Grace and Francis’ outdoor wedding at Hillfields Farm was definitely one of my most memorable weddings of last year. The weather was… wet, but thanks to Dark Sky (RIP) I managed to persuade Grace that being a few minutes late to the ceremony would push us into a dry patch and the Hillfields team sprung into action moving chairs and flower arches outside allowing for a smooth and seamless (and DRY!) ceremony. At the end of the ceremony we threw confetti and I was the last person back in the barn just as the heavens opened. NOT JUST A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER: Also a weather girl.
The outdoor wedding area at Hillfields Farm is absolutely incredible, set in a little coppice of trees with mega views, and Grace and Francis’ ceremony was led by one of their friends with the help of Grace’s sister and included some Sri Lanken wedding traditions. Hillfields Farm is also dog friendly, and their labradoodle Wally was the bestest boy.
How did you meet?
We met at uni. We were both in the media society – he worked on the magazine and I worked on the TV station… and now we basically both do that for a living!
Tell me your proposal story:
It was about as unconventional as we are. I knew Francis would propose if we went to Sri Lanka, but I really like the idea of doing it myself. I kept looking for the “right moment” but there never seemed to be one. Then one day, on holiday in Wales, we were on a secluded island, the weather was incredible, the beach was empty, Wally had run off and Francis went after him, and it was the perfect moment. I started writing in the sand and got halfway before they both came back and I had to stumble my way through after being caught in the act! It was amazing!
Why did you choose an outdoor wedding at Hillfields Farm for your wedding day?
It was the first and only venue we visited. We wanted a dry hire venue where our nearest and dearest could stay onsite. And to be honest we were sold as soon as we drove in – the views are INSANE! Plus the prop cupboard saved us a fortune! Hillfields was a dream and I would recommend it to everyone, the team were incredible and the venue stunning!
What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
We mainly wanted things that would be worn again/reused. So all the accessories – shoes, suit, hair, jewellery etc were things that we loved, but also knew we’d use again. I’m also hoping to have my dress altered so I can wear that again too.
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
We didn’t really have a theme. We mainly wanted the day to be super chilled and for everyone to have a great time. We told the bridesmaids and groomsmen to wear whatever they wanted and felt comfortable in. Helen nailed the flowers which were peachy and colourful and matched the flowers on our legal ceremony day. We had garden games, food trucks and a free bar. The only uniform was that Wally’s bow tie matched Francis’!
What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
We danced to You and Me by Penny and the Quarters because we both love the song. I was dreading it, but I actually loved it because it was one of the only moments throughout the day where I actually forgot everyone was there, and it was a moment for just us two.
What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
We loved the entire day. It was great to have all our favourite people in one place, especially after covid. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD definitely sums up the day! It was endless but amazing! The pizza, the fried chicken, my mums starters, Francis’ cousin’s cake, the doughnuts – I wish we could relive it! Undoubtedly the weather was also a highlight! Blazing sunshine until an hour before the ceremony, then torrential rain, which eased up JUST in time for the outdoor ceremony, before starting again, JUST as we made it inside post-ceremony! It was meant to be! We managed to do everything we wanted outside – ceremony, photos, garden games, sparklers, and yet still had the drama of torrential rain in between! It was a miracle day and we were the luckiest people!
Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
Hannah had photographed one of our friends weddings. She seamlessly mingled with the guests and basically became one of us. We got on with her really well, and knew she would fit in perfectly. We then saw the photos of the day and we were sold! It was a no-brainer and she didn’t disappoint. It was like reliving the day again once we got our album, just perfection! Plus we made a really good friend!
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding?
Do what you want. It’s your wedding, so don’t conform to rules you don’t want. We didn’t bother with a sit down meal, we had one of our friends “marry” us on the day, we had rough timings but no set order of the day, and we just had the best time. It went so quickly, I wish we could do it again!
Grace + Francis’ dog friendly Berkshire wedding happened with the help of the following suppliers…