November 7th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
We’re often blown away by the talents of our incredible featured brides; whether it be their ability to style a theme to precision, their skills in the kitchen to create home-baked goods, or their passion for arts and crafts that results in both pretty and personal décor.
The leading lady from today’s featured wedding boasts all such assets, and had such fun styling her big day that she’s since set up a business motivated by her creativity. From an LED sign spelling out her new surname to a jigsaw guestbook and bespoke cake topper, Rebecca went to town with her homemade touches.
We’re also a little bit in love with the idea of designing your own wedding shoes – an assurance that no guest is going to steal your thunder wearing the same pair of designer heels you spent ages deliberating over and a king’s ransom purchasing. Throw this into the mix with a barbecue, ice cream and pizza feast, 500m-worth of bunting made by the bride’s nanna, a band that played all day long, vodka jellies and a cake table that was demolished by the guests in 30 minutes flat, and we reckon you’ve got a wedding to remember!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
rebecca says: Ashley proposed in August 2016, the day before we were due to fly to New York for a holiday. He pretended he had found something in the suitcase that turned out to be the ring!
I was keen not to have a long engagement as we had already been together more than ten years, so we got married on 26th August 2017 at The Out Barn in Bashall Eaves, near Clitheroe. I knew I wanted something in the countryside and we spent a week looking at different venues all over Lancashire, but nothing took our fancy. I was beginning to lose hope of finding somewhere that I liked when my maid of honour sent me a picture of The Out Barn. We had never heard of it before as it is quite a new venue but this one picture sold it to us. The barn has a huge, round main room and the huge windows look out to Pendle Hill.
I decided on a colour scheme of navy, grey and lilac for the flowers and bunting. Initially, I was going to go for bright wedding colours to contrast with the navy but found it hard to get things to coordinate!
My wedding dress was a tea-length design by Ellis with a jacket, belt and veil, all from Amelia’s Brides in Clitheroe. It was exactly like the image I’d always had in my head, so when I saw it I felt like it was fate! It was the first dress I tried on. I went to three dress shops in total and the experience I had at Amelia’s was by far the best. The girls are so lovely and welcoming.
For my shoes, I knew I wanted a chunky heel and closed toe because those are the shoes I am most comfortable in but, unlike with my dress, I couldn’t find what I had in my head, until I found Shoes of Prey! This is an Australian website where you can design your own shoes. I chose the fabric, heel height, shape, etc. and even got my name and wedding date inscribed on the inside. The whole process was a lot of fun and my shoes ended up cheaper than if I had bought them off the shelf – plus nobody has a pair like them! For the reception, I changed into silver sequinned Converse pumps.
Ashley chose to wear a blue suit, also purchased from Amelia’s, with a grey checked waistcoat. His two best men and our dads matched.
I wanted navy bridesmaid dresses from the very beginning. It’s timeless, very flattering and easy to match with other colours, so my bridesmaids wore navy blue dresses with pleated skirts from ASOS. My maid of honour had the same dress with a different neckline, so she stood out a little. Their shoes were from New Look. I felt so guilty about making them wear heels all day that I also got them some white pumps with their names on for the evening.
On the day of the wedding, I got ready with my mum and bridesmaids in the cottage at the top of the road to The Out Barn. One of my bridesmaid’s friends, Katie Ralphs, did the bridal party’s makeup and Sam Gateley did our hair. I wish they could come to my house before every night out!
As we didn’t need to travel far to the venue, my brother drove the bridesmaids in two trips in our mum’s car. I loved this because it meant I got to see him before the wedding. For the last trip, my dad drove mum’s car back up to pick up my maid of honour and me. My dad can get quite emotional, so I made sure we didn’t hang around and got straight in the car because I didn’t want to cry!
Our photographer was the amazing Hayley Baxter and I would recommend her in a heartbeat. We really do not like having our photo taken and we didn’t want to miss out on too much of the wedding due to taking photos; Hayley really took this on board. Her photos are amazing and I think really capture how happy everyone was on the day. We will treasure them forever.
I carried a bouquet of white hydrangeas and various purple flowers. The bridesmaids all had a miniature version of my bouquet, and the men had a mixture of our flowers in their buttonholes. They were beautiful and were all supplied by Ewood Florist.
Apart from flowers from Ewood Florist and blossom trees from Bride’s Little Helper, I did all of the decorations for the venue myself. I embellished the flower jars and made the LED ‘Turner’ sign, the table plan on the ladders, the log slice place settings for the bridal party, the order of the day sign and the jigsaw guestbook. I enjoyed this process so much that I have since purchased my own laser cutter and started my own business producing invitations, décor and gifts. Honeycut Creative is on Instagram – you can follow me at @honeycutcreative – and I’m taking orders for November onwards. In addition, my nanna helped me to make about 500m of bunting, which we strung around the room and on the outside of the building.
As favours, I made little jars of gin and tonic, vodka or cheeky Vimto jelly for each of our adult guests and strawberry jelly for the children. The guests’ names were on tags attached to the jars, so they doubled up as place names. It was really fun to see my grandparents slurping their vodka jellies after the meal!
For the cake, it was always going to be Finch Bakery. We chose three tiers – strawberry white chocolate, chocolate caramel and cherry Bakewell. It was delicious, and the cake topper was made by Honeycut Creative (me!). We also had a dessert table by LouLou’s Meringues. We had meringues, macarons, brownies and cake balls all in different cocktail flavours and I put out gift bags so that people could take home whatever they wanted. The entire cake and dessert table was gone within half-an-hour!
We didn’t want a traditional three-course meal. Instead, we opted for a barbecue menu, including burgers, sausages and pulled pork by Pig and Rhubarb. This was a highlight of the day and people are still commenting on how good the burgers were. People were telling me before the wedding that I probably wouldn’t eat much on the day but this was absolutely not true! We also had ice cream by the Milk Maids after the ceremony, which everyone loved. They even did personalised wafers! And we had pizzas by The Woodland Rover later on in the evening.
We chose The Kicks as our wedding band. We liked that they could play all day long and everyone really enjoyed the outdoor acoustic set. They walked among the guests and played request after request. Then at night they got everyone dancing. They were fantastic.
Ashley’s best man Danny made us a fire pit as a wedding present for the evening and this was lit at night. The younger guests enjoyed toasting marshmallows and it made for a really nice atmosphere outside.
Following our wedding, I would absolutely recommend our choice of venue: the views, the outdoor space, the blank canvas, the exclusivity, the cottage you get ready in and stay in on the wedding night, the fact you get time before the wedding to set up and the amazing Richard who takes all the stress out of organising a wedding – I can’t thank him enough.
There are so many favourite moments from the day: waiting to go down the aisle when nobody could see me and hearing the music we had picked start to play; seeing Ashley look so smart in his suit – and also seeing him finally relax after quite a stressful pre-wedding week! When my little cousins brought out the bride and groom garden gnomes, seeing all our friends and family look so happy and enjoying the day, and also the dancing!
For our honeymoon, we went to New York and stayed on the same street we stayed on during the trip after Ashley proposed. We also have a second honeymoon in the Dominican Republic planned for April – our first sunshine holiday together!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to do it all your way. There are no rules when planning a wedding, so don’t do something just because it’s what normally happens. If you don’t want speeches, don’t have them. If you want ice cream, burgers, cake and pizza (in that order), go for it! The most important thing is that you both have fun.
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Aislinn has a background in journalism, having filled all manner of publishing roles from editor to copywriter to feature writer. She is a former wedding photographer who ran her own business with her husband Michael. Together, they have travelled as far as Australia to photograph a client’s wedding (and spent all their earnings on a campervan trip up the Aussie coast!). Aislinn left wedding photography behind to take on the biggest commitment of her life as mummy to her young son Tom. She has been a bride, bridesmaid and even best woman (she has the speech to prove it!), which is almost all angles covered!
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