June 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Martyn and Mai Mai are flying the flag for the steel city of Sheffield on the blog this morning as they tie the knot in a museum dedicated to its industrial past.
Better yet, in true Northern style, the couple served up pie, mash and pies as their wedding meal and dished out a bottle of locals’ favourite condiment – Henderson’s Relish – as favours, to top it all off.
Now let’s dig in!
With images by Rachel Jones Photography.
Mai Mai sayd: We got engaged in March 2012, on a deserted beach in the South of France with the sun going down.
Martyn had booked us a long weekend away as a Christmas gift, little did I know there was a purpose at the time. He had been waiting for the opportunity during the weekend and carried the ring around with him the whole time. The time was finally right when, on the way to dinner one night, we stopped off at a quiet beach for a pre-dinner walk. At our hotel, Martyn had said we should get a mini bottle of champagne to drink when we got to the beach but I told him not to waste money, so we ended up with two cans of lager and a packet of crisps! We wandered for a while then found a spot on some rocks to watch the sunset. It was here that Martyn popped the question.
We originally wanted to get married in the September of 2012, but hadn’t really factored in the big job of planning, so ended up shifting it so we could give ourselves time and our final date was set to 16th March 2013, which was approximately a year from the proposal and fitted in with availability of the suppliers.
We got married at Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. We were keen to find somewhere a bit out of the ordinary and quirky. Originally were looking for a barn but it proved quite difficult. I then discovered that the museum had a fantastic room for hire for events, and when we paid it a visit knew immediately that this is where we wanted to have our day. The space, the feel of the place and the fact that it was also steeped in Sheffield history all played a part in our decision. We were able to form a theme around the venue and felt it was nice and informal. We were free to make it our own day due to the helpful staff and various possibilities of how we could lay things out.
The theme was ‘industrial chic’ and this tied in with the venue and the surrounding history. We also made sure it was very ‘Sheffield’ themed. We had strong deep reds, yellows and greens as our key colours to go with the different elements found within the museum.
My flower girl Lily wore a white, full skirted dress with a sash around the waist dress, from a small independent shop in Meadowhall. It was completely different from my dress, however I wanted her to choose something she liked and felt comfortable in.
My dress was a bespoke creation made by Sheffield designer Kate Beaumont. I had an idea of the kind of thing I wanted in terms of shape and material, and Kate worked with me to refine my ideas and design something that fitted in with what I had in mind. We tweaked bits along the way and the outcome was better than I had ever imagined. I wanted something that was sleek, fairly simple in shape and not too elaborate but with a nice amount of interesting detail. The dress fitted the bill in every way and Kate made the whole process of designing and making the dress an absolute joy!
Martyn wore a blue suit with a white shirt and light brown shoes, all from Paul Smith.
Rachel Jones was our photographer and I would absolutely recommend her. She was attentive, discreet, not at all bossy and her pictures were fantastic – just what we were looking for. She also came to look at the venue before the day so she could do a reccy to see what might work well.
All our suppliers were fab in helping us achieve our vision, including humanist Hannah Wroe, who worked with us to ensure our ceremony reflected our personalities and told our story in such a beautiful way. There were some definite tears shed, but in a good way. The humanist ceremony was actually my favourite part of the day as it was so lovely sharing our story and sentiments with our family and friends. My second favourite part of the celebrations was definitely the disco – I don’t think I left the dance floor for most of the night!
My bouquet was from Swallows & Damsons, as were the flowers in my hair. Anna there helped to create arrangements that fitted the venue and my ideas perfectly. She also provided the flowers for the venue and we enlisted the help of a lady called Jennie Beard who runs a wedding decoration business. She did an absolutely brilliant job of making the bare hall into a cosy looking, stylish reception area with lots of cool features.
To tie into our Sheffield theme we gave mini bottles of Henderson’s Relish as favours. It’s manufactured in the city and loved by all on pie and chips! We actually went for pie, mash and peas for our wedding meal to keep with our theme and because we share a love of pie! It was all washed down with a selection of wines that we put on the tables. Thanks to our caterers, PJ Taste, the food was amazing and service was brilliant.
My friends Claire and Jenni made an amazing array of cakes and brownies. So, instead of a traditional wedding cake, we had these as part of the buffet for anyone fancying something a sweet.
As a special touch we had a post meal/pre-disco cocktail hour for our guests where everyone was welcome to a drink on us until the bottles ran dry. We had some lovely bar tenders mix these up and it proved very popular, albeit somewhat lethal!
For our entertainment we had a Ceilidh band for the first part of the evening, followed by a DJ who played a playlist we’d provided containing our favourite music, which went down really well. We didn’t want a traditional first dance where everyone watched us, so instead the Ceilidh band performed something everyone could join in with and have a good old knees up!
For our honeymoon we went to South Africa. We started off in Camps Bay with a luxurious hillside setting where we were treated to amazing afternoon teas, champagne, gifts in our room and a bath with a view. From here, we then travelled north to a reserve where we enjoyed evening and morning safari trips with the ranger to view the local wildlife, and the most amazing spa.
For the third and final part of our visit, we went to the wine region where we went on a wine tasting and enjoyed some top class food before our return to the UK.
My three top tips for other Brides Up North are:
1) Take time away from the crowds to enjoy each other’s company on the day;
2) Don’t get separated as you’ll get mobbed by guests and then lose each other for hours;
Since our wedding, we’re pleased to have introduced our first child, Leo Steele, to the world – the true icing on the cake!
Congratulations Mai Mia and Martyn!
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…