July 25th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
The bride and groom of today’s real wedding chose a ‘classy not trashy’ theme for their big day and we’re sure you’ll agree they surpassed their goal, with an elegant colour scheme of pink, grey and silver, and just the right amount of sparkle.
Their chosen Cheshire venue is dressed to the nines – the swags draped from the ceiling complete with fairy lights all pulled together by a disco-ball chandelier looks very effective in the cosy lodge setting, especially by nightfall. We also love Rachel’s choice of centrepieces, not only because the martini glasses overflowing with gypsophila and lush blooms look super pretty, but because the beauty of tall centrepieces is they give great impact when guests enter a room, but when they come to sit at the table the display is above their eye line, and so they can easily chat to everyone across the table without obstruction.
And bride Rachel has lots more fabulous tips too; from choosing edible wedding favours and arranging joint planning meetings with your florist and stylist, to attending open days at your chosen venue and booking your desired suppliers ASAP – ladies, you may well want to take note!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged at home. I got back from the gym and Paul said he wanted to go out for something to eat that evening. As we are both rubbish at making simple decisions, he said he wanted me to come up with three choices of where we could go whilst I was in the shower so, when I got out of the shower (with a towel wrapped around my hair and my pink dressing gown on), Paul was shouting my name from downstairs. As I hadn’t thought of three choices, I cheekily just ignored him and pretended I couldn’t hear him but, by the third shout, I thought I had better answer him so when I did, he shouted “Come down here, our song is on!” I thought that was quite sweet, so I went downstairs in my towel and dressing gown and, when I walked into the room, our song was playing, the room was full of candles and Paul was down on one knee. When he asked me, I was speechless (that doesn’t happen a lot). Then I asked if he was joking and then I finally said yes!
We got married on Friday 4th May 2018 at Styal Lodge, Cheshire. There wasn’t really a particular reason for the date, other than the weather is usually OK in May and it was the start of the bank holiday weekend.
We would definitely recommend Styal Lodge to other couples, especially those looking for small, exclusive venues. We wanted a small venue as we only had 75 day guests and we felt it was more personal to us. The gardens are lovely and, on the day during the drinks reception, the bride, groom, photographer and videographer get driven to a nearby lake in the grounds for photos. The venue is also easy to find and very accessible as it isn’t far from Manchester Airport, so there are good transport links. Another really nice touch is that each year they hold an event called Bridesmaids’ Brunch, where the bride can take up to three of her bridesmaids to the venue and they have suppliers there to chat to, live music and it is also dressed, which can be good for inspiration. Food and drink are provided and it’s just a really nice atmosphere, as it’s only available to brides who have booked their weddings. They usually have two or three open days each year too, which is helpful to go and see the venue dressed and speak to different suppliers.
Our theme was classy, not trashy and our colour scheme was light pink, grey, silver and a touch of sparkle!
For my dress, I chose a princess gown with a love heart neckline. The designer is Morilee and I purchased it from Blush Boutique in Uppermill. I chose it as it was the kind of dress I thought I would want as long as the style suited me – and luckily it did. It also had the right amount of sparkle and I loved the tulle skirt. I had looked on the internet at different dresses I liked before going shopping and saved the designers and style names in my phone. When I went into the shop and picked dresses out to try on, I purposefully didn’t look at what the designers were or the price as I just wanted to try on a mixture. Then, when I tried my dress on for the first time and loved it, I looked at the list in my phone of dresses I had made a note of and this one was the first on the list!
Paul wore a grey suit, with a silver waistcoat and a pink cravat, all from Moss Bros. The groomsmen all wore the same suit and waistcoat as Paul, but they had pink ties instead of a cravat.
The bridesmaid dresses were all from Dorothy Perkins and the flower girl dresses were from John Rocha at Debenhams. I also had a ‘bridesman’ who wore the same suit as Paul and the groomsmen but he had a dicky bow instead of a tie or cravat.
Lux did all of our hair and makeup and we were all so happy with it.
Our photographer was Lee Brown. We would definitely recommend Lee to anyone. From first meeting him we felt really comfortable and the service he provided cannot be faulted. Communication was good too, which counts for a lot when you’re planning a wedding! We also had a pre-wedding shoot included with our package, which really helped us feel more relaxed about having photos taken on the day.
Our videographer was James Wray and we would recommend him too. He and his assistant were pretty much unnoticeable on the day, which is what you want, and he got our film back to us after about five weeks, which we are really happy with. Communication throughout, from booking him to after the wedding, was also good.
The flowers in my bouquet were a selection of avalanche, sweet avalanche and ivory spray roses with diamanté pins throughout.
For the floral decorations, we had four big martini glasses that were filled with an arrangement of flowers consisting of gypsophila, avalanche and sweet avalanche roses, large zembla chrysanthemums, white hydrangea and a bed of foliage with hanging crystal jewels. These were placed on cream podiums in the ceremony room and then moved to be four of the table centrepieces for the wedding breakfast and reception. The three other guest tables had a centrepiece of tiered cylinder vases with floating candles and a mixture of avalanche and sweet avalanche roses on a mirrored plate with scattered crystals. On the top table, we had a silver sequined tablecloth with the same tiered cylinder vases as the guest tables.
In the ceremony room, we had some of the cylinder vases from the guest tables on the signing of the register table, fairy light curtains up at the windows, lanterns on either side of the aisle and the chairs were dressed in ivory material fastened with a ruffle and an ivory flower. The ceilings in both rooms had an ivory fabric swag with pea lights, finished with a chandelier we hired from our caterers. The beams in both rooms were also dressed with pea lights. The beam in the entrance hall had hanging hearts and pearl strands in ivory and silver with hanging crystal drops.
The florist we used is J N Flowers (Jill Naughton) and the venue dresser we used was Special Days Events (Emma Casson). Both Jill and Emma work together and we had our meeting with both of them at the same time to discuss what we wanted and they were both so helpful throughout the planning stages. We were over the moon with the result on the day.
For the favours, we chose cancer research pin badges and, as we are foodies, my bridesman is a keen baker so he offered to do some homemade cookies for favours too. The two flavours were milk chocolate and coconut, and white chocolate and raspberry. I had read that food favours always go down well, and they definitely did!
The cake was a four-tiered plain sponge cake with white icing and pink shimmery flowers scattered from top to bottom. Paul’s sister-in-law, Diana O’Rourke, made it for us.
We are both big foodies, so we wanted to make sure we had something that would please our guests and definitely didn’t want anyone left hungry! We didn’t want anything too posh as that just isn’t us. We had a choice of four caterers but quickly decided that we wanted to book Pink Pepper once we tried their homemade brownies when viewing Styal Lodge for the first time. When we looked through their information pack, we loved the fact that you create your own menu and don’t have to choose from set menus like most caterers offer.
Our wedding breakfast consisted of an alcoholic cocktail sorbet to start, then for the main, guests chose individual pies served with vegetables. We had a trio of desserts: chocolate brownie, lemon tart and berry pavlova. Our caterers put together an electronic booklet for us with all of our wedding information and menu information. Our guests used this to RSVP, choose their flavour of pie and request songs.
For our drinks reception, we had two types of cocktail served in mini milk bottles and bottles of Corona. The cocktails were pink lemonade and prosecco or prosecco and elderflower. We had prosecco for the toast and Spanish wines for the wedding breakfast.
For our entertainment, we had singer Jamie Mathias during the signing of the register and the drinks reception. He had written a personal song for us, so that was performed when we were signing the register. For the evening reception we had DJ Andy Murphy.
We had lots of other lovely details on the day. We hired our love lights, chandeliers and sweet cart from our caterers, Pink Pepper. The photo booth was hired from Picture Blast. We also supplied little bags of confetti for our guests, which we bought from Dollz Confetti – it even had glitter in it!
Our wedding stationery, including guest book and table names, was done by Special Moments Boutique, which is a small company based in Bolton. I was really impressed with Emma who runs Special Moments and she definitely went the extra mile to help with what we wanted. Everything was delivered in more than enough time for our requested dates and was packaged really well.
Our favourite part of the day was the ceremony. Our registrar from Cheshire East was absolutely lovely and made us feel like we were the only people in the room. It was really special.
For our honeymoon, we spent three weeks travelling around part of America. We started in Vegas, then drove over to LA, then to Santa Barbara, then to Monterey, where we went whale watching which was amazing, then to San Francisco, then flew over to New York and then flew to Miami and drove to Florida Keys, where we were staying for the last week of our trip. Unfortunately, we arrived there during Storm Alberto, so we didn’t get the sun we were hoping for, but we had an incredible time and it was an experience we will never forget.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to get the big things booked in as soon as possible; you are therefore more likely to get the suppliers you want before they get booked up and you have a good idea of how much everything is going to cost well in advance. We wouldn’t recommend a two-year engagement like we had but it was the time we needed to save up for everything we wanted; it was worth it, but it did get a little stressful thinking of the wedding for two whole years. Also, don’t worry about getting around all your guests on the day – just take everything in and enjoy the moment. The only thing we wish we’d had that we didn’t was a live band for the reception.
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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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