Today’s real wedding is a celebration not only of love, but also of the city in which the couple first met and still live.
Focussing the décor and details on Sheffield and its heritage, Sian and Joe gave nods to the industry, food and transport that is all iconic to the city, whilst getting some of the area’s top suppliers on board to help deliver their vision.
They certainly did the steel city proud!
With images by Elegant & Wild Photography.
sian says: Joe asked me to marry him on the evening of 22nd July 2015. After a romantic walk in The Peaks, he popped the question at Higger Torr with the sun setting over Hathersage and church bells tolling in the distance. I said yes! Joe had bought my perfect engagement ring from Green and Benz on Division Street, in Sheffield, where we also later bought our wedding rings from.
We were married on 14th May 2016. We chose this date as it was when some of our best friends that are currently travelling the world could make it. Joe is a huge football fan and wanted to avoid any potential clashes with Sheffield United matches or the Euros. I couldn’t believe this was part of the consideration!
For our ceremony we chose to wed at St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield. It is a large, beautiful church that is special to my family as my parents were also married there in 1982. The reception was held at Kelham Island Museum, a venue on an area that forms part of Sheffield’s unique makeup. Joe and I have spent many happy times at various different pubs in Kelham Island and feel it’s a vibrant area that is steeped in Sheffield history and we wanted our guests to see this.
Our wedding theme was a celebration of Sheffield as it is the place where we met and have shared many happy times together. It is with doubt our favourite city and we wanted our wedding to show if off. We were also aiming for our day to seem natural while at the same time having a rustic and industrial sense to it.
Our colour scheme was blush pink alongside hessian and rustic/craft browns. We felt these colours complemented one another and fitted in well with the theme.
My dress was a Mori Lee design. I wanted one that was elegant and had a lot of intricate lace detail. It was actually altered a lot and the ladies at Blushes Bridal Studio in Sheffield, did a sterling job in creating a bespoke gown that was perfect for me. They added a different neck as well as the button detail at the back. Zoe at Blushes said I had to trust that she could create the perfect dress for me as after trying on a few, I realised that there was always something not quite right with the ones I had selected. She certainly delivered – I absolutely loved my dress!
For me the day of our wedding began with a Sheffield Hallam Parkrun. My running club, Steel City Striders came out in their droves for the occasion. They provided club members with button holes as well as giving me a bouquet to run with. I ran with a veil too and one guy from the club, even ran in a suit with his running vest over the top! It was a brilliant way to start the day.
When the preparations got underway later that morning, Wedding Hair by Hannah arrived to take care of mine and the bridesmaids’ hair. I found her through Facebook and I was amazed at how many different styles she can do and create so quickly. All of our hair looked beautiful and I would definitely recommend her. Cat Eccles meanwhile, did all of our makeup. She listened to us carefully and created styles that were in keeping with the natural pale tones of the dresses.
I travelled to the church in a black Mercedes, which we just hired from City Taxis in Sheffield. As trams are iconic to Sheffield we then decided to hire our own tram to transport us and our guests from the church to the reception venue. This turned out to be a reasonable and convenient way of transporting 200 people and many of our guests, especially the children who had never been on a tram before, really enjoyed this element of the day.
Victoria Dawe from Elegant & Wild Photography was our amazing photographer. She captured so many treasured moments from the day while remaining discreet and unobtrusive. Victoria was friendly and funny and I would highly recommend her. You only need to take a look at her website to see how consistently she captures excellent photos.
We also had our day filmed by videographers One Wedding, who are based in Sheffield. Although I’ve not seen the video yet, I am sure it will be fantastic!
Our flowers were provided by Swallows and Damsons, who put together my natural and relaxed bridal bouquet in blush pinks, pale tones and white. It included quicksand roses, white ranunculi, white astrantia, Kiera roses, white lilac, jasmine and eucalyptus. It was finished and tied with natural hessian ribbon. I had previously seen Swallows and Damsons create lovely bouquets and my bridesmaids and I loved ours on the day.
Swallows and Damsons created all of the table flowers too using similar flowers from the bridal bouquets, though mainly quicksand roses. These were placed in lots of jam jars that various people had donated to me throughout the year. I didn’t want flowers that were too big and overbearing on the tables as I knew the tables would be busy with other things. They all looked so beautiful on the day and I would highly recommend Swallows and Damsons to other brides for their big day.
All of the reception tables were named after places in Sheffield that me and Joe had been to together, mainly pubs although there were some restaurants and cafes too. My uncle, Les Brooksbank, is an artist and hand drew them all for us. They looked brilliant on brown craft card coming out of the flowers on each of the tables.
As favours guests were given individual jars filled with different sweets. I decorated the jars with pages from vintage copies of either The Great Gatsby (Joe’s favourite book) or Wuthering Heights (my favourite), tied some twining round them and attached a luggage label with the guest’s name on. This was quite a time consuming job as there were 200 guests but I actually started them back in August and kept them up in my loft.
Next to the favour jars on the tables, we also used individual photographs of guests for the place settings. The idea was, where possible, to use a photograph of the guest with either the bride or groom. Guests were really touched by these and loved looking at them as they reached their places. They also sparked off interesting conversations around the table.
Les also hand drew a sky line silhouette of Sheffield for the table plan in keeping with our Sheffield theme. This meant that we could design our own table plan and after getting it scanned at Pinders, made it an extremely cost effective way of creating a fantastic and original table plan design.
The children, instead of jars, each got an individual cotton bag with their name on. It contained a lot of sheets of paper as well as a wedding activity booklet that I had designed as part of the day. It had a ‘colour in Sheffield’ page as well as other activities to keep the children entertained during the speeches.
Rather than just having one wedding cake, we asked various people to make a cake for us to produce a dessert table, inspired by ones I’d seen on Pinterest. Simple, we thought – but it ended up being quite an organisational task, tough very much worth it in the end. We are fortunate to know so many excellent bakers and our guests made a plethora of delicious cakes of all different kinds. We did have an official wedding fruit cake, which was made by our friend Jessamy Carson. I also asked two of our favourite places to get cake from in Sheffield to make us some treats. We got The Rude Shipyard to make a couple of Guinness cakes for us as well as getting some brownies and flapjacks from The Depot Bakery. These were also delicious.
Little Mesters, the in-house caterers at Kelham Island, supplied our wedding breakfast, which was a ‘Taste of Yorkshire’ menu using locally sourced ingredients. A friend of ours who was a wine dealer sorted out the table wine for us and at the drinks reception guests could choose from prosecco or bottles of some of our favourite beers: BrewDog, Brooklyn Beer and Peroni.
As a little entertainment for the drinks reception, I hired a piano and asked in advance certain guests that I knew could play, to have a few songs in mind that they could perform. People were really touched and pleased to get involved and I really enjoyed having our own personal musicians for that part of the day.
For the evening reception we hired The Entertainment Company UK, a recommendation from a friend who had seem them at another wedding. We had never really listened to them before but the review was so positive, I decided to book them. They were brilliant and really made the evening. So many of the guests commented on how brilliant the band were and they ensured that the dance floor was jam-packed all evening.
We also hired a photo booth from Booth Revolution for the evening, which was a real crowd pleaser. I have laughed so much looking back at the pictures and so many guests used and enjoyed it. I would really recommend spending a little more on making sure that you get a high quality photo booth as the props and lighting were all fantastic, ensuring that really good photos were created. It is also nice for guests to take something away from the evening as they all got print outs instantly when they used the booth.
The lighting for the reception was provided by Wedding Venue Lighting. Matt there was good to work with and the lanterns helped to transform the venue. I would recommend hiring them rather than trying to do the lighting yourself as it seems like a lot of hassle when it’s not that expensive to hire them.
After our wedding I would certainly recommended Kelham Island Museum to wedding couples who are looking for a venue with a large capacity that is different and has a slight edge to it. Although it is not classic and formal, it is unique and quirky and there is plenty of scope for getting really beautiful albeit different wedding photographs. The upstairs room is a bit of a blank canvas and you have to use your imagination a little when first looking at the room as it can seem sparse and a bit rough around the edges at first. Once the tables are in and you put a bit of lighting up the room is transformed and it makes for an excellent venue for a large wedding.
Reflecting on our day, it’s difficult to pin it down to one particular ‘best moment’ as it was all so fantastic. I enjoyed walking down the aisle as well as the first dance and the subsequent dancing. Once I had changed into some of the wedding flip flops, I spent a large proportion of the evening jumping to the awesome band. We also ended up in the Leadmill night club until 2.30am as we didn’t want the day to end. It’s a cliché but it really was the best day of our lives.
We went on honeymoon to Rome followed by a couple of days by the beach in Sardinia. Joe was keen to get a blessing from the Pope, which you are eligible for if you are married in a catholic church and visit Rome within a month of being married. We applied for ‘sposi novelli’ which gives you entrance to the Pope’s weekly general audience. If you arrive, in your wedding clothes you are ushered into the ‘newly married’ section and the Pope comes along, shakes your hand and gives you a blessing. This was a fantastic experience, it was fun sitting amongst about 80 other couples all in their wedding clothes in St Peter’s Square and I enjoyed the people of Rome clapping and cheering at us in the street. As well as this, we did the usual Rome sights and then polished it off with two restful days in the blissful Sardinian sunshine.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be that it’s never too early to start organising. Get ahead and it will help you later on. The final two weeks can be extremely stressful and they certainly were for me, I was just glad that I had done what I could in the early stages. Also, you may get hung up about the fine details but remember that you won’t be able to do everything and not every cute idea that you see on Pinterest has to be part of your day. There were things like broken pompoms and a dud balloon canister that meant that I could not use all of the decorations and ideas that I had in place. In the end, it mattered little!