A colourful Hampton Court House wedding in Surrey
Kate and Ambroise were married at Hampton Court House, in Surrey. As a wedding photographer you can never tell what the energy levels will be like on the day of a wedding, so you generally arrive ready to go with the flow. Well Kate and Amb’s flow was like a lovely, laid back ride on a lazy river. No stress, just happiness and a feeling that they were determined to enjoy every second of the day.
Really, really awesome photographs that told the story of the day
Here’s what they had to say about working with me as their photographer: “Laura is a genius. She’s really good at directing guests and takes really really awesome photographs. We were so happy with our pictures, they really told the story of the day in a natural way and bring back so many memories!
Laura and Pete were like extra friends at the wedding and it was a pleasure to have them around. They were so good our best man has already hired them for his wedding next year!”
A first meeting in Weatherspoons
We met during our A Levels back in 2001 in the local Wetherspoons (oh the glamour!), introduced by mutual friends. It wasn’t the best timing as we were both off to different universities 3 months later, but we stayed close and moved in together after graduation.
Scroll down to the bottom to read more about Kate and Amb;’s
A proposal in the Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
Amb popped the question on 7th March 2014 in the gorgeous Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. We were there for one night before meeting up with my family to spend a week in a villa in the hills, celebrating my mum’s birthday. We’d been walking around for ages and were about to head back to the hotel after a long day travelling, when Amb stopped and got out a ring (an enormous fake rock from Argos – I’d always said I’d want to design my own engagement ring so this was a very blingy stand in!).
He couldn’t believe I wore it every day until my real engagement ring was ready – I think a lot of our friends and acquaintances thought I’d had a personality transplant or Amb had had a massive payrise! We were engaged for just under 15 months before we got married.
Scroll down to read more from Kate and Amb at the bottom of the post and to see their fab film from Newly Wed Films.
A feminist Church wedding
I definitely knew I wanted to get married in church, so we looked at one close to our house – but photographs were really important to us and they had quite tight restrictions during the service, so we went to St Paul’s in East Molesey, a beautiful little church near my parents’ where I was christened and used to sing in the choir. It looked wonderful so full of family & friends on the day, I was really glad we got married there.
I’m a feminist so even though I wanted a church wedding, I wasn’t down with the whole ‘giving away’ thing, so we just left that bit out (it wasn’t even part of the standard service so we’d have had to add it in if we wanted it). I originally wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle but with our big petticoats the aisle just wasn’t wide enough, so mum joined us at the front of the church – dad did a sterling job walking me down the aisle and giving me a firm arm to grip, I was so nervous I would definitely have fallen over otherise! I love that he looks so proud in all the photos.
Choosing the ceremony music
I loved our service, choosing all the music took quite a while – again, so many choices out there! All the most famous wedding music choices are on youtube though, which really helped – it meant everything was really personal which was great. We didn’t write our own vows as it was a church wedding, but I would’ve found it incredibly difficult to put something so big and personal into words and even more difficult to read it without crying.
Emotion, excitement and our ceremony readings
My bridesmaids did a bible reading and our usher Adam read John Cooper Clarke’s ‘I Wanna Be Yours’. We’ve seen JCC perform several times, and this touching but fun poem was just perfect, it summed up how we wanted our wedding to be and Adam did a brilliant job.
Walking into the church at the beginning was equal parts terrifying and exciting, it’s so weird but brilliant to see so many people you know and love in one place. I was really worried I would get emotional and cry my way through it al l but I was so nervous/excited about everything I managed to hold it together until much later, when the speeches made some water come out of my eyes…
A reception at Hampton Court House
Our reception was at Hampton Court House. I used to go past it every day on my way to school – it’s tucked behind some trees on Hampton Court Green and always seemed so mysterious. It was the first venue we visited, a really beautiful place but not to stuffy (it’s a school when it’s not hosting weddings), and only 5 minutes drive from the church. Perfect!
The first dance and evening music
Our first dance was to Til There Was You by The Beatles. We’re both Beatles fans, it’s sweet but still upbeat, it’s short (!) Our usher Adam choreographed a simple dance which meant we weren’t just shuffling around awkwardly – we had so much fun doing it!
I’m a music radio producer so am quite particular about music – I did think about playlisting the whole evening disco, but I was worried it would be too much stress; or having friends DJ, but I was worried it would mean they couldn’t just enjoy being a guest. So we booked Andy – we had a blast at my brother’s wedding which he DJed. I sent him a list of favourite tracks that we put together with our bridesmaids/best man and our guests, who sent us suggestions with their RSVPs.
Of course there’s no way he could play them all, but it meant that there was something for everyone, all our guests could just let their hair down and the dancefloor was never empty!
An ipod playlist for the drinks reception
Apart from the church organist we didn’t have any live music (though I would have loved a barbershop quartet, sadly our budget just couldn’t stretch!) but I filled my Ipod with loads of music we love – e verything from Big Band swing to The Smiths to Everything Everything – and it was on shuffle throughout the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. The sound of your nearest and dearest chatting away having a lovely time while your favourite tunes are playing in the background is the BEST!
Delegate wedding tasks
I know everyone says this, but I totally didn’t take enough notice of it: GET HELP! Seriously, your friends and family are really excited that you’re getting married and would love to help you organise/do stuff. And it’ll save you a lot of stress and money. I enjoyed doing lots of crafty stuff and making things, but get started early or get some friends to help – I was starting to turn into a glitter-covered zombie in the run up to the wedding!
It was really nice to have things at the wedding that were given/made by friends and family: the wall hanging was made by my wonderful hens, my make-up-designer mum & her friend did our make up and hair, Amb’s Polish family brought cherry vodka for the speeches, my friend Lou lent us bunting she’d made for her own wedding. Amb’s mum also altered the bridesmaid’s dresses and my bridesmaid Lisa organised loads of dress/beauty appointments. Without them our wedding wo uldn’t have been the same and I’d probably be in bridezilla rehab…
Prioritise your wedding budget
The other thing that people always say because it’s true is to make your budget stretch further, prioritise what you want to spend your money on, and cut back on other things. For us, having a good photographer & videographer were top priorities – we wanted to be able to look back on it all in years to come and to show our friends and family who couldn’t be there.
We also spent quite a bit on food, drink and the venue, and my dress ended up being a bit over budget (whoooops!) but we made some big savings elsewhere: we DIY-d the stationary and a lot of the decorations; we hired a taxi for an hour to do multiple trips getting the bridal party to the church, and then a regular coach to get everyone to the venue (bride & groom included – it’s so much more fun to travel with your guests!); our cake was a very simple but tasty one from M&S, the bridesmaids wore day dresses from Lindy Bop with ribbons added rather than special ‘bridesmaid’ gowns; and the best man/ushers wore their own suits.
Stay true to yourself
The last thing I’d say to brides & grooms in the midst of wedding planning is – don’t forget who you are. It sounds weird but in the whirlwind of Pinterest, blogs, magazines, traditions, things you think you need to do and people advising you left right and centre, it’s easy to get swept up in it all and forget that it’s your day and you can do whatever the hell you want.
Of course all those things gave us loads of great ideas for details, but it’s the first ‘wedding principles’ I wrote down when we got engaged that were the most useful when we were weighing up anything crazy/expensive, especially when we were super busy at work and not really thinking straight: “Everything will be veggie; any favours will be for charity; nothing will be bought that cannot be reused/enjoyed after the wedding; there will be plenty of booze and food and music to make sure everyone has a good time; no matter how much stress happens in the run up, the morning of the wedding will be chilled out and fun”. Everything else was just a bonus!
Remember you’re marrying the person of your dreams and the day will be awesome. It was for us!
Bride’s dress & veil: Fur Coat No Knickers
Bride’s shoes: Irregular Choice
Brides’s jewellery: Glitzy Secrets
Bride/bridesmaids’ Make Up and Hair: Bride’s mother
Rings: Fairtrade white gold by Cred
Groom’s suit: Charles Tyrwhitt
Groom & Best Man’s Ties: Topman Liberty print
Florist: Fairy Nuff Flowers
Venue: Hampton Court House
Light Up Letters: Vowed & Amazed
Cake Toppers: Littlepatch
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Lindy Bop
Videographer: Newlywed Films