June 13th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s exquisite wedding has pretty autumnal feels by the bucket load. From conkers, pinecones and mini pumpkins to a vibrant red and green colour scheme – Jodie and Daniel’s special day last October was utterly on point when it came to those fabulous seasonal touches.
Knowsley Hall, a private walled estate in Merseyside, provided the backdrop to their wedding, brimming in opulence with stunning grounds to match. The floral arrangements chosen by the couple beautifully enhanced this space, with rosemary, eucalyptus and berries all beautifully offset by lanterns, vases and twinkling lights.
As always, it’s the personal touches that really tug at the heart strings though and there’s plenty to inspire you today, with nods to the bride’s miniature dachshund, loved ones remembered in Jodie’s bouquet and even cartoon versions of the couple made out of plastic! So, if you’re contemplating an autumnal wedding date – we think this one might just sway your decision.
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.
jodie says: For our anniversary we usually book a nice hotel and restaurant, but for our third anniversary Daniel told me he had booked somewhere special and wanted the location to be a surprise. In July 2016 he drove us to the stunning Augill Castle in Kirkby Stephen. We had a gorgeous suite to ourselves and when it came to the evening meal we were taken to a private dining room which had been set out with candelabra’s and roses. After the meal – and as the sun was setting – we took a walk in the grounds. We were in the gardens at the front of the castle when Daniel turned around, bent down on one knee and proposed! After the initial surprise of him taking my glass of wine off me in order to hold my hands, I then repeated ‘Oh my God!’ possibly a hundred times and, of course, said yes!
We got married on 7th October 2017. We both love deep rich autumnal colours so chose this season to make the most of them, the weather is also still quite mild in October. Plus, with it being a Saturday and having family and friends coming from all over the world, we knew it’d be easier for people to attend.
We visited a number of venues but when we walked through the doors at Knowsley Hall we knew this was the one. The venue is breathtakingly beautiful inside and has so many spectacular features, from the opulent ceremony room/ballroom and dining room to the wonderful views of the gardens and the luxurious bedrooms – it’s all just wonderfully stunning. The staff made us feel so welcome and we couldn’t wait to invite along our family and friends to share the experience with us.
We’re not one for ‘themes’ however we knew we wanted it to be seasonal, natural and elegant. As much as the day was about us, we wanted to provide an experience for people that they would remember. We wanted very natural greens and autumnal colours throughout the day to reflect the time of year and also because the colours match my hair! So we opted for a deep red as our main accent colour and incorporated it into all the groomsmen, grooms-woman, bridesmaids and brides-man outfits, stationery and flowers.
I chose a beautifully simple Pronovias dress called Bena which was very flattering and added a diamante belt for a little sparkle and a cathedral veil, also with diamante detail. I purchased them from Swarbricks Bridal Shop in Middleton.
I originally thought I wanted something lacy and sparkly with a fishtail but when trying these styles on, they didn’t feel special at all. I felt a little disappointed, so Louise at Swarbricks asked me to keep an open mind and try on something different. She picked out the Pronovias for me which I wouldn’t have given a second look at on the hanger and asked me to trust her, she wasn’t wrong because as soon as I put it on I knew it was the one for me.
I didn’t want to look too made up for the wedding, as the pictures are to last a lifetime and I wanted to look back and for it all to be as natural as possible. Becky Carle – from Manchester Bridal Artists – completely understood what I wanted and made sure I felt completely at ease. My hair and makeup lasted all day, so I can highly recommend her.
Daniel wanted to wear a grey three-piece morning suit which he hired from Swarbricks Menswear in Middleton. He had an ivory patterned waistcoat with a deep red cravat and pocket square.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen from JJ’s House. I allowed the girls to choose their own design, so they felt comfortable and then ordered them all in the same colour and material. I also took them shopping to let them choose their own shoes and hair accessories.
The chief bridesman’s suit was from Zara. Jason is a stand out kind of guy and we wanted him to complement the girls but to look different to the groomsmen.
The groomsmen outfits were hired from Swarbricks Menswear. The suits were the same style as Daniel’s but the waistcoats had a pop of red colour to match the theme. We also had ‘thank you’ cufflinks made for them to wear on the day.
We booked Kate McCarthy Photography to capture our day. Kate is without doubt the most down to earth, funniest and talented photographer we’ve ever come across. We looked at a number of photographers, but Kate stood out against the norm as having such a relaxed approach. She effortlessly captured the little moments that we both missed, but also the love in the room that day. We also had a pre-wedding shoot with her in Fletcher Moss Gardens, which was such a good laugh. We would recommend her in a heartbeat!
Cedar House Productions filmed the day for us. Steve Slattery at Cedar House Productions is such a cheery chap and instantly made us feel at ease when we first met him. Throughout the day we didn’t even realise he was there, but he captured everything we wanted – the final edit and highlights look like something from a movie trailer. We love it all!
I had a vague idea of what flowers I wanted and Heather at Living Colour Floral Design did a wonderful job of bringing my vision to life by creating a stunning waterfall bouquet with peachy whites, berries and green and red leaves. My only request was for it to include white freesia (my mum’s favourite flower).
As for the décor – the only thing we wanted, when it came to the flowers, was for the room to smell amazing when people walked in, so the flowers consisted of rosemary, eucalyptus and berries. We wanted the flowers to have the wow factor so we chose large displays with tall clear glass vases for them to be placed in, along with twinkling tea lights dangling from them to add extra warmth and light to the rich colours. Living Colour also provided conkers, pinecones and mini pumpkins to scatter on the tables which were reflective of the season, as well as large chunky gold lanterns and vases for us to place the bouquets in during the wedding breakfast.
Big Event Group supplied us with gorgeous limewash chairs which we used for the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception. They also provided us with the white-lit dance floor and huge illuminated ‘Mr & Mrs’ letters. Knowsley Hall also provided mood lighting throughout the evening reception.
Due to personal family circumstances we opted for Cancer Research charity badges instead of favours. For the small children we provided a personalised activity colouring book to keep them occupied during the meal.
We opted for a four-tier classy white cake with gold designs on it, provided by Suzanne Harvey Bespoke Cakes. We had our initials piped in gold icing on one of the tiers, just to make it that extra little bit personal. The three flavours we chose were red velvet, carrot and two tiers of lemon.
Knowsley Hall have an amazing in-house catering team who helped us choose the perfect menu with the perfect wine pairings. We love dining out and eating fine food, so wanted people to experience a menu they wouldn’t necessarily try. Our canapés included spiced lamb meatballs, duck confit croquettes, and pear and blue cheese tartlets. Then for starters we had cider braised pheasant breast and for vegetarians – smoked tomato and vanilla baked semolina gnocchi. The mains included either 72-hour beef short rib or cheddar cheese and shallot pie with fennel seed pastry, with chocolate and pistachio fondant, ginger ice cream with candied nut crumb to finish. We served a mix of red, white and sparkling wine. Then in the evening we had mini burgers, pizza and fish and chip cones – who doesn’t love one of these?!
For our entertainment we booked illusionist, Spencer Lynch. We thought that having an illusionist would provide light entertainment for the younger members of the party, along with some of the less-younger ones while the photographer was doing her thing!
We also had string quartet Northern String Quartet. We loved the idea of classical music being played at such a grand venue, but we opted for more modern song choices along with the Jurassic Park theme.
We wanted people to be able to request songs and dance all night, and who best to do that than a DJ (from Big Event Group) who didn’t mind the bride requesting lots of Beyoncé songs?!
There were several special touches incorporated into our day. As a number of my family members were no longer around to be a part of our special day, pictures of them were attached to the ribbon wrapped around my bouquet so that they were there to celebrate our day with us.
A few months before the wedding my miniature dachshund had passed away, so there were little nods to him throughout the day in the form of our table plan and cake topper. We also wanted the cake topper to reflect us and our fun relationship. We had it specially designed to show Daniel lifting me up with a drink in my hand and TJ (the mini dachshund) wanting in on the fun.
Our friend Rachel handmade some bunting that said Danny – love heart -Jodie for our joint work hen/stag do. We loved it that much that we incorporated that into our day for the drinks reception and evening reception.
Daniel’s grooms-woman had also made mini cartoon versions of us out of plastic, so we added them onto our postbox as they looked really cute and added that personal touch.
Aside from not wanting to share Knowsley Hall with anyone else because it is so special to us, we would highly recommend couples going to take a look if they’ve not picked out their venue yet. It is breathtakingly beautiful inside and out, and it is clear that great care and pride has gone into protecting the Hall’s spectacular features. It says a lot when every one of the staff have such obvious pride in the place they work, they made us feel so welcome and went the extra mile to ensure guests of all ages were catered for, they could not have done more for us. This is a venue with the wow factor that people will remember and many of our guests still talk about it with such pride and how they felt blessed to have been invited to attend such a beautiful building and how relaxed they felt there.
We often say we want to do it all over again, every last bit of it. However, it’s fair to say when we first saw each other at the end of the aisle, nothing can compare to that feeling; knowing you’re entering into a commitment and feeling nothing but pure love together and all around you.
We opted for a dual-destination honeymoon. We spent the first part in the Maldives which is just out of this world. It was great to switch off, relax and just enjoy our time together. The second part of the honeymoon was in Dubai. We chose to go here as our wedding gift to each other was a seven-course meal in the Armani restaurant at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa. That experience was out of this world.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, don’t stress about the little things! Everyone wants their day to be perfect and you can get so wrapped up in trying to make it so. Don’t forget why you’re doing it, and when things do go wrong on the day, you won’t even realise it. Enjoy yourselves.
During the planning of our wedding, I regularly read up on the real weddings on Brides Up North because they look so natural and I got so much inspiration from these. The online directory was also very useful. I also kept checking to see where wedding fairs were happening, as my mum and I loved going to these.
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Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...
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