Amy and Matt’s ‘Rustic Romance’ Relaxed, Countryside Wedding. By Hannah Dornford-May

So it’s Friday what a speedy fast week that was! how has it been for you? It’s been a good one for me so lets hope the weeks carry on like this! I have a day off today, as I am off to the races with Nik. One of his customers is taking us out, so I’m looking forward to a lovely day out in the sunshine! To finish off the week I have a lovely relaxed countryside wedding for you courtesy of Hannah Dornford-May. It’s full of wild flowers, rustic details and lots of countryside charm.

‘When I started planning I joked that the theme was ‘rustic romance’ but I think this just about sums it up. It was a relaxed, countryside wedding with lots of love, laughter and Lakeland touches – wild flowers, slate table names and the local show tent.’

2 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

3 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Amy and Matt who were married on 7th July 2012. ‘The ceremony was at St Paul’s Church, Rusland with the reception at Belmount Hall, Outgate – both in the Lake District, near Hawkshead. I grew up in Rusland – a tiny village in the South Lakes, and I used to go to the church there when I was a kid, and still go when we’re home for Christmas. It’s a gorgeous little church sat on a hill with views of the surrounding valley and was the only place I could imagine getting married. Luckily Matt – who’s from Nottingham – agreed and it was the first decision we made. We had 120 guests, we both have large families so at least half of this was family. It took almost a year to the day to plan, though we had breaks from it as we went along’

4 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

5 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

How did you meet
We’ve been together for five years and met at Babel bar in Clapham Junction. My friend was doing crazy dancing to MC Hammer and I asked a group of blokes near us if they could top it. We got chatting to them and according to Matt, he looked over from the bar and saw one of his friends – a bit of a ladies man – talking to me and thought, ‘not this time’ so when his friend went to the toilet he muscled in. He’s a football commentator so he’s got the gift of the gab, and he got me interested enough to agree to a date when he texted me the next day. I nearly called the whole thing off when one of his first chat up lines on this date was ‘what’s your favourite packet of crisps?’ but somehow he won me over.

The proposal
Matt proposed the evening before we left for a holiday in Portugal. I was so focused on going away that I didn’t realise how strange he was being – looking back I’m amazed I didn’t suss it when he said he wanted to come shopping with me (first clue) but could we go via Southbank because he’d seen a book he wanted on the book stall there (second clue – Matt isn’t a big book person). You’d think I’d have started to cotton on when we ‘bumped’ into his mate who’s a magician, particularly when he asked me to pick a card and it happened to have a picture of a ring on it, but I was still none the wiser. Then the magician set the card on fire and it turned into an actual ring which he subtly put in front of Matt. He asked Matt to think of the thing he wanted most in the world and said he bet he had it written on a piece of paper – which he produced from his pocket and left me to unfold as he walked off. I didn’t have much time to wonder why he’d left without saying goodbye, before I read the words,’Marry me’ on the piece of paper. I was so surprised that much to the amusement of the people around us my first response was ‘is this a joke?’ – before a swift yes of course.

6 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

7 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

8 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

9 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

10 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

11 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Why did you choose your photographer?
I’d actually booked another photographer but she got quite ill a few days before our wedding so asked Hannah to step in for her. One look at Hannah’s website and I knew I had nothing to worry about and I was right – Hannah was brilliant, very calm and discreet but loud enough to get our raucous family and friends into order for the group photos. She was also very patient at dealing with my indecision about which photos to choose for our wedding album and I’m so thriIled with the final result.

12 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

13 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

The Dress
It was Christina Sposa, from Berketex just off Oxford Street – ivory satin with a delicate line of pearls and crystals just below the bust, a lovely puddle train and covered buttons running down the back. The back had a lower ‘V’ than the front. I felt really comfortable in it but also quite elegant which is unusual for me.
My shoes were from Bourne – http://www.bournecollection.com/shoes.html. I thought there was no point spending a lot of money on wedding shoes because no one would see them and you’d never wear them again so I order a pair for a fiver off ebay and tried to kid myself that they weren’t really a size to small or a bit mucky and obviously worn. I ordered another pair a month before the wedding that were too big and then trawled every shop down Oxford Street before phoning my Mum in a panic. She went into our local town, and somehow managed to find the perfect pair in the only shoe shop – and they happened to be on sale.

The suit and bridesmaids
Matt’s suit was from Paul Smith – in part due to the Nottingham connection but also because he makes fantastic suits and we thought it would be worth splashing out on a good one seeing as he’ll wear it a lot more than I’ll wear my dress.
I had seven bridesmaids dresses – I just couldn’t narrow it down. Their dresses were from Reiss, Topshop, Coast, Hollister and Isabella Oliver. They all wore different dresses in shades of blue.

14 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

15 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

16 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

17 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

18 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

19 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

20 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Theme or colour scheme
Originally, during my mood board phase, it was steel blue and golden yellow, but I relaxed it as we went along.

We got our bouquets and button holes done at a friend of a friend’s florist in Windermere – Valerie Anne’s, run by Michelle. She’s fantastic and knew exactly what I wanted from my garbled descriptions.The bouquets were made up of lemon and avalanche roses, blue delphiniums, solidaster, gyp, stock white flowers, rosemary and sage. Matt’s button hole was a lemon rose with rosemary, gyp and ivy leaves and the ushers and page boy had an avalanche rose, solidaster and ivy leaves.
Mum’s friend did the church flowers – sticking loosely to the blue and yellow theme but adding lots of lovely greenery, she made one huge display for the front of the church then smaller window displays alternating with church candles and greenery. She also hung some greenery from the lanterns down the aisle and made two lovely ‘swags’ for the church doorway.
For the table flowers, my mum, sister and I raided my Mum’s garden – and some of her friends’ – the night before the wedding. The colour scheme obviously went out the window and we didn’t really know what we were doing when we put them in an assortment of colourful jugs (Mum collects them) the next day but they seemed to work.

21 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

22 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

23 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

24 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

25 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

26 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Asparagus with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce (or shavings of parmesan for veggies) to start, lamb en croute (or aubergine galette) with new potatoes and garden vegetables for the main and our chocolate wedding cake served with strawberries and cream for the dessert.

A four-piece band called Absolute Funk from Leeds

• The marquee was the local horticultural show tent and though it might sound fancy it was quite rustic – and my poor family had to put it up with the help of a local farmer before Matt and I travelled up to the Lakes.
• We covered it in colourful bunting that my Mum’s friend had made for her wedding, and strung fairy lights around the three central poles.
• A friend of mine who has lovely handwriting wrote the table plan and menu on big chalkboards which we put on easels
• In front of the jugs of wild flowers on the tables we propped bits of slate which acted as the table names (Matt named each table after a Nottingham hero – from Brian Clough to Vicky McClure).
• The place names were made by a graphic designer friend Marc, who very kindly did all our stationery – a vintage style font in blue on white card.
• The ‘barn’ where we had the party after the wedding breakfast didn’t need much decoration thanks to lovely wooden beams and tasteful décor from the owners but we put up some more fairy lights here.

27 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

28 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

29 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

30 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

31 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Personal /DIY touches
On my hen do my friends and I did willow weaving and made a variety of things from snails to stars and hearts. We arranged these by the path (lined with Roman candles) into the marquee.
Our invites and order of services were designed by Marc as I mentioned above and I printed them all out on nice card and stitched the order of services together using yellow wool.

32 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

33 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

34 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

35 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

36 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

Special moments
The night before the wedding when my Mum, sister Anna and I went to pick flowers was a really special moment – very peaceful after all the chaos of organising stuff the next day. And I loved having all my girls at my parents’ home while we were getting ready and having some champagne while I gave them thank you presents for being so brilliant. The service past in a bit of a blur (apparently I raced down the aisle – and I do remember dad whispering ‘slow down!’) but a moment sticks out when we were signing the register and Matt said something – I’ve no idea what – to make me laugh and I suddenly relaxed and started taking it all in. I also loved the moment when we walked into the marquee and everyone cheered and Matt held our arms up. And his and my Dad’s speech were very touching. Too many highlights to mention!

Although each decision seems so important during the planning process, when you look back you won’t remember the wording of your invite or the carefully crafted table plan – you’ll remember the smiles on people’s faces and the thrill of having all your favourite people in the world in one room. It will fly by so try and stop every so often and take it all in.

That I didn’t cry – I thought I’d be a sniffling mess but I don’t think I welled up once. I just remember being really happy all day.

37 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

38 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

39 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

40 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding

41 Relaxed, Countryside Wedding


Supplier shout Outs

  • Belmount Hall – http://belmounthall.com  – Chris and Gilly Addison who run the wedding venue also run a fantastic café in the Lakes called Jumping Jenny’s, so you can rely on the food being great. Plus they have impeccable taste –Belmount is beautifully decorated and each detail is carefully thought through, from supplying us with tealight holders for the dinner tables, to making sure the garden looks immaculate. They even made our wedding cake which was a fabulous three-tier rich chocolate cake decorated with white roses.
  • Absolute Funk – www.absolutemusicagency.com  – great funk band who will play all sorts and take requests. They got everyone dancing.
  • Valerie Ann’s florist in Windermere – www.valerieannsflorist.co.uk
  • Salon 16 www.16thesalon.com  – Clare with brown hair (there are two Clares there) did my bridal hair and was brilliant, so calm and reassuring, I really trusted her to get it exactly how I wanted. Plus I couldn’t get up to the Lakes for a trial so she was quite happy to do the practice when I came up two days before the wedding. Gemma did two of my bridesmaids hair and they looked lovely.
  • Sarah from Beauty Simply www.beautysimply.co.uk  did my make-up. She’s a mobile make-up artist so I went to her house in Carnforth for a trial  and then she came to Rusland on the morning of the wedding. She did me and my bridesmaids (don’t ask!) in three hours and was fab – very calm and obliging.
  • My wedding ring is from Rust – they make such gorgeous, interesting jewellery – www.rustjewellery.com
  • I had six pearl and crystal clutser hair pins in my hair from Tallulah’s Trinkets – www.tallulahstrinkets.co.uk


For more information on Hannah’s work go to

[email protected]


Why not visit our Supplier Directory


    Andree K.

    That check is a wonderful wedding gift idea! Gave me a good giggle. Also I love how the groom’s suit and the bride’s bouquet were tied together by color scheme.



    Just wondering how you got your hands on the local horticultural show tent, we have the field and venue just trying to sort out a tent etc….

    Thanks Loads


Please leave your comment

We reserve the right to remove any comment that we feel is distasteful, rude, hurtful or inappropriate, so please be nice. Remember the weddings featured on this blog are real people and their weddings mean a lot to them. Please be mindful of this and other people's feelings. If youhave a problem with any of the content please contact me directly.

Thank you xx

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.