I first chatted to this couple back at the beginning of the year, and when I heard that they were having their wedding day celebrations at the bride's family home I was super excited to learn more!
These are one of my favourite styles of wedding, as the setting itself means that the ceremony already has a personal feel before any writing has begun! Having everyone that you hold dear, in a family space, that you can revisit and rekindle all of those big day memories is so lovely, and as I learned more about my couple and all of their plans, it became abundantly clear that this was going to be a wonderful day.
The family were keen to keep the format of the ceremony quite simple, and elegant, with a relaxed feel and so we created a lovely warm, engaging and family-focused celebration.
As our discussions continued, I thoroughly connected to these two wonderful people, they have a dedication to one another and a commitment to each other that is very strong indeed, and it was lovely to see them interact and enjoy being a part of the creative process.
With the script finalised, I was invited to the family home to walk through everything, meeting bridesmaids, and the mother of the bride and everyone got very excited to start really visualising it all coming together!
The family home was set in an idyllic spot in the Hampshire Countryside, with a woodland walk at the end of the garden, that led into a gorgeous field with the most spectacular views. As we walked the route from the house to the ceremony area, I could tell that their guests would also love the 'adventure' and the magical feel of the journey to the setting on the day. When we reached the field and the scenery came into view, it was quite literally jaw-dropping and I just knew exactly how it was all going to look and feel, and indeed work on the day.
When I arrived on their big day, there was a lovely sense of community, with suppliers and family moving around the spaces finalising details, and despite all of the activity, everyone was relaxed and calm and very much looking forward to the day.
I set up my space at the front, got my PA system into position, completed sound check and voice checks and had a run-through of movements in the ceremony to make sure the space worked and made some minor adjustments to the flow to make sure it all sat perfectly within the setting.
It was great to chat with the videographers, and the fab photographer, the catering team and then the groom and all of the groomsmen too. With cues and details all communicated (there is a lot to organise behind the scenes at this type of wedding), it was time to welcome the guests.
As they began to appear through the woodland that was lit by festoon lights and out into the field, it was wonderful to hear all of the gasps and the chatter as they took in the surroundings and admired the views. I took some time out with the groom to make sure he was ok and carried out a few organisational duties to ensure everyone was where they needed to be and ready for the arrival of the bridal party.
There were a lot of logistical details involved here as the distance from the house to the field was considerable, and completely out of view, so it had to be carefully planned and this is of course what we do really well. Using my wedding planning and organisational background to the full, we made sure we had everything all planned down to the last detail and everyone felt reassured and looked after.
As the bridal party got into their position out of view of the guests, I walked the mother of the bride to the stretch tent, and switched on my mic and gave her a little surprise announcement, and escorted her to her seat. Such a lovely moment for her, and everyone applauded her as she entered.
With everything ready, the bridesmaids began their walk to the tent, and the music started. The groom had asked to be given a nod when the aisle was clear and the bride was ready to walk down, and so I did, and all of his nerves dissipated and he was 100% focussed on his lovely lady as she came towards him. It was such a lovely moment and seeing them reunited after a few days apart and all of the emotion and build-up to the wedding was quite special.
As we seated guests and then officially welcomed the bride and her lovely entourage, the anticipation in the space was evident. It was my job to unite the couple, to create a lovely atmosphere in such a lovely open space, and to capture the attention and the focus of everyone there. I always like to set the scene right at the beginning of my ceremonies and as things begin to unfold, and the guests get involved too, things relax and we edge closer to the lovely middle section of the ceremony.
" . . .they discovered so many things in common, including an alarming number of times that they had been in the same place at the same time without knowing it! It was as if their meeting was inevitable and always meant to be."
Even though the ceremony requirements were modest and quite simple in their structure, being able to tell the couple's story, and to recap on details and moments they had shared, was what made this so personal, and it became the anchor for the celebration. With a few teary eyes, laughter and about 120 smiling faces, the couple shared their modern vows and exchanged their rings with the help of the two best men.
"For many years Lottie’s family have been visiting a very special house in Cornwall, and this has become a holiday destination for her and her parents that they visit each year.
Joe decided that during their visit in 2020 he would pop the question and so at the beginning of the week away he asked Lottie’s dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage, and promised that he would try to ask Lottie quickly, to avoid him having to keep the secret for too long!"
When they had their first kiss, the space erupted and everyone clapped and cheered this amazing couple. We had both sets of parents join the couple to complete the signing of their wedding day certificate, and then the most impressive walkway for the couple's confetti throw!
It was honestly the most fabulous day, complete with sunshine and blue skies. They really couldn't have asked for a better day. It was the perfect wedding at home.
I wish Lottie and Joe a lifetime of love and happiness and am truly elated for them that their day was so magnificent.
Thanks for being superstars Mr & Mrs Topping!
(All images in this blog were taken by Jenny Knight and we look forward to seeing the official pics soon!)
Venue: Family Home in Hampshire.
Celebrant: Jenny - Knight Ceremonies
Photographer: the incredible Matt Scott
Videographers: Tom (and Ollie) from Mooncast Films
See more about Hampshire Ceremonies