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when in Rome. sophia tolli for an italian themed wedding at ashfield house hotel – michelle & gary

February 22nd, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (42)

Taking inspiration from one of their favourite countries, today’s bride and groom decided to do as the Italians would do on their wedding day by enjoying a relaxed celebration, complete with excellent company and delicious food.

From the pretty, natural colour scheme and elegant décor to the bespoke menu and dreamy cake, Michelle and Gary executed their italian vision to perfection!

With images by Teresa C Photography.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (11)

michelle says: We got engaged while in Budapest for my 30th birthday. We went on a lovely walking tour, seeing the sights over Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion, then had lunch at Gerbeaud’s, the inventor of cake and oldest confectioner in Budapest. After, we spent the afternoon in the Szechenyi Baths before heading back to the hotel. The proposal took place at the hotel, just before we were heading out for dinner at a little Italian restaurant right on the River Danube.

We decided on for 28th November 2015 for the wedding. Our anniversary is in November and a winter wedding was always the preferred choice.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (36)

We got married at Ashfield House Hotel, in Standish, Wigan. Gary was extremely keen to keep the wedding local and we wanted an intimate wedding. Ashfield ticked all the boxes as it had the stunning restaurant with wooden floors, chandeliers and neutral décor whilst also having a cosy and masculine feel in the library bar, so it suited us both. As a bonus, they also offered the option to design our own menu, which was a big selling point for us.

We decided on an Italian theme for our wedding. We didn’t want to go over the top with a theme but wanted the overall feel of an Italian wedding – very relaxed with natural décor and all about the food and company. Although we have travelled quite a bit, Italy is the place we feel most at home.

The colour scheme was a blush pink and nude. We wanted something quite timeless so went with blush pink for the bridesmaids and charcoal grey tails for the men.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (2)

I eventually got my dress from Glamour Brides, in Bolton. I wanted something different to the ‘vintage’ lace look that has been around for a few years. I absolutely had to try on Sophia Tolli as I fell in love with her dresses years ago, and when I tried on Tulip, I knew I had to have it. I hadn’t intended on such a large train, but no other dresses I tried on made me feel like a bride!

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (9)

Gary had originally planned on a slim fit lounge suit but after trying this on decided it felt too much like the type of suit he would wear to work. Instead he decided to go with tails (although I had to talk him out of a top hat and monocle!). The groomsmen had tails to match Gary. We hired the suits from Greenwoods but bought the cravats separately from Formal Tailor, as it was so difficult to match the colour.

My bridesmaids wore blush satin midi dresses from ASOS, as trying to dress shop when one bridesmaid lived in Swansea proved quite difficult.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (22)

On the day of the wedding I got ready at the venue so no transport was required.  I told Gary I had booked him an executive taxi to get him to the venue, which was actually an Aston Martin DB7 GT. I only booked this two weeks before the wedding, from Headline Wedding Services in Blackpool, as a surprise.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (19)

We had booked a photographer straight away when booking the venue but began to have second thoughts about the style of photography. I then came across Teri from, Teresa C Photography, about 12 weeks before the wedding and after the first meeting I knew we had to book her. I couldn’t recommend her more to other couples. The day went so smoothly and so many guests commented on how unobtrusive the photography was, which they really appreciated as they could get on with enjoying themselves instead of being pulled away for photos. Teri definitely went above the call of duty helping to blow dry my dress after we ventured outside for a few pictures during the 15 minutes it stopped raining!

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (24)

For my flowers I had a handtied bouquet of garden and spray roses. We wanted to bring in the Italian theme with the foliage so we had olive and eucalyptus through the bouquets. I also had a brooch of my nan’s incorporated onto the handle as my something old and blue.

All of our flowers were provided by Garlands of Standish. I had made enquiries with a few florists but as soon as I said ‘Italian’ to Kath she pulled out some Roman columns for floral displays and I knew she got the look I wanted. We had olive displays on the columns with hanging tea lights and I sourced some stone effect urns for the centrepieces.  As it was a winter wedding I wanted lots of candles for the breakfast too.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (29)

We were fortunate to have our favours made for us as wedding gift by the owner of our local Italian restaurant, Pasquale’s in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We went with Italian cannolis, which I cellophane wrapped for the day guests and we had them out on a cake stand for evening guests.

The taste of the wedding cake was a massively important element and so I wanted a supplier who did cake tastings as well as having beautiful display cakes. I found Milly’s Cakes online and she had an amazing selection of flavours to try. We went for a lemon sponge for the bottom tier, black cherry and almond sponge for the centre and, our favourite, carrot cake for the top with a buttercream frosting.  Our guests loved it and there was hardly any left at the end of the evening.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (34)

As we had the option to design our own wedding breakfast menu we met with the chef to discuss options for an Italian meal. We also wanted our guests to have a choice so we went with Caprese salad or spinach and ricotta ravioli with burnt butter to start, main was ribeye steak or chicken saltimbocca. For dessert we went with a choice of chocolate mousse with praline hazelnut and Amoretti crumb or Limoncello posset with pistachio shortbread.

Next to food, entertainment was the most important factor for us. We decided early on that we wanted a band rather than a DJ and whilst hunting for a band we came across Jonny Cooper Experience.  They offered a full day music programme with acoustic guitar for ceremony and wedding breakfast with piano and vocals for our drinks reception.  They had everyone up dancing in the evening and accommodated all the special requests. I couldn’t recommend them more.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (40)

As a special touch to the wedding, we wanted to ensure our ceremony was personalized and so we wrote our own vows and decided on two readings to be read by our bridesmaids.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (39)

Following our big day I would absolutely recommend the Ashfield House Hotel. It is an absolutely stunning venue that provides great backdrops for photographs. The staff were extremely helpful in allowing us to personalise our day. Also, the chef is outstanding and produced an amazing menu and excellent quality food on the day.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (43)

Looking back it’s hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would probably have to say the evening, as the band really got the atmosphere going and I barely left the dance floor all night. My feet the next morning would probably disagree with me!

Straight after the wedding we went on a minimoon to Venice. We have decided to travel Costa Rica for our actual honeymoon and will be heading there for two weeks in May, staying in Tortuguero, Sarapiqui, Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Whilst there we will be zip-lining in the rainforest, visiting the largest active volcano in the country and volunteering at an animal sanctuary.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (58)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to try not to get too bogged down in the details. The day goes way too fast to notice if the chair sashes match the dresses. Focus on the bits that are the most important to you.

the big picture

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about the author

Julia Braime
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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