July 8th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Life is not a solo act and, funnily enough, neither is love. Today on the blog we’re showcasing the very special celebration of a couple whose laidback wedding day was a full-on creative collaboration.
Working in theatre and running a choir, they had musician and dressmaker contacts aplenty to call upon and a stack of guests happy to take part in their ‘open mic night’. They hired a fish and chip van, banned place settings and tables – no tables, I repeat no tables! – and the bridesmaids put together their own super-simple bouquets. The result is a unique, joyous and wonderfully relaxed wedding.
Enjoy the laughter, love and a stunning emerald dress that deserves all the heart eyes.
With photography by S R Taylor Photography.
cheryl says: We got engaged in the kitchen at home. After lots of negative answers, Paul asked me to marry him one morning on the doorstep as I was leaving for work. This time however, I said “maybe”. For the next week Paul text me at regular intervals asking “how about now?” Then on the evening in question, Paul said (again!) “how about now?” And I replied, ‘Well, maybe if you had a ring”. He ran upstairs to get the ring he’d already bought and another plastic ring that my eldest son had gifted him for this very purpose but couldn’t find it, so grabbed a roll of electrical tape. He presented me with the tape and I feigned delight, trying it on for size and pretending it was great (despite being a poor fit!). Paul then got down on one knee and opened the real ring box. Suddenly I noticed it and asked what it was. He said it was an engagement ring and asked again if I would marry him. I finally caved, and the rest is history!
Our wedding date was 22nd April 2017. We both have busy work lives in the theatre and three children and it was a rare weekend that we could make work.
We had two ceremonies: first up, a very small registry office legal ceremony with our family and witnesses followed by a meal in ASK.
The following day we had our planned celebration which was held in the gardens at Woodend Creative in Scarborough, followed by the reception, which was held in Woodend’s three gallery spaces.
We had an apple theme which emerged from us choosing green as a colour scheme – it’s our favourite colour. A quick web search for green wedding cakes showed us several that used apples in their design and we were drawn to those. We then found out that apples are an ancient symbol of love!
My dress was made by the freelance costume supervisor we use at the theatre where we both work. I wanted something that was beautiful, bridal (but not necessarily white) and unique with a vintage feel.
Paul and the four best men wore matching three-piece tweed suits from Marc Darcy with green ties and handkerchiefs. Our sons wore similarly coloured three-piece suits that we sourced through an eBay supplier.
The bridesmaids wore off-the-peg dresses from John Lewis, which my chief bridesmaid managed to find. They were white with a green flower pattern and an elegant vintage feel. Our daughter was our flower girl and she wore a dress made by a friend inspired by an image we’d found online. We bought some gypsophila and daisies from the nearest florist and the bridesmaids made the bouquets themselves.
Sam Taylor, a friend, was our photographer. His photographs are a fantastic representation of the day; he absolutely captured the feeling and spirit as everyone remembers it. We would recommend him wholeheartedly to anyone. He was unobtrusive and happy to follow our last-minute changes during the day. The pictures he took are beautiful and filled with such joy.
The Party Unicorn, a new company set up by a friend, did all the party décor and followed the apple theme with her own personal twist, which was wonderfully appropriate and beautiful. The chairs for the ceremony came from Black Event Furniture, who provided a great service with zero hassle!
There were no tables or place settings and we felt that the day flowed more easily as a result.
We had a three-tier cake with white icing and green ribbons supported by green apples. The top tier was carrot cake, the middle tier was chocolate and the bottom tier was Victoria sponge. It was made by yet another friend and, unbelievably, we forgot to cut it!
Due to a family bereavement, our original caterers had to drop out with ten days to go. So we replaced our entirely vegetarian buffet-style meal with a fish and chip van from the Frying Stocksman. Desserts were supplied by various friends and the mobile bar was arranged through another friend.
We asked our guests to provide the entertainment themselves with an open mic night. Paul’s band played for the first half-an-hour, my Funky Choir did 45 minutes and our guests took turns to do the rest. We’re lucky in that our friends are mainly creative and musical types and many of them make their living from performing!
We wanted the feel of the day to be very relaxed and for people to feel very much part of things, so the guests were all invited for the whole celebration and could be as involved as they wanted.
We would definitely recommend our choice of venue to other couples. It was beautiful, the staff were helpful and we were given full access to the place to make it entirely our own.
Our favourite moment from the day was definitely during the outdoor ceremony, with everyone singing together and the easy feel that the day created.
We haven’t been on honeymoon yet but we’ve booked to have a week in Mallorca in September – the next available date when we can have time off together!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do it the way you want to; it’s your day to enjoy in the best way you can. Other people will want to impose themselves and their views upon you and this can impede your joy. Also, don’t spend too long planning. The important bit is when you say “I do” and “I will” and that’s the feeling you’ll want to remember for ever.
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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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