This morning we’re sharing a beautiful winter wedding on our pretty pages, perfect for those of you planning your big day for the colder months of the year.
Super stylish and personal, Sarah and Jamie’s November wedding features stunning attire, gorgeous handmade décor and details, plus out-of-this-world flowers. Let’s get straight into it…
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2014. I love Christmas now as much as when I was little and we were excited about heading back to my family’s to celebrate. On top of this Jamie’s birthday is Christmas day so it’s always a fun time of year for us. Prior to heading back to Southport for Christmas Jamie suggested a walk around Sefton Park, in Liverpool, which is just down the road from where we live. We spend lots of time in the park either on winter walks, picnicking or barbequing with friends, so it’s a place that is close to our hearts.
It was a gorgeous wintery morning and as we got to our favourite spot in the park Jamie stopped and pulled out the engagement ring. The ring was a vintage ring that had been Jamie’s gran’s engagement ring. She had passed it down to Jamie for him to give to his future wife. Needless to say it was an emotional moment and before Jamie could even get his words out I started to cry! It came as such a surprise! Once I could speak again I obviously said yes! I love vintage things so the ring was perfect. We then travelled home and surprised my family with the news (although Jamie is rubbish at keeping a secret so some of them already knew he was going to ask) and subsequently spent the rest of the festive period drinking champagne and celebrating with friends and family!
We got married on the 27th November 2015. We knew we didn’t want a long engagement and liked the idea of a winter wedding so when the venue had this date available we snapped it up!
We got married at St Nicholas Church in Codsall, Staffordshire. It was important to both of us to have a church wedding. Our reception was at Pendrell Hall in Codsall Wood, which is a beautiful country house, exclusive use wedding venue. It was actually the only venue that we looked at. We knew we wanted somewhere exclusive, somewhere that had accommodation for our closest friends and family and somewhere that fitted in with our style. Once we saw Pendrell Hall it ticked all the boxes! We fell in love with the big reception room and all the old style features so booked it there and then.
We didn’t really have a theme as such but my individual style and the venue nodded towards vintage. We wanted the day to be relaxed and personal to us with a real sense of family.
I didn’t really think we had a colour scheme as such either, but on reflection I would say it was ‘wintery’ to reflect the time of year. We went for dark and rich coloured bridesmaid dresses and suits and chose wintery Marsala themed flowers to fit in with the season.
Having a ridiculous addiction to clothes shopping normally, the wedding dress hunt was the part of wedding planning I was most looking forward to! However, despite visiting many lovely boutiques (which also involved many girly lunches and glasses of prosecco) I really struggled to find anything that felt like ‘me’. I must have tried on more than 100 dresses in total and was staring to lose faith that I would ever find anything! I generally have a slightly individual (some may say weird) style and the big wedding dresses just didn’t feel right on me. I then spotted the Gemma dress by Jenny Packham online. Sadly it was being discontinued and was not being stocked in any northern boutiques. I therefore headed down to London to the Jenny Packham bridal boutique accompanied by my mum and one of my sisters Hannah. When I tried on the dress it definitely felt more like ‘me’ than anything else I had tried. I loved the tea length of the dress and loved the idea of being able to add a pair of bright coloured shoes to it. I ordered it there and then.
I’m pleased to day the wedding shoe hunt was a lot easier! My lovely sister Hannah bought me my raspberry coloured Jimmy Choos! They were the first pair of shoes I tried on and I loved them! I loved the bright pink colour and the lovely vintage lace look of them – they were perfect and got endless amounts of comments on the day! I knew that I didn’t want a big veil as I didn’t think it would go with the style of the dress so I bought a birdcage veil and headpiece from Debbie Carlisle, which finished the outfit off perfectly. Debbie was so helpful with my enquiries and was happy to give me advice as to what would work well together.
Jamie’s suit was from Reiss, which we then got tailored to fit. He wanted a winter look suit but slightly different from the groomsmen’s suits so he stood out. He teamed this with some brown shoes from Bertie and a woollen burgundy tie to reflect the winter colour scheme. I think he looked very dapper on the day!
The amount of bridesmaids I had was a talking point in the build up to the wedding and on the day! I had nine – affectionately nicknamed the ‘brides brigade’. Their dresses were from ASOS. As there were so many girls with such a mix of colourings I wanted a colour and style which would suit them all and I think the dresses did exactly that. My youngest bridesmaid was our niece Lily-Ella and she wore a dress that was similar in style to mine from Next.
Paisley Gamble did mine and the bridesmaids hair on the day of the wedding. My hair was one of my biggest worries as I generally don’t like other people doing it. Paisley however put me at ease and after a couple of trial runs I knew I didn’t need to worry. She also wasn’t fazed at all by the number of bridesmaids I had and took it all in her stride. I’d definitely recommend her.
Kerry Baker did my makeup on the day, along with my mum’s and sisters’. Again I can’t recommend her enough. She’s the ultimate professional and was always on hand with a cotton bud to touch up my make up after the inevitable tears of the wedding morning!
The groomsmen’s suit were from Next. We wanted a winter woollen look suit and these were perfect. There was a little anxiety from some of the groomsmen about fitting into a ‘slim fit’ suit but they all pulled it off and looked great! Our page boy Jack was the star of the show on the day. His suit was from Marks & Spencer. Needless to say the jacket came off pretty quickly so he could bust some moves on the dancefloor.
For the day of the wedding we hired a vintage Morris Minor called Archie to take me to the church and then take us back to the venue afterwards. This was from Vintages Rides near Atherstone. Nicky at Vintage Rides was so helpful and travelled further than they usually would so we could use Archie on the day.
Our photographer was Jonny Draper. What can I say about Jonny apart from he is a legend! From the moment we met him over a glass of wine in his local pub we knew he was our kind of person and definitely the man for the job. He is the ultimate professional but by the end of it, felt like a good friend! Apart from taking amazing pictures (and I normally hate photos of myself) he is also a great person to have around on the day. I’m not sure how he managed it but without bossing us around he managed to make sure that all ten of us girls were ready on time whilst keeping me calm in the process. We didn’t want to spend hours away from our guests having photos taken on the day and Jonny completely got that. I can’t recommend him highly enough.
Our florist was the amazing Red Floral. I had an idea as to what I wanted the flowers to look like at the wedding and Mat at Red Floral made it happen. My bouquet was a gorgeous mix of autumnal hydrangeas, lilac roses, thistles and berries to reflect the winter colour scheme. It was a huge bouquet but I loved it! My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of mine and the button holes and corsages matched the bouquets.
The table centre pieces were also created by Red Floral and were the talk of the wedding. As the reception room was so big we wanted big flowers to help fill the room and they certainly did that! The room smelt amazing! The top table was decorated with the nine bridesmaid’s bouquets and my bouquet – if you’ve got a spare ten bouquets you may as well have them on show!
As it was winter and went dark early we wanted a candlelit room so the tables were also decorated with numerous tea lights. The tables were named after Liverpool landmarks in a nod to where we live and I made the table names from vintage pictures of each place. The bar and reception room area were also decorated with tea lights and jam jar candles which I had personalised. Overall the décor was a real mix of handmade pieces and amazing flowers which worked well.
As I’m obsessed with taking photos – our flat is covered in photos of every occasion – I wanted this to be reflected in some of the décor for the day too. We therefore used Polaroid style prints (printed via an amazing app called INKIFI) to make photo bunting. This included photos of all the guests at the wedding as we really wanted them to feel part of the day. I also used some of these photos to decorate the table plan and suitcases for the cards.
To ensure we got at least one photo of all our guests on the day of the wedding we also used a Polaroid camera for our guest book. Guests took pictures of themselves on the night and stuck them in a beautiful guest book that was handmade by one of my bridesmaids Amy.
As favours we gave our guests jam jars which I had personalised and which we used for the drinks reception, providing them with a little memento of the day.
We had a huge four tier naked style chocolate cake for our wedding made by Francesca from The Cheshire Cat Cake Company. Francesca was amazing and sent us lots of samples through the post to help us choose! In the end we decided on chocolate and Francesca used different flavour buttercream fillings throughout the layers. Red Floral then provided some flowers to help decorate the cake on the day.
We could supply our own drinks reception drinks and wines for the meal at Pendrell Hall. For us it was important to have a little piece of Liverpool at the wedding so along with the usual drink choices (Pimms and Corona) we chose a local Liverpool ale ‘Penny Lane Pale’ from Mad Hatters Brewery in Liverpool. This seemed to go down well with the men of the wedding!
To choose the wines for the meal we had an evening of blind wine tasting during a recent family holiday. Needless to say it was a merry evening and at the end of it we chose a Malbec, Sauvingnon Blanc and Prosecco for the toasts.
We wanted the wedding breakfast to reflect not only the season, but also our favourite foods. Jenkinsons the caterers were very helpful in helping us do this. We went for a pumpkin ravioli to start, sausage and mash for main (my favourite meal) for mains and rhubarb and apple crumble for dessert.
When it came to the entertainment for the drinks reception, we knew we wanted a slightly different acoustic band and found the Gypsies of Bohemia online. They are an amazing band that play alternative versions of modern songs. They look and sound amazing and perfectly fitted in with the venue and what we wanted.
For the evening entertainment we decided on a DJ. We were recommended Andy Murphy by Jonny Draper and he didn’t disappoint. He kept the dancefloor full for the night and was happy to take requests – even playing some of my niece Lily-Ella’s playlist that she had given to him beforehand! Andy is a great guy and good fun to have around on the night. Definitely a great choice.
Pendrell Hall were great from the beginning to the end of our wedding. The team there know what they are doing and the day runs so smoothly. Francesca our events planner for the day was very helpful and didn’t mind my numerous emails and lists I kept sending her in the run up to the day! The venue is also immaculate. One of the things we really liked is the amount of accommodation that is at the venue – I stayed in a cottage in the grounds the night before the wedding too. It’s nice to be able to have breakfast with some of your wedding guests the morning after to compare stories and hangovers!
I loved our entire wedding day! I had great fun in the morning getting ready with all my girls and won’t forget the special moment I had with my dad when I saw him for the first time on the day. My favourite parts of the day however, were the moments Jamie and I got to snatch together. We certainly won’t forget being in the middle of the dancefloor at the end of the night surrounded by a circle of all our friends and family at the end of what was truly an epic day!
We flew to Barbados on honeymoon a couple of days after the wedding. It was exactly what we needed! Ten days of relaxation, sun, sea and cocktails! I’d like to say we continued the party but we were so exhausted we slept most of the time! A perfect way to recharge the batteries after the biggest and best day of our lives so far.
This gets said an awful lot but my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to savour the day. It goes so quickly that you, as a couple, must make sure that you take a few moments throughout the day to step back and look at what you have achieved and how much fun all your friends and family are having.
Also, don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and remember it’s your wedding day so don’t worry about other people’s opinions – if you want nine bridesmaids, then have them!
Oh and last but not least, if you’re going to blow your budget on anything then make sure it’s on the things people will remember.