Hannah Porter is the founder of Studio Porter—a London-based creative studio specialising in design-led, purpose-filled occasions for artistic weddings and intimate events across the UK.
Hannah reflects on her journey into the wedding industry and the value of purpose-driven design with the help of an old wedding day tradition: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue...
My business originated from a love of planning, creativity, and bringing people together. From a young age, I was surrounded by intimate gatherings with close friends and family which ultimately taught me the value of social interaction and how bringing people together creates some of the most cherished memories. But it wasn’t until I met my now husband when planning my own wedding, that I realised planning and styling heartfelt occasions for discerning couples was something I wanted to focus on full-time.
In the lockdown of 2020, I made the jump from a property sales consultant to a full-time wedding planner & stylist. It was really important for me to build a brand and business that represents romantic, modern couples searching for an intuitive planning, yet equally thought-provoking design process.
The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know my clients inside-out, their journey so far and their individual love stories. I believe that something as personal as a wedding should be a complete extension of a couple’s love for one another and their individual personalities.
I also cherish the wedding day itself. As hard and as tiring as it can occasionally feel, seeing everything that you've been working on, for months, sometimes years, come together and seeing the reaction of your client's faces for the first time, is why I do this job. Bringing joy and pride to people on the best day of their lives is precious.
In recent years, I have found that many couples are moving away from tradition and choosing elements of the day that are most important to themselves. This can be seen in the narrowing down of guest lists to allocate more budget to the overall design and styling, deciding against a traditional wedding cake, eliminating guest favours altogether, or even in the ceremonies themselves with more creative and personalised nuptials.
I'm also seeing a lot more couples wanting to provide their guests with a unique experience, by planning their wedding over the course of a couple of days and opting for pre-wedding day events and activities. It's now not just about the wedding day itself, but everything from the welcome to the post-wedding hangover brunch.
Most importantly, I'm noticing more couples tweak their priorities in order to achieve a more sustainability-conscious day.
Every proposal I curate is bespoke and tailored to each couple. I always request an informal telephone call prior to presenting a client with a formal quotation, in order to learn about them as a couple, their vision for the day, and their budget. There is no single question that allows me to understand my clients, the onboarding process is thorough and goes into a lot of depth in order to provide the best possible starting point for me to assist them in their next chapter.
I'm someone who champions authenticity. I will always encourage couples to create a day that feels entirely unique and bespoke to them. As part of my general planning and styling process, I always ask clients to provide me with initial inspiration behind their vision. This can be anything from Pinterest Boards, saved posts on Instagram, a particular story, poem, meaningful quote, or memorable moment in time, maybe even inspiration from a venue or chosen wedding location itself.
I also encourage clients to find inspiration in other avenues that aren't necessarily wedding related, such as fashion, interiors, architecture, and art.
As a wedding designer, it is important to have a certain level of understanding when it comes to colour and how it's used. Colour is a vital tool that can influence the mood of a wedding and its overall aesthetic. From colour psychology to colour and culture, the effect that colour has on humans is profound, evoking intense emotional responses and capturing a couple's personality.
I'm someone who is naturally drawn to a more muted and neutral colour palette but I do also love working with a variety of colours. When building a colour palette, I look at the wedding as a whole, including the location and chosen season. I also ask my clients to complete an in-depth questionnaire as part of my onboarding process, where I learn all about their loves, wants, personalities, and dislikes—which is all taken into consideration when completing a couple's colour palette.
It's fundamental to my ethos that every aspect of design has a purpose and story behind it. When presenting clients with their carefully considered colour palette, I always explain my reasons behind a certain colour choice, how it will be used and what it will bring to their wedding.
One of my favourite colour palettes that I produced for a client was for an intimate city wedding in London. I wanted to create a palette that felt romantic, sophisticated, and clean yet sumptuous. It represented the couple in every way and came together so beautifully on the day.