April 30th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Jane and Sam’s sumptuous winter wedding has us all aquiver here at Brides Up North HQ. With more than a touch of decadent luxury – in Jane’s words, they had “candles, roses, crystals, pearls and diamonds… and flowers everywhere!” – these photographs are truly a feast for the eyes.
And a very special mention goes to Sam, who raised the bar for all husbands-to-be by organising a surprise champagne breakfast for Jane and her best girls. Not only that, but he also arranged for personalised present boxes containing pjs, slippers, dressing gowns and perfume to be delivered to their room. Talk about #mangoals!
This one is all about the dazzle, we think you’ll agree.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography.
jane says: We got engaged in London on the 30th October 2016. The trip was a total surprise: I woke up to a packed suitcase and was presented with some train tickets and an outfit to wear for the day. After a first class train ride, we went to Buckingham Palace and walked through the gardens. Sam led me under a huge, ancient oak tree, then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was a total shock – but I immediately said yes! We then went back to our hotel, the Mondrian on Southbank, where there was a bottle of champagne waiting and the bed had been decorated with a large heart-shaped collage of photos from our five years together. To top the day off, Sam revealed he’d named a star after us and had booked a table at The Savoy that evening where we enjoyed an amazing meal and cocktails. We had a magical few days and I felt like the luckiest woman in the world!
Our wedding date was 9th December 2017 – we wanted something different to all the traditional summer weddings.
For our venue, we chose the magnificent Mottram Hall in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Sam had previously booked a surprise weekend stay there after we’d seen it on an episode of The Real Housewives of Cheshire. We got a really good vibe from the venue and staff and were totally blown away by their Christmas trees! Funnily enough, the trees were decorated by a company called Lasting Memories who ended up dressing Mottram Hall for our the day. The whole place was utterly amazing and we thought even at that early stage that it would be the perfect place for us to get married.
Our wedding theme was timeless, romantic chic. We went with soft colours along with lots of candles, roses, crystals, pearls and diamonds. We had fabulous rose arches and drapes from the ceiling to keep things elegant and neutral. Alison at Lasting Memories did an incredible job, creating an absolute masterpiece of a setting for us with flowers everywhere!
I wore a beautiful beaded Jasmine Couture gown with ruffled skirt from Elegance Bridal. I added a fur capelet to keep me warm in the snow and a birdcage veil from Richard Designs. I attached a back necklace to my dress, also from Elegance Bridal, to add a little extra sparkle and another dimension to my dress; everyone commented on how beautiful it was! I also wore crystal drop earrings with a matching choker and bracelet made by Rosie Wilson. I’d kept my dress a secret from everyone and did a grand reveal to my friends and family on the wedding morning; it was such a special moment.
My hair and makeup was my favourite accessory, though; I couldn’t have asked for a more professional, flawless finish. My makeup artist was Amy Yeomans and my hair stylist was Zoe from Trim Hairdressing.
Sam wore dark blue tails with a blue tweed waistcoat and traditional brown brogues, all from Platts Menswear in Crewe. He had a tie and matching pocket square specially made from a dark blue/pink paisley print, also purchased through Platts menswear. To finish off his look he had a tie bar, a stag jacket pin, some traditional shirt arm bands and a pocket watch. The groomsmen wore dark blue tails and the same accessories as Sam.
I had five bridesmaids: my two young nieces, Kiera and Ella-Mae, and three of my best friends, Nia, Marie and Ruth. The little girls’ dresses were from Elegance Bridal and the adult bridesmaid dresses were from Little Mistress. The adults’ dresses embellished neckline detailing was just beautiful, and they also wore fur shrugs from Selfridges.
Sam and I stayed at Mottram Hall the night before our wedding so we didn’t need to travel. However, we did hire a vintage Austin from Andrews Austins. After we got married we were taken for a quick ten-minute drive, complete with champagne and strawberries. It was so lovely to have a quick catch up!
Our photographer was Lee of Lee Brown Photography, and he was worth his weight in gold. More like an artist than a photographer, we simply couldn’t have asked for anything more. He created such a relaxed vibe throughout the day and we were totally blown away by his work.
We also need to mention the amazing Michael from Satin Pictures who was our videographer. He worked seamlessly with Lee and we were similarly stunned by the quality of his work.
The bridesmaids and I carried matching bouquets, although mine was a slighter larger version. The flowers were a mixture of pale coloured roses combined with frosted greenery and sparkly bling. They were provided by Floristry & Events by Eden.
Alison at Lasting Memories dressed the venue and went so far above and beyond what we’d imagined that we were totally blown away. There were flowers and candles everywhere – and I mean everywhere – we looked. We had two fully decorated rose arches, an aisle lined with roses and candles with large tall crystal dropped pedestals. Each chair was decorated with roses and lace work detail and we had matching ceiling drapes. We also had light up letters and a 4ft heart which were provided by the Letter Light Up Company. We couldn’t have been happier with how the room looked – it was totally amazing.
It was so important to me and Sam that we created a great atmosphere for our wedding from the outset, so for people staying at Mottram Hall we organised gift boxes for their rooms. We provided personalised bottles of Coke and a box of gifts that included their favourite miniature alcohol, chocolates, love notes and toiletries.
For the main favours on the table, the men received a miniature Haig whiskey (Sam’s favourite tipple) and ladies had a miniature Chambord (my favourite!). We also gave each guest a Love Heart favour box filled with Lindt chocolates and a personalised wooden heart decorated with our names and a romantic quote. The younger guests were either given a Ted Baker goody bag or some personalised colouring books and toys, depending on their age.
We also provided two decanters of spirits on each table along with ice buckets full of miniature Pepsis. The spirits ranged from Woodford Reserve Bourbon to Raspberry Vodka.
We chose a four-tier cake with an iced heart topper, and each tier was double thickness to create extra height. The theme of the cake was simply ‘elegance’ and wow, did Debbie Marland (from Ice Maiden Cakes) pull it off. It was totally stunning. The lace detail work and shimmer icing was absolutely amazing. We went for one tier of traditional fruit cake, another of carrot cake, a red velvet tier and the bottom tier was chocolate with white chocolate ganache.
For the meal, we chose food that Sam and I love to eat. With it being winter, we also wanted it to be hearty and filling, so we went for a rosemary and brie tartlet, followed by post roast feather blade of beef, potatoes and vegetables, and finished off with chocolate marquise. We also had a champagne sorbet between the start and the main.
Church Mouse Cheese provided a cake of cheese, which we displayed with a cascade of mixed winter fruit and a selection of bread, cheese biscuits and chutneys. We both love cheese and we were totally blown away by the finished cake; we’d never seen anything like it, and the heart shaped brie was a lovely touch.
We also had a waffle bar from Candy Buffets, which was real hit with guests – a sweet ending to a perfect day.
In terms of entertainment, during the ceremony and drinks reception we had an electric violinist to play who was just astonishing. One of the best moments of the day was when she played my entrance song, Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. The lights were dimmed, the aisle was lit by candles and Sam was waiting for me. It was just perfect. The rush of emotion was crazy and the moment will stay with me forever.
We also had Paul Heptinstall to play piano throughout the wedding breakfast and he was absolutely flawless. Between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception, Ollie Marland performed a mixture of songs; he was a real hit with the ladies and his voice was amazing! We also had a caricaturist, Mark from InkMark Caricatures, who did drawings of all our guests. Both were a huge hit and created a real buzz.
Then to finish the night off we had a DJ, Lee Knight from Knights of Disco. He’s definitely the best DJ we’ve ever seen; his individual call up for the cake cutting, which entailed the groomsmen, bridesmaids and our parents doing a dance on their way to the front of the room, was pretty memorable!
Sally Chong from Casinos4fun provided a blackjack table, which meant fun all night and the lucky winner took home a bottle of champagne!
We tried to include lots of personal touches to make the day extra special. For example, we gave out confetti made from roses from our garden, decorated the Hall with photos from our pre-wedding shoot and provided photographs that our guests could take home. We also had a photograph blown up for guests to sign instead of a guestbook. We created a refreshment table with a selection of miniature perfumes, aftershaves, sparklers, flip flops, sweets and toiletries for our guests. We also had a Prosecco Bar with ice buckets, cocktail mixers, fruit and flavourings where guests could help themselves all night and create their very own drinks. It led to quite a few sore heads the next day but it was so worth it! To keep the dancefloor full we also provided a selection of props, from face masks to crazy hats, and they made for some fantastic photos. On the morning of the wedding, we found individually wrapped boxes from Sam for me and my bridesmaids. They contained perfume, dressing gowns, pyjamas and slippers and he’d organised a champagne breakfast. We felt so lucky!
Our wedding planner, Alex Laing at Mottram Hall, deserves a special mention: she made everything so easy and we couldn’t have done it without her. Anyone lucky enough to have their wedding at Mottram Hall and have Alex to guide them is going to have an amazing wedding.
My list of favourite moments from the day goes on and on, but the real highlight? Getting to hold Sam’s hand when I reached the bottom of the aisle. We hadn’t seen each other all day and I couldn’t wait to see him! There was so much love in the room for us and it was just perfect.
As a minimoon, we went to Bath for a couple of days. We visited the sites and the outdoor thermal spa. It was a great experience and we would highly recommend it. We’re going to go to Mexico later in the year for our ‘proper’ honeymoon.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – make a budget, blow the budget, then make another budget and try and stick to it! On a serious note though, we tried to plan things early and get things booked ASAP so we knew where we were with costings. We enjoyed the whole process from weddings fairs to reading magazines and organising suppliers – oh, and it really does help if your future husband is just as interested as you are!
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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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