Images by Jess Petrie
Matt and I always dreamt of a fun, intimate and relaxed wedding. We also had a serious case of itchy feet, so when it became clear that we could finally take a month off to fulfil our long-held dream of travelling around Australia, we decided to combine the trip with a very small and secret wedding.
As the daughter of parents who eloped after a whirlwind romance (albeit to a chilly Peckham Registry rather than Australia), and an incurable romantic I fell head-over-heels with the idea of our big day being pretty much just us, and on our terms.
We settled on a simple outdoor ceremony on the shores of Sydney Harbour, before celebrating with plenty of bubbles and dinner overlooking the ocean at the glam Bondi Icebergs. Keeping it quiet for a year was tricky, but we loved sharing a secret that was just ours- somehow it made all the planning and the day itself even more special. We told just two people who were to be both my bridesmaids and our witnesses. Angela, my best girl, who incredibly jetted into Sydney for a week from London, and Eve who came up to celebrate from Melbourne.
We were still on a high when we got back to winter in the North. We hadn’t had a professional photographer on the day, so when my friend Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers suggested a post-wedding shoot as a way of capturing some special keepsake photographs we could treasure we knew she was on to something.
It sounds strange as someone who chose to get married during Sydney’s sundrenched spring, but I’ve always loved winter. The first caramel leaves, crunchy frosts and twinkling lights of Christmas never fail to give me goosebumps. We also thought it would be lovely to have some wintery shots as a contrast to our summery wedding day ones. So we opted to organise the shoot quickly and make the most of the season.
We decided to brave the bracing weather and shoot in the Peak District. Matt hails from Derbyshire and as we met and now live in Sheffield it’s a part of the world we love spending time in, so it meant a lot to us. As a total bookworm it also appealed as part of my favourite book Jane Eyre is set there- a novel we also took one of our wedding readings from. And let’s be honest who wouldn’t want to flounce around the beautiful, craggy moorland a la Cathy in Wuthering Heights?
The Peaks also influenced our colour themes and choice of flowers. Inspired by the way they come to life with rolling carpets of heather in late summer Tracey and I decided on a purple theme for the bouquet, Matt’s buttonhole and arrangement. I’ve long been a fan of Tracey’s vintage, meadow-picked style of design and knew it was a look that would work perfectly with my dress and the shoot scenery. I also loved that she champions British blooms and works closely with local suppliers.
The floral designs featured lavender, vintage-look pale pink Sweet Avalanche roses, lilac Memory Lane roses, pale pink veronica, purple lisianthus, white aster and ferns along with the purple heather that inspired them to represent Derbyshire and eucalyptus for Australia. Antique-look lace and purple ribbon finished everything off perfectly.
Getting to dress up again was another treat. I’ve always loved the idea of wearing a dress with a history, with other love stories attached- so for me it was always going to be vintage. Abigail’s Vintage Bridal had the most incredible dresses, and after trying on plenty of fifties froth with pretty petticoats I fell hard for a 1940s French Mousseline gown with gorgeous detail and an amazing train.
On the day the snowy peaks and moors were perfect, and gave the shoot a bit of a Wuthering Heights meets Snow Queen vibe, as our wonderful photographer Jess Petrie worked her magic. I’d seen Jess’ work before and been blown away by the beauty of and the way she manages to catch people’s most unguarded and intimate moments.
After doing my own make up for the wedding it was so lovely to be pampered by a professional before the shoot. The lovely Jenn Edwards suggested we kept the vintage, old-school glamour look that I loved, but tied in the colours with the flowers and wintery look of the shoot. So the postbox red lips I wed with were transformed to a deeper, almost berry hue. Jenn also created pretty pin curls in my hair, which sadly got blown out into a more windswept style when we braved the blustery weather of the heights.
The whole experience of the shoot from planning with Tracey and being pampered at the start to the amazing photos we will always treasure was so special and something we will always remember.
Flowers by Cambell's Flowers