December 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Most brides spend the morning of their wedding getting pampered and preened in preparation for their impending nuptials, but today’s featured bride spent her final ‘un-wed hours’ completing her 50th Park Run. Now that’s some fitness dedication!
Stepping out in a charity-shop-bought wedding gown to mark her special day and the milestone run, Laura was joined by fellow members of the Lymm Runners running club as she completed the 5km course at Victoria Park in Warrington, before heading to a nearby café in her home village of Lymn for a Bucks Fizz brunch.
But worry not readers, Laura and John’s ceremony was late afternoon, so the bride still had plenty of time for hair and beauty prep and slipping into her proper wedding gown.
Keen for a fun and memorable big day, today’s couple wanted a venue that could offer an intimate space for their personal ceremony as well as room for a real party, with The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham, ticking all the boxes.
And here’s some advance warning… ready your new diaries for our next glittering Brides Up North wedding show at The Bowdon Rooms, Sunday 4th November 2018. More details on that later.
With images by Johanna Steward Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on 27th December 2016, in the Lake District during a few days away between Christmas and New Year. We had spent the day relaxing by the fire in the hotel after a lovely big breakfast, then we went for a ten-mile trail run around the lake and up to the waterfalls and finally having lovely meal in a quirky restaurant called The Jumble Room. John proposed in the middle of the road on our walk back to the hotel after our night out, it was completely unexpected, but I was thrilled to say yes.
We set the date for 2nd September 2017. It worked really well as all our friends and family were back from holidays with the kids as they were heading back to school that week, so everyone was able to make it – even one friend who flew from holiday, drove straight from the airport and just made it in time for the vows!
Our chosen venue was The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham. We knew that we wanted a local venue which had a lovely atmosphere and we didn’t want it to feel like a hotel. Having looked at quite a few venues, including marquees and local wedding barns, The Bowdon Rooms felt like the right choice. We had been to friend’s wedding party there previously and had such a brilliant evening. The ballroom felt perfect and it even had a stage for a band.
Our ceremony, which was at 4.30pm, was held upstairs in The Bowdon Rooms and it was lovely. John and I wrote our own vows and my son walked me down the aisle before giving me away – he did a fantastic job. It felt really personal and a few people had tears in their eyes – I guess it was intimate even though we had 90 guests.
In terms of the colour scheme, I didn’t want the usual ‘wedding colours’ of pastels, creams and the like. I love bright vibrant colours, so chose purple, teal and emerald green. They are all colours that are found in peacock feathers, which I love, so we incorporated feathers into the wedding décor.
I initially considered not having a traditional wedding dress, but quickly decided that I did want to look like a ‘bride’. I visited a few wedding boutiques and had almost given up finding ‘the dress’ when we went to Puure in my home village of Lymm. I chose my gown because I loved the embellishment detailing, which I thought suited the vintage style of the venue. Angie and the girls in Puure are absolutely the best at helping to choose a dress that suits you and were so lovely right through the fitting process too.
To accessorise my gown, I wore some very special hand-painted shoes by a fantastic artist called Kat from Electric Heels. They are covered in images that mean something to my husband and I; the places we are from, places we have visited together, our hobbies etc. They are unique and I now have them displayed in my living room.
John wore a suit in an unusual blue green colour from Paul Smith. It was purchased from the Paul Smith shop in Birmingham, whilst there for the day buying our wedding rings in The Jewellery Quarter.
Our photographer was Johanna Steward Photography, who I would absolutely recommend to other couples. Not only was she really friendly and put us all at our ease, but she took some stunning photos that we will cherish, particularly some of the less formal shots of our guests enjoying the day.
Flower-wise, I had a purple bouquet of hydrangea, lisianthus and thistle (I’m Scottish). with emerald green diamantés scattered through it. We had the same for our flowers at the reception with the addition of peacock feathers to the tall table displays. John’s buttonhole was a thistle and a white rose to represent his Yorkshire roots and my Scottish ones. All the flowers were supplied by Barkers the Florist of Timperley.
The grand ballroom was decorated in a sumptuous array of deep purples, teal and emerald greens for the reception. The floral decorations were topped off with stunning centrepieces adorned with real peacock feathers. The room was also strung with fairy lights and each of the tables had candles too. A peacock feather was placed on everyone’s napkins and venue stylists, Perfect Weddings, sourced the unusual coloured napkins and tablecloth to continue the theme. I had a picture in my head of how it might work but I hadn’t seen it all put together until the day before and I was absolutely thrilled when I saw it. Our guests said it was a wonderful moment when The Bowdon Room team opened the curtains to the decorated ballroom.
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake, we had a cheese and pork pie cake from West Country Cheeses and we had a selection of cakes including chocolate, fruit, carrot and lemon from our local bakery Sextons in Lymm. Our guests were able to help themselves to these throughout the evening while taking a break from dancing.
John and I are both foodies so it was important to us that the food and wine was a good quality. We had goats cheese and caramelised onion tartlets for starter as its one of my son’s favourites, and beef Wellington for main, with a summery pea risotto for the vegetarians. We chose our favourite prosecco for the welcome drink and toasts. Our white wine was an Italian white wine called Pecorino, we love Italian wine and this was a slightly different from the usual Pinot Grigio. We then had an Argentinian Malbec for the red to go with the beef. We basically chose food and drink that we love.
We put The Bowdon Room’s famed sprung maple dance floor to good use by hiring Manchester band The Blame, to provide the evening entertainment. Guests got straight on the dance floor and the band playing up on the stage were incredible – it was like a live gig with our favourite indie rock tunes and everyone joined in!
All in all, The Bowdon Rooms was the perfect venue for us. We wanted a venue where we could get married and have the reception in the same building but in different rooms. We loved the quirkiness of the building, particularly the ballroom which was perfect as we love live music and was ideal for our choice of a band in the evening. Karen and the team at The Bowdon Rooms were also really helpful and nothing was too much trouble. It looked perfect on the day.
Looking back, the whole day was amazing from start to finish; from running my 50th Park Run with the support of my running club, to dancing the night away to the band ‘and everything in between. My favourite bit however was the actual ceremony. We wrote our own vows to supplement the official ones and we had written them individually and kept them secret until the day. It was lovely to stand in front of each other and share our thoughts and love while making our promises. There was barely a dry eye in the house.
We went to Kalcan in Turkey for our honeymoon. John arranged it with the help of Mariner Travel in Lymm. He rented a villa high above the resort, overlooking the most beautiful bay. It had an infinity pool and full height windows, so you could admire the stunning view wherever you were in the house. Kalyan was a lovely town with many great high-quality restaurants and the Turkish people were lovely and friendly. It was the perfect honeymoon.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – make your day personal to you. If you don’t want to go with all the wedding traditions, like cutting a cake etc. then don’t do it. It’s your day, enjoy it and be comfortable with it.
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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