April 11th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
There aren’t many couples who can say they tied the knot in the very place they first met! But today’s couple Steph and Matt did just that. Having initially met at a job interview in the Bradgate Suite of Ye Olde Bell Hotel six years previous, they came together in the very same room with friends and family to celebrate their marriage last summer. How romantic to have come full circle!
The theme of their pretty wedding – handmade with love – delivered delightful, intricate paper flowers painstakingly crafted by the bride’s mother, a tear- and laughter-inducing handwritten speech by the groom’s seven-year-old son, and decorations the couple searched high and low for to ensure their day was perfect.
In her Eddy K princess gown, bride Steph looks nothing short of stunning – we love the sweetheart neckline and the elegant lace detailing gives us all the romance feels.
With images by Sorin Careba Photography.
steph says: Matt proposed at our home on 22nd November 2014. We had quite a long engagement looking back, but it seemed to fly by. I came home from work and I’d had a bad day so I wasn’t in the best of moods; Matt had gone to a lot of effort making a lovely three-course meal and I was ranting and moaning all night. He opened an expensive bottle of wine we had brought back from Rome earlier that year and we were saving it for a special occasion. I moaned at him for opening it, not knowing we would be celebrating that night. Needless to say, I felt awful afterwards and I stopped moaning as soon as he got down on one knee!
We got married on 29th July 2017. We wanted a Saturday in summer and our venue was free, so it seemed perfect. Our ceremony was held at St John the Baptist Church in East Markham, Nottinghamshire. It’s the church where my parents and grandparents got married, so it was important for me to get married there and carry on the tradition.
Our reception was held at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, Barnby Moor, Nottinghamshire. The Bradgate Suite, where our wedding breakfast and evening reception was hosted, was the very same place Matt and I met! We both used to work at the hotel and we crossed paths in a very awkward job interview in the Bradgate Suite. Matt was the bar manager and I was interviewing for a part-time bar job. Little did we know we would be in the same spot six years later celebrating our wedding!
We didn’t have a particular theme when we started planning. If anything, the theme ended up being ‘handmade with love’. My mum spent the six months leading up to the wedding making everything from scratch, including paper flowers with our names and wedding date on and paper flower place names. We searched high and low for all the room decorations and now it’s all boxed up collecting dust in my parents’ spare room!
Matt has a son from a previous relationship, so it was important to both of us that he had a part in the wedding. He was only seven at the time but said he wanted to tell some jokes and do a speech at the reception. We didn’t know he would end up stealing the show. There was not a dry eye in the house when he made his speech and he couldn’t finish because he got too emotional. It was a very special moment for both of us and I still have his handwritten speech in my wedding memory box.
For our colour scheme, we chose peach/blush. It was a nice summery colour scheme and caught my eye on lots of Pinterest posts.
When it came to dress shopping, I ended up deciding on an Eddy K princess-style gown with lots of lace and a sweetheart neckline. It wasn’t what I imagined I would fall in love with, but I am so glad I picked my dress. It complemented my figure and looked beautiful. I was at the National Wedding Show at Event City in Manchester, when I first saw the dress. I went to try it on at Cheshire Bridal Wear in Altrincham, the next day and fell in love. I got my belt online from Bridal Adornments.
Matt and his groomsmen wore suits that we purchased from Grays Menswear in Chesterfield. We hired the waistcoats. My bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS; they were in the sale and were an absolute bargain at £30 each!
On the day of the wedding, I travelled with my dad to the church and returned with Matt in our wedding car – the Imperial Laudette car from Fabulous Cars. Our driver Ian was lovely and nothing was too much trouble.
Our photographer was Sorin Careba. We fell in love with his portfolio. He captured some amazing memories for us; I would definitely recommend him. He did an engagement shoot for us before the wedding, which I would recommend too as neither of us knew how to pose so it was really good practice.
Our wedding video was captured and created by Confetti and Silk, London-based videographers. Matt’s sister and her husband arranged our video as a wedding gift, so it’s extra special for us. I would 100% recommend Stuart; he did the most amazing job and so many people have commented on how well put together the video is. I can’t stop watching it; he captured everything perfectly.
For my flowers, I carried a handtied bouquet, including Miss Piggy roses and Avalanche roses. There was also quite a lot of greenery in my bouquet, which I loved. My flowers were provided by Lucie at Branching Out Creative Floristry in Retford. Lucie also provided the flowers for our centrepieces, with the same flowers as in my bouquet. We had a mixture of candelabras with flowers, vases with flowers in and lanterns with flowers around the base. The church flowers were done by Matt’s neighbour; she spent the whole day before the wedding getting the church ready and it looked so beautiful.
One special touch we had was related to my grandad, who passed away when I was 11. It was important for me to have a part of him at our wedding. He used to be a painter and decorator and my nana still had one of his old step ladders; so we sanded it down, painted it and used it to display wedding photographs of our parents and grandparents.
For the favours, I made some personalised candles for the ladies and boxes of chocolates for the men. The children had activity packs, which went down a treat.
We had a three-tiered cake with three different flavours – lemon and raspberry, mochapolitan and chocolate mint. It was finished with a woodgrain-effect frosting and handmade sugar flowers to match my bouquet. Our cake was made by the award-winning Charlotte at Cherry Blossom Cakes in Bawtry.
For the wedding breakfast, we had smoked haddock fishcakes to start, beef for the main and chocolate brownie to finish. We provided our own wines for the meal and had prosecco for the toast.
As entertainment, during the day we hired a caricaturist during the drinks reception. It was lots of fun and everyone had a fun memento from the wedding to take home. We had a DJ and a band during the evening. We wanted to make sure the dance floor was full all night long and we were not disappointed. The band played a mixture of old classics and modern songs and everybody loved them.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend our choice of venue to other brides and grooms. Kate and the team at Ye Olde Bell always go above and beyond for their weddings. It was a special place for us because it’s where our journey started. Maybe we’re biased because we know the staff and the hotel so well but it’s truly an amazing venue. They also have an amazing spa now, which was finished just in time for our wedding!
Looking back, it’s hard to pick a favourite part of the day – there were so many! If I had to pick I would say it was when we went to sign the register; we had a couple of minutes just after we got married to ourselves. Neither of us could believe it and it was the first time we got chance to speak to each other apart from saying our vows. It was nice to have that moment.
We were a bit greedy when it came to honeymoons – we had two. We went to Naples, Capri and Ischia in Italy for a minimoon the week after the wedding. Then in October we went to New York and Mexico. The first trip was so special, as it was our first week as a married couple. We just ate and drank all week; it was heaven and I didn’t need to worry about fitting in my dress! It was nice to have another honeymoon to look forward to when we got back, as it stopped the wedding blues from setting in straight away.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is don’t worry about things going wrong – chances are something will probably happen, but you can’t prepare for it, you just have to get on with it and not let it ruin your day. We had a guest who didn’t turn up, two fire alarms and an ambulance had to be called as one of my relatives collapsed. Despite all of this, we still managed to have the most amazing day!
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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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