If you follow us over on our busy Instagram feed, you’ll know that we’ve been in Southern Iceland as guests of the superb Hotel Ranga for the past few days, chasing the sun and spotting the Northern Lights. Full blog service resumes this evening and we’re bringing you a real wedding that’s as pretty as it is personal (and more on our trip later!).
Opting for a traditional church ceremony and a reception at the stunning Delamere Manor in Cheshire, Steph and Darren chose to keep the focus firmly on them as a couple, deciding against a set wedding theme and instead including meaningful personal touches along the way. One of our favourite being the CD favours – who doesn’t love a good compilation?
We’re also totally in love with Steph’s b-e-a-utiful big day look, the picture of elegance in her lace detailed dress, pink Jimmy Choos and gorgeous natural bridal makeup. We also have to give kudos to Darren, who looks super dapper in his navy suit, demonstrating that’s it’s not just the bride who can bring style to a wedding. Darren is doing it for the grooms!
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.
steph says: We got engaged in Seville. It was part of a trip to Spain for my 30th birthday. The day started extremely gloomy and wet so we decided to head for a long lunch. We had bellies full of paella and enjoyed our favourite white wine; Marques de Riscal. We went back to the hotel to check into our room to discover our cases had been misplaced. Little did I know the ring was inside the case! After a couple of frantic conversations Darren had with reception our luggage came up to the room and Darren hid the ring box in his back pocket. During a walk of the city, we approached “The Fountain of Love” and began posing for pictures, then Darren got down on one knee – I was speechless!
Our wedding was on Saturday 2nd September 2017. We didn’t have a specific date in mind but the more we thought about it, September was a month we both loved.
We got married at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wilmslow, followed by a reception at Delamere Manor, Cuddington. The church is in my hometown and so this was non-negotiable. For the reception, we wanted a venue none of our friends had got married at and somewhere that screamed Darren and Steph. When we viewed Delamere Manor we fell in love and knew it was the place for us.
We didn’t have a set theme for the wedding, we just wanted a day that would reflect us.
Our colour scheme was silver, and pastel colours such as pink, lavender and baby blue.
I wore a Justin Alexander dress from Puure Bridal in Lymm. I also had a cathedral-length veil (my mum’s request). Puure was the last shop we went to and the place I got my dress. Angie there was so helpful from start to finish. She put me in something I wouldn’t dream of picking, but after a couple of tweaks it really was the perfect dress for the day. My shoes were Lucy from Jimmy Choo, and something I have worn again since.
Georgina Wild did the bridal party’s hair and Maxine Smith did makeup. Georgina is a good friend, and unbelievable hairdresser. She kept me cool, calm and collected during the morning and was versatile with both short and long hair for me, my sister and mum. Maxine was also a fantastic addition to the morning of the wedding – and a great, natural make-up artist.
My maid of honour wore a dress from ASOS and Jimmy Choo shoes.
Our flower girl’s dress came from a boutique in Spain and her shoes were from Monsoon. She did however swap to her rose gold Converse! Our page boy’s also wore Converse and their outfits were from H&M.
The night before the wedding I stayed at the Manor with my family and then travelled to the church with my dad in a Royal Windsor car from Horgan’s Wedding Cars. We wanted something traditional but something that was capable of going on the motorway. After the ceremony, Darren and I travelled back to the reception venue in the Royal Windsor. Our driver, Beau, was a real gem and provided a fantastic service.
Kate McCarthy Photography captured our day, and what a delight she was! From start to finish Kate made the process simple and enjoyable. She managed our timings, made sure we got the shots we wanted and worked with our day and guests. You didn’t even know she was there. Because we got ready in different locations, Kate arranged a second shooter and they both worked seamlessly together.
Hayley’s Flower Studio provided our flowers. We had a mixture of real and artificial arrangements, which created a variation in height across the courtyard. I love hydrangeas, so they featured in my bouquet and our table arrangements. We also had blush pink roses.
My favourite element of the décor was our top table centrepiece arrangement. I wanted something that didn’t obstruct our view and a feature that would create the wow-factor when you walked into the courtyard. Hayley suspended a large ring of foliage with small glass baubles from the centre of the courtyard. It was amazing! She delivered above and beyond!
Our wedding stationery was by Alex Brown, an old friend of Darren’s. Alex had the patience of a saint for dealing with my high attention to detail, and created our logo and all wedding stationery, from invitations and orders of service to table names.
Alex Jones was our illustrator and made my vision a reality with the table plan and order of the day. I wanted to use mirrors that we could re-use. Alex created the layout and design, and handwrote the text and logo onto the mirrors.
For our favours, we asked our guests to submit a song that meant something to them on their RSVP card. I then pulled together two playlists and we had “Now That’s What I Call a Wedding” CDs. Each couple left with a copy of CD1 and CD2. It was a lovely keepsake for our guests. We were grateful to Alex Brown for the design and Zen Office for printing.
Our cake was designed and made by Marise of Bloomsbury Wedding Cakes in Goose Green, Altrincham. Marise was a pleasure and created exactly what we wanted – a classic ivory wedding cake, with iced ruffles. The cake was also delicious – we had three tiers including fruit, chocolate orange and Victoria sponge.
Cheeky Chilli provided our catering for the wedding and were outstanding. The menu they created was fantastic and probably the best food we have ever had at a wedding (our guests also agreed!) They were a joy to work with. We decided to pick what we wanted to eat – scallops, fillet steak and a trio of our favourite desserts. Cheeky Chilli were also brilliant with our dietary requirements and Jo and team made sure everything ran like clockwork on the day.
In terms of entertainment, I was adamant that I wanted a band in the evening, and after a bit of hunting I found the Bloomsbury Music Party Band. Rory of Bloomsbury Music was recommended by a relative and the party band were just what I was looking for. They got our guests up on the dancefloor and kept them there – they also performed our first dance just how we imagined.
As for the DJ – he nailed it. We met with Kim from Six 15 and after telling her what music we liked, she recommended Chris Frater. Heading into “the nightclub” our guests didn’t know what to expect. Chris Frater, of Six 15 Events set the tone, pulled out the bangers and maintained his crowd until kicking out time. A fantastic end to a truly magical day.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend Delamere Manor to other couples – the venue is outstanding. The grounds are phenomenal, and created a fantastic backdrop for our day. The courtyard was magical and the nightclub was an added treat for our guests. We had such fantastic weather that we were able to enjoy our drinks and canapes on the terrace and also utilise this space during our transition from wedding breakfast to evening reception. Joy at the venue was a delight during the build-up, and Michelle and team pulled everything together on the day alongside my brother-in-law; Steve, AKA ‘The Wedding Co-ordinator’.
Watching our friends and family enjoying our day was a delight to see. From start to finish our wedding was everything we dreamed of, and more! The blue skies and sunshine were the icing on the cake!
For our honeymoon, we went to San Francisco, Hawaii and Napa Valley. It was a trip of a lifetime. From a young age I had wanted to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon. It certainly didn’t disappoint. We enjoyed three nights in San Francisco visiting the sites – one day we rode bikes around the whole of the city, at one point we were potentially heading for divorce – the hills!! However, getting to the top and riding down Lombard Street was unbelievable. The next leg of our trip involved flying to Honolulu and cruising around the Hawaiian islands. We visited Maui, Hilo, Kona, Kauai and returned to Oahu. We enjoyed three nights in the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach before flying back to San Francisco and driving to Napa Valley. The vineyards were sensational and a fantastic way of rounding off our honeymoon.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is – enjoy every minute of the planning, build-up and the day. It really is the best day of your life and worth all the stress, heated conversations and hard work that goes into it. We have missed our wed-min weekends, but are loving married life. Also, for any bride – get a couple of copies of your marriage certificate as it makes it so much easier when you need to change your surname.