“We didn’t even make enquiries with any other photographers,

we knew Hannah was the one”

I recently made my third of five visits to Dodmoor House in 2018 and was absolutely over the moon to be asked to join their recommended suppliers list… Of course I jumped at the opportunity, after all Dodmoor House is unquestionably one of my favourite wedding venues in Northamptonshire, and it made me realise it’s probably time I blogged some of the lovely stuff that I’ve shot there so far. So, for no other reason that I’d never shot a wedding in March EVER until I shot Hayley + Toby’s big day… I’m starting with them! When you’ve been in Kino Lounge eating peanuts and jellybeans for three hours on a school night with a prospective couple, you KNOW it’s going to be a match made in heaven. I wasn’t wrong…

How did you meet?

Tinder.  Yep.  These days it’s old news, but four years ago it was quite unusual.  After our Match, Toby took 4 whole days to message Hayley!  We hit it off straight away and met for a drink on a Sunday afternoon within a week. Safe to say we told both our parents we’d met through work… Hayley’s mum was so pleased she’d met someone the ‘old fashioned way’.  Yeah, soz mum.  She found out the truth during a wedding dress appointment when Hayley was telling the shop assistant about how she’d met Toby!

Tell me your proposal story:

We were in Wales on our first camping holiday.  It was a freak week of tropical weather when everywhere else in the country was raining.  We’d gone to Aberglasney Gardens for the day (Hayley loves a garden!), Toby kept insisting on sitting on benches to enjoy the view, Hayley who can’t sit still for too long kept moving on.  Toby was talking about how we’d been together for 3 years (we’d been together for 2!) and how we’d achieved so much.  He then produced a ring box, got down on one knee and asked Hayley to marry her.  Hayley was somewhat over whelmed, so much so, when she opened it and saw a Haribo ring, she thought he was joking and threw the box at him (awkward!).  Once he’d pointed out he was serious, Hayley cried, apologised and said yes of course!  And we spent the rest of the day talking about the kind of wedding we wanted…

Why did you choose Dodmoor House for your wedding day?

We always knew we wanted one venue for our wedding day.  We wanted somewhere that reflected us, wasn’t too big or too small.  We looked at quite a few venues before we settled on Dodmoor House.  From our very first meeting with the team, we knew we were in good hands.  The venue was gorgeous, not too big and the bar was well stocked and reasonably priced.  What made up our minds was that we could do whatever we wanted with regards to decoration and have whatever suppliers we wanted – even our own booze!  Including ale on tap!  To know we could have a day that was unique to us and we weren’t buying a package was exactly what we wanted.

What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?

Hayley – the dress!  It was a long road to find ‘the one’ and in the end it was ‘the one I couldn’t stop thinking about’.  A simple, satin and tulle gown by Essense of Australia from Gowns and Garters.  I knew I didn’t want a veil, but I did want to add some glam; statement earrings and a hair slide.  I spent a long time researching styles and suppliers.  I found Miss Clemmie Bridal on Instagram, I loved her pieces and when I found out she was based in Northampton my mind was made up.  I love supporting local, independent suppliers.

Toby – I always like to look my best.  So our wedding day was no exception.  I knew I wanted a navy suit – blue is very much my colour and I knew I wanted a waistcoat.  Having researched suit hire companies, I settled on Suitors in Northampton.  They had the best selection of styles to have something a little different.  Settling on tails for my jacket was unplanned, but it just took the suits to the next level as opposed to feeling like a suit I’d wear to work.  We settled on grey, double breasted waistcoats because I liked them and Hayley said it would work with our ‘colour palette’ (she mentioned that A LOT!)  The tie, pocket square and shoes finished the look off nicely.

Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:

Hayley must have gone through more than 5 different colour themes for our wedding, producing many Pinterest boards to present to me [Toby], for me to dismiss all but one…and obviously it had blue in it!

The word we adopted pretty quickly was ‘opulence’.  So we settled on navy, pale blue, gold and cream.  We decided not to have children at our wedding and we wanted a very ‘grown up’ day.  During the wedding breakfast Toby was keen to have a banquet feel.  So we soon set about sourcing loads of brass candlesticks and gold sequin table runners.  The flowers were a very important element for Hayley, she wanted big arrangements in the main barn and a stunning bouquet!  On the day, everything came together beautifully – it was exactly how we imagined it to be.

What was your first dance and why did you choose it?

The first dance was one of the hardest things to agree on.  We don’t really ‘do’ slow dancing and Hayley really didn’t want an Ed Sheeran cliche!  Hayley really wanted a ‘boppy number’ and Toby finally came round.  Then began the process of suggesting songs, all of which were too cheesy, too fast, too slow…  we eventually settled on I Love You I Do by Jennifer Hudson, it was actually Toby’s pick.  The song didn’t have any real significant to either of us, but the lyrics were beautiful, it was fun and we enjoyed dancing to it.

What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?

Finally saying ‘I do’!! and being married was just wonderful!  Looking back at the photographs, walking down the aisle as husband and wife, the happiness on our faces says it all! When we all sat down for dinner, Toby and I on the top table and, we just stopped and surveyed the room.  It was full of chat and laughter, a real buzz.  All of our friends, together in one room enjoying themselves.  We felt so very lucky and happy in that moment.

Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?

Hayley started following Hannah on Facebook a good year before she and Toby were engaged (she always does like to be prepared!) Hayley loved Hannah’s style of photography, how in a crowded room she could catch real moments of love and happiness, without her subjects even noticing.  It’s a real skill and one Toby soon recognised too.  We didnt even make enquiries with any other photographers, we knew Hannah was the one.

On the day, Hannah arrived exactly when she said she would and instantly became one of the girls during bridal prep.  During the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast she went into ‘stealth mode’, we didn’t even notice her taking the photos that later landed in our inbox. She would put us at ease during the couple shots and had real patience with our family during the formal shots.  And during the party – she partied, with her camera!

What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding.

 Book Hannah.  Obvs.

After that, as soon as you find the other suppliers you want, book them quickly!  Not only does it guarantee they’ll work with you, if your wedding is some years away, you should secure them a cheaper prices than if you left it nearer the time. Another top tip – order extra copies of your marriage certificate.  It makes it so much easier when it comes to changing your name, as the banks, DVLA et al always want an original of your certificate, so you can send them off all at the same time.  

You. Are. Welcome.

BIG SHOUT OUTS GO TO

James Heffernan who shot this gorgeous wedding alongside me on film. Check it out!

Hair: Jenna Ratledge / Makeup: Jo Tromans / Gown: Essense of Australia supplied by Gowns & Garters

Flowers: Willow & Thyme / Puddings: The Pudding Parlour / Bridesmaids: Maid to Measure

Groom’s hire: Suitors / Accessories: Miss Clemmie

 

Planning your own wedding at Dodmoor House and looking for someone who knows it inside out?

Let’s do coffee.