Today I am thrilled to share this magical fantasy Shropshire Wedding with Tolkien, Halloween and medieval elements at the pretty Albright Hussey, near Shrewsbury.
Images were captured by The Dignums.
The Dignums are Phil and Toby, a husband/husband team of two fun and friendly wedding photographers, based in Wolverhampton.
They shoot all over the Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and beyond.
Their work is colourful, expressive, moment driven, and a little bit different.
If you want two guys photographing your wedding day who feel like a couple of mates, chatting to your guests, and busting some moves on the dance floor, all the while taking amazing photos that show the awesome couple that you two are, and what an amazing wedding day you had, then there’s a strong chance they’re the right wedding photographers for you
Phil and Toby say of this amazing Shropshire Wedding …
We knew we were going to be in for a treat of a day with loads of cool surprises at Tatjana and Martin’s Shropshire wedding.
At their pre-shoot we’d been given lots of tantalising clues about what to expect, not least that the family rescue greyhound, Nell was going to be making an appearance.
I can’t think of a Dignums-photographed wedding this year that’s had awful weather, so I’m going to claim a little bit of our own magic, too.
An outdoor ceremony, in England, in October is what’s known as a bit of a gamble, but it paid off superbly as the morning clouds melted away to bathe us all in warm autumn sunshine.
The setting was the superb and ancient Albright Hussey, near Shrewsbury which dates back to the early 1400s in the reign of King Henry IV.
It’s a beautiful place with all the character you’d expect from a building with all that history, with stunning timbered architecture, and even a hint of a moat guarded by two large black swans!
Phil and I arrived early, admired the black swans, and crossed over the bridge to be greeted by Martin, who was already fully dressed in a cool tweed suit and ready to go!
The first photograph of the day was taken when we spotted an illuminated sign proclaiming “The Cake Is A Lie”.
Fewer of you may get that one, but let it be known that Portal is one of my all time-favourite video games, and the sign was a reference to this.
Fortunately Martin and Tatjana had graciously decided to leave the deadly neurotoxin out of the equation…
The cake hadn’t been put in place yet so we couldn’t help ourselves and photographed the sign and cake stand with no cake, it seemed perfect.
We left the lovely Jo from Floral Secrets and Rebecca from Daisy and Fred to put the final touches to the reception room; I then got pictures of Martin greeting family and friends while Phil headed upstairs to the medieval bedroom suite to photograph Tatjana getting ready.
Tatjana had put loads of thought, style, and fun into her ideas for her wedding day, and displayed loads of great taste with everything from her elegant choice of dress and floral stylings, to table and ceremony decorations.
There were lots of nods to the time of year, Halloween in particular, with pumpkins adorning the outdoor gazebo, and packets of bat-attracting wildflower seeds as wedding favours, for the guests to sow in their gardens at home.
I was delighted to spot not one, but two of my favourite popular culture references on the cake table.
The couple on top of the cake were Beetlejuice and his reluctant bride Lydia – I adore that film!
When it was time a beautiful ceremony was held, out in the sunshine on the lawn in front of the house.
This was watched by family and friends, but also Nell the greyhound at the very front.
Nell was lovely: gentle and friendly, and she definitely seemed to be enjoying her day out!
Afterwards, as we all mingled on the lawn we were treated to some truly unique medieval and early music from The Night Watch: a talented duo that play on fascinating and beautiful historical musical instruments, and even dress for the part!
Inside, Tolkien-inspired table settings awaited the couple and their guests, and a delicious vegetarian meal was served.
There was loads more fun to be had: table football, outside sunset and evening portraits, a very cool evening playlist curated by Martin.
What have I missed out? Only the presence at Tatjana and Martin’s wedding of celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott!
I know! Ainsley Harriott!! Martin, for reasons we may never be privy to, is a massive fan of the “Can’t Cook / Won’t Cook” superstar.
While Ainsley didn’t say much that day, he did a great job of propping up the bar, and guarding the sweet trolley…
So it’s a chefs’ hats off to Tatjana and Martin for putting together a truly SPICY wedding day!
Gorgeous Bride Tatjana says of the couples stunning Shropshire Wedding day…
How did you meet?
We met not long after we finished college when a big group of all our mutual friends had a meet up in a local pub.
We’ve spoken about it for years how strange it was that we had the same mutual friends and went to the same college but actually never met until afterwards.
Tell us about the Proposal…
One evening three years ago we went to a fancy dress birthday party for one of the Mr’s work friends.
It wasn’t Halloween but we decided to go as Beetlejuice and Lydia (hence the inspiration for our cake toppers)
We weren’t living together at the time because we were saving for our house and so after the party we went back to Martin’s parents’ house.
Very tipsy and giggly, in his bedroom and dressed as Beetlejuice he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I didn’t actually believe him there and then and pretty much laughed.
It wasn’t until the morning when Martin said, “so are we engaged then” that I was like “Oh! Were you being serious?” and with a huge grin on my face I said, “yeah I guess so”.
A few days later we went to Birmingham’s jewellery quarter and picked out a ring together from an antique store and then announced it to our friends and family.
Tell us about your wedding planning journey…
We moved into our first house in August 2018 and had booked our wedding by mid December for the following October.
We knew that we just wanted something small, with a chilled out vibe and with a much smaller budget than most weddings and we didn’t see the point in waiting any longer to save more or to prolong the planning process.
The whole process looking back on it was really lovely and fun, although if you’d asked me during I might have told you something different.
There were definitely moments where I stressed and freaked out over little things.
Although on the whole both myself and Martin really put our heads together and made sure that we included elements we both wanted and family members helped us out a lot too and in the best ways.
I looked at probably most of the West Midland wedding venues online and we made appointments to go and see a lot in person on our days off.
We wanted something rustic, historic, full of character but on a budget….
I didn’t think it was too much to ask but it turned out to be much harder than I bargained for.
This was the first major hurdle we had to get over because it set the whole theme and feel for the rest of the planning but it was worth it in the end.
I just had to stay patient and keep looking, in the end we looked only for venues that offered package deals so you get more for your money and we were willing to book within the year and on a weekday so it saved us thousands.
I spent a lot of time in the evenings, on my days off and on my lunch breaks at work shopping around, reading blogs from real weddings (mostly the alternative kind as we aren’t too traditional) and scouring Instagram and Pinterest.
I will say that it’s very easy to start to compare your wedding to others, especially with Pinterest as you see a lot of styled shoots that make everything look immaculate.
It’s great for inspiration but I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t looking for perfect or immaculate, I wanted our personalities to be plastered all over our real wedding, it wasn’t a styled shoot and I could drive myself mad trying to make it so.
We were very lucky in that our families wanted to be involved and help but were in no way were overbearing or forced opinions on us. They were extremely helpful and excited about everything.
We took the time to explore a few wedding fairs, namely ones at Himley Hall in Dudley and The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza in Birmingham.
It was at these two fairs that we met absolutely amazing suppliers that stood out to us both right away.
It was a brilliant way to meet people and talk to suppliers about the vision you have for your day.
Any special touches/DIY?
My mom and I made our centerpieces over a few months.
I knew I wanted natural wood in there somewhere and luckily not far from us is a retail centre called Country Baskets with everything you could think of and they had stuff that was just perfect.
From there I bought round slices of natural wood for each table and two for the top table, bunches of dried roses and various natural wood decorations such as mini birch tree hearts that I scattered on the tables.
Also, I used to collect old Victorian medicine bottles from antique stores because I’ve always found them beautiful and so I used a lot of those that I already had and went on a mission to find lots more from various antique stores over the months.
I bought copper lanterns that I found in ASDA, copper fairy lights and copper card holders from Amazon and then practiced putting it all together until we got it looking how we wanted.
We also made our own table place names, table name cards and seating chart.
Martin is very handy with a computer and graphic design so when we chose the theme for them to be Lord of the Rings Martin was in his element.
We popped to Hobbycraft for good quality printer friendly card and then Martin found the right font and got to designing it all.
He also designs maps for our Dungeons and Dragons sessions (we’re very nerdy and proud) so he has a lot of photoshop tools which helped him to add little mountains on the place names so it looked like they were cut from maps of Middle Earth.
I found some really lovely frames from Home Bargains that were good sizes for a seating chart and very well priced.
We bought one of those and Martin spent an evening hunched on the floor making a mount for the table cards out of the white insert that comes with the frame. He had a bad back afterwards but it ended up looking great!
While at Country Baskets I found some fake mossy sticks that had poseable branches which I ended up placing around the seating chart and sticking into place using a glue gun, add copper fairy lights and the venue’s easel and we had something we were really proud of and everyone said they loved it.
I already had two mini cinema light boxes and thought that it would be fun to use them as background decoration and another good way to get in bits of our personality with quotes from games etc.
I put one next to our cake which read “the cake is a lie”, a little nod to one of our favourite games called Portal.
The week of the wedding me and my mom realised that we had no real pumpkins which we thought was a travesty for an October wedding.
It meant that my mom and dad had a brilliant excuse to pop to Essington Farm in Wolverhampton to pick some lovely ones and they ended up looked beautiful either side of the alter with wooden lanterns I bought from Amazon and little decorations from Country Baskets.
What was the best bit of your day?
All of it! We honestly enjoyed every single minute. Martin admits that he was a bit nervous in the morning but once the day got going both of us just completely chilled out and had such a laugh.
We couldn’t believe our luck with the weather so we got the gorgeous outdoor ceremony I had dreamed of and everything just seemed to fall into place.
I love who I’d got for my hair and make up and photographers and they helped me to really enjoy the morning process along with my bridesmaids and mom.
The venue ran everything seamlessly and we were left feeling like it couldn’t have gone any better.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I would have faced the worries I had about my dress sooner! Some people can know it’s the one in the first shop, sometimes even the first dress but I’m a person who second guesses.
The first one I bought wasn’t anything like my initial ideas of what I wanted and I hadn’t even tried on any that fitted in with the vision in my head.
A lot of the time people say you go for a dress that you would never have thought you’d like but I never tried on every style, so I wasn’t really making an informed decision.
I tried to ignore the doubts I had which was probably the worst thing I did.
In the end, my mom and I went to a shop a month before the wedding, I tried on two dresses and the second one stole my heart.
It ended up being a little hectic to book in the fittings and alterations in a month but the shop I bought it from were brilliant and got everything done in time.
I did love my first dress but something just didn’t feel right. I think I settled because it was the first time I really liked a dress and I was excited to just say yes and to have a dress but if you don’t have that fall in love feeling then don’t just settle.
What advice would you give to other couples getting married?
Stick to a budget and get the big purchases and most important things done first and early on.
Making a list of the most important things for both of us was really helpful.
The top four on the list would be what the main bulk of the budget would go on.
For us we had our budget written at the top of the page and then listed venue, photographers, dress and suits.
So take the time to look for the right venue and suppliers for those things, definitely shop around and talk to people at wedding fairs.
Also, use unconventional places for things like bridesmaid dresses or decorations.
You can find some amazing things in antique shops, on the high street and online that can be less of a strain on a budget.
Most importantly just enjoy the process and put your stamp on it.
It’s always nice for both of you to be involved in the planning so you both get to enjoy it and your personalities come through in the little details.
For us Martin got excited about designing the seating chart and stationery and curating our evening playlist and finding peaky blinder style hats for the groomsmen it was a great way for him to be more involved.
We absolutely loved everyone involved.
They are all superb at what they do and we couldn’t recommend every single one of them enough, they all helped to make our wedding day perfect for us.
Shropshire Wedding Suppliers
Venue: Albright Hussey – Shropshire
Photography: The Dignums
Groomsmen Suits: Dapper Dan
Groomsmen headwear – Peaky Blinder Hats
Bride’s Headpiece: Mignonne Handmade
Hair: October Hair
Cake: Daisy and Fred
Florist: Floral Secrets
Floral Arch: Lilberts Event Hire
Wedding Favours – Wildflower Favours
Confetti: The Real Flower Petal Confetti Company
Live Music: The Night Watch
To Contact The Dignums
Website – https://thedignums.com/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org