Elena and I had known each other virtually since 2011 when we both found out we were having babies in March 2012 and joined an online community for pregnant people having babies in the same month. We’d stayed in touch every since, and I always loved her Pinterest boards and keeping up with her online so when her and Dan got in touch about shooting their crafty wedding, I was super excited that I’d get to be a part of their day! And what’s more, I wont be forgetting their wedding in a hurry as just a few of the 1000 paper cranes that adorned their wedding venue are now right above my computer in the office, and they make my smile every single day!
How did you meet?
We worked in the same bar, but like ships that pass we never had a shift together. I used to drink in there when Dan was working, habitually leaving without picking up the tab and for weeks he was paying it for me without me even noticing! Eventually he invited me for dinner and we are still eating together 11 years on.
Tell me your proposal story:
Dan was adamant he didn’t believe in marriage. We already lived together and had a son so I just kind of forgot about it. It was Christmas morning and Dexter, who was 3 at the time had opened all of his presents by 5.30am. I went to make a cuppa (tea features heavily in our house) and when I came back Dan was kneeling on the floor (playing with Dex’s toys so I thought nothing of it) Dexter handed me a stocking and said I’d forgotten to open a present and there was the ring. It was do out of the blue that I must have laughed for about five minutes before I said yes.
Why did you choose the venue you chose for your wedding day?
We both love Lichfield and we wanted a venue that would allow us to have our own decorations and caterers. We chose the Guildhall, which was once the jail and courthouse, because it’s a beautiful old building that is part of Lichfield’s history and they were really easygoing and reasonably priced.
What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
Dan has Scottish and Irish ancestry and he always wears a kilt to weddings so he knew straight away that he’d be wearing a kilt on his wedding day. He’s pretty uninhibited when it comes to underwear and I was amazed that he made it through the whole day without flashing his bits (to my knowledge). As Dan was the one to change his name when we married, I had got him a pewter Logan kilt pin to wear on his last day of being a Logan but I’d left it out with instructions to open on the wedding morning and he completely forgot so he didn’t wear it on the day. Dexter had a matching outfit but the kilt was enormous and it barely survived the registry office. Dan and I felt bad for him so we just nipped into Fat Face on our way to the venue, in our wedding outfits, and did a spot of shopping. The shop staff said it was a first for them to have a bride and groom shopping there. Each time I saw Dexter through the day he had shed more clothes!
I couldn’t face the thought of going a whole day without wearing my favourite Breton stripes so I set out to find a nice weddingy skirt to wear with a stripy top. I never thought I’d end up with a conventional dress, I just tried a few on for fun, but when I tried on a fitted lace dress I loved how it fitted and it just felt like ‘the one’. I did come to regret my choice of shop though, as after a number of issues with their fitting service I ended up with a dress that was at least 3 inches longer on one side than the other 5 days before my wedding! I very nearly ended up wearing jeans, but thankfully, someone incredible dropped everything for me and sorted it out with a couple of days to spare.
For my hen do my lovely army of ‘Best Women’ had arranged a jewellery making day with Rebecca at Working Clasp in Moseley. After a few glasses of prosseco I bought a laser cut wedding headdress from her. It was an impulse buy and I didn’t expect to wear it on the day because I thought I needed to keep my accessories simple. Then at the last minute before the wedding I put it on and I loved it, it made me feel more like me, as I did otherwise feel someone pretending to be an adult in a wedding dress! It was really nice to wear the headdress that reminded me of what an awesome day I’d had with my friends a few weeks earlier. I got some sparkly converse just for walking from the registry office in but I ended up keeping them on all day as they were so comfy and twinkly.
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
Ha, no vision! We were not ‘wedding scrapbook’ types and I had absolutely no vision. We love colour but I knew I didn’t want things to be too matchy. My family and friends are all quite creative so it was inevitable that there would be handmade elements. My dad and his partner, Ann are both retired graphic designers with a passion for letter press printing so they hand printed all our invitations and save the date cards. I knew I wanted a bouquet that could be kept, rather than fresh flowers that would wither and dry out after the wedding. I decided to try making felt flowers after seeing a tutorial on the wedding DIY website Something Turquoise. I made a few prototypes and loved how they looked so I was all set to get my craftiest friends together to help make the bouquet. I liked the idea of having a collaborative keepsake, made by some of my favourite humans. Ann had seemed mildly horrified at the idea of felt flowers but when she saw them she loved them and asked if I would make them for the tables too. It was a lot of work (and cost a small fortune in glue gun sticks) but I’m so glad we did it as I loved how they looked and they doubled up as gifts for my family who made all the wedding cakes. It is lovely to go to peoples houses and see them there as a reminder of our day. They also represent the enormous amount of love my friends and I share, as they all pitched in to help. On the walls my Dad and Ann created paper engineered swags and flowers from parcel labels and cupcake cases. Before the wedding I didn’t dare try and explain it to anyone as it sounded so zany but it really worked and again they were symbolic to us of just how lucky we are to have such wonderful supportive family. My Dad handmade paper lanterns for the tables which had hand cut letters that served as table names. He even made a tiny version for the 3D table plan. The main talking point on the say though was 1000 paper cranes. Dan had read that in Japanese culture it is believed that if you make 1000 paper cranes you get 1000 years good luck. He spent months carefully folding paper cranes and my dad sourced branches which we attached them to using wire and a more hot glue. We suspended them from thin wires at the front of the room and they looked incredible. We used some to attach to place name cards too. The whole effective was eclectic and a bit quirky which I think suited us perfectly.
What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
Up until a few weeks before we just couldn’t agree on a song. We share similar, wide ranging taste in music but the pressure to choose a song we loved, that we would be able to dance to was all too much. We didn’t want to shuffle slowly around the dancefloor because it felt to unnatural to us. Our usual dancing style is to bounce around our kitchen disco, with little respect for rhythm. In a panic I decided we’d have to learn a routine so I booked a dance teacher to cone to our house. I wanted to dance to ‘Love gets Sweeter’ by Finlay Quaye but Dan really liked ‘Dancing Shoes’ by Article Monkeys. Our dance teacher was fantastic and she came up with a salsa routine that worked with either song. After lots of practice I realised that Arctic monkeys beat was far easier to dance to so it was decision made. On the day we messed up the ending and I was initially really annoyed because we had practiced so hard but actually it probably just made it more memorable to us in the long run. The experience of learning to dance together was a really fun bonding time and something we wouldn’t have otherwise considered but something we’d ljke to continue doing together now, so it broadened our horizons.
What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
The speeches. My Dad made no secret that he isn’t a big speech giver, and he doesn’t really do public emotion so it meant so so much when he stood up and spoke. He talked about how I remember my childhood compared to how he remembers it and although I held it together I was really moved. I lost my mum to cancer when I was 20 and I knew that if I would feel more acutely aware of her absence during this part of the day. Rather than making a big thing of her not being there my dad and our friends acknowledged her influence in small personal ways in the speeches and it was perfect. Dexter (age 5) was Dan’s best man so we weren’t expecting a best man speech. We had asked our friend Brian to help Dexter out by looking after the rings and just generally adulting on the day, kind of a deputy best man. It was such a wonderful surprise that he did a really funny, heartfelt , moving speech. My best women had the brief to ‘do something, anything you like really’ on the day. They were fantastic as they did a series of poems in different styles, some funny, some emotional, all full of love. We felt so overwhelmingly grateful and lucky all day but the speeches in particular reminded us just what an amazing clan we are part of.
Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
I first met Hannah in a Baby Centre group, which later migrated to Facebook, what feels like many moons ago, when we were having our first babies. I was fascinated to watch how she developed her passion for photographing her children into a new career and felt really pleased for her. I had it in the back of my mind that if I ever needed a photographer she would be my first choice. I love how she captures moments, rather than just attractive images. I liked the idea of a photographer that was all about the natural shots, with less emphasis on posed pictures. It can be a pretty boring part of the wedding day if you are not careful. Hannah was so efficient (a polite way of saying bossy? Ha!) during the group shots that they were over in no time and we could get on with the fun bit. After that she was so stealthy that when we revived the pictures everyone commented on how they d had no idea she was taking pictures at the time. What really surprised me was how much Hannah felt like moral support on the day, with her extensive knowledge of wedding days she just intuitively seemed to know how we were feeling or what was needed at every stage of the day. We got so much more than we expected to pay for from Hannah. She was helpful, encouraging, gave great advice and the aftercare shown in editing and post wedding contact has been exceptional. We’ve both agreed we’ll definitely use her at our next weddings. 😉
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! It’s easy to get caught up in minor details and end up getting really stressed or blowing your budget as the date gets closer but actually everyone has a good time whatever happens. Oh and be sure to book Hannah for the photos! She’s worth her weight in gold!