August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!
As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.
Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…
With images by Andrew Keher Photography.
claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!
We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.
We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.
We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.
We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.
I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.
To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.
Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.
We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.
Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!
On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!
To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.
Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.
The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.
For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!
We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day! We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!
At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.
In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.
For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.
Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!
We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.
Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.
Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.
andrew keher photography, Augusta Jones, belle vue coaches, debenhams, dunham massey brewery, haydock male voice choir, honest crust, majestic wines, marks and spencer, mika johnson, monsoon, mr allans, next, one sweet day, paul leffler, rachel simpson, real wedding, red herring, shropshire petals, the chairman company, the drawing room, the flower farm, tm lewin, uk wedding blog, village hall wedding, vintage wedding
July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.
Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.
Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.
But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.
With images by Yana Photography.
sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.
We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.
We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.
The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.
My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.
Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.
I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.
My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.
Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!
Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.
All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.
Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.
To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!
For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.
As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.
Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.
Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.
July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon on the wedding blog it’s all about the pretty with this stunning vintage wedding styled shoot set deep in the heart of Yorkshire. Put together by a small but very talented group of fantastic wedding industry professionals, headed up by creative photographer Luke Bell, we just love this set of inspirational images. If you’re hoping that your wedding day look might have a hint of the vintage about it, be prepared to be inspired…
luke says: Towards the end of February I worked on a really fun location shoot in Leeds that had turned out really well considering I’d stepped in at the last minute to photograph it. So feeling inspired I decided that I wanted to produce a shoot myself and started to work on a number of ideas – but the problem was nothing was really coming together: I couldn’t find the right model, I’d been knocked back from a couple of locations I was keen on using, I was struggling to find a make up artist whose work would fit into the concepts I was thinking of and I was still in need of a designer. So it’s fair to say that I was getting nowhere fast… and then it happened. It’s not often that a model’s look provides the starting point for a photo shoot – but as soon as I saw Harriet‘s profile I knew that I not only had to work with her, but due to her obvious passion for all things vintage I also knew who I would approach to help me.
I’d always wanted to collaborate with Hayley from Glory Days Vintage Bridal again (since our previous shoot had ended up on the cover of the Yorkshire Post Magazine) and Hayley – being the awesome person that she is – was more than happy to get involved and provided two beautiful vintage wedding dresses and even hand made three headpieces for us to use too. It started to feel like things were coming together – now I just needed a make up artist and a suitable location to use.
I contacted the very talented Faye Robertson who I’ve worked with many times before to see if she could recommend anyone and luckily it turned out that her work on a TV show had finished just in time so she was available herself – now things were really looking up!
As for a suitable location, well sometimes these things are just staring you in the face. Being fortunate enough to live in a gorgeous rural village we actually have a wealth of beautiful backdrops and even a stunning little 12th Century church right here in Sheriff Hutton itself – perfect for photographing vintage bridal gowns.
Faye and I agreed that the styling for Harriet’s makeup and hair needed to work in harmony with Hayley’s dresses and headpieces and I made sure that the lighting I used was sympathetic to the look while adding a touch of glamour and mood too.
Once Faye and I met Harriet we instantly clicked and although we all knew that we were up against some pretty cold weather and changeable light the endless cups of tea, giggling fits, outbursts of swearing and general hilarity that took place ensured a fun and relaxed shoot that I feel produced some stunning results.
I’d like to thank Faye’s good friend Claire who came along and assisted me with my lighting setup and to my good friend Elaine who stepped in at the last minute to lend me her wedding bouquet. Cheers guys!
We’re always on the lookout for brides who’d love to recreate something like this on their wedding day – whether it be the dress, headpiece, makeup, hair or photos please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as we’d all love to help.
And I’m pretty sure that because each of us had so much fun on this styled shoot there’s always the chance we will organise another one very soon – so watch this space!
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 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime
With the help of her groom, today’s bride Emma pieced together a very pretty vintage wedding by combining handmade decorations, dainty china, cute bunting and beautiful country blooms.
In keeping with the theme, Emma also chose to wear a 1950s three-quarter length Justin Alexander dress, showing brides that hitching up the hemline can work particularly well for certain styled weddings.
As well as taking inspiration from all the pretty, be sure to look out for a special guest at the wedding too – Emma and Jonny’s cute dog Sadie, so cute!
With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography.
emma says: Following a first date on a rainy day at a Duck Race held in Manchester in 2012, plastic ducks have always been a bit of a ‘thing’ for us. I had bought a black plastic duck as a reminder of the first date, and this ended up in our bathroom. In October 2012 Jonny took me away to a lovely little cottage in Somerset that had a hot tub – I had been warned to bring a cozzie, so in I dived! Next thing I know, Jonny is coming towards me with an up-turned duck. He hands it to me in the hot tub and said those magical words…and the rest is history!
Our wedding date was 21st June 2014 and our venue was Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue for a number of reasons – firstly it is so pretty and picturesque. Secondly it is a blank canvas so we could pretty much do whatever we wanted in relation to decorations and the reception. Finally as it is in a country park it is dog friendly – we have a Jack Russell, called Sadie, who is very much a part of our family, so much so that she was involved in the pre-shoot and was present on the big day.
Our wedding style evolved from a love of vintage! Like many couples, we spent the 18 months prior to the wedding sourcing vintage decorations/ china/ games – anything that we could use to make our wedding super special. Flower vases were hand decorated and bunting was handmade along with signs and confetti cones. Anything that we could make – we did!
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such and instead chose to stick loosely to summer garden flower colours. My maid of honour and bridesmaid wore different colours and then on the groom’s side the men wore different coloured shirts and ties. I wanted the colour ‘scheme’ to match our ‘theme’ so it was miss-matched coloured!
In keeping with the vintage 1950s feel, I had a desire for a three-quarter length dress – however it took trying on all styles for me to realise that I truly did want a short dress. Once I got my Justin Alexander dress from Elegance of Scholes on there was no going back – I twirled and twirled like a loon! Dress – found!
I really couldn’t see Jonny in top hat and tails so his suit was handmade by a local suit maker using Yorkshire grey cloth. Chris, the best man, also had a suit made to complement Jonny’s attire.
As we live locally to the venue, the day before the wedding was spent doing up the hall where the reception was to be held. This involved all hands on deck! We had people putting bunting up, making up cake stands and arranging tables. The juke box had arrived so music was playing and the hall was a hive of activity.
The night before the big day the wedding party went out for a curry to our local Indian. I said bye-bye to Jonny as he was spending his last night as a bachelor with his best man. My maid of honour and I went to mine and a bottle of fizz was opened (which I actually struggled to drink). The morning of wedding was actually really chilled. I remember sitting in the back yard with Jan in the sunshine! My hair was done by local hairdresser and my makeup was super natural and done by moi!
Jan and I were transported to the venue in a VW Camper, hired from a local company called VW Wedding Hire. The hitch we had was that the ordinal Camper that I had hired was having mechanical issues so they managed to source me a gorgeous cream VW Camper that was fantastic.
Photography is really important to Jonny and I. This was the one area that we did struggle with. We wanted someone that really ‘got’ us. We wanted this person to really capture the finer details of our day. We came into contact with Olivia Brabbs at a wedding fair we attended (as stall holders). She very kindly took some shots of my stall and through this we realised that we had our woman! Our whole wedding was the polar opposite of a package, as I knew that I didn’t want a package photographer. For example, Olivia didn’t attend the morning of the wedding but met me at the venue instead, which was my choice. We knew what to expect as we had hired Olivia for the pre-shoot and my word the photos of our day were sublime. I truly would recommend her!
My bouquet was a gorgeous work of art – so colourful with seasonal blooms and my favourite yellow roses with quirky textured foliage. My bridesmaid and maid-of-honour both had smaller versions of my bouquet.
Floral decorations were up there on the ‘required’ list. In keeping with the relaxed feel of our wedding we went for ‘hand-picked country garden’ style flowers. The floral display was a mix of supermarket bought and flower shop arranged blooms and the mix worked really well! We chose a local florist David from The Flower Garden in Brighouse, to assist and he really did do us proud! The jam jars looked amazing – and people took these away at the end of the night as a little gift.
To decorate the rest of the venue, Jonny and I collected all the china, deckchairs and decorations for months prior to our special day. Rather than sell our labour of love on, we decided to hire out items to other brides through our company called Vintage Wedding Daze. Our bunting has proved quite popular, so too have the deckchairs, handmade signs and suitcases. We love it when people love our style so much that they want to include it in their big day, and would welcome anyone to get in touch with us!
My mum is a freelance designer and so I allocated the task of designing me some seed packets. She filled them with wild flowers and they went on the tables for everyone as favours.
Our wedding cake was a little different to the norm. I love body products, and there is a local company to us called Yorkshire Soap who do the most amazing bath products. Whilst mooching in their York store I came across their Soap Cakes and that was it, I was sold! We chose a four-tiered cake with scents that meant a lot to us. As bath ducks basically brought us together, I had to have some ducks on top, and came by a bride and groom duck, which worked perfectly! Everyone commented that the Soap Cake was an ingenious ideas and I still get comments to this day!
We knew that the typical sit-down meal wasn’t something we wanted for the wedding breakfast and we wanted to use all the vintage china that we had collected to its maximum, so we went with a vintage-style afternoon tea produced by Dish and Spoon in Manchester. When it was all set out it looked truly stunning, and oh-my-word were the cakes scrummy! The cake stands that Jonny handmade were chock-a-block full of goodies. We hired a couple of waiting-on staff to serve tea and coffee out of china tea pots. It was all so civilised! In the evening we had hog roast provided by The Porkery. I don’t think there was any left – that’s how good it was!
As our venue was in the middle of nowhere we had a bar brought in by a local pub. This was invaluable as it meant that we didn’t have to consider drink for the evening reception, or the any part of the day, for that matter!
To keep our guests entertained, we hired a jukebox from Betterdaze for the whole weekend and put on songs that meant a lot to us. We also asked close friends and family, who were involved with the wedding, for their favourite songs and included them with a dedication, which made it even more personal. For the evening entertainment we had a three part female harmony group called The Memphis Belles, whose style is 40s/ 50s which was in keeping with our whole wedding.
Outdoors we hired hay bales for seating and covered them with British woollen vintage blankets. We also had some vintage style garden games for extra entertainment.
I would have absolutely no doubts in recommending our venue to other couples. At one point me and Jonny even took Sadie on a little walk into the woods (in our wedding gear) the looks we got were priceless! Having the venue for the weekend was fantastic as it made the event more than just one day – it was a weekend event!
Following the wedding we had two honeymoons; a minimoon to Cumbria straight after the wedding and then a longer break in the summer when we toured Scotland, The Highlands and Outer Hebrides.
I was so lucky that Jonny was as involved with the wedding prep as I was. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to divvy jobs out – don’t try to do it all yourself. Have people that you can rely on to help you out. For me it was the small things that got me stressed – but having such a reliable groom helped.
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