Matt and Sophie knew from the start they wanted a relaxed, intimate and fun wedding.
They also had a serious case of itchy feet, so when they finally managed to swing a month off work to fulfill their long-held dream of travelling around Australia, they decided to combine the trip with a small and very secret wedding.
But this runaway couple decided to don their wedding wear again on their return to their home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. This time, they weren’t basking in the baking sun down under. Far from it: they headed for Derbyshire’s wild Peaks. In the middle of winter.
But the result, and the contrasting memories and photos they now have to treasure, is something they heartily recommend to others.
They were married on the shores of Sydney Harbour, opposite the Opera House, on Hallowe’en – their ninth anniversary – then celebrated with just two friends, and dinner overlooking Bondi beach.
Sophie says: “We were still on a high when we got back to winter in the North. We hadn’t had a professional photographer on the day, so when my friend Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers suggested a post-wedding shoot as a way of capturing some special keepsake photographs we could treasure we knew she was on to something.
Crunchy frosts and twinkling lights
“It sounds strange as someone who chose to get married in sun-drenched Sydney, but I’ve always loved winter, especially the crunchy frosts and twinkling lights of Christmas.
“We also thought it would be lovely to have some wintery shots as a contrast to our summery wedding day ones. So we opted to organise the shoot quickly and make the most of the season.”
The couple decided to brave the bracing weather and shoot in the nearby Peak District, where they love spending time together.
“As a massive book geek it also appealed as part of my favourite book Jane Eyre is set there – a novel we took one of our wedding readings from,” added Sophie.
The rugged beauty of the Peaks also influenced their choice of flowers and colours. Tracey and Sophie decided on a purple theme for the bouquet, buttonhole and arrangement, inspired by the way rolling carpets of heather bring the Peaks to life in late summer. Sophie’s wild, informal, “straight from the meadow” cascading bouquet was complemented with pale pink and lilac roses, lavender, veronica, lisianthus, white aster and ferns. It wouldn’t, of course, have been complete without the purple heather that so inspired them, and a dash of eucalyptus, representing Australia.
Sophie said: “Getting the chance to get dressed up again in our finery was a total treat – I think I’ll always be looking for any excuse to wear my dress again!
“It was a 1940s French Mousseline gown from Abigail’s Vintage Bridal with the most amazing train. I’d always known I’d wear a vintage wedding dress – I just love the romance of wearing a dress with history and other bygone love stories attached.
“On the last day of the shoot I teamed it with a Coast faux fur shrug to ward off the chill and add a wintery feel as well as my wedding shoes – real-look teal peep toes from Topshop, although my leopard-print wellies did make a cameo appearance!”
The blustery weather meant Sophie’s vintage glamour hair ended up slightly more windswept than when they had started out for the hills.
But with a covering of snow and winter sun, the result is a slightly eerie, ethereal beauty that Sophie says summed up everything they love about that part of the world.
She said: “It couldn’t have been more perfect, and gave the shoot a bit of a Wuthering Heights meets Snow Queen vibe.
“The whole experience of the shoot was so special and something we will always remember. I can’t recommend it enough for brides out there – runaway or otherwise!”
Need to know: location, Surprise View, Derbyshire; photography, Jess Petrie; flowers, Campbell’s Flowers; hair and make-up, Jenn Edwards; bride’s dress, from Abigail’s Vintage Bridal; bride’s shrug, Coast; bride’s shoes, Topshop; wellies, Accessorize; groom’s suit, Topman; groom’s shoes, Poste at Office.