Readers, you’re in for a treat. Today’s real wedding is packed with pretty details, from the bride’s stunning Suzanne Neville lace creation to a gorgeous textured bouquet bursting with the best of British colour.
Champagne flowed all day long at this stylish celebration, and the combination of an exquisite menu and live music guaranteed a day to remember for the lovely Lizzy and Toby.
With images by Toni Darcy.
lizzy says: We got engaged on 22nd November 2013 at Split Apple Rock, South Island, New Zealand. We‘d planned a three week trip across New Zealand and this particular place was one of the reasons we went. Before we left, Toby had spoken with my parents to ask them if he could propose and, of course, they said ‘yes!’
We‘d gone to the beach a few days before but I got caught in a wave, so Toby didn’t think it would be best to propose then. So the morning of leaving Split Apple Rock, two weeks into the trip, we went to the beach for the last time with a cup of tea each, sat on the rock together and he asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked and I think he had to ask me twice before I said yes, even though that was my answer on the first asking.
We knew we just didn’t want our wedding day to be one day. Our married friends say the day goes by so quickly, plus I wanted to be married before I was 30, so August bank holiday weekend seemed the perfect weekend to plan for.
We married on Saturday 29th August, allowing us to plan activities for the Friday and Sunday. We married at Saint Peter’s Church in Prestbury, Cheshire, and our celebrations continued at Colshaw Hall. I know that normally the bride marries close to her home, but we decided to be slightly different and marry close to where Toby had grown up. Picturesque surroundings and church were part of the decision but I also wanted my Mum to be able to enjoy the experience and be waited on, rather than having to rush around on the morning of the wedding.
We didn’t really have a particular theme, apart from eat, drink and be merry.
After attending our friends’ weddings, we pinched all the ideas that we really loved and recreated them so that they became our own. Good food, good champagne and good music always lead to lots of fun!
Onto the outfits. My bridesmaids wore soft plum and the groomsmen all wore navy with grey waistcoats. Claret and blue are my favourite colours – Toby reckons it’s because I’m a Burnley girl through and through, but I just think these colours look stunning together!
Toby and the groomsmen all wore matching suites which we hired from Whitfield and Ward in Wilmslow. All wore navy blue with a grey tweed waistcoat with a blue tie, white pocket square and black shoes. To be slightly different Toby had a blue tie with white spots and a pocket square to match.
My bridesmaids wore dresses from BHLDN, by designer Jenny Yoo and my sister wore a long soft plum dress with made from tulle. My niece wore a shorter matching version with lace detailing at the top.
My dress was created by Suzanne Neville, from her Wilmslow Shop in Cheshire. ‘Apolline’ was my perfect match – I knew the instant I put it on. Not long after we were engaged, both my Mum and Toby’s Mum came with me to the shop to try dresses on and this was definitely the ‘wow’ one. It was lace with delicate sleeves over a sweetheart neckline and a slight mermaid shape at the bottom. I’m quite a simple person so I didn’t want any flashiness/bling but this dress was simple and stunning all at the same time.
My Dad and I travelled to the church in a Bentley Silver Spur in silver, and my bridesmaids and Mum travelled in a Mercedes S class. Both were hired from People to Places based in Cheshire. They offered a great service and the drivers were so lovely and calming – especially on my way to church. Toby and I then travelled to our reception in the Bentley and enjoyed a bottle of fizz on the way which help calm the nerves!
My photographer was Toni Darcy. What can I say…! I’ve actually known Toni for years; she‘s one of my best friends and one of the first people I told when we got engaged. I lust love her: she’s amazing at what she does, and everything she does is so personal. On the morning of the wedding she was fab – she photographed everything, but having her there was like having another sister with me. When my Mum fastened my dress and told me it didn’t fit, Toni was on hand to pull my corset tighter in order for it to button! She was a guest at our wedding but there as a photographer too, and she’s captured some moments I will treasure forever. I just hope she had time to enjoy herself too! As a person and as a photographer, she’s absolutely amazing.
We used Knutsford Bloom to create our wedding flowers. As my dress was quite simple, I wanted a very textured bouquet with lots of English colours in it. The groomsmen all wore buttonholes made with sage and thyme also and the church pew ends were decorated with white hydrangeas and lace.
We created our wedding reception decorations by ourselves with the help from my Dad. Our tables were named after places where we’ve travelled. We put together picture boxes with photos of us in these places and fairy lights. They looked lovely during the day but even more special at night. We didn’t give out favours; instead, we decided to donate money to Christie’s.
We ordered a very simple 3 tiered cake from Marks and Spencer which was cut and served in the evening. Our cake topper was made by Artlocke Designs, and was a model of both of us in our wedding outfits and also our cat Mog.
We wanted everyone to enjoy their food and the catering service linked with Colshaw Hall is amazing. Barretts caterers provided us with a complimentary food tasting session a few months before the wedding but we already knew what we wanted. We provided everyone with menu choices in their invite.
Food served included a large variety of canapés on arrival. For the starter, there was a choice of tian of Scottish salmon with dill crème fraiche or pressed ham hock with pea puree. The main was either medallions of beef fillet or lemon and rosemary roasted poisson. And finally, for dessert we served a trio of chocolate pot, lemon tart and fruit and brandy snap basket or caramelised apple tarte tartin. The alcohol served included Laurent Perrier Champagne, which was flowing freely throughout the entire day. In the February before we got married, we went to visit my sister in Dubai and drank this in the Burj Khalif – we fell in love with it immediately! We also served Split Rock Sauvignon Blanc (produced in the region where we got engaged in New Zealand) and Chateau Neuf du Pape. There wasn’t a drop of alcohol left in the place!
For our entertainment, we went with a band Toby discovered on a New Year night out in Alderley Edge. They were called Acoustic Flair, and were a two-piece guitar and piano band who played everything we wanted and really played to the crowd. We also had a DJ to follow on from them and the dancefloor was full all night. We never sat down – just as we‘d planned!
I had seen a friend’s wedding video and it took my breath away, and so we decided to have a videographer. It was the best decision we could have made. We contacted Nicholas Visuals and booked them straight away – the guys were amazing. We barely saw them throughout the day but the video they’ve produced is fantastic and something we’ll treasure forever. Aaron, one of the brothers, was with me and my family on the morning of the wedding. He was so lovely and easy to get along with. His brother met with Toby at the local pub before the wedding and captured the events I wasn’t able to see as I was getting ready.
One of the things we had discussed was transport. We knew we didn’t want people to worry about taxis and not being able to enjoy their night so we provided transport from accommodation to church, from church to reception and then back home at the end of the night. We used Bullocks Coaches based in Cheshire and their service was impeccable. They did everything we asked of them, communications were excellent and the coaches themselves were brand new. We would definitely recommend them.
Not being a girly girl, I knew my wedding day needed to be special and so I found a makeup artist who came to the hotel and all the girls had their makeup done. Emma Williams, based in Northwich, Cheshire, was amazing. Both my mum and I had trials done before the big day. She was such a calming influence on the morning, everyone’s makeup was stunning and she made me feel amazing.
My older sister is a hairdresser and I knew that no one else would be doing my hair! Helen perfected everyone’s look that morning and then had to get herself ready, but she has a way of performing magic and she did exactly that.
Our wedding rings were from a company in Birmingham called Diamond Heaven. They’d made my engagement ring and my wedding band was made to match. It meant we had to travel some distance to use them, but their service was fab.
Would we recommend our venue? Absolutely. It was amazing, and just ‘us’. In fact, it was perfect in every way, from the entrance, the gardens, and the suite we used during the day. The girls working there were so friendly and helpful and were so fast at responding to all our questions.
I have so many favourite parts of the day, but walking into church and seeing Toby standing waiting for me and his smile made all my nerves disappear. Saying our vows and holding his hand knowing we would be man and wife gave me butterflies. At the reception and greeting all our guests, we were lucky to be able to be outside as it was a gorgeous day. Seeing all of our friends and family looking so happy was amazing. As the sun started to set, Toni took us away to have some photos taken, and that little moment together to focus on just the two of us was really special. How can the best day of your life just have one favourite part?!
We went to the Maldives for our honeymoon. It was beautiful and so peaceful. We’d had a couple of stressful months leading up to the wedding, so it was so nice to be away from all the hustle and bustle of home and just be together. Our work lives quite often mean we’re like passing ships, so being together felt super special. We had a little house on the water, and it was our own little taste of paradise. I turned 30 while we were there too, making my birthday even more special.
We didn’t want our wedding day to be over so quickly, so planning it over a bank holiday weekend really meant we could have a three-day wedding, and we did just that. Friday evening brought together friends who had travelled far and wide. We‘d booked a table at Gusto in Alderley Edge – a restaurant which is special to us – and even though it wasn’t a late night, it kicked off the celebrations with our closest friends.
Saturday was, of course, the wedding day! If we were to do it all again, there’s nothing that we would change (apart from maybe serve a few more bottles of champagne!) Plan your day together, based on what the two of you want. We listened to others’ ideas, but Toby and I knew what we wanted and did just that!
On Sunday we were fortunate to be able to hold a second party at Toby’s parents’ house to continue the celebrations. Luckily for us, the weather was perfect and the day brought everyone together to continue celebrating and talk about what a fab time they’d had.
My advice would be if you can extend your celebrations, do it! I’d also saw that our wedding day was the best day of our lives and, despite getting a little stressed and worried about the finer details, the day itself went perfectly. Don’t worry about the little things! And finally, remember the day is about the two of you, so make sure you spend time together.