Helen and Mark first locked eyes at a friend's birthday party in a London bar. Their first date saw them enjoy more drinks in the capital. “We went to Floridita and drank a lot of mojitos,” admits Helen. “It went well, if a little drunkenly, and we arranged to see each other again the following weekend.” It was another success, and three years later, the couple were in Florence celebrating their anniversary. “Mark arranged for roses and champagne to be delivered to our hotel room, and after dinner, we came back to the room and he got down on one knee and proposed,” remembers Helen. “I had suspected something might be happening as we were staying in a very nice hotel, but it was still a lovely surprise.”
A year and a half later, they married at Whirlow Hall Farm. “The whole thing was tricky, as we were living in St Albans and the wedding was in Sheffield,” admits Helen. “We had a lot of different suppliers and did a lot ourselves, so it was quite a military operation.” Although it was a challenge, there were lots of fun times while they were arranging the celebrations too. “I especially enjoyed choosing the venue and the large tipis,” says Helen. “I also loved our engagement shoot and going to sample some of the food we were going to have on the big day!”
The farm is somewhere Helen is particularly attached to. “It's part of my youth and it's so close to where my family live, but it feels like it's truly in the countryside with fantastic views. We wanted a wedding that was completely different and not like any of our friends, especially those coming up from the south.”
Here, she tells us more about the big day...
I loved that the dress had a large skirt so it felt really special; the back was amazing and took my breath away. It made me feel bridal, and even went with a veil which I'd never thought I would wear.
We added straw bales outside the tipi and vintage pieces including two large metal hearts.
My bouquet was made up of wildflowers with a few small dusty pink roses. They're my favourite flowers, as they're so natural and beautiful, and they also went with our countryside theme and felt part of the whole set up.
I had my little niece Millie as flowergirl – she'd just turned one. She's my first niece and I wanted her to have a role in our big day.
We wanted a round three-tiered cake with two fruit layers and one sponge, all with marzipan, which Mark and I love. It was decorated with ribbon and flowers to match the theme.
I wore a large hair slide made of white lace, diamonds and pearls. It was quite 1920s and went perfectly with my dress.
The tipis didn’t need too much decoration as they’re stunning in their own right. We just added little details to make it feel like a natural country fair, like running bunting and fairylights around the top.
I've been going to Whirlow Hall Farm since I was a child, and my mum is a volunteer there, showing children the animals and explaining farming.
The same flowers that I carried were used in the bridesmaids' bouquets, on the arch we married underneath, in jam jars on the tables, in the tipi and on the cake.
Mark’s friend’s band Kid At The Back were amazing – the dance floor was packed the whole time and as they’re friends, they played pretty much all night and had a great time.
Kid At The Back
Bride's dress and accessories
Moorview Hair and Beauty
House of Fraser
Blue Sky Events
Norton and Townsend
Whirlow Hall Farm
Unique Wedding Planning
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