Today’s bride and groom turned their May wedding around in just five months following a romantic Christmas Day proposal. Impressive, hey?
Early on Laura had a few key suppliers in mind who she quickly secured and found her perfect venue in the form of a place she used to work, The Plough in Lupton.
With the help of their loving family, Laura and Edward, then pulled together the finishing touches for the beautiful blue wedding day, including handmade décor, floral arrangements and musical entertainment.
With images by Jess Reeve Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on Christmas day 2014. We like to make each other a Christmas stocking with small gifts in each and we open these together first thing on Christmas morning. My stocking last year was full of stranger presents than ever before – I had some cheap biros, a chocolate orange (actually an empty box as Ed had already eaten it!) and then a mystery box in the toe of the stocking. I unwrapped it and there was Ed asking me to marry him!
We got married on the 23rd May 2015. We chose the date primarily because I’m a teacher and we needed a date in school holidays. This date fell at the beginning of summer half term so we would be able to have a week off together afterwards. We didn’t want to wait until the summer as, unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with cancer at New Year and, with an uncertain prognosis, we wanted to ensure he was with us to enjoy our special day.
We got married at All Saints church in Burton-in-Lonsdale. Edward grew up in Burton and attended primary school next to the church. Ed’s mother also volunteers her time to help with the church and so it was the perfect place for us to marry in. The reception venue was The Plough at Lupton. Before my teacher training I worked in hospitality and I was assistant manager at The Plough between 2010 (when it reopened after a total refurbishment) until 2012. My father also worked there until January of this year, and we knew the staff would make it a perfect day for us.
We didn’t have a theme but we did have a colour scheme of navy/royal blue. I chose blue because I’ve always liked it as a colour and because it would link to my engagement ring, which is a diamond with two tear drop sapphires either side.
From looking at different styles of dress online and in magazines, I knew I didn’t want a dress without some form of straps. Although I wanted something special, I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress that I would wear for one day. Someone recommended I look at Wed2B in Bolton as a starting place. As I’d been on a strict diet since January, I wanted to leave it as late as I dared to get my dress! My mum and I went to Wed2B at the beginning of April as I’d seen the dress I wanted on the website and they had one in stock – it was in my size! I tried on four dresses and the one I had seen online was the one I fell in love with. It was perfect!
As a special touch on the wedding day I decided that I would have my grandma’s engagement ring as my ‘something old’. Her rings were passed to me when she died a few years ago. My grandma always said she wanted to make it to my wedding day, so this was a good way to remember her as I married Edward.
My partner wore a navy tailcoat with pinstripe trousers and ivory ruche from Greenwoods. He wore his own navy waistcoat that he ordered tailor-made so that he would be able to wear it again and remember the wedding.
The bridesmaids wore the dress Katie in navy by Eloise’s Secret Closet. I chose them because I loved the detail around the top – it complemented my dress so well, and the colour was perfect.
The best man wore the same as the groom except with a navy ruche and a grey waistcoat. My father wore the same as the best man, and Ed’s father and the ushers wore their own suits.
My mum’s fiancé offered to get us a wedding car as our wedding present, as long as he could keep the car a surprise! That was a bit scary – but I knew it would be special. Steve hired us a beautiful wedding car from Heysham Limos. It was perfect! After the ceremony, when Edward and I were ready to go to the reception venue, the chauffeur had put the top down as it was such a beautiful day, and had a bottle of champagne on ice for us to share on the way back to the reception. He even took a detour through Kirkby Lonsdale so we could have a ride round the town in the car!
Our photographer was Jessica Reeve. As soon as Edward proposed I knew I wanted Jessica to be our photographer. I used to work with Jessica when she had just graduated university, and I knew her photographs were the best, and her style and shots were just what I wanted.
Even though I knew Jess already, from start to finish she was a real professional. We had a meeting to discuss what I wanted from the photographs and arranged an engagement shoot around Edward’s parent’s house in the woods where he grew up playing, and where we walk the dogs. She really put us at ease and getting to work with her before the wedding was really good. On the day Jessica was fantastic with everyone – she was unobtrusive throughout the day and the shots she got were perfect. I didn’t even know she was there in the church or during the speeches! I would (and do!) recommend Jess to everyone who is having a special occasion and wants a photographer!
As I was working up until two days before the wedding, and was on a budget, I didn’t want to be sorting out flowers the day before the wedding and florists seemed so expensive. As a result, my mother and I looked at some foam flowers to make my Botany Bay bridesmaids’ bouquets. Some of the ones we found weren’t very realistic. However, while at one day for lunch, we found some small foam roses which were £1.95 for eight and just what I wanted! We bought 16 per bridesmaid and 32 for my bouquet – that’s £15.60 for the main bouquet flowers! We found some artificial gypsophila as well and arranged them into bouquets, tied round with the navy ribbon. I then used small diamantes in the centre of each rose for some added sparkle, and when my dress was shortened there were some small beads left over, which I put on wires and added into the bouquets.
Edward’s mum Cathy often helps decorate the church for special occasions and is a fantastic flower arranger – she even made the button holes for the bridal party to wear! For the day, Cathy and her sisters made pew ends with gorgeous flowers, and found some wonderful blue flowering plants to decorate the back of the church.
At the venue I used decorations that I collected from all over. My mum is the hero really as she sat and made 40 paper flowers in different shades of blue. Each flower had six petals and each petal had to be made individually – it took her weeks! But, they were perfect. We put them on the tables in glass jars we had found in antique shops, alternated on the long tables with hexagonal jam jars with tea lights in. All the jars we wrapped in the navy ribbon with diamantes on.
At The Plough there are lovely wooden beams throughout, and we used these to hang navy and white pom pom balls from, along with various wicker hearts and lights. In alcoves and on the fireplaces we had a variety of lights from pearl fairy lights, heart lights and even flower lights in glass bowls. On the tables I had white table cloths with navy organza runner down the middle, which matched the navy chair ties. I had my family all decorating the tables and reception the morning of the wedding after breakfast!
As Edward and I both love cheese, and we had planned on having wheels of cheese tiered in the evening, we decided we would have miniature bottles of vintage port as our favours. My mum’s boss provided us with lots of organza favour bags which we put the bottles in. For the children we had small hexagonal jars of Haribo love heart sweeties.
We were going to have a Marks & Spencer cake with a tier of fruit and two tiers of sponge. However, at Christmas we had a fair at school and one of the mum’s ran a cake stall and her items were to die for! It turned out that she does occasion cakes too (Lucia’s Continental Cakes) so we ordered a three tier cake – fruit on the bottom, chocolate in the middle, and sponge on the top. It was all beautiful!
Having run weddings from a catering perspective myself, I decided I would keep the menu choices simple, so we had a choice of two items for each of three courses. We had melon and red berry coulis or chicken liver parfait with red onion chutney to start, roast chicken, red wine jus, fondant potato and seasonal veg or Butternut squash and roasted red pepper risotto for mains, and vanilla crème brulee with homemade shortbread or sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce, and thunder and lightning ice cream for dessert.
For the reception we chose to have tiered ‘wedding cakes’ made of wheels of cheese and also of different pies. The cheese was supplied by John at Churchmouse Cheeses. We also had tiered pork pie ‘cake’ baked in different size heart shapes! This was made especially for us by award winning butcher Mark at Dales Butchers. The bottom tier was traditional pork pie, the middle was port and chilli jam, and the top tier was pork and haggis. We also had sweet treats provided by Madam Chocolat, Morecambe. Our guests were certainly well fed!
To entertain the guests as they arrived at the church, and also during the signing of the register, we asked Ed’s mum Catherine to play the harp. Catherine plays the harp regularly and we were so lucky that she agreed to play at our wedding, and our guests really enjoyed the music in the church.
For the reception, we decided didn’t want a huge party or band, as we wanted a small and intimate wedding, perfect for The Plough. We wanted to spend the day with our friends and family and so we chose just to have a simple music system in the bar area with space for people to dance if they wished. Luckily, my father has some lights and DJ equipment as he sometimes does discos so he set this up for us in the bar and it was perfect. It also meant my dad was in charge of the music, which he was happy with!
We would 100% recommend our venue – it’s perfect for weddings. The layout of The Plough is perfect for special occasions and the garden area is extra special for photographs. The staff also deserve a special mention as, from start to finish, they were amazing. They managed it so professionally and everything was perfect.
Our favourite part of the day (besides becoming husband and wife) was seeing our guests enjoying themselves and celebrating with us. Having all the people who mean the most to us in the world all together was fantastic, and we couldn’t have hoped for anything more than that.
We are waiting to go on honeymoon until later in the year as Edward works away at sea in the Merchant Navy as an engineer, which means he is away for up to four months at a time. We did, however, manage a getaway to Centre Parcs at Penrith as a minimoon.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t worry about every little detail on the day. Make sure your wedding party have details of everything so if something goes wrong, they can deal with it for you. Also, make sure you take time to step back and watch your guests enjoying themselves – it makes all the hard planning worth it. Finally, make sure you take time to be with your new husband/wife – everyone will be grabbing your attention all day – don’t forget about the most important reason you’re all there!