April 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
We’re easing you back into the four day week by featuring the beautiful big day of Danni and Rich, who tied the knot last November after more than six years together.
They exchanged vows in their parish church in Melbourne, Derbyshire, and then celebrated at one of their favourite local venues, Amalfi White – a stunning restaurant and cocktail bar complete with a contemporary ballroom.
We just love the couple’s special touches throughout the day, which included a nod to their love of books, and also lots of glorious sweet treats in the form of a dessert table.
Wih images from Ragdoll Photography
danni says: Rich had a ring, ready to propose for a while, so when we booked a last-minute trip to Rome in June 2015, he decided to pop the question, which was incredible! We’ve been together for over six years (four-and-a-half when he proposed) so we’ve always talked about it, but it still took me by complete surprise. I’d always said please, please do not propose in front of anyone, so he tried a few times in various super romantic locations but every time he was about to get down on one knee (unbeknown to me) a crowd of people would come along. In the end, he proposed in our hotel room at the end of a perfect evening. I was in my pyjamas but immediately after saying yes got dressed and we went out for champagne.
We got married on 25th November 2016, which has always been a special time of the year for us. Our first date was on 22nd November 2010 and Rich’s mum’s birthday, who sadly passed away ten years ago, would have been on 27th November. So, this date was a way to honour Rich’s ,um.
We tied the knot in Melbourne, Derbyshire, which is the village we live in. We got married at Melbourne Parish Church. Angela, the vicar, is amazing (she was extremely patient with me when I sobbed my way through our vows) and we were so glad that it was her who married us.
Our reception was at The Ballroom at Amalfi White. It’s where we celebrated buying our first home and is literally our local as it’s along the road. We wanted a very relaxed day full of lovely food and drinks and our favourite people so it felt perfect to be somewhere we loved and where we would feel comfortable.
We didn’t have a particular theme. Overall, we just wanted it to be relaxed with great lighting so that it felt atmospheric and romantic. The combination of chandeliers on dimmers, light-up ‘love’ letters and candles as table centre pieces looked beautiful together.
We knew we wanted to entwine our love of books into the day and do this in a subtle way. Our table names were Minas Tirith, Hogwarts and The Shire (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter references) and we had quotes from F Scott Fitzgerald (our new surname is Fitzgerald) dotted around.
We’re also Christmas fanatics, so Amalfi White put the Christmas decorations up and we had some of our favourite Christmas songs on our playlist in the evening.
There was no particular colour scheme. I don’t like anything to be ‘matchy matchy’ so all of the bridesmaids wore different dresses in complementing shades and we kept decorations soft and neutral. We used burgundy ribbons in the flowers and burgundy ties and pocket squares to give a bit of depth and winter warmth to the neutral colour palette.
I visited so many shops trying to find a long sleeved, low back dress but couldn’t find anything quite right. In the end, I bought my strapless Maggie Sottero gown from Brides & Gowns in Derby. Fiona, the seamstress there, created the sleeves, top and back of the dress. She was amazing – her attention to detail was incredible.
The bridesmaids each had different dresses in complementing tones. The wedding day was the first time all the girls tried their dresses on together as they live across the country (with one bridesmaid flying in from Australia!) so we weren’t exactly sure how it would look but they looked stunning. Finding one dress to suit eight women with very different body shapes and personal styles would have been impossible so this way everyone got a dress to suit them. Most of the dresses were from Asos. And the flower girls’ dresses were from Monsoon.
On the day of the wedding, we used my hairdresser Millie to do mine and all the bridesmaids’ hair as well as my mum’s. Emma, who works at Mac in Derby, did all of our make-up.
Rosie from Ragdoll Photography was our photographer. As soon as we spoke to Rosie we knew she was the right photographer for us. She was absolutely amazing and a pleasure to have with us on our wedding day. She made everybody feel completely at ease and captured some really beautiful, natural moments. We didn’t want to lose any of our day to staged photos so nearly all of the photos are completely natural (the exception being the group photo in front of the church).
Our flowers were supplied by The Flower Mill and were gorgeous. My bouquet was made up of lots of greenery (including Eucalyptus) as well as White O’Hara Roses, Gypsophila, Astilbe and Spray Roses.
Our bridesmaids’ bouquets doubled up as flowers on the tables during our wedding breakfast. We used French Ruscus down the lengths of the table along with white pillar candles of varying heights which looked really simple and beautiful without cluttering up the table. The two flower girls had fairy wands made of gypsophila.
My friend Helen started her own Etsy shop last year and created our personalised order of service. It was simple and beautiful and we stuck little envelopes in the back that said ‘For Happy Tears’ and put handkerchiefs in. There were lots of tears – especially in the speeches so we were very glad we did this! Helen also handwrote our thank you/welcome poem which is now in our dining room.
I took a calligraphy class with Polly & Me, who I found on Instagram. It was great fun and meant I could do the place names myself.
My sister made homemade fudge as our wedding favours consisting of chocolate, all butter fudge and Baileys fudge.
Neither of us are big wedding cake fans so we opted for a dessert table made up of Krispy Kremes, cookies, macarons, sweets, chocolate cake, red velvet cake and some treats made by our lovely friends and family (brownies, Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle and cupcakes). It worked really well and it nearly all went!
Our welcome drinks included Prosecco (we did a ‘pimp your Prosecco’ table inspired by Pinterest) and the Tom Collins, which is our usual drink of choice at Amalfi’s.
For our food, the starter was ham hock terrine with fresh bread and piccalilli. We then had chicken, sage potato cake and winter vegetables with red wine gravy for our main. We used our dessert table as pudding and gave everyone an extra drink of their choice. We served red and white wine or Prosecco with the meal.
In the evening, we had pizza and antipasti boards which went down a storm! When we first got engaged and started talking about our wedding day we both said we want to eat pizza and doughnuts – and that’s exactly what we did!
For our entertainment, we had a DJ and a photo booth. The photo booth was such a great investment – it was busy all night and it means we now have hundreds of extra (hilarious) photos of all of our guests.
Jackstar Productions provided our love letters and photo booth and were great to work with.
After our wedding, we can’t recommend Amalfi White’s enough. Kat, the event manager, (who is absolutely incredible!) and all the staff made the day run perfectly. They were so helpful and flexible and really made sure they accommodated everything we wanted to make the day perfect for us.
The ceremony was definitely the highlight of the day. Going for a walk – just the two of us – whilst our guests walked from the church to Amalfi White’s was great advice that we took from my sister; it gave us a few minutes alone to let it sink in that we’d actually just got married. The whole day was incredible, we wish we could do it all again.
For our honeymoon, we went to New York and Mexico.
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be: enjoy every minute of it and take a few moments throughout the day for just the two of you, to step back and take it all in. Don’t get hung up on the tiny details; yes they are beautiful and lovely to have but you probably won’t even notice them on the day – as long as you have the people you want there, you’ll have the best day and as long as you’re happy – your guests will be too.
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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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