Today’s bride and groom, Gia and John tied the knot back in May, on the same date a certain Royal couple also said ‘I do’ (but our couple picked it first – just saying!). Marrying at the wonderful Dorfold Hall in Cheshire – the venue provided everything they could have wished for to bring their fairy tale wedding to life.
Glass baubles, floating candles and tendrils of creeping foliage set the scene for the romantic backdrop, offset by a sophisticated palette of navy, blush pink and green. Meanwhile, food and drink highlights from their special day include a cocktail hour complete with signature drinks (we think every wedding should have one of these…), sweetie jar favours and a truly indulgent vanilla, Irish cream and red velvet wedding cake.
The real showstopper to their big day though has got to be Gia’s stunning Oksana Mukha ball gown – think gorgeous layers of tulle for a dreamy bridal look straight from a storybook. As you can tell, there’s plenty to swoon over today, so let’s pass the blog over to Gia to share all the fabulous details.
With images by Matthew Grainger
gia says: John and I got engaged in the Maldives on the 12th March 2017, while we were away celebrating our ten-year anniversary. John got down on one knee on the first night and I was so surprised – I didn’t think he had it in him to plan a proposal without me knowing!
Our wedding date was 19th May 2018 (we picked it first, but I was thrilled to share it with the Royals!) I wanted a wedding in peony season and was hoping for some sunshine.
We got married in Dorfold Hall in Nantwich, Cheshire. I fell in love with the venue the first time I saw it and saw unbelievable potential to create the fairy-tale wedding I had always wanted. It was new to the wedding world and wasn’t anywhere near finished, but I loved the idea of having our ceremony in the coach house followed by the reception in a sperry tent.I always envisaged having a fairy tale wedding. I love ball gown dresses, tulle, cathedral veils, gold, Disney, candlelight, fairy lights, flower arches…go big or go home!
I was so excited to plan my wedding day and put absolutely everything into it. I have always loved the idea of planning a wedding, ever since watching J-Lo in The Wedding Planner when I was younger.
My wedding dress was white and the only other colours I wanted to see were navy – for the groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, with a hint of blush pink and greens in the bouquets and centrepieces and some finishing touches in gold.
My wedding dress was by Oksana Mukha. I knew I wanted a ball gown style dress, as I would never get the opportunity to wear something like that again. I fell in love with her designs online and actually saw the dress I wanted before I bought it. I travelled from Liverpool to Adele Louise Bridal in Wolverhampton, who are one of three UK stockists.My partner wore a navy tuxedo with black lapel from Hugo Boss. His horseshoe waistcoat was by Gieves and Hawkes.
Our bridesmaids wore navy evening gowns by Kirsty Doyle, who is a Liverpool designer, and the flower girls wore white dresses with a tulle skirt to match my dress, also from Adele Louise Bridal. Meanwhile, our groomsmen wore navy three-piece suits from ASOS.
Our hair was done by a Liverpool mobile hairstylist called Becky Thow and our makeup was done by Liverpool MUA Rachel Morris (aka Fair of Face) who is now based in Dubai.
We hired the venue for a reception dinner the evening before the wedding and stayed overnight. This was a fantastic addition to our wedding day and we were able to spend the evening before with both families, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen.
Our wedding photographer was Matthew Grainger. He is incredibly talented at capturing natural photographs and as we did not want to spend too much time away from our guests, posing for images, this was ideal. He fitted into our day perfectly and the results are absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out. The wedding album he created for us is a piece of art.
Videographers In Love Wedding Films captured all the special moments and went unnoticed on the day. The overhead drone shots of the venue are stunning and the end results will be cherished forever. I love the way they include both a teaser movie and a full feature film.
My bouquet was a loose and whimsical cascading shower design to emulate the natural and relaxed theme of the day. It featured white roses, peonies, stephanotis and freesia. Long flowing tendrils of foliage ebbed from the design to the floor creating a dramatic design, all provided by Red Floral.
They also supplied the flowers for the venue. Six of the guest tables had magnolia trees to bring height and impact into the setting. The tree was planted into a white container to enhance the colour scheme of the wedding. Masses of glass baubles holding candles fell from the tree branches. Around the base of the design were masses of floating candles and tea lights. The remaining six guest tables were dressed with the Red Floral architecture acrylic dish design filled with floating candles. The outside of the dish was dressed with a thick garland of flowers to echo the rest of the wedding day floral décor. Hoards of tea lights surrounded the design adding a romantic candlelit feel.
The top table was dressed with a long and low design that sat to the centre of the table. Seasonal blooms that complemented the colour scheme of the day featured with hints of blush pink. Tendrils of creeping foliage flowed from the design to the front and sides to create a full and dramatic look. Both ends of the table were dressed with masses of candles.
I also chose to have our tables named after destinations John and I had been on holiday to together. I had these table names personalised and ordered off Etsy from Capola Designs. The table plan was put on a large mirror I bought from Next and we used personalised sticker transfers from Love Storey Weddings – this was a longwinded process even with the help of my bridesmaids but the end result was well worth it!
We also had Mr and Mrs balloons provided by Make My Day, which we positioned by the dancefloor alongside floral love letters. We used Scene My Event for the supply of a magic mirror photo booth, floral love letters and post box for our wedding cards too.
We had personalised sweetie jars for our guests with a variety of different cocktail flavoured sweets, provided by Holly’s Lollies. Our place settings were also acrylic hearts that sat on the wine glasses and our guests were able to take them home too, I got these off Etsy from Pretty Personalised UK.
We chose a three-tiered white wedding cake with monogram detail in gold and sugar flowers that matched those provided by Red Floral. This was created by The Frostery and exceeded my expectations. We chose three different flavours: vanilla, Irish cream and red velvet, and displayed the cake next to the original sketch design by Suzanne Thorp.
We had cocktail hour with canapés after the ceremony on the South Lawn. The boys drank beer and the girls got a Cosmopolitan, which is my favourite drink. The drinks were provided by Escapade Bars and the food on the wedding day was provided by With A Twist.
The canapés consisted of Cumberland chipolata sausages pegged on a line, cones of crispy duck pancakes and goats cheese bruschetta.
Our wedding breakfast started with mushroom soup served from a teapot, followed by roasted chicken breast with fine mash, black pudding scotch egg, colourful veg and rich jus, and then for dessert we had a chocolate honeymoon truffle cake with butterscotch macaron and salted caramel mousse and honeycomb.
Our evening food was served in New York-inspired take out boxes and consisted of a curry dish and a noodle dish.
We had the Unity Strings string trio play throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour and wedding breakfast. We then had two Liverpool DJs – Sean and Mark Ingham – play throughout the evening, with three sets provided by a saxophonist called Sax Every Weekend.
We chose to have The Tall Toastmaster as part of our wedding day too. He helped the day run smoothly, ensuring the guests were seated for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, announcing us into the sperry tent as husband and wife, introducing the speeches, even calming down the best man before his speech! He was an amazing addition to the day and took away any potential stress.
I’m biased, but I think Dorfold Hall is the most stunning wedding venue. It is traditionally English in a beautiful countryside setting. There are exceptional photo opportunities by the lake, in the gardens and within the hall itself. The owners and wedding coordinators are fabulous and incredibly helpful too.
It is truly very difficult to even begin to pick a favourite part of the day. I really enjoyed the reception drinks aka cocktail hour after the ceremony. The weather was glorious and it was fabulous to mingle with our guests and see everyone enjoying themselves. We even chose to extend the cocktail hour after the Toastmaster suggested doing so, due to the weather being so great and the outdoor bar going down a treat.
Another personal favourite was throwing the bouquet, the setting was amazing and the videos and photographs are spectacular. To be honest, the whole day was unbelievable and I couldn’t have imagined it going any better. It was wonderful to see it all come together after so much hard work and planning.
We go on honeymoon in December. We go to Sri Lanka first and then move onto the Maldives, and we are staying in the Shangri La resorts.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – enjoy the planning process! You’ll miss it once it’s done. During the build-up to the wedding I used Brides Up North for wedding inspiration and to research suppliers.