Since we launched the #ShareTheHonestLove campaign, I’ve been so drawn to images that stir me emotionally, rather than excite me because of how glittery and sparkly or full of unusual detail they are. These photographs by Kitchener Photography are simply breathtaking – I love how they capture the landscape and essence of the natural environment, but I simply adore those portrait shots towards the end.
Teachers Chris and Meredith tied the knot over a four-day long weekend celebration on Lundy Island – a three-mile long island off the coast of Devon in the Bristol Channel, owned by the National Trust. The Island has a number of cottages (left over from the various families and communities that have lived on the island over the centuries) that are now rented out for holidays by the Landmark Trust. The scenery is astonishingly beautiful it is easy to see why Chris and Meredith feel deep in love with this place and chose to marry there.
“We found Lundy Island on google! We were looking for a place that felt private and could accommodate a lot of Americans – I didn’t want to ask my family to come to the UK just for a single day, so I had always had the idea of making a long weekend of it. Then we called up Lundy Island about the possibility of getting married there – they let us know that they can only do around three weddings a year, and said that they wouldn’t let us book the island until we came out to visit and understand the logistic issues we were getting ourselves into! So Chris and I headed out to the island for a weekend and instantly fell in love. That first visit was wonderful – we had never felt so completely content. We knew it would be the perfect place to bring our family and friends.”
Photography Copyright (c) 2014, Kitchener Photography
“The Island is windswept and gorgeous – and is a total escape from modern life: there’s no wifi, little to no phone service and no paved roads or lights. There IS a pub however – the Marisco Tavern, which provides pints and truly unrivalled lamb burgers to holidaymakers and the team who live on the island full time.
I’m always that one who has my camera or iPhone out – it was so wonderful to just put everything away for the weekend, rely on Joanna and Dylan for the photos, and just truly be present to enjoy my wedding.“
“We were able to have the island to ourselves, which was amazing. I recommend all brides and grooms should attempt to take over an entire village for their wedding.”
“We kept things really simple in the lambing shed where we held the reception. The sheep had been cleared out the week before, so the floor was swept and covered in pine shavings (amusingly it smelled like a freshly cleaned guinea pig cage). We decorated the space with white bunting, dimmable festoon lights and plenty of fresh flowers.
On the table with had white lanterns from Ikea (with battery-powered tea lights – absolutely nothing flammable allowed in the shed!)”
“We marked each place at dinner with a plastic farm animal toy that I had sprayed painted white (hat tip to Pinterest) – these doubled as a tiny momento of people’s time in the lambing shed.”
“I thought I had found my dress very early on – it was Cypress by BHLDN (Anthropologie’s wedding line) and I was hugely proud of myself for finding a dress that I loved that didn’t clash with my belief that I shouldn’t spend more than I would on a year’s worth of car insurance on a single item of clothing.
About a month before the wedding, I took a trip to Cleveland, Ohio where I grew up (my parents moved to NYC when I went to Cambridge). While there my dad took me to the storage unit that held the things left over from our house move – and there, under the huge stacks of unmarked, dust covered boxes, I found my mother’s wedding dress. It fit like a dream, and except for a couple of tasteful changes (sorry mom, the silk roses and massive eighties bow HAD TO GO) I knew I wanted to wear it. I think my mom didn’t want to admit how pleased it made her to see me want to wear her dress, because in her wonderful way she would never have dreamed of suggesting it in case I felt pressured or something (silly mama).”
“I did have a mishap with her dress on the day – as I zipped it up, the zipper completely split, at which point my sister had to sew me in. Turns out, after my parents’ wedding ceremony, my dad swept my mom into his arms and ripped out the zipper – she had to be sewn into it for the reception by the catering chef using his meat basting needle – it’s now a family tradition to be sewn into this dress – clearly!
I also decided to wear my much-loved BHLDN dress during the reception and during our portrait session with the Kitcheners.”
“I did all of the stationery myself, using printed.com. I loved having total creative control over the designs, and it gave me a huge sense of satisfaction to see my work in print.”
“All of my ‘Best Women’ wore dresses from Warehouse and matching rings that my sister brought with her from Copenhagen, where she currently lives. They were all similar and yet subtly unique since they are hand-made, and they were truly lovely. I wore one as well, so we were all united throughout the ceremony.”
“Our photographers were The Kitcheners. Photography is a major hobby of mine, and long before I was engaged I always kept an eye out for photographers whose aesthetics I really loved. Unfortunately when it came time to find a photographer for my own wedding, I got incredibly stressed over the whole decision – all the photographers whose styles I liked seemed to be in America or wanting double, triple my budget – that is until I found the Kitcheners’ work on a wedding blog (yours, I believe!).
What I really loved about their work was that each and every photo looks like a beautiful work of art – they are truly masters of the breathtaking landscape. I always found the idea of hanging up loads of wedding photos on the wall really awkward, but when I look at the Kitcheners’ work, I don’t see “wedding photo” I just see beautiful, beautiful photos.”
“Joanna and Dylan were so wonderful throughout the weekend – they took a gamble and sacrificed their connections to the outside world (and my apologies to all of the brides and grooms that tried to contact them that weekend!) to hang out with 80+ crazy strangers on an island. They put us totally at ease, and we had a great time doing our portraits with them. In the best way possible, we almost forgot they were there sometimes during the wedding! They just seemed like two of our other friends who, oh yeah, were taking some truly stunning photos along the way.”
“Chris and I met at Cambridge, when I was a fresher and Chris was a third-year. Our friends love to tease us about the story – normally shy Chris uncharacteristically picking me out of the crowd for a dance – he has some truly signature moves that I clearly couldn’t resist. We somehow both knew right from the start that we would get married one day – it seemed inevitable. We picked out an antique ring that I loved the unique look of together in Brighton, near where Chris grew up, and he held on to it until he found the right moment – which happened to be in Lake Como, on our way back to the UK from a ski holiday about three years after we first met.
We kept our engagement between us for a long time though – it was almost a year before we announced it to all our friends with a video I made of photos and videos from the four years we had been together. Although a few friends were upset we had been keeping a secret for so long, it was really lovely to have something so special that only we knew. All in all, it was about a year and a half between when we told our friends and family we were engaged and our wedding.”
“Our wedding was entirely inspired by our surroundings on Lundy. It really dictated my entire approach to the event – not only the way I chose to decorate, but also the whole ethos of the weekend. We wanted people to really settle in, relax, get to know each other and celebrate together. We wanted people to fall in love with Lundy as much as we had – to unplug for a few days, disconnect from all our phones and facebooks and work emails, and just enjoy spending time with a beautiful place with some really wonderful people.”
“We did want the event to feel totally inclusive too – although my family is not religious, Chris’ family is, so I knew having a church wedding would be important to them. Because of how much I love Chris and his family, it became important to me too. I actually ended up really enjoying the time we spent as a couple figuring out our service, finding readings and hymns that were meaningful to both of us without excluding religious nor non-religious people, and getting to talk more to each other about how we were raised and what we believe in.”
“I was worried because of Lundy’s protected environment that it would be impossible to arrange flowers, so I put it off until the very end. Literally the week before the wedding, I found out that we would be able to have flowers under a number of conditions, and so I began the frantic task of finding a florist who could accommodate us under the very short notice. Thanks to google I found The Great British Florist. They were so great to work with – they worked with the island warden to make sure they weren’t including any invasive species that might damage the island’s delicate ecosystem, and went to the trouble of sterilising every bloom for us.
I let The Great British Florist team pick the blooms based on what was fresh. We got a bridal bouquet, bouquets for the best women, buttonholes for the menfolk, flowers for all of the parents, and huge buckets of mixed blooms for the reception. The morning of the wedding the best women and I arranged all of the reception flowers into a mix of buckets, jam jars and bottles – it was a lovely way to start the wedding day.”
“My shoes were from Aldo – I purchased them just a couple of nights before we left for the wedding and they only cost £16!”
“My veil was my something borrowed – it had belonged to my late Aunt Lyn, my mother’s sister. I discovered it carefully packaged with her wedding dress alongside my mother’s wedding things, about a month before the wedding and it was so beautiful, more beautiful than any of the veils I had been looking at online or in the bridal shops.
My mother carried the veil back to the US to give to my Aunt Cam (who was Lyn’s twin sister) in case my cousin wants to wear it one day.”
“The island land rover (in bridal white, of course) picked me, my parents and the best women up and carried us to the church. The most important mode of transport however was our beloved MS Oldenburg – the ferry that carries passengers over from Ilfracombe to Lundy Island over a 1hr45min journey. We were lucky with the weather and the waves – not too many cases of seasickness amongst the guests!”
“My Dad walked me down the aisle to ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ by Arvo Part, played by Chris’ dad on the piano and his uncle Nigel on the violin.
My favourite moment from the whole day was turning to walk down the aisle – seeing Chris choking back tears, I immediately burst out laughing and sobbing at the same time –we were both emotional wrecks not because of nerves but mostly just because of how much we really love each other and how pumped we were to finally be getting married! The whole ceremony was so, so lovely – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end, though.”
“My engagement ring was a turn of the century antique that we found in the North Laines in Brighton. We had a bad experience with our wedding band supplier, so sadly, I won’t name them here.”
“During our ceremony, Chris’ brother read Union by Robert Fulghum.’
Union by Robert Fulghum
‘You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. Form that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken in the matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world: this – is my husband, this – is my wife.’
“My father read a passage from from Corinthians and my sister and mother read an extract from Winnie the Pooh.”
“My childhood best friend Emily Hacala baked our cake for us, with no advance warning! My mom had brought some yellow cake mix and buttercream frosting from America (childhood favourites) and the night before the wedding all of the best women (what I called my bridesmaids) gathered together in the kitchen of the house we were staying in and told stories over tea, dipped Oreos in frosting and licked batter from spoons – all while Emily baked.
Thanks to jetlag, Emily couldn’t sleep so woke up early on the morning of the wedding and surprised me with the most simple and beautifully decorated cake. It was even more perfect than if I had sat down with her and planned it for months.”
“All of our food was catered for by the pub on the island, the Marisco Tavern. The food across the entire weekend can be summed up as: Lamb, delicious delicious lamb.
We relied on ourselves to provide the entertainment – during our reception we had an ipod and some big speakers – all our group really needs to have a most excellent dance party (which lasted right into the next morning… Chris and I made it to 4am).”
“We chose ‘Abacus’ by Fionn Regan – but that didn’t end up being our first dance song in the end! Unfortunately the song wouldn’t play from my iPod so we had to think quickly and improvise – we ended up dancing our first dance to ‘All my Days’ by Alexi Murdoch.”
“Chris says that his favourite moments were immediately after getting married and feeling so happy – and getting to share our happiness with family and friends. Chris and I also really loved stepping back and looking at what we, in our little act of getting married, had created: we finally had the opportunity to bring together all of our friends and family, and so many new (and sometimes unexpected) friendships were formed.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom…
“Pinterest is a great tool but I think it, with its endless streams of beautiful, sometimes unachievably great ideas, distracts us from what really matters. It was my saviour though, I would have lost my sanity without it.
Just remember to have a little perspective on this whole “wedding” thing. What is important is the love between you and your partner. At the end of the day, regardless of what you’re wearing, or how the band sounds, or what the food tasted like, you will be married (whatever that means to you) and you will be surrounded by love. If it’s just you two, getting married on a mountaintop or in a registry office, you will be surrounded by your love for each other. If you are having a big, massive wedding or anything in between you will be surrounded by people who, for at least that moment in your lives, think you’re pretty awesome people. Revel in that and forget all the details.”
What an exceptionally, incredibly beautiful day. Thank you so, so much Chris and Meredith – and our biggest of congratulations to you both from all at Love My Dress.
If you adore these photographs as much as I do, then may I encourage you to visit the website of The Kitcheners – my fan girl status has risen to a whole new level after preparing this wedding to share with you all today.
Love Annabel xx
Photographer – Kitchener Photography
Venue – Lundy Island
Wedding Dress – 1980s vintage (belonged to the bride’s mum) + Cypress by BHLDN (evening dress)
Veil – vintage/heirloom
Shoes – Aldo
Grooms Suit – Banana Republic + Moss Bros
Bridesmaids – Warehouse
Florist – The Great British Florist.
Cake – DIY, a friend
Transport – Lundy Island jeep
Catering – The Marisco Tavern
Stationery – DIY (the bride, using printed.com)