Real Weddings: Hannah & Matt’s Journey

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Hey All!

And welcome to the weekend of love! Ok so Valentines day to some may mean a corporate boost to sell more cards but for us romantics out here – we love nothing better than an excuse to celebrate love and the ones that we love. And what could possibly be better than a day like Valentines day to let you into a really beautiful love story and journey through planning and into a beautiful wedding day.

Beautifully captured by Jo Hansford Photography, Hannah and Matt share the journey to their big day with us. On seeing these pictures I could do nothing but smile right back – the glow around them is  quite simply radiating. Hannah and Matt we wish you every happiness.

Dear Readers, grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy. xo



We met on a gap year project in Central America, which involved living in the jungle for 8 weeks, while working with others in the group to clear and build a conservation project to help the local villages attract tourists to the area.

Sleeping in hammocks and washing in rivers, we had our first kiss the night of the final party in the jungle, just before returning to civilisation.

We then went on to travel together around Central America for a further four months and continued to see each other when we landed back in the UK.

Nine years and many more adventures together later, Matt surprised me one cold, wintery March morning with a proposal. We were pottering around the flat and I turned round to find him on one knee with a ring!

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The night before Matt proposed we had been out to dinner at Sanctum on the Green with my parents to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. Little did I know then, that Matt had told my parents’ that he planned to propose. Thinking back, I do recall thinking it was odd that Matt (usually a relentless carnivore) ordered the fishcakes at the restaurant. I later found out that he was so nervous he could barely eat! After all this, with the Sanctum now having a part to play in the story of the proposal it seemed clear that we should have the wedding there too. We did research and tour a few other venues in the area, but none seemed quite as a ‘right’ as the Sanctum.


Finding the right dress wasn’t the challenge I thought it might be. I had a clear idea of the style and silhouette I wanted. I’m petite and felt that a large, complicated, ornate dress would simply overwhelm me – a head and feet poking out of a mass of organza and silk! Not the look I was going for!

I researched a few designers who made dresses in the style I was after and, with my Dad, set about visiting their studios, talking to their stylists and trying on dresses. It all came together at Kate Halfpenny’s studio one September afternoon. Dad and I had had an exhausting morning of trying on dresses elsewhere, analysing them, and not really finding ‘the one’.

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We arrived at Kate’s and the staff we brilliant; listening to my requests for simple, elegant, no train etc and letting me run amok amongst the rails of their samples like a girl with a dressing up box. We had settled on a fantastic skirt, camisole and the lace jacket. I felt great and I liked the look, and that I could wear each aspect of the outfit again. There was one dress I’d selected but not tried on yet and the girls in Kate’s studio suggested I try it on just to make sure it was to be ruled out. Well! I tried the dress on and felt fabulous. Better than in the skirt and camisole combination. This was the dress! And we never looked back.

Kate’s staff were just wonderful – attentive, professional, friendly, patient and a delight to see each time I had to go in for a fitting. It was a thoroughly enjoyable process.

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The weather forecast was touch and go, but in the end, the rain held off, which was a relief for us both. There was a good amount of sun during the day so people could enjoy the outdoor space at the Sanctum, which was one of the most appealing aspects of it as a wedding venue.

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The ceremony was relaxed and full of laughter, including a few ad libs from our readers. This put everyone at ease and encapsulated what we wanted out of our wedding – nothing too formal, and everyone enjoying themselves.

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We had taken lessons for our first dance, and were really quite nervous (though excited!) when it came to show- time. We both agreed that it was more nerve-wracking than the ceremony. The adrenaline worked in our favour, thankfully, and our dance (a jive to The Blues Brothers“Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”) felt as flowing as it had in rehearsal. It was a great relief to get it over with though!

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We expected the band to be good, but they still surpassed our expectations. It’s a cliché, but we really did have everyone from toddlers to grandparents up on the dance floor at the same time, all having a brilliant, if slightly chaotic evening.

The photos of the wedding really sum up the day – there is a shot of every single guest laughing at some point during the day. We were so pleased to be able to see all our guests enjoying themselves, and that Jo and Nic, our photographers, could capture so many natural shots of our friends and family.

HM_284Photography:  /  Venue:  /  Dress, lace jacket and hairpiece:  /  Suit: Hugo Boss  /  Shoes: Rachel Simpson at Fur Coat No Knickers  /  Florist:  /  Hair & Make Up:  /

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