July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
With a clear eye for design, today’s bride Rachel, used her creative skills to put the all-important finishing touches to her wedding inspired by the roaring 1920s.
Her stunning Enzoani dress, with amazing back detail, helped to set the theme which Rachel then built upon by designing her own signage and stationery using silent movie and art deco influences.
A soft colour scheme of cornflower blue and yellow complements the men’s grey suits and helps to tie all elements together resulting in a well styled big day.
With images by Ragdoll Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged on 13th June 2014 at Queen’s Bridge in Chester. Mike had booked a night in Chester for our anniversary (the date we officially got together) and I had no idea he had a ring with him. He carried it around all day inside his phone case (I wondered why he looked uneasy when I borrowed his phone to take pictures) waiting for the perfect moment to propose. It eventually happened after dinner, we went for a stroll over the bridge. Mike had said that he’d been looking for the perfect moment, but nothing had felt right, then suddenly we were on that bridge, it was just us, the sun was going down and it was as if someone had just gone “there you go, this is the time and place”.
We decided to set the wedding date for 11th June 2015 – five years to the day from when we first met at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, North Wales, which is my parents’ local church in the village where I grew up, and the reception at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Chester. We’ve stayed at the hotel a couple of times on special occasions and love it, but what sold it to us was the Abbey Suite – we’d been looking at converted barns for our reception and this had both the lovely modern hotel with the converted stables attached, plus beautiful grounds.
The theme was subtly based on 1920s. I love this era; the fashions, the crazy dancing, art deco styling etc. I think it oozes class and elegance. Luckily my favourite wedding dress was very 20s too so it followed on from there. From the 20s came the ‘silent movie’ idea – we used it in the design of our invitations and placemats/place settings and then carried it through in the chalkboard style table numbers and bunting.
Our colour scheme was cornflower blue and yellow. We wanted a summery, cheerful theme and it looked amazing against the blue sky and sunshine. Mike supports Everton too, which made it an easy choice for us both.
My dress was an Enzoani number. I didn’t want anything big or OTT and this particular dress struck me as simple and elegant with a touch of glamour and sparkle. It is 1920s inspired which suited our theme well. I chose it for those reasons but also because it struck me as so different from all of the dresses I’d seen. I bought it from Cheshire Rose Bridal, Chester. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson, my necklace, bracelet and earrings from Debenhams and my headpiece was also from Cheshire Rose Bridal.
Mike wore a light grey three piece suit from Reiss with a cornflower blue tie. He chose to buy a good suit over hiring tails as neither of us are huge fans of tails and he now has a very special suit to keep. Along with his suit he wore shoes by Jeffery West and a tie pin from The Little Homebird on Etsty, which was a gift from me. It was personalised with the coordinates of Queen’s Bridge where Mike proposed.
Our adult bridesmaids wore a light blue Biba maxi dress from House of Fraser and the flower girl had an ivory dress with blue ribbon from a local occasion wear shop. The groomsmen all had a three piece suit from Next and blue ties.
We used Grosvenor Classic Cars to transport us on the day of the wedding. Mike and I travelled in a blue and silver Beauford and the bridesmaids in a Daimler.
Rosie of Ragdoll photography was our photographer and she was brilliant, we would definitely recommend her! She put everyone at ease on the day with her fun, down to earth nature which resulted in a fun, relaxed series of photographs. She captured us and our family and friends and the essence of the day beautifully. I would recommend Rosie to anyone who wants a natural, relaxed, fun feel to their wedding album. We couldn’t have wished for better. We also used Gray Weddings to film our big day. They were also amazing and so discreet you wouldn’t have known they were there. I can’t wait to see the video when it arrives to find out what we missed! They were so accommodating and flexible in our pre wedding meeting and on the day itself.
Fresh of Chester provided our flowers. The beautiful natural bouquets for the bridesmaids and I were made up of lovely blooms in yellow, blue and white.
The reception flowers by Fresh of Chester were placed in vintage vases, provided by Pollyanna Vintage who also provided vintage books and pearls for centre pieces and on the card table, along with a vintage suitcase for cards and a large picture frame with easel for the seating plan. Other knickknacks such as old cameras and photo frames I borrowed or bought from vintage and charity shops and my mum provided lots of candles! I’m a graphic designer and so made my own 1920s inspired signs for the guest book/photo booth instructions, cocktail menu, cake quote and ladies toilets perfume quote. I also designed our invites and save the dates, plus some unique placemats/place settings inspired by silent movie frames, through my company Racoon Graphic Design.
As favours we gave sweets from the past provided by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in personalised sweet bags.
Cake Chester provided our lovely wedding cake. It was a simple 1920s design, inspired by a combination of cakes I found in my search for the perfect cake! I made a feather brooch which they kindly added onto the front for me. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the top tier was Madeira sponge.
As entertainment we had a 1920s jazz band called 52 Skidoo who were great! They played upbeat jazz for a couple of hours and then the resident DJ played until 1am. He played all our favourite songs and finished with Hey Jude, which is really special to us as we met at The IOW Festival where Paul McCartney was the headline act. At the end we all linked arms in a big circle singing ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah…’ it was epic!
One special touch of the day was our first dance. Dancing is really dear to me so I wanted to really go for it! We learnt the Argentine Tango and danced it to Coldplay’s, Magic. The song starts with a 1920s introduction so I started with a Charleston as Mike stood and looked perplexed (intentional). We loved it.
We would definitely recommend The Doubletree as a venue to other couples, it’s an amazing setting. It has the best of both worlds – a lovely modern hotel and the gorgeous Abbey Suite (converted stables), perfect for photographs. The grounds are also beautiful. The staff on the day were brilliant, in particular the toast master. He couldn’t do enough for us. The venue was perfect for – smart and sophisticated but relaxed and not over the top.
I couldn’t possibly choose one moment from the wedding as my favourite but there are some moments in my head that stand out: coming down the stairs to my dad who was waiting to see me in my dress for the first time and travelling in the car with him to the church. The ceremony, we both surprisingly enjoyed that part more than we expected to. We didn’t feel nervous, just elated and excited and the vicar put everyone at ease and cracked a couple of jokes! And the speeches, they were all brilliant, funny and heartfelt in their own way.
We haven’t booked a honeymoon yet but we are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime in January next year with a stop off on the way.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t try to include everything you want on your wedding day. I had so many ideas, some I wasn’t able to make happen but they really didn’t matter on the day. Simplicity and personality are key. Think about who you are as a couple and how you would like your wedding to be remembered. Our guests all said what a ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ day it was and in hindsight we wouldn’t want it any other way. And, enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of marriage with all of your favourite people.
52 skidoo, art deco, art deco wedding, cake chester, cheshire rose bridal, chester wedding, debenhams, doubletree chester, Enzoani, fresh of chester, gray weddings, grosvenor classic cars, hilton, House Of Fraser, jeffery west, mr simms olde sweet shoppe, next, pollyanna vintage, rachel simpson, racoon graphic design, ragdoll photography, reiss, the little homebird
July 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
After a romantic, if not soggy, proposal in the heart of Disneyland Paris today’s music loving bride and groom decided to give their big day a festival wedding theme, complete with wristbands and live bands!
Keen that her wedding day also had a pretty edge to it, Lucy incorporated a few vintage touches into the styling and décor using sweet pastels in yellow, blue and pink.
We love all the elements of their big day and find that the festival theme and pretty colour scheme actually blend together really well.
So let’s head to the main stage so you can see all the wedding action for yourselves!
With images by David Walters Photography.
lucy says: We got engaged in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland Paris – not quite as romantic as it sounds as it was pouring, and I mean pouring, with rain and we were wearing Mickey rain ponchos!
Our wedding day was on 2nd May 2015. We chose this date as it fell on a bank holiday. We had a lot of family and friends travelling from all over the country and we thought this way people could make a full weekend of it.
Thistle Atlantic Tower in Liverpool was our wedding venue which we chose primarily because of the fabulous view. The hotel overlooks the River Mersey and has the most beautiful view of the famous Liver Building and the waterfront.
We incorporated a festival theme throughout our big day. We had ticket style invites, wristbands, tables named after famous stages and a band themed cake. I also tried to add a vintage twist to make it a bit more girly using pastel colours and birdcage and candelabra centre pieces.
Our colour scheme was pastel yellow, blue and pink, inspired by the vintage twist. I also decided early on that as my bridesmaids were all so unique and different from each other that it would be nice to dress them in varying colours.
My dress was Payton by Maggie Sottero which I got from Aristocrats of Chester. I chose this dress because it had the vintage feel I was after and beautiful detail. It was also unlike any wedding dress I had seen before and I think I surprised a lot of people with my choice!
Craig wore a three piece grey suit by ONESIX5IVE from Slaters. Craig doesn’t do tails and top hats, so the slim fit simple tailored suit was perfect for him.
Our groomsmen wore identical suits to Craig’s while our bridesmaids wore Mark Lesley dresses, also purchased from Aristocrats of Chester, in pastel yellow, blue and pink.
On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in a vintage VW campervan provided by Nick Connah from Connah’s Cars. Craig’s Mum and I also surprised Craig on the day with the same transport to take him to the venue.
David Walters was our photographer and we could not recommend him highly enough! Throughout the whole experience he was creative, supportive and fun. We had a pre-wedding shoot which enabled us to get to know him before the day which was really important. On the day itself he was energetic and made people feel at ease. His photography is documentary style, and has provided us with stunning photos and memories of our day.
I carried artificial silk flowers with pearl and diamanté decorations. I wanted flowers that I could keep forever.
Our wedding breakfast and reception decorations were provided by Karla Pritchard from Add A Little Sparkle. We had birdcage and candelabra centre pieces with yellow, pink and blue flowers. The flowers were also incorporated into the back of the chair covers, which looked stunning. My Mum and I made bunting for the ceremony table and top table which was a really nice personal touch.
We gave each of our guests a festival style wristband as favours when they arrived at the ceremony. At the wedding breakfast we also had ‘Team Lucy’ and ‘Team Craig’ pin badges on the tables.
Craig and I are very passionate about music and so we had a band themed cake. It consisted of three ‘drum’ tiers, with our favourite band and festival logos on the side. It was made by a family friend, Janet Hamer.
To keep guests entertained at the wedding and to tie in with our theme, we had the Ukulele Club Liverpool to perform after the ceremony and then in the evening we had an awesome band called Slinky, who literally kept the dance floor filled all night.
Following our wedding, we could not recommend our venue highly enough to other couples. Our day was stress-free and no request was a problem. The staff really made our day special, they were so helpful and fun. We had mentioned to the waitresses previously about our theme, and I said to them about wearing flowers in their hair. I couldn’t believe on the day that they all did, it was really lovely.
It’s hard to pick one part of the day over another as my favourite, but I’ve got to say our wedding band Slinky really rocked, and being on the dance floor with all my friends and family around me is something I will never forget.
As we got engaged in Disney we decided to go to Orlando, Florida on our honeymoon. We spent ten days in Disney and four days in the Universal resort. It was the holiday of a lifetime for us, and the weather was unreal.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – don’t worry about tradition, do what makes you happy.
July 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North we do enjoy it when brides push the boundaries with their dress choices. Falling for something a little different, today’s bride Victoria chose a stunning soft golden gown instead of a traditional ivory or white design – and we’re sure you’ll all agree, she looks gorgeous!
The rest of the wedding party keep the style bar high with maids in pretty pale gowns with lace detailing and the groomsmen in smart navy suits with polka dot tie and pocket square.
From the beautiful blooms to the elegant cake the entire day comes together perfectly for the classic and sophisticated wedding that Victoria had dreamt of.
With images by Cahill Photography.
victoria says: We got engaged in London over August bank holiday weekend in 2013. We had booked a weekend away and were staying at the Royal Horseguards Hotel. We always try to go to a Michelin starred restaurant when we go away so Neil had booked a meal at a surprise location. On our way out we had a walk through Whitehall Gardens just in front of our hotel. It was such a pretty little garden with a really old tree in the centre which we had seen through our hotel window. We stopped by it and Neil said something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to embarrass you but….’ Then got down on one knee and pulled out a little blue Tiffany & Co bag from his suit pocket and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked and in a complete daze, I really wasn’t expecting it. Of course I said “yes”. We celebrated our engagement at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.
Our wedding day was 3rd April 2015. We had no specific date in mind to get married, we had talked about a bank holiday weekend during the early stages of planning and it just so happened our chosen venue – West Tower Country House Hotel in Aughton, Lancashire – had Good Friday available.
I had my heart set on West Tower from the first time I saw it. A friend of a friend was a bridesmaid at West Tower a few years ago and upon seeing the pictures I fell in love with it! We did a little bit of research online and narrowed our choices down to a handful we wanted to view in person. West Tower for us just blew the rest out of the water, it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more.
We didn’t really have a specific theme for our wedding day, we just want it to have a classic and sophisticated look to the day to fit in with the venue.
Our colour scheme was vintage/soft pinks, cream and gold. I wanted to have soft colours for a spring wedding and I had always liked the idea of vintage pinks and the colours worked perfectly with the venue.
My dress was from designer Stella York. I bought from Bridalwear by Emma Louise in Bolton. I had seen the dress at a wedding fair at the Emirates Stadium displayed by a bridal wear shop based in Chester and I fell in love with it. I did some research into North West stockists of Stella York dresses and Bridalwear by Emma Louise was the only one. I contacted the store and from day one Emma was so helpful. She didn’t stock this particular dress but ordered in a sample for me to try on. I fell in love as soon as I put it on, it was so different to anything I had tried on previously. The colour, the lace, the detail, everything was perfect! It had to be ‘the one’.
Neil wore a dark navy blue three piece suit from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow with a polka dot tie and pocket square. He also wore a bow waistcoat with a pocket watch to make him stand out from the other groomsmen who had classic four button waistcoats with the same time and pocket square.
Our photographer was Martin Cahill of Cahill Photography. We would most definitely recommend Martin to other couples as he was great from start to finish. The pictures say it all, we are so amazed by them and they will bring us happy memories for the rest of our lives.
The majority of our flowers were silk with a few fresh ones here and there. Neil’s mum did all our arrangements throughout the venue and our bouquets. My flowers were hand tied, long stemmed cream silk roses bound with lace.
The chair covers, aisle runner, lanterns, pillars and swagging throughout the venue were provided by Add A Little Sparkle.
All our stationary, from invites to table names were handmade by me. I also handmade all of the pearl and crystal napkin rings for the wedding breakfast which doubled up as name cards.
We gave our guest favours of Charbonnel et Walker milk chocolate truffles which came in a white boxes edged in gold, which tied in perfectly with our theme. We had lots of ideas for favours but in the end went with simple and classic.
Our cake was made by Taylormade Cakes by Tracy. We chose a five tier cake made up of fruit, lemon drizzle, chocolate fudge and carrot. We wanted a quite a large cake to make an impact in the room. It was a classic five tier design with some of the tiers edged in edible lace and decorated with handmade flowers which Tracy had replicated from the silk flowers used in our arrangements. We didn’t see the finished cake until the day. It was so perfect and just what we had imagined, I didn’t want to cut it. I would highly recommend Tracy to anyone.
For our wedding breakfast we had a starter of smoked chicken Caesar salad with herb croutes and bacon crisps followed by mains of Lancashire blade of beef slow cooked in a beer jus with wholegrain mustard mash, roasted shallots, button mushrooms, carrots, swede and bundles of green beans. To finish we had sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream (our favourite pudding). In the evening we had a hog roast.
As entertainment we hired a string quartet called The Dotted Crotchets to play for our guests’ arrival, my entrance, signing the register and for our drinks reception. The Dotted Crotchets were our choice, we first heard them play at the Trafford Centre and we fell in love with the idea. We hadn’t been to a wedding with a quartet before and thought it was a nice touch and a little different to anything we’ve experienced as guests at a wedding. We had full control over the song choices which enabled us to pick songs that meant something to us.
We hired Robin, the MD of Dancefloor Couture, as our DJ for our evening reception. He had played at a number of our friends’ weddings in previous years and was absolutely amazing. We knew we had to have him and didn’t want anyone else. He certainly didn’t disappoint!
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff made us feel comfortable from the first day we visited West Tower, they could not have been more helpful from start to finish. They made our vision of what we wanted our wedding day to be into a reality. It was so much more than we dreamed of. I could not fault them on anything they have a fabulous team and would highly recommend them as a wedding venue.
I enjoyed every single minute of our wedding day, it was such an amazing day and one I will never forget. For me there were a couple of standout points; the moment my bridesmaid and my dad saw me in my dress for the very first time. I had concealed everything about my dress from everyone other than my mum until I was dressed on the day. It was such an overwhelming feeling to see their faces when they finally saw it. It was definitely tears all round moment. Another special moment was when I saw Neil waiting for me at the end of the aisle and taking our vows.
For our honeymoon we went to Hong Kong for four nights then onto Koh Samui, Thailand, for six months and then Singapore for six nights. We wanted to have a long holiday as we normally only do short breaks away, so it was nice to enjoy almost three weeks away from everything together as a newly married couple.
Neil spent a few years as a child in Singapore and time as a teenager in Hong Kong as his dad worked away in these countries, so he was excited to go back and see what it was like now and also to show me where he lived and the things he experienced as a child. We chose Koh Samui as our ultimate luxury destination for rest and relaxation in the middle of our two city stays. We had our private villa with our own pool. It was paradise.
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute and try to take in as much as possible as the day just flies by so quickly. Also, take five minutes together to discuss the day so far.
add a little sparkle, bridalwear by emma louise, cahill photography, Charbonnel et Walker, dancefloor couture, debenhams, lancashire wedding, marks and spencer, next, north west wedding, pink wedding, real wedding, romantic wedding, stella york, taylormade cakes, the dotted crotchets, uk wedding blog, west tower country house hotel, whitfield and ward
July 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Foodies Laura and Stephen incorporated their love of fine dining into every element of their wedding, from the romantic restaurant proposal, to menu and theming choices for the big day, and even planned some top nosh in swanky London town to kick start their honeymoon.
We just love the pretty pistachio and lavender colour scheme, which fits in with the theming beautifully, plus all those special homemade touches that were loving crafted by Laura, with the help of her leading ladies.
So pull up a chair, tuck in your napkin and feast your eyes on the delicious big day…
With images and video by H2 Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in April 2012. Stephen and I often save up and treat ourselves to meals at top restaurants as we really enjoy eating out and sampling fine cuisine. Due to our love of food, Stephen planned a whole holiday around eating. On the final night of our trip, we treated ourselves and booked a table at the 3 Michelin star restaurant called Akelare. We sat admiring the view of the Bay of Biscay whilst enjoying our 12 course tasting menu. The final dish arrived and to my surprise under the silver cloche there was a dazzling engagement ring. Stephen got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Without a doubt I said “yes” and the rest is history.
We set the date for 16th August 2014 as I’m a teacher and so wanted to book it in the summer holidays to allow time for me to complete my preparations.
We married in our local village church and had a beautiful service with our close friends and family. When it came to finding the reception venue we visited many options, but instantly fell in love with Beeston Manor in Hoghton, Lancashire. We loved the venue due to its intimacy and homeliness. The owners were fabulous and extremely accommodating. Being situated within the countryside and close to where we live, it was a perfect venue for us.
The overall style was of our wedding was traditional English country garden. This theme fit perfectly with the venue.
Our colour theme was ‘pistachio and lavender’. I adore the scent of lavender so I grew my own within the garden. I then dried it out and this was used to decorate the church pews and the reception tables. I even got my florist to incorporate some within my bouquet. Stephen found an unusual pistachio coloured suit that he really liked and the added bonus was that we are both very fond of eating pistachios!
I wanted a big dress that was covered in lace and had intricate detail. I was keen to find one that was fitting of a traditional wedding. I would only wear a dress of this splendour once so I wanted to make a statement. The best thing about my dress was that it had a bolero piece that I could detach. This transformed the look of the dress and made it extra special. I purchased the dress from The Bridal Lounge in Accrington.
Stephen hired his suits from Dan Kerr in Preston. He wore a pistachio coloured suit with a cream cravat and handkerchief. The groomsmen wore the same as the groom. The only difference was that Stephen had a different buttonhole.
The bridesmaids wore a lavender Grecian style dress. I ordered these from a website called, www.DIYdress.com. The quality of the dresses were amazing and I purchased all three of them at a reasonable price. Our little flower girl wore a beautiful dress from BHS.
We hired a traditional car from a local supplier. We only lived around the corner from our church so the chauffer ran the bridesmaids up to the church first and then came back for me and my dad.
We visited a few photographers before we found Chris at H2 photography. We were really interested in getting a good quality videographer to capture our special day. We first found H2 Photography online. We watched one of Chris’ cinematic films he had featured on his website and we just knew that the quality of his films were above any other we had seen. The bonus was that when we met Chris in person he was a really approachable, friendly guy. Both Stephen and I knew that that we wouldn’t be disappointed if we picked Chris to be our photographer/videographer. We were right to trust our instincts. He was great!
To save money, I attended our church’s flower arranging classes. With the help of Hazel (the chief flower arranger at church) we created some fabulous floral creations. This was an enjoyable experience and the church looked beautiful due to our personal touch.
The bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, button holes and corsages were created by Eden florist in Chorley. Again, I couldn’t fault their service. They did any amazing job.
I designed and created all the table centre pieces myself. Each one was unique and quaint. I purchased a variety of discounted items from places such as The Range, B&M and Country Baskets wholesalers. I was also assisted by a brigade of close friends who helped me to decorate empty jam jars. This was a fun experience and my friends really enjoyed contributing to the wedding preparations. Each table had a bespoke, homemade feel to it. To complete the setting, Creative Covers in Preston, supplied our chair covers.
As favours the male guests received a bag of pistachio nuts and a tag that read ‘Nuts about each other’. The female guests meanwhile received a bar of lavender soap and an envelope of seeds. The seed label read, ‘Plant these seeds and watch them bloom, just like the love of the bride and groom’. We bought our flower girl a beautiful Build a Bear which was dressed in a gorgeous wedding dress. She loved her present.
We decided to have a cake made of cheese. The cheese was supplied by Pat’s Cheeses on Chorley market. This was one of the highlights for our guests. The cake looked beautiful and tasted great too.
As a sweet option we also ordered a three-tier iced sponge cake from Marks & Spencer. We picked up some lace from the Chorley market and pinned it around each tier. I then ordered an extra button hole for my cake topper. A simple look, but it was extremely effective.
We chose Alex Birtwell an acoustic vocalist to perform at our wedding. He is an excellent wedding entertainer. He was extremely versatile, professional and friendly. All our wedding guests commented on how good he was.
In addition to the traditional wedding guest book I created ‘messages in a bottle’. The guests inserted a ‘best wishes note’ into the following labelled bottles: 1 year, 5 year, 10 year and 25 years. On each anniversary we will smash the relevant bottle and read our wonderful messages.
To collect images from our day we used a free app called Wedpics.com. This was an amazing free website where guests could login and upload their wedding snaps for us to view. This is a modern take on putting cameras on each table. We accumulated about 300 amateur extra weddings snaps, which was great.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others. This family run business can’t do enough for you. They made our day run smoothly and perfectly. A gorgeous venue, great staff and scrumptious food.
After the wedding we started our honeymoon by nipping down to London on the train to visit Le Gavroche, which is the restaurant belonging to Michel Roux Jr. We then flew to Corsica and spent a whole week in a gorgeous, peaceful, secluded villa. It was bliss!
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be – get yourself a wedding planning booklet to keep yourself organised, delegate jobs as much as possible to friends and family and don’t be scared to DIY and add personal touches.
July 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As soon as we spotted today’s real wedding we knew it would be perfect for the blog, not only because it’s incredibly pretty, but also because it’s brimming with our favourite colour, pink!
Every element of Rachel and Brandon’s well-styled big day blends together seamlessly, from the rustic barn wedding setting with exposed stone and beams, to the cute bunting strung along the walls and the also the stunning floral displays placed upon the tables.
The bride and groom say their main aim was to deliver a day that was fun and joyful – looking at the images we’d say mission well and truly accomplished!
With images by One Little Daisy.
rachel says: We got engaged when we seized a brief moment of alone time on Christmas Day 2013. Brandon had been working away a lot so it was poignant that we were able to savour this moment at home – well, my parents’ home, but at least we were in our home country (where we live anyway, Brandon is American).
After our engagement we chose 23rd April 2015 as our wedding date, which was a Thursday. Family and friends were travelling from all over the world and with those journeys in mind we thought that a Thursday would be easier for people. It also meant we saved a few pennies here and there on the venue and some suppliers. A hidden benefit for us was that suppliers had better availability so there was less pressure to get them booked.
Our venue was The Ashes in Endon, Staffordshire. We chose it for its beautiful Grade II listed barns and stunning scenery. We wanted a stress-free ride and loved the idea of their team of expert planners. Plus we could provide our own wine (wine tasting was definitely one of the preparation highlights)!
We wanted the day to be fun and joyful and so we picked things we really liked to incorporate into our day. We ended up making a lot of things ourselves and involving friends, all of which just evolved as the planning progressed.
For our colour scheme we chose blush and navy as the principal colours almost instinctively.
The dress I chose was the polar opposite of what I started out looking for – it was a wildcard. As soon as I put it on I loved it. It felt so much fun to wear and I couldn’t stop grinning. It was from Knutsford Wedding Gallery.
On the wedding day my flawless makeup was by Gemma at Dollface Makeup Studio in Macclesfield. She was lovely to work with. My gorgeous hair meanwhile was by Vicky at Anthony James, Altrincham.
Brandon wore a blue racing green suit, a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt and a Dessy tie and pocket square to match with the Dessy dress of my maid-of-honour. He had stripy blue and pink socks that matched the rest of the wedding party.
My maid-of-honour wore a blush floor-length dress from Dessy and the groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom wore navy racing green suits and blush ties and pocket squares from Dessy.
Our ceremony was pretty special and a first for the registry office, which took some organising! We had the co-founder of Sunday Assembly, Sanderson Jones, as our MC. We really wanted a ceremony that was as personalised to us as we could make it. He created such a celebratory atmosphere and had the whole room singing and cheering throughout. He balanced humour and jubilation with thoughtful words on marriage.
I was adamant I wanted signing to be a part of our ceremony and we were honoured to have James Adams, an amazing musician and close family friend, play for us. We had the whole congregation singing, and he played a medley solo whilst we signed the register.
To transport our guests to The Ashes we hired a big red bus from Routemaster for Hire, Wrexham. It was a fabulous sight to watch it slowly make its way up the long winding road at The Ashes.
We loved our photographer Joe, from One Little Daisy in Leek, from the day we met him. So much so we didn’t even meet with anyone else. One unique thing that he offers is a ‘Go-pro video’ of the ceremony and speeches. We’d whole-heartedly recommend him for his professionalism, his friendly nature and his stunning photos.
I was blown away by my bouquet. I have never seen anything like it. The variety and precision was remarkable. Our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers, did an immense job of interpreting my array of thoughts and ramblings.
When it came to decorations, we wanted them to be fun and joyful. For our floral decorations we incorporated some blues and purples to complement the pinks, whites and ivories used in the bouquets. We had a stunning six-foot arrangement for the ceremony table, which we moved to the top table. Everything floral was provided by our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers.
Our elegant bunting, from Bunting with Love, was excellent quality. The owner was exceptionally helpful and went out of her way to help us. We then supplied the many props ourselves.
My friend Laura kindly made our beautiful cake. She isn’t a professional baker so we were hugely honoured that she went to so much effort in her spare time to create such a masterpiece. The bottom and top layers were fruit and the middle layer was sponge. We served it alongside the evening buffet.
The highlight of our wedding breakfast was the ‘Host a Roast’ sirloin beef. We had pre-selected a carver for each table, each of whom were presented with an apron and a chef’s hat. This aligned with our theme to create a fun day for everyone. It was a great way to get guests talking at the tables and great fun to watch from the top table. The food, which was impeccable, was provided by Jenkinsons, the venue’s resident caterer.
We were very excited to be able to have carte blanche to choose our own wines (with no corkage!). We sought wines that would stand up to being drunk without food, as there can be a lot of time between courses at a wedding. We paired the asparagus and Serano ham starter with a lively Australian Voignier and chose a sumptuous Spanish Garnacha to accompany the roast beef. For the toasts we enjoyed a beautifully refreshing Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
We took a traditional approach to the entertainment and hired a band called the Warning Tones, who were fab and had the dance floor filled the whole night.
There was a few special touches added to the day to make it all the more memorable including a ‘first look’. Brandon and I were keen to share as much of the day together as we could and so shared a few special minutes together before the ceremony.
With the help of others, we also made some lovely homemade items for the wedding. My maid-of-honour made our fun table plan and confetti cones. We wanted to incorporate an element that united our two nationalities. Brandon and I made the place names, champagne cork holders and table names, amongst other bits and pieces and my dad made the blackboards that our page boys carried.
As something a little bit different we had a Poloroid guestbook, which our guests loved! It includes so many fun photos.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other brides and grooms. It’s picturesque, arranged perfectly and has all the necessary elements, including the ‘Dairy’ where the bride and her maids can get ready.
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony, we had such a blast singing and dancing. Who knew comedy had a place in a wedding, it was so much fun.
Following the wedding, we had a mini-moon in the Peak District. It was heavenly to nip away for a few days without the added hassle of having to prepare for a full honeymoon. We’ll be honeymooning in the USA after spending some time with Brandon’s family.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to wed on a Thursday! It makes booking suppliers so much simpler. Also, have a first look! It was so special to share those few minutes together just the two of us. It took away any butterflies for the ceremony and I’d say we enjoyed the ceremony more for it.
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