Fairy-tale weddings don’t come much more magical than today’s big day celebrations.
From Maria and Tommy’s choice of wedding venue and pretty pink colour scheme, through to their Disney inspired cake and the bride’s sparkling princess style dress, today’s real wedding could be taken straight from the pages of a story book.
So let us start at the beginning. Once upon a time…
With images by Zen Photographic.
maria says: We got engaged outside the Abbey in Bath. We were celebrating our two-year anniversary and Bath is one of our favourite cities in the UK. Tommy got down on one knee in front of Bath Abbey as it is a really spectacular landmark, especially when it’s all lit up at night. It was in the evening and it was February so it was quite dark and no one was around – it was just us, so it felt really special. I was so shocked I didn’t actually say anything! We celebrated later on with vodka instead of champagne because I’m allergic to wine!
We got married on Saturday 14th March 2015. We chose this date because we wanted a spring wedding and the date was close to our original anniversary. Because you can’t guarantee the weather in the UK, we knew that booking it in March meant we would be totally prepared for the cold, wind, rain or even snow! We would have been heartbroken if we’d booked an August wedding and it had been a rainy day, so at least this way we were prepared for all eventualities.
We got married at St Helen’s Church in Tarporley and then had our drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception at Peckforton Castle. It was important to us both and our families that we get married in a church and St Helen’s is a beautiful church nearby to Peckforton Castle, which made it an ideal choice. We chose Peckforton because it was by far the most stunning and impressive venue we went to see. We both fell in love with it immediately and, when we took my mum and sister back to see it, they agreed it was perfect. It was a dream fairy-tale castle.
We didn’t really have a theme to begin with, we just wanted things which were ‘us’. However, it soon turned into a bit of a fairy-tale theme because of the castle venue. We designed our own invitations, our sister-in-law made an amazing Rapunzel castle cake and our first dance was to Love in an Open Door from Frozen. Also, my dress was from Alfred Angelo’s Disney range!
The colour scheme was supposed to be champagne and gold so that it would fit in with the venue’s red and gold decor. However, when we went bridesmaid dress shopping, they all fell in love with the same fuchsia dress! So the scheme ended up being pink and gold, which actually worked really well.
My dress was a big ball gown style princess dress. I always knew I would choose this style because it was perfect for my pear-shaped body. I did try on other styles but fell in love with my Alfred Angelo dress, especially when I found out it was called Belle, after my favourite Disney princess! It had removable shoulders so I could be a bit more covered up in the church. My Jimmy Choo heels were one of my favourite purchases. However, my favourite part of my outfit was the cathedral length veil with sparkles throughout. It was perfect! On the wedding day my hair was taken care of by ILM Hair Boutique and my makeup was done by Tranquility at Peckforton Castle.
Tommy wore a dark navy blue suit with brown brogues and an ivory coloured waistcoat and cravat. It was hired from Beryl Cotton Weddings, which is where we also bought the wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses from.
The groomsmen wore suits to match the groom, but had a pink cravat which matched the bridesmaids’ one-shoulder fuchsia pink Alfred Angelo floor-length gowns. The flower girls meanwhile wore dresses from Monsoon and the pageboys wore navy Ted Baker suits from Debenhams.
On the day of the wedding we travelled in a white limousine which was hired from Limos North West.
Zenna Barry from Zen Photographic was our photographer. She was amazing – we gave her very long list of shots that we wanted and she managed to capture nearly all of them – the only ones missed were because I fainted 15 minutes before leaving. Even then, she was a real pro, giving advice and making sure I was ok before going to capture the boys. She was professional throughout and made us feel so comfortable. Because she had also done our engagement shoot, and we had chatted so much before the day, she felt like a friend by the wedding day! We were so pleased with the finished photographs.
I had a bouquet of roses, calla lilies, orchids and dahlias. Mine bouquet was pink and the bridesmaids had white. They were provided by Nikki’s Floral Occasions.
We provided our own decorations for the wedding reception, which were cream bird cages on large gold plates with hand-decorated jam jar tea lights on the edge. It was really important to us to have a personal touch and we even made our own seating plan and favours (heart shaped cookies, with hand stamped name luggage tags).
Our cake was an amazing fairy-tale cake which had me as Rapunzel at the top of the tower and Tommy as my knight in shining armour at the bottom. It was made by our sister-in-law Jo Kelly who is amazingly talented and it was her wedding gift to us.
For the wedding entertainment we had a violinist play in the church and during the drinks reception and then had a DJ in the evening. We heard the violinist, Craig Owen, at the Peckforton Castle wedding fayre and just had to have him play Canon in D when I walked down the aisle! We chose to have a DJ for the evening because we knew our friends would just want to dance the night away.
The other bit of entertainment we had was a photo booth from Picture Booth, which was the best decision we made – the photos were so funny and the company stuck a copy of each one in a guestbook for us and asked guests to write an accompanying message. We still look at it now and laugh!
Once the party had ended, our guests continued the celebrations down in the private wine cellar in the castle, which is an amazing candle-lit space where we could chill out and talk about the amazing day we had.
Throughout the wedding we tried to include friends and family as much as possible – our mums signed the register with us, our friends did readings and one friend even sang the psalm during the ceremony. Another friend choreographed our first dance for us – it was a real joint effort! I also made a video for Tommy which was played before the speeches (it made him cry!)
I would recommend all of the suppliers we used for our wedding, especially our videographer Love Gets Sweeter, and Zen Photographic. We knew that once the day was over, we would want amazing photos and a video to look back on and it is the best decision we made by far. Each time we watch it, we see something different and in the future, we will be able to show it to our children. It is really special.
I would also recommend our venue to other couples. It is family run so it is really personal and they go out of their way to make your day flawless. Our wedding day was perfect and I would not change a thing about it. The venue is simply beautiful and a dream fairy-tale castle.
Saying our vows was my favourite part of the day – it was so special, we were in a beautiful church and we were surrounded by family and friends who were all there to celebrate with us. It was amazing!
We went on honeymoon the day after the wedding to Centara Ras Fushi Resort and Spa in the Maldives. We stayed in a room on the water and had steps straight down into the ocean below. We had daily massages, amazing cocktails and the best sunsets ever. It was the perfect way to relax after a busy day! We booked through Virgin Holidays who made the whole process stress-free!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is simply to do whatever makes you happy! We didn’t invite children to our day which isn’t something everyone would agree with, but our guests were really supportive of our choice. Everyone will have different priorities so there is no correct way to plan your wedding – just make it a day that you will look back on and smile at. Don’t worry about little things that might go wrong. And remember, if at the end of the day you are married to your best friend and love of your life, then it went well!