I don’t think there is anything better than a happy, fun and joy filled real wedding. I mean take today’s beautiful wedding day for example, there is love and smiles aplenty. It’s an utter pleasure to be featuring WWW readers Jennifer and Aaron’s story, who were hitched on the 27th August 2017 at Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands on a glorious summers day. They set their hearts on an outdoor woodland ceremony and it was just magical. The aisle was lined with flowers upon log stumps, lanterns and flowers in jars swayed from the trees and a beautiful rustic floral arch was the perfect entrance to the glade. I can’t think of a better spot to say I do.
The celebrations continued with a focus on the gardens, with games and outdoor seating to entertain and delight. There was also a live band to ensure the party really started and the fire pit and toasted marshmallows in the evening were a real hit with guests. I am sure it all looked so romantic come evening. I especially love the sunset shots by their brilliant photographer Lucy Long Photography, just divine, thanks for sharing these incredible images today Lucy.
I also have to shout about the amazing rainbow macaron tower cake, the inclusion of the couple’s cute pup and the DIY letter lights. Then there were the stylish outfits, Aaron was suited and booted in a a grey suit and blue accessories while Jennifer looked radiant in a slinky figure hugging gown by Suzanne Neville. Wow! What a way to begin a beautiful marriage.
We went away for our 4 year anniversary, spent the day by the seaside eating fish and chips! When we got to our hotel, we went to the gardens and found a quiet spot where he proposed. It was such a perfect moment, he’d even designed a ring – I was so impressed!
I’d seen two pictures on Pinterest that inspired me, one was the colours of hot pink, turquoise blue and sunny yellow. The other was a beautiful arch of flowers. This was our starting point and what I kept coming back to when I was chatting with our suppliers. As an actress I’m quite a visual person and loved the idea of creating something fun, almost immersive, for our guests to enjoy – that’s how the woodland ‘nook’ came about; a magical space amongst the trees. The flower arch worked as a kind of entrance and the festoon lights and lanterns looked incredible after dark. The fire pit and toasted marshmallows went down well too!
The Planning Process
It took nearly a year all in, lots of phone calls and visits to the venue and suppliers. We bought a few things ourselves, blankets, cushions and lawn games. We hired the majority from Nadine at Nerissa Eve Weddings who was so helpful. She even got her husband to build the arch for me to be the backdrop for our photos, she said yes to every idea I had!
Honestly we’re not sure, it seemed that as our excitement grew so did our ambitions! Thankfully family stepped in to help us get all the extras we wanted including a fantastic band called Adam and the Soujers they really made the night!
We chose The Woodlands at Hothorpe Hall as our venue because everyone was so friendly! We didn’t want a patricianly formal or traditional day and they were happy to be flexible with the running schedule and were open to all our ideas about decorating the grounds of the venue and the trees. We knew we wanted the day to feel relaxed and fun for everyone, Julia and the rest of her team really took the time to help our day be the best it could be. They even allowed us to have our dog there on the day!
The Dress & Accessories
I found my dress in a Suzanne Neville boutique in Kensington, in a sample sale, saving the best part of 3k! I then asked a dear family friend Janie Scates, who owns Dream Gowns dress making company, to alter the neckline, adding capped sleeves and creating a dream gown of my own!
I bought dance shoes so that I’d be comfortable all day. We spray-painted them turquoise, that was my ‘something blue’.
The Bouquet Workshop made a beautiful colourful bouquet with ribbons and decorated the grounds with jars and lanterns. Zoe was fantastic in planning the look of the arch, liaising with Nadine to get create something bespoke. She also added fresh flowers to our cake!
Janie and I had the idea of using left over beading detail from the dress as a head band, Zoe Locke my hairdresser added clips which helped finish off my look. Zoe and I chatted about the idea of 1940 Hollywood glamour, I wanted my hair to look effortlessly glamorous.
My dear friend Suzie Lavington created my make-up look, she works with a beautiful vegan, cruelty free brand and had given me loads of advice to help me prep my skin to be the perfect canvas.
Together Suzie and Zoe had such a positive, calming energy the prefect temperament for pre-wedding nerves!
Aaron bought his suit at Slater Menswear, Bromley, we wanted something he’d wear again!
The Readings & Music
We love Ludovico Einaudi, we’d been to see him at Blenham Palace a couple of years previously, and so it was fitting we chose his music to play throughout the day, I walked down the aisle to Fairytale; beautiful. I heard it in a yoga class a week or so afterwards and started crying! Lol!
We wanted a fun colourful cake to reflect the theme of the wedding and something a bit different. Aaron loves macaroons so we decided on a tower of macaroons as the cake in lots of bright colours. It looked and tasted amazing!
The bespoke wooden decorations were created by Gracie Browne, Kerry did a beautiful dog cake topper based on a picture of our dog, we loved it.
The Details & Décor
We wanted to create some outdoor areas in the woodland around the venue for guests to gather and have fun, a garden party with games rather than a stuffy wedding!
I was particularly grateful that Nadine (Nerissa Eve Weddings décor) Zoe (my florist) and Lyndsey and Gwen (our cake ladies) worked together so well.
Janie, the dress maker also added a velvet curtain to the arch, she sourced it from a west end theatre; everything came together so beautifully.
Also, I have to mention the LOVE sign which my, now, husband made for me! I had spoken with disappointment about how I couldn’t justify more money on decorations. His response was “bet I could make it cheaper than it is to rent” and he did! Knew I’d found a good ‘un!
Our fantastic photographer Lucy Long was brilliant, she has such a lovely way of putting you at ease and helping you feel relaxed when the focus is on you. She even let me make some suggestions and the photos with the sparklers came out incredibly. Absolutely delighted with all our photos and totally loved the keepsake box the prints came in. Highly recommend peeps!
Olga Gava did a fantastic job of filming the day, she caught some fantastic moments during the speeches, really pleased with her work.
A mini moon in Norfolk with our pup, followed by an epic Californian road trip in the new year. So glad we did it that way, gave us something to look forward to after all the confetti settled.
We asked my best friend, Sarah, to wear a beautiful, colourful lehenga sari, our twist on a bridesmaid dress. I couldn’t believe we could find such a perfect fit for our colour scheme. We asked guests to come in bright, summery colours; I particularly love the pics Lucy Long took of me and my hens, she caught the fun of the day perfectly.
Dancing with my dad, the Mr and Mrs game, laughing with Aaron, toasting marshmallows with some very special people.
Advice For Other Couples
- Samples sales are amazing for getting a dress, if you might be able to arrange alterations and customisations.
- Make any plans you have as a couple, then share these plans with friends and family. This might save you from feeling pressure from people who have their own expectations of your day.
- Get dancing lessons, we’re so glad we did. Not only did it build confidence but it really gave us time together, as a couple, during a very, crazy, busy new exciting part of our relationship.
- Oh, you might need to plan for additional help, more than the Events Co-Ordinator provided by the venue. Perhaps a Stage Manager type role for the day and a few helpful friends to help tidy up with the ‘get out’ afterwards.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Lucy Long Photography
The Bouquet Workshop
Compton and Kennedy
Gracie Browne Designs
Jennifer and Aaron, thanks so much to you both for sharing your beautiful wedding celebration with us. It sounded as though it was just perfect xo Lou