Bride Emily experienced a nightmare situation when the boutique she had found her gown in went out of business. Determined to still secure her dream dress, Emily went straight to the designer whose team went above and beyond to make sure she got her wish – and we’re sure you will all agree she looked absolutely stunning!
Groom Rory then chose to reflect his family roots by donning traditional Scottish Highland dress for the occasion and the pretty maids completed the attractive line-up in their elegant lavender dresses.
An abundance of pretty blooms in bouquets, button holes and décor enhanced the already romantic setting of Iscoyd Park for one very dreamy day indeed.
With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.
emily says: Rory had planned a romantic trip to Ireland where he intended to propose at Giant’s Causeway. Unfortunately heavy snow over two consecutive weekends scuppered his plans. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we travel to Ireland in a blizzard. Having asked my parents’ permission I think he was becoming worried about the cat being let out of the bag so, during a snowy weekend in January, whilst I was busy defrosting the freezer, he called me into our living room where I found him down on one knee. I was completely shocked, it was so unexpected but absolutely perfect as it was.
We had originally planned to marry on the 2nd August, which would have been five years to the day that we had met, but when we eventually found our perfect venue the only date they had available was 24th May 2014. So although it was a little earlier than we had planned it was absolutely worth it to secure the venue.
We got married at Iscoyd Park in Shropshire. Apart from being the most beautiful Georgian house in a gorgeous setting, from the very start the staff were overwhelmingly wonderful and relaxed and remained so right through to the big day itself – absolutely nothing appeared to be too much trouble. I had become a bit of a bridezilla and was struggling to find a venue that ticked all our boxes. Iscoyd Park ticked the boxes and more, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
We didn’t have a fixed theme as such we just wanted an elegant and happy day with lots of personal touches and I like to think we achieved that. In terms of colour, we tried to match one of the colours to Rory’s family tartan, which was a sort of dusty lavender.
After a fairly exhaustive search, I settled on a dress by Sassi Holford. Unfortunately the shop where I had ordered the dress from went out of business just before the wedding leaving me without a dress. Thankfully Sassi Holford were incredible and after a trip from Derbyshire to Taunton to be re-measured they made another dress from scratch. I really can’t thank the team at Sassi Holford enough for pulling out all the stops to make the dress for me at breakneck speed to ensure I had the dress of my dreams.
Rory’s family is Scottish so he opted to follow tradition and wear a kilt, which was hired from Greenwoods. The best man also wore a kilt hired from Greenwoods. Rory also had sgian-dubhs, worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, made and personalised to go with the kilts.
Sourcing bridesmaid dresses in the right colour proved more challenging than I had originally thought but, thanks to family in the USA, we were able to obtain them from Donna Morgan via Nordstrom.
We booked Iscoyd Park for the whole weekend so my bridesmaids and I stayed in a beautiful cottage in the grounds the night before for a girly spa evening and Rory drove himself to Iscoyd the morning of the wedding.
In our view, the photography was probably one of the most important elements, it is really the only thing you are left with other than memories after the day itself and I really wanted to be able to look back and see all the little details and moments from our wedding. Our photographer was Jo Bradbury. She had photographed my mum’s wedding to my step father at which I had been a bridesmaid, so I knew from direct experience that the photographs would be beautiful. Rory and I aren’t always the most serious of people, and models we certainly are not, so I really wanted someone who would be able guide us. I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She was there from getting ready, where she was incredibly non-intrusive during the nervous moments but was able to capture some really lovely shots. She then stayed almost right until the end to get photos of some dodgy dancing. Very importantly she managed to make one of the rainiest days of the year (we even had to throw the confetti indoors) look like a classic late spring day.
I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses, freesia with a lamb’s ear greenry. All the bouquets and buttonholes were provided by Selina Godsal, the mother-in-law of Phil who owns Iscoyd Park. She is the on-site florist which is so handy for tying in meetings with venue visits.
I wanted predominantly white flowers so we used peonies, roses, hydrangeas, gypsophila with a few coloured roses in the hanging vases behind the top table. We decided early on to do some of the flowers ourselves so my mum sourced an enormous van-load of flowers from her local flower stall in Manchester as well as the best part of a small lavender bush from friends. We arranged them in hundreds of vases sourced from Ikea. Selina then did some big displays for us in the ceremony room and a large ball display hanging from the centre of the marquee.
I wanted to do something a little different for the favours and as I had decided most of the flowers and table settings were to be white I added a little colour by planting succulents into small glasses which would double as a wedding favour and a name place setting. It’s quite nice really as I am still getting updates from our guests nearly a year on as to how their plant has grown.
I had seen a cake on Pinterest which I fell in love with and which fitted well into our dusty lavender theme. We couldn’t decide what flavour to have so went for different flavours in each tier. It was absolutely beautiful and tasted great too!
I was given free rein on the décor for the wedding but the food was definitely my husband’s domain. Iscoyd works closely with the Fine Dining Company – the food was incredible and not only tasted great but looked lovely too.
For entertainment, we had the Vittorio String Quartet play as our guests arrived and as I walked down the aisle through to the drinks reception. I’m not sure it was necessarily a wise decision as I managed to cry almost every time I heard them play in the run up to the wedding. Thankfully, I successfully held it together on the big day.
For the evening Iscoyd suggested a DJ for us which was really useful as we are not from the area so any recommendations were gratefully received. We spoke to Robert Maxfield who asked our likes and dislikes music wise and he really created a party atmosphere for our evening of dancing.
I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest for the little details. We printed a little poem for the ladies bathroom complete with a basket of toiletries to try and refresh the guests before continuing the party. Another of my favourite details were the little packs of tissues on the seats for during the ceremony; ‘for happy tears’. I really wanted to personalise a lot of the wedding so we had various things made, from a wooden card box painted with our names and wedding date, to the arrows directing the guests to the venue.
Other suppliers we used that I would recommend include Sash and Co who supplied the belt to go with my wedding dress. This too was originally ordered from the bridal shop that went out of business so they also pulled out all the stops to remake the belt in time. Gemma Cosgrove was my make-up artist, who was another calming influence on the morning of the wedding, not forgetting my friend Emma who not only managed to do my hair but also four bridesmaids, two flower girls and a few aunts all in time for the ceremony! Jean Jackson Couture also deserves a mention for making my mum look amazing!
I actually don’t think I can ever recommend Iscoyd Park highly enough. Not only is it incredibly beautiful but the people there are great too, Jen the wedding planner and Phil the owner were always on hand for any questions I had and Jen particularly really put my mind at ease. They have the perfect set up from the onsite beauticians and florist to the luxurious accommodation and venue. They urge you to make Iscoyd your home for the duration of your stay which I have to say, during what can be such a stressful time, was a really welcome comfort.
The moment that stands out in my mind from the wedding day is hearing the string quartet start to play as I began to walk down the aisle and catching the eye of my soon to be husband – a moment which Jo managed to capture perfectly. My mum’s speech was also incredibly touching, not sure there was a dry eye in the house, including a couple of Rory’s friends from the Army. Other than that I genuinely loved everything from getting ready with all the girls to the amazing best man speech to endless dancing and finally being able to call Rory my husband.
We went on a mini moon to a lovely boutique hotel in Norfolk booked through Mr and Mrs Smith. Later in the year we then went to stay in Tuscany in the most magnificent villa called Villa Fontelunga. Neither of us had ever been to Italy before and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Phillip and Paulo the owners of Fontelunga were so welcoming and although we were offsite in our own villa they were always at the end of the phone to make dinner reservations for us or recommend places to visit. They hold weekly dinners for all the guests where everyone can get together to eat, drink and have lots of laughs overlooking the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany! We absolutely cannot wait to plan our return trip!
My top tip for other Brides Up North to help with the planning would be – Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest (you can follow Brides Up North’s boards on Pinterest here). It became my wedding planning bible, from colour schemes to flowers, to personalised details, I found it a really useful tool to create a mood board for the wedding.
the big picture