There are some weddings that are just so adorable you can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and this Spring wedding at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk with its pretty details, lawn games, beautiful golden hour portraits and incredibly smiley bride is definitely one of those weddings.
Jenny looks an absolute vision in her Fleur Naomi Neoh wedding dress, one of RMW’s all time favourite gowns, and yours too judging by the amount of social media likes and engagement we receive across our channels whenever we share a real bride in this timeless gown.
Katherine Ashdown Photography tells the story of this fairytale wedding beautifully, make sure you look out for the blooms too (not that you can miss them), and table plan, as they too will set your pulses racing.
Jenny The Bride: Going wedding dress shopping was actually one of the parts of wedding-planning that I wasn’t particularly fussed about in the beginning. I didn’t really believe in finding ‘the one’ and thought that I would try some dresses on, find one I quite liked and that would be that! In the end, buying my dress by Naomi Neoh was one of my favourite parts of the whole process. I tried on ‘Fleur’ in a blush colour at a stockist’s first and loved the swish of the silk chiffon skirt, dramatic train, and delicate lace jacket. I decided to visit Naomi’s studio so I could try on the ivory version and from that first appointment right through to collecting my dress, I had such a wonderful experience. The ladies there are so warm and friendly, and went above and beyond to ensure I was 100% happy – I had a bespoke lace jacket with capped sleeves made and the final dress truly was a work of art. It was such a special experience to have Naomi herself work on my dress and one I’ll always remember.
I loved my shoes from Rachel Simpson; the leather is buttery soft and I managed to make it until 10.30pm before I decided to change into some sparkly trainers!
Our make-up and hair was delivered by the dream-team of Emily at Love Moi Makeup and Tracey Ward. These ladies are so talented and were so calming but also a lot of fun to have around on the morning of the wedding.
As I was keen for my dress to be the star of the show I kept my jewellery to a minimum, wearing a rose gold bracelet and some diamond earrings that were a wedding gift from Matt. I chose a new perfume, Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt, so I’ll be reminded of the day whenever I wear it in the future.
Matt wanted to wear the same suit as his ushers and so Moss Bros was an obvious choice to allow Matt to buy a tailored suit and the ushers to hire theirs. We bought the ushers tie clips with their initials engraved on them from Etsy.
When we found Hengrave Hall online, it had everything we wanted – an exclusive-use venue, beautiful rooms where we could hold both our civil ceremony and reception, countryside surroundings, and lots of accommodation for our guests to stay in so we could continue the celebrations over breakfast the next morning. It even had a boys’ room, complete with pool table and TV, where Matt and his ushers could get ready. In real life, it completely exceeded our expectations and we booked almost immediately after our first viewing. I would like to give a special mention to all of the team at Hengrave who were an absolute joy to work with during the run up to the wedding and on the day itself.
As Hengrave is such a stunning venue with lots of character, we decided not to overdo it on decorations to allow the details of the rooms and the flowers to shine through. We didn’t set out with a particular colour scheme in mind, we just chose colours we liked and hoped everything worked together in the end! We were keen to make the day as personal to us as possible and so I designed all of the stationary myself, did the calligraphy for the place names, and enlisted the help of a friend to create our table ‘numbers’ – mini canvases painted with a different maths symbol for each table to combine my love of art and Matt’s love of mathematics. As a reference to how we met at the University of Warwick, known as ‘The Bubble’, we had little tubes of bubbles on the tables. I was inspired by a real wedding post I read on Rock My Wedding for our table plan and asked a family friend to create us something similar.
Sarah at Bramble & Berry was our florist and did an incredible job with the bouquets, table arrangements and buttonholes. We met with Sarah a couple of times to discuss our plans and were so impressed with how she captured our vision. We wanted relaxed, natural arrangements with lots of green foliage, white flowers with some pops of colour, and the result blew us all away. Sarah also incorporated lavender, the national flower of Portugal, as a nod to Matt’s European ancestry, and added the final decorative touches to the cake and signs.
The Wedding Party Fashion
I’ve always loved the ‘mis-matched’ look for bridesmaids and wanted my ladies to be able to wear a dress they really liked and felt themselves in. I came across For Her and For Him on a wedding blog and I’m so glad we found it! It has such a wide range of styles that you can have made in a variety of colours and it was really easy to create a dress that each of my bridesmaids loved. The process was simple and quick, and the customer service absolutely fantastic. We were all so impressed by the quality of the dresses when they arrived and my bridesmaids all looked stunning on the day. I gave them each a mini bottle of the perfume I was wearing on the day, as well as a piece of rose gold jewellery to suit their different styles.
The ceremony was one of my favourite parts of the day. We had a civil ceremony with 3 readings, read by our Mums and my oldest friend, including a quote from a novel by Terry Pratchett, one of Matt’s favourite authors. My brother played music by Einaudi on the piano as guests were arriving and during the signing of the register and my other brother and one of Matt’s were our witnesses. It was really important to us to involve our family members wherever we could.
Make sure you let your other half know if you’re not going to wear your engagement ring on the normal finger for this part of the day. I swapped mine onto my right hand but forgot to tell Matt. When it came to the exchanging of rings he took my right hand as he was using my engagement ring to remind himself which finger to put my wedding ring on. Cue a bit of confusion and me having to reassure him that the left hand was in fact the correct one!
For the evening entertainment we used Dreamwave Events, the recommended DJ supplier at Hengrave. The lighting and music was exactly what we wanted and the dancing carried on until the very end of the night! We also had a photobooth from Capture Lounge, which was a great addition to the evening’s entertainment and really popular with all of our guests.
Milsom Catering are the suppliers at Hengrave and are absolutely fantastic. Both the food and service were exceptional and I still think about the salted caramel brownie that we had for our dessert! My wonderful Mum made our naked wedding cake, which was decorated by my talented bridesmaids using inspiration from pinterest.
Photography was really important for us and we knew this was something we were happy to invest in for the day. I remember coming across Katherine Ashdown’s work a few years before we got engaged. I love her style, the way she captures perfect candid moments, and her use of natural light that gives all her photos a wonderful brightness. I contacted Kathy immediately after we reserved the venue and thankfully she was available! On the day Kathy was so organised, calm and friendly and she captured our day perfectly – we will always treasure the photographs she took.
Like a lot of couples, we weren’t sure if we wanted a videographer to begin with, but after reading about so many couples who regretted not having a video done, I decided to look into it. Tom from Browns Films was highly recommended by our photographer Kathy and after visiting his website it was clear why. We loved his relaxed style and had a lot of fun with both Tom and Kathy on the day.
If you are able to, have an engagement shoot with your photographer, especially if like us you are slightly nervous in front of the camera. Ours helped us to get used to the camera but also learn how to make the most of the time we had for photos on the wedding day itself. The photos and memories are what you have left after the day is over, so make sure they are the best they can be.
Ladies, if you have even the slightest urge to do a speech, do it! I am so happy I had the chance to say my own thank yous and speak about the man I love in front of my friends and family, it shouldn’t just be the men that do all the talking!