Events at the The Letchworth Centre For Healthy Living in Hertfordshire on Saturday 8th September 2018. You will find a plethora of our brilliant Supplier Love members featured here today too, which is always a total bonus! With the amazing Sharon Cooper Photography behind the beautiful captures, Fleur de Lace adding tons of personality to the styling and décor, Country Tipis providing the magical tipi tents and Irregular Choice shoes for bride Hannah. Amaze!
Our pair’s day was so full of love, so fully inclusive of themselves and their passions. From the alternative first dance (first song with the bride and groom playing their guitars), to the amazing mountain climbing honeymoon and subsequent cake creation to the humanist ceremony and vintage ice cream van. These two and their nuptials are just so jolly well inspiring. I love all the chosen attire, the brilliant flowers and all the multicolour décor, which include unicorns. Need I say more? I think you are going to adore their story today. Enjoy!
We got engaged during a holiday to Iceland. Ben’s carefully laid plans to propose under the panoply of the northern lights in Iceland were sadly overcast by the Icelandic weather. His back-up plan of proposing at Gullfoss Waterfall were blown away when the tour was cancelled due to coaches being pushed off the road by the wind. His fail safe plan of proposing at the Blue lagoon felt… odd and the ring probably would have melted in the strange blue waters. So he opted for walking for 10 miles in a blizzard to a deserted lighthouse on the western entrance to the harbor in Reykjavik and with fingers near numb after 60 seconds of exposure holding the ring he shouted his proposal to me as I was perched on the harbour wall to which I shouted back ‘What??’ I was laughing so much but eventually threw my arms around him and said yes!
I’m a bit of a Tomboy at heart and had never dreamed of my ‘wedding’ and what it would be like or what I would want it to be like. In fact I never really wanted to get married until I met Ben, the love of my life. When we got engaged we then talked excitedly about what we could do and we knew straight away that we wanted something that reflected our personalities and interests, something laid back, fun and a wedding that we could really put our stamp on.
The Planning Process
I didn’t want to rush the wedding. Having no real ideas about where or what we might do I felt we needed time to look at options and think about how our wedding could work for us and those who we hold most dear. It also meant that we could book the suppliers we wanted (when we knew who they were!) as we had so much notice to give. The first supplier I booked once we had chosen our wedding date was a vintage ice cream van – priorities! Ben is super organised and found a great wedding planning spreadsheet which he customised for us and we started to think about ideas and who we wanted to be there so we knew numbers. We decided that if we didn’t both know our guests well or see them regularly (with the exception of loved ones overseas) then they didn’t get an invite. This was probably the best decision we made! It also meant that we could plan the small, intimate, fun wedding that we hoped for.
We set our wedding budget and it was pretty much bang on. We saved for everything and when we made our final payment we literally had about £50 left over in our joint account! My parents very kindly paid for our honeymoon of a lifetime as a wedding gift and instead of wedding gifts we asked our guests to donate to two charities.
We our really outdoorsy people – we love sport, adventure, travel and the countryside so it didn’t take us long to realise we wanted an outdoor wedding. After looking at several venues I suddenly remembered that there was somewhere right on our doorstep. As in literally less than a mile from our house! I researched on the internet and saw that they had held a couple of weddings and so we made an enquiry. What we loved most about our venue was that it is a registered charity. I’ve worked in the charity sector all my working life and knowing that by getting married here we would be supporting an organisation that supports the local community couldn’t have been more perfect. It isn’t grand or posh but neither are we so we knew we feel comfortable here. Then to add to that we met with Rebecca who runs Enchanted Garden Events (the weddings at the venue) and she was completely and utterly on board with our ideas and plans. She got to know us and understand us and when she said that we could hold our ceremony in the beautiful woodland and have a Tipi on the lawns we were sold!
Your Outfits & Accessories
After we had booked our venue we were invited back a few months later as they were holding an alternative wedding fair there. There was a stand by the Vintage Suit Hire Co. and straight away I saw the suit that I wanted Ben to wear! We took a card and nearer the time he booked to go with his best man and ushers and that was job done!
I on the other hand had a much harder time finding my dress. The thought of going in bridal shops filled me with dread and spending huge amounts on a dress you wear for just one day made me feel even worse. I finally plucked up courage to go and try some dresses and I hated every minute of it. I’m 4ft 11” and very petite and every dress drowned me. I had clips everywhere to try and make the dresses fit but I just felt awful! I went home, panicked and then purchased a simple sale dress from Phase Eight for £100. It wasn’t my dream dress (I wasn’t sure what that was) but I thought that it would do. A few weeks later I showed one of my bridesmaids who is as blunt as they come (a good tip for picking bridesmaids by the way!) and she said she really liked it but then asked would I feel special in it? In another shade it just looked like a normal dress. These words played on my mind and eventually I decided to do some more research. By this point I had decided I wanted a short tea length dress. This was for two reasons:
- I’m short and I knew it would suit me
- I was getting married outside and didn’t want a dress that would get dragged around in grass and mud!
I came across Brighton Belle tea length dresses when I was searching online and fell in love with them so looked to find my nearest stockist. That’s how I came across Brides by Solo in Newmarket and it was fate because they were having a Trunk Sale and Tea Length event to launch some new styles that very weekend. I telephoned to enquire and spoke to the owner Odette who was so lovely and helpful. I told her of my previous dress shop experiences and she told me not to worry and that she personally would help me find something that was right for me. I managed to get the last available appointment and quickly called my Mum! We went the next day and they had the exact dress that I loved online! I tried it on and it was the one! Yay! I’d left it pretty late to order a dress but Odette assured me she’d get it for me in time and to do alterations. It arrived a few weeks before my wedding and Odette and her amazing seamstress Sade worked tirelessly to alter the dress to make it fit me perfectly. The work Sade had to do was immense as I’m so tiny but she worked her magic and worked overtime to get it finished.
I also had a bespoke petticoat made by Dusk Bridal to give a bit of fun and colour and iridescent Irregular Choice shoes to match!
I (Hannah) have a condition called Melasma which is a skin condition which causes brown patches of pigmentation to develop on my face because my body produces too much melanin. I can be quite insecure about my condition at times and it’s taken me years to understand it and get the right makeup. It was therefore vitally important to me that I could find a makeup artist that would understand my condition and make me feel confident on my wedding day. I had a couple of trials with people but ended up looking in the mirror and not recognising the face staring back. I wanted a natural, fresh look whilst carefully covering my melasma and that’s when I found Chloe by searching online. As soon as I spoke to Chloe I knew she was going to be the right person for my makeup. She completely understood what I looking for and my condition. I had a trial with her and booked her straight away. I still looked like me and felt great – hurrah!
My own hairdresser Emma has been cutting and colouring my hair for over 10 years and kindly did my hair for me as a wedding gift which was so kind of her. She took a whole day off from the salon just for me and beautifully styled my hair to go perfectly with my flower crown.
Kelly Degaute did my bridesmaids hair beautifully and Chloe also did their make-up.
The Readings & Music
We wanted a humanist wedding ceremony and our photographer Sharon recommended Zena Birch to us. She had met her at another wedding and thought that she would be perfect for us and she was so right. Zena’s warmth and passion for her job made our ceremony and made it truly magical. It’s Zena’s little touches that make the difference, her story telling lit up the woodland and her idea to get us to tie the knot with climbing rope (we are both climbers) was AWESOME! When we walked down the aisle together we were swept away by the beautiful atmosphere Zena was instrumental in creating. By the end of the day, every single person had approached us or Zena to express how amazing our ceremony was.
One of our friends is a wonderful writer and also one of the most inspirational people to grace the planet. We asked her if she would write and read something for our wedding and she did. It was so beautiful and so perfect. The poem she wrote had everyone choked up and we now have a stunning framed copy hanging in our house. We also chose an excerpt from a letter written by John Steinbeck to his son about love which we think is beautiful.
We love music and I’m a total rock chick at heart. I walked down the aisle to ‘Dreams’ by the Cranberries and we walked out together to ‘Highway to Hell’ by ACDC which made everyone smile and laugh. It’s one of our favourite songs and we thought why the not?!!!
We also wanted a rock covers band to reflect our love of live music. We searched various wedding band websites and eventually went on to social media to ask if anyone knew of any good local covers bands. There was a resounding response of replies all recommending a band called Allergy and so we went to see them at a local gig and booked them straight away. The energy of the gig was amazing and everyone was dancing and bouncing away all night – exactly what we wanted at our wedding. The repertoire was perfect too – a mix of all the songs we love from old to new and some punk in-between.
Ben and I both play electric guitar and we didn’t want to do a first dance so we asked the band if we could play the first song with them and they said yes! They were fabulous to play with and so much fun and it was a real surprise for our guests to see their bride and groom rocking out with the band!
I didn’t have a clue about flowers along with most things but knew I wanted a flower crown for my hair to match the woodland/outdoor theme. I came across Sarah when visited Hitchin Lavender and saw her sat on the grass making an incredible flower crown out of the lavender for her daughter. I wandered over and we got chatting and I instantly wanted her for our wedding. I looked up her website and instagram when I got home and was awe-struck. We met a couple of times for coffee and I trusted her completely. I gave her the brief of colourful and the outline of our wedding and just gave her a free reign. I had absolutely no idea what my bouquet, flower crown or flowers would look like until the day but I couldn’t have been more overjoyed. They were absolutely stunning. Sarah went above and beyond for our wedding and was a dream to work with. She showed me how to make my own jars for the table centres and even collected a load of empty jars for me to use!
The Details & Décor
I knew straight away that I didn’t want a particular set colour scheme. We wanted it to be bright and fun so we went for ALL OF THE COLOURS! I’d heard of Alice from Fleur de Lace originally through my friend and photographer Sharon but she was also recommended to us by Rebecca from Enchanted Garden Events. Alice is an absolute master at making wedding venues look epic and she was so excited and on board with our colourful and fun theme. She transformed our ceremony area in the woodland into a magical, enchanted forest with colour ribbons, pinwheels, flowers and little birds! Our Tipi’s and reception areas were filled with colourful paper lanterns, ribbons, festoons, fairy lights and hand-made signs. It was almost like a carnival/fête style! We had sack races, a bouncy castle, flamingo hoopla, straw bales, rugs and the beautiful vintage Ice Cream van called Ice Baby (the first thing we booked!). We had a rustic bar and had a special section which was our rum and gin bar and also a space for the three types of ale that we had brewed ourselves especially for the wedding. I made a pallet sign, painted black boards with colourful chalk pens and also collected a giant unicorn and horse to use as backdrops which I had seen in shop display windows and asked if I could have them when they changed their displays. I’ve always loves horses and unicorns so they subtly popped up throughout the wedding – I even had one in my bouquet! We collected old gin bottles and filled them with fairy lights, spray painted jam jars and decorated them for the table decorations and made little frames for all of our guests to take away which contained a Dr Seuss quote encouraging everyone to make every moment count.
I met Sharon about 7 years ago when I was working for a local charity. I had always admired her photography skills and one day contacted her to see if she might consider helping our charity by taking some photos for our new website. We didn’t have any budget so I knew I was taking a punt but Sharon replied straight away and said that she’d be delighted to help. Sharon is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and there was no one else I would have let photograph our wedding. I HATE having my photo taking and panic every time I see a camera pointing my way. Talk in front of 8000 people =no problem but being photographed fills me with fear. However we desperately wanted to capture our day and we knew that Sharon would be able to help me relax and not worry about the camera. We were so right :) Our photos are truly magical and capture the happiness, love, fun and laughter of our day beautifully.
We wanted to do something a bit different for our honeymoon. I’m not very good at relaxing (in the lying on a beach sense!) so I proposed the idea to Ben that maybe we take on a once in a lifetime challenge instead. I’ve always wanted to trek Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and highest free-standing mountain in the world and I somehow convinced him that this was a good idea! Instead of wedding gifts we set up fundraising pages to raise money for two charities and raised over £2000! One of the charities we chose was called Growing People, which is one of the charities based at the venue when we got married which provides a range of therapies to help local people suffering from mental health conditions. Our honeymoon was one of the most incredible things we’ve ever done but gruelling in parts too! We celebrated our summit with a week in Zanzibar which was also amazing!
Along with Ben’s suit, the groomsmen also got their suits from Vintage Suit Hire.
I had three bridesmaids who I’ve known since secondary school. It was so lovely to have three bridesmaids who all know me so well and who are all friends. However I was slightly terrified about the dress situation as they are all so different and I couldn’t quite work out how we’d find dresses they all agreed on. I had one stipulation – colourful. I then stumbled across the free Debenhams Personal Shopper service and thought I’d try that in the first instance. It was brilliant and we all had such a laugh. I sat outside in a big comfy chair drinking cups of coffee and later prosecco whilst the personal shoppers presented them with various dresses to try on. There were some hideous dresses and we all fell about laughing and then after a few things went quiet and they all came out looking gorgeous but in trepidation that I might not agree. Thankfully I did! We all agreed that we would have never picked the dresses to try on ourselves but on they looked perfect. The dresses were floral print maxi dresses from Monsoon.
We found an incredible cake designer locally called ‘The Cakey Lady’ and knew we wanted something unconventional. We chose a spiced apple sponge and lemon sponge for our cakes and I drew up a sketch of an idea of what we wanted and Jemma aka The Cakey Lady worked her magic. It was without doubt the BEST cake we’ve ever seen, tasted divine and was the talk of the wedding! It reflected our forthcoming Honeymoon and also incorporated our two cats!
Number one has to be surprising our guests by playing our guitars with the band for the first song instead of doing a first dance! We chose The Proclaimers 500 Miles because it’s a song everyone knows and could sing along too, was easy to learn (in case we got nervous!) and the lyrics are quite sweet. It went down a storm!
We brewed our own beers for the wedding and our friend and illustrator Phil Littler designed the labels for us. We were a bit nervous that our guests might not like our real ales but they were a resounding success and looked amazing! It was well worth the late night where Ben and I sat sticking labels on!
Our magician Lee Smith mesmerised all of our guests. He is simply out of this world and had everyone stunned for hours!
Advice For Other Couples
Do it your way, stick to your budget and try to make your guests feel part of your special day too. We saved loads of money by doing all of our invites online using the Knot and Paperless Post. We also made some things ourselves to keep costs down such as the table decorations, beer and signs. Plus we had a guest Bake Off competition where we invited guests to bring their signature bakes and see who would be crowned the wedding Star Baker (other than the Cakey Lady of course!) It was lots of fun and the guests all really enjoyed it.
Most importantly though relax and enjoy what should be your BEST DAY EVER!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Enchanted Garden Events
Sarah Maylin Flowers
The Cakey Lady
Bride’s Wedding Dress
Brides by Solo
Groom & Groomsmen Attire
The Vintage Suit Hire Co.
Chloe Hiskett MUA
(Brides own hair dresser)
Vintage Ice Cream Van
Wow, just brilliant!
Huge thanks to Hannah and Ben and their photographer Sharon for sharing their wedding story with us xo Lou