September 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We love the relaxed vibe of today’s real wedding with Matt and Kay deciding on a fun garden party style big day, complete with Pimms and tug of war!
The pretty mint green and ivory theme works perfectly with the summer season and both Kay and her maids look absolutely gorgeous in their gowns.
The smiles, laughter and love shared on the day is easy to see in the beautiful images that follow…
With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.
kay says: After nine years together I’d love to say that our engagement was a fairy-tale proposal! In 2013 Matt made a deal with me, he said that if I got him tickets to the Ashes that year, he would marry me. As you can imagine, tickets for matches at this level kind of sell out pretty quickly and often about a year before so it was quite a challenge. Not one to back down, I went on the hunt and after pulling lots of strings and calling in favours I managed to secure two tickets to the test at Trent Bridge. We had a great day and he promised that one day he would keep to his side of the bargain. He finally proposed the week before Christmas a few months later. He popped the question at about 10.30pm whilst I was trying to get sleep! I’d been away all week with work and I think he’d stressed himself out so much he just blurted it out! He didn’t even have a ring! Of course I said yes, and we went shopping for a ring a few days later. On the way home we stopped off at my grandma’s house to tell her the news and as we pulled up outside he got the ring out of the box and asked me again – it was where he had picked me up from for our first date and he’d remembered – he got the romance right second time around!
We got married on Friday 10th July 2015 (two years to the date of the weekend we spent at the Ashes match – although this is a huge coincidence). We wanted a summer wedding so that there was a chance we could spend the day outside. We were both really keen that the day was quite chilled out and wanted to have the atmosphere of a big family/friends gathering – like you would have at a barbecue party! I did a bit of research (ok, quite a bit) on the weather over the last four years which narrowed it down to a few weeks in July where there had been zero rainfall. Luckily the venue only had a few dates left so it was a perfect fit!
We got married at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield and fell in love with it the minute we got there. After lots of research on venues close to where we lived, I’d narrowed it down to three options. We visited each of them over a weekend and as we approached the long sweeping driveway of Whirlowbrook I was won over! It was perfect and had the country house/rustic feel that I wanted, but also had the laid back/modern feel that Matt was looking for. The outdoor lawn was just right for my plans, but the indoor space was perfect if the typical English weather decided to make an appearance!
We met with Judith at the hall and her enthusiasm, knowledge and approach was just what we wanted. It felt like she had been a friend of ours for years and encouraged my ideas of doing things a bit differently!
I wanted the theme to feel like a country garden – lots of fresh summery colours, wild flowers, lace and bunting! It was the style that I was drawn towards the most and fitted in with the outdoor approach that we wanted. I also wanted everything to just be simple and pretty without feeling over the top and to make sure that the day was laid back and not too formal – we just wanted a party really.
Our chosen colours were mint green and ivory with a few pastels thrown in to add a bit of colour where needed! I love the freshness of mint green, and daisies are also one of my favourite flowers so it all fitted in well!
I wanted my dress to be simple, elegant and unique. I almost had a bit of a bridezilla breakdown as I’d visited several boutiques and looked online at different designers but I wasn’t finding anything that matched my vision. After several months of searching, I came across Kate Halfpenny who is based in London and I was mesmerised by her collection. I loved them all! I got in touch with Kate to find out her price range as I didn’t fancy a trip to London to fall in love with a dress that I couldn’t afford. Her reply was even more comforting as she was about to launch her collection outside of London for the first time…in Sheffield! I went to visit her at the launch day which was held at The White Room boutique. After ten minutes of chatting to Kate about what I liked I was being dressed in the Iris slip and jacket – I had that ‘tears’ moment (so did my bridesmaids) and the rest is history!
My hair was done by Katie and Jenny at Parkers in Sheffield. Jo Singleton was my knight in shining armour and made my makeup look fantastic – natural but visible. She also did the makeup for my four bridesmaids.
Matt had his suit tailor made by Sean at Ashford Menswear in Sheffield. He wears suits most days for his job, so wanted something a bit different. Sean was brilliant – he helped him to choose fabrics, explained alternative cuts to make the suit feel unique and suggested ways to add personal touches – this included our names and wedding date being embroidered into the lining of his jacket! He got brownie points from me for this!
Our groomsmen wore whatever they chose and felt comfortable in. They each have their own style and we weren’t bothered about everyone matching.
Our bridesmaids meanwhile all wore dresses that I had found online. Trying to please four girls that are different shapes and sizes wasn’t an easy task (I’m sure many brides experience this), but the one shoulder, fitted on top/floaty on bottom, knee-length style looked perfect on all of them. Their shoes were from BHS.
The amazing Jo and Simon at Shoot Photography captured our day for us. We met them at our friend’s wedding four years ago and had followed their work ever since. There was only ever one choice of photographer for us and I checked they were available before confirming the venue! They are just wonderful – so professional, but laid back and they make you feel at ease from the minute you meet them. Neither of us like our photograph being taken, but their sense of humour helped us to relax and actually enjoy it!
I wanted my bouquet to look like I’d picked it from the garden, so quite wild looking and not very neat! Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield did an amazing job with a very minimal brief. The colours were green and white and it included lots of daisies.
Jo Price Flowers also assisted with the flowers for the décor by helping me to fill several jugs and jam jars (that I’d been collecting for over a year). I collected other bits from a variety of places – Etsy, The Range, Hobbycraft and other online websites – to make pretty much all of our decorations. My maid of honour was very handy with a sewing machine and so made all of the bunting that was used in the Oak Room! Matt’s dad made all of the outdoor signage from old bits of wood. It was a collective effort and a lot of the items were homemade – I wanted it to have a personal touch.
We didn’t give favours to guests as such, but I put in a rush order of paper heart shaped fans on the Monday when I knew the temperatures were going to reach 25/26c – they went down a treat! I also bought lots of flip flops for our female guests to wear – no one likes heels on the grass!
In terms of food and drink, we had canapés and Pimms to start with and then had a full barbecue with a choice of wines as the main dinner. We had picnic blankets spread across the lawn and picnic basket stations with wine glasses, bottle coolers and cutlery etc. I think a fair few bottles of prosecco were drunk too!
For the entertainment, we had a fantastic band called Highway Child to play – they actually learnt our first dance and played it live for us. I’ve known the lead singer of the band for a number of years and have seen them play several times – I wouldn’t have had anyone else!
We also had garden games spread out across the lawn for our guests to entertain themselves with the space hopper race, limbo pole and Stags v Hens tug of war going down a treat! We also had giant Twister, giant Connect Four and Quoits. Everyone just seemed to be having fun and it was so nice to see everyone smiling and laughing.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The team were brilliant from start to finish. Judith listened to my ideas and was always at the end of the phone/email if I had any concerns or needed a recommendation. I always felt like they were I complete control and that’s a must for any bride. It was also the personal touches on the day which made a big difference, they knew exactly how we would be feeling at every point and they really looked after us. Danny and his team were great throughout the day and they always had a smile on their faces. We felt like we were with friends who had known us for years.
I loved all of it the wedding but I think my favourite bit was when we were walking back up the driveway after we had been to do photographs (just Matt and I) – all we could hear was laughter and we just saw everyone having fun. It was exactly how I had wanted it to be.
Following the wedding we had a mini-moon in Ibiza for five days…I needed sunshine! We delayed our two-week honeymoon to America until this month. We have booked four days in New York, then we fly to San Francisco and spend four days there before picking up a convertible Mustang (super excited to drive this!) and driving down the coast of California to Carmel. We then have four days of exploring (and hopefully relaxing) before we travel home.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure that you take time off in the lead up to the big day. Also, ask people to help as there is so much to do and don’t forget to book in time to treat yourself! I spent the day before being completely pampered (nails etc.) with my maid of honour and it was definitely needed!
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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…
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