March 6th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding saw Jess and Rob pull off the mean feat of a Valentine’s Day wedding without the cheese. Instead of succumbing to Love Hearts and an all-out pink colour scheme, the bride opted for a tea-length polka-dot dress and timeless, elegant shades of silvery blue and dove grey.
Ready for a chic urban wedding that shines with love? We are.
With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Mark Newton Weddings.
jess says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2015 after around eight years together. I didn’t think it was going to happen as Rob had given me all my gifts in the morning and he waited until midnight to propose. It happened at home, which was lovely as I didn’t really want a big fuss.
Our wedding date was 14th February 2016 – Valentine’s Day! We didn’t really choose the date as such; it needed to be in half term as I’m a teacher, and we preferred a Sunday. So it just happened to be Valentine’s Day!
We got married at Great John Street Hotel in Manchester city centre. Rob and I knew we wanted something different and quite urban, so I decided to go along to the wedding open evening. I never imagined that we could afford such a beautiful venue but the packages that they offer there are very good value for money.
The venue itself is just stunning! We got married up on the rooftop, which is gorgeous. It’s such a modern and elegant hotel, it really suited us perfectly.
There was no set theme for the wedding but we constantly reminded ourselves that this was our day. It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people want but we tried to make our decisions for us. Also, we wanted a less traditional day so we tried to make our choices as unique and individual as possible.
Although it was Valentine’s Day, we wanted to avoid the obvious reds and pinks so we decided on greys and blues. I didn’t want everything to match perfectly so I just picked any variation of blue or grey that I liked. We also wanted hints of blue to incorporate our love of our football team – Leicester City!
My wedding dress also followed the ‘non-traditional’ direction we were taking; I always knew I didn’t want a full-length dress. A shorter dress always felt more ‘me’ and I wanted to feel like myself. My beautiful dress was made to measure by a wonderful shop in Nottingham called Frock. Esther who runs the shop was amazing throughout the whole process and the dress was nothing less than perfect. For any bride wanting a tea length dress, Frock is a must!
Rob wore a navy blue and grey checked three-piece suit. It was made from beautiful wool and was by Simon Carter at House of Fraser. He also wore a gorgeous grey wool tie which fitted in perfectly with our colour scheme.
We didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen. We honestly didn’t feel like it was necessary for us – just having all our friends and family with us was enough.
I didn’t need any transport on the day as I stayed at Great John Street Hotel the night before. This was a lovely treat before the wedding and gave me a chance to relax.
Our photography was done by Mark Newton Weddings. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Mark. He just seemed to understand what we wanted right from our first meeting and the pictures were absolutely perfect. He also fitted in so well on the day; all our guests commented on how lovely and professional he was.
I didn’t want fresh flowers as I’ve never really liked them. So I decided to go for a bouquet made of fabric made by the super talented Kate at DaphneRosa. My bouquet was made of grey and blue fabric pompoms – some of which were lined with glitter for a gorgeous bit of sparkle! I absolutely adored my bouquet and Rob’s matching buttonhole.
We didn’t have any flowers to decorate the venue. Instead, we opted for lots and lots of candles! I knew it would get dark around 5pm (we got married at 2:30pm) so I thought that candles would add that extra romantic touch. I also didn’t like the idea of having lots of leftover flowers the day after the wedding so I was happy to go without!
Our wedding favours were adorable! Everyone was given a heart-shaped magnet with a map of Manchester on it. Both Rob and I are from the Midlands, so we thought it would be great to give everyone a little token of Manchester to take home! Our favours were from Etsy from a shop called Made with Maps.
Our cake was made by a wonderful lady called Kate who runs her business called Little Button Bakery in Stockport. We wanted a cake that was very unique so we went for blue, multi-coloured sprinkles and a grey chalkboard! The cake was delicious and perfect for us. It also featured a quote from John Cooper Clarke’s poem I Wanna Be Yours, which was read by a close friend during our wedding ceremony.
We also had some gorgeous peg wedding cake toppers from My Peg Weddings. Not only did they make Rob and I for the top, but they also made our three cats! So unbelievably cute!
For our food, we chose a sumptuous winter barbecue. This was all served buffet style as we wanted a very informal and relaxed dinner. We didn’t have a formal seating plan so this suited us perfectly. In the evening we had small bites like cones of chips and chicken goujons. They were delicious!
Music-wise, we had an acoustic guitarist called Jay Dunn in the day which I’m so glad we chose to do. He really added something special to the atmosphere and it was so lovely to be able to pick all our favourite songs.
Our evening entertainment was a live band called The Riviera Band who were fantastic. They really came to the rescue after we were let down by our original band a couple of weeks before the wedding. They play modern songs with a gypsy jazz twist and were loved by everyone – including us!
A few extra little touches that we added to our day were from a wedding company called Sid & Olive. They offer gorgeous confetti hampers and we had the most amazing pompom confetti! It was presented in a beautiful wooden box and each set of confetti was in a cone made from a book page.
We also got some amazing iSpy kits for the children at our wedding. The kit included a disposable camera and a list of pictures that they had to take – it kept them entertained for ages!
Following our wedding, we would absolutely recommend Great John Street Hotel to another couple. Anyone who is looking for a cool and urban venue in Manchester would love it. It is such a special place with a fantastic atmosphere.
My favourite part of the day was going out after the drinks reception to get our pictures taken – just the two of us. It was so lovely to spend some time together alone and take in what had just happened.
After the wedding, we waited a month or so before going off on our minimoon to Copenhagen. It’s an extremely beautiful place and very romantic so it was a wonderful spot for our first holiday as a married couple.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to put you and your partner first. It’s your day and you don’t want to look back and wish you had done things differently.
Also, make sure you enjoy every second as it flies by!
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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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