Rachel and Ben are both Architects who set up their own business last year after travelling and working in Australia. Much like us, they spend a lot of time together (but they say it’s working out so far 🙂 ). When they’re not buried in work, they love to visit new places, spend time in the pub with friends, play pretty nerdy board games and binge watch TV box sets. As soon as we met Rachel and Ben we knew they were our perfect clients and we always love the challenge when a creative couple book us.
Rachel and Ben met at university on their post-graduate course in Leeds about ten years ago. After they were put in the same tutor group where they struck up some flirty, common ground. They had they first date a couple of weeks later and were an item not long after that.
We feel so honoured that we got to photograph part of Rachel and Ben’s wedding at Haughley Park barn where they tied the knot a couple of months ago. Thank you for choosing us, we had an absolute blast!
Make sure you take a peek at Rachel and Ben’s architecture work
Tell us about your proposal!
Rachel: In 2014, reaching our psychological limit of living in London, we decided to escape to Australia. We had no plan as to how long we would go for or what we would do for work but it was one of the best decisions we ever made and we had an incredible time out there. After a couple of years, we made the decision to move back to the motherland and planned a pretty epic trip home that included a month long drive up the east coast of Oz. Ben popped the question on a pretty deserted beach in Queensland, as we took a walk on a warm evening. It was very sweet and simple, just him on his knee with a ring. He picked the perfect spot to do it.
Ben: It was a beautiful beach. I’d planned the scene even had a little speech but was waiting for the perfect moment and mission beach did not disappoint. Well worth waiting 10 years for I’d say!
What was your vision for your wedding day?
I think, like all couples planning a wedding, we just wanted to the day to be fun, relaxed and memorable. Weddings are a strange day that all follow a very similar pattern, trying to inject some personality into that so it didn’t feel too ‘routine’ was important to us. We wanted to somehow include elements of our ourselves, references to our history and things we enjoy.
Rachel: A lot of the day is a bit of a blur, but for me walking down the aisle with my dad, the first dance and being absolutely pelted with confetti are what I will remember!
Ben: Turning and seeing Rachel walk down the aisle will stay with me forever, she looked so beautiful and her Dad couldn’t have been prouder.
What made you cry on the day?
Rachel: The moment I walked into the ceremony room and I saw a sea of familiar faces and Ben at the end of the aisle I couldn’t help but shed a few tears (of happiness of course!), I had told myself that I would keep my emotions at bay but I failed miserably. The photos which get the most mentions though are the ones where I look pretty emotional.
Ben: I surprised myself, I thought I’d cry more! When Rachel’s bridal entrance music (The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun) began I did shed a few tears but other than that I held it together pretty well. Tip: don’t stare at anyone else crying, it’ll only set you off!
Tell us about the planning process…
As soon as we arrived back in the UK from travelling we started to arrange viewings at wedding venues, that was 18 months before our big day. Good venues book up far in advance, even more so if you are looking for a Saturday in the summer months, so it’s worth thinking about early. From then we tried to do bits and pieces wedding related on a weekend right up until the day.
One of the hardest early decisions was a venue. We knew we would pick somewhere in Suffolk, and we were leaning towards a barn but there are just so many to choose from! They vary from super rustic (ie the cows may sleep in there) to super polished (internally, doesn’t really look like a barn anymore). In the end we chose Haughley Park Barn as somewhere in the middle. It was a relatively blank canvas but equally it didn’t feel like it needed too much work to look impressive.
The photographers were crucial to us, we wanted to make sure we would have things captured in a way we will enjoy looking back over in the years to come – that choice ended up being pretty easy! Catering was pretty simple too as the venue had approved caterers (which I think is becoming more common) so we just had to choose from a selection of four. We also decided to have a band play and we literally just found the guys by searching online and watching YouTube videos. We hadn’t heard them play live so it was a bit of an unknown but they absolutely nailed it on the day!
Finding the dresses
This was without doubt one of the most stressful parts of the entire planning process! I didn’t want to spend insane amounts on a dress that I would only wear the once, so after visiting a couple of specialist places I started to look more to the high street. I saw an article online reviewing a new venture of Ted Baker into the wedding industry and I was totally in love. I had in mind a tea-length dress (mainly so I could dance easily) and they had a few as part of their collection. The only issue was that it was November and the end of the season by this point. I had been to the London store and tried on a dress that I adored to then find out they were no longer manufacturing it. Although I was offered an ex-display dress at a reduced price, I decided to hold on until the March and the release of the new range. To say I was anxious leaving the dress until less than three months before is a slight understatement! Although, in the end, it was worth the risk. I went with my mum to see the new range and the dresses were stunning. I managed to get a shorter length dress that was perfect and just what I had been looking for.
The bridesmaids dresses were also a complete saga! Tip: Don’t underestimate how long it can take to get something that all the girls are happy with!
Finding the suit
Ben: I’m not a big fan of shopping so a decent amount of online research with the groomsmen went into finding the right suits. They had to be blue and had to be check but not too Peaky Blinders: this was the brief we set ourselves. We ending up getting the suits, shirts and ties all from Next and they looked great on the day. The socks were a bit of an indulgence, as I couldn’t afford suits for the guys from the fancy tailors in town, we treated the lads to some colourful socks from their top end range!
Rachel: There isn’t just one! If I had to pick, it would be between the photo of us heading out from the ceremony (super cute and natural) or where we are posed facing each other in the woodland, the lighting there is just beautiful.
Ben: I like the ones of the top of the Hill, the composition with the sky looks very cool and of course the photos I had taken with the best men (for the private collection I think!)
I suppose any wedding in a barn venue will feel ‘rustic’ and this was something that we latched onto. For us, it meant that things could be homemade and not look terrible. A crazy amount of time went into the details, such as the signage and table displays. We collected jars for about a year ahead of the wedding, and the logs forming the table centres were sliced, sanded and oiled by family members in the days before.
In a bid to save on some cash, we had minimal flowers on the day, instead we opted for potted plants which we picked up from the garden centre. This actually worked really well and at the end of the evening we were encouraging guests to take one home!
The main feature in the barn however were the lanterns, these were supplied and installed by Suffolk Marquees and were worth every penny! They looked brilliant, guests loved them and it was far superior to anything we could have put up ourselves.
What made you laugh on the day?
Rachel: I feel like I was laughing for the majority of the day! Our photographs with the bridesmaids and groomsmen were a lot of fun, I was hysterical for much of that.
Ben: Some of the moves being pulled out on the dancefloor were also pretty special!
Advice for other couples
Rachel: When people say the day is over in a flash, they’re not lying. My advice would just be to not get too caught up in the details, some things guests just won’t even notice/care about. Try your best to relax and just go with the flow of things. Everyone is there to celebrate your day with you – if you have fun, they will too.
Ben: I couldn’t agree more, the day was over far too quickly. A friend of mine offered a good piece of advice: remember to take step back and take a good look around the room. I did on a few occasions and I’m glad I did. There won’t be another day in your life where you have all your friends and family in a room together celebrating with you.
Haughley Park Barn
The Mesh Band
” Lisa and Neil are absolutely awesome. They are friendly, professional, passionate and will capture your day perfectly. Somehow, they see photo opportunities like a 6th sense and they have beautifully curated our day so that we can relive it for years to come. Following our first meeting, they were on hand to assist with any queries that we had along the way. We had complete and utter trust in them to do a brilliant job – and we weren’t dissapointed.
We love everything they have provided us with, the problem we face now is selecting only a few to adorn our walls!
Since the photographs are essentially what will live on following the whirlwind of the day, it is super important to choose photographers who are capable and can be guaranteed to provide you with stunning images. If you are considering hiring these guys, they are worth every single penny. I cannot stress how incredible they are.”