It was a stunningly beautiful day for wedding photography at Wethele Manor. The morning started out a little damp and fresh, but as the day went on, the clouds gradually dispersed. When the sun started peaking through the gorgeous Warwickshire countryside was illuminated and the colours exploded. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and flowers we me unfortunately. I was really quite poorly on the day of the wedding. So much so, I had to get the help of good friend, Paul Willetts to help me through the ceremony. He arrived and photographed the guests arriving and through the ceremony, but after finding I was ok to soldier on without him, he left shortly after that. So I just want o give a special thanks to him for being there for me when I needed him most.
I also had the pleasure to work again with the the always lovely Cherry & Chloe who were working their magic on the hair and make up.
Please tell me how you first met?
Emma: We actually met on a dating website. I moved to Leamington Spa from Devon in 2014 to start a new job, and didn’t know anyone. I thought joining a dating site would be a good way to meet lots of people (it didn’t work out like that though because Simon ended up being the first and only person I went on a date with because we clicked immediately!)
Simon: I first met Emma online. I felt like I knew her before we met, her profile was very detailed! Our first date was the day after my birthday which has been handy up to now for remembering anniversaries.2) When was it you knew they were the one?
Emma: Right from the first date, I found Simon the easiest person to talk to – in fact, the first time we met, we went for breakfast, but that ended up becoming lunch, coffee and afternoon tea because we had so much to talk about! I think I really knew he was special though when I was struck down with a really bad kidney infection and he looked after me for days, even taking me to A&E in the middle of the night. I remember thinking – in my semi delirious state – that he was a ‘keeper’.
Simon: I had a really good feeling after our first date. I was immediately able to be myself3) Could you give us the story of the proposal?
Emma: eeermmmmm…Simon proposed just as the credits were rolling to Masterchef! Apparently he wanted to ask me to marry him on the day we bought our first home together, but a week before we were due to move, the sale of his house fell through and everything got put on hold. We were both really stressed, the house was chaos, and romance was the furthest thing from my mind – so I was completely taken by surprise when he suddenly got down on one knee after a TV dinner one evening and asked me to marry him. He insists he said something romantic and meaningful, but to be honest, I was so taken aback and emotional (despite the unlikely setting) that I can’t even remember exactly what he said! I don’t like big romantic gestures and always said it would be my worst nightmare to have a public proposal, or a proposal with roses, at sunset, etc – so in a weird way, a TV dinner with Masterchef finishing in the background seems more ‘me’ than any other setting.
Simon: The best laid plans…..I had a romantic proposal planned when we moved into our new house. Having built up to it for weeks, picked the ring and planned my speech the purchase got delayed. I didn’t want to wait any longer so I proposed after dinner on a fairly normal Thursday, surrounded by packed boxes.4) If you don’t mind sharing, can you tell me something quirky, funny or silly about your partner?
Emma: Simon likes to research everything meticulously, and he absolutely can’t resist a bargain. Every time we buy anything together – decorating paint, a new toaster, lightbulbs – he spends ages on price and quality comparison websites first, which sometimes drives me mad! Equally, if I ask him to pop to the supermarket for milk or bread, it’s likely that he’ll come home with a leg of lamb or a side of salmon (with a bargain yellow sticker of course) because it was such a good deal. Our freezer is full of his bargains…
Simon: Emma works for a University and is quite the intellectual during the working day however her real passion is reality TV. Think Dinner Date, Britain’s Got Talent and The Bake Off. Calling during the Bake Off is a real no no.5) What is your perfect day together?
Emma: Simon works away in the week, so a lazy weekend at home is heaven for us. Breakfast in the garden, some pottering about at home (we are slowly decorating and putting our stamp on our house, which has turned into a life long project!), a wander round an antiques barn, dinner on the sofa and a box set – all very ordinary things but they feel like such a treat when the working week is so busy.
Simon: My perfect day with Emma is exploring a city somewhere in the world. When I think about great days we have had I go to Paris, Bangkok, Gaulle and Venice. There is nothing like experiencing a new place and having someone to enjoy it with.6) Apart from the obvious, what are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Emma: I’m really excited to see so many of our friends and family who we never get to spend time with, and to just have a fun filled day. We’ve got friends coming from the US and middle east who I’m looking forward to catching up with, and lots of people travelling from the South West and South Coast – so it’ll just be lovely to have everyone we love in one place.
On a more personal level, I am ridiculously excited to get on a Spacehopper! We’ve got some garden games set up, and the space hopper is the one I’ve been looking forward to. Everyone keeps telling us how amazing the food is at Wethele too, so I am also looking forward to our dinner – and relaxing after giving a speech.
Simon: I am most looking forward to having a go at Splat the Rat, it takes me back to childhood fete’s. I can’t imagine I will have got any better!7) What was it that inspired you to go for the theme or the decor you chose for your wedding?
Emma: We don’t have a ‘theme’ as such. We knew we didn’t want anything too formal – and I have a real aversion to anything that is ‘matchy matchy’ – so our décor was always going to be more casual in style. The one nod to a theme was our invitations and table plan though: I’m book obsessed, so we went for a Penguin Classic book cover as our design.
We also spent a lot of time on Pintrest in the weeks after getting engaged!
Simon: I think we both have an aversion to being too fussy around detail, or at least things appearing they have been over engineered. I don’t remember other weddings as a set of images, more a feeling I had on the day about the love and warmth in the room.8) Please tell me one thing you wish you had known at the beginning of your wedding planning process, that you could pass on to future bride’s reading this blog?
Emma: We said from the start that we wanted to enjoy the process, and that the moment it felt stressful, that was the moment we needed to take a step back. I think we’ve managed to follow our own advice – minus a few tense moments – and I think I’d mainly tell people to enjoy it. Also, as I’m realising, the small details that you’ll obsess over (wedding favours, the colour of napkins etc) will be the things that no-one else will remember at all, or care about – so don’t waste time and money on those. We chose to spend our money on the venue, the food, the music – basically on the celebratory part of things – rather than the small details or our outfits or decor, and I’m really glad we prioritised in that way.
Simon: I have learned that the sooner you get on with doing things the better, we are relatively well organised now but it has been fairly frenetic at times. Listen to people when they tell you to get on with it, luckily Emma was really good at booking the essentials and I have been more involved in the paperwork and planning as we have got closer to the event. Guess who is the planner……9) When searching, what were you were looking for in a wedding venue?
Emma: We wanted somewhere fairly local to us, as most of Simon’s family live close by. We were also looking for something with a rustic feel – perhaps a barn. We looked at a few nice options, but the moment we arrived at Wethele, we had a good feeling about it. To be honest, I’d already decided I wanted to get married here before we’d even set foot in the front door! It has a really relaxed, charming vibe and totally lacks any kind of pretension, which put me at my ease immediately.
Simon: I didn’t have a specific idea about the venue other than wanting it to be relatively near. What made the decision for me was the confidence I got from Duncan (from Wethele Manor) and his ability to interpret what we wanted (even though I am not sure we knew). I think the people make the day not the building and knowing that the person planning it understood us and the impression we wanted to leave with our guests was invaluable.10) Could you tell me the process you went through when you were looking for a wedding photographer?
Emma: Wethele Manor had some amazing brochures on display when we first went to look, and a few of them featured photos by Duncan Cox. I got some recommendations from the venue and from friends, and he was one of a few whose portfolios I looked at online – and our favourite from the start. I don’t like formal photos, and much prefer it when photographers are able to capture those special impromptu moments between people, so I was really drawn to Duncan’s work. I also felt completely confident in our choice as soon as we spoke on the phone, as he seemed to ‘get’ what we wanted immediately.
Simon: I think your photo’s speak for themselves. I want the photographer to be a casual observer not the person who drags us away from our guests.
Photography | Duncan Cox Photography
Ceremony Location | Wethele Manor, Leamington Spa
Reception Location | Wethele Manor, Warwickshire
Florist | Beth Kendall – Elizabeth’s Flowers
Wedding Band | Rokko
Dress Designer | Watters (Willowby)
Wedding Dress Retailer | Tilly Trotter’s, Leamington Spa