Today’s real wedding is filled with sunshine, not only in the form of lots of happy faces, but also lots of lovely sunflowers.
Lining the aisle, adorning the tables and sitting proud in Fern’s bouquet, the vibrant blooms add plenty of colour and character to the big day.
Further rustic wedding touches in the décor and cake help to bring the whole theme beautifully, and we’re pleased to see that Fern was prepared for the venue’s outdoor elements in her handmade cowboy boots!
With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.
fern says: We have been together for six years and in that time been blessed with three beautiful little girls. We never planned on getting married, we wanted to save the expense of a big wedding and so I changed my surname to match that of the children and Mark as were a family in everything but name. However, I remained a Miss. Often I was mistakenly called Mrs and this time it was in front of Mark and I always explained why I changed my name to the person who made the mistake. He asked me if it bothered me that people got it wrong and I said sometimes. He said I should change it to Mrs then but I said I couldn’t without being married – then he said let’s get married and I said yes! That was a year before our big day.
Our wedding date was six years to the day since our first date at Chester Races, it was 1st August 2015.
We got married at Manley Mere. It’s a quirky venue that we felt suited the relaxed and informal tone to our day. Plus we hadn’t been to any other weddings there so our day wasn’t competing against something else we’d experienced.
We had a rustic and sunflower theme on the day. Mark and I come from a country/farming background and appreciate the simple things in life. We sent out sunflower seeds in the invites so guests could grow flowers to bring to the day and add colour. I wanted to hand make as much as possible to add to the individuality of the day.
For the colour scheme, we put navy with the yellow of the sunflowers and added hints of orange to give a bright and summery feel. The venue is quite outdoor and we brought the sunshine feel inside where we could.
My dress was from Wife to Be in Warrington. It had lots of beading over the shoulders and down the back that reminded me of cobwebs! It added to my rustic theme but the pearl beading was so pretty it kept it ‘fancy’ and feeling bridal. I teamed it with cowboy boots as a quirky touch, which were handmade in Spain.
Mark wore a sand coloured Next suit which we bought in the sales keeping the costs down. His yellow tie was from a tie shop in Chester and took ages to find in the right shade. The best men wore matching suits to Mark and navy ties to complement the girls.
My adult bridesmaid wore a navy maxi dress from Coast (which made us chuckle when Sally Webster from Coronation Street was spotted wearing it at an awards ceremony weeks before the wedding). The little girls wore navy party dresses from Marks & Spencer, which we customised with yellow ribbon.
Mark travelled in a Bentley that his sons arranged as a surprise. I was already at the venue so no fancy motor for me!
We chose Jess Yarwood to capture our day. She was simply amazing and would recommend her to anyone. She is full of enthusiasm and creativity, capturing the essence of the day. The guests have gushed over the photos and commented how unobtrusive she was, yet so warm and friendly.
We also had a video done on the day by Unique Videos, which we are waiting to arrive.
S&J Flowers in Weaverham, Cheshire, did my bouquet, which was perfect and just as I described.
We did the entire venue dressing ourselves. My family and a team of my girlfriends worked so hard at making decorations such as the decorated vases and painted signs. The majority of the sunflowers were artificial as the ones we planted hadn’t flowered in time!
We gave out ‘little bags of love’ with items that told the story of us as favours. They included things like a magnet for the attraction, a scratch card for the gamble, a flower as our love grows.
My best friend Liz Clarke, made our cake. We went for a simple design and she added decorated pine cones to represent me, Mark and our three little girls.
For the wedding breakfast we chose a buffet, which was best to help our day stay informal and feed the huge amount of children who attended. We have lasagne, breads, salads, fish goujons, wedges and nibbles followed by profiteroles and trifles.
Mark and I love to gamble be it horse racing or bingo! So our entertainment was casino tables hired from ML Events, which everyone could play. We also had a magician called Danny Jewell, working the crowds who was amazing! In the evening we had a DJ.
As a special touch on the day, we gave our dads their own personalised glass to use; my dad an engraved wine glass and Mark’s dad an engraved whiskey tumbler. We gave our mums and my nanna a personalised engraved vase which contained paper flowers hand made by Danielle Oultram from Little Bird Flowers. They were a lasting memento of the day but also decorated our tables.
We would definitely recommend our venue, particularly to those who want a blank canvass to dress in any colour or style. The stunning scenery outdoors provides stunning backdrops for photos too.
My favourite part of the day was walking over the bridge towards to summer house and seeing all the guests and Mark for the first time. Mark’s favourite part was the confetti as he was too nervous during the ceremony but that was when he first relaxed.
For our honeymoon, we went to Rhodes and had a week in the 5* Princess Andriana. It was very hot reaching 36 degrees. It wasn’t our usual holiday as we are very active but was a lovely change to simply relax and laze for a week – child free!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to get married earlier in the day and get a late bar! The day goes so quickly after the ceremony that I would do anything I could to extend it, even by a few hours. We made the day our own and didn’t follow tradition unless we wanted to, a bit like our regular lives really!