Retail Clothing Buyer Hannah married Property Asset Manager Alex on Saturday 8th October 2022 at Hampton Court House. Their wedding was a joyous celebration of style,
Located in Hampton Court park in Richmond upon Thames, this magnificent country house mansion provided an elegant backdrop – the location, interior and exterior, with it’s stunning views of Bush Park were ideal for this nature loving couple.
Hannah wore an incredible puff sleeve gown by Jesus Peiro, a discovery at Miss Bush in Ripley, through whom she found most of her local suppliers and these beautiful images were captured by Victoria Somerset-How. Enjoy!
“As we both love the outdoors, plants and nature, we felt our venue choice led the way with style inspiration – the view of Bushy Park from the main hall served as enough in terms of decor, and the conservatory/dancefloor with the view of the plants and garden also felt sufficiently decorated.”
We didn’t hire an event planner, however our caterer, Vanilla Bean, acted as an event/schedule planner on the day, and Hampton Court House also provided someone on site to help with the event planning. This meant with the exception of dropping off and picking up items from the venue, we didn’t need to get involved in any of the logistics or organisation on the day.
I did not feel the need for a stylist as I knew the colours and theme of the flowers I wanted, which once brainstormed with the florist, Mad Lilies, made all other details such as table styling etc easy to choose and the subsequent decision processes flowed very smoothly.
Bridal Beauty & Accessories
I chose a single tier pearl embellished veil (the pearls to match my earrings) from Miss Bush. We went for a long length veil that just matched the length of the dress train for added drama in the church.
As I didnt want to detract too much from the low back and puff sleeves I stuck with a single tier so as to avoid covering up the dress detail too much.
I wore Mach & Mach shoes which are so sparkly I call them my Cinderella shoes! I ordered the shoes a year before the wedding as I wanted the exact heel height before measurements were taken for my dress. In hindsight I would have perhaps chosen different shoes as my accessories were all pearl themed, however I did really love how the sparkly bow poked out of the bottom of the dress when walking, and the heel height was perfect and so comfortable I was dancing in them until the very end of the night.
The shoes did not stay the same colour after the amount of drinks spilt on them and the grass we walked through for our couple photos, however I see that as a sign of how much fun we had and I am planning to get them dyed a darker colour to wear with different outfits in the future.
For scent, I wore Chanel No. 5 – Alex buys me it for Christmas each year and it didn’t make sense not to smell like ‘me’ on the day. I chose not to wear a huge amount of accessories, as I felt the dress didn’t need dressing up with too many of them. I did however borrow my late grandmother’s 1960’s Mikkimoto pearl cluster earrings from my mum (‘something borrowed’ as well as ‘something old’), and wore a Suzanne Kalan sapphire bracelet which was a wedding present from Alex that I had opened the morning of the wedding (’something blue’). I took a little pearl clutch bag by Vanina to keep my sunglasses, phone and makeup in, however this only really got used between the church and reception.
I booked hair and makeup through Melissa Oldridge, and chose Andra, based on her more relaxed, ethereal, and natural style of hair and makeup. I loved Andra’s barely-there style of makeup, which made me still feel like ‘me’ despite wearing more makeup than usual. We had a trial about six weeks before the wedding so I could ensure I liked the hair and had a chance to wear the makeup for a day to see how it lasted. Andra also did hair and makeup for my mum and bridesmaids, and everyone was super happy with the results. Andra is so friendly and personable, and we all felt very comfortable with her the morning of the wedding.
I wore a Jesus Peiro from Miss Bush in Ripley. The whole experience with Miss Bush (both Emma, and her whole team) was a joy from start to finish. Emma will never try to steer a decision away from a personal choice, however she is set on ensuring her brides choose a dress they feel truly comfortable in and will not later be unhappy or disappointed with based on peer pressure or snap decisions at the time of choosing.
Even when I had chosen my dress, she did not push to order straight away and instead suggested to wait a couple of months (I had plenty of time!) and to come back to try on again along with any potential other options or new arrivals before making a final decision.
Funnily enough my mum had come across the Miss Bush instagram account about nine months before I got engaged and had shared a picture of my dress with me to say she thought it would suit me. I had agreed I liked the dress, and then of course promptly forgot about it as there was no reason to be looking at wedding dresses at that time!
On getting engaged, I had known I wanted a dress with sleeves (I have never been a fan of my arms!) and found the Jesus Peiro dress again to save amongst other inspirational styles on Pinterest and instagram etc. After trying on other dress styles in both Miss Bush and another dress shop beforehand, I couldn’t get the original suggestion from mum out of my head and kept comparing all other dresses to that (even before trying it on). The minute I put my dress on I felt so comfortable and pretty! I had put on a lot of weight in covid, and was at a real confidence low-point, however despite this I felt like my dress had been designed with me in mind, and I honestly would’ve felt confident walking down the aisle in it the very next day regardless of my size or weight.
I loved how the dress was so simple in design, and yet had the contemporary additions of the huge puff sleeves, low V neck, and pintuck pleats, not to mention the addition of pockets (anyone who has ever owned a dress with pockets will know how that discovery will have felt). In addition to the styling, I also loved that the dress fabric was made entirely from plastic bottles which made me feel like I was choosing a more sustainable option considering I will most likely never wear this dress again.
Jesus Peiro are really great with allowing brides to fully customise their dresses, whether it be amending the sleeves or skirt or mixing elements of different dresses together. I have seen a few other brides in variations of my dress, and whilst I have recognised the style changes have really suited them and their personal style, I didn’t feel the need to make any styling adjustments to mine as it felt perfect from the very start. I did however have the dress made to measure, meaning small tweaks could be made to ensure it fitted my body shape perfectly.
“The whole experience felt so calm and comfortable, and I did fully appreciate not feeling rushed or pushed into choosing a dress asap. I would definitely recommend Miss Bush to other brides.”
At The Family Church
Alex wore his own morning suit, however he purchased a new waistcoat for the wedding from a tailors on Jermyn Street in London. He chose a buttermilk yellow colour to stand out from his groomsmen and matched it with a Liberty print tie in coordinating colours to the flowers.
Alex chose to have all his groomsmen in Liberty print ties – the department store holds a special place in both our hearts as we met up outside there before our first date. Alex borrowed his late grandfather’s cufflinks from his dad to wear on the day.
We had a church ceremony at St Lawrence Church in Effingham, chosen because of close family links on Alex’s side, as well as being his parents local church.
My engagement ring was chosen and bought by Alex from Cry for the Moon in Guildford, Surrey and my wedding band came from Whibleys in Richmond. Alex’s wedding band was made using melted down gold charms from a bracelet previously belonging to his late grandmother. The ring was made by a local silversmith, Oddie & Hope, who specialise in statement jewellery as well as commissions.
As we were married in a C of E church, it made sense to stick to the traditional wedding vows. We had two readings during the ceremony (of which one had to be from the bible due to the nature of having a church ceremony); Corinthians 13 and an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Both of these readings resonated with our experience of love, in particular the Excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which was particularly poignant based on the eight years we had already had ‘growing up’ together prior to our wedding day.
“Our favourite part of the day was in the church when it felt like there was just the two of us standing at the front and no one else – it seemed to be the part of the day that went the slowest before everything else suddenly went by in a blur.”
Both finding and deciding on a photographer was probably one of the hardest jobs and decisions to make as photographers can aesthetically differ so much, which when dealing with your ‘forever’ photos can be a very emotional topic! We loved Victoria Somerset-How’s clever use of lighting and editorial style photos. She has a way of really focussing on key textures and details, as well as capturing little moments you may not have even realised were happening.
Prior to the wedding day we booked an engagement style shoot with Victoria which was a great way to all get to know each other before the wedding as well as learn some tips for looking natural in front of the camera and not too ‘posed’. We absolutely love Victoria’s final photos – she really captured all the fun little moments of the day, and there are so many details we wouldn’t have noticed or remembered in the whirlwind of the day.
The photos of just Alex and I felt so natural (helped by our engagement shoot tips!) and we love the finished album. Victoria put us at ease all day, and even helped keep me calm before getting to the church and in the moments between ceremony and reception.
We had requested a second photographer, and Victoria brought Tom with her to help capture additional moments of the day – we would definitely recommend a second shooter, as Tom was able to capture Alex and his family and groomsmen in the morning as well as different angles in the church and reception to Victoria.
My friend Lara Elliot is a videographer, however as I wanted her to enjoy the day, she came as a guest but is editing the video footage as a wedding gift for us. Her friend Matt from Wild Love Films filmed the day, and was a joy to have around for the day.
I had the bridesmaids dresses made because I had a dusty pink shade in mind which I wanted in velvet, which wasn’t easy to find ready made. I chose long sleeves based on the wedding being in October, however I also thought the voluminous sleeves would compliment my dress sleeves.
How They Met
Alex and I met on a dating app in November 2014 when we were in our mid/late 20’s. We got engaged six and a half years later at the end of the second Covid lockdown in April 2021 (’non-essential’ shops had been closed for months, and Alex ran straight out to a jewellers in Guildford on the first day shops were open again to buy me an engagement ring, under the guise of visiting his Grandmother).
We were engaged for around eighteen months before our wedding day, however the timing of the wedding was very much based around tighter than usual venue and supplier availability after two years of postponed covid weddings squeezed into 1, rather than the urge to leave it a particular amount of time (it did help to have longer to save up, however!).
Myself and my parents were taken to the church in a London black cab owned by a lady cabbie who lives near Alex and I in South London. After the church service, Alex had arranged for a 1928 open top Sunbeam sports tourer car (called ‘Edward’) to take us from the church to the reception (with Alex even driving us in it a little bit of the way).
We had also arranged for a vintage red London Routemaster to take guests between the church and reception. Because of the rail strike that day traffic was awful, so Alex’s groomsmen turned the bus into a party bus with music and free-flowing sparkling wine to keep everyone entertained on the longer than usual journey.
“We also loved the car journey from church to reception which gave us a chance to chat and take time to process the day so far. We also just generally loved being surrounded by all our favourite people as there really is no other time that family and friends would have all been together at the same time with us in this way.”
Decor & Detail
We did ensure LOTS of flowers in the dining room as well as flowers framing the entrance to the room with a half arch. The church was also full of flowers which were transported to HCH after the ceremony to supplement the flowers already there.
I think the Miss Bush instagram account can be thanked for finding Mad Lilies (Miss Bush is so good at sharing local talented suppliers, which really helps narrow down ideas when already daunted by the amount of wedding suppliers out there).
Alison and the team at Mad Lilies were all really great. I initially met with Ali for a brainstorm session about six-eight months before the wedding, which was so much fun! I showed my inspiration images and talked through my colour scheme and favourite flowers.
Together we put together a mood board and discussed ideas for how to style the bouquets, table decor, and standalone pieces such as the doorway arch and hanging installation. I wanted flowers to be the main focus point in the dining room as the room otherwise is a blank canvas.
As the wedding was in October, the colour scheme was late summer/autumn inspired, with colour inspiration taken from my late grandmother’s favourite shades of dusty rose pinks and peaches. There was the option to get married at Hampton Court House itself, but it was particularly important to Alex to get married in a church, and it made sense to use the family church as this was just close enough (if traffic hadn’t been terrible due to an ill-timed rail strike on the day!) to travel between the church and Hampton Court House.
We used Vanilla Bean as our caterers, who in addition to being a recommended supplier for HCH, also came recommended to us personally. Liam was our event planner, and we worked closely together on not just menus, but the plan for the day.
The team at Vanilla Bean led by Liam kept the whole day running smoothly, and even helped set up additional decor at the venue for us. I cannot recommend them enough, particularly because of the event planning element which meant we didn’t have to worry at all about timings across the day.
The food was delicious, and we had so many compliments on the main course in particular. We used Vanilla Bean for the drinks reception and evening bar also, although we provided all drinks ourselves except the evening cocktails which were supplied by them. From past experience, everyone always gets a little peckish in the evening at weddings after a long day and limited food (except the main meal). We toyed with the idea of ordering some late night pizzas from a local takeaway, however my mum actually created a cheese tower cake (in addition to the actual cake) which we served buffet style with port, bread and other accompaniments once the party was in full flow.
I used a local friend of my mum’s, Callie Jones, to create a linocut print of the venue which we used on postcards for the Save the Date as well as keepsake prints for ourselves and our parents. For the main invitation and wedding stationery (including invites, RSVPs, Welcome Sign, and menus/place settings) we used an amazingly talented artist, Debs, The Ink Moth. I then made the orders of service, table plan and drinks menus/tables names using a still of a monogram Debs had created with our initials.
Alex’s mum is a chocolatier and runs Sweet C’s Chocolates from their home in the Surrey Hills. Her chocolate is delicious, and made using only the finest natural ingredients. It was therefore of course an obvious choice to ask Caroline to make our wedding favours, and we worked with her to create a customised selection of our favourite Sweet C’s flavours (including Cornish sea salt, gin and orange, and white chocolate and passionfruit). Caroline also created customised ribbon with our names and the date of the wedding, and matched the box colours to the wedding colour theme in order to ensure a fully personalised wedding favour just for us.
My mum, Karen, of Lavendar & Lovage, is a very talented baker as cooking/recipe development is her job. Because I wanted flowers to be the main decor, we decided on a cake decorated with pressed flowers. We both trialled the cake decorating together to choose the best colours for the cake, and mum worked tirelessly for hours the night before the wedding to assemble and decorate the cake. We went for a madeira sponge, with jam and buttercream, and we have some still in the freezer to nibble on whenever we want a taste of the wedding! The Bride
We had our first dance to ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ by Louis Armstrong. This song was significant because Alex and I both enjoy watching James Bond films together, and particularly love this song as it’s been featured in a couple of Bond films both old and new.
We booked our entertainment through Hayley at Head Over Heels Entertainment. We used Hayley because we had no idea where to start with finding or deciding on what we wanted for the entertainment, and she is a friend of Alex’s mum so offered to help.
Hayley listened to our tastes and requirements and sent through a shortlist of ideas to choose from. As fans of classical music as well as dance music we opted for a string quartet for the drinks reception, and DJ live group specialising in dance music for the evening party.
The Gold Quartet were amazing, and played a mixture of classical and current covers. The Girls That Mix ladies played instruments including a saxophone, electric violin, and drums over DJ tracks, and really got us all in the party mood after dinner – the drums player was a particular favourite with the guests! In addition to the music, we arranged for a photobooth as these are always fun at weddings and events!
I love a feather boa and giant sunglasses as much as anyone, however I wanted to use a photobooth that could also provide more professional keepsake images (particularly of Alex and I with guests who may not have made it into the official wedding party and family group shots), when I found the Airstream Studio Photobooth I knew this was the one!
They have so many different props on offer, so I worked together with them to ensure any headpieces and props were coordinated with the wedding flowers and colour theme.
Words of Wedded Wisdom
The advice we were given the most was to savour the day and little moments, and I can now see why! The whole day will go by in such a quick blur! My suggestions on how to manage this would be to ensure you have a photographer capturing the moments you can’t be around to see (we have loved looking through photos of guests on the dance floor and reacting to the speeches!), also try not to drink too much if you do want to remember the whole day – I kept it together for most of the day, but wish I had switched to non-alcoholic after the meal as I don’t remember much of the evening at all (alcohol has a habit of speeding up time too).
Also, don’t fixate afterwards on anything that ‘went wrong’ or you wish you hadn’t booked/paid extra for – if something does go wrong on the day it will either not be noticed, or if noticed not even be an issue to your guests. Our lovely menus and name card/place settings went AWOL on route to the venue, and weren’t found until afterwards.
I was initially devastated after all the efforts to design and have in time for the wedding, but actually we had a fun story that a group of family guests led by Alex’s sister went on the hunt for some stationery and spent the drinks reception writing up new name cards so everyone could find their seats. Yes ok the table settings didn’t look how I’d planned, but none of the guests cared that their names weren’t displayed how I’d envisioned.
We naively didn’t set a wedding budget – mainly because we really didn’t have a clue how much most weddings cost. We therefore kept a running spend tracker to keep track of whether we could afford to pay off everything we were booking, and assessed as and when we booked each supplier whether we thought the costs were acceptable to us or not.
It can be hard to follow set budget guidelines, as each supplier from venue to caterer can be such a different cost depending on many factors. In addition to this the level of acceptable spend can be very personal and could differ vastly between couples dependant on location, priorities, and available finances. It is worth remembering that the main expenses will be catering (and drinks if you’re having an open bar), and venue so I would recommend getting these booked first to give you an idea of remaining budget asap (the venue needs to be the first place booked anyhow in order to have a set wedding date to plan towards).
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