A summer Berkshire wedding filled with flowers
31 Oct 2019
Florist Helen Harris ensured her wedding to Carl Hagan was a floral affair by calling on the talents of her floristry team
How did you meet?
I was out with friends (two guys and a guy, so we looked like two couples) and we went to a pub in Reading. At the pub, Carl dropped his change next to me at the bar. After returning back to my friends he came strutting over and asked which one of the guys was my boyfriend and I said neither, so he asked for my number and the rest is history.
Tell us about the proposal.
We were on holiday in Barbados. He took me for a walk and got down on one knee at sunset.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme was 'us', so whatever we liked, it was all a combination of many things: Jurassic Park, American football, a tailgate party and Irregular Choice shoes. As there was so much colour in the shoes, I kept the suits, dresses and flowers neutral.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Hillfields Farm in Lower Basildon, Reading. Hillfields gave us a few days before and after the actual day, so I could make my own flowers as I am a florist.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
My team of florists made them all and we went mad with the flowers. I just pulled together everything I liked in whites and greens and had a moon arch made as the show-stopping backdrop for the ceremony.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
My dress was by Mark Lesley and it was in the first shop I went to - Boo Bridal in Hartley Wintney. However, I tried on at least 40 more to be sure. I kept thinking about the dress as I was searching, so returned to try it on again…and then I knew.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had my step-daughter, Tia; niece, Eva; sister, Laura; and best friend, Holly. They wore Dorothy Perkins dresses in pale dove grey.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
A teal number from Phase Eight.
Where did you find your suits?
Did you hire a wedding planner? How did they help?
Yes, Claire Ambler Wedding Planning and she was the best. She was very instrumental in pulling everything together as it was so DIY.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
I didn’t want a pretty, standard barn wedding and I hoped we achieved that. I wanted all our guests to feel like: “Yes, that’s them” with all the details:
- I found some ceramic dinosaur planters and planted ferns inside to hold the table names. These were themed on American football teams (Carl's choice).
- We wanted the cocktail hour/welcome drinks to feel like the start of a football game with personalised cornhole boards, beer pong and air hockey.
- We borrowed my friend’s husband’s 1963 Buick Riviera car to transport me and all the bridal party to the venue.
- We had a string quartet play modern songs on strings and we signed the register to Thong Song by Sisquo which made everyone laugh.
- Favours were charity pins to for a prostate cancer charity as my father is currently suffering from the disease, and Cats Protection League as we are cat lovers. We also put £1 bets on each place for a team winning the Superbowl next year.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Panicked, as I was 45 minutes late.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had Carl’s daughter start with a reading of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long which is one of Carl's favourite songs, as well as his mum’s.
What was your most memorable moment?
Getting to the front of the aisle and apologising for being late, and everyone laughing.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The guestlist! And not offending anyone.
What was the most important investment for you?
The flowers and the dress.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Lionel Richie's My Destiny as the words are perfect without being too slow. We knew we wouldn’t want a typical Ed Sheeran song.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Just a cracking DJ.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
A friend made it, who is a cake maker. It was amazing. It was a semi-naked cake featuring Ferrero Rocher, toffee and raspberry and elderflower flavours.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I would transport the bridesmaids in other transport, rather than them be ferried in my wedding car, as this is what made me late.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We minimooned in the New Forest and then went away to Mexico the following September.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Don’t be bulldozed by pushy family members and do what makes YOU happy. You don’t get another wedding day, so have it how you want it.
Steal their style:
Venue: Hillfields Farm
Photography: Wow Photography
Catering: Fosters Catering
DJ: Visually Sound
Dress: Boo Bridal
Make-up: Make Me Bridal
Wedding planner: Claire Ambler Events
Flowers: Croppers in Bloom
Wedding celebrant: Wild & Oak
For more Berkshire wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Bride magazine.