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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