Today’s wedding is a real family affair with the couple’s son and daughter almost stealing their mum and dad’s limelight entirely – talk about cute!
But beyond the page boy and flower girl there is much more sweetness to be found in Sara and Chris’ big day.
With images by Mandy Charlton.
sara says: We got engaged in July 2010, three months after the birth of our first child – Eoin. There was no romantic proposal as such, I think we both just came to the natural conclusion that since we’d already made the big commitment of raising a mini human together, marriage was the natural next step to make our family ‘official’.
We got married on 10th September 2015. I wanted to get married sooner but life (including buying a house, graduating from university and having another baby) kind of got in the way! We chose September because it’s my favourite time of year, and usually the weather is pretty good (and it really was!)
We got married at our local church, St. Peters. My dad is buried there and I was also christened there so it holds a lot of sentimental value. It’s a lovely little church. Our reception was held at The Crab & Lobster in Thirsk. It was the second venue I looked at, and I knew it was perfect the minute I saw the diver’s suit hanging from the ceiling! It’s very quirky and intimate, with beautiful gardens, without feeling pretentious. John, the wedding planner, was also so welcoming and lovely with our children; it felt like it was a home from home.
We didn’t really have a theme. I love the styling from the 50s, but I also didn’t want to restrict myself by only having things that would ‘fit’ a certain theme. In the end I kept things simple and just picked things that I liked and hoped for the best!
I was initially completely overwhelmed with colour choices and at one point I even considered just having all the colours (!) However, with the help of my children, we finally settled on various shades of pinks and purples.
My dress came from David’s Bridal in Westfield, Stratford. I knew when I first started looking I wanted a tea-length dress so I could still dance and run around after our children all night. Looking online I saw ‘my’ dress and decided to travel down to London to try it on with my mam. It was the second dress I tried on, and I knew straight away it was perfect. The icing on the cake was that it came from Stratford. I worked as a gamesmaker there during the Olympics, and it holds lots of good memories for me so it was nice to have a reminder of that on my wedding day. And I can confirm that was great to twirl in!
Because I had a tea-length dress, I obviously had to get some awesome shoes to show off! Mine were from Irregular Choice and were made of an amazing iridescent material that reminded me of a mermaid’s tail in shades of pinks and purple. I loved them!
The buttonholes were from the Artisan Dried Flowers Company, and smelt amazing! They were made from dried lavender and gypsophila and tied with hessian. They fitted in well with the overall look, and looked a little bit more ‘masculine’ than typical buttonholes.
My two bridesmaids wore 50s style purple polka dot swing dresses from Vivien of Holloway with victory rolls in their hair to match. They looked amazing! My daughter Luna, our flower girl, wore a John Rocha dress from Debenhams in her favourite colour – pink!
To get to the church and reception we hired a vintage ivory VW campervan called Chaz and a VW Beetle called Mr Bennett, from Love Dub Cars. They were actually the very first thing I booked for the day, and looked beautiful.
Our photographer was Mandy Charlton and we would 100% recommend her to other couples! She managed to make two awkward turtles feel comfortable in front of the camera, and captured some wonderful moments from our day that otherwise would have been missed. Nothing was over posed or contrived, and I admit I had a little happy cry when I saw the pictures. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. We also had a pre-wedding shoot to help us get to know Mandy, and she was really so good with our children it just cemented that she was the right choice for us.
Mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and flower girl wand came from Butterflies Florist in Middlesbrough. The bridesmaids had a mixture of gypsophila and wax flower. My bouquet had a mixture of dahlias, roses and lisianthus, all hand tied with hessian. The girls in Butterflies were great. I went in with a vague idea of what I wanted and ended up with a beautiful bouquet.
We used Shropshire Petals for our confetti, and they looked great on the wedding photos.
For the reception I decorated many (many) jam jars with hessian and ribbon and bought flowers from an online wholesaler. The day before the wedding, myself, my mam and one of my bridesmaids were frantically cutting and filling these jars to send up to the reception! I had totally over-estimated how many we needed however, and there were jars everywhere – on the tables, on the steps outside, and even on the walls leading up to the manor house in the gardens. I loved this though – it really added a personal touch to the day.
I also hired a love heart light up sign from Coco Luminaire and had some slate boards with famous love quotes around the room. The venue really didn’t need much more than this due to it already being so full of quirky things but we did also have a lot of bunting up outside and some tea lights.
For our wedding cake we had three-tiers of Victoria sponge, carrot cake (my favourite!) and lemon drizzle decorated with iced bunting in various shades of pinks and purples from Two Bees Treats Boutique in Thirsk. The wooden peg cake toppers were by Love on Top.
The Crab and Lobster is known for its amazing food and we were spoilt for choice on what to have for our wedding breakfast! In the end we had cheese soufflé, a barbecue wedding breakfast with swordfish, chicken and sirloin steak (the first and last barbecue we had of the year!) and sticky toffee pudding for dessert, followed by the infamous Crab and Lobster homemade truffles. Hands down, the best meal I’ve ever had.
Instead of the normal DJ, we went with a jukebox for our entertainment so that people had the freedom to choose what songs they wanted to dance to. Granted this meant we ended up with a lot of Wham early on in the evening, but it was great fun and provided lots of entertainment. For our first dance we had Phil Collins – Groovy Kind of Love. We both love Phil Collins, and the lyrics are just lovely.
I also set up a prop box with various glasses, wigs, and blow up accessories as well as a giant wooden frame. Everyone seemed to love this and for most of the evening our daughter was traipsing round a giant blow up champagne bottle bigger than her!
I suppose the biggest special touch to the day was the fact that I gave a speech. My father passed away when I was 11, and Chris isn’t a public speaker, so I wanted to do the ‘traditional’ speech and raise a glass to those no longer present. With the help of several pre-speech proseccos, I actually enjoyed doing it, and would totally recommend other brides give it a go.
The Crab and Lobster is such a unique place, and we would definitely recommend it to other couples looking for somewhere a bit different to get married. John, the wedding planner, was on hand for every little detail – he even remembered the flowers for my mam during the speech when I completely forgot! It’s truly a beautiful venue, with fantastic food and unique rooms. We can’t wait to go back!
My favourite part of the day was definitely the ceremony and walking back down the aisle as man and wife. I laughed the whole way through making my vows and couldn’t stop smiling for the whole day. I was a definite giggly bride! Also, practicing twirls on the dance floor with my bridesmaid and little girl.
Two days after the wedding the two of us went to Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, followed by a couple of days at the Lake District. We were really lucky with the weather, it was glorious! We’re going on a family honeymoon in April.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and get some alone time with just you and your new husband. We got a separate car up the venue and it was lovely to just sit and soak in the fact that we were man and wife, and also catch up on what we’d done that day.