May 9th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re contemplating an autumn date for your special day, then this afternoon’s real wedding will have you falling head over heels for this beautiful time of the year. Think rich jewelled tones, café au lait dahlias and a picture-perfect sunset, and you’ll get a fair idea of what to expect.
Our couple, Catherine and Frazer, tied the knot at Whirlowbrook Hall, a gorgeous manor house set within 39 acres of landscaped gardens. Plumping for a navy blue and pewter colour scheme, their elegant vintage-inspired theme works beautifully with the venue’s classic backdrop.
As you’ll see, there are so many Pinterest-worthy highlights from their special day – the stunning four-tiered cake (complete with edible sequins) is a favourite, and I just love the bride’s statement blue shoes!
With images by Mylo Photography
catherine says: We got engaged on our seven-year anniversary, at home, on 27th December 2014, on what was a lovely crisp wintery morning. I had been dropping not so subtle hints about getting married for about a year but Frazer kept saying I’d have to wait and see as our anniversary was coming up.
The day dawned and he made me breakfast. He called me through for my sausage sandwich. I put the ketchup on and flipped the top slice of bread onto the sandwich. Neatly carved into the bread was “will you marry me?”. I think I actually said, “Oh go on then!”. Because of the snow we were unable to visit our families to share the good news for about a week!
We got married on 16th October 2016. We always knew we wanted an autumn wedding, as we love autumnal colours. Plus a sunny autumn day can be so beautiful. As it turned out, it rained heavily until about an hour before the ceremony and then stayed sunny and dry. We got some fabulous photos with the autumn sunset too.
We hosted our ceremony and reception at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield. We hadn’t intended to go and see Whirlowbrook, as my sister had always wanted to get married there and I didn’t want to copy. We had gone to two wedding fairs nearby, and heard that Whirlowbrook was also holding one. We thought we’d go and see the suppliers rather than the venue, but as soon as we walked in, we knew we’d get married there! The atmosphere was so special, the staff were friendly and attentive, and the Hall and grounds are stunning. We also liked the fact that we’d get exclusive use of the venue for the day, and it was small enough to be intimate, yet still had enough space for everyone.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we went for an autumnal vintage elegance feel. Hopefully we captured the richness of the season and matched the grandeur of the hall with classic decorations, but still managed to do things a bit differently.
We opted for a navy blue and pewter/silver colour scheme. We wanted jewel tones for that rich autumnal feel and settled on navy as a colour which would be easy to co-ordinate. We didn’t want bright silver so settled on a darker more antique silver/pewter for our metallic accents. We also incorporated cream and ivory to lighten the overall look.
I got my dress – the Alfred Angelo 216 Cinderella gown – in a sample sale. I knew I wanted a mermaid/fishtail style, but something a bit different. As soon as I put the dress on, I knew it was ‘the one’. My seamstress, Bride by Katie-Lou Designs, handmade a bolero and matched the lace to the detail on the bodice of the dress, it was perfect! I also wore a long one-tier veil.
My lovely bridesmaid Adele let me wear her antique pearl necklace as my something borrowed. Pearl is also my birthstone, which tied in nicely.
I chose bright blue Irregular Choice shoes for a pop of colour, they were fabulous and I got so many compliments.
Frazer wore a three-piece navy suit with textured detail, from Hammond & Co by Patrick Grant, and a grey tie that matched the groomsmen and father-of-the-bride (also Hammond & Co).
The bridesmaids, my sister Mary and best friend Adele, wore navy blue dresses with silver detailing from Monsoon. They picked slightly different designs, but they were the same colour, material and style so they matched perfectly, and they were both comfortable in the style they chose.
We didn’t want all the groomsmen and father-of-the-bride in the same matching suits, so we asked that they all wore a navy blue suit, and we got them all matching grey ties which worked really well.
Adele’s little boy, Gillan was the cutest page boy – he had a little trousers and waistcoat set with braces and a dickie bow.
On the day of the wedding, I got ready at the venue and so didn’t have transport as such, but my dad has two classic cars, and kindly decorated his MGB for us to use in our pictures. Frazer, meanwhile, arrived in his best man Lee’s Jaguar, and was on time for once!
We booked Mylo Photography to capture our day, who were fantastic! We loved the style of their work and booked them quite quickly after we got engaged. We had an engagement shoot with them in April 2016 and got some fabulous photos out in the countryside. It was a long wait to the wedding from then, but we always felt like we were the only couple on their books, they communicated regularly and gave us some helpful advice. The photos are absolutely stunning, and the colours are amazing. We didn’t want formal or staged photos and I think Kieran’s images really tell the whole story of the day.
Moss and Clover provided the flowers, bridesmaid bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and ceremony/top table arrangement. I love flowers and I had the most gorgeous bouquet! I had café au lait dahlias, bright blue delphiniums, thistles, cream avalanche roses, brunia, eucalyptus, ranunculus, dark berries and aliums. Emma brought the most amazing flowers on the day, exactly as I had imagined.
Emma is queen of succulents, and I had an echeveria pearl succulent in my bouquet. She wire wraps them ‘live’ so the succulent is now potted up in pride of place on my kitchen windowsill in an old glass sweet jar which belonged to my nanna (who unfortunately couldn’t make it on the day due to ill health).
Apart from the ceremony and top table arrangement we DIY’d most of the decorations. We had white chrysanthemums on the tables with mirror plates, assorted tealights and scatter crystals.
My mum helped make the watercolour wedding signs (which we managed to incorporate our cats into!). My mum and sister helped make tissue paper tassel garlands for the sweet and cake tables. I also made some lace dream catchers to hang in the windows, I secured delicate lace into embroidery hoops, and attached a chandelier crystal drop to the bottom to catch the light. They looked so wonderful with the autumn sunshine streaming through the ceremony room windows.
We had a sweet table as our favours, which seemed to be well received – the table was empty by the end of the night!
We chose a four-tier wedding cake, made by Amanda Bentham of Amanda’s Cakes. I saw a design on Pinterest I liked, with a few tweaks, and Amanda helped my vision come to life. We had three different flavours; the top and bottom tiers were lemon, the middle two were toffee, and vanilla and raspberry. We took the top tier on our mini-moon to enjoy! The cake was delicious and really striking, again we didn’t want something typically ‘wedding’, the edible sequins and ruffled fondant were a real talking point.
For our wedding meal, we had tomato and basil soup with garlic croutons to start, baked chicken in prosciutto with fondant potato and vegetables for main, and chocolate orange choux buns for dessert, followed by tea, coffee and mints. It was all absolutely delicious!
For our drinks reception we had a ‘bride’s drink’ and a ‘groom’s drink’ for people to choose from; gin and cranberry juice, and bottles of Peroni respectively. We also provided a keg of real ale from local brewery, Farmers Blonde from Bradfield Brewery.
Music-wise, we booked We Have You Covered through Warble Entertainment. We looked through their diverse set list and they had all the music we love, from Arctic Monkeys to Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, George Ezra, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Daft Punk. They are a local band so we saw a few of their performances online and loved them. They were absolutely brilliant. They even let my cousin’s little boy play on a proper drum set which he loved!
As a special touch, we had a few subtle hints to relatives who had passed away. My grandad grew chrysanthemums so we had a simple arrangement of those in the entrance to the venue. We also had thistles in the buttonholes to remember Frazer’s grandad, who was Scottish, and our polar bear cake topper was in tribute to Frazer’s dad.
We named the tables after our favourite places in New York, Bethesda Terrace, the Highline etc to tie in with our honeymoon location.
We also had music from some of our favourite films during the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Rey’s Theme from Star Wars, then we had music from Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, and Jurassic Park for the signing of the register. We then walked out to Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars as we wanted something upbeat.
As for other suppliers we used – Pretty Chairs, who provided the chair covers and sashes. I didn’t like the standard wedding chair bows, so they tied them in a cross over pattern and added cream foam roses for an extra touch.
Peaches & Preen did the hair and makeup for my two bridesmaids, my mum and myself. The ladies were great, our hair and makeup stayed in place and perfect all day.
Tiago Jewellery made Frazer’s wedding ring from Sheffield steel. He decided on a hammered, textured look, and they invited us to the workshop to actually do the hammering and finishing of the ring, which was great fun!
We would recommend our choice of wedding venue without hesitation. All the guests commented on how perfect everything was, from the venue and the food to the staff on the day. Lucy guided us through everything expertly, she answered my (many) questions and made sure everything was in place ready for the big day. Danny, the master of ceremonies looked after us on the big day, he kept us informed and made sure everything ran smoothly. Our day was beautiful, so well organised and relaxed, there were no hiccups and everything looked wonderful, and I can’t give enough thanks to the wonderful staff at Whirlowbrook for that!
I think my favourite part of the day was getting to the end of the aisle, turning to look at my groom and seeing the joy on his face. He simply whispered “wow”. We also took a quick trip out into Derbyshire for some stunning photos after the wedding breakfast. It was nice to spend a little time away by ourselves. After all the evening guests had arrived, I remember just looking around and realising all those people were there for us, and how loved we are.
After the wedding, we had a mini-moon to Anglesey a few days. We stayed in a converted windmill with a hot tub overlooking the sea! We’re planning our honeymoon to New York for our one-year anniversary as we really want to see Central Park in the autumn.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – enjoy the planning, but don’t get too lost in the little details. Don’t be afraid to break away from the norm and do things a little differently, it’s your day and you can’t (and shouldn’t have to) please everyone. Finally, take a little time out with each other to really take in the day, it really does go so fast!
During the planning process, I also really enjoyed reading the real wedding features on Brides Up North, which gave us inspiration and ideas. Knowing that these featured real couples and weren’t just photoshoots made the ideas seem more achievable.
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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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