Recovering from the extended weekend? Us too! To ease you back into the working week, we’re bringing you the super gorgeous wedding day of Natalie and Michael.
Tying the knot in a late-summer ceremony at the beautiful Nunsmere Hall Hotel in Cheshire, the couple opted for a celebration that was both personal and pretty. Selecting a rather unusual but fabulously thought-out theme of ‘photographs’, Natalie and Michael decked out their venue with snaps of their guests, from easel photo galleries, to personal mug-shot place names – and even gave a nod to their theme with their first dance song choice.
The pretty elements – of which there are many – include a soft, sugary pastel colour palette, amazing blousy blooms and Natalie’s stunning off-the-shoulder lace gown. Brides Up North, you’re in for a treat!
With images by Jess Yarwood.
natalie says: We got engaged on the 29th September 2015. Having obtained by mum and dad’s blessing to propose, Michael surprised me with an impromptu meal at my favourite Italian restaurant on a Tuesday night. When we got home, Michael had laid out rose petals on the floor and put together a photo album/scrap book of our time together. As I finished looking at it, he got down on one knee and popped the question.
As we wanted a late summer wedding, we set the date for Friday 1st September 2017.
Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Northwich, was our chosen venue. We only looked at two venues and Nunsmere caught our eye. It had only just been bought by the new owners – the general flow of the rooms and the plans the owners had, and the location was perfect for our friends and family. Nunsmere also offered us exclusive-use of the venue and rooms for our wedding, which was a massive positive for us.
Our theme was ‘photographs’. We had been to roughly 25 to 30 weddings over the last few years, so we had an idea of what we did and did not want from the day. It was important for us to include the guests in the day, so we had photographs of them with us from over the years throughout the venue and we also individual photographs of the guests as place cards, rather than just name cards, which seemed to go down well with everyone.
In the evening, we had an instant camera so that guests could take photos of themselves either to keep or to pin up on our photo frame. We also had a guest book for people to sign which we’d purchased from Not On The High Street, which had a photograph of us on the front cover. In keeping with the theme, our first dance song was Photograph by Ed Sheeran.
The colour scheme was predominantly a mint green, just because that’s one of my favourite colours but it was generally pastel colours throughout.
My dress was by Rebecca Ingram and was purchased from a shop in Bebington, where I’d been with my friend a few years earlier to purchase her dress. It was a similar style to dresses I had researched online before doing any actual wedding dress shopping and I just felt that it complemented my style and shape really well.
The groom and groomsmen’s suits, ties and pocket squares were hired from Youngs via Debenhams.
The bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ dresses were purchased from Marks & Spencer.
On the day of the wedding, I was driven to the venue by my dad in his convertible Mercedes. My bridesmaids and mum meanwhile, travelled in a white Mercedes estate hired through Horgans Cars.
Jess Yarwood captured our day. We honestly couldn’t recommend Jess highly enough to anyone and everyone, she was absolutely fantastic on the day and the photos are exactly what we wanted. We met Jess prior to the wedding to discuss what we wanted, and Jess explained her style. On the day Jess went about the job quietly and effectively, ensuring that we weren’t away from the guests for too long and that photos were taken in a relaxed manner and Jess captured every picture we requested. Jess was particularly excellent with the flower girls and a rather stroppy 2-year-old page boy and by the end of the day had them all preening and posing for her. Jess knew it was “our day” and she more than played her part in ensuring it was perfect.
In terms of flowers, mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were a mixture of informally tied flowers in pastel colours – green, pink and peach. The groom and groomsmen had pink rose buttonholes. The flower girls carried heart-shaped flower wands. These were provided by Simply the Best Florist, based in Ellesmere Port, who were great and even delivered two of the table decorations to my parents’ house the day following the wedding so that they could enjoy them.
For the venue, our florist provided the flowers and hired decorations. We had a mixture of high (in cocktail glasses) and low (in lanterns) flower arrangements on the tables during the wedding breakfast and evening reception. The same tall decorations were on plinths up the aisle during the ceremony. We had no chair bows but instead we had single flowers tied onto the chairs nearest to the aisle. We also had a flower and ivy garland twisted around the staircase bannister as you entered the venue.
Instead of giving favours, we made a charity donation on behalf of our guests to Claire House, who kindly supplied us with cards for the tables explaining this.
For our wedding cake, we chose a plain iced design with some fresh flowers on the top. Our friend (and bridesmaid!) Lynsey Gibbons made the cake, which was three different flavoured tiers: fruit, sponge and lemon sponge.
Ahead of the wedding, we went to the menu tasting at Nunsmere Hall and sampled a range of the menu they offer. We decided on leek and potato soup to start, beef wellington for main and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream for dessert.
Entertainment-wise, during the day we had put together a playlist ourselves which was played via Nunsmere’s sound system. Then, in the evening we had a band called The Sparks. We’d been looking at bands and The Sparks caught our eye due to their sound and style and their name being my maiden name. The band were fantastic and learnt our first dance song and also accommodated any songs we wanted playing (or didn’t) they also provided a DJ set during their breaks.
Following our wedding, we would absolutely recommend Nunsmere to other couples. The weather on the day was better than we could have asked for and the layout of the venue meant that we could have a different part of the day in a different room; ceremony in one room, wedding breakfast in another, drinks outside and the evening in the marquee. The staff at Nunsmere were fantastic with us both in the lead up to the wedding and on the day and they dealt with any requests we had to the letter. We were quite lucky that we booked the venue just after it had been bought by new owners, so they walked us through their plans for the venue and kept us up to date with any refurbishments
It was important to us to include those closest to us throughout our day, so we were pleased and grateful that friends and family could help us with elements such as the cake, makeup, car etc.
Looking back, I would definitely say the best part of our day was having everyone we care about in one place at the same time. I also really enjoyed getting ready in a relaxed environment at my parents’ house on the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids and makeup artist. Michael’s favourite part was when we had photographs taken as a couple just after the ceremony, which gave us a bit of time just the two of us walking the grounds to digest that we were married.
Following the wedding, we went to Malta for a week, which was mainly to relax. It was great to unwind and chat about the wedding and go over the day. Our main honeymoon was to Canada in May this year. We flew into Calgary and the drove across the county to Vancouver, which was a fantastic experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be simply to enjoy the day and spend time together – it goes by so fast and when you’re mixing with everyone it’s over within the blink of an eye.