Often when tying the knot a couple will return back to their family roots for the big day, but today’s couple saw their wedding as an opportunity to showcase the city they now call home to their family and friends.
We love that this stylish city centre celebration takes place in a number of different locations, providing contrasting backdrops to David and Emma’s big day. Following the ceremony at Manchester’s grand Town Hall the wedding party moved onto a canal side bar before heading to the contemporary Castlefield Rooms for the evening reception. And of course they travelled in style, aboard a vintage bus.
This sounds like our kind of wedding!
With images by our talented Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in York in November 2013. York is a great city and a special place for us. It is where we went on one of our first dates and many days out and weekends away since. I was a total surprised when David decided to propose before a gorgeous meal in a lovely hotel. Spreading the news was tricky though as the idyllic setting meant no phone signal!
We chose the 21st of March 2015 for our wedding day. We didn’t want to jump in before my sister who was getting married in November, didn’t want a winter wedding and also couldn’t wait to get married! So we decided on the very first day of spring. It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day, beautiful sunshine, no wind or rain and nice and warm. Many guests commented that Manchester was supposed to be rainy and made our top table name of ‘Rainy Wedding’ slightly ironic.
Neither of us are from Manchester, I’m from the Ribble Valley and David is from Newcastle, but Manchester is where we have decided to make our home together and we wanted to showcase the city to our family and friends on our wedding day.
We married at the spectacular Manchester Town Hall. We knew we were having a civil ceremony and didn’t want any old hotel room. We only viewed the Town Hall for our ceremony, when we walked inside we were bowled over by the grandeur and atmosphere and decided straight away it was our perfect venue! We contrasted the grandeur of the Town Hall with a more relaxed, contemporary and modern feel for our reception at Dukes 92 and the Castlefield Rooms. A great area to showcase Manchester with the canals and barges, especially when we were lucky enough to have the sun shining as it was!
I wouldn’t go so far as to say we had a theme, but we certainly tried to embrace Manchester. I walked down the aisle to a string trio playing One Day Like This by Elbow and David wore a little Bee lapel pin, hidden next to his buttonhole – the worker bee being the symbol of Manchester and it features in the elaborate mosaic floors of the Town Hall, representing the work ethic of the people of Manchester particularly during the industrial revolution.
We also incorporated family heritage by having roses that represented England and thistles representing Scotland within our flowers. Our table names were paintings by either artists we liked or of paintings we liked, they either had a meaning behind them or story attached to them.
Our colour scheme was navy, pale pink, pale silvers and ivory. By choosing thistles early on we thought we would continue the dark blue theme, however we offset this with pale pinks to soften it and to ensure everything didn’t look too nautical. The two offset each other perfectly and the flowers tied everything together with the variety of colours, textures and varieties.
I chose a gorgeous A-line dress with touches of sparkle from The Bridal Path in Altrincham. I didn’t have a dress in mind and promptly tried on ever shape dress to help narrow it down. I ended up finding four dresses at The Bridal Path that I loved and the difficulty then was not finding my perfect dress but choosing which my perfect dress was! I felt fantastic on the day!
David wore a three piece slim fitted navy suit. After looking everywhere he found exactly what we were looking from in Next. This looked really smart. It was worn with a crisp white, double-cuff shirt with Hugo Boss cufflinks and pale pink slim tie and silver tie pin and a light pink pocket square. The tie and pocket square came from Swagger&Swoon.co.uk. I gave David a silver pocket watch and chain engraved with a personal message as a gift which was worn on the wedding day and looked great with his waistcoat
The groomsmen all wore the same matching slim fit three piece suit, tie and pocket square as the groom but without the extras. The boys looked great. The bridesmaids meanwhile wore gorgeous long dark blue dresses from Debut at Debenhams.
For transport we hired a bus from The Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company. This was a gorgeous vintage black and ivory bus which they had decorated with white ribbons. A plaque inside the bus stated where the bus was made, which coincidentally was not far from where I grew up in Blackburn. The bus took me, my parents, and bridesmaids from the Marriott Victoria and Albert to the ceremony and then the guests from the Town Hall to the reception at Dukes 92 and The Castlefield Rooms. It was a sunny day and the wedding bus outside the Town Hall really drew a crowd.
Photographer James Tracey was there to capture our day. James was amazing, not just on the day but from our first meeting. He is a pleasure to be around and such a nice guy. If you are spending all day with someone this is a massive bonus. On top of this he is a great photographer too. He totally understood what we wanted and provided us with great pictures which also embraced the urban backdrop of Manchester city centre. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough!
Our flowers were provided by Frog Flowers. We had a consultation with David at his studio and went through our colour scheme and feel for the day, we were set on roses and thistles and agreed that we would also like varied flowers with lots of textures. The Frog team didn’t let us down, the bouquets, button holes and table centres were not only beautiful, and even better than we had imagined, but also smelled fantastic (not something we had considered).
Frog Flowers provided all our flowers at our wedding and we managed to re-use the flowers from our ceremony as the top table centrepiece by taking it on the bus with us. Other small decorations came from our home, hurricane lanterns with pillar candles, candle sticks and wooden letters. Castlefield provided a gorgeous white letter box!
We gave everyone a little jar of sweets as favours. We personalised the jar lids with labels, decorated them with ribbon and a homemade ‘Love is Sweet’ tag, which included a thank you message on the back. We chose some of our favourites sweets to fill them with.
Elaine of Elaine’s Creative Cakes in Urmston, Manchester, made our cake. We wanted the cake to be fairly minimal with sharp clean modern lines, surprisingly this is achieved using the less modern and more traditional royal icing. We designed a four tier cake with Elaine, alternating fruit cake and sponge. Both tasted absolutely gorgeous and Elaine even surprised us with our own personal boxed cake, which was left on the top table and was a lovely surprise on the day.
We thoroughly enjoyed the menu tasting at Albert’s Shed prior to the wedding and I think anything we chose would have gone down well! Our dessert was a selection of tarts and a cheese board served to the table for guests to share. This is a fantastic option that Castlefield offer, providing an alternative for those without a sweet tooth whilst allowing everyone on the table to dig in.
Mixing old with new and traditional with contemporary, we asked a string trio from Endymion to play modern songs on strings at the Town Hall as guests were arriving, during the ceremony and at our drinks reception. These guys are fantastically talented, I only wish I heard more (a downside of arriving last).
For the evening we hired a DJ from Jonny Ross Music, who was recommended by Castlefield. The DJ was superb and had everyone dancing all night, he really knew how to judge the crowd and the music was fantastic!
As a special touch on the big day we had a signature perfume and aftershave, which is now our ‘wedding scent’. The sense of smell is a great way of evoking memories and we have decided we will wear this on special occasions like anniversaries as a nice reminder of our special day!
Other businesses that contributed to our wedding day was Erica and Edwards Jewellers in Manchester who made my ring. They were super patient and offered a really personal service. Also Sian Gorton did mine and the other girls’ hair and make-up on the day, it was no mean feat getting us all ready in the morning single handed! She was totally calm and good company during the wedding prep. It sounds clichéd but we all felt like a million dollars!
We would 100 per cent recommend our venues to others. As far as the city centre of Manchester is concerned there is nowhere else we would consider. The Town Hall requires no hard sell. Once you walk in you are literally blown away. It is a fascinating and historical building that will stand forever as a reminder of our day. The Castlefield Rooms is contemporary and modern and is an idyllic city centre location – they are incredibly professional and experienced at organising and running weddings. The day ran like absolute clockwork and was completely stress free as we knew everything was taken care of and in hand. On top of that the food is fantastic!
It is so hard to choose a favourite part of the day, however, one particular funny moment was during the vows. Many will know one of the statements that has to be made is; ‘I know not any reason why I ____ may not be lawfully married to ____’. We knew it was coming, but as a Geordie when David said ‘wye aye’ the ripple of laughter was fab!
Straight after our wedding we took ourselves off to a log cabin Keldy Forest. It was perfect – zero phone signal and the wildlife and nature were fascinating, with deer walking beside the cabin morning and night. We spent the days in our personal hot tub and evening in front of the log fire. It was a perfect chilled week after what was a busy weekend! Our main honeymoon is in June; we are off to Dubai and Mauritius and can’t wait!
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be to do exactly what you want to do, choose what is special to both you and the groom. Our day was exactly as we imagined and couldn’t have been more perfect for us. Another tip would be to make sure you surround yourself with suppliers and people that you get on with, that you can rely on and that you trust, this makes the planning and the day much more stress free and a lot more fun!