Though not set on a strict theme, today’s real wedding couple styled their day perfectly to create a reflection of them and the things that they like.
The pretty affair features playful pastel décor in blooms, bird cages and antique accessories to help set the scene. Add to this a chic VW camper van, a to-die-for Stephanie Allin gown and gorgeous lace mint bridesmaid dresses, and you’ve got one very swoon-worthy wedding indeed.
With images by Elouisa Georgiou Photography.
charlotte says: We got engaged in Paris. Kyle had booked the weekend away as a surprise and told me to pack a small case. He took me first to a hotel in Liverpool airport, and in the room he left two tickets to Paris and Disneyland on the bed for me to notice – I was so shocked! Our first day in Paris consisted of a 38 degree heatwave so we waited until it was dark to venture up the Eiffel Tower. During the lift ride, I could feel his hands shaking but he said it was his fear of heights! As we stood looking over Paris at night, I just remember he got out a ring box and asked me to be his wife still shaking. I will remember that moment forever.
Our wedding date was 9th August 2014. I’m a secondary school teacher and so having the holidays to enjoy our day was important – I really wanted a summer wedding too. Although the day before there was an awful storm and horrendous rainfall, by some miracle the weather was perfect – the marquee we hired from Ascot Marquees had all dried out and we were blessed with sunshine.
We only ever looked at one venue and that was Wood Lane in Sheffield; a grade two listed barn with lots of character and original rustic features as it was built in 1802. We knew we wanted the venue to be all ours and to be on the unique side – so a hotel wasn’t for us. We also loved the fact that Kyle’s mum had helped to dig the pond in the gardens years ago and Kyle went to school right next door.
As soon as I walked into the barn I fell in love with the natural stonework and wood beams and I knew this is where I wanted to marry Kyle. Being a blank canvas, we knew it would be hard work, but we had the freedom to create exactly the day we wanted.
We didn’t have a strict theme as we’re quite eclectic in our tastes: we love old, restored furniture, vintage styling and unique rustic touches and this is what I wanted the styling of our day to represent.
For the colour palette we mainly went for a mix of pastel colours: mint, pale pinks and blues, to fit in with the delicate colourings of the barn and the meadow-like gardens surrounding it.
As a student I worked part-time in River Island (which is actually where Kyle and I met) so fashion and clothes have always been a big part of my life. Having heard great things about The White Room in Sheffield I knew this was the kind of bridal boutique I needed to go to. I fell in love with Loren – a full lace Stephanie Allin dress – and Chloe, the owner, suggested I added lace bolero.
I also wore a vintage crystal headband by Debbie Carlisle. The band was wrapped in satin to match the colour of my hair too. I adore shoes, and so I decided on a pair of white satin peep toe Louboutins. The inside of the shoes are blue for your ‘something blue’, which I loved. My earring were from Swarovski to match a necklace my friends had bought me on my birthday and I also wore a diamond bracelet which Kyle had sneakily bought me and given to my bridesmaids so they could surprise me!
My and the girls’ hair was done by Jade from Identity in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. She knew exactly what I wanted and did an incredible job. I wanted my make-up to be subtle so I felt like me. I’d seen Laura Turner’s work on Facebook and she created a perfect natural vintage look for me.
Kyle didn’t want a traditional wedding suit, so he went for a slim line blue Lambretta suit and brown leather brogue shoes from Slaters. His best man Ryan, and his dad, John also wore the same suit with my uncle and cousin wearing a slightly darker version. They all wore the same ties from Primark – which had to be the biggest find of the wedding! And pocket squares from River Island. I also ordered Kyle, Ryan and John socks with their name and wedding title sewn on from eBay as a bit of fun. Kyle and Ryan also wore a tie pin, both belonging to their grandfather.
I found the bridesmaid dresses in BHS. I knew I wanted something a little different, and I wasn’t searching for a colour it was more about the style of the dress and making sure all the girls were comfortable and happy. We decided on full lace dresses in mint with a tie around the waist and matching mint peep toes satin shoes, again from BHS. The girls had so many compliments.
We wanted to introduce the wedding party to all the guests on arrival, so with a little help from the best man and my bridesmaid, we made a ‘wedding fan’ with introductions to everyone tied with mint ribbon and James, our usher, made sure everyone had one.
Kyle and I knew that the traditional wedding cars didn’t really fit with the vision of our day. We visited a wedding fair in Doncaster and found an amazing VW camper van from All Luvd Up. The VW had enough room from myself and the bridesmaids to arrive together and we could enjoy a bottle of Moet on the journey too! They also decorated the van with ribbons and gorgeous flowers. It was great to have all my bridesmaids around me to keep me calm!
We’d known our wedding photographer for about six years as we met at River Island when we were all students. After leaving University, Elouisa started her own business – Elouisa Georgiou Photography – and I’d followed her work on Facebook. We loved how she captured such natural photos and you felt like you really understood the emotions of each wedding day by the way she portrayed the guests and the bride and groom in the images. I’d been scouring through Pintrest, blogs and magazines to find inspiration and Elouisa just knew exactly what we wanted and that we didn’t want an album of all traditionally staged photos. Looking back at the photos, I can’t even remember noticing her taking them! She was brilliant at capturing all the precious memories but without even being noticeable – we would definitely recommend her.
We found our florist at a small wedding fayre at Wood Lane – Fantail Designer Florist. Sam understood immediately what I wanted and made some beautiful suggestions. In my bouquet I had memory lane roses tied in with gysophila, which my bridesmaids also had, and beautiful pastel accents. Sam wrapped the stems in vintage lace and finished with a silver broach which belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. When she delivered them on the morning of the wedding, I was overwhelmed – they were just perfect.
Sam also created the most stunning centrepieces using rustic birdcages I had bought from The Range. The flowers were sat in a bed of natural moss and they looked incredible. She mounted the birdcages on plates of natural tree trunk, which I bought from a local farm. We also had natural bark planters and ivory around the natural stone window behind where were said our vows.
As well as the flowers, we hired ‘love’ light-up letters for our evening reception. They looked amazing as it went dark.
For our table names I bought a collection of vintage records to represent all our favourite bands that we have seen together in the past eight years, and I made the table plan using half a birdcage from Hobby Craft and backing it on some vintage style paper from Paperchase.
I really wanted to create an English tea party feel to the wedding breakfast, so Kyle and I had been collecting vintage tea cups from charity shops and car boots and with some help from Kyle’s mum and then hiring some more from a lady on Gumtree we managed to make sure everyone had their tea in their own tea cup.
After the ceremony, I didn’t want to go just straight into the photos; I wanted people to relax and enjoy the day. As the gardens were so stunning, we bought a batch of hay bales from Wood Lane and added blankets so our guests could sit and enjoy drinks, mini cartons of popcorn and delicious scones and cakes made by my bridesmaid’s mum.
For the favours Kyle wanted to buy the men scratch cards which was really fun, and I chose shabby chic doves with twine for the women. Kyle’s mum brought back some handmade chocolates from France and put them in little boxes for everyone too. They were delicious!
Our amazing cake was made by Donna-Jane Cakes. She’s so talented. I saw her on Facebook and loved her designs. We had three tiers: chocolate, vanilla and one red velvet and they were all delicious. We’d already had the cake topper for over a year as we bought it in Disneyland Paris on our engagement weekend, so it meant a lot to us. Donna did a brilliant job of surrounded it with pastel flowers and an edible lace trim.
With the nature of our venue we had to hire outside catering and so I was recommended Hazel’s Catering by Wood Lane, and they were fantastic. We loved their presentation of the food; our starter was spicy tomato soup with fresh warm bread and they served it in little casserole pots on a slate. Our main was tarragon chicken and our dessert was their own recipe of a chocolate and fruit tart with raspberries and cream. Everyone commented on how nice it was.
I always knew the entertainment was going to be an important part of our day. We’d been going to gigs and festivals since we were young and we both loved indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. I found our band – Hudson – on Function Central’s website. The guitarist had played with Sir Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Empire and my husband and his brother are huge Beatles fans so we knew they’d be perfect. They created such a cool, indie atmosphere like we had our very own gig with everyone dancing.
For our first dance I asked my very good friend Pete to sing Elton John’s Your Song. He’s an incredibly talented singer and sounds just like Elton John! The band played live whilst he sang and I think even they were taken back at how good it was. It was such a special moment.
One of the most special touches to the day, was the wedding arch made by Kyle’s dad. He did such a good job of recreating what we wanted and it meant a lot to us that he’d worked so hard on it as we said our vows stood underneath it.
As a bit of a unique touch, before the wedding I asked the married guests to send me a photo of their wedding day. We bought an old led window from a second hand shop and I painted it green and added ‘Love is all you need’ in scrabble tiles at the top. On each window pane we put one of the photos so our guests could share in the weddings of others. It was quite fun as the guests were trying to work out which wedding photo belonged to who!
I also put together a vintage style sweetie stand using an old desk from eBay, which Kyle’s dad restored, some vintage scales for £4 from a car boot, which Kyle’s mum restored, and old jars from charity shops and car boot sales.
We also had a photo booth from Dave Spink Photography. It was incredible fun. They created us a book or all the images and the guests wrote some sentimental but also hilarious messages in it! The guests could also keep a copy of the photos to take home too.
We would definitely recommend Wood Lane to a couple thinking of moving away from the traditional hotel wedding. Of course it’s hard work, but to have a venue which is a stunning and natural blank canvas where you’re able to create a wedding that represents who you are as a couple is relatively unheard of for many venues. You have the venue from the Friday to Sunday, so it takes so much stress away to have that time to style your wedding as you want it and to know that you’re the only people there is just amazing.
We’ve both always wanted to go to America, so we booked our own little American tour as our honeymoon. We stayed in New York for four days then we flew into Orlando and Kyle’s dream was to drive a Mustang so I hired a white convertible one as a present. He was in his element! We actually stayed in Clearwater in the Sandpearl Hotel overlooking the beach, but we did visit Universal and Kyle’s family in Orlando, who weren’t able to come over, so that special to include them too.
Weddings can easily become about everyone else. My top tip for other Brides Up North is that when you stand at the front of your venue saying your vows, or sit down for your meal or dance the night away, just make sure those moments are as you wanted them to be. Stay true to who you are as a couple as you won’t please everyone, but the day isn’t about everyone, it’s about just you and your partner.