Brides Up North

Love Heart Red: A Real Wedding In The North West – Kirsty & Dean

February 5th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Jonny Draper Photography

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If ^^^ that pretty parade of love heart heels ^^^ rang some loud “this is one wedding I have to see” (wedding) bells, then just wait until you see the rest of Kirsty and Dean’s stunning big day.  With images by Jonny Draper Photography, and some enthusiastic recommendations from today’s real bride, this wedding is a whole lot of lovely!

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Kirsty says:  We got engaged back in 2004! It’s been a LONG engagement…No ‘tear-jerker’ story I’m afraid, albeit very special to us. Dean proposed to me at home.  We were married on Saturday 1st December 2012 at Egerton House Hotel, Bolton, Lancashire. 

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The venue was one of the most important things for us. We had a few venues in mind at the outset but Egerton House was always a firm favourite of mine. It’s round the corner from where we live but Its got that Country House feel, the grounds are idyllic and there are lots of big comfy sofa’s and log fires. It’s like getting married at home but on a much bigger scale!

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Adele and the team at Egerton House are great and I had every confidence that they’d make sure everything was just perfect for us, and they did.

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Our theme was rustic, romantic, and red hearts (…because who doesn’t fall in love with Vivienne Westwood heels)! We chose a colour palette of bordeaux red, ivory and silver (very Christmassy)!

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When I set out on the ‘dress-hunt’ I knew exactly what I wanted. I just had to find it! One of the first girly outings to find my wedding dress was a shop in Ramsbottom, simply because there was a Chocolate Café around the corner, you have to start somewhere! I didn’t find what I was looking for but it did lead me in the right direction. The bridal shop had a sister shop in Rawtenstall and so I decided to pay Gypsophila a visit.

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Having walked into the shop and rummaged through the small selection of dresses they had I immediately spotted THE ONE! I knew straight away this would be the dress I’d pick, it was perfect. I wanted something that had Audrey Hepburn written all over it – very simple yet elegant that was very WOW.  It was silk dupion, had a high-scooped neckline, slim at the waist with the most fantastic crystal encrusted belt and then a full skirt.

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A quick swish test and I’d made up my mind, which was justified by the tears that followed from Mum and Nan.

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The bridesmaids wore bordeaux 50’s style cocktail dresses by Lou Lou, which had the same neckline as my dress teamed with the most gorgeous Vivienne Westwood shoes.

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I purchased the bridesmaids’ dresses from Just Gorgeous Bridal Boutique in Crawshawbooth, which I have to say is the best bridal shop ever!  As soon as I arrived at Just Gorgeous I just knew I’d find the bridesmaids dresses here, the owners (mum and daughter) Judith and Emily were so so nice, I think I’d of bought anything just to keep in touch with them!  Those girls became a highlight of my wedding planning times – the shop is every-girls dream, decked with lots of pink and twinkle and it’s superbly located right above a scrumptious cupcake bakery! There was always a bottomless teapot and tea is served in the funkiest pink china cup and saucers! 

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The groomsmen wore dark grey pinstripe tails from Slaters. Teamed with ivory waistcoats and bordeaux cravats and hankies. Dean wore an ivory cravat and hankie to match me. 

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We used Flossy & Leigh Hair & Make Up.  What can I say about these girls – fairy godmothers with extra twinkle dust. They managed to keep me calm all morning whilst working their magic to turn us into goddesses. We all decided to go for fairly natural makeup; I wanted an Audrey Hepburn-esque up do, whilst the Bridesmaids chose their own 50’s style hair.

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Phoebe pulled each and every one of our styles off perfectly! The girls arrived for 7am to set us all in rollers for breakfast, lots of make-up, girly chats and a few glasses of bubbly later and we were ready to step out on to the red carpet. Oh, they also have super-cool make-up chairs and an illuminated mirror – it’s like being a celeb for the day!

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One of my favourite parts of the day has to be also one of the most nervous and scary parts! It was waiting outside the ceremony room, all the Bridesmaids giggling waiting to go in whilst I concentrated on breathing!! I remember hearing the opening line of the entrance song and thinking ‘this is it’. Walking into the room and seeing Dean waiting at the bottom of the isle for me. I remember thinking; this is the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with…

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My bouquet was a natural look using akito and grand prix roses, bouvardia, lisianthus, ranunculus, ilex, ivy, freesia, eucalyptus and rosemary finished with a lace ribbon and a snowflake.

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Sara of Flowers With Passion was an excellent find! I’m sure every Bride has a vision for how they want their flowers and the venue décor to look, but it’s difficult to find a florist who shares that vision. I wanted my bouquet to have that ‘thrown together look’ (Sara will kill me for saying that!) – I wanted reds, cream and greens and plenty of different textures. Sara also decorated our cream birdcage table centres with ilex berries, ivy and candles and carried the look throughout the venue. 

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For me the flowers were one of my favourite things.  I’ll always remember Dean and I were called to view the room set up for the wedding breakfast before the guests were called through and I hadn’t quite prepared myself for how lovely it looked – I just burst into tears! Happy ones of course…

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We used Jennifer Sawdon a pianist and singer for the ceremony and the drinks reception. As we were having a civil ceremony we were always adamant that we wanted live music to create the same atmosphere at the ceremony that you get when you’re in Church. I had a real ‘thing’ about not wanting to walk down the aisle to a CD!

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I came across Jenny online and upon hearing her rendition of Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars I knew we just had to book her. It wasn’t a song I would have associated with a wedding but the way she sings it is magical – Its not often a song gives you goose bumps!

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The only problem was, I couldn’t get through the full song without crying… I had to organise many a girls nights in and we’d play Jenny’s song on loop until we couldn’t cry anymore just so that I was prepared on the day!

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We decided on a cupcake tower: 180 sponge cupcakes in silver foil cases, topped with lashings of chocolate buttercream and finished with either two red glittery hearts or a silver glistening snowflake. We had a fruitcake on top and a caricature cake topper complete with Disney ears!

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The uber talented Jonny Draper was our photographer – I came across Jonny online somehow (I’m sure at one point I was stalking every wedding supplier known to man. Jonny’s images are amazing. I remember scrolling through his site thinking that when the wedding is over, all that’s left other than the amazing memories are the photographs and if I had an album full of these pictures I’d be one super happy lady!

Jonny somehow seems to capture every emotion of the day without taking you away from your guests, which is exactly what we wanted.

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A wedding video wasn’t something we’d really thought about. Until we came across Silk Wedding Videos and then it was all we thought about. I’d spend many evenings with a coffee and a tissue searching through Tom’s blog and I’d always end up blubbing over a couple I knew nothing about!

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We have recently received our wedding video and it really is amazing. It’s surprising how many things you see on your video that you didn’t take notice of on the day. Watching all of our guests waiting for me to arrive and listening to the entrance song gave me the same excited/ nervous feeling all over again. Although I have to admit it is really strange seeing yourself on screen – I’m sure my nose isn’t really that pointy!

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I would definitely recommend a wedding video and I can’t recommend Tom enough! On top of the fact that he’s so talented he is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet…roll on every single anniversary so we can sit together in front of the TV and re-live the best day of our lives.

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For our favours we used small black and white funky images of all the guests (courtesy of Facebook) and we clipped them to each wine glass with mini heart topped pegs. Its funny watching the wedding video and seeing the look on everyone’s faces when they arrive at their table. It’s also nice that I’ve seen them in wallets and purses since! We just thought it was a nice little ice-breaker…

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Unfortunately we lost two very special people during our wedding planning times. Both of Dean’s Nans passed away. We decided to provide British Lung Foundation charity pin badges as favours. We placed these in little brown envelopes that were sealed with a heart (sourced from Etsy) alongside a little poem.

It was quite special to look around the room and see everybody wearing their badges.

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For the children we bought brown paper bags (again from Etsy) personalised with their names and filled with Haribo ‘heart’ sweets, bubbles, wax crayons and a card with a ‘Bride & Groom’ on the front (which will be nice to look back on in a few years time). 

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In the ladies toilets I’d created a collage of photographs that were taken at the Hen Do… Including one of me with James Nesbitt!  We’d also put together a little ‘SOS’ kit in the ladies. It was a little heart shaped basket filled with hairspray, deodorant, hand wipes, comb, hand cream and hair pins which I’d carefully packed into little red envelopes with the words ‘When it’s flat, pin it back’ on the front!

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I came across The Coolers at a colleagues wedding, nothing fills the dance floor like a live band. It was actually the first wedding I’d been to that had a live band. Those guys really are the best. The Coolers also played our first dance, which was really special. We’re already looking for an excuse to book them again!

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We’d always wanted to visit Disney World and so that’s what we did for our honeymoon! Two weeks in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We then drove to Miami and stayed overnight in South Beach before boarding a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, which went to the Bahamas. We then had a couple more nights in Miami before coming home so we drove the length of the Florida Keys and visited the Everglades.

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Since we enjoyed a long engagement, I have a few tips for other Brides Up North!

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Make decisions and move on:  We had 2 years to plan our wedding day which is great and gives you plenty of time to search through fantastic blogs like Brides Up North for tips and ideas. However sometimes having too much time means that you ‘park’ ideas in scrapbooks or in lists. The last 3-4 months really did fly by for us and I left lots of things until last minute. We were in Boots at 5pm the day before the wedding printing out all of the photo place cards – even though we knew we were doing these from the outset!

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Make a timeline: This was a tip passed on to me and I’m so glad I took the advice. Sounds a little ‘bridezilla-ish’ I know, but there’s so much going on during the day and so many people to organise. There will be things on the timeline that some people don’t need to know or even care about but it just helps if everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet!.

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Lots of information will be stored in your head right the way through the planning stages, I’m sure at times there were things I hadn’t even told Dean about… It’s nice to get everything down on paper and hand out copies to the bridal party and other suppliers.

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You’ll not be able to plan right down to the exact minute of the day but a rough guide helps things to run smoothly. This way everybody knows what to expect and you won’t spend the day thinking about it at all.

Of course you have to banish all sights of the timeline on the day… it’s s not cool if your running around with a sheet of paper panicking because the drinks reception is running 10 minutes late!

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Hen/Stag Weekend’s abroad: Gone are the days of ‘hen nights’… a weekend in Ibiza seemed a little extravagant at first but it was a much needed rest with my favourite girlies, it was a fantastic holiday and certainly one to remember. Waking up in the sun and having cocktails around the pool…lovely! Dean went off to Germany for his Stag-do to race around the Nurburgring track.

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Congratulations Kirsy & Dean!

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  – Images © 2013 Jonny Draper Photography

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