North West Wedding

sequins & succulents for a botanical wedding at forrest hills – leanne & phil

26th October 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

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A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (50)

We’re filling your Friday with an oh-so-pretty helping of big day inspiration in the form of Leanne and Phil’s gorgeous North West wedding.

Taking place in a secluded countryside setting, this glorious celebration centres around a lush botanical wedding theme and dreamy colour palette of deep greens, rose gold and blush, which we just can’t get enough of!

Metallic elements, such as the bridesmaids’ glam sequin gowns and decorative details at the reception add a luxurious feel while the flowing foliage and tranquil surroundings keep the vibes natural and relaxed.

A particular highlight for us has to be their towering six tier cake (which includes two clever dummy layers for extra height) decorated in their chosen colour scheme and crowned with a super cute topper made by bride Leanne herself who we’re handing the blog over to now to talk us through the day step by step…

With images by Laura Duggleby Photography, assisted by second shooter Gemma McAuley Photography.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (21)

leanne says: We got married on 4th August 2018, as we wanted to have a summer wedding and go on our honeymoon as soon as we could after the wedding. We have children, so having it in the summer holidays was easier for childcare.

Our ceremony took place at our local church, St Luke’s Church, Skerton, Lancaster. This is Phil’s family church; it was always going to be this church as it holds a special place in our hearts. Phil was baptised and confirmed there, and his parents were also married there.

Our wedding breakfast and evening reception took place at Forrest Hills in Ellel, Lancaster, which we chose because of its amazing building, unique feel and amazing surroundings and scenery. We had the entire site to ourselves for the weekend. We would 100% recommend Forrest Hills to anyone looking for a beautiful and unique venue. It’s just a short drive from the city centre but has that feel of being in the middle of the countryside. Our co-ordinator was Katherine Wharton and she was always super easy to get hold of if we had any questions. She checked in with us several times for updates and to ask if we needed her to do anything.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (44)

When it came to a theme, we didn’t intend on having one but, as our plans progressed, we did seem to go down a strong botanical route. We used lots of ferns, foliage and succulents in our décor. I personally wanted something a little different; rather than flowers, I knew I wanted ferns and succulents, and the rest just seemed to flow. We added rose gold touches too and some blush, which we thought went perfectly.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (25)

My dress was an Alfred Angelo gown in ivory and blush with gold thread lace. It actually had one sleeve when I bought it and a zip up the back. I absolutely fell in love with the gown as soon as I tried it on; it was full length, with lots of fabric and plenty of lace detail, but I knew I wanted sleeves and a corset back, so a lovely lady called Joanne Bellows altered the gown to give it a corset back and we added an ivory lace bolero for the sleeves.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (18)

Phil wore a slim fit grey suit from Youngs Hire at Debenhams, with an ivory swirl waistcoat and blush cravat and handkerchief. The groomsmen and my son wore the same as Phil.

The bridesmaids wore full-length rose gold sequin dresses with matching lace and sequin capes, both from Amazon. My eldest daughter Cody wore the same as the adult bridesmaids and my younger two daughters, Libby and Daisy, wore matching ankle-length ivory lace dresses, which were from JJsHouse.

Our makeup was done by Lancaster-based Nelly Calvo, who worked her magic wand on me and my maid of honour. The equally talented Shelly Alexander did the makeup for the other bridesmaids. Shelly also did wonders with my hair and local hairdresser Daryl Standing did the bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ hair.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (7)

For the transport, Phil’s father has a friend who owns a gorgeous cream Jaguar with a red leather interior. He used to hire it out professionally but no longer does; however, he brought the car out of storage just for our special day, so my mum and I travelled in this car from the hotel to the church and Phil and I went from the church to Forrest Hills in it.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (13)

Our photographer was Laura of Laura Duggleby Photography. We met with Laura a few times before our big day and went through lots of details. I was very particular about what I wanted to take away from the day and Laura just got it; she knew exactly what I wanted and worked wonders to achieve that on the day. We got group shots, candid shots and portraits aplenty. We would highly recommend her amazing talents! If you want a photographer who listens to what you want, and who makes you feel at ease and produces the most amazing photos, then look no further!

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (15)

When it came to the flowers, we got our bouquets, buttonholes, top table runner and the 40+ succulents from Robinsons Florists of Bare. We had a very rough idea of what we wanted. I definitely didn’t want traditional flowers as such, so we made an appointment to go through some ideas and, with their help, we quickly decided on what we wanted. Derek Morgan was the person we liaised with and he was extremely helpful. Vicky Nevitt made our beautiful arrangements. I had a handtied bouquet with poppy seed heads, succulents, white thistle, trachelium, pale pink hypericum, fountain grass, green dianthus, thalapsia, bupleurum and dill and my bridesmaids had smaller versions of this. We used the bridesmaids’ bouquets as centrepieces at the wedding breakfast, surrounded by open succulents on slices of wood. We had a matching table runner for the top table.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (22)

I made the order of services myself, but we used 52 Reasons for the venue stationery, such as the seating plan, table numbers and confetti stickers. We dressed the venue and made all the other decorations ourselves. We used lots of battery-powered string lights from Primark to give the rooms a magical glow in the evening.

As favours, we gave everyone a small wooden name as a keepsake from Confetti Print, from whom we also got our large light-up wooden initials. We sprayed the names rose gold and everyone received a vanilla-scented candle, too.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (23)

Our cake had six tiers, two of which were dummy cakes to give extra height. We had one tier of chocolate sponge cake with chocolate buttercream, two tiers of vanilla sponge with strawberry conserve and vanilla buttercream, and one tier of rich dense fruit cake, all made by my talented sister and brother-in-law Stacy and Michael Alderson, formerly of Stacy Bakes Cakes. Stacy and I designed the cake ourselves; it was green, ivory, blush and rose gold and decorated with foliage to match the bridal flowers. We had personalised bride and groom wooden toppers made by me (Unique! By Yan).

Forrest Hills has its own caterer, Newfields Catering Services, Lancaster. We wanted our guests to really enjoy their food at the wedding and, when we saw the menu choices, we knew they would. Newfields provided a selection of amazing canapés on arrival with welcome drinks, which we provided. We chose two of Sainsbury’s own sparkling wines, elderflower and mint and strawberry and pomegranate, as well as some non-alcoholic drinks. We sat down to three courses and had pan-fried beef medallions and breast of Gressingham duck for mains.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (35)

For the evening entertainment, we chose to have local DJ Gareth Sheppard, who was amazing. He played everything that everyone asked for, including all the party classics, such as Superman, Agadoo and Baby Shark.

As a special touch, we planned a sparkler walk in the early evening. We bought sparklers that stayed lit for one minute, 25 seconds, which was ideal for photos, but we failed to explain this to our guests, who all rushed to light them, which meant some were wasted so the walk wasn’t as successful as we had hoped. Laura did manage to capture some really pretty shots though.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (51)

When it comes to our favourite part of the day, it’s difficult to pick just one because the whole day was perfect. The ceremony was absolutely magical: months and months of planning had led to this moment and, as my mum walked me down the aisle, I held my breath. I reached Phil and I couldn’t stop smiling. There we stood, facing each other, surrounded by our loved ones as we became husband and wife. Then, sitting down to eat gorgeous food and listening to such beautiful words from our best man and maid of honour was really special to us both. The evening was a great part of the day – dancing and laughing with our family and friends until the early hours, with all the worry of wanting the day to go smoothly having disappeared. I still can’t believe how brilliantly everything came together.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (53)

We went on our honeymoon just two days after the wedding. We had two whole weeks in Madeira. Phil has travelled to many places in the past, so we wanted to go somewhere he hadn’t been before. We both wanted two weeks of sun, relaxation and beautiful sights, so Madeira was perfect. We made plans every day; we went on tours to some of the most iconic places on the island, we went to the top of the Porto da Cruz mountains, we visited the Santana cottages, we drank Poncha in the village of Ribeiro Frio and went dolphin and whale watching off the coast of Funchal Marina.

A Botanical Wedding at Forrest Hills (c) Laura Duggleby Photography (61)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to accept help when it’s offered. Small details were important to me and they did matter on the day, but I had a lot to arrange in the days leading up to our big day – things I could have probably allocated to others who had already offered to help. I was so hung up on people not really knowing too much of what we had planned, but I’m sure I could have let a few people in.

Phil’s advice would be to make a budget and stick to it or maybe add a little extra on top of your original budget. We ended up going over ours just by adding small things here and there.

Also, during the planning stages we liked looking at the real weddings section of Brides Up North; I personally loved seeing what other couples achieved, knowing that it’s possible to achieve a perfect day on a budget.

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