Today’s real wedding not only sees two families come together but also two countries, as Cheshire girl Alison Jane tied the knot to her Brooklyn boy Daniel, during a traditional church ceremony followed by a country garden style reception at Hyde Bank Farm.
Though most of what can be seen, such as the gorgeous flowers, rustic décor and pretty barn setting, is typically English, Alison Jane and Daniel (who are now both living in the USA) incorporated some sweet American touches too, including stars and stripes bunting and chocolate dimes and nickels.
We think it’s safe to say Daniel will be Alison Jane’s american boy forever more!
With images by Pixies in the Cellar.
alison jane says: Daniel had asked me on several occasions how I would like to be proposed to (if it ever happened) and I had always replied: “Whenever you want to, when the moment strikes you”. We were both living on different continents at the time (I in England, he in America). I took a trip to meet his parents in New York, which was also the same city we met in. One morning we were lying in bed together and he rolled over and asked me to marry him. He says that was the moment he was unequivocally sure that he wanted to marry me.
We set the date for 13th June 2015. I wanted a summer wedding and Daniel finished medical school at the end of May and started work at the beginning of July, so it had to be June. Daniel had to be in the country two weeks before the wedding for it to be legal, and we wanted a honeymoon afterwards, so we picked the middle Saturday in June.
We got married at St Thomas’ Church in Stockton Heath, which was my local church in my hometown. We both wanted a church wedding and I wanted to be married from home, so it was a no brainer.
We had our reception at Hyde Bank Farm. I wanted a barn type venue and I loved the fact that this one had a room upstairs for those who want to party hard and a room downstairs with comfy sofas for those who want to chat and relax.
Daniel is a Brooklyn boy, and we now both live in Brooklyn. Being overseas whilst planning the wedding I relied very heavily on my mother to do everything, and all credit goes to her for it being a grand success.
I didn’t pick a theme as such, generally it was a very traditional English country wedding. I had been living in America for a year whilst planning it and I was a tad homesick, and I think that contributed to it being so English.
Our colour scheme was spun gold, spa, ivory, hessian and navy blue. I picked them because they went well together. The spun gold and ivory was in my dress, and Daniel wanted a navy blue suit, the hessian was from the barn venue. I realised I had to pick another colour for the palette to work, and chose spa with the help of my sister. I then had to remind everyone that this was not a spa themed wedding, as they kept wanting to make everything spa!
I chose my dress with my mother in England before I moved to America. It was a David Tutera Mon Cheri lace mermaid gown. My mother and I had slightly different taste in dresses: many I liked she deemed ‘too sexy’, I think this was the perfect compromise. The dress had hand-beaded and re-embroidered lace appliqués, tip-of-the shoulder illusion sleeves, a scoop neckline and back bodice, covered buttons which trailed down the back to a chapel length train.
My bridesmaids wore knee length Dessy chiffon dresses in spa, but picked their own style. We chose Dessy because it was easily available in the UK and America so they could all get the same make.
Daniel wore his favourite navy blue suit that he already owned and we simply asked the groomsmen to wear a grey suit. We had a variety of greys but I think it worked well and everyone was comfortable. Daniel picked a paisley spa and grey tie for the men to wear too.
My dad hired a car to get us from the wedding to the reception. I was touched by the fact the driver had custard creams in the back for us to munch on for our journey (they are my favourite biscuit and you can’t get them in America).
Peter and Sara from Pixies in the Cellar were our photographers. They were fantastic and I would highly recommend them. They suggested a variety of shots I wouldn’t have thought of, but they were never pushy, and were really lovely to work with on the day. Everyone loves our photos!
Lisa from the Village Florist in Stockton Heath did all our flowers, she was fantastic. I came to her with a rough idea of a country, cream coloured bouquet and she put together a fantastic trailing bouquet of roses, calla lilies, lisianthus, baby’s breath and a very pale pink milkwort.
For all the decorations we used the same flowers as in my bouquet. We had garlands hanging around the pillars in the church as well as over the porch, around the pulpit and by the alter. For pew ends I decorated jam jars in my colour scheme and Lisa filled them with neutral flowers. We then transported the pew ends to the reception venue and used them again as our centre pieces.
I also wanted English and American themed bunting, and spent days hand sewing it. My mother was sure I wouldn’t finish in time, but with a little help, I did. It made me so happy to see it up in the reception venue, and it makes a wonderful memento for me to keep.
Candle light was a must to set the mood and so we had dozens of tea-lights in jam jars hanging from trees and on the beams in the barn.
My mother collected over 150 vintage cups and saucers from charity shops and friends over the year before our wedding, which we gave out with favours. I tied them with printed ribbon with our names and date, and we filled them with chocolate English and American coins.
My sister and maid of honour volunteered to make the cake. It was three tiered; the bottom was fruit, middle was red velvet and the top was plain sponge, so hopefully everyone was happy. It looked amazing too!
For our wedding breakfast, we chose Scottish Salmon, followed by Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding to give the Americans a proper English treat. We had Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream for dessert, as there was no chocolate in the cake. For a late supper we had fish and chips from the local chippie, Matt’s Plaice.
To keep guests entertained, I wanted a live band, and Daniel located a great local band called Breaker Live, who played a great compilation of classic rock. Between sets we let our guests plug in their own iPods and had a great time dancing routines to the Macarena and 5,6,7,8!
A couple of special touches on the day included having my late grandmother’s sapphire engagement ring as my something blue. It wouldn’t fit my fingers so I sewed into my wedding dress. Also my father surprised me by presenting us with a beautiful poem he had written for us, it was so thoughtful.
Hyde Bank Farm is a beautiful venue, and we would recommend it, but I would encourage brides to design the day themselves rather than using routine suppliers, in order to stop it becoming another generic wedding.
Directly from the wedding we went on a four day mini-moon to Dannah Farm, a secluded retreat for couples. It was wonderful to sit around in the private spa with a class of champagne! We then popped back briefly to see my mum before flying to Fort Lauterdale, Florida, to stay in Daniel’s parents’ penthouse beach apartment, followed by a few days at Disney World (because I had never been) where we stayed in a nearby Marriott.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to discuss expectations early, in order to prevent fights. Everyone has different priorities, and if your parents are paying it’s their wedding too! My father wanted a fancy car and good wine, I wanted a band and a nice dress, my mother wanted to invite everyone she knew, and my husband just wanted everyone to get along – we all accepted that what we thought was important wasn’t what the other people did, and that helped us in the long run.
When it got close to the wedding I just couldn’t wait to just be married. As perfect as our wedding day was, marriage is better.