What started as a brilliant initial consultation on Zoom has turned into a hilarious friendship of sharing ridiculous content on Instagram. I love Naomi and Chris so much and their wedding at The Pumping House in Ollerton was absolutely everything I expected it to be – and more. Their day was so authentically them with so many gorgeous personal touches; handmade felt birds on autumnal woodland installations on tables named after family members, absolutely ridiculous choreographed first dances, temporary tattoos (mine lasted for weeks but looked more like a rare skin disease than a toadstool, to be honest) and an ancient recording of Chris’ nan playing Clair de Lune piano played in the ceremony… GOODNESS ME it was wonderful on all accounts.
Feast your eyes upon this day from October last year – happy first anniversary Chraomi!
HOW DID YOU MEET?
We first met at a half term house party when we were 14. Chris’s first words were “are you single?” and Naomi’s were “no”. But things changed and we got to know each other when the 2 year halves merged and we were in most of the same classes together. 18 years later we’re thankful for every boring English, tech and science lesson.
TELL ME YOUR PROPOSAL STORY
We were on holiday in the New Forest and I (Chris) had absolutely no intention of proposing. We went to a small village called Lyndhurst and had a look in the window of the Jeweller there (we often did this as a way to see if I (Chris) could guess what Naomi would like) and saw a beautiful ring which Naomi instantly said ‘that’s the one!’ I said we could go in and have a look but unfortunately they were closing up so we went on our merry way.
We were driving through the New Forest because Naomi wanted to get a picture of a white horse in amongst the heather. We stopped at a car park that overlooked a heath that was covered in purple heather, we took a couple of photos and then drove off. That’s when the idea popped in my head ‘that would have been a great place to propose’, and that was it, I was determined to find somewhere even better.
As we were driving we found another car park and a white horse, so I almost did a handbrake turn into it. Naomi was walking ahead taking pictures of some heathland cows that were also there, whilst I was trying to make a ring out of heather. When she had taken her last picture and said ‘shall we go back to the car?’ I stopped and got down to one knee and asked her, using my makeshift heather ring, and she said “yes”
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE YOUR WEDDING AT THE PUMPING HOUSE?
We were looking for exclusive venues near where we’re from (Lincolnshire) as we wanted it to be near our family and friends. We searched online for Lincolnshire venues and made a list, but none of them were quite right. We wanted something that was us rather than what we thought people expected of a wedding. Then, Naomi found The Pumping House in Ollerton! It was in the middle of the forest, had lots of breakout rooms and accommodation for our friends and family to stay. It was the perfect hub for a big party.
We went to have a look around and met the staff (shout out to Megan, our wedding coordinator who was amazing). We viewed manor houses, grand hotels and one venue which was basically Hogwarts, but we knew The Pumping House was perfect for us. Even after the wedding we have no regrets about our decision.
WHAT WAS IT YOU LOVED ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS AND ACCESSORIES THAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THEM?
Naomi – As soon as I tried my dress on, I knew it was the one. Which sounds super corny but it is true. I love the embellishments that Needled and Thread add that give their dresses an extra wow factor and the sleeves made me feel like a forest elf or something. In fact when I went for my chat with the registrar right before the ceremony, they loved the dress so much that they asked to take a photo of me with their phones. Now, that’s some serious dress power there.
For my earrings, I wanted to bring a little bit of our proposal story to the day. I was lucky enough to find an Ukrainian business on Etsy called MiartBijou that created beautiful purple heather earrings which allowed me to bring in that story and also help a Ukrainian business during their war.
BIG SHOUT OUT TO WEARING FLAT COMFORTABLE SHOES ON YOUR WEDDING DAY! I highly recommend. We’re both a big fan of walks in the forest and I couldn’t bring myself to spend lots of money on a pair of shoes I wouldn’t wear again. My boots were from River Island and they have since been to the forests of Essex, the dunes of the Lincolnshire coast and the rainforests of Costa Rica.
Chris – I didn’t really have a lot of accessories for with my outfit but the most important one I had was the brooche. It was one that was my grandmothers that she got from Malaya (we think, I spoke to my mum and she thinks that’s where it came from), but I remember her wearing it so I wanted to wear it so she would be with us on the day.
I also had a pocket watch that my dad let me borrow, that I believe was my grandfathers or great grandfathers. So I wanted to wear that as well to try and have as many family reminders as possible.
For my suit, I wanted a nice tweed one as the wedding was in October so thought it might be a little chilly and also because they are really breathable and just a little different to your everyday type suits. I went on a suit shopping trip with my mum and dad and had a really nice day and started in Nottingham and almost bought a suit there but then at the last minute, we decided to go to Lincoln. There was a suit shop my dad had seen a few weeks previously and so we went to see what they had to offer.
The shop was called Cavani at Coneys in Lincoln. We got there 15 minutes before they closed and they were incredibly helpful and never tried to hurry us up so they could close. I couldn’t recommend them any more! I saw a lovely green suit that really went with our theme and they took my measurements and got the trousers sorted in less than a week!
TELL ME ABOUT THE VISION YOU HAD FOR YOUR WEDDING
The overall vision we had for the wedding was to represent everything we love as a couple, including nature, forests, warm colours and most importantly, including the people we’ve lost in our lives into the day.
We hired the incredible Peonies and Plumes to do the flowers for our wedding and asked her to incorporate our love of ferns, mosses, berries, twisted branches and warm tones (and of course, include heathers that nod to our proposal). She took this simple brief and created something we could have never imagined. Every arrangement was breathtaking and I (Naomi) felt very privileged to be donning a piece of art on my head for the day. We also asked for some of the heathers to still be in pots which we then placed on Naomi’s Dad’s grave which we will forever be grateful for.
Save the Date were our amazing stylists and helped us design our tables and card area and find the perfect arch for our ceremony. They had an amazing set up in their showroom inside The Pumping House which allowed us to walk around to see all the props for hire and even dress a table to see exactly what it would look like on the day.
It was important to us that we had decor on the day that was completely unique to us. Luckily, Naomi knows her way around ProCreate, Photoshop and InDesign and was able to draw and design all of our stationary. This allowed us to be completely customisable and create what we wanted. Chris had the lovely idea of naming all of our tables after family members that have passed and to create a little bio for each person which was placed on top of every menu so our guests could learn more about the people that meant so much to us.
Planning a wedding can somethings be stressful, but luckily we created a side project to help get out our frustrations – needle felting! This hobby allowed us to create lots of little cute birds which sat inside our flower arrangements and also let us destress by stabbing something continuously with a needle.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DANCE AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT?
Our first dance was a tricky one as we were trying to think of the expected soppy sad song to slow dance to, but that isn’t really us. Once we realised it should be upbeat and funky, Naomi had the brainwave for us to dance to Dadi Freyr – 10 Years, which resonated with us because it was a song he wrote for his wife after they’d been together for… you guessed it… 10 years. Most importantly, it already had a dance routine for the chorus and as we aren’t really dancers, that was perfect. It’s a really upbeat song and was great fun to dance to. Shout out of the Pointer Brothers that helped us fill in the moves on the verses!
We never expected that our first dance song would be a EuroVision song, but always go with your gut, no matter how weird it may seem it others.
WHAT WERE THE MOST WONDERFUL PARTS OF THE DAY FOR YOU?
Chris – For me it was wonderful just to sit there and see that everybody was there to celebrate with us. It was just so great to talk to everyone and catch up. The food was incredible as well!
Naomi – To repeat Chris, it really was looking around to see all the people you love in your life coming together. It was also great seeing different circles of people in our life meeting for the first time and making friends themselves – it was like watching Marvel’s Infinity War seeing all these heroes meeting and interacting.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HANNAH HALL PHOTOGRAPHY AS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER, AND WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE DAY?
We decided early on what was important for our wedding and getting the right photographer was high on the list.
For the wedding we wanted a photographer who was going to pick up the moments that we might miss, like kids messing around or a group having a good laugh. Hannah’s name came up and when we went on her site we instantly knew we needed to talk to her. (The picture of the two ladies in pink hats that is on the home page is the one that convinced us!)
We had a Zoom chat with her and that was us fully convinced. She was so easy to talk to and we got on like a house on fire!
Neither of us really enjoy getting our photos taken in a posed way, but when it came to the day Hannah really made us feel comfortable and it really didn’t feel like the photos were posed, it just felt like we were out with a friend having some pictures taken.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST BIT OF ADVICE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?
Other than hire Hannah for your photos! Our advice would be the age old advice of do what YOU want, not what others want. You want a traditional wedding? GO FOR IT! You want a bouncy castle, fireworks and bright yellow wedding dress? GO FOR IT!!! This may be controversial, but don’t feel guilty for not following tradition and buying every guest a favour. If money is tight, that will be forgiven.
Also, the other bit of advice would be to just enjoy the day, things may go wrong but rather than being upset or angry, try and laugh it off and forget about it. Enjoy partying with your friends and family and have a good time!
We’d also recommend hiring suppliers that you get on with or don’t cause you stress. Even if their work is amazing, if you get the feeling they could make you feel uncomfortable on your day or cause you more stress than you need, don’t hire them. We hired a lot of suppliers that work together with each other often so we knew things would run smoothly.