This afternoon we’re heading to north Wales border to relive the beautiful big day of Edward and Rowena.
Keen on a wedding that was personal and relaxed, the bride and groom injected elements of their love story into the décor, theming and wedding menu, topping it all off with a gorgeous navy and blush pink colour scheme.
Highlights for us include Rowena’s stunning Pronovias gown, the pretty blooms and naked cake, plus some very special guests – the couple’s two pet whippets, Betsi and Milly.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor ER Photography.
rowena says: We got engaged whilst on our annual ‘hound holiday’ (holiday with the dogs). We went to Cornwall, and on West Portholland beach on 23rd June 2016 (the day after my 30th birthday) Ed popped the question. The beach was empty, it was just us two and our two dogs. It took me completely by surprise!
We quickly set the date for October 9th 2016. We had booked a holiday to Mauritius back in the January, flying on 10th October. Within about 15 minutes of the proposal we discussed how soon we’d like to get married – and decided as we had been together 11-and-a-half-years there was no need to hang around So, we decided to make Mauritius the honeymoon and it just so happened we found a venue we loved with availability the day before.
We got married at Soughton Hall, near Mold in Flintshire. It’s within a couple of miles of our house. I had pretty much decided it was ‘the one’ before getting out the car! The house is beautiful, and many of the rooms have recently been renovated. We knew the long drive bordered by trees would look beautiful in October as the leaves were changing. It’s a boutique venue, and we felt it perfect for a private and relaxed day. The team are really friendly and nothing is too much trouble.
We didn’t have a theme for the wedding as such, but we wanted things relaxed and personal to us.
Due to the time of year I didn’t feel that pale shades would work for the colour scheme – so we chose navy as a base, as it is flattering on our fair skin! With this we added soft blush pink and also some other shades of blue in the flowers.
I found my wedding dress within less than a week of the engagement. I was meeting a friend for lunch and we decided to go and try a few dresses on. We only went to one shop, Brides of Chester, and they couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful. I didn’t have much idea on shape but knew I wanted something lace and ideally not strapless. The dress was the fifth and final dress I tried on – Pleasant by Pronovias. I chose it because I loved the lace, the neckline, and the gorgeous long train – after all, when else do you get to have a train?
Ed wore a navy lounge suit with pale pink scrunch tie from Groom in Chester, complemented by Hugo Boss tan leather belt and tan monk shoes from Dune. The best man and usher wore navy lounge suits and pale pink ties, also from Groom.
Our photographers were Jo and Jon from ER Photography. They were amazing! From our very first conversation with them we really clicked and knew we would be able to relax with them. On the day of the wedding they were fab, guests commented on how lovely they both were and how relaxed they felt being photographed – and we felt the same. We couldn’t have asked any more of them – and the results of their efforts are way beyond our expectations! They are both so creative and talented.
For my wedding flowers, I carried an informal bouquet of pale pink roses, baby blue hydrangeas, eucalyptus and mint amongst others – the aim was for it to be ‘English country garden’ looking. They were provided by the fab team at Wild Floral Design in Chester.
The venue was decorated with flowers matching the bridal bouquet – tables were decorated with candelabras with floral halos on top. These were also provided by Wild.
Our table names were printed in blush and rose gold foil and placed in white lace frames to tie in with my bridal gown. We named our tables after our favourite beaches, as we love walking on beaches with our two dogs. Our table was called Portholland – after the beach on which Ed proposed.
A local wood carver called Ian Williams, also created at beautiful card box for us, which he made by carving a piece of tree trunk that had fallen locally last winter.
We decided that instead of giving favours to guests we would make a donation to Cancer Research UK, as both sides of our families have been affected by cancer recently.
We decided to go for a ‘semi naked’ wedding cake, as again we didn’t want things too formal, and I’m not a fan of royal icing. Our cake was made by the wonderful Emz Cakes in Wrexham. It was very hard to choose our flavours from the huge selection she has, but we settled on white chocolate and raspberry for the bottom tier, lemon drizzle for the middle and Bakewell for the top! Everyone commented on how delicious it was! The cake was decorated with coordinating flowers and a personalised wooden topper from Etsy.
When it came to the wedding meal, we chose a sharing deli board to start, to keep everything nice and relaxed. It featured breads, meats, cheese and antipasti. Our main featured saffron potatoes (appropriate as I’m from a town called Saffron Walden in Essex), chicken cooked with Sorrento lemons (one of our favourite holiday destinations) and Salsa Verde. Dessert was sticky toffee pudding – the best we’ve ever tasted!
We decided to keep things simple with the entertainment and just have a DJ. We asked everyone to submit a song that would get them on the dancefloor with their RSVP, and so the DJ had a huge playlist of requests before the night even started!
Lots of entertainment was also provided by our photo guestbook! We had an instant camera and lots of props, so guests took a photo, stuck it in our guest book and left us messages. It was lovely to come back off honeymoon and read all their comments alongside their silly selfies!
After our wedding, we would, without doubt, recommend our venue to other brides and grooms. Kayleigh and Dan and the team at Soughton go above and beyond – nothing is too much trouble. We were even making changes the table plan with less than 48 hours to go and they didn’t bat an eyelid. The venue is also completely beautiful, and so private – perfect for what we wanted.
Other suppliers that contributed to our day include makeup artist Claire Quick. She was amazing, and had me, my bridesmaid and mother feeling fabulous in no time. Also, hair stylist Nicola Hughes. She’s my regular stylist, and spent so much time and energy ensuring my vision for a slightly informal style (with tiara) could happen.
On reflection, we both agree that our favourite part of the wedding was the evening reception – it was lovely to have everyone there, get dancing and have a good old fashioned knees up! I barely left the dancefloor all night!
Another special part of the day was when our two whippets, Betsi and Milly, came to the wedding between the ceremony and wedding breakfast for some pictures! We knew it wouldn’t feel right not to have them there. They wore brushed silk martingale collars from Silver Peacock, and floral corsages to match the bridal bouquet from Wild Floral Design in Chester. Our lovely dog walker Nicki, from Messy Paws, brought them for us and then took them to a home boarder locally for their holidays!
We went on honeymoon to Paradise Cove boutique hotel in Mauritius. As a surprise Ed had upgraded the flights to business class, which was a lovely treat! The hotel couldn’t be faulted! We spent eight days having lots of R&R in the sun – with a couple of boat trips thrown in too. We particularly enjoyed snorkelling, the water is so clear and there is so much to see! We loved our holiday and would definitely go back for an anniversary to see more of the island.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure you find the time in the day to spend a few moments together – it would be very easy to barely talk to each other after your vows! We had a ‘sweetheart table’ instead of a traditional top table, which meant we got to spend some time just the two of us during the wedding breakfast, and could watch and take in all our family and friends enjoying themselves!