Hampton Court House Wedding
Jacqui & Tom | A Hampton Court House Wedding
Tell me your story. How did you meet, how did you become engaged and for how long had you been engaged before your wedding day? How did you get here?
Tom: We met each other at work, having been thrown on a project together (not the most romantic of starts!) but a few months after working together, we finally went on our first date to a pub in Parsons Green, for one of many drinks. Five years later we went back to that pub on the day of our engagement! – I didn’t propose there; I decided it would be much more fun to take Jacqui on a bike ride visiting all the places we had frequented in the first year of our relationship, and then propose to her when we got home.
After a 30km ride around Putney, Fulham & back along the river, we returned home – pretty tired but after a great day.
I let myself into the house, ran upstairs to get the ring, and then unlocked the backdoor so Jacqui could bring her bike through. She wheeled it through the garden towards the shed, unlocked the door & then battled to get the bike into the shed, knocking over chairs and other general shed paraphernalia, swearing at my lack of help…
At her lowest ebb, sweaty, irritable, dehydrated, she finally managed to get the bike in the shed…and as she turned, I was on one knee…fortunately she said yes!
What made you choose Hampton Court House?
Jacqui: Hampton Court House was actually the first (and only!) wedding venue we saw in person! Living locally, we knew we wanted a venue that was relatively close by so that family and friends didn’t have to stay in hotels if they didn’t want to, and that we could easily go back and visit.
I stumbled across Hampton Court House online and knew we had to go see it in person…and it didn’t disappoint! We loved the shabby extravagance of it – nothing about it was too stiff or ostentatious and we have some pretty special memories cycling around Bushy Park, which it looks onto. Plus the venue offered exclusivity, a shell grotto (who doesn’t love a shell grotto?!) and no corkage fee, which was an absolute winner!
Your outfits & accessories – What made you choose your outfits? What did you love about them?
Jacqui: After going to two wedding dress shops, I got a bit fed up of trying on either beautiful dresses I couldn’t afford or ones within my price-range that made me feel like I was in rather tacky fancy dress! I stumbled across a designer called Laura De Sagazaan online and after some thorough research, found a wedding dress in a sample sale that I thought was incredible. I loved the vintage style and ornate french lace, but that the low back gave it a bit of a modern wow factor!
Tom: I wear suits for work, so I wanted my wedding suit to feel a bit different and special! I got a tie from Hackett that had little stags embroidered onto it, to reflect the deer in the grounds of the venue. I also went for some very bold paisley lining on my navy waistcost and suit jacket – this certainly was no ordinary work suit!
I managed to find a cool place on etsy that made cufflinks with maps on, so I had cufflinks made for myself and my groomsmen with maps of the places we had met, which was a nice touch.
Jacqui: We knew we wanted navy blue outfits for our bridesmaids and groomsmen as it’s a colour we thought suits everyone and goes with everything! I also really loved the idea of my bridemaids in jumpsuits. Luckily they let me run with this idea and they loved the practicality of them in the end – they had pockets for their lipstick and they could bust big shapes on the dancefloor (which they most definitely did!)
I also got the bridesmaids some Alex Monroe necklaces that featured a small knotted rope as a thank you for helping us to ‘tie the knot.’
Finally, I had mistakenly ordered the wrong sized veil, but this turned out perfectly, as my flower girl (niece) wanted a veil too so we made a mini veil for her out of the excess material and left it at her table as a surprise!
What made you choose your decor and styling?
Jacqui: We found the flowers the trickiest part! We knew what we liked, and what we didn’t like when it came to flowers, but I had no idea what flowers would even be available in February (especially with the weather in the UK this year!). Luckily we had an amazing florist (Petal HQ) who advised us on what would be available for the wedding and what would work well in our venue, having done a couple of weddings at Hampton Court House before.
In terms of colours, we went for blue-ish and neutral tones – the flower arrangements included ranunculus (my new favourite!), anemones, spray roses, waxflower and foliage. All the bouquets, button holes and centre pieces were so lovely, but my favourite were two huge urns filled with flowers that dressed the ceremony room.
The main thing we wanted from our wedding day was for it to feel personal to us and our guests. We made our table plan out of polaroids of our guests (the most embarrassing ones we could find on social media!) and wrote personalised thank you cards to everyone as their place-names. Although this did take more time, we really enjoyed reminiscing about all the good times we have had to date, and the guests seemed touched by them too.
Tom: Our table names were named after locations of significant events in our relationship – where we met, our first house etc – and included anecdotal stories on the back (mostly at our expense!). In terms of favours, my parents (and brother) helped out by making some incredible, triple filtered sloe gin that we gorge ourselves on every year! We bottled this in small bottles with notes on the brewer and told people to “drink if chat got dry!”
Tell me about your Ceremony including any readings, any special moments and your vows. Did you tailor your vows?
Jacqui: Our ceremony probably wasn’t the most traditional, but we loved it! In terms of music, an extremely talented family friend played the piano as I walked down the aisle; he sang Jose Gonzalez’s ‘Stay Alive’ from one of our favourite films, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We also got our guests to sing along to ‘You’ve Got A Friend in Me’ by Randy Newman, which we chose as we love the lyrics (and Buzz Lightyear!)
As for readings, it has always been a running joke in our relationship that Tom couldn’t watch past the first 20 minutes of Pixar’s UP due to THAT scene where Ellie and Carl play out their lives together. (For those who haven’t seen the film, youtube ‘Married Life – Up’ and you’ll see why he struggles!) So we asked two of our best friends to read the part of the script where Ellie and Carl meet. This was a really special moment for us both.
Tom’s dad also read ‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Bob Dylan as our second reading and after we were pronounced as husband and wife, a barber shop choir (The Tiffinians) sang ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen as we headed outside to sunshine and champagne!
Do you have any comments about your photography? What was it like working with Brett? Why did you decide to book me?
Tom: We instantly loved Brett’s style of photography – his portfolio speaks for itself. After a couple of Skype calls with him, we knew we had found someone special as he was able to advise on things we hadn’t even thought of ourselves (we were newbies to this wedding planning thing after all!)
Brett was also super professional, quick to respond, and really gave us confidence that he knew what he was doing, and there wasn’t any over the top cool pretence we needed to navigate. The Skype calls in advance helped us get over some potential nerves, helped us get to know Brett a bit, and also meant he was able to guide us around what to expect from him on the day, which was so helpful. He was really clear with us throughout on what to expect, which was brilliant.
One thing I would say is that we didn’t know how great Brett would be on the day though – Brett put both us and our families at ease and knew how to manage the day, way over what we ever expected from a photographer. One particular example is when it was suggested we go inside ahead of a confetti throw, but Brett saw how much fun we were having and persuaded us to stay and mingle with our guests. We are really glad we took this advice!
Neither of us are the most comfortable around a camera, but Brett just let us be ourselves and captured the most wonderful moments in his work – we cannot stop looking at the photos to this day!
What was your first dance song and why?
Lighthouse Family – High. (We have been known to sing it at the top of our lungs after we’ve had a few drinks…)
Did you have any entertainment (day & evening)?
Jacqui: The Tiffinians (Barber Shop Choir) entertained our guests during the drinks reception; plucked from a local school, these guys sang everything from The Beach Boys to Carlie Ray Jepson and even made me cry happy tears at one point! Tom had also arranged a mariachi band (The Mexican Way) as a surprise during dinner; having spent most of that week comprising a pretty awesome Spotify playlist to play over dinner, I really had no idea this was coming! Needless to say, there is nothing quite like tucking into your mackerel pate over a unique Mexican rendition of ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17 – something I would highly recommend!
Our Best Man and his fiancé also made an amazing video montage of our friends and family miming to ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ to end his speech – a hilarious moment resulting in a spontaneous standing ovation!
For evening entertainment, we had the New York Brass Band, who crashed our first dance – these guys really knew how to get the crowd going! In the interval, we also arranged ‘Nostalgia Half Hour’ where our DJ played classics from the 90s and 00s as we handed out Smirnoff Ices and Bacardi Breezers! Sparklers were also lit in the evening (at our guests own risk!)
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
Jacqui: We’re not sure we can pick just one favourite part – it was so special just celebrating with everyone we love and there are so many happy memories. It was just the BEST. DAY. EVER!!!
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a couple planning their marriage and wedding day, what would they be and is there anything you would do differently?
Tom: Be clear with each other on what’s important, and focus on achieving that. It’s easy to get carried away with the small stuff (and it’s definitely not worth sweating the small stuff!). Whatever you have planned, you will have an incredible day, so be sure to enjoy the run up and take moments for yourselves during your wedding day to take it all in!
If you are having a Hampton Court House Wedding
or indeed you’re getting married anywhere else and are still looking for a wedding photographer to capture your day in a creative yet relaxed fashion I would love to hear from you.
You can use my contact page or please feel fee to just call me for a chat about your wedding, 07760130044.
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