“We knew we wanted to choose Hannah from the moment we looked at her work – it was candid, fun and had real heart.”
This year I’ll have shot five weddings at Dodmoor House and as I write, I’m four down, set to return in December for my final wedding of the year. I always have such a wonderful time working here; the staff are wonderful and it’s a space I really enjoy shooting in so I was really delighted to be invited to be one of their recommended suppliers earlier this year.
A book theme wedding
Looking back at these photos it’s hard to believe how much Jo hated having her photo taken when I met up with her and Matt back in March, just as the Beast from the East thawed for their prewedding photographs… Some of their wedding portraits are firmly in my favourite images of the year and it really warms my heart to see someone’s trust in me develop and their confidence grow, camera side. You can read a bit more about prewedding shoots and why I think they’re wonderful here) What we wont talk about is what happened on the way back from portraits, right Matt? I loved the subtle book theme running though their wedding day and I’m not afraid to admit to having found my way to the Bertie Botts…
How did you meet?
We met whilst teaching at the same school in Corby. I was training to be a teacher and Matt was already in the English department. He actually observed some of my trainee lessons; needless to say, I didn’t use those in my Teacher Training folder!
Tell me your proposal story:
Matt knows I love Shakespeare, so arranged for us to go to Stratford-upon-Avon for the day. I knew we were going but he surprised me with tickets to see The Tempest at the RSC. He told me that there was a private gallery upstairs and that he’d got us tickets – he’d actually arranged for the RSC to print fake tickets for a 4pm viewing! When we went up in the lift, he’d arranged for fairy lights and Christmas Carols to be playing, specifically Once in Royal as my dad’s name was David and he sadly passed away when I was 16. At the top of the tower there were 2 glasses of champagne waiting and Love Actually style placards. Matt held each of them up, with messages on relating to our time together, and finished by getting down on one knee!
Why did you choose Dodmoor House your wedding day?
We chose Dodmoor House, after going to see SO MANY OTHER VENUES, because it was rustic, exclusive use and had a beautiful atmosphere. The people who run Dodmoor, particularly Shona who ran our day, pay such close attention to detail. You genuinely feel so special, right from the moment you go to an open day to the day of your wedding.
What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
I only went to Serendipity Bridal, as my sister had chosen her wedding dress there and I’d loved the atmosphere of the place. I didn’t think I’d end up going for a big dress, but as soon as I put it on I loved it. I loved the classic neckline and cinched in waist. Matt loves Grace Kelly, and it reminded me of classic wedding dresses: the corset, buttons over the top and lace. Matt has always loved Jack Wills, so the suits were always going to be navy/blue. Matt loves a well-cut three-piece suit, so we knew it was going to be more informal rather than traditional coat and tails.
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
We close dusky pink as our main colour (and it fit in with the Jack Willls theme!) I knew I wanted less traditional, shorter bridesmaid dresses from The Pretty Dress Company. I love bold floral prints, so the Sorrento Rose dresses (in mix and match vintage cuts) were perfect. I knew I wanted all my bridesmaids to feel comfortable, with their choice of dress.
Our theme was books, books and more books, with pages for place-cards, leather-bound books everywhere, Harry Potter themed sweet table and each table devoted to one of our favourite literary couples, such as Will and Lyra from His Dark Materials or Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre.
What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
Our first dance was to You and Me by Lifehouse – we loved it from the moment we heard it on Gavin and Stacey (another one of our great loves!). Matt’s best man, Simon, also suggested it when we were thinking about our choice.
What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
For us, the service and ceremony was the most important part. Committing to each other in front of our friends and family, in the place where I sang for a decade, where my dad’s christening and funeral was, was really special.
We also loved the drinks reception, where it was beautiful weather and a lovely chance to talk to everyone and have a few proseccos!
Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
We knew we wanted to choose Hannah from the moment we looked at her work – it was candid, fun and had real heart. It was exactly what we wanted. We’ve received so many lovely compliments from our friends and family about Hannah: how involved she was in the day, how late she stayed and how lovely she was. It didn’t feel like someone random was there: it felt like a friend! She’s taken some of the most amazing shots and we adore them.
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding?
Make sure you take time for you and your partner to have some time together. You blink and half of the day is gone!
A wedding with a book theme at Dodmoor House
Shout out to some wonderful suppliers…
Hair Vivid Hair, Northampton // Gown designer Suzanne Neville // Gown supplier Serendipity Brides, Weedon
Florist Homeland Flowers // Cake Handmade by Solange // Bridesmaids The Pretty Dress Company
Prop hire Nerissa Eve // Venue Dodmoor House