January 9th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Hands up who loves a chic city centre wedding? Everyone? Well, prepare yourself for a treat because today we’re spoiling you with a real urban beauty. As soon as we clapped eyes on the photos of Jess and Joe’s big day – two very proud Mancunians – we fell in love with this gorgeous celebration of their love and their city.
The grand architecture, rich decor and stunning rooftop views of The King Street Townhouse provided the perfect venue for this Manchester-mad pair and the soundtrack to the day was dominated by North West musical greats like The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Even the cake was a nod to this glorious city, with a modern hexagonal honeycomb-inspired design and, of course, some iconic Manchester bees.
Need one more reason to read on? No problem, here it is: bardot neckline dress eye candy! You’re welcome.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2015, at my mum and dad’s house. Joe decided to propose on my favourite day of the year with all of my relatives gathered at my family home.
Our wedding date was 5th August 2017. We wanted a summer wedding as I’m a teacher and it gave us time to go on honeymoon after the wedding.
We were married at St. Ann’s Church followed by the reception at King Street Town House in Manchester. We were both born in Manchester and raised in Greater Manchester, and so we wanted a city centre wedding. We dated mainly in the city and it’s a place close to both our hearts for many reasons.
We were so lucky that my uncle, Canon Chris Ford, joined the Reverend in performing the marriage ceremony. Chris was present on the altar of my aunts’ weddings and was also present at my mum and dad’s wedding as a lay reader.
We didn’t have a theme but wanted the day to be a celebration of Manchester, from the Manchester bees running through the stationery (by Emmy Designs) to bees on the wedding cake and Manchester tart served for dessert. The devastation of the Manchester bombing, which happened so close to the wedding, made the celebration of the City and the iconic image of the bee even more poignant. The Manchester skyline looks stunning from the top floor of The King Street Town House, so we really felt we had the perfect venue for us.
Colour-wise, we went for greys, pale blushes and blues. They matched the venue’s style and were complementary colours which we both liked.
My dress was Amanda by Ronald Joyce bought from Blush. It was the first dress I saw when browsing on the internet and was confirmed as ‘the one’ when I tried it on. The shape suited my figure and I liked the classic style and cut.
Flossy and Leigh styled hair and did makeup for me, my bridesmaids and my mum. I would strongly recommend them: they were great fun, professional and incredible at what they do. They made us feel a million dollars and took into account everyone’s different styles yet incorporated them into the theme and feel of the wedding.
The groomsmen wore blue three-piece suits from Baumler at House of Fraser.
My bridesmaids wore different dresses in different shades of grey and blush all from David’s Bridal. With different shapes and sizes of bridesmaids, we wanted everyone to feel beautiful and comfortable in what they were wearing.
We hired a black cab for the bridal party’s arrival at the church. The wedding party then walked through Manchester to reach the reception venue.
Our photographer was James Tracey who we would highly recommend. He shared our passion for city centre weddings and knew the best spots for the lighting and beautiful backdrops. He was great fun to have around on the day and made everyone feel at ease. We were absolutely delighted with the pictures we received and now face the epic task of choosing which to display in our new house.
Sian at The Flower Lounge in Didsbury, provided the flowers and table decorations. I carried a large bouquet of assorted blush and pink flowers with green foliage and my bridesmaids carried gypsophila bouquets. Sian also created a beautiful altar piece and pew ends in addition to buttonholes and corsages for our mums. She exceeded our expectations and we would thoroughly recommend The Flower Lounge.
Instead of conventional favours, we made donations to Big Change Manchester to support the ongoing battle against homelessness. The donations were presented on the back of place name cards with a short explanation and a Manchester Bee pin badge supplied by The Manchester Bee Company.
We provided the children with a personalised ‘party box.’ We created these for individual children as they ranged in age from one to 12. All boxes had a disposable camera and an eye spy list but then varied with small lip balms, brushes, mirrors for the older girls and soft toys for the smaller children. These were collected over time as and when sometime caught our eye.
The Frostery at Uppermill supplied the beautiful cake. It had three tiers: chocolate, lime and coconut and Victoria sponge. The elegant design included marble hexagonal squares to represent honeycomb including a striking structural design on top and small golden bees surrounding the cake.
We had a three-choice, three course menu for the wedding breakfast. The starters were crab milles feuilles, slow-cooked pork belly with apple or sage and black pudding fritters. The main was a choice of lamb rump, pan-fried seabass or roasted chicken supreme. The dessert was Manchester Tart, flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream or sticky gingerbread pudding with butterscotch and toffee fudge ice cream – heavenly!
For the midnight munchies, we chose pizza, cones of chips and lamb pittas. We also provided a cheese tower cake. It all went down a storm!
The music of the day was really important to us. Again, it was a celebration of our fantastic city and the culture it is so famous for. The Manchester String Quartet played at the church before the service, during the signing of the register, my entrance (The Mission – Gabriel’s Oboe) and the recessional (There Goes The Fear – The Doves). They also played during the drinks reception. The quartet suited the celebration perfectly as they played a range of classical music suitable for the church then moved onto Manchester classics (Oasis, Stone Roses, The Smiths etc.) during the drinks reception. During the evening, Deckheds DJ provided the music, steering clear of cheesy tracks and keeping things on the alternative side.
During the signing of the register and prior to my entrance, Eve Matley sang with the String Quartet. The quartet accompanied her to At Last (Eta James) and Songbird (Eva Cassidy). I taught Eve when she was nine and Eve was part of the school choir that I led. Now aged 16, she has a stunning voice and is looking to further her musical career at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute next September. It was great to have such a personal link within the service.
We also wanted to subtly incorporate Joe’s love of Manchester United into the day, so our table numbers were named after particularly successful years in Manchester United’s history. We used photographs from these seasons on the table numbers with pictures of us from these given years on the reverse. We also provided a Manchester United Trivia Quiz for the guests during the wedding breakfast with a ‘His and Hers’ Quiz on the reverse. The winning table was rewarded with a free round at the bar.
It was also important that we acknowledged the influence and love of our deceased grandparents during the day. We honoured them with framed pictures and candles next to our card postbox with a sign reading ‘Wish you were here’.
Following our wedding, we’d definitely recommend King Street Town House; it’s a stunning venue that celebrates the best of Manchester. The artwork throughout the hotel is varied and interesting, the view from the sixth floor is incomparable and the rooftop infinity pool tops the whole place off. The service was impeccable, and the staff couldn’t do enough for us.
I was surprised by the feel of the whole day. I expected to be nervous and anxious but from the moment I woke up, I felt calm. I loved every single second and felt incredibly humbled by the fact that our guests were there to celebrate mine and Joe’s future together. It felt like a true celebration of our love, our city and our nearest and dearest.
For our honeymoon, we spent two incredible weeks driving through California. We flew to San Francisco and drove the West Coast spending time in Monterey, Cambria, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. The views in California were breath-taking. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime holiday and topped off such an exciting month perfectly.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to be organised – but don’t sweat the small stuff. Organising a wedding can be such a joyous time if your revel in the highs and shrug off the lows. We also couldn’t have organised such a special day without the support and help of our wonderful parents, families and friends.
As cheesy as it sounds, our wedding day was truly the best day of our lives. It was everything we could have dreamed of and more!
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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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