Andrea & Daniel’s Wedding Day
It is a real privilege to share with you the Wedding of the founders of Andrea Hawkes, Andrea & Daniel.
After 13 years together, 2 children, 1 cat, 1 dog, 4 house moves, many adventures and (almost, January 2023) 10 years of AH helping brides be their best on their wedding day, we think you’ll agree it was time to put the focus on themselves…
” We’ve put all our energy into setting up and nurturing AH over the years, alongside having children and juggling that with personal and professional hurdles. One day we just said let’s do this, let’s get married! I never imagined getting married before I set up AH but years on meeting like minded women, I felt I could be me and still get married. It felt like the right time to celebrate our lives together and to get all of the people who are a part of our lives today together, for a very special celebration. An opportunity to reflect on our life since we first met and to celebrate our love in our way.”Andrea.
“Prior to the Wedding we were unsure how much we would want to talk about and share, we are generally quite private as people and with our home life, but it now feels special to share our Wedding via the business and brand we started together. It’s an opportunity for AH brides of the past and future to see the foundation of AH, who we are and the life we have built together.” Daniel.
Planning a Wedding
“We love the east coast of England, in particular Suffolk and Norfolk so a venue around this area felt right to us and I really gravitated towards finding a venue there. Most of our family and friends are based around London and the East so we knew it would work well for everyone. For us the venue needed to feel special but with an organic, relaxed feel. I said to Daniel on the day we visited, I will know in the first minute if this place and the people are right and if there is any touch of pretence, its a no! Wilderness was the first and only place we visited… They welcomed us with open arms before knowing we were in the industry and made us feel instantly wowed. I loved the homely feel of the place alongside the attention to detail. I had done my homework subconsciously over the years seeing what our brides have planned for their day and maybe where (in time) I would love as a venue. Our brides have always given me the best inspiration. During appointments at the studio I have always chatted about their plans and suppliers. Its like you get to know things you love and not really realising you are collating your favourites until you are planning yourself.
We planned our own wedding, maybe because we are very specific about things we like and wanted it to feel more down to earth rather than curated by someone else. We are also very happy to be hands on and wanted to be involved in the organisation alongside some help. We chose to work with independent, local suppliers that we found ourselves as much as possible. I really looked into how they worked and wanted to support female lead businesses. “Andrea.
“We have both truly learnt so much from planning our own Wedding. Despite how long we have worked in the industry and with Brides, we are quite separate from the other aspects and parts of the whole Wedding. It did however help to have some parts in mind that we had discovered through past AH Brides, including the venue and other suppliers. The venue was our first step, to visit Wilderness Reserve and this ended up being the only place we visited! A special place that from the minute we arrived that gave us the right feeling for the wedding we imagined. We held our wedding at the Chapel Barn, which alongside The Grange allowed us to accommodate our nearest and dearest, so we could create a relaxed togetherness for everyone.
Finding the venue and working with the team at Wilderness really set the tone for the whole planning process. It gave us confidence in knowing everything would be organised and that many aspects we could work through with the venues support to source and arrange, whilst keeping it personal and curated.
The overall experience was enjoyable and insightful. It gave us some time and focus on each other away from everything else day to day, really looking back on our time together and how we met, the things we have done and achieved, the people who are important in our lives now, our families and how to celebrate all of that on our wedding day.” Daniel.
The Vibe of the Day
“Daniel and I are very much on the same page with how we wanted the wedding to feel. I wanted it to be a venue where everyone could stay and for the ceremony and reception to be close together.
I enjoy being a host so much and so I wanted everyone to feel at home, relaxed and able to do as they wish. Enjoy the estate, to eat great locally sourced food and drinks. To meet each other as our favourite people. We created the playlists throughout the different times to really make it feel like us and had a few late night swims in the glorious pools with everyone!
We had a loose dress code of relaxed formal so guests could feel themselves, however everyone took the opportunity to dress up for a party!” Andrea.
“We really wanted the overall feel to be relaxed, for everyone to enjoy the venue and surroundings and to bring people from different parts of our lives together. It felt right from the offset to have a countryside wedding, somewhere green and open with an ‘away from it all’ vibe.
Everyone arrived the afternoon before the wedding day for an informal BBQ and that worked perfectly for everyone to meet and greet. It really helped relax everyone and after a great evening of laughter, made the wedding day that bit more special. Having breakfast with everyone the next morning followed by some leisure time before the ceremony again set a perfect tone for the vibe we wished for. Guests took the opportunity to swim, walk and cycle (or get a massage!) and to enjoy their own private rooms whilst getting ready.
We kept some parts of the wedding day a surprise, such as where the ceremony was, and I really enjoyed that element of reveal and intrigue. It made the whole day feel very unique and personal.” Daniel.
“I never imagined getting married until I formed AH as I couldn’t imagine myself wearing a wedding dress. I hear this so much from our brides so I know we create wedding dresses for my type of girl!
I’m a touch of tomboy / rural chic id like to say and you will usually find me in jeans and a t shirt with a nice pair of shoes. Thinking about what I was going to wear felt huge because the focus was on me as ‘the bride’ but also as a bridal designer.
I started by having a chat with Siobhan and Laurie our pattern cutter about what style might suit me. We decided I needed to have an actual appointment like any bride would have. I designed my dress initially on paper, last year I thought about a style that might suit me and its pretty much that. It was really important for me to design my own dress as I feel proud of the company we have created from nothing and I wanted to wear something that represents us as a brand and what we specialise in. As any women, I wanted to feel the best version of myself so therefore what I wore would need to reflect that. I focused on my body shape and with how I am.
I opted for a deep V neckline on a semi structured bodice, with a fit and flared shaped skirt. I went all out on the train, why not! and we spent hours working on this sleeve/cape idea which incorported long flowy, drapey sleeves which I felt reflected my style.” Andrea.
“The Dress….; The Dress! 😬
Always going to be such a focal point for our wedding, I think Andrea and our team really nailed it. It was unique, beautifully fitted and perfectly ‘Andrea’.
For someone who spends such a large amount of time around wedding dresses, it really did blow me away!” Daniel.
“We made my daughter Amber’s dress from the same silk fabric as mine. The dress was accessorised with a sash made from a bright Liberty fabric to make it playful for her. My grandmother had also knitted her a little bag for petals, a very special keepsake.” Andrea.
“My two oldest friends Rachel and Stephanie wore custom AH silk dresses based on our Pearl and Mila, made to measure with some small design changes for them. They turned out beautiful and special dresses they can wear again” Andrea.
“I have known Pamela and Andrea from P&A Make up since we met at a business start up meeting, completely by fate. We have staying in touch ever since and they have done most if not all of our photoshoot make up. I’ve had my makeup done before professionally and prefer a natural, fresh faced look. I feel I wear less make up as I get older. I wanted to feel made up and to highlight my skin which I look after. They really understand how to create a natural, glow feel with a hint of glamour. They’re simply the best a this look and are genuinely the nicest people. I am so pleased they work with so many of AH brides and we recommend them to every bride-to-be who visits us. I’m all for supporting them and champion two women who have worked hard to set up their own business.” Andrea.
“I found someone who was happy to work with short hair. Most bridal styles are beautifully quaffted and feel very formal. Having short hair which I’m growing meant a nice blow dry and some styling. Katrina Kelly is based in Cambridgeshire. She worked with me to ensure I felt happy with the style as it was growing.
Her warmth, friendly, understanding nature and professionalism stood out to me.” Andrea.
Me wearing my TENCEL fabric AH Pyjamas getting ready!
“Where do you start?! With the added pressure of marrying a wedding dress designer! 😬
I feel fortunate that day to day I don’t have to wear a suit or tie and being ‘smart’ casual is very much me and my personality. So, when it came to finding my Wedding outfit I wanted to of course be formal and appropriate to the setting and the day, but retain my style.
I am a huge fan of Paul Smith as a menswear designer, so did imagine wearing a PS suit. However, I came across the jacket I eventually wore and it really changed the look and approach to the whole outfit. The jacket is by Bottega Veneta an Italian design house. I loved the colour and the wool fabric, I wanted my outfit to be made from natural fibres, and the jacket was perfect.
The only inspiration I really had to then complete the look, was a single photo of a groom I had kept on my phone that I found some time ago. I loved the way he had mixed smart with casual by not wearing a traditional shirt and tie, but with a smart modern jacket and a really special pair of shoes.
This led me to one of my other favourites John Smedley, a well known knitwear designer based in Derbyshire England. I have worn JS since I was a teenager, loving the sharp button up Mod style and The Beatles 60’s connection. Their use of natural merino wools and cashmere have always made them a favourite of mine.
The trousers came from Paul Smith, so I was pleased to wear something PS finding a beautiful pair of formal wool trousers with a traditional fit that went with both the top and jacket. This paired with a customised PS belt and PS silk pocket square completed the look.
Finally, the shoes. I am a life long fan of Grensons, so started the search there. I couldn’t find a style that really went with the outfit or something quite unique enough for the occasion, so I moved the search on and found Northampton based brand Edward Green. I instantly loved their traditional production methods and materials. I went for their ‘Charles’ shoe, which gave me the perfect mix of unique, timeless and simplistic.
I of course had a small nod to my other true love, Liverpool F.C (Cue Andrea’s eye rolling! 🙄) with two badges inside my jacket that I’ve had from Anfield for years, not something blue, but something Red! There was of course something fitting about ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’…
Overall I was really pleased with my outfit, it felt special and unique but still me, the tones worked well for the Autumnal time of year. I worked with our team at AH on the fitting (they did a magical job on an unusual outfit for them!) and I think Andrea liked it…?! 🤔😉” Daniel.
“Daniel decided to keep what he was going to wear a complete secret to me. He lives in smart casual clothes everyday but likes certain brands, so I had a loose idea. He surprised me with the mix of different jacket to the trousers and I knew he would wear a top rather than a formal shirt. Tonally perfect for him, all beautiful and lovely pieces which I know he will cherish and wear again.” Andrea.
“We had a loose colour scheme and was based around the English country garden. The main words of inspiration were for the feel to be joyful, fresh, colourful, bright. the time of year being mid to late September the season is changing. We wanted it to still feel bright for the time of year with a hint of the turning season. the venue and natural feel of the barn and interiors inspired our tonal choices too.
We also made our own cotton napkins and hand tied them. The table runners were made from our beautiful plant fabric which both can be reused.” Andrea.
“We searched for a local and independent florist. Juliet from Willow and Wolf Flowers worked from her own home studio. I found Juliet through a beautiful image of a bouquet that both of us individually felt suited the relaxed style of our day. Juliet came to meet us at the venue a few months before to meet us in person and to get a feel for the venue. We visited the tee pee and main Chapel barn and planned the type of flowers we would like.
The feel was informal and relaxed. What was really important to me was for the cut flowers to be able to be dismantled so we could give them away to our guests. Some pressed them as a keep sake. We also wanted plants and herbs as part of the display so we could replant them.
A nice touch was for us to use our off cut silk as ribbons for the bouquet, corsage and button holes.” Andrea.
“We chose to have a humanist ceremony after researching in to alternative wedding ceremonies. Mainly we wanted to hold the ceremony over by the teepee and this could then not be a legal. Following that we reached out to Helen McIlveen who was warm, friendly and had an upbeat personality. We instantly knew Helen understood us as individuals and would curate a beautiful and engaging ceremony that really was us!
We decided to have some readings from friends and family. We also had a ribbon tying ceremony which is where our close friends, brothers and children placed a ribbon over our hands and gave their best wishes. We then ‘tied the knot’! The ribbons I hand cut from fabrics we have used for the dresses we have made and my dress fabric.” Andrea
“The big question we were asked as everyone arrived at the Tipi’s was “are you seriously getting in the boat?”, thinking it was just a prop for photos. I slipped off my shoes and walked towards the boat…We enjoyed some time in the boat to head back to Chapel Barn for our reception dinner. It was a fun little addition to the day and being waved off added a special element” Andrea.
“We both always wanted a wedding cake. We love baking and cake as a family so it had to be a good one! One really traditional part of the wedding. We did forget to cut it though! I found Beth Haxby though social media and instantly noticed the unique painted style very appealing. Beth sent me a lovely box of cake samples which the children in particular loved tasting them. We let them decide the flavours which were Victoria sponge and Chocolate with salted caramel buttercream. Beth was super professional, informative and makes delicious sponge.” Andrea
“Photography really was important for us to get right, to capture a special day in the right way and to not feel posed or contrived. We both loved the photography of Jessica Williams, it felt natural and candid, capturing couples and guests off guard to show true emotion.
We decided to not have a videographer, to retain that sense of memory, making the photography that more important and reflective of the memories we now hold.
The shots of our children are particularly special for me. I love that they were there on our wedding day, that they will have those memories growing up and we can look back at that time in their childhood.” Daniel.
“We decided to add Rubbish Portraits by Lucie Sheridan quite late on in planning as an additional quirk to the day. It was really nice to have a point of conversation and laughter over dinner, that created a keep sake for guests. Lucie was very professional and managed to work with lots of moving parts going on whilst we had dinner and speeches.” Daniel
“Music is such an important part of my life, so when it came to our wedding I really wanted to integrate genres and tracks that really mean something to us, that are memory triggers and frame periods of our life together.
We also tried to cater for the different generations of our guests, to create a playlist that caught everyones attention.
I curated all the music aside from the evening of the Wedding day, where we hired Jimmy from Festival DJ’s. I found Festival DJ’s through Love My Dress blog and Jimmy was truly the only ‘wedding’ DJ I found that felt right. He worked with us to include tracks we specifically wanted and was super professional. He kept everyone dancing and was a perfect end to the best day.” Daniel
Venue: Wilderness Reserve
Photography: Jessica Williams Photography
Flowers: Willow & Wolf
Bridesmaids & Mother of the Groom: Andrea Hawkes
Make Up: P&A
Hair: Katrina Kelly
Drinks supplied: DNKRBY WineClub
Illustrated Portraits: Rubbish Portraits by Lucie Sheridan
Cake: Beth Haxby
Rings: Ruberg Jewellery
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