Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

muted magic. an elegant wedding at the monastery, manchester – rachael & dene

July 12th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (29)

Think formalwear, macarons and peonies galore and you’ll get an idea of the timeless class factor of today’s real wedding.

Rachael and Dene were married at stunning historical venue The Monastery in Manchester, and planned a big day that complemented rather than clashed with their spectacular surroundings. Cue a neutral palette, gold accents, dinner jackets and a gown with a fabulous illusion back, all captured in wonderful artistic detail.

Over to Rachael to tell more about a wedding that was 11 years in the making…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, ER Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (44)

rachael says: We got engaged in Barcelona in June 2016. We were at a beautiful beach restaurant relaxing on a lounge bed and drinking cocktails at the time!

We decided to get married on 22nd April 2017. This was purely down to the availability of our chosen venue – and we were committed to a spring wedding because we had to have peonies!

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (32)

Our venue was The Monastery in Gorton, Manchester. It took our breath away on first viewing and we just fell in love with it. It’s stunning.

We didn’t have a theme as such; we just decided to go for classic colours and elegance. I wanted our wedding to suit the venue, and I also love neutral tones with gold accents. We therefore went with a lot of white, cream and gold for our flowers and décor.

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I bought my dress from Proposals Bridalwear. I wanted something elegant but also a little something different, so I opted for an illusion back.

The gents’ suits were hires from John Francis Suit Hire, Harwood. Dene and his groomsmen wore blue dinner jackets. Dene had a paisley bow tie and his groomsmen wore black ties.

My bridesmaid wore a navy blue full-length dress from Monsoon.

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (28)

For our wedding transport, we hired a Mercedes C Class from, which took me from home to the venue.

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (11)

Our photographers were Jo and Joe from ER Photography. We would recommend them 100%. We love our photos and Jo and Joe were so much fun!

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (25)

Jemma Holmes was our florist and put together a beautiful rose and peony bouquet. She also created our jaw-dropping large flower displays for the venue. We had several large arrangements with roses, peonies and hydrangeas. There were also candles running along the aisle and candle arrangements on the tables.

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (27)

Food-wise, we had canapes on arrival for guests to enjoy with the drinks reception, a three-course sit down meal and an evening buffet with cheeseboard. It was all delicious! Instead of a conventional cake we went for a macaron tower, supplied by the fabulous English Rose Bakery.

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As part of our entertainment, we had a string quartet during the service and drinks reception called String Infusion. We also had an eight-piece live band in the evening called Jukebox Band, and they did three brilliant sets.

To ensure our guests were comfortable in the evening, we hired some inflatable Chesterfields from Ta-Dah Furniture and we also made sure we had Real Ale on draft from The Home Tap.

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (39)

We would definitely recommend The Monastery to other couples following our wedding. It’s absolutely stunning and the service and food are absolutely fantastic.

As far as the best moment of the day is concerned, I don’t think I can narrow it down. Having my mum walk me down the aisle was pretty special, though – and marrying the man of my dreams, of course!

An Elegant Wedding at The Monastery (c) ER Photography (1)

Our honeymoon was to New York and Antigua. We decided to have a double celebration for Dene’s 40th. It was a fantastic idea, giving us the best of both worlds!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try to relax! All of our photos show us with huge smiles on our faces and really convey how much fun we had. It was such a fantastic day and well worth the 11-year wait!

the big picture

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
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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