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stately celebrations. a winter wedding at samlesbury hall – tessa & joe

March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (26)

Today’s couple Tessa and Joe dreamt of a grand setting for their big day, and boy did they land on their feet when they discovered Samlesbury Hall.

Roaring open fires, historic wood panelling and regal chandeliers all contributed to this atmospheric winter wedding in the North West.

So join us as we cross the threshold of the gorgeous Samlesbury mansion to relive Tess and Joe’s fabulous day.

With images from Rachel Joyce Photography.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (3)

tessa says: Joe proposed to me on the 9th September 2014 in our front room. It is a funny story as we had just bought a house and were due to move the very next day. So it was a bit of a chaotic time and I came home expecting to see some progress made on the packing. I walked in the front door and saw that nothing had been done so started to tell him I wasn’t too impressed. I had barely started to speak when I noticed he was down on one knee. He had planned to have Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud playing when he asked but had accidentally muted it so was trying frantically to unmute it to be able to propose. To be honest I was so shocked I hardly noticed. I was so happy, even though he hadn’t packed a thing. Joe jokes that he needed an excuse to get out of packing. We then celebrated with lots of champagne!

We set the date for 7th February 2015. We had originally wanted a summer wedding. Neither of us liked the idea of a long engagement so had approached the venue thinking June/July for it. But they were booked up! So they showed us their dates and we noticed there was late availability for a February wedding. This was perfect for us as it meant a good price on the venue and we could have an open fire going during the wedding breakfast which looked gorgeous.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (6)

We got married at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire. Like most people we had dreamed of the grandeur of a castle or the beautiful interior of a church, but obviously a castle isn’t always possible and a religious service was not what we wanted. So we thought we would struggle to get the real idyllic surrounding we wanted. We looked at a couple of venues in the south as that is where I’m from, but nothing seemed right. Joe and I stumbled across Samlesbury and thought we would have a visit and see. Well we fell in love with it straight away. It is a fantastic old Tudor style mansion with wooden beamed ceilings, open fire places, original furniture and an excellent story connected to it. It had the ceremony room (which used to be a chapel), then a parlour space for meet and greet, and then a fantastic great hall for the meal. We were smitten with it.

We didn’t really have a special theme instead we just chose colours we liked to style the day. Because we chose February as the month it meant that we had imagined a more wintery wedding. The building and the open fires added to this and so we went with a navy blue and champagne scheme to complement the venue and time of year.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (9)

I chose a traditional ivory wedding dress with a lace top and chiffon bottom. The keyhole back was the best part of the dress as it fit perfectly to my shape. I went dress shopping at Anne Whittaker Bridal Wear in Accrington with some friends who helped choose the dress for me, I remember it was one of the first ones they picked out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the type of dress I wanted but as soon as I tried it on I loved it. Lindsay, from Anne Whittaker’s, was really helpful. Nothing was ever too much and she gave her honest opinion about each dress I tried without being pushy. I was very impressed with her prices and would definitely recommend her to any bride-to-be.

Joe chose a Prince Edward mid-grey suit with a white waistcoat and navy cravat. He also used Ann Whittaker’s as they had great outfits and offered a discount because we got my wedding dress from them.

The bridesmaids wore full-length navy dresses from Very.co.uk. I bought silver pashminas for my bridesmaid and grey for my maids of honour. The groomsmen wore the same as Joe, but had a different flower for the buttonhole.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (17)

I travelled in an ivory Morris Minor with navy ribbons to fit with the theme. It’s mine and my dad’s favourite car. He has owned one for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t dream of arriving in anything else. We hired it from Regent Classics. Geraldine was really helpful and thought of all the little details, for example having a ‘Just Married’ sign for photos after the ceremony and even provided a bottle of sparkling wine for us.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (37)

We used Rachel Joyce Photography for the wedding photography. We would absolutely recommend Rachel to anyone, we already have recommended her to three other couples. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, not obtrusive and so easy to get on with. Her photos speak for themselves.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (23)

I had a bouquet of red Tulips (my favourite flowers) with some leaves and wrapped in ivory voile. They were provided by Garlands Florist. Rachel and Simon from Garlands were absolutely fantastic. They made the day very beautiful and the whole process was easy. I’d definitely recommend them to anyone looking for flowers. Garlands also provided us with candelabras decorated with tulips, leaves and thistles for each table as well as a gorgeous top table flower arrangement and hurricane vases to line the ceremony room, which were just amazing.

We hired Wedding Creations to do the tables and chairs. We chose white and champagne for this to keep it elegant and simple. Jane from Wedding Creations was a dream to work with, she was very attentive and made everything a pleasure. She also provided us with a post box for the wedding gifts and some festoon lighting for the great hall.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (27)

A first we couldn’t think what to give as favours but then I thought it would be a cute idea to give everyone a scratch card. We partnered this with some heart shaped chocolate and put it inside a pillow box on everyone’s table space.

My mother-in-law made our wedding cake. She did fruit cake and sponge cake and decorated it with flowers and ribbon topping it off with a bride and groom Dalmatian cake topper (my absolute favourite dog). It was a gorgeous cake for which we were very grateful.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (36)

Samlesbury Hall did the catering for the wedding and it was outstanding. We also had canapés and fizz in the parlour room during the photos. For the evening they put on a great spread of chilli con carne or Lancashire hot pot, which our guests absolutely loved.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (41)

We had Simon from Garlands playing the piano for our ceremony, he was excellent. Joe, as a lover of jazz music, wanted to have some live jazz playing during the breakfast. So we hired a piano and saxophone duo who were absolutely tremendous. These guys we found through Dream Day Music. Then for the evening we hired Dave Lee to be the DJ. We cannot recommend Dave enough. He not only played the music we wanted, but was an excellent MC for the evening. He had a portal space set up for the months leading up to the wedding where we could select songs that we wanted for the do. It worked perfectly and everyone spent a long time dancing!

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (20)

Joe contributed several special touches to our day. He’s a Blackburn Rovers fan and as such we had famous Blackburn players as the table names (people like Shearer and Colin Hendry) we also had Blackburn Rovers branded salt and pepper pots (sorry to any brides who now have their other halves asking for the same). From my side I had kept our exit music quiet from everyone in the build-up. We had chosen the Friends theme tune as it is my favourite TV show and holds a lot of good memories for me and my friends. When that came on we all had a giggle.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (39)

We would, and have already on a number of occasions, recommended our wedding venue to others. There aren’t many truly hidden gems left any more, but this is one of them. The team at Samlesbury: Beth, Lauren and Angela were amazing. The venue was so pretty and the food was brilliant. Even at the more popular prices of the summer we would have definitely chosen this venue. We will never forget our day at Samlesbury Hall.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (45)

We can’t name a favourite part of the day. The ceremony was so intimate and gorgeous. Obviously being walked down the aisle by my father was emotional. We had a moment when walking out of the ceremony room and into the parlour when it was just us two and we had just got married and were holding each other’s hands and a glass of fizz each – it was bliss.

a winter wedding at samlesbury hall (c) Rachel Joyce Photography (47)

For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. We spent seven nights in Sri Lanka where we visited temples, experienced real wildlife in the national parks and rode elephants. The hotel was metres from the beach and the sea. It was stunning and we really indulged in food and cocktails. In the Maldives we stayed at an island resort that measured just 500m x 500m. It was paradise. Here we just relaxed and enjoyed the 30 degree weather with great food, drinks and water activities. If you haven’t thought of visiting Sri Lanka, absolutely do it! You will not be disappointed. I think everyone has wanted to visit the Maldives and our advice is just go, you will have the time of your life.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be just relax about the process. Your day will be perfect as long you are next to your new wife or husband. I always said to my friends I don’t really mind what is around me, what the venue is, the dress or anything else as long as I am married to Joe at the end of it (and of course as long as we are sat on a beach in Sri Lanka a few days later)!

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Bobby Dazzler: A Chic Manchester Real Wedding Inspired By The Music Of Bob Dylan – Faye & Mark

June 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Sam Clayton Photography

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The Real Wedding gorgeous just keeps coming today.  I figured one chic celebration deserves another, so this afternoon we join Faye and Mark for their stunning Manchester city centre wedding with delectable detailing and melodic undertones running throughout.

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Sent to me by the couple and Hayley at Weddings Vintage, featuring some of my very favourite North West suppliers and with images by Sam Clayton Photography, this one is really rather lovely…

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Be inspired!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Faye says:  Mark & I met in 1999 whilst working in a restaurant in Manchester called Simply Heathcotes. Our story is a lengthy one characterised by a couple of break ups, chance meetings at festivals and reunions initiated by my regular winning of competitions on our favourite radio station 6music! Manchester & music were always going to feature in our wedding day.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Mark planned a very secret (and typically extravagant!) proposal which involved for unexpected days off work for me, a surprise trip to Rome and a Bob Dylan concert in November 2011. Mark proposed on the morning of the concert before a trip to the Vatican. It was a trip to remember and frankly, quite a lot to take in! Mark had commissioned a sapphire engagement ring from RA Designer Jewellery at Manchester Arts and Crafts Centre which was beautiful and a perfect fit.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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We got married on 27th December 2012. 

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I am very much a Manchester girl with Mark & I enjoying living in the City Centre since 2006. We were only ever going to have a Manchester City Centre Wedding!

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We chose to get married at St Ann’s Church. St Ann’s is a church we visit often and my mum & I have become particularly fond of it over the years. It was 300 years old in 2012 and for the occasion, it had some restorative building work. It has never looked so lovely.

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It offered the traditional service Mark was looking for with a City Centre location and a lovely Rector, Nigel Ashworth who made us feel very welcome and delivered a very personal address on the wedding day. You would never guess it was in Manchester from looking at the pictures. It looks distinctly Roman which was very apt!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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We held the reception at the Great John Street Hotel. Living in Manchester City Centre, and specifically Castlefield we have spent a lot of time there with friends and close family. We both knew that it was where we wanted to hold the reception straight away.

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We wanted an intimate, easy and laidback occasion and the Great John Street suited this perfectly whilst offering a “home from home” feel due to it being somewhere we had spent so much time at!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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It was really important for us to reflect our relationship in the day itself.

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The constant thread through our relationship over the last 14 years has been our love of music and specifically, Bob Dylan. Once we decided on that everything started to fall into place –we were able to use some of our most loved lyrics in the invitation and reflect some of our favourite songs & albums in the day.

Thankfully we found Hayley from Weddings Vintage who was able to bring it all to life! We loved working on this with her. She was absolutely brilliant and made everything so easy.

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We were also able to put our photographs from our pre-wedding shoot to good use to achieve what we have always wanted – our own albums!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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I wore a Cymbeline dress called Farandole which I bought from The Wedding Shop in Alderley Edge.

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I have to admit that I found dress shopping quite stressful. I was so relieved when I found a dress that I could actually see myself wearing and being comfortable in. It was really important for me to feel like myself and to look like me, albeit a more glamorous version!

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My headpiece was by Hermione Harbutt. I contacted her after seeing her work in a Bridal magazine. I absolutely loved it! It was perfect and suited my hairstyle really well.

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My shoes were Tilly by Rachel Simpson. They allowed me just enough of a heel to be the same height as Mark and were super comfy – both very important considerations!

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My mum Joyce & bridesmaid, Angela were both an amazing support to me. I will always treasure the memories of our “post dress shopping” coffees! Nobody tells you this but the time you get to spend with your loved ones in the build-up to your wedding really is special.

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One of my favourite pictures is of Angela and my mum laughing over dinner on the day. Angela has definitely become Daughter No.2 in the past year! The time together in the run up also brings with it lots of opportunities for tears; I think we must have got all the emotion out there early! We still congratulate each other on how we held it together on the morning of the wedding.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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We chose a True Bride bridesmaid dress from Blush Bridal in Whitehaven. Rachael & Susan were so helpful and they have a really beautiful shop. Angela looked amazing!

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Mark & his Best Man Alex chose suits by Kenneth Cole from House of Fraser with shirts by Duchamp and silk ties by Canali. They both looked really sharp and handsome.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton was our photographer. We are so pleased with the pictures which capture the day perfectly. Sam immediately “got” us and she was lovely to work with. She made everyone at ease. She is so likeable and everyone warmed to her. Sam was introduced to us by the photographer we had originally booked but who had cancelled. It was fate and meant to be; Sam was brilliant!

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Manchester looks amazing in the photographs.

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This means so much as we have recently relocated to Cambridge – it’s lovely to look back on our home town looking so great. We can’t wait to put them up in our new house.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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We chose to travel in a Morris Minor called Daisy on the day. Mark’s first car was a Morris Minor and his dad has always owned classic cars. It was the natural choice!

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Geraldine and Ken from Regent Classics were a joy and pleasure to work with and Daisy was lovely. Mark & I loved our journey from church to Great John Street Hotel with Ken through the busy streets of Manchester!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Mark & I met Pete Churchman when he was playing at a restaurant in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. We knew that his style would suit the day and Pete (with a little help from Mark!) did a great job of getting everyone on the dance floor later in the evening.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sian at The Flower Lounge in Didsbury did a fantastic job and was able to bring our (very vague!) ideas to life. We both wanted something informal and simple. Sian suggested anemones, gypsophila and ivory freesia and everything came together beautifully with some relaxed decoration at the hotel and simple candles at St Ann’s.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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There are so many favourite parts to the day… walking down the aisle hand in hand with my mum, seeing Mark for the first time, the lovely service, Nigel’s kind words and the boys’ speeches.

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I think I’ll always remember the moments Mark & I had together though; the chat over a whisky sour on the balcony, our carousel ride (great idea Sam!), the glass of fizz on the journey to the hotel. It was slowly dawning on us that we were married and we both felt very happy.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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After the wedding we returned to Rome for New Year’s Eve before going to the Maldives. It was an unreal holiday. Truly amazing!

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Sam Clayton Photography

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy it!  Plan your day around you, your relationship and what means the most to both of you. You can’t go wrong.

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Sam Clayton Photography

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Congratulations Faye & Mark!

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Would you like to see your beautiful big day on these pages?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Sam Clayton Photography

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