I’m feeling really rather cosy writing about this wonderful autumnal wedding today. WWW readers Thomas and Hannah tied the knot in a ceremony at a church that means a lot to the family and they fell in love with Hazel Gap for their reception on the 30th October 2018. I’m sure that you’re simply going to love the rustic and ethereal vibes. The colours are rich, the light is glowing and the atmosphere is relaxed. Perfect!
Hannah chose a sparkling Jenny Packham gown which works with the candlelit barn beautifully, while the gents and bridesmaids are donning the rich tones that give this wedding so much warmth.
Our pair were lucky enough to have lots of help with the planning from Thomas’ sister but Hannah did enjoy making the decorations herself, I love all the personal touches and messages. My favourite is that they used their late grandmas’ baskets for their leaf confetti, a really fun and heartwarming way to include them in the day.
Maree Frances Photography has captured their day beautifully, I think you’ll agree. Thank you so much for sharing these images with us today Maree. Enjoy WWWers!
Thomas proposed at Bamburgh beach in Northumberland, using my Grandma’s ring, on top of one of the sand dunes in front of Bamburgh castle (after walking from Seahouses with a massive ring box I hadn’t noticed in his pocket!) It is a place really close to my family and I was taken aback when he got down on one knee in a spot where England looked so beautiful, surrounded by history (we are both avid historians), and in a spot so special to so many family holidays. I feel like this really set the tone for the wedding – it was so relaxed and natural and captured so many elements of life that we both enjoy.
With having red hair and us both being more autumn than summer people with our fair skin, we knew straight away it would be an autumn wedding with lots of comfy aspects. We absolutely love any opportunity to get comfy in a blanket in front of a fire after a busy day outdoors so when we saw Hazel Gap we could see exactly what we wanted to do.
The Planning Process
Tom’s sister was absolutely crucial to planning the wedding and we cannot take any of the credit! Jess planned all the logistics of the day, was there for the dress trying on, was there when wedding brain set in and I couldn’t count the amount of flowers we needed in the church, and was there with her dog Mack ready for wedding chat at the drop of a hat. We will be forever grateful to her for everything she did to make the day perfect and so stress free and we became really close in the process – it was so special when we took a few minutes at the wedding and could all breathe out that it was a success!
We were so lucky to have had some money from my grandparents which massively helped with the day, so we knew that whatever we made of the day, we wanted it to reflect their values as well as ours. I know all our grandparents, present and passed away, would have loved the day. We didn’t cut corners on getting what we wanted but there were lots of times we managed to find shortcuts and cut down costs.
We always wanted to get married at Bilsthorpe church due to the close links to Tom’s family. It is the perfect little English church.
As soon as we saw Hazel Gap we knew instantly it was where we wanted to get married. It felt a privilege to be able to be in the barn, never mind have our wedding there. The candle package was a must for chandeliers and fireplace, and the thick wooden beams and distressed brick made it so romantic, like a secret hideaway.
My bridesmaids were my childhood friends – Rebecca, Hannah and Rosanna. They were all so good at calming me down at the right times on the day and night before! Their dresses were from Mixbridal and we went for burgundy to match the autumnal theme. Their hair and make up was by Jodie Lee Mobile Hairdressing, and Jay Lucy MUA – both of them were lovely and got stuck in straight away.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was a Jenny Packham dress I chose from Frances Day Bridal. Julia, Teresa, Jenny and the team were phenomenal and I was absolutely blown away by the whole experience of being in the shop every time I went. It is beautiful and all 3 of them made the experience so special. I know I’m not the only bride who gets gushy speaking about their experiences there.
Thomas thought about a tweed suit, but as soon as he tried the Marc Darcy suits he realised it was perfect against his red beard! They were a nice in between. The amazing ladies at Blidworth Menswear helped to make the process smooth and kept the groomsmen in check!
Maree was magnificent for the entire day and I would recommend her to anyone. She was so lovely from the first time we met her, and after the engagement shoot we had with her she put us at ease. Her autumnal images are just beautiful and speak for themselves! Maree took a background approach or a front-line approach at all the right times and was always so purposeful yet calming . Her documentary approach meant we have not regretted not having a videographer as her images speak for all the emotions and stories of the day. As we’re not the most natural in front of a camera, she made us feel comfortable and we really enjoyed having our photos taken. She was just the right amount of calm, bubbly, purposeful and reserved in equal measure and we are so grateful for her help and contribution to the day.
I’ve always loved my red hair, and I know Thomas does too, so it was important to me that it was exactly how I wanted it. I had seen Amie had done lots of awesome plaits and I was determined to channel my inner medieval goddess. I wanted to go for a middle earth meets Celtic autumn vibe and Amie nailed it.
Amy equally got my vision. As someone that doesn’t wear a lot of make up I was nervous about having my make up done. Amy put me at ease straight away and I love that she managed to get a natural look AND my freckles involved! She’s so passionate about honest make up and that’s why I chose her.
The Readings & Music
At the church, my dad’s best friend (and his best man at his wedding), played the organ for us. I came in to a version he had arranged of Tchaikovsky’s Anthem of the Kingdom of France. It was super special that he did this as he had written a piece for my parents wedding, so it felt fitting for him to play for us. We had traditional hymns and left to the Queen of Sheba by Handel.
The readings at the church were both read by our siblings, Robert and Jess. Jess chose a beautiful reading about growth and roots which we didn’t hear until the service which made it extra emotional!
The music at the venue was pretty chilled but we put lots of time in to making a playlist of songs that were nostalgic but also not too overpowering. We got together when we were 16 so it was good to get some of the old school songs out in the planning and relive our teenage years!
The main musical event was getting the Ravenshead Swing Band to play in the evening. Since the start of planning I had imagined a big band at the wedding and we were honoured that they helped us out by doing it for free. Just hearing them soundcheck was like being in a quirky wartime bunker come dancehall with all the candles and brick walls. They were amazing, and the atmosphere was so warm and glowy for our first dance to moonlight serenade. It was really special that my dad was in the band on his trombone. As the music got more and more lively, so did the dancing! Once they had finished it felt the night was complete. We had an evening playlist we didn’t even tap in to because the big band had fulfilled everyone’s dancing needs and we were all shattered from attempting to dance like pros.
Sassie Bee’s did the flowers and they were majestic. I knew I wanted something striking and a large bouquet that was still quite rustic. Roses, daisies and lots of green foliage were all key parts which were included. The sunflower and foliage centrepiece in the main barn was also magnificent and doubled up as THE place to have couples photos! The flowers exceeded anything I could’ve imagined and added to the rustic and autumnal theme with lots of natural character and autumn colours.
April Delights made our tasty cake. We had four different flavours which all went by the end of the night! We were so lucky to see our vision become a reality.
The Details & Décor
The only thing I really wanted to do myself was make the decorations which I really enjoyed doing. I knew with the autumn foliage what I wanted to create and had scoured Pinterest, WWW and lots of wedding blogs to get inspiration! The main things that stuck out were autumnal wreaths for the tables, a leaf confetti throw and chalkboard frames.
All the foliage used was from autumnal walks we had taken or from our garden/street. We took pine cones and conkers from a few places like Helmsley Castle, Clumber Park and the Copper Beech (a local pub we enjoy), and this meant on the day it was like having all those memories in the decorations.
I made the table decorations myself with the foliage and a glue gun. We bought the glass jars from Ikea and the sunflowers were provided by our wedding florist Sassie Bees. The frames were all from charity shops and I bought some blackboard paint from Wilkinson’s to paint the glass, then wrote messages on them in chalk pen. This meant it was dead cheap and I could reuse them as decorations in our house or at work. I got inspiration from blogs and Pinterest to get the quotes, but also good old Marie Antoinette for the cake. Afterwards we then gave the table wreaths and logs to our close family to keep as a memento and I intend on using one as a door wreath once we have finished renovating our house!
The leaf confetti throw was so fun, but the best part was that we had been collecting the leaves in our grandma’s old cooking baskets for weeks. We labelled them up and it felt like they were part of the day despite them having passed away. Just seeing the baskets as we left the church helped us to focus on what it would be like if they were both there chatting away! I loved all the memorial ideas online, but this one seemed a little less morbid than others and was a way of them contributing to the fun despite not being there.
I also wanted to add a little photo station around the gift table to show our appreciation not just for the gifts, but for the support all of our guests had given us over the years so I used the chalk pen on an old mirror – this was so easy and cheap and got lots of compliments.
As I knew we would have the fire pits and the evening would be dark, we decided to get some Stewart tartan blankets (this was my maiden name and it felt fitting). I like to think this was like a big Stewart hug from the family that couldn’t make it, and the blankets are now distributed amongst the family and are still keeping us warm literally and in our reminiscing when we use them.
The guestbook was an Aldi special – I had looked on some really expensive websites but the cheap Aldi one was just perfect! Everyone had fun with the polaroids and we got some fun pictures and beautiful comments. Our friends let us borrow the cameras they had and we bought the film so it was less expensive than buying a full camera. One of our friends also had the polaroid printer that comes with an app, this was great for filling in the gaps of pictures in the guestbook.
The favours were all from relevant charities to us, and it was important to us that not only did we give some money to charity, but also that the favours were something people could use. I loved the idea that someone could grow the flowers and seeds start a permanent section in someone’s garden! I am a bridesmaid for one of my bridesmaids in May and she is intending on using the seeds from the favours to grow part of her own bridal wedding bouquet from them. This is such an honour for us.
The main thing I was worried about on my wedding day was not seeing everything that was happening, so the disposable cameras were a fun way of seeing all the little things and another chance to reflect on the day. I can’t wait to get these developed and see what was on the I spy list (literally a word document I made and printed off), in particular ‘young love, old love and autumnal warmth.’ It also kept the children and active adults occupied!
There were so many objects from home that made it to the wedding to pad out the decorations (wicker baskets, chalk pens, photo frames).
We haven’t been yet but are planning to visit Finland at Kakslauttanen to stay in an igloo/lodge, go dog sledding and reindeer sleighing in February. Essentially, get as cosy as we can with a good book and a hot drink! It would be awesome if the aurora would come out but we will be happy to be warm by a fire and to mess around in the snow.
- Eating take away and planning the wedding with Netflix on with Jess and her dog Mack! There was no need for it to be stressful and I can imagine how easily the whole process or day could be clouded with worry – there is really no need!
- Getting ready with my closest friends and seeing them all glammed up.
- Pulling up to the church with my dad was so special.
- Seeing Tom stood waiting at the front of the church.
- Seeing all our favourite people in one place at the church
- The autumnal leaf confetti throw. This was fun but a bit scary)
- Driving to Hazel Gap in ‘Molly’ through the autumn trees with a blanket over us!
- The speeches and the amazing food at Hazel Gap
- Getting snug in the tartan blankets with sparklers around the fire pits
- Our first dance to Glen Miller’s moonlight serenade (with my dad in the band) in the candlelit barn and the wild dancing that followed to tunes like Sing Sing Sing and New York New York!
- Being classy: Getting McDonalds drive through the morning after and sitting outside the church to reminisce- just us two. And then finding the leaves and confetti from the day before!
Advice For Other Couples
- Make sure you look in as many places as you can for inspiration – I still have all the blogs up and Instagram accounts followed and have not yet seen something I wish I’d done differently. Research can make you feel more confident about the process and knowing the day will go ok.
- Don’t worry if you get overwhelmed just before the wedding! I was sure I would be fine but it is 10x more special than you might anticipate – designate a tissue provider.
- Designate jobs for bridesmaids/groomsmen and print off a list so they know exactly what it expected of them – its less stressful for you and them!
- Get your sister in law to plan the wedding! Letting people around you take on jobs makes the whole experience less stressful. Decide what you want to do but don’t be afraid to delegate.
- Look around your house for items that fit your theme – they can double up as wedding decorations. Chances are you own decorations that can be perfect as a table decoration or fill a window ledge.
- Ask around – our wedding band played for free due to my dad being in the band. You never know if you don’t ask what is possible.
- Make a playlist for each part of the day – start early!
- Take lots of little ‘moments’ throughout the day. It’s worth it.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Maree Frances Photography
Frances Day Bridal (Jenny Packham)
Groom & Groomsmen
Blidworth Menswear (Marc Darcy)
Bride’s Make Up
Bridesmaid’s Make Up
Jay Lucy MUA
‘Molly’ from Marlows
Tartan Blanket Co
Ravenshead Swing Band
Jemstone UK Events
All through charity online shops: Cancer Research UK, MIND, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, British Heart Foundation
Thank you so much Thomas and Hannah for sharing your warm and wonderful day with us, it looks like you had a blast. Rachel x