May 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Sarah and Chris’ chic city wedding was held at the stunningly eclectic Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. They wanted a laidback day that was big on personal touches and low on formality and, by Jove, they got it.
Their photographs prompted a strange, hybrid emotion in the Brides Up North team. A smidgen of envy, a touch of nostalgia, and more than a little bit of excitement for long, hazy summer days and barbecue season on the horizon.
Ladies, please. Check out that classic hourglass dress, that gypsophila headband and those perfectly #bridesquad personalised sliders and tell us you don’t feel your heart tremble.
Images by Delicious Photography
sarah says: Our engagement was just brilliant. As we’d been together for 12 years, I thought it wouldn’t happen; Chris had planned a normal Christmas Day morning with lots of presents so that I wouldn’t suspect a thing. Later, we went for Christmas dinner with my family. We were all sitting there and he made an announcement in front of them all. It was a such special moment and totally not us. My granddad was poorly at the time so it was extra special and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
We were married on 14th October 2016, we were desperate to get married in the same year. Great John Street, our chosen venue, was booked up but we managed to get a cancellation.
We had our hearts set on Great John Street in Manchester city centre from the beginning. It’s a 5* eclectic hotel, with stunning décor that matches my style exactly. We had a simple brief: we wanted live music all day and no sit-down formal table plan. We ended up having a barbecue on the roof terrace and it was perfect for us.
Our theme was pretty relaxed. I had one décor specification and that was lots and lots of flowers and candles. We had a photo booth that our friends set up for a giggle and got our wish of live music all day long.
Colour-wise, I went for white. However, we also chose a dusky tan for the bridesmaid dresses and my dress also had a faint tan/pink coloured underlay.
I chose a very fitted dress with a classic hourglass shape from Adele Howarth-Winstanley Bride in Upper Mill. To me, the lace created a vintage feel about it and I was desperate to find a dress that had a hint of colour.
Chris wore French navy tails, from Best Man with a mustard waistcoat, navy polka dot tie, a handkerchief and a pocket watch.
The groomsmen’s suits were similar to Chris’, also from Best Man. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from ASOS and were long, dusky-coloured, high-neck pleated gowns.
For transport, I surprised Chris and his best man with an Aston Martin and a Porsch – their dream cars. You could say that they arrived in style!
Our photographer was Kathryn Jefferson of Delicious Photography.
Jenna Homes was our florist, who created my large bouquet of roses and hydrangeas.
In the run-up to the wedding day I followed Brides Up North on Instagram and visited all of the Cheshire wedding shows to get some ideas. For the venue, I hired blossom trees with hanging tea lights and had gypsophila everywhere – in a runner along the back of the venue and in lots of scattered cut glass vases in different shapes and sizes. I also used candles all around the venue and lanterns lined the aisle. I’ve amassed a big collection of cut glass over the years and used this, too.
As our favours, we left tokens on everyone’s chairs for two free drinks. We also provided a photo booth, a huge pick ‘n’ mix table with lots of handmade treats, such as lips and moustache chocolate lollies, and a cake table with bride and groom cupcakes.
We had a wedding cake fruit cake made by Chris’ mum that was on the cake table with our cupcakes. We also had a large tiered cheese cake with all of our favourite cheeses. Later in the day, we cut it all up and served it with a huge pork pie, crackers and chutneys.
As a personal touch to the food and drink, I set up a ‘Pimp My Prosecco’ table with mixers, cassis and fruit to make the prosecco. To eat, we ha canapes after the service followed by a stunning barbecue with lots of delicious meat and fish options.
As entertainment, we had a band called Amped Up. One singer did an acoustic set as I walked down the aisle and then during the ceremony. Later, a trio performed as our guests helped themselves to canapes. In the evening they provided a DJ; I provided all the music choices and they did two amazing live sets.
We prided ourselves on packing our day with beautiful, personal touches. First off, we treated our mums to stunning flower corsages. I gave all my bridesmaids handmade hangers with dressing gowns and delicate bracelets with their initials on. We brought each other beautiful gifts: I treated Chris to a Tag watch and I was given handmade diamond earrings to match my engagement ring. My mum and dad also treated me to a stunning diamond necklace.
Having our wedding at Great John Street felt like a dream from start to finish. It was brilliant to have a very relaxed day with zero formality all under one roof. We were so lucky with the weather and made the most of the roof terrace, but we drew the line at hopping into the hot tub!
I’ll always remember the moment Chris and I walked out of the ceremony room, we had a small but very emotional few seconds where it was just the two of us. It was extremely special.
For our honeymoon, we went to Bali. It was a holiday of a lifetime!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure that you do everything that you’ve ever dreamed of to the day extra special; all the little personal touches really make it. And stop thinking about what other people will think. I nearly changed the whole style of our wedding and had a formal sit-down meal. Now looking back, I’m thrilled I didn’t: the barbecue was ace!
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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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