“Hannah hasn’t just given us back the memories, she has allowed us to feel the emotion in each and every image for the rest our lives.”
I find it hard to believe that it’s two years since the cold damp evening I met Sarah and Jon at a tipi open evening. The second I met them and we started chatting, I fell in love with them and went home crossing everything that an enquiry popped into my inbox from them… And my dreams came true! They were planning a Sami Tipi wedding at Bawdon Lodge Farm.
I just loved their wedding so hard, my face hurt by dinner time from grinning ear to ear and I found it so hard to finish editing their photos because I didn’t want it to end!
How did you meet?
Our how you met story isn’t particularly exciting! We used to work for the same company – I worked in the office and Jon was a lorry driver so our paths had actually never crossed until someone convinced Jon to come for a drink at the works Christmas party in 2011. After another works night out in the January it was pretty obvious we had a lot in common and also shared the same misunderstood weirdness and I guess the rest is history!
Tell me your proposal story:
If I’m honest I never thought Jon would propose and I mean NEVER. So when he said I could go anywhere in the world for my 30th birthday and I chose Rome the thought of a proposal didn’t even cross my mind.
11th September 2016 the unexpected happened. We’d been out exploring the city for the day and just as we were making our way back to the apartment the sky turned black, the wind howled and the heavens opened. I have honestly never seen rain like it. We paddled through ankle deep water (no exaggeration) to get back to our apartment block and stood in the doorway like two drowned rats trying to figure out the best way to attempt to get everything dry. Jon kindly offered to sort out the contents of the rucksack we’d been sharing while I figured out a way to decorate the apartment with our rain soaked clothes and shoes.
When I look back now I can see the look of pure horror on Jon’s face as I emerged from the en-suite holding what I thought was an empty rucksack. As I’m patting the inside of the bag to see if it is drying, little did I know there was a little black box in the bottom which had somehow stayed dry in the storm. Jon admitted later on that night that he was dying inside at this point, he really thought he’d been busted but I just casually turned round, put the rucksack back where I found it and decided to go and have a shower. I’d just finished straightening my hair and putting a face on when I turned to see him on the floor on one knee. Jon said later that evening that he had been looking for the perfect spot to propose while we were out exploring the city but with possibility of becoming the latest Japanese tourist attraction and fear of being run over by locals on mopeds he had quickly decided to stick to the safety of the apartment instead!
Why did you choose the a Sami Tipi wedding at Bawdon Lodge for your day?
We’re both big lovers of all things countryside so it was really important to us to incorporate an outdoorsy feel to our wedding. We looked at a number of venues but nothing seemed to feel right. My Pinterest at this point was awash with beautiful tipis that had totally stolen my heart so when the opportunity arose to have a tour of Bawdon Lodge Farm I signed us straight up! Being local I’d often driven past and thought what a beautiful spot but the moment we stepped out of the car I fell in love with every inch of the place. We were really keen on being able to do everything in one location so when they mentioned they were looking into licensing their barn for ceremonies we knew we had finally found the right venue. From that very first meeting Lynn and Richard from Bawdon and Jodie from Sami Tipi were wonderful to deal with, nothing was ever too much trouble. They as people were a massive deciding factor in choosing them as suppliers and from day one we couldn’t of imagined working with anyone else.
What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
In the end I absolutely adored my entire outfit but at the start wedding dress shopping was probably the thing I was looking forward to the least. I don’t know why but I was dreading it. I reluctantly agreed to go with my Mum to an end of line/sample sale ran by Soar Valley Brides but as soon as I arrived I was so glad she talked me into it. The ladies running the sale were so lovely and really made me feel comfortable. There were rails and rails of dresses in my size so I had the opportunity to try many different styles on. The dress I decided to try on first was the one I said was everything I didn’t want – it was a princess, it had a lot of bling and it had a big train. But as it turned out that princess was the one I fell head over heels in love with! My shoes were my other big love and reflected a slight obsession of mine – UNICORNS!
Jon decided pretty early on he was keen on a blue suit and wanted to incorporate an element of tweed. It proved quite a challenge to find something that would suit him and all the groomsmen until we found Jon Paul Menswear. They offered a good variety of mix and match options which meant everyone could have something slightly different from the same range to suit them.
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
There was no particular theme or colour scheme. Quite simply we wanted a mash up of bright colours and all the things we loved. We wanted to create a reflection of our personalities; a wedding day that people would look back on and think ‘that was so them’. We weren’t keen on formal or traditional and really wanted a fun-filled mini festival. Having the tipis at Bawdon Lodge gave us the perfect blank canvas to bring this vision to life. We had outdoor games, hay bales, fire pits. Thomas the Caterer did the most awesome picnic which complimented the relaxed style of our day perfectly. I did a lot of DIY decor and my mum made a ridiculous amount of the most beautiful bunting I have ever seen. All of our flowers were seasonal and grown locally and we even ran our very own Great Wedding Bake-Off. Overall I think we achieved our goal, and then some!
What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
We had Christina Perri ft Ed Sheeran – Be My Forever.
We’d decided early on that if we couldn’t find a song that was ‘us’ then we’d rather not have a first dance at all. We figured at least this way we would be saved from the embarrassment of doing an awkward matelot shuffle to a song we weren’t really enjoying! Three weeks before the wedding I happened to spot a Facebook post asking for first dance suggestions. We were so close to the wedding at this point that I had stopped clicking to read comments on this type of post but the very first comment said ‘Be My Forever’ and I thought hummmm there’s a song I’ve never heard before and quickly got myself on YouTube. The first time I heard it I knew I had found THE song and fortunately Jon agreed! It’s just such a happy, upbeat song and the words were just so perfectly us.
What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
Saying our vows in front of all of our friends and family was the most precious moment. It was made extra special for us as we were the first licensed ceremony to take place at Bawdon Lodge Farm which was an absolute honour. We couldn’t have been prouder to take those first steps down the aisle.
The whole day was genuinely the best day of our lives and having everyone we love with us to celebrate all under one roof (or three hats in our case!) meant the world to us. We took some time to watch our guests at one point and the tipis were filled with pure happiness, it was a magical.
Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
We knew from day one we didn’t want to go down the posed photo route. We wanted someone who could capture natural, candid and creative shots. Someone who would be unobtrusive on the day but still have the ability to put us and our guests at ease.
We were lucky enough to meet Hannah at a Sami Tipi evening event and I have to confess we totally fell in love with her as a person before we’d actually seen any of her work. We just seemed to gel, she was like a long lost friend rather than a total stranger and that was really important to us. She showed us a few of her shots that night and they were simply unreal, we just knew we had to have her.
Hannah is an absolute diamond to work with and on the day was 100% the perfect fit. She was professional and discreet but at the same time kept it all very fun and relaxed. We’d already had a pre-shoot with Hannah and, although we were apprehensive at the time, we both agree it helped us to get a feel for how she worked and made us even more comfortable on the day. We also opted for a second shooter and Hannah brought along the lovely Steve. They worked superbly together and were able to capture so many extra special moments.
We always knew the pictures would be pretty darn special, but my goodness they are stunning beyond words. Hannah hasn’t just given us back the memories, she has allowed us to feel the emotion in each and every image for the rest our lives. The images have this extra dimension which allows you visit their very soul. We would wholeheartedly recommend Hannah and really cannot thank her enough for everything.
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding?
Pinterest is hands down my favourite app but it’s also a very dangerous place. You can quickly become over loaded so stick to your ideas and let them evolve. Don’t keep adding more and worrying about the little details. The day goes so fast. Enjoy every last second and make sure you take 10 minutes together to stop and absorb it all – it’s pretty overwhelming!
The thing that made our planning journey so special was our suppliers. We were so lucky to have the most supportive and wonderful people around us – people we now call friends. Learn to trust them, there’s a reason they are good at what they do!
Don’t be afraid to do things your way. Express your personality and remember it is YOUR day and no one else’s.
Here’s a shout out to the most fabulous line up of amazing suppliers and friends
Hair: Shear Desire Hair // Makeup: Ruby J Beauty // Dress: Alfred Angelo at Soar Valley Brides
Flowers: The Flower Patch // Bridesmaids: Jenny Packham // Groomswear: Jon Paul Menswear