May 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding is so full of laidback, rustic charm that I’m certain you’ll become as fully immersed in it as we have here at Brides Up North HQ.
Talk about a barn wedding at its best! The big day of Matthew and Rachel is simple, pretty and personal, with bunting, paper lanterns and haybales a-go-go. It’s enough to make you want to grab a pint, a Pug and the one you love and saunter off down a country lane. Oh go on, then…
With photography by Katie Dervin.
rachel says: We got engaged over Christmas in 2014. We were supposed to be in the house that we were renovating, but it was nowhere near ready. Despite this, Matthew decided to set up a barbecue dinner of steak and sprouts (my favourite) – until the house filled with smoke and we had to decamp to cook on the street outside at 10pm! He’d set up mini Christmas trees and other little present decorations to create some festive atmosphere, although he said that the lids of the presents were glued on. I tried to open them and, given the supposed glue, was pulling really hard – until I opened one that contained the ring and it popped out onto my plate! Matthew rushed around the table to propose – although he’s still miffed I didn’t cry!
We decided to get married on the 20th August 2016 – we were looking for a warm and sunny day.
Our ceremony venue was Mellor Church in Stockport – Matthew grew up in the parish and the views are stunning. We then went onto Thornsett Fields’ wedding barn, which is local to us, with more beautiful views and we felt we could make it just how we wanted it. It’s a super-relaxed venue.
Our theme was a sort of rustic, ‘country gent’ vibe. We didn’t want to go too traditional or formal – we just wanted everyone to relax and enjoy their day in the country. There was lots of tweed, hessian, multi-coloured flowers and careful lighting.
I wore a fitted and beaded Maggie Sottero gown from Sense and Sensibility. It wasn’t what I thought I wanted as it was strapless and a bit ‘bling’, but I loved its vintage feel. It also came with a mini cape and I wore my sister’s veil, too. Amina Shaikh Wedding Services altered my dress slightly and I would highly recommend her – but make sure you book early.
Matthew wore a white shirt, black chinos, a tweed waistcoat from a small shop in Buxton and a purple tie. The groomsmen wore the same but with brown ties and my bridesmaids wore black beaded dresses from a seller on Amazon.
In keeping with the rustic feel, I travelled to the ceremony in a Range Rover.
Our photographer was Katie Dervin. Would I recommend her? One hundred per cent yes! She was so relaxed, got shots of all parts of the day and made everything look amazing, despite the weather.
Flower-wise, I carried artificial flowers made with hessian and neutral-coloured fabrics made by Angie’s Floral Designs, as did my bridesmaids and flowergirls. Our buttonholes and corsages for parents were made in the same way. They’re such beautiful flowers and will last forever!
For the venue decor, we’d collected together some artificial flowers over the 18 months or so running up to the wedding and we’d also grown some dahlias to use. We also had some potted plants in hessian cones for the church. We rented some coloured Chinese paper lanterns and my mum made a lot of bunting.
For favours, we gave out sweets in hessian bags and some seed hearts from the British Heart Foundation. Guests had to take a polaroid picture of themselves and swap it for their favour.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we had a cheese and pork pie cake made by All Things Nice in Marple. Neither of us are big cake fans so we had a sort of ploughman’s buffet in the evening. Our main meal was a hog roast and we had scones, jam and cream served in wickers baskets for dessert. We just wanted it to be completely relaxed! A friend in the industry provided wine and the bar and we got all the spirits and soft drinks we wanted.
The Daddy-O’s from Tailored Entertainment played in the evening – they’re a country-themed group playing stringed instruments and drums, along the lines of Mumford and Sons. They did a great country music set and then a more party-ish selection of songs. They were superb, and really fitted with our theme. I used the directory on Brides Up North to investigate local bands.
As a less glamorous detail, we hired toilets from Luxury Loos and they were fantastic – we’d definitely recommend!
We’d also definitely recommend our venue. You can do almost anything there as they’re so relaxed and versatile, and every wedding they host is completely different. There are also plenty of animals, including Pugs!
Our favourite memory from the day is sitting on haybales at around 10pm watching all of our friends and family dancing away. A perfect day, so relaxed and happy – just as we’d imagined it!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be, don’t be put off doing a lot of work yourself towards your wedding – it may feel tiring and stressful but looking back at our day and all of the comments we got I’d say it was definitely worthwhile. That said, don’t get too fixated on it being ‘perfect’ – it’s the people who make it!
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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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