I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been frozen to my core for weeks now and while I love winter weddings, I’m dreaming over summer and long evenings and not needing to prepare for a day at work as if I’m going to the Arctic Tundra… So, to help me though the cold, it’s time to blog some summer love; it couldn’t be more perfect than Hannah and Damo’s day, a gorgeous Southwell Minster wedding! I first met Hannah and Damo at Monsal Head in the Peaks for their prewedding shoot where traffic made me so late that we nearly had to shoot in the dark but within seconds I knew their wedding would be a scream, and it definitely didn’t disappoint! Southwell Minster is the most wonderful setting for a wedding; the gardens are beautiful and the minster itself makes the most incredible backdrop for photographs… Hannah and Damo are two of the loveliest, thoughtful and creative souls and their wedding reflected them through and through, read on to find out more!

How did you meet?
We had been friends and worked together in the same school for years, causing general mayhem and eating biscuits together in head of department meetings.  But that isn’t when it happened.  Life took a few twists and turns and then one day we met for a catch-up coffee after we’d both moved to a different school.  Later that evening, having not picked up on the multiple flirty signs Damian was sending, Hannah tried to set up Damian with a great pal instead!  Cue a carefully worded (and highly cringe-worthy) text in which Damian took the plunge asking Hannah for a date.  After a little while of saying ‘Erm…’ and multiple conversations with mutual friends (who all said ‘well, yes, obviously you’re perfect for each other….we’ve been saying that for ages….’) Hannah finally realised it was probably a good idea.  In fact, it was a brilliant idea and the way it was always supposed to be.

You wanted the short version, yes…?!

Tell me your proposal story:
We went on holiday to Northumberland (a place close to Damian’s heart from multiple family holidays) and during a gorgeous sunny walk on Bamburgh beach with Willow (labradoodle and the third muskehound), Damian veered us up into the sand dunes, got down on one knee and presented THE most beautiful ring.  We celebrated with champagne, fish and chips on the beach and lots of phone calls to very excited family and friends.

Why did you choose Southwell Minster for your wedding day?
Hannah is the Director of Music at the Minster School in Southwell and has a close musical connection to Southwell Minster.  Both of us wanted a ceremony centred around music, highlighting the importance of the occasion, and we had a choral anthem composed for us by the composer Guy Turner.  So a Southwell Minster wedding was the perfect choice.  A beautiful building, full of meaning and the potential for some stunning music (it really didn’t disappoint!)

As family and friends were travelling (from all over the country) we didn’t want guests to have to travel between the ceremony and reception so we chose a marquee in the absolutely gorgeous Minster gardens.  It worked brilliantly!


What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
Pockets.  It was that simple!  Hannah had planned to try a few dress shops with a couple of her bridesmaids to get some ideas, then take her mum to choose a dress.  But in only the second shop (Brides of Bakewell – lovely ladies Ali and Grace) she fell in love with a stunning, simple and elegant dress….with pockets.  The pockets were a total clincher!  When Hannah took her Mum to see it they chose a long veil with a beautiful lace trim which complemented the simplicity of the dress perfectly.  Well, the Minster needed a long train!

Damian’s suit shopping was not quite as easy.  At first he wanted a blue modern-looking suit…and indeed that’s what he ended up with.  A very lovely Ted Baker blue suit.  However, before deciding on that particular one he changed his mind so many times.  In the end they had to call on the patient and assertive help of Neil (Groomsman) to intervene, which he did superbly!  The brown belt and shoes were comparatively easy and the light gold cravat didn’t take long either!

Hannah wanted some detail in her hair so chose a small vintage slide and then found some gorgeous (and super comfortable) Benjamin Adams shoes to match…and a pair of Havianas for after the ceremony (she lives in flip flops for as many months of the year as possible)

Hannah had planned to buy a wedding perfume, but Chanel ‘Chance’ has always been her fragrance and nothing else would do.  To make it special for the day, Damian bought her a tiny bottle of the ‘parfum’ as a keepsake -the intensity of such a concentrated perfume was great as it lasted all day too!

Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
Lots of Pinterest and Instagram research went on when we started planning – (Hannah can get a bit obsessed with detail…!)…We wanted the ceremony to be quite serious and reflect the beauty of the cathedral, our love of music and also our faith.  Then in contrast, we wanted the reception to be relaxed with plenty of fizz and laughter.  We quickly decided on the colours of light gold, sage green and white and we knew we wanted plenty of flowers and greenery to reflect the Minster gardens.    When we were talking about a ‘theme’ the best we could come up with was an ‘elegant picnic’…it wasn’t a theme we shared with people but it helped us to channel our thoughts.  We wanted something fairly classic, but also relaxed.

When we chatted with our lovely caterers (Whites Fine Food) they gave us the idea of a family style wedding breakfast which we loved.  Each table had a ‘chef of the day’ who was equipped with an apron and chef’s hat and carved the roast beef….along with distributing a huge number of yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes!  We thought that would be the most sociable and it worked – everyone had a hoot!  We decided on trestle tables too which we were really pleased with.

Hannah is a big lover of good fonts and stationery and spent many hours designing the invitations, orders of service, table plans etc, including a monogram which we then had made into a stamp which we used in different ways.  Then there was the gold foiling….so many nights were spent gold-foiling everything, but it was totally worth it! We wanted the table names to be places we loved and so Damian drew pencil drawings of our chosen locations which we then foiled for the table cards.  He did really rather well!

At the start of our planning we had seen an idea of a small wooden crate of flowers on each table so Damian took on the challenge of making them out of pallet wood.  It became a real labour of love, but we really loved the final crates which we stained and stamped with the gold monogram.  Hannah and her mum then arranged all the flowers for the marquee – which we really enjoyed doing the day before! The lovely Jane at Minster Flowers really helped to choose flowers for the bouquets.  Hannah knew she wanted eucalyptus and gypsophelia and Damian wanted it all to smell good too, so rosemary was added early on.  We then added peonies, roses, lisianthus, astilbe and stocks. We took the garden aspect of it a bit further with Seed packets for our wedding favours.  Hannah designed the packet and her Mum and Dad filled them with forget-me-not seeds in memory of her Grandmother.

We knew we wanted plenty of lawn games as we had our niece, nephew and our god-children all coming to the wedding…so we had croquet, badminton, skittles and more.  Damian also really wanted a game of rounders and a ‘pub’ quiz – so we had both. A last minute addition we were really pleased with were the deck chairs from Living the Cream.  As the weather was looking good we wanted people to be able to sit outside, so we had gorgeous bright striped deck chairs and plenty of picnic rugs in the gardens outside the marquee.

What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
We didn’t have a first dance as neither of us are particularly good at being the centre of attention in that way!  However, Damian decided to surprise Hannah by playing the 80’s children’s tv theme tune to the Muskehounds (it’s a cheesy in-joke that we (along with the dog) are the muskehounds…) organised with Mikey and our amazing wedding band.

What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
How to start?

People – It was amazing to look around and see all our family and friends having such a good time.  We wanted to make sure there was plenty of food and drink and enough to entertain the children there.  It was a real family affair, with the age range spanning 5 weeks – 90 years!  Our parents and the wedding party were all absolutely brilliant, Hannah’s bridesmaids (3 adults and 5 littlelies) looked gorgeous and Damian’s best man and groomsmen scrubbed up pretty well too.  Our parents have been a huge support during the planning process and with set-up and we loved seeing them enjoy themselves too.  Looking around the marquee to everyone laughing, drinking fizz, sharing a family-style roast and playing games out in the sunshine  was just incredible and we couldn’t have asked for more!

The music – the choir were stunning and neither of us will ever forget O Magnum Mysterium (Lauridsen) as Hannah walked down the aisle.  Hannah’s school Chamber Choir and the Southwell Minster choristers sang and I don’t think there were many dry eyes!  The commissioned wedding anthem was just beautiful and a really special moment.  The descant in the hymns were a real highlight too.  The recessional was the last movement from Vierne’s 1st symphony as Damian wanted plenty of ‘oomph’ from the organ.  He certainly got it!  The music didn’t stop after the ceremony.  The drinks reception was accompanied by Lizzie playing the harp (ex student of Hannah’s) and then another ex-student, Isaac,  played the piano during the reception.  The amazing 7-piece wedding band was put together by a friend and wowed the guests with their tunes!

Also – we were really pleased with how the marquee looked and all the little things we had designed and made – including all the wedding stationery, decorations and flowers.  We think it all felt pretty professional, but we’d done it all and now know everything about gold foiling and crate-making!

Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
Having seen some of Hannah’s photos through a friend, HHP was our first choice and the perfect one.  We were so pleased she was available!  We wanted someone who would capture the day in it’s truest form and that’s exactly what Hannah provided.  We knew we wanted a small number of formal shots, but really we wanted all those little moments from the day captured for us to look at over for years to come.  Our experience of HHP has been exemplary and we couldn’t be more thrilled.  Hannah was so professional throughout, but always with a bit of a light-hearted touch which chimed with us.  We were really unsure of the pre-wedding shoot but boy were we pleased we did it as it really helped us to understand the process a bit more, and it was great to actually meet Hannah.  On the day Hannah was absolutely perfect.  In the morning she was a total rock during the prep – just the tiniest bits of inside/industry information and calm advice here and there was spot-on for Hannah (bride).  During the day it felt as though Hannah was a guest.  Everyone loved her and she was so subtle and stealth-like!  We felt, throughout the planning and the day, that we were in totally safe hands.  Hannah has a natural trust-worthiness and that really helped us to be confident in what she does.  Her use of social media is also great for this and helps to build up a relationship which makes the day even better!  Even when Hannah was whisking us off for some photos later in the day, everything was really unobtrusive and smooth – she’s just great.  The photos themselves.  Gosh, we don’t really have the words.  We made the best choice by choosing HHP – she has created beautiful art and tangible memories of our day which we will cherish forever.

What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding.
We would say…be really clear from the beginning about what you both consider to be the most important parts of the day.  For us, it was important that we could invite everyone we wanted to, we didn’t want to have to limit ourselves in numbers of guests.  Knowing this really helped when we had to make decisions.

Most importantly…just love each other through it all.

Oh, and choose HHP!

Hannah + Damo’s Southwell Minster Wedding

High fives to the following kickass suppliers…

Hair & Makeup Lisa Precious Beauty Artist | Dress designer Mia Mia | Dress supplier Brides of Bakewell 

Florist Minster Flowers | Cake Southwell Cakery | Bridesmaids Matchimony | Grooms Hire Moss Bros

Caterer White’s Fine Food | Entertainment Simply Swing | Deckchairs Living the Cream