I loved photographing Fenella and James’s traditional wedding, held in one of the prettiest churches I’ve seen – Badley Church – down a mile long track, with the reception held at Fen’s parent’s farm with three marquees on the lawn to hold their huge amount of guests! Here are Fenella’s own words about their special day…
Tell me a little about you and James and about the proposal..
James and I come from similar Suffolk stock, with farming at the core of our friendship circles, but with 10 years between us we were only introduced through mutual friends at a local hunt ball in 2013. We met at the jagerbomb bar and the rest was history… 2 years later he proposed to me on the moonlit slopes of Hinterglemm in Austria, on one knee in the snow after a couple of schnapps for dutch courage with the village lit up below us which was extremely romantic. We skied down to our friends at the après bar and celebrated into the early hours, with plenty of jagerbombs- of course!
How would you describe your wedding and what was the most memorable moment or highlights?
Our day was a classic English wedding and very traditional throughout, you only have one opportunity (hopefully!) to organise a day such as this and we both wanted it to be formal, yet personal. The formalities were followed, morning suits and plenty of hats, our local church and marquee at home and then we added a few of our own touches throughout.
My most memorable moment was as I was entering the church on my father’s arm to be greeted by a sea of friendly faces, with such expressions of happiness for James and I that I will never forget it – it’s once in a lifetime you are looked at in that way, I was halfway down the aisle before James and I had eye contact and it was such a special moment.
One of the highlights included the surprise horse and carriage James had arranged to take us away from church with the longest confetti run from the church door to the carriage. Halfway back along the mile long church track we pulled over to allow the stream of cars to come past and were able to say hello to all of our guests which worked perfectly as most of our reception was taken up with the photographs!
Where did you get married and why?
We married at a beautiful and historic church that is very close to my heart. Situated down a mile long track, Badley Church backs onto our family farm and is centuries old and now redundant. I always knew I would never marry anywhere other than here and we had to seek permission, and a marriage licence, granted by the Archbishop for the ceremony to take place.
The reception was just across the fields at my parents’ home with a marquee in the garden. This did require a lot more organising but was worth it to have a more intimate feel to our day and the flexibility that a venue doesn’t offer, such as a finish time of our choice… the last guests left the bar at 4am!
What was your wedding style or theme?
Traditional, classic and elegant but with a touch of glamour. Colours were pale blue, grey, silver and white.
Where did you find your suppliers?
Sourcing everything locally was a big part of the preparation of our day, as a farmer and owner of a farm shop James wanted to use their own produce for some of the food and I followed his lead when using the rest of our suppliers. Blogs, websites and magazines didn’t really feature for me in the organising, I knew what I wanted and went from recommendations, existing knowledge and a few local wedding shows for everything we needed!
The caterers, Movable Feast, are based near Bury St Edmunds and I waitressed for them during my A levels and University days so always wanted them for my own big day. They were effectively wedding organisers for us and took so much of the pressure off in the build-up, as well as running things to clockwork on the day itself.
Our marquee was provided by friends of my parents, Anglia Coastal Marquees – they fit this round the layout of the garden perfectly across three separate, but linked, marquees which made it really unique.
The band we had seen at a friend’s wedding the previous year and so many other elements all came from the surrounding area- dress, cake, photographer(!), photo booth, string trio, flowers. In fact, the only thing that wasn’t was our stationary which came from a London printer.
Tell me about your dress and why you chose it? What did the groom wear, and what about the bridesmaids?
I stumbled upon my dress by chance, I had several appointments arranged at local dress shops, but had also had a recommendation to go direct to the wedding dress designer, Terry Fox, at her studio. This was the first appointment of many planned, I had an idea of the style of dress I thought would suit me, but selected one completely different to this and once I had it on that was it. All the other appointments were cancelled. Terry’s glamourous style appealed to me as it was so different to all the other dresses that follow current trends, it was a more individual choice that was just ‘me’ and on the day it was comfortable and made me feel amazing.
The groom and his best man and ushers were all in morning suits and we had bespoke ties made for them to keep, through Trotter & Dean in Bury St Edmunds. We chose the colour, material and style but our order was a bit last minute so they went to great lengths to have them finished in time and we thanked them with plenty of strawberries and asparagus from the farm!
James’ son was a pageboy and we hired his outfit from Coes in Ipswich, he accompanied my two sisters who were bridesmaids and they wore beautiful pale blue/grey dresses from Coast – we were only able to purchase these online as they had sold out everywhere, fortunately they were perfect for them and very fitting for the day.
Tell me about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I really went to town with my shoes and purchased two pairs of Jimmy Choo’s – high for as long as I could bear them, and then flats to change into later on. Both of them I have worn since and had so many comments on how gorgeous they are! There was mention of this extravagance on a couple of occasions in the speeches…
I wore minimal jewellery as my dress had beautiful embellishment and I also had a full veil with bespoke hair clip which I didn’t want to detract from, but for my ‘something borrowed’ a friend lent me her antique diamond and pearl drop earrings that she had worn for her own wedding which were perfect.
Did you have professional hair and make-up?
Professionals for both. I really did not want the pressure of this on the morning of the wedding so I arranged for hair and makeup to be done for myself, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Everyone enjoyed the pampering and it was all part of the experience.
My hair was done by the lady who has looked after my hair since the age of 5, we had three trials before the day to get it exactly right and it was lovely to have a familiar face with us whilst we were all getting ready.
The makeup artist, Leona Seymour, was a recommendation from a contact I had within the industry and she came from Nottingham. I loved what she did at the trial as I didn’t want to look drastically different, she took this instruction on board and was able to just create a better version of me. I decided to put her up in a hotel the night before as didn’t want the worry of traffic delays when time is so important on that morning.
What style of wedding flowers did you go for?
We went big on the flowers! This was another personal touch to the day as my mother-in-law to be offered her services to organise all of this and I am extremely grateful for the effort put in to create such beautiful arrangements. She pulled together a team of people to assist and sourced all of the flowers as well. It was amazing to see the empty church and marquees be transformed with so many flowers everywhere and was all part of the build-up in the days before. For the bouquets and buttonholes we used a local florist, Bethany Rose, based in Saxmundham who liaised with us on the other flower arrangements to ensure they all tied in.
Any other special touches on the day or home-made elements?
At one point during the planning stages I was worried that our day was looking too formal and traditional and therefore didn’t express us as a couple enough, but then these other touches came together and I truly wouldn’t have changed a thing.
One of my artistic friends created a number of hand painted signs positioned around the marquees and, my favourites, along the track to the church.
Another friend sang for us during the ceremony through the signing of the register, accompanied by another friend’s mother who was part of a string trio.
We had a sweetie and flip flop cart for weary feet on the dancefloor (which was raided as soon as guests arrived back from the church!), an extremely successful ‘Gin Bar’ that was drunk dry despite having 40 bottles on offer, a bespoke wedding guest book put together by Clare Butler using our engagement shoot photographs, and schnapps for a toast during the speeches which had been shipped to us from Hinterglemm in Austria as a link to the proposal.
What kind of cake did you choose and why?
I took inspiration from Pinterest for the cake and then talked through these ideas with a family member who also happens to be a professional cake maker! She was able to put these ideas into reality and the cake was stunning. It was 4 tiers high plus additional cutting trays for the caterers so that we could have 5 different flavours served to our guests later in the evening with chocolate dipped strawberries from Friday Street Farm Shop, of course!
Entertainment on the night – what did you go for and why?
We had not one, but two bands, on the night! One professional – The Mighty Persuaders – and the other my Fathers (although he felt like he was the pro on the night with all his friends chanting his name during his sets…)
This meant we had constant music all evening and our guests were fully entertained until the early hours.
On the day tips and advice:
The most crucial part to having the most incredible day is being able to relax and enjoy it. By being as organised as you can possibly be in the lead up, means you can afford to do this. Having 300 guests as your responsibility is a lot of pressure and I wanted them to enjoy every moment of the day as well. Everyone laughed at the extent that my itinerary went to, but it meant I could pass the baton and know that every tiny detail had been covered off.
Make use of your bridal party to help you- they are willing volunteers and ours rose to the occasion and went above and beyond my expectations so with this assistance, alongside our trusted suppliers, everything was flawless.
How did you feel looking through your photos?
James and I were thrilled with our photos, as were our families, and we received so many lovely comments from everyone else who has seen them. The Collection truly captures the happiness and detail of the day. The biggest surprise was how much the church ceremony meant to me, I thought it would be the celebrating afterwards! The photos taken during the service are reflective of this once in a lifetime experience and are extremely special for our memories.
And now for the photos…
To see more of my Suffolk weddings, take a look over at my website portfolio.