April 11th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
This morning on the blog we’re featuring an exquisitely pretty vintage-style real wedding. Bride Sarah opted for a gloriously unbound meadow-style bouquet, Matt chose a dashing brown tweed suit and they both plumped for a hearty Yorkshire-inspired feast for their wedding breakfast.
Their mint green colour scheme, we’re sure you’ll agree, feels fresh as well as pretty, and complements Sarah’s vintage tastes perfectly.
So, if it’s some homespun vintage pretty that you’re after, you’re in the right place!
With photography by Jenny Mills.
sarah says: We got engaged on 28th November 2015, after six-and-a-half-years together. Every November we go on a city break, and this year it was to New York. We were getting ready to go to Central Park and to watch the Thanksgiving parade when I noticed Tim getting fidgety! I thought he was getting annoyed at me for taking so long, but it was actually because he’d put the ring on the dressing table for me to find – and I hadn’t noticed it! When I eventually went to get my coat on he followed me and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I dropped my bag and fell over! It was perfect. He wanted to do it in the park originally but had been too nervous waiting!
We were married on Friday 2nd September 2016. We’d always said that once we got engaged we’d get married quite quickly. I’d always had April or September in mind – April was too soon so we went for the first Friday of September so (we hoped!) it would still be warm from summer but starting to get a bit more autumnal.
We got married at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield. We did a lot of online research into places that we thought would fit our budget and ideas for the day. Ideally, I wanted a country house with lots of trees and greenery that was fairly close to Sheffield – we have lots of friends and family who had to travel.
I fell in love with Whirlowbrook as soon as I saw the pictures of it online, I emailed the wedding coordinator, Lucy, for more information and she was incredibly helpful and informative, which filled me with confidence. I had made my mind up before we even went to see it, but driving up the long drive towards the hall made me more determined that this was the venue for us. There were rabbits and ducks on the lawn and it felt so secluded and private. We both loved it and only viewed one other venue before returning to confirm our booking there.
Theme-wise, we wanted something a little bit rustic with a touch of Yorkshire. I’d seen so many lovely weddings on Pinterest and wanted to take little bits from all of them and make them our own. I also love Brides Up North and it was a huge source of inspiration whilst planning our wedding; I’ve stopped following all the other wedding blogs on Facebook and Instagram since getting married, but I’ve kept Brides Up North because I love seeing all the beautiful weddings – they’re always so pretty!
We made a lot of the table decorations, the order of service and table plans ourselves; I wanted it all to feel laidback but beautiful. We had bunting, lace, burlap and pastel colours as a general theme throughout and our flowers were styled on meadow flowers so that they looked perfectly undone. We’re not a flashy couple and I wanted it to feel a bit like a vintage party rather than a big fancy affair. We had lawn games and a Yorkshire-style menu.
The main colour was mint, and we used it for our bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s ties. Mint also ran through our decorations in the flowers, cake and table decorations. Our flower girl had some mint ribbon in her bouquet and my shoes had mint ribbon in them instead of cream. We chose it because it felt vintage and classic and it’s one of our favourite colours – three of the rooms in our house have mint walls!
I knew I wanted some kind of lace element to my dress and that I didn’t want strapless but that was as far as I’d got. I’d tried on about 20 dresses before I found mine at It’s Bliss bridal boutique in Doncaster. It was a sleeveless A-line dress with a lace detailed top, sweetheart neckline and sheer section with lace edging. Satin buttons ran all the way down the back and it featured a sheer overlay on the skirt complete with lace detailing. It had a small train and I had a bustle added for the evening reception.
My sister bought my waist-length veil which matched the lace in my dress. My shoes were lace heels with a bow fastening from BHS, but I changed the cream bow to a mint coloured one to match my bridesmaids’ dresses. I also had a vintage-style hairpiece with flowers that matched my colour scheme and one of my bridesmaids bought me some pearl drop Pandora earrings to wear with my pearl bracelet.
Tim wore a brown Harris Tweed suit and waistcoat from ASOS. He knew he wanted something that had a tweed/textured look to it and, after a day out shopping which culminated in buying a suit elsewhere, he found this suit online and much preferred it. When it arrived, it fitted perfectly and looked lovely with the mint tie and pocket square. He had brown brogues and a white shirt with personalised cufflinks.
The best man wore the same suit, tie and shoes as Tim, but without the waistcoat. He had some braces from House of Fraser and personalised cufflinks, too.
Our bridesmaids wore mint green dresses from Little Mistress at House of Fraser. They had gold leaf hair pieces, pearl bracelets and earrings. They’re all quite tall so wore flat sandals so they didn’t make me look too short!
Our flower girl wore a beautiful dress from BHS. We looked at so many dresses for her – more than we did for me – and this one was actually the nicest yet one of the cheapest! It had mint-coloured leaves inside the skirt which matched the bridesmaid dresses and her bouquet.
Our photographer was Jenny Mills. She was absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend her enough. I feel like we got really lucky! I put a message on a Facebook group asking if anyone could recommend a photographer and Jenny actually got in touch with me. I liked her from her first message and when we met up she made me feel relaxed and confident. Jenny listened to everything we wanted and every suggestion I made as well as making her own suggestions, too. During the speeches, we didn’t even notice her taking pictures. Jenny was the epitome of subtlety and class and I couldn’t be happier with the way our pictures have turned out.
Orchis Floral Design created our flowers. Emma was very attentive to details and we met for two hours to talk about how the flowers could be incorporated into the colour scheme and theme of the day. My bouquet was a soft, wild and upright handtied bouquet with Quicksand and Sweet Avalanche Roses, Gypsophila, Thlaspi Green Bell, Wheat, Veronica, Pink and Lilac Limonium, Rryngium and September Flower with Eucalyptus.
As well as flower jugs by Orchis on the tables, there were also jars decorated with lace, hessian and washi tape with candles. There were tiny wooden hearts scattered on each table, too. We had an aisle of lanterns leading up to the front of the room where we got married and these were also filled with candles. After the ceremony these lanterns were used for decoration in other areas of the hall. The front entrance table displayed our vintage suitcase box and a 2nd September countdown block, a jug of flowers and a canvas with a Corinthians verse on it. There were pom poms lining the trees on the drive up. Simply Seated venue stylists helped us achieve the look we were going for. We also used You Can Hire to hire in banqueting chairs rather than buying chair covers. The chairs looked much simpler and in keeping with the rest of the decor.
Each table was named after a woodland animal and this was reflected by a picture on each table and on the seating plan, which my mum made for us using a big photo frame, hessian and ribbons. My sister had made us a signpost to put outside the venue so people could find us. I made a big order of service on an old gate which we propped up at the entrance to the hall so that everyone could see what the plan for the day was.
My mum helped me make the favours which involved 43 very fiddly and very tiny flatpack boxes! We made up the little brown boxes with twine bows and vintage postage labels as favours, and they also doubled up as place names. Each box contained a Ferrero Rocher, a Lindt ball and a Reece’s mini cup – three of our favourite chocolates.
Jessica Jane Cakes made our cake for us. We had cream buttercream icing with twine bow decorations, silk flowers and little pastel coloured icing flowers too. The cake was three tiers but the top tier was a dummy layer. We had lemon sponge and Victoria sponge – mmmm! It stood on a big log piece with Gypsophila around the bottom. Our cake topper was a handmade ‘Sarah & Tim’ wooden laser cut shape from an independent seller on Not On The High Street.
On to the food! We had canapes on the lawn after our ceremony which included toad in the hole, mini cheeseburgers, deep fried halloumi, and baked potatoes with cheddar and spring onion,
We wanted a hearty Yorkshire meal so had crisp honey glazed pork belly, peas and pancetta as a starter, roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings as a main and warm Bakewell tart with raspberry purée and clotted cream as a pudding. Our evening reception food was pie, chips and peas! It was all amazing and we had so many compliments from our guests.
As entertainment during the day, we had Southdene String Duo playing; we chose them because we went to a wedding fayre and heard them play our song, which made me cry! I couldn’t not have them During the meal we played a Spotify playlist of our favourite songs through the venue’s sound system.
In the evening, we use Whilrlowbrook’s resident DJ, who played anything we asked him to, whether he agreed with it or not! We had lots of compliments about the diverse range of music and had so many people up and dancing because there was something for everyone.
We used Steph from Fotoboov to provide us with a ‘selfie boov’, which was a brilliant addition to our evening entertainment. She was amazing, and helped me to design how I wanted the pictures to look using our wedding theme. She provided props and everyone who had a snap taken got to keep a copy for free and the other copy went into our guest book. We loved reading the accompanying messages when we went on our mini moon the next day! I’d definitely recommend her – some of our friends are also using her for their wedding now because they were so impressed with the level of service she provided.
I would definitely recommend our choice of venue to other brides and grooms. From the first email I sent to Whilrlowbrook Hall, Lucy was on the ball. She’s filled me with confidence from day one and couldn’t do enough for us on the day itself. I gave the staff all the decorations that I’d made and collected and just left them to use their creativity. The venue looked so beautiful and the staff did an amazing job – I felt they cared about our wedding as much as we did. Lucy helped us to tailor a package that suited our budget and our needs. It all felt very exclusive and like we were the most important couple in the world. First class – I really couldn’t recommend Whirlowbrook Hall more highly.
My favourite moment? Well, my grandad has Parkinsons and really struggles to smile. Once we were married and walked out of the Oak Room, however, I saw my Grandad beaming at me. He said it was the best wedding he’d ever been to and how happy he was that he’d been well enough to make it. Having him there and seeing him so happy really made my day.
The day after the wedding, we went on a minimoon to the Lake District, which was a lovely first trip away as a married couple. We had to go back to work the week after though because we’d saved all our holidays for our honeymoon in November! We went to Vietnam and Thailand for two-and-a-half weeks, travelled to three cities and ended our trip in a stunning hotel in Phuket. It was amazing to just spend quality time together and experience so many different things and see so many incredible sights. Phuket was our week of relaxation after a week and a half of sightseeing and we really made the most of the pool, cocktails and spa.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure you eat – properly! I love my food and we had so much amazing food at our wedding, but I was too nervous to have breakfast in the morning, we missed the canapes because we were off having our pictures taken and during the meal I kept getting up to go and speak to everyone so didn’t eat a lot of it! Fail!
Also, don’t worry about the minor details. I worried about table decorations and little bits looking right, but on the day it really didn’t matter and I didn’t even notice them.
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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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