March 5th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Despite choosing a day in May for better weather, today’s couple Rach and Rich found themselves tying the knot outside in the middle of a thunderstorm – and they loved it! The rumbling thunder as they exchanged vows under a beautiful floral arch added atmosphere to a day that was already filled with quirky special touches and a good dose of fun.
Doing things their own way, they chose to ditch certain traditions, so there was no cutting of the cake, first dance or speeches – and the groom switched formal attire for a more relaxed jean and jacket combo, that we love!
Rach had not one, but two dresses (hell yeah!), and her maids looked stylish and sophisticated in short-length blush dresses and strappy stilettos.
Keen to show their guests a good time, they splurged a big part of the budget on entertainment, putting on live music, sparklers, beer pong and even a spot of Bruno Mars marryoke.
With images by Christina Sarah Photography.
rach says: We got engaged in Sorrento, Italy in August 2015 – which was beautiful! It was supposed to be a very romantic moment at a beautiful restaurant in Positano, by candlelight, overlooking the sea, but unfortunately Rich bust his knee dancing the night before and so couldn’t manage the steep hills in Positano. We had to cancel our trip and return to Sorrento early. I had no idea about this until after the event. He did manage to get down on one knee overlooking the bay of Sorrento, although I had to help him back up!
We got married on 19th May 2017. I was set on a May wedding as I thought we had a better chance of guaranteeing the weather – how wrong I was! We ended up getting married, outside, in a thunderstorm. It turned out to be the most magical experience – the torrential rain and thunder made it so atmospheric!
We got married and had our reception at Tower Hill Barns near Llangollen in North Wales. We had been let down by a previous venue but luckily there was an opening here and it was only 15 minutes away from where we live. It was fantastic for a few reasons: the location was perfect – near a number of hotels for the guests; it is so tastefully decorated, and the style really lent itself to the theme we wanted to achieve; the food was exquisite; and finally, but most importantly, the staff are fabulous. I would highly recommend the venue and the team.
The theme for our wedding was laid back, great food, booze and music! We didn’t want to go traditional – there was no first dance, no cake cutting, and no speeches – and it worked a treat for us. We also spent the night before together and had lunch on the day of the wedding with our entire bridal party – we wanted to enjoy the moments together!
When it came to choosing the colour scheme, like many brides, I spent hours on Pinterest and I used Brides Up North for inspiration for my day – in particular the real wedding section. I went back and forth on so many colours, but I settled on cream, nude, blush and copper – with a rustic twist that matched our venue.
For my dress, I ended up with two dresses! They were both from Bride to Be, near Manchester, and so they were very reasonably priced. I had bought one and then found another that I fell in love with – oops! It was a lace back, fitted, full-length dress. I wore this the entire day. I had no intention of changing initially but I did take the second to the wedding venue. In the evening, I decided that I would get changed for the party and so I put on my second dress, which was a full-length, backless, beaded dress. I wore a pair of Jenny Packham shoes from Debenhams.
For Rich’s outfit, again we parted from tradition and Rich wore black jeans from Next, a white fitted shirt from TM Lewin, a blush tie and a lovely tailored jacket from men’s boutique City Gate in Chester. He wore a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes.
I had eight bridesmaids and they wore blush dresses from ASOS. The groomsmen wore the same black jeans and a dark brown tailored jacket from Jasper Conran, Debenhams.
Our photographer was Christina Sarah. She took the most beautiful photos – we couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out. Christina was fantastic – she knew we wanted relaxed photos that really brought out our personalities and again we ditched the formalities. Christina added the most beautiful touches before and after the big day. I would highly recommend her – she was so wonderful that one of my bridesmaids has also booked her!
We had a friend video our day. If anyone is thinking about whether to have your big day filmed – do it! I would definitely recommend it.
For my flowers, I carried a bouquet of roses and hydrangeas – all white. Vivid Floral Design put together our flowers and I would highly recommend them.
On our tables we went for beautiful and simple: a wooden base with lots of different candle holders and the same flowers as in my bouquet. Vivid Floral Design put these together for us, which made the day so much easier!
For the cake, we had a cake of cheese from Chester Market. We tried to keep as much of the purchasing as local as possible – opting for independent businesses in North Wales and Chester, near to where we live.
Our venue provided all of the food and drinks. We had a serve-yourself keg for the guys and prosecco for the ladies on arrival. We also had Pimm’s for those in between. We had canapés of tempura prawn, goat’s cheese and roast beef mini Yorkshires – they went down a treat. This was then followed by a huge barbecue with all of the trimmings and a choice of two desserts. Later in the evening we had an extensive cheese board in case anyone had any room left!
Entertainment was our biggest spend on the day. We had an acoustic trio during the canapés and reception drinks, and then a ten-piece band for the evening – from brass to bass! The trio, who also formed part of the band for the evening, were called Radio Kings Band from Manchester – keeping it Northern!
In terms of special touches, we had a few. We had a ‘meet the family’ Polaroid section, which had all of the names of the close family, groomsmen and bridesmaids. Our guest book was a large globe for everyone to sign. We had large ‘love’ letters near the dancefloor, sparklers at 9:15pm and a Polaroid camera and board for everyone to take pics and sign. We also provided flip flops for the girls, beer pong outside, marshmallows on sticks with blankets for the open fire pits and a floral arch to get married under.
Finally, we had marryoke – something I would highly recommend to anyone thinking about something different. It is a photobooth as well as marryoke and I couldn’t find another supplier quite like it. I hired this for the evening from a company in South Wales called Ultrabooth. It was these parts of the day that were important to us – giving the guests lots of things to get involved in.
The most memorable part of the day will be getting married in the pouring rain during a thunderstorm – something I will never forget! But, honestly, from start to finish the day was perfect.
For our honeymoon, we went to Mauritius, where we spent a week on the beach snoozing, eating and enjoying a few drinks! I would highly recommend Sugar Beach Resort.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make the day what you want it to be. Don’t be chained to the traditions if you don’t want them. At the end of the day, when you are getting into bed that night you want to think, “That really was the most special day for me and my partner” – no one else! And also book marryoke from Ultrabooth – the guests loved it! Check out our video here in case you’re not sure.
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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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