August 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Even as we creep closer to Autumn (I know, I know, I’m sorry!), a good old English country garden summer wedding still gives us all the feels. And Sarah and Daniel’s glorious big day at Meols Hall, Tithe Barn, is just the ticket if you’re looking to inject some rustic charm and countryside elegance into your ceremony and reception.
There’s a stunningly simple Pronovias gown, homegrown British garden blooms, a subtle colour palette that Farrow and Ball would be proud of and some seriously classy designer elements – Jenny Packham shoes and a Tiffany bracelet as a wedding morning gift from the groom.
These pictures have a lovely sun-soaked charm, full of intimate joy and relaxed laughter – just the vibe this gorgeous pair were going for, and the perfect end to another beautiful week on the blog.
With images by Bobtale Photography.
sarah says: For our engagement, Dan surprised me with a trip to the Cotswolds; it’s a place I’d wanted to go for a long time. He booked a cottage called ‘The Old Smithy’ in a village called Kingham. We were celebrating our ten year anniversary together that year.
Whilst I went to freshen up after the long journey, Dan set about preparing the cottage, filling it completely with candles, flowers and champagne on ice. He’d even set up the table with vintage cutlery given to my mum and dad as a wedding present back in the day!
When I walked through I found him with our six-month-old Cockapoo puppy, Waffle, who was dressed to impress in a Harris tweed bow tie!
He’d had a book made with a wax stamp seal on the cover reading “D️+S” and he’d filled it with nine polaroid pictures from each of the years we’d been together – with one missing on the final page. The book also contained the poem ‘I carry your heart’ by EE Cummings and the final verse of the poem was on the last page. Dan got down on one knee and removed the final verse of the poem to reveal a hollowed-out section containing an engagement ring and an empty section to fill with the tenth image! The poem was read at our wedding, which was very special.
We announced it with a picture using vintage lexicon letter cards spelling out ‘She Said Yes’ and Waffle proudly leaning over the table!
We were married on Saturday 10th June 2017 – I’d always wanted a June wedding. We had our ceremony and reception at Meols Hall Tithe Barn in Southport.
We’d attended a wedding at Meols Hall around three years previously and, at that moment, knew that would be our chosen venue. It was just our style, and we really wanted it to be ‘us’. It was the most important decision we made.
Our theme was ‘English country garden’. We chose it to go along with the Cotswolds feel; a sort of relaxed, wildflower, rustic vibe. We also wanted a more informal day so that our guests felt relaxed.
We went for pastel colours, dove greys, blues and blush pinks. We felt the more subtle colours would create the relaxed feel we were going for – we definitely didn’t want to have everything in one colour which we felt could look a little harsh.
My dress was Pronovias and purchased at Brides of Liverpool. I went to the store and tried on a number of dresses, but it was only when I went back a second time that I saw ‘the one’. It was very fitted and felt it was a more classical look rather than flashy.
My bridesmaids’ dresses were from ASOS and were in different styles. The groomsmen wore suits from Next and the same tie as Dan.
Our wedding car was a Vintage VW Splitscreen, hired from Just Joy Events, Rainford.
Our day was captured by Bobtale Photography. Robyn was great; she made us feel at ease throughout the whole day. She understood exactly what style of pictures we liked and she really delivered. Nothing was too much; Robyn is a lovely person and a number of our guests commented on how much she blended in, making them feel at ease. From the day we booked her, she was amazing. We would definitely recommend Robyn to anyone.
Petal and Twig provided the flowers; they were handpicked wild flowers from her garden. The colours were lovely and were exactly what I’d described to her. Everyone commented on how fantastic they looked.
We then used the wedding breakfast flowers to decorate the reception room together with lots and lots of candles to create a cosy feeling.
Other decorative features included using names of places in the Cotswolds for our table names. The top table was ‘The Old Smithy’ – the cottage in which Dan proposed.
Dan made our “She Said Yes” table plan from a picture frame, plaited twine and mini pegs. We also incorporated the polaroid images from the proposal. We used various items from our own home such as candleholders to decorate the barn and placed handstamped heart “S+D” clay tags on each of the centrepieces.
For favours, we went for toffee sweets. We put them in a square box with pastel coloured raffia paper tied in a bow and a hand stamped nametag for each of the guests which doubled as a place card. We made all 61 of them at home during the build-up the wedding, painstakingly erecting the boxes, tying the bows and stamping each name on the tags with the individual letters. Dedication!
Our cake was a lemon naked cake by Elizabeth Harris Cakes decorated with edible wild flowers. As a topper, we used a wooden lasercut ‘Daniel & Sarah’ which were favours from a close friend’s wedding – we wanted to surprise them!
For the wine and prosecco, we went to Aldi. We spent time trying different wines and decided which we liked the most.
Our food started with the canapes: lamb koftas with minted yogurt and maple-glazed pork belly with crisp scratching and cox’s pippin. The wedding breakfast starter was Lancashire pea and ham soup, the main was chicken breast with tarragon, tomato and red wine sauce and fondant potato and our dessert was the delicious aforementioned cake! The meal was provided by Carringtons Catering and both the food and their service was superb. Later, we had a hog roast from Graham Eyes for the evening reception. It was delicious!
We did our own wedding breakfast playlist and we incorporated the first dance songs from recent weddings we’d attended whilst planning ours. Most of the couples noticed and it was nice to see their surprised faces – it really brought back their special memories.
Our music in the evening was provided by The Deltatones. We booked them well in advance – they had excellent reviews and an amazing selection of music. They even allowed my cousin Elyse to sing a song with them – Proud Mary!
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend our choice of venue – it was the most perfect thing about the day. We choose it for a reason – the reason being that it’s absolutely stunning! Also, the planners do everything in their power to make you feel at ease.
Our top moment? Probably seeing all the guests together having made so much effort to be there. The wedding breakfast was such a lovely part of the day, with everybody chatting and laughing around the tables.
For our minimoon, we stayed in Wise Cottage in Wiltshire, which we found on AirBnB. It was a chocolate box-style cottage with low ceilings, wonky floors and the most spectacular views. We had plenty of champagne and days out to the coast, lots of visits to country pubs and strolls around lovely villages. It couldn’t have been more perfect for us. Then we go to Bali in September – we can’t wait!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be something we were told many times before the big day – make sure you spend some time together on the day. To be honest, that was the best advice we were given. You need to spend time relaxing and simply enjoying what you’ve spent so long planning – don’t stress about little things which nobody will notice!
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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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