April 20th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding took place at Owen House Wedding Barn, a stunning family-run barn venue in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. A relaxed vibe was the number one priority for bride Carly and husband-to-be Wayne’s big day, and Owen House delivered with a low-key, rustic setting and a highly-personalised experience.
Add in some woodland details, lots of hessian and a jaw-dropping undone wildflower bouquet, and what you get is one of the most gorgeous easy-going weddings we’ve ever seen here at Brides Up North HQ.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Stella Photography.
carly says: Wayne proposed on our first Christmas Day in our new home. He started the proposal 12 days earlier with the idea of the 12 Days of Christmas. I received a dozen white roses and then another present each day leading up to Christmas. On Christmas morning, Wayne had told me to get ready as we were going to our parents’ early on. In fact, he just wanted us both to be dressed when the camera he’d hidden captured the moment he got down on one knee! I couldn’t believe it; I kept saying “Are you being serious or are you joking?!” Obviously, I said yes!
We were married on the 10th December 2016. This was one of only a few dates that our venue had available and it felt perfect as it was Wayne’s nana’s and stepfather’s birthday and was also very close to the date we first met.
We were married at Owen House Wedding Barn. The ceremony took place in their ceremony room and our wedding reception then took place in the barn next door. As soon as we walked in, we fell in love with it! We’d originally planned on getting married abroad but wanted to check out a venue or two in the UK before booking. This was the first and only venue we visited. We knew as soon as we left that first viewing that we wanted to take our family back with us the next day with a view to booking our wedding day. The style of Owen House is rustic and out of the ordinary; it matched our style perfectly.
In fact, we loved our venue so much that we didn’t want to overpower it with any sort of flamboyant decoration. We’re both very relaxed people and we wanted our wedding day to be the same, so we chose a rustic theme in keeping with the venue.
Our colour scheme was mainly based around flowers. We used lots of hessian and wild pink and purple flowers. Our bridesmaid dresses matched the flowers and the groomsmen’s ties also matched. We wanted our colours and theme to be quite simple, so lots of natural woods, hessian and tea lights. We used tree logs as centrepieces for our tables and for our cake stand, again in keeping with the rustic nature of our venue.
After visiting a few wedding boutiques and not having much luck, a friend recommended a bridal shop in an old mill in Mottram where they sell one-off sizes and designs. I was lucky enough to try on only a handful of dresses before I found the one! It was a sweetheart/mermaid-style lace dress. I loved it on account of how it pulled me in at the waist and how I felt taller in it. Originally my mum was going to make my gown, but having tried this one on we decided to just do some ‘tweaks’. My mum made a lace style bolero to go over the top and added buttons down the back, which made it unique.
Wayne wore a mismatching suit of black chinos, which he bought from All Saints, a grey shirt from Reiss and a taupe waistcoat and jacket which he bought from Next. He also wore a dusky pink tie which we found on ASOS and brown brogue shoes from Next.
Our bridesmaids wore infinity multi-way dresses, which we bought online from Etsy. Our groomsmen wore suits which matched Wayne’s and slightly lighter shirts.
Our photographers were Seb and Suzi from Stella Photography. We would absolutely recommend them! We loved their sense of style from the minute we first spoke to them at a wedding fair. We gave them full control over the style and organisation of photographs as they both have such a good eye for unique photos. We met up with them before we booked as we wanted to have a look through their work and also to make sure we felt comfortable around them. We knew they were right for us when Suzi tried force-feeding us chocolate cake! They were so much fun to be around and, after a coffee and a cake, we could just imagine ourselves having them both as guests, never mind as photographers!
I carried a bouquet of wild winter flowers with berries. We had a lot of gypsophila, roses, lavender and foxglove flowers. The bouquet was wrapped in hessian and I wanted an ‘undone’ style, so the bouquet was quite relaxed. The bridesmaids had a smaller version, the flower girls had a wicker heart wand and the groomsmen had hessian wrapped buttonholes with gypsophila and lavender. The flowers were from an independent flower shop called Verve Floral Design.
We made and bought most of the decorations and centrepieces ourselves. We’re lucky enough to have lots of family and friends in different fields of work, so we sourced logs for the centrepieces and decorated them with different sized jars. Each jar had either candles or wild flowers in them. My mum had made hessian runners for the tables and we also had advice cards for the bride and groom.
Around the room we hung lanterns from the ceiling with lights in, we had milk jugs, vases and mason jars with flowers and candles pretty much everywhere! We also placed lots of photos and memories around the room to add a bit of a personal touch. Most of the signs we placed around the room were bought from eBay, but I used a lot of chalkboards and made my own signs. We decorated the venue the day before with our family and friends, which became an event in itself!
Originally, as we’re both teachers, we had mini chalkboards to give out as favours but I’m very indecisive and the week before the wedding I changed my mind. Instead, I bought 100 pine cones and made these into tree decorations and name places so people could use them every Christmas and remember the wedding.
We had three 10” cakes which were made up of a vanilla sponge, a chocolate sponge and a carrot and walnut sponge. We also had an assortment of red velvet cupcakes. They were all made by Cakes and Toppers by Charlotte, an independent cake baker based in Reddish.
We used Vanilla In All Seasons as the caterer for our wedding. As we’re both very indecisive we had a trio of starters – chicken satay, mushroom bruschetta and tempura prawns – and a trio of desserts – chocolate fudge cake, creme brulee and a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. Our guests had a choice of chicken and manchego cheese stuffed with chorizo in a spicy tomato sauce, or a fillet of beef, which came with a chicken and leek pie for their main.
We had a friend, James Collins, provide entertainment for our guests while we were having our photos taken and also for the first part of the evening reception. He was absolutely amazing and created a great atmosphere around the venue. Again, we just wanted something a little bit different and he sang a few acoustic versions of a number of different songs. We then had a DJ for the rest of the evening from the Mobile Disco Company. We also had a magician named Nick Marshall provided entertainment in between the end of our wedding meal and the arrival of our evening guests. He left our friends and family awestruck and we would highly recommend him.
We’d also highly recommend our choice of venue to other couples. Owen House was absolutely amazing and the perfect space for us to celebrate with our family and friends. We didn’t need to add too much by way of decoration as the barn is already so beautiful. The bar prices were similar to a local pub and so we didn’t worry about our guests being overcharged. The best thing about the venue, however, are its owners and operators, Dan and Vanessa. They were both brilliant in helping us with ideas and suggestions for our day while still giving us full autonomy. They put on a wine tasting for us to sample a number of different wines which was a great touch and also gave us a beautiful wooden carving as a wedding gift, which now sits in pride of place in our garden.
On reflection, it’s hard to choose one special moment from the day as our favourite. From the minute I woke up everything was so relaxed (which was so important to us): saying “I do”, the first dance, everything was perfect! I think a great moment was when the evening guests arrived and we had all the people we love in one room there to celebrate our wedding day.
We haven’t been on honeymoon yet, but we’ve booked it! We’re heading to New York and Las Vegas in August 2017 and cannot wait!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try not to let the wedding take over your life. We had a really busy year of nine weddings before ours, so in a way we didn’t really have time to get stressed. We also managed to plan a lot of the wedding within a few months. I’d also say don’t stress about the little things that people probably won’t even notice and stick to your plan. I used Pinterest for a lot of things, but in the end there was too much on there and I couldn’t make a decision. We found the real weddings and the inspiration features on Brides Up North incredibly useful when looking for ideas as to where to start!
On the day itself, Wayne felt his ushers were brilliant in making sure that two things happened. First, they took him to once side just to have a look across the room and take everything in. It was amazing to see our families and friends having such a good time. The second was to drag him away to spend some time with just me. We were both so busy making sure we saw and spoke to everyone that we didn’t think to just take fifteen minutes to ourselves.
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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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