North East Wedding

made for each other. a relaxed wedding in the north east – sophie & daniel

Rachel Hirst

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Today’s real wedding came after a whirlwind proposal with Daniel asking Sophie for her hand in marriage on their first year anniversary (boyfriends out there dragging their feet – take note!)

The most important factor for Daniel and Sophie was that the wedding was both fun and relaxed and so they made their day simply about them as a couple, and celebrated with their very nearest and dearest.

The result – a chilled out big day with smiles and laughter galore!

With images by 83 Photography.

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sophie says:

Daniel proposed on our one-year anniversary, completely unexpectedly. He lived in Manchester, and I lived in London. He’d arrived at my flat after a long bus journey, it was late, he was unpacking his bag and then he handed some presents to me – one of which was an engagement ring!  I didn’t say yes at first as I was in such shock! We had quite a long engagement – our wedding was just over three years later.

We chose the date of 9th April for the wedding because we wanted to have our reception at Redcar Cricket Club and therefore had to accommodate the cricket season (or set a wedding date with only six months’ notice, once the fixtures were out). So we went with the last possible Saturday before the cricket season started – actually, it was the first day of the season but the manager said he would switch the fixture if they were drawn at home for the first match!

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We were married at Christ Church Coatham, in Redcar, where I was christened and which is attached to the primary school I went to as a child. We originally planned to get married near to where we live in London, but none of the venues felt ‘right’, whereas Redcar did.

We didn’t have a theme as such, we just wanted a fun and relaxing day. I guess if anything the theme was ‘us’. We decorated the cricket club with boards we’d made; one had items from running /adventure events we’ve done together, one had cards we’d sent when we lived apart, and the other had gig tickets. Our table names meanwhile were albums of artists that played at the festival where we met – All Tomorrow’s Parties in Butlins, Minehead.

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We didn’t really have a colour scheme either, again just wanting to keep things simple. My mum picked the flowers which were very natural whites and greens.

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The wedding dress that I chose was the first one I tried on at Ghost on King’s Road in London. It was a simple, floor length dress with sleeves and a draped back. It was in the sale, which meant I could buy a second Ghost dress for the reception! My wedding shoes were very un-me, platform nude heels from Nine West. Swiftly changed to matching shoes with Daniel after the ceremony (we wore matching dark blue Toms shoes).

Choosing Daniel’s suit was much more complex than picking the dress! It was a dark blue wool suit from Jigsaw in Spitalfields, altered twice to make the trousers ankle-length and more fitted. We bought the white shirt from Liberty on Boxing Day when we were a bit drunk. Daniel’s ring is a cat’s head design, from The Great Frog in London.

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On the morning of the wedding around ten of us did a 5km parkrun in Locke Park in Redcar, before getting ourselves ready. Everything for the wedding was within walking distance, which was lovely as it meant we could go from the church to the reception by foot.

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Our photographer was Robin Chamberlain from 83 Photography. We’d absolutely recommend Robin. His style of photography suited us perfectly, and he blended into the day seamlessly. He made us and all of our guests feel comfortable with the photography and produced some stunning photos. He also drove us to the beach for photos as we didn’t have a car!

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I managed to forget my flowers for the ceremony, and her parents forgot their button holes too – they were on the kitchen table! I only realised when I got to the alter and noticed I had free hands. Thankfully my mum did a quick dash home after the ceremony so we had flowers for the photos! The arrangements were provided by Jayne’s Florists in Eston, and we also had some beautiful flowers in the church, provided by the parishioners.

Jayne’s Florists also provided flowers for the reception but these were arranged by my mum and sister. We used them for a party at my parents’ house the night before the wedding. They were then transferred to the cricket club.

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For our favours we made up little bags of vegetarian sweets, and some vegan bags. We used veggie sweets from Marks & Spencer and some mini sticks of Redcar rock.

My sister-in-law made two traditional fruit cakes for the wedding, one with a double layer of marzipan as this is my favourite! She also made a fantastic cake topper of the two of us in ‘Gua-tent-mala’ as we were camping in Guatemala as part of our honeymoon.

The wedding food was provided by The Treacle Town Pie Company, based in Macclesfield. We chose them as we knew we wanted pies, and we knew someone who had used Treacle Town before. They did the formal dinner – a selection of pies, mash and peas, plus dessert – and canapes, including vegan and gluten-free options.

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To provide entertainment we had a brass band for when guests arrived at the reception, during the canapes. After dinner we had a local DJ from The Empire in Middlesbrough, who was also one of the guests. It was a brilliant set!

As a bit of extra fun for the guests, and also to help to bring everyone together, my brother set up a Grand National sweepstake the night before at the party, which went down well with everyone.

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We would absolutely recommend our choice of wedding venue to other couples. It’s a small venue, and they haven’t had many weddings but it was a great price and the staff went above and beyond to make it a great day.  It was ideally located for us too, being within walking distance to the church, my parents’ house and the B&Bs where guests were staying.

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For both of us the best part of the day was the ceremony. We absolutely loved the vicar who married us. She made the ceremony so personal and it meant the world to us.  Daniel was much more nervous than anticipated before the wedding, so felt much better once I was there too!

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For our honeymoon we went to Guatemala for just over two weeks, and then took our trainers to the Isle of Wight for a 100km event. Guatemala was incredible. We travelled around a little bit, spending time in Antigua and around Lake Atitlan. We went cycling, kayaking, and hiking, including hiking a 5000m volcano and camping out near the summit of an active volcano. We also stayed at a beautiful place called Earth Lodge where we slept in a treehouse and did yoga. On our last day in Guatemala we both got tattoos of our Mayan birth symbols, with Daniel’s birth symbol being the same symbol as for our wedding date! Our wedding list was a website with all of the adventures we were planning in Guatemala and guests made contributions towards them, which made it an unforgettable trip.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – keep it cool! Focus on what is special for you and don’t worry about what you ‘should’ be doing. Everyone loved our relaxed wedding (even if my mum found it a bit worrying in the build-up). Oh, and be sure to delegate as much as possible!

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