Today’s wedding is a stunning example of how a wedding can be both lavish and relaxed.
Working around an elegant blush pink and dove grey colour scheme, Debbie and Darran went all out with the wedding styling choosing striking floral decorations and an abundance of candles to enhance their already stunning venue.
The wedding party looked extra glam too, with the bridesmaids in shimmering grey dresses and Debbie in a stunning fish-tail style gown.
Keen not to overdo the formalities though, the bride and groom opted for relaxed bowl-food style dining, lots of sweet treats and enjoyable live entertainment. A winning combination we say!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
debbie says: Our love story began on 25th February 2012. Darran and I had known each other for over ten years, our youngest children went through school together. We had both become single and Darran took the opportunity to ask me to go for a drink with him. Little did I know that 1,527 days later he would become my husband.
We officially got engaged on Sunday 22nd February 2015, Darran got down on one knee on the Sunday morning not long after we had woken up, and he was wearing just his undies! So romantic. The following day we had a surprise 40th lunch to attend. After we left the lunch I suggested we take a drive over to Ashfield House, unbeknown to him I had secretly popped in their six months previously to pick up a brochure. We rocked up unannounced on the off chance that we could get a proper look around. Fortunately for us Katie Street was more than accommodating. From the moment I walked through Ashfield’s front door I knew that this was where I wanted to get married.
To get the ball rolling we made an appointment for the following Saturday to visit Prestons of Bolton to pick out my engagement ring. We had an amazing experience at Preston’s of Bolton, being served with Veuve Clicquot champagne whilst we looked at various diamonds. I had pretty much made up my mind beforehand that I would like a pear cut solitaire, as Darran had bought me pear cut earrings a few years previously.
We set the date of the wedding for Sunday 1st May 2016. We knew that by picking a bank holiday weekend that it would give our travelling guests the opportunity to make a full weekend of it.
Ashfield House was such a perfect venue for the wedding. The building, in our opinion, is stunning with so much character and history. We loved the bright airy feel to the recently revamped Langtree Suite, which is where our ceremony took place.
The grounds at Ashfield House are simply stunning too. Unfortunately for us the weather was wet and temperamental, and although we did manage to get outside to get some fantastic shots, the fact that there are so many places inside for your photographer to shoot some cool original shots is a massive bonus. We also loved the fact that Ashfield House is an exclusive wedding venue Monday to Saturday. On a Sunday they do serve Sunday lunch. This didn’t cause us any problems though as we knew that the lunchtime guests would have left by the time our ceremony took place.
The icing on the cake was that Ashfield House has 15 ensuite rooms with a handful of suites that are competitively priced. This meant that our travelling guests had the beauty of staying over at the wedding venue too.
We didn’t have a wedding these as such but wanted our wedding to resemble the fun loving couple that we are, so we went to town on personalising certain aspects of it. Months before the wedding I had Darran sticking, gluing, making and ironing all sorts!
For the colour scheme we chose dove grey and blush pink.
My dress was a Mori Lee fishtail-style gown with a soft net overlay. It had a sweetheart neckline and intricate crystal beading with cap sleeves and a beaded illusion back. I also had an additional crystal encrusted belt sewn it. I bought my dress from Creations in Wigan.
Kerry Baker MUA took care of my bridal makeup. Initially I booked Kerry to do the standard bridal makeup package, however, it didn’t take me long to upgrade to the VIP ‘Dawn till Dusk’ package and to include my four adult bridesmaids too. Kerry’s calm and composed demeanour meant that the bridal dressing room was a tranquil place to get ready. As a middle-aged bride I was conscious of lines and wrinkles, I feel that Kerry accommodated this and in my opinion made me feel a million dollars. Having Kerry there from dawn till dusk meant that not only did she keep topping-up my makeup, but she also supplied an inventive dress cover and plastic shoe covers that protected my Jimmy Choos from the damp wet floor outside.
Our best man, my dad and our collective three teenage lads also wore Marks & Spencer Autograph suits, shoes and dove grey ties from Swagger and Swoon.
We had four adult bridesmaids and a flower girl. The adult bridesmaid dresses I ordered from BHS. These were in the sale at a bargain price of £40 each. The bridesmaids’ shoes were from Debut in Debenhams. Our flower girl’s dress was from Etsy.
Jonny Draper captured our day. His style of photography was so up our street, that when he agreed to be our photographer we were ecstatic. I think when you look for a photographer you need to find a connection with them. We arrived at Great John Street Hotel in April 2015 for an initial meet to discuss the possibility of shooting our wedding at Ashfield House. I had already had the heads up that Jonny was partial to a bit of Jägermeister. So we thought what better way to shake on a deal for this top bloke agreeing to capture our amazing day, than to present him with a bottle of Jaeger to show our appreciation?
Prior to the wedding, we had an engagement shoot with Jonny in December 2015, at Castlefields, Manchester. Darran hates having his photo taken, I love it! It didn’t take long for Jonny to put Darran at ease. We knew as soon as Jonny waded into this huge puddle to take a shot using our reflections that this man meant business. We had a cracking afternoon and the exercise was invaluable, because it also gave Jonny the chance to see how we photograph, which enabled him to get the best from us on the day. At the pre-wedding shoot we also discussed the possibility of confetti cannons, which is something that we were really keen to pull off. And the most iconic picture from our wedding we feel is that confetti canon shot!
We were also fortunate to have Kate McCarthy Photography come along and second shoot for Jonny at our wedding. Kate’s pictures reflected our day beautifully too. I would not hesitate in recommending Jonny Draper – in our opinion he is a legend!
We had our day filmed too by Stuart of Appleyard Productions. Stuart captured our special day from getting ready in the bridal suite to after our first dance. The video that he produced is simply outstanding. It shows the true raw emotion of what was an amazing day. Currently it’s been viewed more than 1,000 times. Darran wasn’t keen on having us filmed for the day, to the point I didn’t tell him that he was being mic’d up until the night before. However, now, having this special real life memory we are both so glad that we booked Stuart. We cannot recommend him enough!
When it came to the wedding flowers, I decided that I wanted a pear-shape bouquet to complement my engagement ring, and Sarah Crookston from The Rose Boutique, certainly delivered. My bouquet consisted of Sweet Avalanche Roses, they are renowned for their perfect blush colour so complemented our colour scheme beautifully. White O’Hara Roses that have a delicate garden rose scent. Classic ivory roses, Menta Roses and a smaller headed rose in a nude colour, Snowflake Spray Roses and ivory Peonies with soft foliage. It was simply beautiful and smelt divine.
My girlies’ bouquets were made up of perfect blush Sweet Avalanche Roses with soft foliage.
Red Floral Architecture provided two of their hero displays for styling the venue. These arrangements included hydrangea, sweet avalanche roses stock and eucalyptus. The aisle of the ceremony room was lined with masses of glass cylinders in varying heights, which were each filled with mixed height chapel candles. The level of illumination created a fabulous aisle. Either side of the registrars table were the hero arrangements. The top of the vases held a mass display of roses. Glass baubles holding tea lights fell from the design to complement the candle lit theme. Around the bases of each were masses of tea lights and floating candles. At the top of the aisle were two acrylic candelabras, displayed on plinths.
The glass cylinders were later moved into the restaurant room and used to decorate the tables for our evening guests. Some of the cylinders were also used to decorate the bar area and fireplace in there as well as Ashfield House’s grand staircase. Brides Little Helper supplied the 8ft blossom trees that were placed at the bottom of the staircase. The two hero displays and two candelabras were also used to dress the evening reception. The outside steps meanwhile were dressed by The Rose Boutique with Sweet Avalanche and Spray Roses, Eucalyptus and silver foliage interspersed throughout.
Further décor included four-foot light up letters saying “Mr & Mrs Foley” from The Word Is Love.
For our wedding cake we chose a simple but elegant three tiered design, made by Paula Cake Couture. The flavours were Madagascan vanilla sponge and rich chocolate Genoise. Suzanne Thorp at The Frostery, also provided two dozen heart shaped cookies, iced with our names on them, individually wrapped and tied with pink ribbon.
As another sweet treat, Candy Heart provided us with a delightful selection of pink and white themed sweets for our guests on their elegant cart. From first speaking to Helen Stokes, she knew instantly how we wanted the candy cart presented and the theme we wanted to follow. There was an abundance of sweets which went down a treat with kids and the adults too. Darran’s one request was personalised love heart sweets with our names and wedding date on.
When it came to the wedding food we didn’t want the formality of a sit down meal and so Katie at the venue suggested relaxed informal dining by the way of bowl food. We gave guests a choice of Lancashire Hot Pot accompanied with miniature dumplings, red cabbage and beetroot, or chicken curry, which was served with chutney and miniature naan bread. For our evening guests we opted for the ‘chippy tea’, which was served in typical chip trays.
In terms of drink, we offered the adults Pimms and prosecco and the kids cloudy pink lemonade, which was served in personalised mason jars with coordinating pink and grey candy striped paper straws.
After the ceremony we had Mark Hendry from The Live Piano Experience to entertain guests. Mark is an accomplished piano/vocalist, who provided background music whilst photographs were being taken.
We also hired magician Sam Fitton. Sam had all of our guests completely hooked on his performances. Our private performance was simply spectacular and still has Darran and I baffled to this day. I won’t spoil the surprise but it left me literally speechless! We were left speechless again the next morning too, when Sam emailed us a mini movie that he had shot of our day. This was totally unexpected and was such a delightful personal touch.
For the evening reception, singer Steve Charles provided a 70-minute set singing soul classics and serenading our guests. Steve got in the thick of the tables whilst belting out his infectious voice.
Dance Floor Couture provided the white LED dance floor and our DJ for the night. We also hired a photo booth for the reception from The Booth Brothers. This is a fantastic way of making fun memories and letting your guests have a little giggle and to get a memento to take away too.
Other suppliers that we used on the day that we would recommend are Cross Stitch and Kisses, who made us bespoke wedding sock monkeys in our colour theme, these were displayed on the console table along with our post box which was provided by Chair Flair. Button It made our picture detailing the date Darran stole my heart, the date we got engaged and the date we married. This was also displayed on the post-box table. Finally, Lily’s Events made us a bespoke “unplugged” Facebook wedding sign, which we have now hung up at home in the hallway. We wanted our guests to take as many pictures, but we were reluctant to hold off having them posted on social media until our evening guests arrived. It was a polite way of asking to wait, and it worked. I do believe the first images were posted after 9pm.
After our wedding we would absolutely recommend Ashfield House to other brides and grooms. It’s a beautiful, exclusive wedding venue, conveniently located with quintessential grounds. The interior is contemporary and exquisite with a grandeur feel. Katie and her team’s flexible approach and vision was perfect for us. We wanted a rather informal day, with lots of love, fun and laughter and that’s what we got!
For me, the highlight of the day was walking into the Langtree Suite, having not seen the stunning room dressed until this point and then walking down the aisle looking at all our family and friends and seeing the huge smiles on their faces. And then, of course, coming face to face with the man that has put a smile on my face for the last 1,527 days! What more can a girl ask for?
We honeymooned in Mauritius staying at the Lux Grande Gaube, which is in the north of the island.
We flew from Gatwick the following Sunday, which was great as it allowed us to see some family members before we left. We had two fantastically chilled weeks enjoying each other’s company, eating superb food and making wonderful memories.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t be afraid to approach and ask suppliers to tailor a package so that it suits your needs! I’m a firm believer that if you don’t ask you don’t get! Fundamentally this is your day so stay true to yourselves and bloody well enjoy the ride!