Amy Mair Couture For a Fun, Woodland Inspired Humanist Wedding in Autumn

Amy Mair Couture autumn wedding

Stay right where you are for some seriously gorgeous autumnal wedding inspiration today. Woodland and rustic inspired weddings lend themselves very generously to every season, but if I had to choose, I’d say there’s something particularly magical about autumn; the turning leaves and golden light.

Our couple today also (bravely!) held their Humanist ceremony outdoors, but it turned out to be the most gloriously sunny day, and the bright blue skies proved to be a perfect backdrop for their joyful celebration.

Meet Hannah, a midwife, and Chris, an independent coffee shop manager. They were married on the 4 October 2018 at the wonderfully named Owlpen Manor Estate in Gloucestershire, in the beautiful Cotswolds. The couple live in London but were keen for a rural getaway for their wedding day, especially as Hannah grew up in Gloucestershire. After viewing seven potential venues in one day, Owlpen was the last, and Hannah and Chris were enchanted by its seclusion.

Images by Stu Jotham Photography

Amy Mair couture wedding dress

“We liked the idea a rustic, woodland, ethereal vibe. We wanted an autumn wedding because of the amazing colours. I decorated the venue myself with greenery from the Lily Pad Florist, Stroud, logs for the tables were provided by a friend, jam jars we painstakingly collected and Chris washed! I wanted to use greenery and wood to keep it fairly simple and understated – as the autumn colours of the grounds were already naturally occurring. I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and some previous weddings I’d attended.”

There’s a beautiful, bohemian Art Nouveau feel to Hannah’s dress by Amy Mair Couture, with its pretty embellished tulle sleeves. Hannah made her choice at brilliant Little Book member boutique, Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth, south Wales.

“I actually stumbled across this boutique when visiting one of my bridesmaids in Cardiff. I followed the Instagram page and made an appointment, and knowing that the shop wasn’t full of traditional bridal wear, I was excited. I wanted a fairly relaxed fit, nothing too tight or bling as this isn’t me.”

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“Rachel welcomed me to her boutique and introduced me to ‘the girls’- as she calls them .The beautiful non traditional dresses didn’t disappoint.I tried on about ten but fell in love with one. The whole experience was so relaxing and Rachel made me feel like a friend rather than a client. She really is passionate about doing bridal your way and champions Welsh designers.I didn’t buy the dress straight away as made some more appointments in London where we live, and I didn’t want to rush in and buy the first dress I tried. I wish I had. Honestly go with your gut!”

“After several more appointments I kept comparing them all to the beautiful ‘Rowe’ by Amy Mair Couture at Rachel’s boutique. I booked another appointment and took my mum’s best friend, my bridesmaid and my auntie as sadly my mum passed away in 2003. I tried the dress on again – there were tears! I knew it was the one. I looked forward to my appointments with Rachel and the designer Amy. Nothing was too much trouble,  and even when I told her I was going to be having a baby before the first proper fitting, she made me feel at ease.”

“I loved the cut of the dress as it complemented my shape well, falling perfectly in all the right places. The button detail and the intricate overlay was dreamy and made me feel like a total goddess.”

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Hannah finished off her dress with a blush pink ribbon sash embellished with silk flowers from E&W Couture to match the colours of both the bridesmaid’s outfits and flowers perfectly.

“My necklace and earrings were ruby and gold, and belonged to my grandma, and I wanted this as my something old. It felt lovely to have something of hers to remind me of her on my special day.”

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Hannah’s hair was styled into a pretty twist by Charlotte Parker Bridal Hair, and adorned with an autumnal floral crown of waxflowers, roses, thistles and greenery from florist Gemma at The Lily Pad Florist, and a simple veil borrowed from a friend.

Gem Goulding created Hannah’s fresh and pretty make-up using products from Charlotte Tilbury, and prior to the wedding day, eyelashes by Beauty By Emma and nails by Georgina Apnew.

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Chris looked great in trousers and a shirt from Next together with an oatmeal coloured tweed jacket from James Lear of Arundel. Chris’ burgundy pocket square and bow tie (as well as his braces, and those of his groomsmen) also came courtesy of James Lear of Arundel, and Chris finished off his outfit with classic Dr. Marten boots.

“Chris didn’t want a traditional suit, and James Lear of Arundel (in Nailsworth) owner Polly- helped us massively – such a gem and great to shop locally.”

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“We met in 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. And it was all thanks to our good friend Ruth. Chris decided, after meeting Ruth in the coffee shop where he worked, that he would pluck up the courage to get her number and ask her out. Unfortunately for Chris, Ruth prefers ladies! But the two became drinking pals and then Chris and I were introduced. After several tequilas, a lot of Skype calls and a few months of a long distance relationship we started our journey together in the UK, when Chris flew back on Valentine’s Day to be with me.”

“We got engaged at Christmas 2016 – Chris was very nervous about the whole thing and had planned to put the ring in a box in the stocking – however things didn’t go to plan and he panicked. I didn’t help the situation by making a comment about ‘I wonder how many people will get engaged at Christmas, it’s so cliche.’ Poor guy! He then took me to the bottom of the garden to get my present and proposed there. I looked up to see our families in the kitchen watching on, clapping and cheering.”

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The couple were legally married in a very simple ceremony at Cheltenham Registry Office two days before their celebration at Owlpen Manor, with just Hannah’s brother and sister as witnesses. For their larger day, they chose to have a Humanist ceremony and celebrant.

“We had a humanist ceremony as neither of us are very religious, and liked the idea of being able to put a more personal touch to our wedding.We wanted to get married outside at Owlpen in the gardens as we fell in love with the grounds – weather permitting – but could not legally get married there. A humanist wedding worked perfectly as we were able to get our celebrant, Phillipa Howell to tell a little story about us and we could write our own promises.”

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The bridesmaids walked down the aisle first, with Hannah’s sister carrying the couple’s eight-week old son in her arms. Next came Hannah with her dad, to a favourite song, Hold You by Alex Clare, sung by cousins Caitlin and David Woods. Hannah and Chris worked together with celebrant Philippa Howell to bring lots of personal touches to the ceremony, including writing their promises to one another, which they kept short and sweet.

“I was also worried I was going to be super emotional so I wanted it to be easy to say. We incorporated some light humoured promises as well as some more serious ones, as humour is key to our relationship.”

“My favorite part of the day was walking into the gardens to the ceremony, seeing all our friends and family together and Chris waiting there at the top of the steps. I think I almost saw a tear – but he denies it.”

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During their vows to one another, Hannah and Chris also gave one another rings, and chose simple rose gold bands from Richmond based Davids Jewellers.

“Ruth our friend from Australia flew over for the wedding and was one of our readers. This was extra special as we wouldn’t have met without her. She read lyrics from a Mumford & Sons song as we both love the band, I Take Your Hand. This song was then played by my cousins as we left the ceremony.”

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As their second reading, they chose an extract from the wonderful book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho; one of Hannah’s favourite books and a quote that they both felt summed them up as a couple.

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Beautifully reflecting the rustic, autumnal aesthetic of the day were the spectacular flowers by Gemma Bowering at The Lily Pad Florist in Stroud.

“As we were having an October wedding I wanted the colour palette to reflect this, with reds, burnt oranges and plenty of foliage. I wanted this to complement the foliage I was using on the tables and the flower crowns for the bridesmaids. I wanted to have some more wild flowers, with a fairly unstructured arrangement.”

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“I went to Gemma and discussed my ideas- she was amazing and within a few minutes had consulted her book and come back with a few sample flowers in hand – she just got it! I had total confidence in her making my ideas come to life, and I wasn’t disappointed. My flower crown really set off my dress and completed the ethereal woodland princess vibe I had hoped for.”

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On hand to capture all of this rich, autumn colour and that magical seasonal light was photographer Stu Jotham, whose lovely work we are featuring here on the blog for the very first time.

“Stuart was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Excellent communication leading up to the wedding and ever the professional. On the day he just blended in whilst we were getting ready, and at times you wouldn’t have noticed he was there. Guests commented on how relaxed and friendly he was, which suited the ethos of our day. There weren’t too many structured photos, and we really just relied on his intuition with the shots.”

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“Stuart even managed to give Chris and I that much needed time alone, away from everyone to enjoy each other’s company and take in our day. Having Stuart as our photographer was the dream and we couldn’t recommend him enough.”

“When we received the photos back they didn’t disappoint, and now we have some hard choices to make as there are so many wonderful, natural shots. He captured the fun and love of the day effortlessly. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

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I love the contrasting colours of the bridesmaid’s chiffon dresses from JJ’s House – two in a powder blue and two in a rich claret colour. They wore these with fresh flower crowns from florist Gemma at The Lily Pad, their own shoes, and bracelets from Bloom Boutique, which Hannah gifted to them on the morning of the wedding. Their make-up was taken care of by Amy Clarke, again using a lovely array of Charlotte Tilbury products.

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Well Seasoned Catering prepared a fantastic feast for everyone to enjoy, following a recommendation to Hannah and Chris by the team at Owlpen.

“After the tasting we were super-impressed. We had lamb shank for main and Owlpen mess for dessert. We also had wood fired pizza in
the evening.”

“Our cake was made by a family friend. We chose a naked cake with fruit to go with the woodland vibes, the figs in particular set it off. We had one layer chocolate, one carrot cake – Chris’s fave, and one Victoria sponge. We used the Playmobil characters that a friend gave us to represent us.”

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Inside the reception marquee at Owlpen, the ceiling canopy was strung with white paper lanterns sourced from Amazon together with lots of fairy lights. On the tables, sliced log centrepieces held candles in green bottles and jars, as well as small vases of greenery, picked from the gardens at Owlpen. There was also a lovely vintage dresser filled with more lovely foliage and antique candlesticks.

Dinner and speeches were followed by plenty of fun and games outside in the grounds, including limbo dancing and a ring toss. Back inside the reception marquee, Hannah and Chris took to the floor for their first dance together, followed by lots more music from friend and DJ Gareth Sandall of Sounds Perfect.

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“Our first dance was Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s. We chose it as we listened to it together in Melbourne, it’s a fun song and it went well with the general feel of the day. It’s a bit of a longer track so we wanted others to join us on the dancefloor after a while. And basically we are home when we are with each other.”

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“I don’t think I would have changed anything. We were so lucky with the weather, too, as we had to make the final decision on the morning of the wedding to go inside or out. Even though it was overcast we chose to go outside as it wasn’t raining. But the ceremony was at 1:30 and by the time we walked outside the sun was shining. We had clear blue skies and It made me feel like my mum was looking out for us.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“I had to be organised as I knew that I would have a newborn baby due just before the big day. Even if this isn’t the case, I would say do a little bit each week, then take a break. It’s easy to get bogged down with wedmin – but it’s important to remember it’s meant to be fun!”

“I found the app Bridebook really helpful for keeping an eye of budget and guest lists and knowing roughly when tasks needed to be completed by.”

“Try not to get offended by people – some people try and make it about them, unfortunately you can’t please everyone. Your close friends and family will understand – especially when it comes to the guest list. Remember it’s about you and your partner.”

“As many many people will tell you, it does really go that quickly. Take time out to spend 5 minutes with your partner, as honestly everyone wants to talk to you or take a picture. We were lucky our photographer was great and gave us the perfect opportunities to just enjoy each other’s company.”

“And I would definitely recommend getting a good photographer and investing in a videographer. Especially as it goes so quickly. I’ve already watched ours about 20 times and I still well up when I watch it back. It’s even more special for us, as we have something to look over and show our son Finn in the future.”

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Hannah and Chris, congratulations – both on your lovely wedding and the birth of your son! It’s been very special to share this gorgeous day. Many thanks also go to Fluxx Films and Stu Jotham for their wonderful film and images.

Until next time!

Love, Laura

Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.