Charlotte Balbier

tale as old as time. lillian west for a wedding at the great john street hotel – sarah & stevie

April 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Great John Street Manchester Wedding Photographer

Today’s real wedding is all about the magic of Disney – the enchanting Beauty and the Beast to be more precise.

Our couple, Sarah and Stevie, decided on a nod or three to their favourite family movie, with the film’s much-coveted teapot, clock and candlestick all making an appearance on their special day. Combine this with a few unconventional twists – such as serving popcorn and swapping a traditional wedding breakfast for a rooftop barbecue – and we think this is an informal take on wedded bliss at its best.

With images by Claire Basiuk.

Great John Street Manchester Wedding Photographer

sarah says: We got engaged on 15th September 2015, while in Tenerife. We were on the second night of a family holiday, staying in a lovely hotel at the top a hill. Stevie was calling our daughter Sophia over to the terrace to have a picture taken against the sunset. Sophia, however, was more interested in going dancing, so was reluctant. I eventually talked her over where Stevie then picked her up, got down on one knee and asked to marry me. My reaction was “are you being serious?” – anyone that knows us will know why; we had been together nearly 11 years, already had a beautiful two-year-old little girl and marriage had never been on the table. I’d even been discussing how I would never get married on a hen do only two days before! My answer was, of course, yes and I will never forget that beaming smile on Sophia’s face, it was as if she knew what it all meant. The evening was then spent dancing!

Great John Street Manchester Wedding Photographer

Our wedding date was 18th September 2016. I loved the idea of having a September wedding (maybe as my mum and dad got married then) and 18 is actually my lucky number so this worked out perfectly. We weren’t bothered about whether we did it one or two years after we got engaged but looking back now, it was lovely that it was almost a year to the day.

We wanted a venue that could accommodate both the ceremony and reception and chose Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. We had always wanted a venue that had something a bit different and had loved the idea of a barn style venue. I realised though that my main concern was guests being able to easily get to the venue, and barn style venues don’t really offer that.

Great John Street Manchester Wedding Photographer

We were looking for a relaxed and informal feel to our wedding day and Great John Street offered this. It was different to any other wedding venue we had visited, and we just loved the quirkiness, the décor, all the separate areas that guests could relax in and, of course, the roof terrace with city centre views.

From the outset, we both agreed that we wanted to do our wedding a little differently, as neither of us like being the centre of attention. For us, it was all about celebrating with our friends and family, so we exchanged our vows later in the day, and decided not to have a formal wedding breakfast with speeches. Instead we opted for a barbecue on the rooftop where the guests could choose what food they ate and where they sat. This allowed us to mix with everybody. There was no pressure on Stevie, my dad or the best man to give a speech, this was entirely their choice, and they did this in the early evening with everyone on the roof terrace.

Great John Street Manchester Wedding Photographer

I wanted to be a bit creative with the decoration aspect of the wedding, as opposed to having just a colour scheme. We have a love for Disney and chose a Beauty and the Beast theme. This is my favourite Disney movie; it was the first film song Sophia sang and danced to and it has become Stevie’s favourite, too. We also thought that Tale as Old as Time had quite a good meaning for us, having been together so long. We realised this could easily become cheesy but I wanted to incorporate classy and elegant details from the film. A lot of the decorations and flowers featured those classic Beauty and the Beast colours of blue, gold and red.

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love light. a wedding at st mary’s lighthouse, tynemouth – PJ & James

July 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

PJ and James’ Real Wedding is all about location, location, location. Engaged at the Tynemouth Lighthouse, what better place to return to tie the knot… along with their friends (of the four legged variety too!) and family?

One slap up Italian meal later and everyone’s happy!

With images by Little Miss Boyco.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

PJ says: I had just about given up hope of James ever proposing to me when it happened very unexpectedly.

Being from Tynemouth, I moved to the Midlands when I was 6 years old and went to St Mary’s Lighthouse very often. It has always been my favourite place in the world. I have lots of fond memories of walking from Tynemouth to St Mary’s with my Poppa and going around the rocks with my brother Jonny.

James had heard a lot about the north east and had never been so I booked a little cottage in the village for a long weekend. I really wanted to show him all of the great places and things around Tynemouth that I remember and see them with adult eyes.

Before getting engaged we quite rarely went back up north and enjoyed the coast. We only really went for family gatherings so I wanted to spend time up there doing things I used to love.

Anyway, the top thing on my list of things to do was walk on the beaches from Tynemouth up Longsands all the way to the lighthouse like I used to with Pop’s. We had a fantastic walk and finally got to the lighthouse and I started retracing my childhood steps around those rocks.

James veered off towards the sea and we saw a seal, then James knelt down… I thought he was just trying to stop our dog Tinker from bothering the seal. But then he got on one knee and said ‘Me and Tinker have brought you here today to ask if you will be my wife?’. I was in shock. Then he produced a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring which I immediately recognised as being my Granny’s.

We had a cup of tea and got the bus back to Tynemouth. That night we took the metro to Newcastle where James had booked a nice restaurant… I’ve still got the metro ticket in my purse from 27th April 2013.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

When we left the lighthouse having just had the proposal I asked a chap to take our photo together. He said yes but I’ll have to be quick as I’m getting married in a minute!

The seed was sown! James really wanted to get married in the lighthouse and kept on about it. I was reluctant because I worried about how difficult it would be to plan from 200 miles away but it didn’t turn out to be that hard.

We ended up having 3 venues for the day which was quite ambitious! But later the day of the proposal we saw a small wedding in the old Italian restaurant at Tynemouth Station and another seed was sown. After that we made contact with the station and found that Davanti (a popular restaurant in Tynemouth) were taking over the station restaurant. I got in touch with them and we originally wanted to have the reception out on the platform but decided against in case of bad weather.

We had to wait for the restaurant to be completely refurbished but were blown away with the results and booked the reception straight away. The Manageress Helen was absolutely brilliant, she had so many good ideas and spoiled us rotten on the day. The restaurant is called Davanti Classico.

The evening reception was an easy choice at The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, which was where most of the guests stayed too. My parents had their wedding reception there in the 70’s so it was another sentimental choice.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Because the wedding was away from home we turned it into a bit of a wedding week. We travelled up on Tuesday and were joined by a host of our guests on that day and the other days leading up to the day. The idea stemmed from James wanting to play golf at Tynemouth Golf Club, where my dad played for most of his life and was Captain. James wanted to beat my dad on his home turf. How rude!

The day after the wedding we all went to the beach with the dogs and the lads played boules and drank beer and the girls drank champagne. We went out for another meal that night and stayed up for the first World Cup match, England v Italy. On Sunday it was Fathers Day so we had breakfast together then played crazy golf before we headed off to our ferry.

I arranged afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel for all my girlfriends the day before the wedding, there were about 30 of us in total!

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

James has blue eyes so we went with blue for our colour scheme. No particular shade as we wanted everything to be really relaxed and informal. The stationery was blue with a bit of a nautical, travel style.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

I had a make up artist Laura Gemmell come to do my make up, the bridesmaids and Mum’s. She was absolutely brilliant, everyone loved their make up… one of my friends said I should do my make up like that everyday, if only she knew how long it took to put on! It was a nice treat for everyone though.

We all had our hair done at Headlines Hairdressers in Tynemouth. They were brilliant too, managing to squeeze everyone in.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

James bought me a very unexpected but beautiful wedding present which I received on the morning of the wedding, it was a sapphire and diamond necklace to match my ring. I wore it round my wrist on the day but have worn it around my neck ever since.

I bought James a stainless steel shovel which according to him was the only thing he could have wanted.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

I tried on hundreds of dresses before I found ‘the one’. I knew from the start that I didn’t want anything too big, so I was looking for a sleek dress.

I found a new designer called Lillian West and one of her dresses looked exactly what I was looking for. I tracked down a stockist near Kidderminster (not exactly close to home either) La Couture Bridal Boutique. They had a designer weekend so I went to try it on but my eye caught another gown in the window and that was the one. Karen and Millie at the shop were so helpful. I wish I could do it all again.

I had a headdress by Halo & Co, also bought from La Couture. My shoes from Rainbow Club. I loved it that you could see my feet with the dress so had my nails and toes painted bright pink.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

James is a builder so doesn’t dress up often. In fact is scruffiness is part of the attraction. You can’t beat a buff guy in shorts and a tool belt!

Anyway, he wore his own navy M&S suit, bought for a friends wedding last year… so you could say it was vintage! He wore his own shoes and shirt but forgot his tie… fortunately his mum knows him so well that she brought a spare with her so he wore that!

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

The bridesmaids were tricky because we found that one of them, James’ little sister Vicky was pregnant and that the baby would be about two weeks old for the wedding. We had to choose something which she could wear and was flexible to her size.

We chose some slinky multi-way dresses from Marks & Spencer which were really good value (£55) and looked fantastic. We found some matching shoes by Debut at Debenhams in the sale. I had to go to about five stores to track stock down in the right sizes!

The groomsmen all wore their own suits but were asked to wear a blue tie and they all had matching button holes.

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

Our dog Tinker was ring bearer in the ceremony. Tink goes to work with James every day so they are best buddies, as soon as we realised we could have Tink with us all day (until the evening reception) we didn’t think twice. When we were at Davanti he just sat on the terrace outside the door and got lots of scraps of pork and crackling!

Wedding at Tynemouth Lighthouse (c) Little Miss Boyco

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