Charlotte Balbier

summer flair. a stylish wedding at hillbark hotel, cheshire – alexandra & adrian

December 7th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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This evening on the blog, we’re sharing with you Alexandra and Adrian’s picturesque summer wedding.

Celebrating with friends and family at the luxury five-star Hillbark Hotel in the Wirral, the couple opted for a pared back, elegant look with a cornflower blue colour scheme, which was beautifully offset by floral arrangements of lilies, hydrangeas and roses with pale blue delphiniums.

With images by Jonny Draper Photography

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alexandra says: We got engaged on 7th June 2015, at our apartment in Spain. It was our six-year anniversary and we were having champagne on the terrace when Adrian surprised me with a photo book of our time together. On the last page it said he had a question to ask and then he got down on one knee; it was perfect!

We got married on 25th June 2016. We wanted a summer wedding roughly a year after our engagement. We looked at when our church and venue were both available and 25th it was!

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We tied the knot at St Joseph’s Church in Crosby. I’m from Crosby and this is the church I went to when I was younger.

We hosted our reception at the Hillbark Hotel in the Wirral. When we viewed the venue, we fell in love with it, plus we didn’t know anyone who had already been married there, which was important to us.

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We didn’t have a specific theme, instead we wanted a classic, fresh look and our florist and wedding coordinators were fantastic at achieving this.

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For our colour scheme, we chose cornflower blue. As we were having a summer wedding we wanted a light, summery colour and it was our favourite next to my white dress and the groomsmen’s blue suits.

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My dress was by Justin Alexander, purchased from Bridal Path in Childwall. It was a strapless slim dress with a flare at the bottom and a sweetheart neckline. It was one of the last dresses I tried on and I just fell in love with the fit and the simplicity of the detail. Plus when I tried it on, all of my bridesmaids cried – so that sealed the deal!

On the day of the wedding, my make-up was done by the amazing Alex Woods who is a freelance make-up artist, her company is called Alexandra Makeup. Meanwhile, my hair was styled by Callum and Rebecca from the Hillbark who were both fantastic. Callum even met me after my church ceremony to freshen up my hair!

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Adrian wore a blue Ted Baker morning suit with tailcoat, as did all the groomsmen, which were hired from Moss Bros.

My bridesmaids wore dresses by Biba from House of Fraser. They were cornflower blue V-neck maxi dresses with button detail that matched the buttons on the back of my wedding dress.

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Transport-wise, our package with the Hillbark included the use of two of their cars – a gorgeous Bentley that Adrian and his best men travelled in and a vintage Rolls Royce that I travelled in with my brother. I also hired a six-seater Mercedes Viano for the bridesmaids from PJ Chauffeur Services.

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Our photographer was the amazing Jonny Draper and I can’t recommend him enough! His assistant Kate came along too, so she could capture even more special moments! Jonny photographed my friend’s wedding and I fell in love with their pictures. He listened to what we hoped to get from our pictures, was keen to get to know us and our personalities and we loved his fun yet professional manner!

We also booked a videographer and were lucky enough to get the incredible Rebecca Reville. She was brilliant on the day and also brought an assistant to help.

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Earth Flowers in the Wirral supplied our flowers. I couldn’t be happier with the service they offered. I carried a white hand-tied bouquet of hydrangeas, peonies, avalanche roses, calla lilies and spray roses. My bridesmaids and flower girl had the same bouquets but in a smaller size.

At the Hillbark we had 11 tables with six tall sienna vases and five low glass cube vases with flower arrangements alternately placed as our centrepieces. These arrangements were lilies, hydrangeas and roses with pale blue delphiniums. On our top table we had a row of three low cube vases which we accompanied with our bridesmaids’ bouquets. We had tealights around each of the centrepieces.

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We also had six giant balloons from Bubblegum Balloons with blue and silver confetti inside and some huge illuminated letters of our initials from the very lovely Tom Harding of The Big Booth.

Our stationery was supplied by Doodlelove from Notonthehighstreet.com. Lela who runs it was fantastic. I edited our stationery items a few times and she didn’t mind at all! I loved our save the dates so much Lela did everything for us: our invites, table plan, table numbers, order of service – everything!

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For our favours, we gave out small bottles of Prosecco. We wanted it to be something our guests could drink before our complimentary wine was served during the meal. For the few children that were with us, we gave them sweet treats instead.

We chose a five-tier wedding cake with small white roses from The Cake Shop in Liverpool. We had two tiers of champagne sponge, one of lemon, one of fruitcake and one of red velvet. It was delicious!

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As for the food, we had liver pâté for starters, a choice of chicken or duck for mains and meringue swan Eton mess for dessert. We wanted light starters and desserts so our guests weren’t overly full afterwards. We were also keen to give our guests a choice of white and red meat for main. Vegetarian options were arranged beforehand. With regards to the wine, our red was Rioja, the white was unoaked Chardonnay and the rosé was Cabernet rosé.

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For our entertainment, we booked The Mac Bros. We saw them perform in a bar in Liverpool on St Patrick’s Day four years ago and loved them! They were brilliant and the dance floor was full all night!

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As a special touch, we wanted a little nod to those that weren’t with us on the day for different reasons, so we made a frame of pictures of them and had it displayed on our post box table. My mum and dad have both passed away so touches relating to them were very important to me. On the same table we had a small silver vase with sweet pea flowers, which had been on the top of my mum and dad’s wedding cake. I also wanted a photo taken on the morning of the wedding of my mum’s wedding dress hanging up next to mine which Jonny, our photographer, did. It’s a lovely memory to capture and keep.

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All in all, we loved the service we received from the Hillbark. It’s a beautiful Tudor building with Royden Park wrapped around it, so it has a lovely secluded feel. Rebecca was our wedding coordinator and she was fantastic! Everything was in place on the day and organised just how we had asked, and everyone commented on how lovely the service and venue both were.

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Our favourite part of the day? We loved our car journey from the church to our reception, which was about 35 minutes. It was lovely to have time together as newlyweds. Another highlight was our drinks reception, relaxing with our guests and enjoying the atmosphere. Then the speeches and our first dance – there are too many!

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For our honeymoon, we spent four nights in Vegas, three in Miami and seven in Saint Lucia. We wanted a bit of a party week and then a relaxing week and this worked perfectly. We loved the craziness of Vegas, the Calvin Harris gig and pool parties, and Miami didn’t calm us down as it was Independence Day when we arrived! Saint Lucia was beautiful – an idyllic honeymoon destination where we did very little! We took a tour of the island and it’s such a beautiful place to visit.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – a year is the perfect amount of time to organise a wedding; it was long enough to plan without the stress but not too long to drag it out. Other couples might not agree! We loved planning it and whenever we completed a wedding ‘job’ off the list, we had a drink to celebrate! Also, we had no interference in planning our wedding and it worked perfectly – it’s your day, no-one else’s, so just do it yourselves!

the big picture

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about the author

Alexis Forsyth
Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...

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