After the wonderful summer we’ve had, it’s becoming a recurring theme to show you gorgeous cerulean skies and baking hot sunshine as par for the course in our real wedding features. Today’s wedding showcase is no exception, taking place on one of the hottest days of the year – more south of France than north of the UK! Despite the challenging heat, the bride, Rachael, looks radiant in her Amanda Wyatt gown, with its French Chantilly lace bodice, soft tulle A-line skirt and classic lace-up back, accessorised with a gorgeous red lip. Being an historian who especially loves the Georgian period, it’s no surprise she’s chosen a pair of heels with a Georgian sense of style to complete her look. We also love the white feather fan she uses to keep herself cool during the day – a good tip for any summer brides-to-be.
The theme of Rachael and Luke’s big day was travel and they did a sterling job of reflecting this in their choice of decorations. The world map table plan is particularly charming, and they’ve added little details throughout, like the globe that accompanies the rather regal-looking cake during the wedding breakfast.
It’s not always easy to dress a marquee as the all-white appearance can add a cool tone, but Rachael and Luke added a curtain of fairy lights behind the top table to warm up the scene and some on-trend love lights to add depth to the room. With beautiful white blooms and greenery aplenty, the effect is elegant and classic.
With images by Madison Picture.
rachael says: We got engaged while in Iceland. I had planned a trip there to celebrate Luke’s 30th birthday. Being a geographer, it was a place he had always wanted to go, and I was pleased with myself that I could make it happen. Therefore, being proposed to on the trip was the last thing I expected. On the third day of our trip, we spent the day visiting geysers, hot springs and lava fields. On our way back to the hotel, Luke suggested we visit one last waterfall. I was pretty exhausted, but Luke was insistent. The waterfall, Skógafoss, was breath-taking. Luke set up his camera on the tripod and suggested we jump in front of the waterfall in order to catch it on camera. I didn’t realise he was actually filming and, after we both jumped, he got down on one knee. Hilariously, it didn’t quite go to plan and Luke fell backwards almost into a running stream. As I tried to pull him up, he would not get off his knee. Being a joker, I thought he was pulling a prank, until I saw the ring. He asked me to marry him and, after saying yes, the rest was a bit of a blur. It was the best feeling ever. On our return leg of the journey, he had created a CD full of my favourite songs and those that meant so much to us both. We drove back feeling on top of the world.
We chose 27th July 2018 as our wedding date. Originally, I wanted to go for 27/7/2017. Being the seventh child of two parents who were also the seventh child in their family, the number is very lucky for me! However, living in Dubai, we felt it would be too soon to plan the wedding, so settled for 27/7/18.
We had our ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Whitewell. It was important to us both that we were married in a church and St Mary’s is beautiful. We met the most wonderful people every time we attended mass. Rev Veronica Green and Carolyn Wort did everything in their power to help us to get married there, despite us living in the UAE. Over the two years of planning, we built up a lovely friendship with them both and Veronica gave the most beautiful service. She helped to make me feel calm on the day and not only gave a beautiful sermon but also gave us such fantastic advice on the importance of marriage and the foundations of a successful partnership.
We had our reception at Iscoyd Park in Whitchurch, Shropshire. Being an historian, I always knew I wanted to get married at a Georgian wedding venue and Iscoyd was the 18th century venue I was looking for. Photographs really do not do the place justice. Arriving at Iscoyd for a viewing, I was almost in tears at the beauty of the venue. Not only did it have the charm of an 18th century building but the renovation by the Godsal family was breath-taking. Every room in the house was perfectly designed to reflect the history of Iscoyd whilst bringing it into the 21st century. The attention to detail was unreal and each aspect of the house was unique. We knew instantly we would want to have more than one night at Iscoyd, so we decided to book two so that our families could enjoy a little break away whilst getting to know each other fully the night before.
One of the most important reasons we also decided on Iscoyd Park was due to the staff. We were given such a warm welcome from Philip Godsal and, despite it being his family home, he was clear to us from the start that he wanted us to feel like Iscoyd Park was our home for those couple of days that we would be staying there. Every person we came into contact with at Iscoyd was fantastic. They were incredibly warm and welcoming and made us feel as though nothing was too much trouble for them. We would absolutely recommend Iscoyd Park to other brides and grooms. We both felt so sad when the experience came to an end and we had to leave Iscoyd and their wonderful staff. We hope to visit again in the future and envy those who have their wedding still to come.
In terms of a theme, we decided to go for a simple and classic style; as the venue itself is so stunning, we didn’t really need to make many additions and we didn’t want to detract from the beauty of the place. We opted for a travel theme as this is something that is important to both our lives. Each table was named after a place we had been together, and we used old-fashioned travel posters on each table to show this. I also filled the room with a variety of beautiful quotes written on the theme of love.
For the colour scheme, we decided to go for light blue/grey with simple white flowers throughout. I wanted something fresh and classic and something that would fit with the venue we had chosen.
When looking for my dress, I tried on a variety of different styles from a range of designers but quickly realised I wanted something plain and simple. I also wanted something that felt light in case it turned out to be a warm day (which it was!). When I tried on the dress Florianna by Amanda Wyatt from Opulence Bridalwear on the Wirral, I knew it was the one. I truly felt like a bride. The ladies at Opulence were fantastic: incredibly helpful, patient and supportive. Being at Opulence was a lovely experience from start to finish.
Being a man of simple taste (and of tight wallet!), Luke decided to go for a Next suit. It was a lovely light blue suit, which he teamed with a grey pinstriped waistcoat. It was also worn by each of the groomsmen.
For the bridesmaids, finding the right colour of blue for their dresses was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I tried a number of shops and online retailers until I stumbled upon the perfect dresses at Monsoon Cheshire Oaks. They looked beautiful on each of the bridesmaids and were the exact colour I was looking for.
My hair and makeup was done by Harry Jon Hair and Makeup of Middlewich. Jazz and Rosie were absolutely wonderful. They did a fantastic job and went above and beyond to help with every little thing I needed. It was like having two more friends there in the morning. They helped to make me feel as calm and relaxed as I could!
For transport, as we were staying at Iscoyd, we only had a short drive to the church. After trying to convince me I could walk in my dress, Luke finally gave in and booked a beautiful Beauford car from Bespoked Wedding Cars. Joanne was so lovely and got me to the church on time (with a much-needed bottle of water!).
Our photographer was Madison Picture. We studied their website and were thrilled to see they were also a very successful band who not only photographed weddings but performed at them too! It was a perfect combination. Their photographs were stunning – incredibly natural and modern. Nick and Paul are two of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. They were so professional and yet felt like friends. They made us both feel so comfortable (Paul was bringing me water every two minutes!) and we had a laugh whilst posing for some romantic shots. They did everything to get the best shots they could, whilst not overburdening us or taking away from our guests for too long. They worked so hard throughout the day and then joined the rest of their band to perform for us in the evening. We could not believe their work ethic and they were one of the last to leave that evening. They got the photographs to us incredibly quickly – we were able to view them on our honeymoon, which was really special. We cannot thank them enough.
Our videographers were Josie and Iain from Big Bear Wedding Films; they were brilliant. They were both such lovely people and they worked beautifully alongside our photographers. I never underestimated how important it would be to be surrounded by such friendly and supportive people on the day – including your suppliers! We have just seen our wedding trailer and it is so stunning – it’s like watching a film. All the memories came flooding back. It’s one of the best things we decided to do.
The flowers we had were breath-taking. My best friend Jenna Roberts works alongside Angela Adlard of Flourish Flowers, so we were lucky to not only have beautiful flowers but also the personal touch brought to the wedding. My bouquet included white matthiola, eustoma, rose white soda, lily of the valley, rosemary and olive.
For decoration, Jenna from Flourish Flowers worked so hard to get the room just right. We had garlands on all the tables, including the round tables, which looked so elegant. We requested lots of greenery and the eucalyptus that formed the main body of the garland not only looked perfect but smelt divine.
For favours, we gave out mini suitcases filled with love hearts. This fitted really well with the theme and was a relatively cost-effective idea.
Our cake had three tiers: a fruit cake at the bottom, a layer of chocolate cake and a Victoria sponge for the top layer. A family friend, Janet Jenkins, made the cake for us and she did a fantastic job of making it exactly how we wanted it. She did incredibly well to keep it cool on what was the hottest day of the year.
For the wedding breakfast, we went with the in-house caterers at Iscoyd Park. The head chef David Cox produced a beautiful menu that included leek and potato soup to start (which everybody loved!), followed by chicken wrapped in smoked bacon and finished with my favourite, Eton Mess. In the evening, we were lucky to have homemade pizzas made by the chef from the pizza van that Iscoyd Park provided. Everybody loved it. Luke was devastated to only have time to fit in one slice!
For entertainment, we were thrilled to have a string quartet play at the church and the wedding reception. Laura from Adagio String Quartet was incredibly helpful and did everything in order to get hold of the music I desperately wanted including in the wedding. It would not have been the same without them and having them play my favourite song as I came down the aisle was so special.
In the evening, we had the very successful band Madison (which our photographers are part of). We had heard such great things about them and were impressed that they were regulars at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. They performed a super-long set of some of our favourite songs, including the Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Killers, Queen and lots more classics. They also provided the disco. On what was an incredibly hot day, they did a fantastic job at getting everybody up on the dancefloor. They are incredibly talented and we wanted them to go on all night!
For other special details, we had love lights hired from Uplit and they were great in their correspondence with us. Plush Booths did a great job at entertaining our guests and providing our guest book.
Our favourite part of the day was saying our vows in the beautiful St Mary’s church. Having all of our family and close friends there wishing us both love and support in our marriage was so special. It is a moment neither of us will ever forget.
For our honeymoon, we went to the North East Coast of America, starting in New York before driving to Lake Michigan and Mackinac Island, and then driving to Boston and Cape Cod, visiting Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard. One of my favourite films was set in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The island is an incredible place – there are no cars and you can only get around by horse and carriage or by cycling. The hotel itself is one of the grandest in America, boasting the longest porch. It was a dream come true going to that hotel.
What would my top tip be to other Brides Up North? Well, I wish I hadn’t been so nervous in the weeks preceding the wedding. On the whole, Luke and I were pretty relaxed as we had been planning the wedding for two years and we lived away, so there was only so much we could do when we were home. I just wish I had been less apprehensive on the days leading up to the wedding, as there really is no need to be. Everyone you love is there all together, so there really is no need to be worried.