May 4th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s real wedding showcases a simple rustic theme paired with the dreamiest of neutral palettes.
Our bride and groom, Gill and Chris, hosted their big day at the exquisite Grade II listed Rivington Hall Barn in Bolton – think traditional Saxon beams, gorgeous fairy lighting and sprawling open grounds.
With friends and family travelling from far-flung destinations such as America and New Zealand, and others rallying round to provide help on the day itself (a special mention goes to the mother-of-the-bride) this wedding reminds us that when it comes to saying “I do” – it’s all about the people you share that special moment with.
With images by Ally M Photography
gill says: We got engaged in June 2015. We had been together for seven years and both wanted to seal our commitment and love for each other properly, in the eyes of god and all our families. We are both very fortunate to have our parents, who we very much wanted to be there with us on our special day.
We got married on Friday 19th August 2016. We chose this date as it was during the summer holidays. Both Chris and I have our birthdays on the 19th of the month too and have just moved into house number 19, so, it seems 19 is our lucky number!
Our ceremony took place at Horwich Parish Trinity Church, which is where I was baptised and confirmed. My mum tells me I went to the church at ten days old! It is also the nearest church to all our families and just two miles from our reception venue.
We then had our wedding breakfast and celebrations at Rivington Hall Barn, which is the best place to have a wedding. We both went to Rivington High School and have grown up in and around this area. Rivington Hall Barn is run by the loveliest family who were so kind, helpful and went above and beyond to make our day extra special.
We chose a rustic and natural theme, as the reception venue is a Grade II listed barn. Nothing too fancy or over the top, and sympathetic to the surroundings.
We opted for soft colours – peaches and creams – complemented by hessian to give a subtle but rustic touches.
I wore a beautiful Ivory & Co silk dress with a stunning lace bodice and cream satin waistband. I chose it for its simplicity, elegance and how it instantly felt when I tried it on! I purchased it from Bridalwear by Emma Louise in Bolton. An amazing local dressmaker, Margaret at Something Special Bridal Shop in Horwich, altered it nearer to the time and it fitted perfectly. My very clever and talented mum also added over 100 satin buttons all the way down the back of the dress and train to give it that extra special finish. I had a hand finished matching lace bolero, which I chose to keep on as it complemented the dress immensely.
Chris, along with all his groomsmen, hired suits from Brides Gallery at Heskin Hall, Chorley. The groom, best man and our fathers wore grey suits and our four boys wore a beautiful blue, with a checked waistcoat. They all wore peach ties and handkerchiefs.
Our four bridesmaids, my three nieces and Chris’s niece wore nude full-length dresses from Little Mistress at House of Fraser. They only needed slight alterations, which were done at Something Special.
I am very fortunate to have a wonderful best friend who provided all the cars for the wedding at no charge, as we all live near to the church and venue. Her husband has a car sales business, Burnett Car Sales in Adlington, so we were spoilt for choice! We also used an old family friend who has a mini bus company (Mike Haslam Mini Bus Hire, Horwich) to transport our guests from the church to Rivington Barn, which is only two miles away.
We booked Ally M Photography to capture our day, who I would highly recommend. Ally and his lovely assistant/fiancé Lucy were brilliant! I didn’t even know they were there snapping away all day and well into the evening! We wanted natural photos, not in a typical formal style. The pictures are amazing and I can’t stop looking through them and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, as they captured us both and our day so perfectly.
In terms of the flowers, I carried a natural bouquet consisting of soft peach, cream and apricot colours, which gently flowed down.
A local florist, Harrison’s Flowers, supplied all our flowers and arrangements on the day. Joanne, who I have known for a long time, pulled out all the stops and did an amazing job. My bouquet was just beautiful and even the little arrangements for the girls’ hair were exquisite.
As decoration for the venue, the centre pieces were arrangements in jugs, sprayed cream and placed onto logs with mesh tea light holders from Ikea, which were also sprayed cream. I made a prop for the table planner from an old wooden ladder that my mum dug out of a skip. I painted it and attached the table cards to it. Joanne put flowers and candles on the rungs for added effect.
For our favours my clever and extremely talented mum made more than 100 hessian bags tied with ribbon which I sourced from eBay, featuring our names and wedding date. Inside, they were filled with Hersheys Kisses. I had printed our names and wedding date onto sticky circular labels on the bottom of every chocolate. My dear friend, Helen, who came over from the States with her husband (his first time ever leaving America) provided all the chocolates in huge bags direct from the US.
My mum made the most beautiful wedding cake consisting of a top layer of lemon sponge, a chocolate tier and then fruit cake on the bottom. We bought some pretty lace ribbon and topped it off with a wooden heart.
For the wedding breakfast, we chose a starter of leek and potato soup. We then gave all our guests a choice of chicken, salmon or vegetarian for their main. A trio of summer desserts rounded off the meal. In the evening, we provided bacon butties and chips, which went down a treat with the hungry dancers.
For our entertainment, we went with the recommendation from the venue – Dance Floor Couture in Lancashire, who were brilliant. The DJ rang me a week or so before the date and chatted about what how it all worked. He then sent me a list of songs and they compiled a play list from our choices – the dance floor was packed all night! Also, a good friend who is a club DJ did a set in the middle, too, which was amazing. Thank you Barry May.
We also hired a photo booth from Angel Photography in Manchester. The booth was a great success and was packed all night. They kept a copy of each picture and gave them to us at the end of the night featuring comments from everyone. They also sent a message DVD to us. Well worth it and great fun.
As a special touch to the wedding, my mum dug out an old suitcase from her loft and I filled it with 50 pairs of flip flops – only three pairs were left at the end of the night! I also filled a basket with ladies essentials, including hairspray, deodorant, toothpaste, plasters, talc, etc. My very clever and creative sister-in-law in Australia made some lovely activity packs for the smaller children too and filled them with pens and toys to keep them occupied.
As for other suppliers we used, Art of Weddings and Events provided the chair backs and gold bows. A close friend to both of us – Craig Rotherham – designed all our stationery, printed by a local company called Craftprint in Horwich. Keeping it simple yet classy, our thumbprints were used throughout the stationery, with cream card and red for the heart thumbprints.
Following our wedding we would recommend Rivington Hall Barn to other brides and grooms. The venue was picture perfect (despite it raining all day) and spacious. The friendly, kind and very hard working staff could not do enough to make our day special. The food was outstanding too and served to perfection.
My favourite part of the wedding was having all those that we love dearly with us celebrating our special day. My brother Iain came over from Australia, and my oldest and dearest friend, Helen came from America with her husband Jeff. My other dear friend Lisa came from New Zealand and my best friend Joanne came back from her holiday in France with her husband Paul and their children especially for our wedding. It was an amazing day and we are both lucky and very happy to have celebrated it with them all.
For our honeymoon, we had planned to go travelling around Europe for a few weeks. But with Chris having his own business and me doing all his office work, we decided to take a week off and go to the island of Madeira. It was just the relaxing and quiet holiday we needed. It was beautiful and the hotel had a rooftop jacuzzi where we spent a lot of time relaxing and drinking cocktails! We took the cable car to the top of the island to take in the spectacular views.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, relax and enjoy the day. Chris was a bag of nerves, but I loved every second of the day and had a huge grin on my face from the second I woke up. Take deep breaths and enjoy your day together.
Pinterest was a great help tool for ideas and inspiration during the planning process. I also purchased a number of bridal magazines but found Brides Up North to be the most useful resource as it has lots of suppliers and ideas that were local or northern-based. When planning our wedding, we wanted to keep it local and use suppliers near to us as, we think, this makes it more personal and special on the day! (Editor’s note: hear hear Gill!)
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Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...
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