There is so much to adore about WWW readers Rosie and Dave’s Hookhouse Farm wedding in Surrey. They were hitched on the 25th May 2019 and began their wedding planning process from all the way in Australia. It meant that they made decisions quickly and I have to say their approach really did work out just perfectly. Their day was full of fun, love, relaxed vibes and colour! Yay.
A big priority for them both being foodies was the food they would serve guests. Their 14 course Spanish style meal sounds incredible, how lucky were their guests? Wow. They decided to craft 1000 origami paper cranes after discovering the tradition in Japan. The result was a spectacular paper crane backdrop in the barn, what a feast for the eyes. To their décor they also added dried flowers, bright blooms and personal touches galore.
Do also keep an eye out for super gorgeous outfits, a cool banner sign and a really pretty flower crown. We have Anna Pumer Photography to thank today for sharing these superb images with us.
Dave proposed on Christmas Day 2016 in Queenstown, New Zealand overlooking the Remarkables mountain range. It was the start of the three week holiday around the South Island of New Zealand and he was exceptionally nervous his plans would be rumbled by over zealous customs officers in NZ. I unwrapped my gifts on Christmas morning and the last present was a little round box. Dave enthusiastically proclaimed ‘and now I’m proposing!’ and got down on one knee. I said yes and the rest is history. Telling our slightly worse for wear friends and family back in the UK was one of the highlights of Christmas Day.
The Planning Process
Dave and I met in Australia in 2014. I’d moved there for work and he was a backpacker with a working holiday visa. We lived together in Melbourne for 4 years before returning to the UK exactly 1 year before our wedding. The practicalities of this meant that some of our wedding planning had to be outsourced to friends and family and we needed to make decisions without actually meeting our suppliers. As a person with a high need for control this was fairly stressful at times but I think it was a blessing in disguise – it forced us to be decisive, not to ‘scour the market’ but really commit to suppliers and decisions that resonated with us.
I also found that once a few suppliers fell into place it really helped to form other ideas. When we chose Anna as our photographer I spent a lot of time looking at her photos which helped me make decisions about the type of flowers I wanted, the ‘vibe’ of the day that would suit us etc.
As one of the first of my friends to get married the budget was a real eye opener! I genuinely had no idea what weddings costed and my first estimation of £5000 proved to be wildly off the mark!
We decided quite early on to make a list of things that were important to us… and spend in these areas, and to remove or limit spending on what wasn’t important to us. Food is massively important to us. We’re hugely keen cooks and really made the most of Melbourne’s world leading restaurant scene when we lived in Australia. We chose to spend on food.
Cars weren’t high on our list of priorities, we reasoned that very few people would even see the cars, so my dad drove us in his Fiat!
Our starting budget was £15,000, I think we spend somewhere around £16,500 (I’d like to thank my accountant husband for keeping it all under largely under control!).
Finding a wedding venue within our budget where we could choose our own suppliers proved to be quite challenging initially. We knew we wanted a venue that was relaxed, informal and flexible.
Our wedding venue was our first leap of faith as we booked our wedding venue without actually seeing it, something that sounds completely mad in hindsight!
We chose Hookhouse Farm in Surrey and we made such a good choice. Two of our bridesmaids Peta and Maddy kindly viewed a few wedding venues for us, we knew we wanted a barn and we felt the rustic charms of Hookhouse Farm matched our vision perfectly. Hookhouse Farm was a completely dry hire venue – giving us the flexibility to choose the suppliers we wanted to fit our vision.
Carole, the farm owner was an absolute dream to deal with. She was one of the loveliest parts of the wedding planning process. She came with plenty of ideas, but also let us do our own thing and she’d done an amazing job stocking a store cupboard of dreams to help us decorate our venue.
Our ceremony was conducted on the lawn of the farmhouse. Our guests were perched on hay bales and we stood under a rose arbour. The farm had a gorgeous old oak tree with a swing where we took photos and our reception was held in the barn. We were so lucky that the sun shined on our day, meaning we could have our ceremony outside.
The Details & Décor
Our details and décor were a bit of a hodge podge of ideas that ended up working brilliantly. Dave and I travelled through Japan for a month and learnt about their tradition for folding 1000 paper cranes to celebrate major life events. We loved Japan and had such a special time there so decided to go for it. We gave ourselves plenty of time to fold them by hand but a special shout needs to go to Dave’s mum who personally folded around 600 of them! We strung these up in the barn to create a bright a colourful paper crane backdrop that looked amazing.
Dave’s Mum also deserves an extra special mention because she came up with the idea for incorporating dried flowers into the décor and was absolutely brilliant in mass producing car loads of statice, alliums and grasses that looked simply stunning in Carole at Hookhouse Farms’ vintage milk jugs, churns and vases.
Our final touch was to collect masses of bottles of Gin and top them with both dried flowers and fresh flowers from Beehaven Flowers which we dotted around the venue.
As we had so much to do with the venue we hired Emily from Emily K Weddings to help us to coordinate it on the day. She did a fantastic job bringing it all together on the morning of the wedding.
As part of our original budgeting we agreed that wedding cake wasn’t so important to us, and that Dave’s Mum and Rosie’s Mum and Granny made the best cakes in the world. So instead of one big cake we asked 5 family members to bring a cake which we served immediately after the ceremony with tea (a brilliant tip from Anna, our photographer). We had lemon cake, coffee and walnut, red velvet cupcakes, Victoria sponge and a Chocolate Guinness cake. Considering we only had 60 guests – very little was left at the end!
I agonised over flowers for a long time. I would have loved big floral arrangements but realistically we just didn’t have the budget. I also struggle with the environmental impact associated with the floral industry. We considered doing our own flowers at one point but decided that we had enough to do with our dry hire venue. By choosing Heidi at Beehaven Flowers I felt we struck gold! Heidi grew all our flowers in her own garden just 10 minutes from our venue meaning they were seasonal, fresh and had a low environmental impact. She provided us with a bridal bouquet, our bridesmaids bouquets, the buttonholes and 6 buckets of beautiful flowers for us to decorate our venue with. Luckily, I wasn’t too set on specific flowers or colours and was able to trust completely in Heidi’s advice on what would look good together. Our only guidance was pinks, oranges, yellows and orange colours and we were blown away with what she created!
We were really lucky that one of our wedding guests is a really talented make up artist and she kindly did my make up as a wedding gift. I wore ‘pillow talk’ by Charlotte Tilbury on my lips.
Laura Pinson did an amazing job with my hair, I wanted Hollywood waves and she was a brilliant calming influence on the day.
I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear white and I also wanted them to wear something that made them feel comfortable, I wasn’t concerned with them matching each other. My only stipulation was a dress that was midi or knee length. One of my bridesmaids wore a dress from H&M, two had matching dresses which they shortened from an ASOS dress and the fourth was a dress from ASOS. We gifted our bridesmaids fuchsia clutch bags and they chose to wear shoes and jewellery they already owned.
Our groomsmen were fairly low maintenance. We asked them to wear their own navy suits and gave them a green tie each from ASOS to wear.
The Readings & Music
We had two readings – An exert from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach read by Rosie’s friend Kate and Union by Robert Fulgrum read by Dave’s friend Adam.
Choosing the music was harder than we anticipated. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental piece of music called ‘L’imaginere’ by one of our favourite Australian bands Gang of Youths. It still makes me feel emotional to this day. Our exit song was ‘Get Ready’ by the Temptations and our first dance was to ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac. I loved our choices and felt they really reflected us as a couple.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I absolutely loved my wedding dress but I didn’t get caught up too much in finding ‘THE dress’. I knew from the start that I didn’t have thousands to spend on the perfect gown – plus I knew we’d be marrying on a farm and it would be likely to get trashed!
After visiting many bridal boutiques in Melbourne and trying on beautiful dresses I never really felt like ‘me’. I felt more like someone dressing up as a bride. I knew I wanted a dress I could eat in (nothing skin tight!) and one I could dance in. I also wanted to wear a normal bra – I didn’t want to faff with anything strapless or backless!
I settled on a high street dress from Savannah Miller’s range in Debenhams. I had the neckline remade to a v-neck. I loved the end result – although I had a few sleepless nights worrying whether it would all come together.
My favourite purchase was my dried flower crown – purchased online from etsy on a last minute whim. I particularly love that it’s still in one piece and hanging on my wall right now!
I added earrings that Dave had previously bought me, a gold necklace he gave me on the day as a wedding gift and a gold bracelet from Cos.
I needed a block heeled shoe and I knew I didn’t want anything white so after many, many, many attempts I chose a pair of pink slingbacks from New Look.
Dave wore a navy Ted Baker suit, with a white shirt, a Ted Baker tie and his beloved brown RM Williams boots which he purchased in Australia. He also had a grey waistcoat but we were lucky to have a very sunny day so it was ditched last minute for comfort! He had cufflinks engraved with the initials of his late grandparents too.
Choosing Anna was one of the best wedding decisions we made! We were originally drawn to her beautiful bright style and her ability to capture the silliness and irreverence of weddings as well as the more loving and intimate moments. She had a fantastic picture on her Instagram of a group of bridesmaids smushing their faces against a glass window and when we saw that we knew she was the one.
We didn’t want to spend too much time on posed photography, and Anna took some incredible shots in just half an hour – I think I called her a photography wizard at the time and I stand by that! Anna also messaged us before the wedding to ask if we wanted a second shooter, her boyfriend Todd. We’re so glad we did as he was able to capture some brilliant shots of Dave and the groomsmen before the wedding whilst Anna was with me.
Our photos are just phenomenal. They perfectly captured the fun, the love and the joy of our wedding.
We headed off to Italy after our wedding spending a week in Puglia and a week in Sicily. It was the most perfect relaxing fortnight where we ate and drank some of the most fantastic food and wine.
There are so many to choose from. It was brilliant to bring all our friends and family together in one spot. Having the sun beat down after a week of rain was a real treat (after a week of stress!). Our speeches were fantastic, especially our best man and maid of honour who both brought the house down.
Our food was exceptional. We really wanted adventurous and interesting food and our caterer Donosita Social Club really delivered. We served a 14 course Spanish style feast. Our guests still tell us the food was the best wedding food they’d ever had.
A special mention needs to go to Field Marshall, the Farm’s enormous bull that mooed at entertaining moments and was subject to a fair few photos!
Our favourite memory is the last song we played at our wedding, Champagne Supernova by Oasis. Our families were stood in a circle around us and everyone was drunkenly crying whilst we looked at each other in exhausted, deliriously happy bewilderment that we’d pulled the whole thing off.
Advice For Other Couples
Prioritise what’s important to you at the beginning and spend your budget accordingly. Accept that some things will go wrong and that’s completely fine. Invest in a planner or coordinator, especially if it’s a dry hire venue. They will be worth their weight in gold. Hiring Emily, our coordinator was the best decision we made. She took care of absolutely everything.
Remember that you won’t please everyone, so try to please yourselves over anyone else!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Anna Pumer Photography & Todd Lawton
Emily K Weddings
Donosita Social Club
How very wonderful.
Rosie and Dave, thank you ever so much for sharing your really lovely wedding celebrations with us xo Lou