Today’s bride and groom are perhaps among the cutest we’ve had on the blog. From their sweet proposal to their personal wedding ‘promises’ and their love of dancing together, it’s clear these too are totally smitten!
Having had her dream ring placed on her finger, Sara worked with Josh to come up with a wedding day that was true reflection of them as a couple, leading to a music theme for their big day.
Get ready for moving song choices, record décor, a guitar guest book and, of course, dancing!
With images by Sophie Kerr Photography.
sara says: Our engagement came about quite suddenly and was a modern joint decision, we’d been speaking about marriage and it was always as a certain ‘when’ not an ‘if’. One Saturday shopping in Manchester Josh suggested going into a jewellers and he then started looking at rings. He kept telling me to not getting excited it was simply just for future. After a few rings being tried on he went and paid for the ring that in his words, ‘made my eyes light up’. As soon as I saw the bag I got so excited but he kept saying that I needed to put it out of my mind. We followed up our day with a trip to the Cloud 23 bar at the Hilton to raise a glass to a very exciting future. Later I was happily gazing out the window at the sunny view when I turned back to face Josh and I realised he was on one knee. Suddenly everything else disappeared – the only thing I remember him saying was, “I don’t want to be engaged to you – but I want to marry you”. To add to this a lovely couple from Bermuda had been watching, they apparently sensed something as about to happen and started taking pictures and later approached us to get our details to share them. It’s thanks to them that we now have beautiful natural pictures of one of the most important moments in our lives.
We got married on 18th April 2015. We chose this date as we both agreed that we preferred the change of seasons the most and spring 2015 fitted nicely allowing us a comfortable 18 months to plan.
We quickly decided we wanted to get married in a venue that would be exclusive to us and our guests as we wanted it to be a personal and intimate day. We found a few places that fitted in budget and with our preferences. Styal Lodge was actually the first place we went to visit and from the minute we arrived there we fell completely in love, it was perfect. We loved how neutral it was meaning we could truly make it our own and how much light and nature still felt so close due to the big windows. Above all though the reason we chose the venue is due to the people who run it. Styal Lodge’s whole focus is weddings and so everyone is so passionate and dedicated to making your day wonderful.
We thought long and hard about a theme, originally planning a pretty vintage style wedding, but then realised this wasn’t really the ‘true’ us. The shared passion that started our friendship, which turned into our beautiful relationship, was music and so every little bit of our day became focused on that. I think the majority of time was spent choosing the perfect songs for every section of the day. We’re both so glad that we took this time to do it because now every time one of the songs comes on there is massive smiles on our faces just thinking back to the exact moment it was played in our day. We kept a few of these secret too, like my entrance music – this was changed after the bridesmaid entered to a very low key beautiful R.E.M song to the very iconic Wonderwall.
The colour scheme wasn’t really thought of straight away, we just wanted something colourful and flattering to the season, venue and the people in the wedding party but that also brought a little hint of 60’s. We therefore settled on coral/ peachy shades with blue and a pop of yellow to go with season.
I honestly had no idea what type of wedding dress I wanted but luckily I knew where I wanted to get one from (thanks to meeting Emma from Love Bridal at a Styal Lodge open event). All I knew is I wanted to be comfortable and move freely to enjoy the day. As soon as I walked in to Love Bridal I saw ‘the dress’ and knew it would be mine straight away. My dress was by Terry Fox, it was a corset top with a quite full but shorter tulle skirt, tight enough to show off some curves and short enough to allow me to dance and twirl all night. Emma from Love Bridal was perfect, so helpful, so honest and so friendly she made me feel both beautiful and confident in my dress, and for that I will be forever grateful. My dress was teamed with a bespoke hair grip, made to match my dress, and some peep toe shoes from Charlotte Mills – her shoes are all beautiful designs and more importantly, they’re all so comfy!
My wonderful makeup artist (and saviour) on the wedding day was Rachel Bottomley. Rachel was brilliant, not only did she help create the most perfect hair and makeup, but she also laced me into my dress and put out a nearly disastrous cardigan fire! I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her!
Josh’s suit and the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Moss Bros. The suits were slim fit blue designs by Ted Baker, which they wore with tan shoes and belt. Josh wore a beautiful cravat and pocket square from Swagger & Swoon, who create stunning products. The four best men meanwhile wore blue paisley ties from Debenhams, along with homemade paisley pocket squares made out of a spare tie and some card.
My four bridesmaids wore a peachy/coral coloured dress which we found on ASOS, teamed with a contrast blue belt and they all wore their own blue shoes. The dresses were such a great find, I knew I wanted a relaxed style dress and this design suited them all perfectly.
The guys got ready at Styal Lodge on the morning of the wedding so they could add the finishing touches to the venue. I got ready with my bridesmaids at the local hotel called Stanneylands. We were then transported to the venue in a beautiful campervan, which even matched our bridesmaids dress colour! It also helped add a little bit of retro to the slightly 60’s vibe our day had. The campervan was from a company called Connahs Cars, which is run by a lovely couple who really know how to make your day feel special. One Day Like This by Elbow was playing as we arrived into Styal golf course – it was a perfect moment I’ll never forget.
Our photographer was Sophie Kerr Photography. Booking Sophie was probably one of the easiest decisions following the venue. I’m privileged to have known this talented lady since we were about 12-years-old and I have watched her skills develop into the truly wonderful photographer she is today. We always knew we’d want a more naturally captured day, we just wanted to be ourselves and be able to enjoy the day with our guests and each other without too much time posing. We wanted natural, emotional pictures that showed our true love and personalities – photos that would last a lifetime, and Sophie more than delivered that. My advice when booking a photographer would be to book someone you know you can trust to deliver quality photographs and have an engagement shoot – it really helps prepare you all for the actual day.
We also had videographers 48 Frames, who were truly wonderful. A lot of people will be unsure whether they should have a videographer and my advice is book one now! They captured so much of our day that can’t quite be portrayed in pictures. They were so discreet and worked so hard all day to deliver the most wonder full length video and the loveliest short highlight video, perfectly timed to our first dance song. 48 Frames work is very cinematic and the results are incredible, I love that we can watch our ceremony back in full, so that even when one day were too old to remember we’ll be able to watch it and relive it all again.
I carried a bouquet of yellow roses, daisies and gypsophila. These were provided by Jill Naughton of JN Flowers. Jill works with Styal Lodge frequently so I knew she was a very trustworthy supplier, she also understood exactly what we wanted to achieve; a very relaxed kind of handpicked style spring bouquet. She delivered it perfectly! A lot of people say you don’t need to think too much about flowers but they really do help set the tone of your day. The colours of my beautiful bouquet certainly helped add to the spring feel.
For the floral decorations we continued with the spring feel with daisies, daffodils and gypsophila, which were displayed in wooden slabs in mismatched jars and candles in the centre. We then really brought our theme alive by using old records as a backdrop for the ceremony window and the window closer to the bar. Styal Lodge have the biggest windows and it was so amazing to fill it with our passion. We supplied the records and Emma Cason from Special Days, put them up meaning we could relax knowing she would help our idea come to life.
We continued the theme by using records with song titles written on as our place names, Josh’s old guitar as our guest book and his guitar case as our card box. We also had a beautiful light up heart from The Word is Love which really helped add to the retro tone.
We wanted our favours to match our theme so we got personalised guitar picks with our names and wedding date on and we also provided personalised M&M’s which matched our colour theme and helped keep people’s sweet tooth in check. We had three children at our weddings so we gave them a different toy each to keep them entertained through the ‘boring’ adult parts of the day.
For our cake we had a ‘naked’ style wedding cake which was fresh cream and jam. This was made by our wedding caterers Pink Pepper and was absolutely stunning, both in flavour and looks! We actually served this as our desert with fresh fruit on the side, all served on vintage china. Having our wedding cake as our pudding meant that everyone got to enjoy it and it was a nice light finish to a spring meal.
Pink Pepper also did a brilliant job of supplying our wedding breakfast. They are a small family run business which means they don’t run off set menus but make whatever food you like to eat. Italian is our favourite so we added influences of this in our meal with mixed bruschetta to start and Italian style chicken for main. Pink Pepper were so much more than caterers to us they also helped run our day and just generally kept us happy. They were so laid back and flexible, they made sure that everything ran completely around what we wanted on our day.
To drink, we served prosecco cocktails in milk bottles with the canapés then had wine during the meal to complement the food and cold beer for those who preferred.
Our love of music meant we had to have a live band four our entertainment. We went through an agency called Tailored Entertainment as we knew that we could trust an agency to provide back up if anything should happen. The band we chose were called Hipshaker and they were amazing! We didn’t want a slow start to the party so they came in straight away after our first dance to get everyone dancing. We also had a DJ called Samuel Hurst, to finish off the night properly. Sam was great and allowed us to personalise our whole playlist. We also had a photo booth because no matter how many times you see them, people always love the chance to pose and pull silly faces.
We had a lot of personal touches on the day. We personalised our ceremony by including our own promises to live by for the rest of our lives. One of Josh’s promises to me was that he would always fill our life with music, adventure and laughter and one of my promises to Josh was to always dance away the night with him… no matter how old we get.
Also, my mum was the one to walk me down the aisle, she also gave a speech. My mum is the most important and inspirational person to me and it meant the world to me that she was by my side throughout the most special day.
A million times over we would recommend our venue to others, the main reason being with Styal Lodge you don’t just get a venue, you also get the best wedding planners and organisers ever. From the first meeting you have one of the lovely family to help run your day, they could not do enough for us and they truly do care about each and every wedding they host. They are on hand whenever you need them to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but a few highlights included: the minute I saw Josh’s face light up as I walked down the aisle, when our three-year-old niece cried right at the point we were pronounced husband and wife (she adores Josh so it was just the funniest moment ever as it was like I was talking him away from her!) And finally dancing with my new hubby – one of my favourite things is to dance with Josh and I loved being able to dance the night away for the first of many nights as husband and wife.
We went to Cuba for our honeymoon. We were originally going to do a few places but quickly settled that we just wanted two weeks of relaxing to settle into married life. The resort we stayed at was called Paradisus Rio De Oro, it was in a quiet part of Cuba and the staff were all wonderful. They really went above and beyond to ensure we had the most relaxing and romantic honeymoon possible.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is that you really need to just let go. Things will go wrong, things you can never control – we had everything from the flower girl’s cardigan setting on fire, lost cake toppers to table plans dented. But even with all this nothing ruined our day because love can overcome anything. Surround yourself with all the people you love and you get something truly incredible. As a pretty famous band said ‘love is all you need’. If at the end of the day you are married to the one you love that everything went perfectly!