Lucy and Mark pulled out all the stops for their totally epic Hammer and Pincers wedding in County Durham, held on the 1st August 2019. They wanted a day which totally captured ‘chill festival vibes‘, which I must say I think they totally nailed!
They had a church ceremony and then headed to tipis to party the night away. They infused nods to their love of music and gigs with CD mix tape favours and a live band in the evening (LOVING their choice of first dance by the way). Also be sure to keep your eyes peeled for feathers, which can also be found in Lucy’s beautifully butterfly sleeve gown, didn’t she look stunning?! In the evening she totally rocked those sparkly DMs and disco ball bag too, not to mention her personalised jacket, amaze. Mark and his groomsmen certainly looked the part in sharp suits, colourful buttonholes and pattern ties, with the bridesmaids wearing pretty grey frocks.
I also adore the flowers, I mean those bouquets were just immense, not to mention the super gorgeous images by Sally T Photography, thanks so much for sharing them with us Sally!
We had been together for six years at the time and had never really discussed getting married, so when we booked a very last minute holiday to Cayo Coco in Cuba, the proposal came as a big shock! Mark decided to ask me on the beach on after our first full day so we could celebrate for the rest of the holiday. It was on the night time and under the stars where he had perfected his, ‘Will You Marry Me’ in Spanish, only it came out in his brilliant Teesside accent which made it all the more special for me. I instantly said yes and we couldn’t wait to start planning the wedding!
We both had very similar views on what we wanted our wedding to be. We wanted fun, chill festival vibes with the emphasis being on the celebration of the day and for people to enjoy themselves with great drinks and food and excellent music. I was clear on not wanting a ‘theme’ and I certainly didn’t want things to match, there were no ‘mood boards’ or anything like that, everything just took a natural progression in being eclectic but coming together perfectly on the day.
The Planning Process
This was the best bit! We both kept everything things very chill to ensure there was no pressure or stress on ourselves. Mark was very keen to get married in a church, which became a really special part of the day as we were married in our local church St Francis of Assisi by Reverend Charlton, who I had met through school. The Hammer and Pincers was the first venue we went to see and we booked it straight away without seeing anywhere else. Once we knew the price of the beer was regular pub prices and they could accommodate our desire for BBQ food and live music, we were sold! We had lots of help from friends and family who all came together to make the day just as special as it was.
The Readings & Music
Music is really special to us both as we share a huge love for it. We are avid visitors to different music festivals and live gigs. We share a similar taste in music but we have our own twist on particular bands/artists that we like. We probably took the most time in deciding on the music for our wedding than anything else! We played some of our favourite songs in the church as people were arriving and then had Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla just before I walked down the aisle. During the reception, we had music played all day with a diverse mix of funk, soul, indie and rock & roll on our playlist.
My dad read Union by Robert Fulghum and Reverend Charlton read a piece from Corinthians from the bible.
On the night of the wedding, we had PRTY band who performed our first dance of, She’s Electric – Oasis and then they played an awesome mix of great party hits, soul, funk and rock and roll! I went to university with the drummer Paul, so I was delighted when his band were available to play at our wedding. There was even a crowd surfing banana during their set!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was custom made by Bexbrides, Bespoke, Designer and Vintage Bridal Studio. Bex’s husband was actually my drama teacher at school and I had heard that she had set up her own studio in Hurworth near Darlington. My mum and I visited the studio and were blown away by what Bex had to offer. I always knew that I wanted a kimono style dress (influenced by Florence Welch), with a wrap-around style and a big belt to tie it in. She gave me so many options and really took the time to go through every inch of my dress. Initially, my dress was going to be made in a daisy style fabric but as soon as I saw the feather material, I fell in love! Each time I visited, we added something different to the dress and Bex was even able to incorporate my mum’s wedding veil into the belt of my dress, which made it even more special.
I wore simple coral heels from Next for the day and changed into purple sparkly Dr Martens for the night time. My disco ball bag was from Asos and was entirely unpractical, because I could only fit a lipstick in there, but I didn’t care!
Hayley Wanless Designs also painted a leather jacket for me and I loved stomping round in my ‘Mrs Simmonds’ jacket all night!
Mark and all of the Groomsmen got their suits from Bakers Tailoring in Middlesbrough. Mark was very much in charge of what they were all going to wear and I didn’t have much say in their suits. The navy blue worked really well, but it was actually settling on a tie that we both liked that took the time. We searched every suit shop imaginable and had over 40 ties sent to our house, but none of them were quite what we were looking for. Then, on a random Saturday afternoon in Matalan, Mark saw the white and floral tie and we just knew it was perfect! I would definitely say as a bit of advice to look for accessories in all different places, because they turn up when least expected.
The flowers were one of my favourite things from the day. They were from Sweet William Florist in Eaglescliffe and I can’t sing Natalie’s praises high enough. I wasn’t the typical bride with a mood board or even a colour scheme so I just went in and asked for ‘bright, wild, mismatched colours with not loads of pink’ and they were created just like that! I got my bridesmaids smaller versions of my bouquet and the flower girl had a wooden hoop with matching flowers. I also asked for the buttonholes from the Groomsmen to be mismatched and all different colours too.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup normally and I found the idea of someone doing my make up quite daunting. But I booked a trial with Faye Garnett Make-up in Eaglescliffe, for a friends’ wedding and I instantly knew I wanted her to do my wedding make up. Faye followed my brief so carefully and she understood exactly what I wanted. I loved my make-up on the day and I will use Faye again and again.
My hair stylist was an easy choice as Chloe Wright was my usual hairdresser and I knew I wanted her to do my hair for my special day. The brief I gave was ‘non bridal’ because I didn’t want anything really formal. She curled my hair and threw it up so it was nice and messy for me. It looked great and held in all day, even with all the crazy dance moves!
As soon as Mark proposed there were two things I was sure of for the wedding. I knew exactly what I wanted my dress to look like and I knew I wanted to book Sally T as our photographer. If I could give any advice to Brides-to-Be, it would be that photographs form such precious memories of your day, where it all flies by so quickly that it is imperative you get your photographer right. Sally was absolutely magical! She understood my vision instantly and how we wanted to stay away from many of the traditional ‘group shots’ and I just wanted her to capture the spirit of the day – she did this perfectly! Sally’s work, even though it looks very natural, is meticulous and she looks for the smallest details in capturing the most amazing shots. On the morning of the wedding, she was just like one of the girls, laughing and joking with us and she supported me through the whole day – I just couldn’t have asked for any more. Our photographs mean so much to us and we have loved to cover our house in them to remind us of our amazing day.
The Hammer and Pincers is a pub just outside of Newton Aycliffe in Teesside with giant tipis in their grounds and Rachel, who owns it, instantly got the vibe we were going for. She was so accommodating and allowed us to add lots of lovely extras which just made the day what it was. We settled on BBQ food for lunch and homemade stone-baked pizzas on the evening – Rachel and her team produced the most amazing food for 140 guests! Our friends and family commented on the quality of the food and drink and Mark and I love visiting the Hammer and Pincers now at any opportunity we can get.
Lewis Marston is one of our friends (who is actually a Clinical Psychologist by day!) and not a professional videographer, which you would never believe! In the past, he had created some fabulous videos for family and friends of days out and holidays. Lewis has a real keen eye for details and knowing what will look good on screen. We asked him if he would be interested in videoing our day for us and he jumped at the chance. The video Lewis created was one of our favourite things for the day, it had the perfect mix of sincerity and warmth along with capturing the huge party and celebrations that happened that day. I couldn’t count how many times we have watched our video now and we spot different things on there each time we watch it!
We had three cakes! One was a traditional wedding cake made by Samantha Wilson from Ingleby Barwick, where I asked for it to look like a tree with our initials etched into the side. The other two cakes were the bride and groom caterpillar cakes from Marks and Spencers.
The Details & Décor
We are very lucky to be surrounded by very creative close friends. I knew exactly what I wanted my invitations to look like so I enlisted the help of Hayley Wanless and Matt Holley. When I chose the feather fabric for my dress, and as Mark has two feather tattoos on his arms, I decided to use feathers as a bit of a running theme for the wedding (without anybody realising why at this point!) Matt Holley Designs started to create my beautiful invitations and he helped me choose the right card to show off his wonderful design. We couldn’t find any images of feathers that we liked, so I asked Hayley Wanless Designs to see if she could paint me three or four feathers and gave her the brief of earthy, deep tones. The two of them put their artistic skills together and created our beautiful wedding invitations.
Mark and I have a huge love for music and we wanted this to reflect in our wedding favours. At the beginning of our relationship, we would make mixtape CDs for one another to try and twist each other’s taste in music! So we decided these would be a wonderfully sentimental way of sharing our love of music with our wedding guests. Matt created the CD covers for us, using Hayley’s painted feathers too.
Our seating plan was a game for the guests to play where they would look for the statement on the seating plan and find the answer as the name of their table.
All of the décor for the tables were collected over a year from a range of places, including small independent shops, online, charity shops and some of them I put together myself.
My bridesmaids sourced the flowers from local supermarkets and arranged them into mismatched gin bottles on the tables.
The tables were eclectic and nothing really matched, but I liked that and our guests commented on how fabulous they looked on the day.
I asked my best friend Emily to be my Maid of Honour (she sobbed for about three days when I asked her!) and I asked my other three friends Charlotte, Katie and Lauren as well as Mark’s sister Sarah to be my bridesmaids. We also had our niece Annie as flower girl.
I wasn’t set on a particular colour for the bridesmaids, as I had no set colour scheme and was happy to let them decide what they liked. We toyed with the idea of mixing the dresses or colours because I wanted each of them to enjoy what they were wearing, that was the most important part for me. After trying different dresses, the girls all decided that they loved the same grey dress from Boohoo. They were a bargain in the sale so I wanted to make them slightly different. I took them to Bex and she redesigned the neckline as well as adding a bejewelled addition to the waistband to match my dress too.
Mark had his best friend Chris as his best man (Mark had previously been his best man earlier that year) and he asked our other two friends Mark and Guy, as well as my brother Josh to all be his Groomsmen. We are all in a big group of friends so it felt really special that they were such an important part of our day. Our nephew Thomas was our smart pageboy.
The outfits were all from Bakers Tailoring.
When booking the holiday of a life time, we just could not agree! I was desperate to go to Las Vegas and have a wild time for five days, where Mark wanted to visit Mexico and relax on their beaches in the sunshine. Luckily, we were able to do both and we visited Las Vegas first for five nights followed by nine nights in Cancun, Mexico.
The honeymoon was amazing and it was the perfect mix of partying and total relaxation. We stayed at the Park MGM in Las Vegas and did everything typical tourists do in Vegas, with a visit to Fremont Street being one of our highlights! In Mexico, we stayed at the Dreams Sands Resort in their Honeymoon Suite and we were spoilt with their wonderful customer service. Time together to reflect on the wedding was just perfect.
Our dog Ozzy was able to attend the Hammer and Pincers for some photographs and to see our guests which was a great way for him to share the day with us!
Mark also serenaded me with his own version of Babybird – You’re Gorgeous, with his own words which was the perfect mix of hilarious and sentimental.
We spent our wedding night in a horse box which is on the camp site at the Hammer and Pincers, but it has a proper double bed and is made to look very glam! Our guests all camped in the fields with us so we could continue with the party and have a BBQ breakfast altogether the next day!
As a primary school teacher, the children from my class came to the church to see me get married which was really special.
Advice For Other Couples
Just do you! Do what you want and don’t fall in the trap of trying to please everyone because all those who attend your wedding love you, and they are happy to see you having the time of your life! Also, don’t feel like your wedding has to cost a fortune to make it the best day. Look around for things and try a bit of DIY it makes it all the more special when you have your own personal touch on things on your big day. The last thing is what everyone says but just enjoy every second because it goes by in a flash. Mark and I will look fondly on our day forever more and we are so happy with just how amazing it was!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Sally T Photography
Oh so cool!!
Lucy and Mark thanks ever so much for sharing your totally indie festival wedding day xo Lou