July 17th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Fitness vloggers Lainey and her beau Lex are no strangers to the limelight, but Lainey confesses in today’s real wedding that the couple had considered eloping. All we can say is praise the wedding gods they didn’t, as instead we have this super-quirky and colourful big day full of rustic-themed inspiration to obsess over.
With almost half a million Instagram followers between them, not to mention their epic YouTube following, it’s no surprise that the couple turned to the social media platform for big day inspiration. More used to donning gym gear than formalwear, Lainey admits that the idea of dress shopping was “a bit of a nightmare” – however, Instagram saved the day and led her to the one: a simple and slinky lace number which accentuated her gym-honed curves.
So, over to Lainey to tell us more about a celebration featuring donkeys, llamas and vintage tractors, plus some great advice on how to DIY your socks off.
With images by Rustic Lovebirds Photography.
lainey says: We got engaged in New York. I surprised Lex with a trip to NYC for his birthday in November 2016. I‘d planned a number of surprises on the trip: nice restaurants, tickets for The Lion King on Broadway and, of course, tickets to go up the Empire State Building – and we decided it would be fun to dress like complete tourists to head up the famous tower. I had no idea he planned to surprise me, getting down on one knee at the top of the Empire State. I was in complete shock!
We booked our wedding as soon as we returned to the UK. I‘d waited three years for him to propose and didn’t want to wait to get married! I knew I wanted an intimate but quirky wedding and started researching barns in the area that could host our day. We visited The Wellbeing Farm, in Lancashire, and fell in love; Celia and all the staff were so helpful and enthusiastic about all the crazv ideas we had.
I wanted a May wedding – I love it when all of the springtime flowers are in bloom – and so we chose 6th May.
Both the ceremony and reception were held at the Wellbeing Farm. Lex’s Mum, Jane Griffin, is a wedding celebrant and she married us on the day.
We went for a rustic wedding theme. I wanted to have a lot of white lace with bright colours to contrast. My favourite colours are orange, red and yellow and, although they’re quite autumnal colours, I think they worked well on the day.
I’ve never been a girl who dreamed of a big white wedding and, honestly, if I’d had my choice we probably would have eloped. Shopping for a wedding dress, therefore, felt like a bit of a nightmare! However, Instagram was a great source of inspiration and I came across Australian wedding dress company Grace Loves Lace. They had simple yet elegant designs – I feel like wedding dresses are moving towards simpler, more elegant lines in general. You correspond via email and get help with choosing a style you like, then you send in your exact measurements and voila – six weeks before the wedding my dress arrived and it fit like a glove! I chose to design my own shoes as I couldn’t find ones to match and I used online shoe company Shoes Of Prey. The first pair arrived and I didn’t like them – plus they didn’t fit properly – but I simply returned them, requested adjustments and they came back perfect.
Our wedding rings were designed and made by Two Become One Jewellery.
Lex left ordering his and his groomsmen’s outfits until the last minute – however, he found the perfect ones from Marc Darcy in Manchester. He chose to accent the tweed three-piece suits with red socks and red ties.
I found the perfect red bridesmaid dresses from ASOS.
The bridal party stayed in Barons Farm, beside Wellbeing Farm, the night before the wedding. It was the perfect place to relax and drink some champagne and the next morning we had fun getting ready in the beautiful location with makeup artist Louise Hall taking care of our hair and makeup. She did an amazing job!
Rustic Lovebirds were our photographers. They come as a team, which was great, as we were at separate locations on the morning of the wedding and wanted to capture images from both sides. They’re reasonably priced and worked really hard on the day to capture all of the key moments.
My mother-in-law, Jane, made my bouquet and all of the decorations, the bridesmaids’ flowers and groomsmen’s buttonholes were made by me – I didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding so everything from the place settings to the favours was done by hand. Amazon, eBay and Etsy became my best friends while planning the wedding; I also used Pinterest and Instagram as sources of inspiration. I’m a big believer that you can have an amazing and magical wedding day without getting into crazy debt – remember, your wedding day will be memorable, but the rest of your life together is what you’re really celebrating.
Our favour boxes contained customised Love Heart Sweets, a miniature Reeses cup (my favourite chocolate) with a customised sticker on the back and a drinks token for the bar.
Before the ceremony we had bottles of tequila laid out for guests and a sign inviting them to “take a shot and your seat”. We also had coloured balloons attached to the back of each guest’s chair which formed a sort of coloured ceiling either side of the aisle. After the ceremony, we asked everyone to take their balloons outside and we released them simultaneously which was an awesome photo.
Our cake came from one of my Instagram inspirations: Cake Tin Delights, based in Blackpool. We discussed the wedding theme with owner Kelly and how the cake could match it and she created a work of art. Plus, it could have fed an army – I still have some frozen ready to be eaten on our anniversary!
The food and wine were all provided by The Wellbeing Farm. Lex and I love food – this was probably the most important aspect of the day. The venue didn’t let us down; I’m still getting emails from friends complimenting the amazing food.
I decided to keep the entertainment simple. This kept the costs down but we still had an awesome night of music. During the ceremony and the drinks reception which followed we had the amazing Lucy Styles. Her voice is simply amazing and she really made this part of the day extra special. Following the wedding breakfast, we had a DJ who played all our favourite music.
I couldn’t recommend The Wellbeing Farm more to anyone getting married. Not only is the venue in an idyllic location but it’s so quirky that you’re guaranteed a day to remember. The staff were on hand from day one with useful suggestions. They have donkeys and llamas and loads of different ‘extras’ which make for abundant and original photo opportunities! The food was incredible; from the tasty canapés and cocktails to the massive platters of food for the wedding breakfast. All dietary requirements were catered for and all guests were treated impeccably. There was a brew station available for tea and coffee all day and we had pizzas fresh from their own pizza oven in the evening – just delicious. I could go on – we simply cannot thank Celia and her staff enough for making our day so memorable.
Looking back, I’m not sure I could choose just one standout moment from the day. I couldn’t stop smiling and I think that speaks volumes. And I danced so hard that I had no choice but be carried across the threshold by my new husband!
We’re still trying to plan our honeymoon. So much work went into planning our wedding day that we haven’t booked a proper honeymoon…yet. We like the idea of going on safari in Kenya but we’re still open to suggestions.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t spend too much money on insignificant things. Yes, you have to spend a certain amount of money on venues and so on, but where you can DIY, do it! Enjoy the day – and, more importantly, enjoy each other!
To see more from Lainey and Lex, follow their YouTube channels:
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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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