January 27th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding is a corker – a rose gold theme, bucket-loads of blooms and a bride who looks as though she’s just walked out of the pages of Vogue Sposa (or Unveiled, for that matter!)
Rachel and Josh said ‘I do’ in the stunning surroundings of Ness Botanic Gardens and the greenery and flowers made the perfect backdrop for their perfect day.
Need an injection of light and love on this cold winter’s day? Look no further.
With images by Jo Bradbury.
rachel says: We got engaged on 4th October 2014. We were away for a weekend in Wales and staying in a log cabin. We went on a long beach walk with our dog and Josh proposed on an island just off the beach. We then went back to our lovely log cabin and drank some prosecco, before Josh cooked our favourite meal (mellanzane a la parmagiana). It was pretty perfect!
We chose the 2nd July 2016, as our wedding date; we wanted a summer date to show off our venue’s lovely flowers and blooms. It was also a few weeks after my final exams and therefore seemed a good date to pick!
We got married in Ness Botanic Gardens. We fell in love with it the moment we saw it – we knew we wanted an outdoor wedding and the flowers and setting were just so, so gorgeous. We both love being outdoors and got very excited about how beautiful the photographs would be with all the flowers and greenery!
We wanted a laidback, romantic style wedding. The bridesmaids wore pink with gold shoes and the venue décor was blush pink in places. The groomsmen wore blue or grey suits; we felt this would be a great colour to complement the blush colours.
The colour scheme was rose gold: we had rose gold invites, and the bridesmaids’ dresses and the venue décor tied in with this beautifully. There was a lot of pinning on Pinterest to get my ideas together!
My wedding dress was an Ellis 11330 design from Elegance Bridal on the Wirral – the ladies there were so lovely and helpful from start to finish. I knew I wanted a fitted dress and thought the fishtail/mermaid style would be ideal. Initially I wanted a dress with lace sleeves, but after trying on a few I felt the sweetheart neckline was more flattering. I loved the delicate lace and beading on the dress; I just didn’t want to take it off!
Josh wore a Hugo Boss suit and the fit was perfect, so no tailoring needed – phew! We knew we loved the look of a blue suit and he looked fantastic.
The bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses from a brand called Laced inLove purchased through ASOS. They were so beautiful and also very reasonable in terms of price. The groomsmen wore their own suits; luckily, they all had suits in a blue or grey hue.
We hired a White Daimler Limousine from Speedwell Motors on the Wirral as our wedding transport. Most of the bridesmaids and my mum squeezed in for the journey to the venue, so it was great fun!
Our photographer was the wonderful Jo Bradbury. We loved her portfolio and thought her romantic documentary photo style was what we really wanted. She was absolutely fantastic and I would definitely recommend her. The pictures came out so beautifully; she really captured the gorgeous surroundings of the venue and some great moments of the day.
My bridal bouquet was made up of big peonies and roses with green foliage and gypsophila. I wanted an oversized bouquet and I definitely got it! The bridesmaids’ flowers were pink roses with gypsophila, too. All of the bouquet flowers were provided by Stamens in Greasby.
We did our own decorations for the wedding reception and these included some pink roses from the garden at my mum’s house and some tea light candles for table decorations. We also spray painted some cans with gold paint and put some silk flowers in them to display the table numbers. I created the table plan the night before (again, using some last-minute DIY tips from Pinterest!) My bridesmaids also helped do some of the décor; they tied together the silk flowers and wrote the names of guests on the table place cards. We also hung up some blush pink tissue paper pompoms.
In the end, we didn’t give out favours – we decided on an extra glass of prosecco for everyone instead!
We had an amazing three-tier ‘naked’ wedding cake made by YasminLimbert of Great British Bake Off fame. Neither of us like icing and we loved the look of sponge wedding cakes with jam and buttercream. It looked and tasted amazing! We knew it would be fantastic but it really did exceed all of our expectations.
For the wedding breakfast we had olives, dips and breads to start, seabass, beef stroganoff or goats’ cheese tart for the main and a trio of desserts for pudding.
For the evening entertainment, we chose a ‘one man band’ – a performer with a loop pedal who builds up different musical sections into a full song. He was great fun and in the end everyone was up on the dancefloor. We’d seen him play in a local bar and the music was just fantastic so we booked him immediately.
We would definitely recommend our venues to other couples. Ness Botanic Gardens was so scenic and we couldn’t fault the service at both Ness and Sheldrakes Restaurant.
For me, the standout moment of the day was the ceremony. I loved being at Ness with all our nearest and dearest and seeing all the flowers in bloom. The reception speeches were definitely a highlight for us both, too. Josh’s lasting memory will be the partying – and creating a four tier human pyramid on the dance floor with his friends!
For our honeymoon, we went to Santorini. It was just gorgeous and the food and setting were amazing. We stayed at CSky luxury hotel in a lovely suite overlooking the Caldera and then spent a few nights closer to the beach, too.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take stock and just enjoy the day as it flies by. Also, if you want to save some cash and do some DIY décor have a crafts party with friends – things can be done so much quicker in groups and it’s lovely to involve your mates!
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Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.
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