Kara & Alan ♥ Solihull, England
Photographer: Prestige Photography
This romantic woodland wedding is like a scene from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ It epitomises all of the magic of a summer wedding and conjures up true Shakespeare-style love.
Kara and Alan held their ceremony on a tiny woodland island (hidden away at the bottom of the grand gardens of Hogarths Hotel, Solihull), surrounded by a trickling stream and a carpet of bluebells blowing in the slight summer breeze.
Kara’s softly flowing dress and the flower in her tousled hair, ensured she looked every bit the enchanting Fairy Queen. The addition of wild flower bouquets, the floaty chiffon bridesmaid dresses and the graceful sound of the violinists all added to this wedding’s enchanting theme.
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.” – William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“Alan asked me to marry him in Venice! He swept me off my feet in a gorgeous location, with a beautiful ring and of course I said YES! As soon as we got home we couldn’t wait to set the date and get married as soon as possible. Hogarth’s Hotel was the first venue I visited and when Kate (my bridesmaid and best friend) and I stood on ‘the island’ in the hotel grounds, we knew it was the perfect place for Alan and I to tie the knot.”
“Choosing the date was easy, we knew we wanted a spring wedding and one of the only available dates was 27th May which was a bank holiday weekend. So everything just seemed to fall into place. Once the date was secured, Hogarth’s were absolutely amazing and finalising the details was a joy. They made everything so easy – we were able to make everything really personal but they helped with the big things like timings of the ceremony, food and drinks.”
“Once the venue was sorted the next priority on my list was THE WEDDING DRESS! Now I have never been someone who was overly girlie and I know some girls have their wedding planned from age five…….well this was not me! To be honest I didn’t know where to start and choosing a dress was quite an overwhelming task!”
“I didn’t have loads of appointments as with only eight months to go I knew I didn’t have time on my side and was keen to get something ordered. Lisa’s Bridalwear in Solihull were absolutely fab and helped me to choose my perfect dress. They were so honest and genuine about what suited my body shape and they took everything into account – spring wedding, the venue, budget etc.”
“The months absolutely flew by and I was so lucky that my hubby-to-be was so supportive and I had my friends around me. My hen do was a girlie weekend in Lisbon, Portugal and I had the time of my life! I was totally spoilt and the girls made me feel so special.”
“Alan and I had lots of fun choosing favours for the tables and gifts for our wedding party – but honestly none of that matters on the day! The most important thing I learned is that your wedding guests will absolutely make your special day.”
“Before I knew it, it was the night before my wedding and my last night as a single gal. What better way to celebrate than dinner with friends and family and then a champagne Jacuzzi! Yes, whilst my hubby-to-be was having an early night with his best man and ushers, I was in my bikini getting tipsy in the Jacuzzi outside our suite and having a last minute fake spray tan!”
“After a good nights sleep it was the morning and we woke up to a glorious sunny day. I remember sending a photo message to Alan and we were both so excited that the sunshine came out for us!”
“Getting ready with my bridesmaids (Nikki, Jemma, Kate and Suki) in the morning was a huge part of the day for me. My hairdresser Caroline did my hair as well as the bridesmaids and we all had our make done by Danni. It was all so stress-free and I would definitely recommend having your make up done by a professional.”
“When my dad first saw me in my wedding dress it was so emotional and I will never forget that moment. I was so nervous waiting to ‘walk down the aisle’ which was actually the walk down to ‘the island’ at Hogarths. But once I saw Alan everything was fine and the ceremony was just perfect. I held Alan’s hand throughout the ceremony and it was really special.”
“Once it was official and we were husband and wife, we couldn’t wait to celebrate and get the party started!! The sun was shining and we had Bellini’s and canapés on the lawn – this was one of the highlights for us, as it is one of only times in your life when you have all your friends and family in the same place at once!”
“Having our wedding at Hogarths worked out really well, as the guests didn’t have to travel anywhere so we went straight into the speeches and wedding breakfast. Our theme was ‘bluebells’ and this was incorporated throughout the flowers, colour theme, favours and gifts.”
“Any bride will tell you how quickly the day goes and it’s so true! Our evening guests were arriving before we knew it and then the party really started! Our best man, Jake, surprised us with a saxophonist – Andy Sax – who was an absolute hit and really gave the whole evening such a great atmosphere.”
- James Morrison – You Give Me Something (Acoustic version)
Dance floor classics:
- The Police – Message In A Bottle – performed live by the band The Crimes
- U2 – With or Without You – performed live by the band The Crimes
- Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
What were your highlights and your favourite memories from the day?
- “I asked Alan what his favourite memory was and I am in agreement. It was when our band – The Crimes – performed ‘With or Without You’. This wasn’t our fist dance but it was such an amazing moment. Everyone made a big circle around Alan and I and sang ‘With or Without You’ and it was incredible!”
Do you have any advice for future brides-to-be?
- “My advice to any future brides is to not get too caught up in the details, but really focus on what is most important to you……friends, family and entertainment totally made our day. Making our guests feel special and ensuring they had an amazing time was important to us.”
Would you do anything differently?
- “Honestly the only thing I would do differently is to invite more guests!!”
Do you have any wedding budget tips?
- “Looking back, I was very naïve whilst booking our wedding – I should have definitely negotiated more! If your budget is tight I would say to invest money on food, drinks and entertainment! That is what makes an amazing wedding! Favours and those little details are great and make it personal but it’s the whole experience that your guests will remember!”
Venue and suppliers:
Photographer – Prestige Photography / Venue – Hogarths Hotel / Florist – Eleanor Clarke / Musicians – The Bellini Strings Quartet / Band – The Crimes / DJ – Marcus Fenton and Lex Harrison / Hair – Caroline McCabe / Make up – Danni Smith / Bride’s dress – Tia by Benjamin Roberts from Lisa’s Bridalwear / Brides shoes – Dune / Bride’s hair accessory – Orelia at Topshop / Bridesmaid dresses – Hobbs / Bridesmaid shoes and jewellery – Coast / Groom and best man suits – Topman / Groom and best man ties – Marc Wallace / Mother of the bride outfit – Hobbs
Don’t you just love the natural beauty of Kara and Alan’s day? They continued their bluebell theme and colour story throughout the wedding – even the cake was entwined with flowers and vines – and they really managed to stamp their own mark on their day.
“So we grew together like to a double cherry, seeming parted, but yet an union in partition, two lovely berries moulded on one stem.” – William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.