Weddings are both a time for reflection and a time to look to the future, and today’s featured couple Alison and Jason married both of these elements seamlessly on their big day. Creating a wedding day that represents them as a couple and their families, including some touching personal details to ensure those they had lost were represented, their celebrations are more than just tulle deep.
Alison is every inch a princess bride for her big day in an elegant gown featuring beaded lace throughout its fitted bodice and voluminous tulle skirt and a crystal-buttoned zipped closure. With her carefully planned bouquet of soft and delicate flowers, she pulls the fairytale look together perfectly.
Details-wise, we love the simple yet luxurious cake design with its flawless finish and soft colours to echo the floral creations decorating the venue. Behind each smooth exterior hides a delicious-sounding, surprisingly extravagant flavour. We did mention we have a weakness for cake?
The lighting is uber dreamy too with twinkling fairy lights, opulent chandeliers and soft candles illuminating the chic ceremony room with love and romance for the all-important “I dos”.
With images by John Francis Photography.
alison says: We got engaged in Dubai in October 2016 on the beach in front of the Burj Al Arab. Jason tricked me into thinking he wanted to take some photographs of the famous hotel, as the sun was just going down and the Burj Al Arab has interchanging lights on it, so off we went. Halfway onto the beach, I turned around and he was on one knee. It was a total surprise and Jason did well to keep any kind of surprise from me! A few days later we headed off to the Souk to have my engagement ring made. Wow, what an experience!
For the wedding day, I wanted a date that was memorable and flowed nicely. The venue had a cancellation of 18th August 2018, so it had to be: 18.08.18.
We looked at a few venues but, as soon as we viewed Eaves Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire, we fell in love with it, so we instantly booked it for both the ceremony and reception. We chose Eaves Hall because it was exclusive and only we and our guests would be able to use the venue on our special day, not to mention it has the most stunning grounds and gardens, as well as the added bonus that all the girls could stay the night before the wedding in the lodge. We would certainly recommend the venue as it was simply perfect; the Hall is absolutely stunning, the staff were so attentive and couldn’t do enough for us, and it was a truly amazing day. To have the venue all to yourself for the day is just a dream.
Planning the wedding was a lonely journey from me at times as my mum passed away seven years ago and Jason’s mum suffered from dementia, meaning I didn’t have either mum there to help, but I did have my trusty best friend and maid of honour, Clare, to help along the way with decisions. We hadn’t had it easy during the run up to the wedding: my dad had been taken unwell and Jason’s mum and dad both suddenly passed away just nine months apart from each other but, as a token to their memory and my mum’s, I managed to get hold of a photograph from both their wedding days and had a personalised memorial candle made, which we lit after the ceremony.
We didn’t have a theme to the wedding but the colour scheme was inspired by a rose called Memory Lane, which I associate with my mum.
When it came to the dress, we went to Ava Rose Hamilton in Colne. OMG: this place is absolutely stunning! The minute you walk in, you are made to feel so at home and treated like a princess. I settled on an elegant lace and tulle A-line wedding dress in ivory from Essense of Australia. The dress had no name, which was very strange, so in memory of my mum I named it Susan and Ava Rose Hamilton stitched a guardian angel into the tulle as a memory to my mum.
Jason wore a three-piece suit, which was made to measure by Nigel Clare in Chorley. They also supplied his Eton shirt, belt and Loake shoes. I spent hours matching the ties to the girls’ dresses, with it being a unique colour, and eventually found the ties at TM Lewin on King Street in Manchester. The groomsmen’s suits were by Roy Robson and were also from Nigel Clare, who supplied the shirts, belts and shoes to match Jason’s.
The girls wore chiffon bridesmaid dresses by True Bride with a chic bateau neckline and cowl back. They had beautiful pearl and crystal beading on the shoulder and waist with a zip-up back, finished with buttons in filo lavender. My younger bridesmaid Brooke wore a junior version, whereas Sofia wore a sensational ivory flowergirl dress with the bodice covered in lace appliques, which was so in keeping with my dress – she was my little princess. All the dresses were from One Special Day in Atherton. Paula and Danielle were so lovely to us and accommodated our every need, especially having two younger ones who grew every time we visited the shop.
The bridal party’s makeup was done by Lucie, a professional make-up artist from Leyland. She was amazing – so easy going and she took pride in her work. Lucie had so much kit and a huge array of products. We did have a trial prior to the big day but, to be honest, her work is so beautiful and she made everyone feel so comfortable and at ease on the day.
I asked Jade from Evalle Hair & Makeup to do our hair for the wedding following several recommendations. Again, we did have a few trials as I wasn’t sure what I wanted; even on the morning of the wedding I changed my mind and showed Jade a photograph of something I’d seen the night before and she recreated it perfectly. In fact, everyone was asking me if my hair was real. How funny!
Our photographer was John Francis Photography from Lytham, who came recommended by Jason’s best man Roy and was a delight to work with. John isn’t a posing photographer and set out his stall from our first meeting; he is a documentary wedding photographer. The way he captured our day and articulated the photographs was brilliant. We are so pleased and can’t stop looking at them.
Our videographer was Dave Spink Photography in Leeds. They were very detailed and presented to us within 24 hours of the wedding a five-minute wedding trailer of the day to keep whilst they complete the whole of the editing. I can’t stop watching it. It makes me so emotional and I wish I could do it all over again.
When it came to the flowers, I really loved planning them and Linda from The Flower Shop in Clitheroe was amazing. I had a handtied bridal bouquet made up of memory lane roses, white roses to match my dress, gypsophila and foliage bound with ivory ribbon and finished with diamanté pins. It was simple but very stylish. I also added a photo of my mum, so she was with me as I walked down the aisle. Linda was so patient with me as I chopped and changed my mind during the planning stages. We settled on the bridesmaids’ bouquet being made up of gypsophila and Sofia had a posy to match. The groomsmen had white rose buttonholes and Jason had a memory rose to be in keeping with my bouquet.
The venue flowers were beautiful as well – so in keeping with everything. Linda knew how to dress Eaves Hall. The ceremony and top table flowers were of a long and low design, which again matched the colour theme. We had a dressed candelabrum with hanging tea lights for the entrance table and dressed candelabra framing the aisle sitting tall on white pillars, which were then moved onto the wedding breakfast tables, accompanied by mirrored plates and small vases of flowers.
For other decoration, Creative Cover Hire in Preston came to decorate the venue based on a bespoke package. We had an ivory aisle carpet dressed with candle lanterns and rose petals, ivory chair sashes and ceiling drapes swathed with organza with lights to complement them. The ceremony table, top table and cake table also had organza sashes to complement the linen. We also opted for a twinkling backdrop curtain – I always knew I wanted this!
Cake-wise, I never really wanted one until I had a taster session with Jill from Just Yours. We settled on a smaller cake first but then I changed it to a bigger one because it was just so tasty! We had a four-tiered wedding cake made up of different flavours. Starting at the bottom, we had a strawberry cake filled with strawberry jam and pink champagne buttercream painted in dusty lilac lustre dust and finished with damask stencilling. Next came a black forest chocolate mud cake filled with white chocolate buttercream and cherry conserve, which was a flavour we created as we both love black forest gateaux. Then we had a vanilla cake filled with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream and the top tier was a gluten-free white chocolate mud cake filled with passion fruit buttercream. All the layers were coated in white chocolate ganache and ivory sugar paste and we had open roses made out of icing sugar to match the memory lane roses used in the flowers.
With the food, we were spoilt for choice at Eaves Hall, so we went to a taster evening, which helped. We eventually settled on the leek and potato soup, duck three ways or salad of ham hock as a starter, followed by an intermediate course of vodka and mint sorbet. Then, for the main, we had either roast fillet of beef, roast supreme of chicken or spinach and ricotta ravioli with tomato sauce. Dessert was a choice of sticky toffee pudding or crème brûlée and Bakewell tart, followed by coffee and tea.
The wine was Sanvigillo Pinot Grigio, Big Top White Zinfandel or Vega Del Rayo Rioja, which was so fitting and accompanied the food perfectly.
For the entertainment, when we visited Eaves Hall for an open evening we heard a piano being played and there in the corner was Ken Robson, the pianist. My dad and I sat in the bar listening to Ken play and it was so beautiful, so I booked him. We arranged to have Ken play as the guests arrived and whilst people were taking their seats for the ceremony. Ken also played my entrance song, which was Christina Perry’s A Thousand Years. It was so emotional. He also played during the ceremony and as we walked out together as the new Mr and Mrs Smith, which was to Take That’s Greatest Day. Ken also played during the wedding breakfast as well.
In the evening we had a DJ from DFC in Preston, who had everyone on the dancefloor. We even had people cartwheeling! We had taken a few dance lessons and choreographed our first dance, as we wanted to do more than dance round in a circle. Jason wasn’t too keen at first but was so pleased we did it. Our first dance, which Jason picked, was Love of a Lifetime by Fire House. It’s an unusual song but the words were so lovely and meaningful. He actually said to me ages ago, “This will be our first dance when I ask you to marry me.”
We had a few personal touches on the day. As mentioned, in memory of our loved ones, I had a personalised candle made and we both lit it after the ceremony. I also brought my mum’s ashes with me as I still have them at home, so she was with us on the day. My dad had been unwell during our planning stages and was struggling on his feet, but he was adamant he was walking me down that aisle without his walking stick and that he did!
There were so many favourite parts to our day but some special moments were when my dad first saw me in my dress, when we made our entrance together and you could hear everyone gasp, and when the registrar said Jason and I were husband and wife.
After the wedding we went to Vegas for ten days, but our official honeymoon is to Dubai next year for two weeks as the hotel is currently under full renovation. We’re going back to where it all began and we can’t wait.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – take a step back and make time to watch people enjoy all the hard work and effort you have put into your special day.