Our fabulous Friday real wedding between Lauren and Nick begins with a rather novel proposal – a one carrot gold proposal, if you will (yes, we did say carrot!). It sets the tone for a cool and quirky wedding at the stylish Holmes Mill, Lancashire, where industrial meets luxury.
We love Lauren’s original 1950s below-the-knee dress in blush pink with its flirty skirt, lace detail and wide sash nipping in at the waist. It suits Lauren down to the ground as she conveys an air of vintage charm and her wonderful lively personality, shines through in all the images. She completes her individual attire with a pair of sparkly, striped shoes topped with pink and blue ruffles. And groom Nick too has a strong sense of style – we more than approve of his slim tan tie and the two-tone brogues.
This carefree couple look comfortable throughout resulting to a relaxed and fun day filled with entertaining interludes; from calling up some of the guests to take on carving duties (complete with chef’s hats) to competitive ice-cream-eating and one seriously happening ceilidh. So, join us as we two-step this way to hear more about their truly awesome celebrations.
With images by Sarah Glynn Photography.
lauren says: We got engaged on Christmas morning 2015. We grow a lot of our own food in our garden, and whilst preparing dinner we went outside to pick some carrots. Nick kept suggesting a specific one, but I didn’t think it looked any good. He eventually convinced me to pick it and there was a piece of string attached to the carrot. At the end of the string was a bag; in the bag was an engagement ring! It was his maternal grandmother’s ring and it still had the original receipt from 1910!
We got married on Saturday 9th June 2018 at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. We were driving our daughter to a music gig in a library in Lancaster and talking about weddings; Nick mentioned he’d seen “somewhere pretty cool” on a website, so I checked it out and called three days later. The venue and everyone involved there were totally unbelievable! Everyone at Holmes Mill went above and beyond to ensure we had the most perfect day. They accommodated everything and took any stress away from us – even when I asked that someone bring Nick eight ice creams throughout the day. (We once attended a wedding where the groom managed to eat six ice creams. Nick later described him as an “absolute hero” and so I wanted Nick to be a hero at his own wedding!) Communication and organisation was second to none and we were thrilled with everything about the day.
We didn’t have a specific theme – just that we wanted the wedding to be very ‘us’. That meant having lots of wine, good music, lots of friends and the odd cycling reference here and there. I guess the wedding colour scheme was dictated by my dress really. With the dress being pale pink, it felt right that flowers, etc. should be muted and very ‘earthy’.
When it came to my dress, Nick actually bought it for me. I’m a real lover of everything vintage and second hand and it’s a genuine 50s dress. I had seen the dress on Susan Hayward’s Facebook page and loved it. On Christmas day it arrived wrapped up. I mentioned on the day that I had seen the dress and imagined it as my wedding dress, he agreed and it sat in the wardrobe until this year. Thank goodness it still fitted! Nick has always been great at choosing clothes for me; I‘m very lucky.
My hair was done by Rachel Wigle at Watermelon Studio in Liverpool. She’s an amazing hairdresser and a fantastic friend; she was invited to the wedding and insisted I wasn’t to do my own hair for my own wedding! It was perfect.
My makeup was done by my wonderful sister Emma Parker. She’d just completed her Level 2 in beauty and so I was really keen for her to do my makeup. We had a few trials and she knew exactly what I wanted. Again, it was perfect.
Nick wanted a suit that was made in the UK and went to Antich Tailors in Huddersfield. The three-piece suit was a green herringbone tweed. Antich are fantastic, weaving cloth and manufacturing bespoke suits, and measuring and fitting, all from their Huddersfield factory. Nick was able to make all of the choices he wanted to regarding fabric and style and was really pleased with it all. His shoes garnered a lot of attention throughout the day and were from the London-based Shoe Embassy.
Whilst there was no official ‘uniform’ for the men at the wedding, the groomsmen all wore ties and pocket squares made in Sheffield by Etsy-based The Tie Garden. Daniel, who is seven, wore a waistcoat made by another Etsy company called Little Lords and Ladies.
My bridesmaid wore a dress made for her by Dig For Victory in Brighton. With me not having a real ‘theme’, I wanted Rachael to pick a colour she thought she’d wear again. Dig For Victory makes to order and so my bridesmaid was able to select sleeve length, neckline, waist, skirt length/style, etc. It was perfect for her.
The flower girls’ dresses became the only real ‘stress’ about the whole day. I had ordered five dresses from Etsy to arrive in May, but they didn’t. The day after my hen do I had a message from the company to say that I hadn’t completed the order online. Panicking, I called my friend Rosie (who would find the scenario hilarious, but also be really calm and helpful!). Hungover, we trawled around Liverpool finding something that would fit all of the girls and Marks & Spencer came through for us. Within ten minutes in the shop we’d found dresses and shoes that would fit them all. Win!
For transport, I drove myself, Rachael my bridesmaid and my sister Emma to the venue after staying at home with Nick and Polly-Joan (our daughter). We had met with some guests the night before and I didn’t see the point of not seeing Nick in the morning. It was a normal morning for the three of us and it set the relaxed feeling of the day for us all.
Our photographer was Sarah Glynn and I couldn’t recommend her more. Sarah is married to one of my oldest friends and we’d done a shoot with our daughter about a year earlier. Sarah was just incredible; her work is amazing, and we were very fortunate that she was available on the day. Sarah’s vision and ability to make everyone feel at ease was fantastic. She really captured the feel of the day and captured us. The photos are wonderful and beyond anything we’d ever imagined ourselves. So many people have commented on how hard she worked on the day (despite being invited as a guest too – what a woman!).
I carried flowers provided by The Flower Shop, Clitheroe. We had a consultation with Charlotte, who really understood what we wanted and our ‘no fuss’ requests. She made excellent recommendations as to what we should do to include the flower girls and the flowers were better than I’d imagined. We also had a floral display for the top table and flowers on our table plan. Other than that, the venue was all the decoration we needed.
Our favours were little pots of jam and honey. Nick and I made the jam from strawberries grown in our front garden. The jam was made in haste one late night (until 2am) after discovering a freezer malfunction had resulted in us having kilos of once frozen strawberries. The honey came from the hives (Daisy Bees) my mum, Lesley, manages with her friend Janette. Nick’s dad, Alex, a retired typesetter made us the bespoke labels ‘Matrimonial Jam’ and ‘Honeymoon’.
We had a cake made of cheese, which was made by Cheesie Jan at Bowland Food Hall. That again was perfect – we even had sugar mice climbing up the side of it. We also had two fruit cakes to serve with the cheese in the evening. Nick’s mum, Kath, made us a two-tier fruit cake with the recipe that the entire family loves to devour at Christmas. The second was a real boozy fruit cake made by my friend Rachel – again, another Christmas favourite.
When it came to the food, Holmes Mill catered, and the food was excellent. One of our choices for the main meal was roast sirloin of beef – as an added feature to the day, we selected eight unsuspecting guests who were taken to the kitchen for some rudimentary training and then emerged in chef’s hats and aprons with a roast sirloin each before proceeding to carve it at the table for the other guests. Thankfully, all of our unwitting volunteers left with the correct number of fingers!
Holmes Mill has so much going on but it is primarily the home of Bowland Brewery, so this meant that we decided there must be a (small) barrel of ale on each table. The white wine served with dinner was Sauvignon Blanc and the red was Malbec, which is a favourite of both of ours.
For music, we had a violinist Peter Morgan, for the afternoon ceremony. This is because there is a specific piece of music from Star Wars (Rey’s Theme) that I wanted to walk down the aisle to. Both Nick and I love the music when played on a violin and he was recommended to me by a friend. Nick and I were also keen to have a ceilidh. We’d been to a few weddings that had a ceilidh and had always thoroughly enjoyed them. When I was initially speaking to Peter he mentioned playing in a ceilidh band called Celtic Knot, and so that made the organising very straight forward!
There were some other special touches to our day. Our daughter, Polly-Joan, walked me down the aisle. Nick and I had always discussed having children before getting married so that they could be part of the day and I was so thrilled that PJ was there. To be honest, though, she walked about two steps and then I carried her down the aisle instead. Our table names were based on places Nick and I had stopped on a four-day cycle from our front door in St Helen’s to his parents’ house in Essex. The table plan was presented on a bicycle wheel that actually did the journey with us.
When it comes to favourite moments, I’m not sure I could pick just one, there were many highlights: my daughter walking me down the aisle; seeing all our friends and family chatting and eating; dancing our first dance with our daughter.
For a honeymoon, as we’re both teachers, taking time off during the term isn’t possible. However, we did manage to make a child-free trip to London the weekend after the wedding, where we had an incredible lunch at Marcus Wareing’s flagship restaurant in Knightsbridge, and then spent the evening at a Secret Cinema screening of Blade Runner. It was an incredibly immersive and uniquely fun cinema experience!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is – make sure the day is what you want. Don’t worry about family and friend politics – have people there who want to celebrate with you for the right reasons and that’ll be sure to make it amazing! Also, make an effort to stop for a moment during the day to soak in the feeling; it goes by so quickly and it’s easy to forget to ‘feel’ the day.