With the weekend literally within sniffing distance I’m counting down the hours until I can switch my cuppa for a G&T, but I’m already on a Friday high as the stylish wedding we’re sharing with you today is a super special one for me – as it’s that of one of my very best friends’, Gemma.
Having grown up with this incredibly beautiful and caring girl (she’s a very clever nurse, don’t you know), I was somewhat gutted when her boyfriend – now husband – Kieran, made the move down south for his job (another clever one, being an architect), which meant stealing my Gem away to the big smoke of London too. However, as he’s made her exceptionally happy and played a big part in helping to organise the wedding day, relieving the bride of some pressure, I just about forgive him.
And so, as they approach their first wedding anniversary (seriously, where did the last year go?!) it’s a pleasure for me to feature their fabulous wedding day on our pretty pages.
I was incredibly touched to be asked to take on a special role as part of their big day by doing a reading at the church and will be making sure Gem is integral to my impending wedding too, as she’s set to be one of my lovely bridesmaids.
Both personal and stylish, I loved every element of their celebrations – from the heartfelt church service, to the cool choice of venue, ever-flowing fizz, endless canapes, wonderfully warm family hosts and an amazing evening party.
So, I welcome my lovely Gem to tell you more…
With images by Christopher Terry Weddings.
gemma says: We got engaged 19th June 2016, in Lulworth Cove, Dorset. We had gone away with my parents for a few days in desperate need of an escape from London, some sunshine and fresh air. Needless to say it rained and was cold the whole time!
On the third day of the break, the rain clearly wasn’t going anywhere, so my parents left us to go for a walk along Lulworth Cove. I suddenly thought how enthused Kieran looked for the outdoors in the wind and rain, given he isn’t particularly an outdoor lover! This spurred me on for a very windy walk along the beach there. As we got to the end of the coast, Kieran broke off from me slightly and he suggested we might ‘look for some fossils’. When I turned around he was down on one knee with a ring. I couldn’t speak, except to laugh and laugh for what felt like an eternity to Kieran I’m sure. Finally, a bunch of locals walked past and shouted: “Has she said yes yet?” Which brought me back to reality and I finally managed to say yes.
We got married on 16th September 2017. Our ceremony took place at St John the Evangelist Church in Carlton in Lindrick, Nottinghamshire, which we picked as it was my local church growing up and so it holds a lot of memories. The reception was held at The Pumping House, Ollerton. We picked this venue as we were looking for something a bit different and liked the industrial feel the building offered.
Neither of us felt we wanted a lot of flowers so tried to concentrate on a more foliage/botanical theme. In keeping with this, the colour scheme was green, white and gold, though Kieran claims it also reflected his Irish ancestry!
My dress was fitted with a lace overlay and train. It originally had a button-up back but I chose to have this removed and made into a V-shaped back. I rarely wear anything fitted but when I put this dress on I felt like it really showed off a figure that I didn’t realise I had and thought Kieran would like that too! It was also light and easy to move around in.
Kieran treated himself to a custom-made suit from a place called Beggars Run in Shoreditch. The suit was a dark green three-piece with wool sourced from Yorkshire. He complemented this with a beautiful pair of dark brown handmade calf’s-leather shoes from Grenson’s in Brick Lane.
The groomsmen were all asked to wear navy, while Kieran provided complementary green ties.
Kirsty and I also had some henna done on our hands to reflect our half Indian heritage. My stepdad David, then hired the lady to come to the wedding after the meal and do henna for our guests, which was a good talking point and great to see everyone’s designs the next day.
Kieran travelled to the church with his best man and dad in his dad’s BMW all decked out in white wedding ribbon. I travelled in a white Hackney cab to the church – this was to reflect the fact we both live in London – and was also very helpful to have so much room to get in and out with a wedding dress on!
Our photographer was Christopher Terry, who we would absolutely recommend to other couples. Chris was very friendly from the start, meeting us to talk about what we wanted before we committed to hiring him. He offered a free pre-shoot to help get us used to the camera, and for him to get used to us. He shared these pictures with us too which was a real bonus, particularly given he offered his services at a very competitive price. Chris takes pictures in a documentary style, so he was very unobtrusive throughout the day. This means we have some excellent off-the-cuff photos which are beautiful reminders of our day.
In terms of flowers, my mum Sue made my bouquet and the button holes. My only requirements were mostly greenery with some white thrown in. With the exception of the white Singapore roses, everything else came out of my mum’s back garden.
As for the decorations, my mum picked and arranged flowers for the church, while Kieran and his mum Pauline, did all the table decorations with handpicked foliage too. The Pumping House was also transformed, with more than 40 paper lanterns suspended (painstakingly) above the dining area that added a real special and ethereal touch.
Kieran designed and printed all the stationery for the day including the order of service and table plan.
When choosing our wedding menu, we were keen that the food reflected what was in season and available locally, and that the breakfast itself was not too formal. Having surveyed the fixed options on offer from the venue’s in-house selected caterer, we decided they weren’t a good fit and wanted to go our own way. Further to a recommendation from a friend of Kieran’s family, we decided to use a local chef called Joe Hunt. He proved to be fantastic, providing a very personal service at an excellent price.
We had a fantastic selection of canapés to set people up, followed by a three-course meal. This consisted of a goat’s cheese tart to start, followed by salmon and lamb which were delivered to guests on sharing boards. We were keen that the wedding breakfast was a social affair and that people had a choice of food for their main. This was served with dishes of simple seasonal vegetables. For dessert, we had a pavlova using fresh summer berries.
From start to finish, Joe and his team were fantastic. He teaches cookery in Sheffield so very much did our wedding as a bit of a favour, as he limits the amount of jobs he takes. Prior to the wedding, he came to my parents’ house and cooked all the tasting menu from their kitchen. His communication and laid-back manner did no end to calm nerves and gave us one less thing to worry about. Nothing was any trouble.
For the evening food we had platters of pork pies, cheese and biscuits, all of which were complemented (surprisingly!) with amazing Indian food my cousin brought with her – this went down a storm and we enjoyed the left overs the following day!
Drinks wise, we again went off the venue menu and selected our own. Red was a Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo, we had an Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and Aldi Prosecco. We bought all this directly and despite the corkage charges, it still worked out more affordable. Buying magnums of prosecco also helped us to reduce corkage charges – there’s a top tip! As a nice touch, our parents also arranged for us to toast all the speeches with Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne.
As entertainment, we initially settled on a DJ (for cost purposes), but we always had this nagging desire to have a live band if we could afford it. Simply because we thought live music would create a better atmosphere than a DJ. Having listened to hundreds of videos on YouTube, we hit upon a band called Mister Kanish. They simply stood out from the rest with their folk version of Seven Nation Army, and once we knew they did a mean version of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, that was it – we had to have them! We looked forward to hearing them all day. They did our first dance – Heavy by Birdtalker – amazingly and it is the version of it we love the most. It even had Kieran’s father in tears! They played a range of folk and electro, which meant there was something for everyone. Their unique take on classic pop, rock and RnB tunes had everyone on their feet all night.
In the evening, our Instamax camera and guestbook also proved popular, resulting in plenty of wonderful (drunken) tributes and wishes of good luck.
Looking back on the wedding, my favourite part would be right at the end of the day when we finally looked at each other properly and talked for hours about the whole day. Kieran’s best bit was the first dance. The band we had put our trust in nailed and it was a fantastic moment charged with emotion.
We must give a special thank you to our mums who were a fabulous help and sorted so much out behind the scenes. Almost all the decorations used to dress the Pumping House were sourced by Kieran’s mum who had a full garage worth of stuff!
Also, Kieran’s American family made the journey to attend the wedding, descending on mass with star spangled ties and bandanas which was a memorable, and highly amusing touch.
For us, the day before and after the wedding were as much as part of the weekend as the day itself.
Drinks on the Friday evening at Ziniz in Bawtry, provided a great opportunity for family and friends to mingle ahead of the big day. Then, on the Sunday, we had a fry up at a local truck stop cafe which Kieran’s parents had hired out for the morning. It was a great way to get rid of the hangovers and chat over the day before with everyone!
Following all the celebrations, we went to Edinburgh for four days where we stayed at The Principal Hotel. We then went to Seaham Hall near Durham. This was an amazingly relaxing break and we had good weather the whole time. Edinburgh involved lots of lovely meals, cocktails and walking, taking in the sights along the way. Seaham Hall gave us luxury, relaxation and coastal walks. We also have a trip planned to Tuscany, Italy, later this summer which we see as our proper honeymoon and can’t wait!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – unless you know exactly what you want, find a venue manager/event planner that you are really happy with that can help you realise your vision and take the stress off. Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Keep it as simple as possible and avoid the unnecessary add-ons that may get pushed onto you. All you need most are your family and friends.