April 21st, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Where to start with today’s real wedding? Put simply – we love it all!
Brides Up North reader Becky and her beau Paul were keen to find a venue with a difference and so booked the uber cool Victoria Warehouse in Manchester as the back drop for their big day. This also happens to be the venue at which we will be staging our BigCityWedFest’17 event at on Sunday 3rd September, featuring the area’s most fabulous suppliers for an epic wedding fair with an urban festival style vibe. Watch this space for more details soon!
The warehouse’s raw and industrial features both contrasted and complemented Becky and Paul’s elegant theme of rose gold, blush and marble – perhaps three of our very favourite things! We are also totally besotted with Becky’s stunning Jesus Piero gown and pink mules, not to mention her luscious locks (those bangs!!)
However, it’s not just the appearance of this wedding that had us hooked, it’s the sentiment behind it too. Watching the video we just adore the friendly banter, kind words and love – in a similar style to the cake, this one shot an arrow right through our hearts!!
With images and video by Jon Bird Weddings
becky says: Paul and I had been together more than five years when he proposed. Due to all the weddings of friends and family we have attended over the past three or four years, we had never actually had a full week’s holiday just the two of us. So, at the end of June 2016 we decided to treat ourselves to a week in Cape Verde. We arrived on the Sunday and got settled in to our gorgeous hotel and found what would be become ‘our spot’ on the beach for the week. After our first full day of relaxing on the beach on Monday, the sun was starting to fade a little so Paul suggested a walk along the beach before we went back to the room. I thought this was uncharacteristically romantic for him – especially when he offered to carry the bags. We walked along the beach and chatted, it crossed my mind that he was going to push me in the sea for a joke at one point, little did I know he was walking slightly behind so that he could put the ring he had been hiding in his wallet into a box and get down on one knee. I let out a bit a squeal and then thought he was joking – I’d been waiting for this moment and it was just perfect. White sand, blue sea and my best friend.
We got married on 21st January 2017. We decided that we wanted to marry as soon as we could but without having to compromise on the kind of wedding we wanted. Seven months seemed like enough time to plan and pay for the wedding and January is always a bit of a downer – having the wedding to look forward to was a real lift. Although three weeks after Christmas and New Year isn’t the best time for wedding diets!
We got married at Victoria Warehouse Hotel & Events, which is a converted warehouse in the Trafford Park area of Manchester. We knew we didn’t want a church wedding as neither of us regularly visit one, so we had a look at the lists of approved wedding ceremony venues in Manchester and surrounding areas. Paul is Stockport born and bred and having moved to Manchester for university, I have now lived ‘up north’ for 50% of my life so it is officially home.
We worked out that we had been to about 15 weddings in the past three years, and we’d loved them all, but we wanted ours to be something different and for it to reflect our tastes. We really love industrial architecture and old buildings so Victoria Warehouse just felt perfect. It is a totally unique venue and had so much flexibility for us to put our own stamp on the day.
I love looking at anything wedding related and still do even though ours is done. With a venue like Victoria Warehouse, which is quite dark and moody, I thought a really clean, simple and elegant theme would work well. My mum came to visit when we got back from Cape Verde, to congratulate us on our engagement, and brought a box of gifts with her. The box was marble and rose gold and I instantly loved it – the theme was born! Simple, clean and chic.
We added some blush to the marble and rise gold too. The shops seemed to be full of those colours, which was so useful when buying decorations and accessories. I made or bought almost everything for the wedding from value shops and online so we could spend money on the big things, so picking a scheme that was on trend in terms of interiors made that really easy – the wedding could have been sponsored by Primark, Home Bargains, ASOS and eBay (shhh don’t tell anyone)!
I’m not the most body confident of people – I’m pretty short and very ‘curvy’ so I assumed finding a dress wasn’t going to be easy. I tried a few different shops and had become a bit fed up with nothing fitting and too much bling and fuss. I had in my mind visions of me with tousled hair with a floral crown and a long sleeved, floaty boho dress. ‘My’ dress however, could not have been more different!
One of my bridesmaids, Victoria, made me an appointment at Lulu Browns in Whalley, Lancashire, after a couple of her work friends had got their dresses from there. To begin with I thought it was a bit of a trek from South Manchester, but it was definitely worth it. The minute we stepped through the door Jenna, Jennie and rest of the lovely ladies that work there made me feel like the most special bride. Nothing was too much trouble, they had a stunning range of dresses and they were so patient with me. I was still going for this boho dream and it just wasn’t working with my shape. I had seen my dress and loved it but it just wasn’t what I had in mind. After a bit of persuasion, I gave it a try, well that was it. It was the one. I actually really liked myself in it and it suited my figure so much. What was funny was that I had seen it in a store almost two years previously when looking with my mum for her wedding and lusted after it – I never thought it would be the dress I would end up wearing.
Designed by Jesus Peiro, the Luciana gown had a wide waist band to catch me at my narrowest part and then a full skirt to balance out my top half. Boho was out – timeless elegance was in! Plus I got it from a store with the same surname that I would be changing – it felt like fate. My shoes were from Office.
Paul got me a leather biker jacket as my wedding gift. I’ve wanted one for ages and every time I put it on I think of him – I’ve embroidered our initial and wedding date on the inside!
Paul wears a suit every day for work and wore tails when he was best man for his friend so he wanted something a little different for the wedding. He is tall and slim so looks great in most things but he does like a slimmer fitting suit. We did a lot of online research and looked in a few stores and found the best range of more fashion forward and affordable suits was on ASOS. Two suits ordered and tried on and the winner was selected – so easy! The tweed style fabric and double breasted waistcoat of Paul’s suit and bow tie added a bit of a twist to his usual workwear.
As my gift to Paul on the day I got him a special pocket watch to wear. I also adopted him an otter! Did you know otters hold hands when they sleep in the water so that they don’t lose each other? So cute. We love otters!
All of our bridal party outfits came from ASOS. Their next day delivery for a year is the best £10 I ever spent! Ordering a load of outfits, having them arrive next day and then sending back what we didn’t like not only saved loads of time, but was incredible value too.
I had three bridesmaids and a ‘bridesman’ so there was always going to be a mixture of outfits there, and with Victoria being more than six months pregnant we decided to go for it and have them all in different attire. First off I ordered a whole range of dresses and had a boozy trying on session with Genene – there was a clear winner. The dusty pink one-shoulder dress with an exposed rose gold zip suited her perfectly, complemented my dress and had real red carpet glamour. Finding dresses for Zoe and Victoria was simple – even the maternity version. My bridesman Jon wore a beautiful pale grey suit and then tied into the colour scheme with a double-breasted waistcoat and tie.
For the groomsmen we wanted something that complemented Paul’s outfit but still allowed him to stand out as the groom. When we came across a brand on ASOS called Harry Brown, it again felt like fate – my surname again. The grey dogtooth three-piece suits were fantastic – and in the sale! As a gift we gave each of them an engraved pocket watch, rose gold collar bar and tie pin and dusty pink tie and pocket square to finish off their outfits. We were also totally honoured when Paul’s brother Charlie asked if he could wear his RAF uniform – he looked amazing.
Our photographer on the day was Jon Bird. I found Jon through a wedding magazine I got in a gift bag when we first went to view Victoria Warehouse. It had a feature on the Wedding Industry Awards and Jon was the winner of ‘Videographer of the Year’. Paul and I had discussed a video and were really keen to try and include it in our budget so we could look back on it in years to come and one day show our kids. When we saw Jon’s photography and exchanged a few emails with bags of personality, we knew he was going to be great to have around on the day. Fate played a part again when in one of his emails he used a phrase that my beloved grandpa used to use all the time – that was it, he was booked.
On the day, Jon and his team Sam and Damo were absolutely amazing. It’s really important you get on with your photographer – they are around you all day. Getting ready was a real laugh and we all instantly felt at ease all joking with each other.
Now we have the most incredible wedding photos and an absolutely breath taking video of our day that absolutely capture what it was about – love, friendship, family and fun with a lot of laughing along the way. We would 100% recommend Jon. He was fun, has a unique eye, his films are epic and he’s a top bloke! There are so many great images of the day we are going to have to buy a lot of frames!
My lovely grandpa was a very active member on The British Legion and used to sell poppies every year, and so poppies hold a very special place in my heart. However, I don’t really like red so instead I wanted to have anemones in my bouquet that look very similar but are white. All the flowers were done by Hayley at Hayley’s Flower Studio in Wilmslow – she was fantastic. I had a couple of really enjoyable meetings with her to discuss ideas and she was so enthusiastic. I was so pleased with the flowers and we got such great value – she really made the most out of our budget.
I love flowers but I also love a bargain and am very aware that although beautiful, flowers do not last forever. We also had 11 tables at our wedding, so lavish floral displays would have got very expensive. I had seen beautiful options at wedding fairs but just knew that we couldn’t afford to spend too much on them. What we did instead was get Hayley to add ivy trails, green thistle heads and rose petals to half of the tables and then me and mum made some hanging greenery hoops with copper cage fairy lights entwined to hang over the other half. All of the tables had a mixture of glass vases with candles in which had lined the aisle during the ceremony.
In the bar area, there were industrial style podium tables which we dressed with pink cut glass bottles, copper wire candle holders and some artificial flowers. We made our own photo booth area with a marble backdrop for people to take photos with a range of fun props using selfie sticks. There was also a table with ‘the box’ that started the theme on to collect cards people had bought and we added a copper wire pin board with photos of us and a fabulous pink tinsel backdrop.
I also made a sparkly sequin fairy light backdrop for us to stand in front of during the ceremony and the canvas welcome sign and table plan that I dressed with copper wire.
To keep costs down, our favours doubled up as place names. It is customary at Ukrainian weddings to have a vodka toast with the bride and groom so Paul’s mum got handy with a glass pen and personalised more than 100 shot glasses with our guests’ names. As an added bonus she also filled small bottles with a traditional Ukrainian cherry vodka for people to take home – or drink there and then!
My auntie made my mum’s wedding cake a couple of years ago and it was amazing. The plan was that she would make ours too, but a couple of weeks before the wedding she was extremely ill. As she was worried about being able to do it she arranged for one to be made by the very talented Sarah at Pretty Tasty Cake in Widnes. It was stunning! A combination of lemon and vanilla tiers with semi-naked icing and finished with some pink truffles and ivy. I made a cupid’s arrow that was positioned to look as though it had been fired through the cake. It looked great and was very yummy!
We also had a Ukrainian wedding cake, which is called a Korovai. It’s more of a sweet bread and it is decorated with birds and wheat to symbolise love and new life.
As part of our wedding package at Victoria Warehouse we got to go for a food tasting, provided by their fabulous catering company Grape & Grain Catering Co. It was the part of planning that Paul enjoyed the most and all of the choices were delicious but we decided on a starter of Serrano ham with caramelised Cabernet Sauvignon pear, rocket salad, Reggiano parmesan and olive bread followed by a main of seared chicken supreme rolled in a watercress oil, jersey royal pressing, long stem broccoli and pan jus all finished off with a desert of caramelised Braeburn apple, Braeburn apple gel, set crème anglaise and a vanilla butter crumb. Everything was so scrummy and presented beautifully – all our guests commented on how tasty it was! In the evening we had pie and peas to bring a real northern flavour to proceedings!
An empty dancefloor is such a sad sight so we knew we wanted it to be full – and the best way to do that is with a live band. We found Electric Idols when we were searching the internet and their set list had some absolute belters on it! We watched their online videos and spoke with their manager. They were brilliant organised and very accommodating – especially when I took to the stage to belt out a bit of Amy Winehouse! They were absolutely fantastic and so energetic. The band performed our first dance which was Yellow by Coldplay. Paul and I had been to see them last summer and had a really special moment to the song. Having the guys perform it gave it a real personal touch and the confetti cannons the bridesmaid set off during it made it so magical! Everyone was dancing by the end. The guys also performed an acoustic duo set during the drink reception and DJ’d between sets.
We wanted to add a few fun elements to the day and so in the bar area we had a cigar bar for people to help themselves to and a ‘tatt you’ station with personalised temporary tattoos for people to put on. We also provided flip-flops for those with sore feet, sparklers, glow sticks and umbrellas (but fortunately it didn’t rain).
The most special touch to the day (other than us getting married of course) was the performance by Podilya Youth Association Dance Ensemble. Paul’s brother Jake and his girlfriend Sophia are members of the ensemble and they dance across the country and internationally. They have even been on Got To Dance! We love to watch them dance and they were stunning! They performed a couple of dances and then got everyone up and joining in – it was so much fun and everyone loved it and thought it was so unique. We loved incorporating some of Paul’s family heritage and are so glad we did.
The team at Victoria Warehouse are fab from start to finish – the quality of everything was really great. We were just bowled over by how unique the place was and it just felt perfect for us. I can be a bit of a control freak but I felt completely confident that they had it all under control. Nina and Freya the wedding co-ordinators are just so lovely. The only thing I would advise other Victoria Warehouse brides on would be don’t wear pale coloured shoes and be prepared for your dress to get dirty – the concrete floor and white satin don’t really get on!
Looking back, it’s so, so hard to pick just one part of the day as our favourite – it was all just so brilliant. We didn’t stop smiling all day. The Ukrainian dancing was a real highlight and when we watch the video of it and see how much everyone enjoyed it, it makes our hearts soar.
Just being in one place with all the people you love and that love you is just incredible – if only it didn’t go by so quickly!
On the Monday after our wedding we went for a couple of nights to the Drunken Duck in the Lake District to have a bit of a rest after all the excitement. Then on the Thursday, we flew to Sweden for our real honeymoon adventure. We spent two night at the Tree Hotel in Harads, which was without a doubt the most stunning place we have ever seen. Whilst at the Tree Hotel we went ice fishing and on a Northern Lights photography excursion which were just brilliant. It was so intimate and magical we would love to go back and try out a couple of the other tree houses.
We then got a train north to The Ice Hotel. After a briefing of how to survive the night in sub-zero conditions, we got wrapped up and spent our first night there in an Ice Suite. The hotel is built every year, totally out of ice and snow and the ice suites are carved by artists and are all totally unique. It was such an amazing experience and actually very warm – the sleeping bags are toasty! In the morning we went husky sledging and then snowmobiling and finished the trip in one of their warm cabins.
It was the most wonderful trip we have ever been on. It was something we had always wanted to do as we both love the snow and we knew we wanted it to be just the tow of us, so what better time than for our honeymoon. It was unforgettable!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – don’t get carried away. It is so easy to and actually on the day, although all the little things are lovely, it’s more important the people you love are there and that you have fun. We spent more on the ‘big’ things like the photographer and band, but all the other things we hunted for the best price and we really questioned whether it was really important to the day.
I also regularly visited Brides Up North during the planning, in fact I’m still visiting even though our wedding has happened. I love looking at the real weddings and I got loads of ideas from there. It’s so nice to see and read how others have done it and any tips they have. Having a resource for local suppliers is so helpful and saves a lot of time finding companies in the right area.
I enjoyed planning and making things for our wedding so much that I’m going to start offering my services and products to other brides-to-be.
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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