As a little girl, Abi Reynolds would peek over the church wall next door to her childhood home and watch with wonder as the beautiful brides made their way inside.
More than two decades later it was her chance to walk down the aisle at St John’s Church, Hazelwood, Derbyshire, to wed love of her life Steven Stratford. While Abi had moved to London and pursued a career as a nurse, she returned home with Steven, a firefighter, for their countryside wedding on June 13, 2013. “It was the place I had always thought I would get married in and I’m so glad that Steven and I were able to,” Abi, 29, says of quaint St John’s.
Having met through her big brother, Abi says her feelings for Steven, 32, were a slow-burn – four years in fact! “First impressions are not his strong point,” she jokes, “but he somehow managed to win me over.”
Steven’s love of the outdoors and Abi’s love of travel made for an opportune proposal while on holiday in Canada. “While staying in a log cabin next to a huge lake, Steven (somehow) convinced me to go evening fishing with him… in a pedalo, in the rain (yes I know!!),” recalls Ami. “We pedaled back to the lake dock, with no fish and a slightly grumpy girlfriend. After rolling my eyes at the sky, I looked back down to see Steven on one knee, with a ring in his hand. My first response was to hit him and hide behind the fishing gear!” she laughs.
“I did end up with the ring on my finger and a huge smile on my face!”
The pair’s wish for a simple and relaxed wedding was achieved with a country-themed reception in a marquee at Hazelwood Memorial Field. A simple hog roast and a selection of salads kept the guests well fed.
“Speeches flowed and people danced the night away,” Abi says. “It truly was the best day ever.”
Photos courtesy of Martin Makowski Photography.
“To be so relaxed in the company of another is a special thing. I love everything about Steven,” Abi says.
Abi fell in love with this Charlie Brear lace layered overskirt. “I ended up buying it, with no dress to go underneath it. My mum was the one who suggested her own dressmaker to make the underdress.”
“We were looking for someone who would just capture the day as it was, without too many ‘posed’ photos,” says Abi of Martin Makowski.
Abi discovered Wedding in a Teacup online and used them for the invitations and wedding favours.
Bomboniere: Wedding in a Teacup / Brides Gown: Charlie Brear, Kay Hobson / Brides Shoes: Dune / Bridesmaids Accessories: Not on the High Street / Bridesmaids Dresses: Miss Selfridge / Cake: Sweet Basil / Caterer: Greedy Pig, Bars 2 You / Ceremony Music: Playlist / Ceremony Venue: St. John's Church / Flowers: Fleur Florist / Grooms Attire: Reiss / Grooms Shoes: Bally / Groomsmen Attire: Reiss / Hair: Harriet Cloake / Invitations: Wedding in a Teacup / Makeup: DIY / Photographer: Martin Makowski Photography / Rings: Portobello Market / Transport: Bride's dad / Venue: Taylor Made Events / Venue Decor: Pretty Little Things / Wedding Night Venue: Dannah Farm Country House