A Suzanne Neville Bride in a Classic, Long-Sleeved Lace Dress for a Celestial Inspired Wedding at Hatfield House
Today’s spectacular wedding is an autumnal delight in two equally beautiful parts, all taking place within the splendour of one of the most historic country estates in England.
Part one was a traditional church ceremony, followed by a classically styled wedding breakfast in a medieval palace, no less. Part two was an evening party in a modern riding school, transformed by an incredible, celestial theme.
Meet Hannah, who works in NHS health development for mental health services, and Richard, director of market development at the Shell Foundation. They celebrated their marriage on the 26 October 2018, in a Catholic ceremony, followed by a reception at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.
Images by Craig Williams Photography
Hannah and Richard’s day was planned and styled to perfection by Katie Slater of Songbird Weddings, and the couple are full of praise for her skills and wonderful work.
“We really couldn’t have done it without Katie.We miss speaking to her every week, she was fabulous, and made everything so easy. She really understood our tastes, and despite us lacking in the creative vision department, she put together exactly what we had dreamed of – but better – if that’s possible! We are both very time poor (as many people are these days), so she managed everything for us.”
“Kate had such a tough job, as we had such a mix of skin tones and styles! I am sure my bridesmaids won’t mind me saying this, but we had some who are full on glam, who are always perfectly coiffed, made up and tanned, to those who steal my mascara on nights out as they never wear make-up!”
“She got the level just right for everyone. I was terrified of having that real ‘bridal’ full face, and not looking like me, but Kate’s style is nothing like that. It was just perfect – natural, yet a better version of you!”
On her feet, Hannah wore shoes from the L.K. Bennett x Jenny Packham collaboration collection, and a mixture of gifted and borrowed pieces of jewellery – a diamond drop necklace borrowed from one of her bridesmaids, Links of London earrings, gifted by her mother-in-law, and a Monica Vinader bracelet, given to her by Richard on the morning of the wedding.
“My husband actually gave my Maid of Honour some gifts to give to me the night before, and on the morning of the wedding. One was perfume, which I wore on the day. It was ChanelCoco Mademoiselle, as I was wearing it on our first date.”
Claire of Barberella Bridal Hair interpreted Hannah’s wish for a soft and romantic hair style perfectly, which she accessorised with a crystal hair vine from Charlotte Rose Accessory Design, and a hip length ivory tulle veil by Joyce Jackson.
“Claire just got the relaxed updo that I had been pinning frantically without being able to explain. I showed her a few photos, and she did it perfectly. She managed to create an updo that I could also take down later in the evening (but I didn’t actually get around to doing this!).”
For his fantastic wedding look, Richard chose a charcoal grey three-piece suit, with autumnal orange buttons and tie, from The Vintage Suit Hire Co.
Hannah carried a beautiful bouquet of romantic ivory and cream blooms and greenery down the aisle, by The Flower Story, and chose to walk to Ave Maria.
“We met online through eHarmony, nearly 4 years ago. We got engaged at the Grove Hotel, during Christmas 2016 after about 18 months together! I was actually pregnant at the time with our son (Ralph, now 19 months), so we were engaged for a year and 10 months before we got married. The birth of our son threw us off track a tad!”
During the heartfelt ceremony, Hannah and Richard said their vows to one another, and exchanged rings, too, from Ingle & Rhode. It was particularly important to them both to find an ethical jeweller.
“Rich’s faith is very important to him, so it was important that we were married in our local Catholic church, which tied us slightly on areas for a reception, as we didn’t want the guests to have to travel too far.”
From St. Albans boutique, The Bride, Hannah chose a timelessly elegant gown by Suzanne Neville, with a subtle fishtail skirt, and delicate, shoulder skimming lace jacket.
“I loved the simplicity, and that with adding the jacket you could have two different looks. The long sleeved lace jacket meant that it was demure enough for a Catholic ceremony, but you could take it off to have an evening look as well.”
“The Bride is such a fab little shop in the heart of St. Albans; really, really great customer service. Nikki and Lynsey were fantastic. They really care and know their stuff. They created a new jacket for me using different lace as I didn’t like the initial one. They really understood what I was asking for despite my not being able to describe it very well at all!”
Wedding transport for the day came in the shape of an elegant Bentley MK VI, hired from Cambridge Wedding Cars.
Hatfield House was the first venue Hannah and Richard went to see, and although they loved it, at first thought their guest numbers (275) were over capacity.
“Katie then found a solution so that we could dry hire the whole venue, and have the dinner in the wonderfully historic Old Palace, and move down to the new modern riding studios for the evening do. It worked brilliantly. It made the day feel like you had two quite different experiences, which we loved.”
Hannah, Richard, and their wedding party took some time out for a few group photos, with photographer Craig Williams.
“Craig was just awesome! He was the perfect balance for a photographer. You barely noticed he was there, yet when you did interact with him it was like having an old friend there. His photos really captured the warmth and feeling of the day, which is so hard to do. He really is so talented and captured the day beautifully. We were so impressed, and can’t stop looking at our photos.”
The couple combined Craig’s wonderful, natural image with the work of videographer Jade Gooch, of Hushabye Films.
“Although Jade and Craig hadn’t met before our wedding, it was like having two old friends there. Jade is so warm and professional, it was just lovely to be able to share the day with her. She is fantastic.”
“She really calmed both of us, and just made everything feel so natural, even though neither of us have ever been filmed before. We couldn’t have picked a better videographer or photographer.”
“Our invitations were designed by White Olive Design Studio, and our on the day stationery (a scroll table plan and hand torn place names were designed by White Cottage Weddings & Paper).”
Everyone made their way over to Hatfield House, for a drinks reception in the golden autumn sunshine, outside in the wonderful knot garden, with live music from acoustic duo, Ear Candy.
“When our guests arrived, they had miniature cocktail tasters created by the Mixology Brothers. It was great to get people talking about what they had tried.”
The wedding breakfast was held inside the Old Palace wing of Hatfield House – a spectacular medieval space, which also managed to be warm, cosy and inviting, too.
“The Old Palace was kept classic and romantic, and the focus was on the large floristry pieces, including a 10ft elevated floral canopy on the top table, and a large urn at the entrance.”
“Lizzy from The Flower Story really led on this. This was just fabulous. The flowers on the day really took my breath away.”
“Favours were some lovely boxes of Swiss chocolates, made by my very lovely mother-in-law.”
“We had a number of raised arrangements on the tables, as we had such a large space to decorate, and Katie suggested that fewer larger pieces would have more of an impact. They really were stunning – Lizzy is just so talented!”
I love the tapestry backdrop on the walls, too, with their gently faded colours contrasting with the lively fresh flowers and foliage.
It was fitting that in a space which used to be a banqueting hall, an incredible feast was served by Hall & Co. Event Design, beginning with antipasti running the length of the dining tables.
“We wanted the food to be both decorative and fun for our guests to eat, and these worked really well. The food was one of the most important parts of the day for us, and we really wanted our guests to have an amazing experience and meal. Hall & Co. were fantastic.”
“Foods were sharing platters to make sure we encouraged getting to know everyone on the table! We also had a quiz during dinner, which got people talking amongst their tables.”
After the feast and speeches, the party moved over to Hatfield House’s modern, and recently refurbished riding school, which was exquisitely decorated to fit the couple’s wish for a celestial theme. This wonderful installation was put together by the team at Lighting With Intent, with extra bespoke moons and stars hung by planner Katie, of Songbird Weddings.
“We wanted the riding stables to feel fun and exciting, and so we introduced a celestial concept. Guests travelled from the Old Palace down to the riding stables in a sparkler aisle, and when they arrived they were greeted with a ceiling of draped fairy lights with hanging stars and moons.”
“The great thing about the riding stables is that it has a viewing balcony all around the room. This enabled our guests to spread out, but still feel like they could see all of the fun. We created a lounge area on the balcony for older guests, so that they were comfortable, but could enjoy the celebrations.”
Lizzy from The Flower Story created a magical ‘moongate’ of flowers and greenery, to act as a beautiful backdrop for Hannah and Richard’s photobooth, courtesy of The Photo Booth Guys.
All of the gorgeous flowers from the banqueting hall were moved over to the riding school for the evening, to dress the lounge area, as well as the dessert table. Hannah and Richard’s delicious four-tier naked cake, with buttercream drip, was made by Susan from Cakes of Good Taste.
“We wanted to bring the celestial theme onto the cake, and it was the centrepiece to our dessert display in the riding stables. Susan created white sugar moons, and the flavours of each tier were different, with coconut, vanilla and salted caramel, chocolate orange, and white chocolate and raspberry.”
Band Ear Candy transformed from a duo into a trio for the evening reception, as Hannah and Richard took to the dance floor for their first dance together as a married couple.
“Rich actually saw Ear Candy at a friend’s wedding 4 or 5 years before, and decided then and there that he wanted them at his (we hadn’t actually met at this point!). They didn’t disappoint! All the guests raved about them, and I thought they were just fantastic as well!”
“We were lucky to have a minstrel balcony during the evening part of the reception. It was so nice to be able to look down on everyone dancing and having fun. The atmosphere was incredible. The Old Palace was just stunning as well. I knew the flowers would be incredible, but on the day they really did take my breath away.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Getting a wedding planner would be the best advice I could give anyone. They do make the process so much more enjoyable, and will have knowledge about suppliers and ideas that you just don’t think of!”
“Sometimes, I know you may not consider them in the budget, but they do make savings on your behalf as well, and often get the best deals with trusted suppliers!”
Hannah and Richard, congratulations and thank you so, so much. What a wonderful day, and what a glorious venue, too (and I’m awestruck by those flowers!). Huge thanks to Craig Williams for his magical images, too. If you’d like to see more weddings featuring his lovely work, then we have plenty to look at, right here.
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