Today’s wedding is brimming with beautiful inspiration, so be sure to have your Pinterest boards at the ready ladies.
Tying the knot at a rural barn setting in Cheshire, bookworm bride Jessica decided to theme the wedding around her favourite childhood stories, with nods to everyone from Peter Rabbit and Toad of Toad Hall, to the beautiful Snow White.
Looking every inch a princess herself, we adore Jessica’s stunning duchess satin gown as well as the bridesmaids’ vintage dresses and the groomsmen’s dapper suits!
Another stand out element for us has to be Jessica’s dreamy bouquet made by her talented mum – who just so happens to be a florist, and a fabulous one at that!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
jessica says: Rob proposed on Christmas Day 2013. Christmas is my favourite time of the year but I didn’t see the proposal coming. We had talked about getting married for years but finances had been tight as we were renovating our home.
I woke up at about 4.30am, which is normal for me on Christmas Day. We spent some time opening our stockings in bed before moving on to the Christmas tree in the living room. Rob opened his presents from me first and then it was my turn.
I unwrapped my first gift which was a poem from Rob asking me to be his wife. Rob was filming me and I read it out loud but couldn’t read it in full. My legs went to jelly but I thought he was winding me up. I started to cry and he handed me another present. I unwrapped a ring box and inside there was a note saying ‘Find Me, I’m hanging on the tree’. I couldn’t contain my emotion at this point. I tried to stand up but my leg were shaking too much! Eventually I found the ring on the tree. The ring was beautiful. I was ecstatic. We celebrated with a bacon butty and a glass of champagne. All this at 5am!
We set the date for 7th May 2016. We chose May hoping for good weather and we got it! It was warm, but not too hot, and it stayed dry for the majority of the day. We chose the 7th as number seven is a lucky number for the family and we were automatically drawn to it.
We got married at Hyde Bank Farm in Romiley, Cheshire. It was the only venue we looked at and we booked it straight away. Rob’s dad used to work there as a teenager back when it was a dairy farm. He actually used to work in barn where the ceremony was held. The farm is still run by the same family he used to work for. The venue is perfect for an intimate ceremony but because it has two floors and outdoor space, it can hold up to 100 guests in the evening.
Our theme was classic children’s books. Each table was named after a classic tale: Wind in the Willows, The Railway Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This was chosen because since a very early age I have been a bit of a bookworm. These were my favourite stories as a child. My mum has always compared me to Snow White with dark hair, fair skin and cherry red lips.
We went for a vintage look when it came to picking the colour scheme for the outfits and flowers. The bridesmaids wore vintage style dresses in powder blue and Rob, the dads and groomsmen wore navy. The flowers were vintage/rustic, in keeping with the venue, using predominately blue and lilac flowers.
In terms of my dress, I’d initially thought I wanted a simple fitted gown. I was very much against wearing a big meringue! I was excited to start trying on dresses but under estimated just how difficult it was going to be. After trying on several dresses I started to feel deflated because nothing had given me the ‘wow’ factor. I had realised that I didn’t actually have a clue what I wanted so I was trying on anything and everything.
It got to September 2015 and I started to feel anxious. The wedding was only a matter of months away and I still hadn’t found anything. After sensing my panic, one sunny Sunday my sister suggested we visit some more dress shops. I agreed but by this point I was getting fed up. We researched bridal shops in the area that we hadn’t already visited and came across The Cheshire Wedding Company. When we arrived Claire took care of us. She allowed me to try on a couple of gowns which were beautiful but not for me. Claire then told me she had a dress which she thought would be perfect for me and to try it on with an open mind. She brought it over and I knew it was the one. She got me into the dress and opened the curtain to where my sisters were waiting. I could tell from their reactions that this was it. I walked towards the mirror and began to shake. I had found it! It was everything I thought I didn’t want, but it was perfect!
It was very simple, no beading or sparkles, just heavy duchess satin in buttermilk and it was big! I felt like royalty. The colour complemented my skin, the fabric sat on me in all the right places and the train, oh my god, the train was amazing. I didn’t try on anymore dresses after this. Claire really has a talent. It is one thing to sell dresses but to be able to pick out ‘the one’ for somebody requires a gift. I am so grateful to her.
Rob wore a navy blue suit which was from House of Fraser. We wanted him to coordinate with the groomsmen but to be wearing something slightly different so his suit was a different cloth and a lighter shade of blue. He wore it with a shirt from Slaters and he had a different tie and pocket square to the groomsmen. He absolutely adored his shoes. They are from Barker Shoes and were his favourite part of the outfit.
The groomsmen’s suits were from Next, which they wore with shirts and dickie bows from Slaters. We also bought the groomsmen and the two dads pocket watches as a gift and for them to wear on the day. Rob had a matching one too.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Lindy Bop but we customised them slightly ourselves.
For transport on the day of the wedding we hired a vintage family bus from Diamond Wedding Cars in Wigan. It was important that I could arrive at the ceremony with my mum, sisters and dad. I wanted us to make that journey together. I also wanted all the lads to be able to travel in style together too. The bus picked all the lads up from Rob’s dad’s house in the morning and took them over to the venue. It then came back over to my house to pick me up with my mum, dad and sisters.
We found that choosing a wedding photographer was one of the most difficult decisions we made throughout the whole planning process. The photographs are one of the most important outcomes of a wedding. I wanted natural relaxed photographs. I didn’t want my guests to waste too much time being rounded up for pictures.
Mandy at Hyde Bank Farm recommended Lee Brown. We contacted him and arranged to meet. He was very friendly but also extremely professional. He visited us at home and showed us his portfolio and explained what he would do on the day. After looking at his work we decided that he was what we were looking for and we booked him with the request that he arrange a second photographer. Lee was fine with this. He understood that he couldn’t be in two places at once and that it meant a lot for us to have shots of me getting ready but also Rob too.
Part of Lee’s package involves a pre-wedding shoot, which we thought was a fantastic idea. We arranged the shoot for a few weeks before the wedding. It gave Lee a chance to get us comfortable around the camera and for him to get to know us a bit better. It was a lovely afternoon and the pictures were wonderful.
On the wedding day Lee arrived at my house and the other photographer, Sally, went to the lads. Sally was a fantastic help to all the groomsmen whilst they were getting ready. In between taking pictures she helped them get dressed and then at the venue was helping to set things up. Lee was absolutely fantastic at organising the family for pictures and then after the formal pictures were out of the way both he and Sally blended into the background to take their natural shots. We forgot they were there! I would highly recommend Lee Brown. The wedding pictures have made us laugh and cry and they are timeless. I could get the pictures out in 20 years’ time and they would still be amazing.
In addition to a photographer we wanted a videographer that would capture natural footage of our day and so hired Gray Weddings. Rebecca came to me in the morning while we were getting ready and after saying hello and introducing herself to everyone she blended into the background and we forgot she was there. She then raced off to the venue where George was waiting and they both worked so hard all day. The guests didn’t even notice they were being filmed. They have a wonderful way of capturing moments and then piecing everything together to tell the story of the day.
I had an exquisite bouquet to complete my look. It included hydrangea, peonies, ranunculi, roses, wax flower, spray roses, lizianthus, allium and asparagus fern all made by my mum and her team at Royal Flowers in Oldham.
Again my mum and her team arranged the flowers and decorations for the reception. The flowers matched the bridal bouquets and buttonholes. There were lots of large and small arrangements over both floors of the venue. There were also lots of little decorations hung around the venue that meant something to us or that tied in with the theme.
Outside meanwhile Rob’s grandad had brought along and parked up his Bugatti. This was brilliant as it looks a lot like the car from Wind in the Willows. The guest thoroughly enjoyed jumping in for a picture or two.
All our wedding stationery was designed and printed by Lithaprint in Stockport. I couldn’t sing their praises enough. Matt and Neil were amazing. I went to them with ideas on how I wanted the stationery to look and Neil designed the art work. It was better than I could have hoped for. The quality of the work he produced was magnificent.
Our favours for guests included a vintage book mark, wildflower seeds and a luxury chocolate, all put into a little hessian bag. They were all personalised in some way too.
We chose a ‘naked’ wedding cake. It was a sponge cake with raspberry jam and icing sugar, decorated with berries and flowers. It was beautiful and went down a treat with the guests. It was made by Diane’s Cakes, in Denton, and it was very rustic looking to tie in with the venue.
The food and wines were all organised by Hyde Bank Farm. We chose smoked salmon to start, followed by a beef dinner and then a trio of deserts. Each table had wine and each guest received a either a glass of prosecco or a beer as a celebration drink. The feedback on the food was good, the guests all enjoyed it.
We had a DJ for the evening entertainment, along with a personalised photo booth. I was worried this wouldn’t be enough but it turned out to be more than enough. The weather was lovely that day so a lot of guests milled about outside too.
Throughout the wedding day we incorporated lots of special touches, though my curtain was probably the most special. For as long as I can remember I have envisaged being stood at the top of an aisle with either a curtain or doors being thrown open to reveal me. The doors were not an option on the farm but we had a curtain specially made and hung it from the beam at the top of the aisle. My sisters/bridesmaids walked down the aisle first, then walked back up to open a curtain each to reveal me stood there. It is something that we have practised for years and I promise you now it makes you emotional when those curtains open and you imagine seeing the love of your life in front of you. However nothing could have prepared me for the real life experience. On the day when the curtain opened my breath was actually taken away. To see all my family and friends stood there and my soul mate stood waiting for me. It was such an emotional moment.
I would certainly recommend Hyde Bank Farm following our wedding. It is a beautiful venue and the grounds are stunning. Mandy and Alan are so accommodating and are open and willing to your ideas. They are very relaxed but ensure the whole day runs like clockwork. It is a family run business and they actually live on the farm so are there 24/7 if you need them. Nothing is too much trouble.
Looking back at our day it was full of amazing moments, though I’d say that I had three favourite parts in particular. When the curtain opened – my breath was literally taken away from me; all my family and friends were there waiting and then I saw Rob and I had a moment of euphoria. The speeches – my dad, the best men and Rob all produced some amazing speeches. There was a lot of laughter and tears in the room and it reminded Rob and I how much love we have for each other, the journey we have been on together and how much our family and friends mean to us. Finally, when my dog Marley arrived – we don’t have any children yet but Marley has been with us every step of the way and it only felt right that he should be with us on such a big day. We had pictures taken with him and he even had his own little dickie bow!
We went honeymoon to Akumal Bay in Mexico, Rivera Maya. It was paradise! We splashed out on the honeymoon. The hotel was idyllic and the staff were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for you. We didn’t have to lift a finger and the food was amazing. We had two weeks of complete relaxation in the most beautiful place. We felt very lucky and it was so special to have that time together to reflect on our lives before the wedding, the day of the wedding and the next chapter. We did face time the dog daily though!
Everybody who has got married before us told me that the wedding day goes so quickly, but I didn’t realise just how quickly. In which case my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to stop at intervals throughout the day if you can and take mental images because in the blink of an eye it’s all over!