October 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning their big day, today’s couple initially decided on a 1940s theme inspired by their chosen transport – a vintage bus. However worried that she might get carried away with just one set theme, bride Jodi chose to keep the remainder of the wedding modern and simple with elegant pastel pops in the bridesmaids’ dresses, décor and flowers.
The result is a pretty and up-to-date big day with just a touch of vintage.
With images by Paul Swift Photography.
jodi says: We got engaged on the 2nd August 2013. We had gone for a few days away in Grasmere, Cumbria. After a fantastic day boating on Lake Coniston we went back to the guest house to get changed and go into Grasmere for something nice to eat and a few drinks. On the way back from the restaurant was a wishing well, which we stopped at for a while. Jack told me to throw a penny in and make a wish, I did. He did the same, he asked me what id wished for and I told him I wished we could be this happy forever. I asked him what he wished for, he said he wished for his dream to come true, and for me to be his wife, as he pulled a beautiful diamond engagement ring out of his pocket. I didn’t really quite understand what was going on until he actually asked me to marry him. It was the biggest shock of my life! I was so happy I cried for the rest of the holiday!
We decided to marry on the 1st August 2015 as we wanted two year’s planning and saving time, a summer wedding and the nearest date to our engagement date.
We got married at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the village where we live. I have lived in Rishton all of my life, as have most of my family. My parents, grandparents and great grandparents married at the same church and ever since being a little girl I dreamed of walking down the aisle there.
We had the reception and evening celebrations at Astley Bank in Darwen, Lancashire. It’s absolutely beautiful and the food is amazing! A friend of mine had had her wedding there in 2008 and from that day I loved it. I’m from quite a big family and didn’t want a venue that a family wedding had been held at before, I also wanted somewhere not too close to home but a close enough distance for people to be able to travel to easily, so it was perfect. I took Jack to see it before we had even talked about it properly and on entering the grounds he pretty much made his mind up there and then that it was the place for us.
I thought I wanted a modern wedding until Jack came home from work saying someone he knew had hired a wedding bus. I’ll be honest, I thought it sounded awful! However, I had a look online and saw a bus that we had seen before during a charity walk, I loved it so much! It was a navy and cream 1947 Leyland double decker. I loved the idea that it could take everyone from the church to the venue. I then started to plan a theme around the bus, especially as I love the style of the 40s, but as I did more research I decided I didn’t want to be stuck to one particular style/era. I’m a little OCD with fine detail, if we had gone for a 40s theme literally everything would have had to have been 40s! So we decided that we would go for a modern wedding with a slight vintage twist, which is a good job as the bus I’d based my planning on was involved in an accident two days before the wedding!
We chose a colour scheme of pastel green with peach/coral and ivory. I wanted light, bright, fresh colours that I hadn’t seen at other weddings. I had seven bridesmaids and two flower girls. Choosing the bridesmaids colour was the hardest decision of them all and I wanted to be clear about that before planning anything else. My maids couldn’t be any different from each other with skin tone, hair colour etc. and although I knew I wanted a summery colour I needed something that suited all of them, it was a tough decision! And I’m not convinced they all loved it, but they looked incredible!
On the wedding day I wore the third wedding dress I had bought! The first was from eBay and was an absolute disaster! I hated it so much I cried when I unpacked it. The photos were beautiful but the real thing was such a disappointment!. The second I think I panic bought! The neckline was same as the bridesmaids’ dresses so I think that’s what made me get it. I loved it but then the more I looked at myself in it the more I realised that it really wasn’t me! By this time Lindsey at Anne Whittakers Bridal Wear in Accrington had got to know me a little and agreed it wasn’t right for me. I tried on what felt like a million other dresses but had kept looking at the gorgeous one on the model in the middle of the shop. I tried that on last. I loved it! So much so I nearly cried! It was a beautiful lace Ronald Joyce dress with a low button up back and gorgeous lace train. I’m not a girly girl at all! I don’t do bling or sparkle but it had just the right amount of detail around the middle to make it a beautiful dress without being too much. Lindsey swapped the dress no problem, I really can’t thank her enough! She and the seamstress Shareen were both amazing! My wedding makeup was done by Rebecca Brown and my hair stylist was Gemma Brown.
Jack wore a three piece grey suit from Amelia’s menswear in Clitheroe. By the time it came to choosing the suits I’d become a wedding geek! I’d noticed that most of the suits I had looked at hadn’t changed much over the last 20 years and I wanted something more traditional looking yet with a modern cut. Amelia’s was definitely the best choice, I had seen a photo on their website and knew straight away that it was perfect. The ties were a lovely floral print silk and they had them in the exact green I had chosen for the bridesmaids for the ushers and groomsmen, a peach for my dad that matched the flowers, and ivory to match my dress for the groom. Jack chose to wear a tailcoat as he wanted to be a little different from the rest of the men. The staff at Amelia’s need medals! They put up with the husbands fussing and flapping and his entourage of 11!
The bridesmaids wore pastel green dresses with frilled alter necks that flowed from under the bust to the floor. I chose dresses that would flatter all the different figure types they have, which was a good job as two became pregnant during the planning! I ordered the dresses to be made to measure from a company abroad. The groomsmen wore three piece suits from Amelia’s with standard length jackets and ties in green to match the bridesmaids. Jack’s twin boys wore the same but without the jackets, and their sleeves rolled up a little with Converse shoes to give a more casual look but still in keeping with the older men.
For the wedding transport we ended up having to have an alternative bus as the one I’d set my heart on had been damaged in an accident. Classic Buses sent us a vintage red double decker London bus after working hard to juggle their already full schedule. The driver was a lovely lady who made it even more special. We arrived at church on the bus and after the ceremony it brought our entire wedding party back to Astley Bank. Nobody had to worry about driving or parking or not being able to drink, it was definitely a great idea and everyone loved it!
We chose Paul Swift as our photographer, which was the easiest and quickest decision we made! I’ve known Paul and his wife Sarah since school days and have followed his photography blogs since he started out. Since the day we asked him he helped us to plan our big day and gave us so much advice and knowledge. Neither me nor jack are comfortable in front of the camera so he suggested a pre wedding shoot. This made such a massive difference to us! Paul made us very comfortable and we had such good fun and a real laugh. On the big day his presence was very calming, we both felt like we were in the best hands and he did so much more for us than just take photographs. Jack said he was really nervous when he arrived at church until Paul turned up and started organising everyone, we honestly can’t recommend him highly enough. A true professional! He was very calm and patient and the 800+ photos he took are all beautiful and the perfect reminder of our wedding day.
Rachel at Garlands Florist made my hand tied bouquet using coral miss piggy roses, white hydrangea schneeball, thistles, veronica and rosemary, tied with ivory lace ribbon. Rachel incorporated a bangle into my bouquet which belonged to my mum who passed away in 2008 aged just 49. I wanted to carry something of hers with me on my big day, this also became my something old. She also made the most adorable little gypsophila head dresses for the flower girls, too cute!
Rachel then used glassware I had collected as top table decorations with fresh flowers in keeping with those of my bouquet. I’ve worked in science since 1999 so I wanted to use some scientific glassware to incorporate my love of chemistry into our day. Wedding Creations of Oswaldtwistle dressed the venue with seat covers with peach and lace sashes, huge candelabras with hanging pearls and diamantes. There were also little vintage bottles, pots with flowers and hessian and scatterings of pearls, peach roses petals and diamantes on the tables. Our table names were the dates of our parents and grandparents weddings and each had a photograph from their wedding day. The guests loved this personal touch! The top table had our wedding date and a photo from our pre wedding shoot. I made these myself along with the place name cards and seating plan in the same style as I’d made the invitations and orders of service.
Our favours were bath salts for the ladies and heart shaped mints for the men in corked test tubes tied with brown twine for a ‘sciencey’ vintage feel.
Our cake was made by my sister-in-law Charlotte as a wedding present – it looked and tasted amazing. We has three tiers of ivory iced chocolate and vanilla sponge and a clever clear Perspex tier filled with vintage buttons and pearls to match our theme. It was decorated with a row of threaded buttons and topped with the flowers I had used to make the bridesmaids bouquets. So simple and so beautiful.
The wedding breakfast was absolutely fantastic! We chose from the set menu and tried to pick food that would suit everyone. Everything was cooked to perfection and all the guests complimented it.
To provide entertainment, we had the DJ who was hired by the hotel as part of our wedding package and we also hired a photo booth from Style My Event. This went down a treat with all of the guests!
As a special touch at the reception we had a beautiful handmade guest book made for us by one of my roller derby team mates Johannes. He made a hinged drop top guest book with ‘branch slices’ cut from recycled wood for guests to write their messages on. The design of it means that it can stand freely like a book displaying our messages or hang on the wall like a picture. We currently have it standing on the sideboard but plan to hang it on the wall in the future.
Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Astley Bank to others. The venue is beautiful, the staff are brilliant (so warm and caring), the food was outstanding and the grounds are incredible. I can’t fault a single thing, absolutely perfect!
Our favourite part of the day would have to be the church and ceremony, though we all loved it! The vicar Michael Woods and the vergers, especially Mrs Schaefer, were so caring and welcoming. The service was beautiful, flowers were gorgeous and everything went exactly to plan. My daughter Elisse did a reading by Dr Seuss, we had the church bells rung by a team of incredible bell ringers one of whom is a friend, another friend sings in the choir so she came along to provide some much needed tone! The street outside was lined with well-wishers. It was perfect, a real fairy tale wedding.
After the wedding we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. We started in Mallorca and visited places such as the south of France, Monaco, Italy, Corsica, Spain before returning to Mallorca. The highlight for us was travelling to Barcelona, such a beautiful city with so much culture, we will definitely be going back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to plan, plan and plan some more! Research everything and be sure you know what you want! This is your big day!
March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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