Today’s real wedding between Helen and Ed has been on the cards for more years than most – they first met at primary school aged five and have the photo evidence to prove it! With so many years of history behind the couple, Helen was keen to bring plenty of memories with her to the wedding, incorporating lots of photographs of the couple from throughout the years. Furthermore, she created place names out of photographs of each guest with either her or Ed, and also made decorations for the aisle out of song lyrics that are important to them as a couple. A little bit of extra thought when planning these details certainly adds to the personal feel of the day.
Breaking the bridal mould Helen ditched a traditional ivory gown in place of a striking magenta gown and centred the wedding décor around her love for the bold hue. Beautiful beaded detailing gives Helen’s gown a wonderful vintage feel that, paired with her gorgeous curled locks, results in a look reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour. A vibrant lip anchors her style and echoes the brights in her dazzling bouquet. Seamless colour scheming skills Helen, we salute you!
With images by A Little Picture.
helen says: Ed’s proposal came as a complete surprise. We both went to Rome on a whim and every day we would walk past the Trevi Fountain and admire its beauty. On the penultimate day of the holiday, after a lovely meal near the fountain, Ed insisted we see it one last time. It was about 10pm, so it was relatively quiet compared to normal. I was doing my usual selfie-taking, trying to get the right angle, when Ed turned to me and got down on one knee. I was so shocked but elated. I knew he was the man I wanted to marry since our first date in 2012. Beaming with excitement and glee, I said “yes!”
We got married on 21st April 2018 at Saltmarshe Hall near Howden in East Yorkshire. We chose the date primarily because the venue was booked up for the entire summer but also because I love blossom and I wanted to get some photos of the blossom during that time of year.
Most venues we looked at would either have multiple weddings on at the same time or the general public walking by during the ceremony. Saltmarshe Hall, however, ensured exclusivity for the entire day and there was just us and our family and friends in the grounds, which we loved. We also liked that there were separate rooms we could use; for example, in the evening, there was the room that had the disco in but also two additional rooms for seating. It meant those who didn’t want to dance and wanted a bit of quiet time could use these rooms to talk and not feel like they were losing their voice to shout over the music. Overall, the venue is beautiful inside and out; we couldn’t fault it and would definitely recommend it. It was perfect for what we wanted – somewhere exclusive with lots of different rooms and places to go outside for the guests and for photographs.
In terms of a theme, we went for a floral style, which we felt would suit the venue. The colours we chose were magenta, dusky pink and navy, with silver accents. As my wedding dress was magenta, I wanted to tie in the décor with it. Everything was made to match these colours – even the wedding cake.
For my dress, I went for a colour as I just didn’t feel like myself when trying on white dresses. I always wear bright colours and I feel I suit colours better, so I went against the tide and bought a beautiful chiffon dress in magenta. I got it from Elenor Rose in Huddersfield. They were so helpful and supportive with my idea to get a coloured dress, which was amazing. In other bridal shops, I felt I was pigeon-holed into getting the standard white dress but Elenor Rose were so kind and understanding. The dress I chose was actually a bridesmaid dress of which I could choose any shade I wanted from an amazing swatch book. I was in colour heaven. I loved the beading detail on it as well. It was so pretty and delicate. On the day, with my long Hollywood curls, I felt like a vintage movie star.
Ed opted for hired suits for himself and the groomsmen. They were from a suit rental shop in Sheffield called Ashley Rogers. He chose a gorgeous mid-blue suit, which had a tonal effect and a shine to the fabric. It was such a flattering colour and looked amazing on all the groomsmen. Ashley Rogers were very helpful as well. All the suits fitted like a glove.
For my bridesmaids, I had two adults and two young girls. The adult bridesmaids, Emma and Helen, chose Little Mistress dresses bought from Debenhams – one in a mink colour and the other in a dusky pink. My younger bridesmaids, Daisy and Alice, chose Monsoon dresses in their favourite colours – lilac and pink. The dresses complemented each other very well, which I was pleased about, and they looked gorgeous in them.
I chose the ties for the groomsmen, as I wanted to make sure the colours matched the dresses. I was delighted to find a tie for Ed that matched exactly to the colour of my dress and the rest of the adult groomsmen had dusky pink ties that matched Emma’s dress. In addition, the page boy had a bow tie matching Helen’s bridesmaid dress. They were all bought from various shops on the high street.
Our makeup and hair was done by a local makeup artist to the venue – Louise Shepherd. We had never met her before but, after five minutes speaking to her, we felt like we had known her all our lives. We had such a fantastic girly morning with her getting ready before the ceremony; it was so much fun, and she made us all look amazing. She made us feel very comfortable and was very accommodating when I told her quite specifically what I wanted.
Our photographer was Alice Little of A Little Picture. She was amazing. She was recommended to me through an old work friend. We both wanted relaxed photos capturing people laughing and enjoying themselves and, after looking at her portfolio, Alice seemed to do this very well. Most photographers we saw had a very traditional approach to photos. Their shots looked very forced and posed, which was exactly what we didn’t want. Eight months before the ceremony we had a test shoot with Alice and instantly felt relaxed. We loved the colours of her photos too. The way she had edited them gave them an almost vintage look, which went really well with the theme of the wedding. On the day, she captured every shot we asked for and more. She had a knack of keeping under the radar, so when people weren’t looking she got beautiful natural shots of them laughing and smiling. When we received the photos, there were so many to choose from that we couldn’t decide on our favourites.
We got our flowers from All Occasions in Howden, a local supplier to the venue who had been there many times before. They were also amazing. I gave them specific colours I needed to match the dresses and suits and they found the most beautiful flowers to match the colour scheme. It is always hard to envisage what the flowers will look like, as you are never too sure what flowers might be in season at that particular time. However, when we received them, they were all absolutely stunning and better than we could have ever imagined. My four bridesmaids and I all had bouquets varying in size. We also had four corsages for the close female family members and eight buttonholes for Ed, the groomsmen and the close male family members.
A special detail we loved was our wedding arch, which was provided by Shindig Event Styling. It was a copper frame with white fabric draped into a curtain style and decorated with gorgeous wild-looking flowers that matched our colour scheme. We had it at the end of the aisle to get married and sign the register beneath. It was also used as a backdrop for photos later on in the day, as we put a selfie station next to it, including personalised props and signs.
The other decorations were done by me, as I enjoy creating displays and decorations in my spare time, but I also wanted to make sure it was personal to us. My favourite pieces were the aisle decorations I made including lyrics in the songs we had at the ceremony and the name cards, which were photos of either me and the guest or Ed and the guest. I also loved doing the seating plan and the table signs. They were themed around places that Ed and I have been on holiday. I am big on photos, so I included as many personal photos as I could, such as school photos of me and Ed. We both met at school when we were five and were always in the same classes, so there were lots of embarrassing photos to choose from.
For favours, we had chocolates and sweets in little favour bags. I also made personalised packs for the children at the wedding. They included colouring pages, word searches and games, all themed around our wedding.
When it came to the cake, we were lucky to be offered a cake as a wedding present by a family member. We opted for cupcakes varying in size on a tiered display. There was a large cupcake at the top, which we cut through for the photos, large cupcakes in the middle and tiny bite-sized cakes at the bottom. They were so popular that we didn’t even get chance to have a piece ourselves!
The food and drinks were provided by the venue. We had a three-course meal for the wedding breakfast and hot sandwiches in the evening. We had so many compliments on the food. I know we are biased but, personally, it was the best food we have ever had at a wedding. Usually at a wedding, it feels like the food is lacking in flavour and style as it is mass produced but, at Saltmarshe, it was all so delicious and you could tell each dish had a lot of care put into it.
For the evening reception, we used Hi-Life Entertainment Ltd, who were very helpful. They work with lots of DJs around the country and choose the DJ to suit your musical needs. We wanted specific songs and a pop/funk theme, so they sent us a list of DJs who specialise in this genre. We had DJ Jackson Lee, who was fantastic. The dancefloor was never empty.
When it comes to our favourite moment, it is difficult to choose because it was all perfect – but, if we had to, it would probably be the speeches. They were all the right amount of funny and emotional. Each one brought a tear to our eye and made us laugh all the same. There are also some great photos of our reactions to the jokes, taken by our photographer Alice, and luckily our friend recorded them all on her phone, so we can look back on them whenever we want.
For our honeymoon, we chose America as we have always wanted to go, and we love walking around on holiday and visiting cities. We went to three different states, starting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We stayed on a gorgeous marina with a ten-minute walk to the beach and the main strip, which had amazing restaurants. It was great because there were more locals than tourists, so everyone was really friendly and was interested in where we were going and what we were doing. We hired a car and went to Miami Beach for a day, which was incredible. Driving down the famous Ocean Drive with endless rows of palm trees was truly memorable.
From Fort Lauderdale, we went to San Francisco, which was a vivacious city with lots of culture. We made an effort to hike up and down each steep, hilled street, in order to not miss a detail. Our favourite thing about San Francisco was going to Alcatraz Island. It was so interesting and more fascinating than we could ever imagine. Finally, we stopped off at Las Vegas. We were overwhelmed by the vibrancy and energy. There was so much to do, and the bright lights were incredible. By going to three very different places, it felt like we had been away for longer than we had, and we got different experiences from each one. Fort Lauderdale was great for relaxing and soaking up the sun, San Francisco was interesting and filled with culture, and in Las Vegas we could just let loose and enjoy the liveliness of the city.
With regards to advice for other couples, a lot of people said to me, “Why are you not stressed? I was so stressed with my wedding!” Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all smooth sailing – there were several last-minute adjustments that needed doing – but I didn’t want to let it bother me because I was only going to do this once and I wanted to enjoy it. I was so glad I had this approach, as it meant I felt so relaxed on the day. No matter what went wrong, all that mattered was that I was marrying my best friend. Sometimes it’s hard to look at the big picture but my advice to other Brides Up North would be, no matter how pressured you may feel, try not to let it get to you as you want to be able to look back on fond memories of feeling relaxed and excited, not stressed and worried about things going wrong.