I first met Sophie & Kris at a wedding fair held at Norwood Park Country House, Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Sophie fell in love with an image of mine, so we arranged a further meeting to discuss their expectations for their wedding photography.
There’s a particularly emotive image of a groom talking about his mother during his speech. He’d lost her to cancer a couple of years before the wedding and he couldn’t hold the tears in any longer. When I told Sophie the back story, I clearly remember Sophie welling up. One of my images had made an emotional connection with her. Anyone who follows me and looks at my branding knows that my approach to weddings is all about capturing real emotions. These are what will immediately take a bride and groom back to their wedding day in the future so that’s what I place most emphasis on. Real people & real emotions, and not so much the details.
Here’s the story of their day.
How did you meet – tell us a little about yourselves?
We met at work in 2012, Kris was a footwear buyer, and I was a clothing designer, I didn’t really know who he was until he followed me on Twitter! We got chatting, and then he added me to Blackberry messenger… old school!
At first, I thought Kris was really quiet and shy, but when I got to know him I realised he was equally as silly as me!
We bought our first house together in 2016 and got a little puppy, we also have a cat so it can be quite a crazy household at times!
Tell us about the proposal – where, when, how?
For my 30th birthday, Kris took me on a surprise weekend to London. We had a lovely day out shopping, and Kris had booked a surprise for the evening which turned out to be a trip to the top of The Shard.
It had been raining all day, but as we got up there the rain cleared and the views were fantastic as the sun was setting. Kris had arranged champagne, and it was lovely and romantic. Kris was acting a little strangely – which I thought was because he isn’t a fan of heights, so I didn’t overthink it! After a while he went off to look for their official cameraman to take a photo for us, I turned around as he came back, and suddenly he was on one knee asking me to be his wife! I was so surprised and happy, and of course, I said yes!
How did you find the wedding planning process?
Our early planning went really well, We found my dress, our florist, hair and makeup artist, band, photo booth and photographer quite early on.
Five months before the wedding I went skiing and had an unfortunate accident, tearing the three main ligaments in my knee. I had reconstructive surgery, and then another procedure two months later. I was in a leg brace for weeks and using crutches as well as having to take three months off work. This put a halt to the planning, and it was quite a stressful time.
The hospital knew about our wedding and really worked me hard so that I could walk down that aisle without crutches. The only thing I managed to do while I was injured was designing the wedding invites, and getting them sent out.
The last couple of months before the wedding were busy, but I tried not to get stressed, my nickname was ‘Bride-chilla’! After a hard few months, I wanted to enjoy it!
What was your biggest worry?
I had two main worries, firstly that I wouldn’t be able to walk down the aisle, luckily all of the hard work at physio paid off, and I only had a very slight limp which a lot of people didn’t even notice.
My second worry was how my dad would be on the day, he has Parkinson’s Disease, and we weren’t sure how well he would be. We had back up plans for walking down the aisle, the speech etc. but of course I wanted him to be able to do it. He was terrific on the day and managed to do it all, I was so happy and so proud of him. I will never forget it.
How did you manage your budget?
We had our wedding on a Thursday which I would definitely recommend. It was half the price of a weekend wedding.
Our central costs were our vendors/entertainment etc., but we didn’t want to go too cheap on these as they were so important. I managed to get a little discount on our photo booth by designing the photo layout myself, and we managed to keep other costs down massively by doing some DIY and a lot of bargain hunting.
I designed the save the date’s, main invitations and all signs etc. for the wedding day, and got them printed at the right price online, or for free at my parents! We used a free wedding website to put all the information about our day on. People could browse this and RSVP on there too rather than us sending RSVP cards out.
I made the seating plan using an old frame and easel I have had for years and upcycled these by painting them rose gold. I then used twine and cute little pegs to add our table lists.
We had a few other touches in the evening that didn’t cost much, but people really enjoyed. We filled a couple of boxes with flip flops for tired feet in the evening, these went down a storm on the dancefloor! We also created a sweetie bar, using borrowed jars from a friend. We found a great site on eBay for the sweets – and these were eaten in record time.
We hired our log slices for the tables from our florist but then bought copper lights from Primark, rose gold geometric candle holders from H&M home and ‘wedding day’ candles from Home Bargains. I bought a lot of things from eBay too including our personalised card box, bunting and table confetti with our names on. We had polaroid style place cards from a website that we found which everyone loved!
How did you choose your vendors?
We spent a lot of time researching online and visiting different wedding fairs looking for the right vendors for us! We met our Photographer Ian Bursill at a wedding fair at our venue, and our florist Mrs Umbels was recommended by them too.
We found our band and hair/makeup artist using Google and Facebook. Our photo booth I sourced after visiting a wedding fair with one of my bridesmaids. Luckily one of my brother’s best friends Luke Baker is an acoustic guitarist/singer, so he was the easiest to find.
What made you decide on your venue?
We knew as soon as we visited Norwood Park that it was the one for us. I know it sounds so cheesy, but we just had that feeling. The beautiful Georgian house was so light and bright. It really had the WOW factor, without feeling pretentious. Another factor that made us think it was the right venue was the little Robin which flew in from outside on our first visit. Kris’s Grandma had always said that she would come back as a Robin. To us, this was a massive sign that she was giving the venue her approval!
The separate red brick building for the evening reception had a large dancefloor and opened out onto a cobbled courtyard with fairy lights. It was great for keeping everybody together rather than the inside/outside separation.
One of our requirements was accommodation on site, and at Norwood, they have rooms in the main house for guests to stay over. The rooms were beautiful, and it just felt like our own home for the day and night.
How did you handle your guest list?
We actually found this quite easy! We wanted everybody to be close to us for the wedding breakfast and not in two separate rooms. So we had a number that we knew we couldn’t go over! We both have large families, so we sat down and put them all on a list, and then added in who else we wanted to come. Anyone who we couldn’t fit in for the day went to the evening so we could still celebrate with everybody.
Tell us about the dress!
My dress was the ‘Avery’ by Maggie Sottero, and I LOVED it! I went to three or four shops, and I really struggled to find anything that I liked! I thought I wanted sleeves and something pure – definitely no bling and ended up with the opposite!
It had an embellished bodice with an open back, illusion plunging neckline, beading and embroidery, and a delicate lace appliqués that flowed into a tulle skirt. It had quite a romantic boho vintage feel which really suited our theme and I could really imagine wearing it on the day!
Because of my injury, I couldn’t wear heels, so I wore Vivienne Westwood blush and rose gold flats. They fitted in perfectly with the colours of the flowers and décor and were so comfortable.
I wore a real flower hair comb to match my flowers, and I kept my jewellery quite simple. A Tiffany bracelet (my something ‘borrowed’) from a good friend, and some Tiffany heart earrings, which Kris had given me that morning as a wedding gift.
What did your groom wear?
Kris wore a bright blue suit from Hugo Boss. He wears a suit every day to work, so wanted a special one for the wedding! His favourite colour is red, so to incorporate this into the day wore a burgundy floral bow tie which matched the groomsmen’s ties. He wore brown brogues from Dune, his white shirt and burgundy socks were from Next. He wore a burgundy wool watch strap with his watch, which I had bought him from Shore Project as part of his wedding present to finish off the outfit. He looked very handsome!
Flowers, cakes, stationery, style – tell us about your style!
We chose blush pinks and corals for our flowers with lots of gorgeous green foliage in a wild style. Sarah from Mrs Umbels was so helpful and creative. She was great and understood exactly what we were looking for. We wanted everything to be bright and summery. Nothing too neat, a romantic boho feel with a modern twist! I used the colours of the flowers to design floral invites and added a contemporary feel with rose gold decoration around the venue.
The cake, made by my friend Louise, was a semi-naked cake with rose gold dripping and lots of flowers for decoration, it looked and tasted amazing!
We wanted a relaxed feel so didn’t just go for one colour theme. We loosely based it on the flowers, so my bridesmaids wore grey beaded cold shoulder dresses with coral heels to match the bouquets. The groomsmen wore burgundy floral ties, these paired with Kris’s bespoke buttonhole. I think it all worked really well together.
What food and drink did you choose?
We went to a food tasting at our venue a few months before the wedding, and we were spoilt for choice, the quality and presentation were fantastic!
We had a canape reception after the ceremony, then for the wedding breakfast, we had a Duck Liver Pate starter, Pan Fried Chicken Breast with Champagne Sauce for the main course, and Passion Fruit Crème Brulee for dessert.
In the evening, we had an artisan Pizza selection. We had so many compliments about the food and couldn’t have been happier.
How did you start your wedding day morning?
On the eve of the wedding, I stayed at our house with Michelle, one of my bridesmaids. I was quite calm when I woke up and was just so excited to get ready. My other bridesmaid Amy came round, and we had some breakfast, and celebratory Bucks Fizz. We then drove to the venue to meet out hair/makeup lady, and the pampering began!
Kris stayed at his brother’s/Best Man’s apartment in Nottingham the night before. They had a good breakfast and got ready, and got to the venue nice and early as Kris hates to be late. He wanted to make sure he was there to greet all the guests. He met the Ushers, my brother Chris and his best friend Phil at the venue.
Tell us about your walk down the aisle!
My walk down the aisle was so exciting! I wasn’t nervous, just a little worried that my dad would trip over my dress. I was looking down a lot as we entered the room, then I looked up and saw all our friends and family waiting for me. It was surreal but amazing! When I saw Kris, I couldn’t stop smiling. I really couldn’t have been happier.
Most memorable part(s) of the day?
For me, the most memorable parts of the day were walking down the aisle and seeing Kris. Then the ceremony itself and saying our vows in front of all our friends and family. I could have exploded with happiness.
We also took a minute together at the wedding breakfast to look around at everyone and cherish the moment. All of our friends and family were together in one room, and that will never happen again. We felt so lucky!
What song did you choose for your first dance?
Our first dance was ‘Rule The World’ by Take That. I am a massive fan of the band, and it’s a song we would always sing together when it was on and have a little dance to at home. It’s also the song that reminds Kris of me the most, so it was a perfect choice.
If anything, what would you do differently?
The only thing I would have done differently is to ask the venue to save us some of the evening food. We were so busy with our guests that we didn’t get chance to try any! There was nothing else I would have changed – it was the perfect day.
Where did you honeymoon?
We honeymooned in Rhodes, Greece. We booked a fancy all-inclusive hotel with a swim up room for a treat. On arrival, we found that we had been upgraded to the best pool at the hotel. We had an excellent mix of trips out and relaxed by the pool with cocktails. It was so lovely to spend time together in the sun after such a busy few months, it really was perfect.
The funniest moment?
There were two.
Firstly during the ceremony, the registrar called me Louise! She was mortified, but we found it hilarious!
The second was during Kris’s speech. He had started talking about me and wanted to thank me for ‘everything that I’d done for him’ during our relationship. Instead, he accidentally declared ‘thank you for everything that you have done TO me!’. The room erupted with laughter at the comment! Definitely unforgettable memories.
Did anything go wrong? Any surprises?
My friend Louise made our cake. Unfortunately, it got damaged on the way to Norwood Park. She was devastated but she and our florist worked together to hide the damage, and it looked – and tasted, fantastic! No one knew at all, and we loved it.
What tips or advice do you have for couples planning their wedding?
I think the biggest thing is to remember to enjoy the day! It’s so easy to stress about what’s happening next and if the guests are having a good time – it’s your day so enjoy it and let the day unfold itself.
Our advice for the planning process is to not worry too much about the little things and remember what the wedding is all about – marrying the person you love! Everybody wants the perfect day, but no one will recall what your table confetti or table plan looks like after a few weeks. It’s lovely to have these extras, but not worth getting stressed about.
Anything else you want to tell us?
My bridesmaids Amy and Michelle were terrific, and they really deserve a mention. Because of my knee injury, they had to re-arrange my hen party. They planned a whole new weekend of activities and fun in a new location, based on me sitting down the entire time. They did the best job, and I had the best time ever!
Norwood Park Wedding Photography
Ian was one of the first people we booked when we started planning our wedding. We met him at a wedding fair at Norwood Park and loved his style. We wanted a photographer who would really document the day naturally, so we knew instantly that Ian was perfect for us. Ian is so friendly and approachable and wasn’t trying to push us to go with him at all. He loved talking about his work, and the passion he has for his job is evident to see.
He invited us to his studio to see more of his work and showed us weddings he’d previously done at our venue. This gave us a more precise impression of how he tells the real story at a wedding. He explained why he took photos in specific ways and made us feel entirely at ease. It’s like we were old friends having a chat. We were so happy that he was available for our wedding day.
On the wedding day, Ian was great. He arrived early to meet us looking very smart. We were all soon laughing and joking, sharing stories with my mum and bridesmaids as we got ready, helping to make everyone feel relaxed as he captured that exciting time.
The rest of our fantastic day went by far too quickly, and we felt like we hardly saw Ian, he blended in with the guests so well. We were sad to say goodbye as he left later that night about an hour after the first dance.
Ian got the link to our pictures over to us so quickly. We were on honeymoon, so it was the perfect setting for us to see all the photographs. We were AMAZED by them! WOW! He captured everything. Every emotion of the ceremony was there in the pictures; the excitement, the love, the laughter. We have never seen photographs like it, and this capture of emotion continued through all parts of the day; fun with guests, quiet moments just Kris and I, special moments with family, children being cheeky – all captured together.
Looking through our album now feels like we are reading a story of our day. We could not be any happier or more grateful for all of Ian’s hard work, and we cannot recommend him enough. We will forever treasure our photographs, and they will be displayed proudly all around our house!
Thank you so much, Ian!
- Venue – Norwood Park, Southwell
- Photography – Ian Bursill
- Flowers – Mrs Umbels
- Cake – Louise Paul – Friend of Bride
- Bride and Mother of the Bride’s Hair & Bridesmaids Makeup – Nicola Hodgkinson
- Dress – Maggie Sottero ‘Avery’ and Veil – Brides & Gowns Derby
- Bridal Shoes – Vivienne Westwood
- Bridesmaids’ Dresses & Shoes – ASOS
- Groom’s Suit – Hugo Boss
- Groom’s shoes – Dune
- Groomsmen’s Suits – Next & Topman
- Groom’s & Groomsmen’s ties – neckwearshop
- Daytime Acoustic Singer – Luke Baker
- Evening Entertainment – Phil Rostance & The Marshall Band
- Photo Booth – Snapcandy