Owen House in Mobberley, Cheshire was everything Sarah and Shaun could have wished for from their barn wedding last September, with the venue chock full of character both outdoors and in!
Throwing in some botanicals, copper touches, lanterns and fairy lights, the couple didn’t need an overarching theme on the day as the venue did all the talking and it really does look like a dream.
Other details to inspire you lovely lot today include spray painted dinosaurs, a trunk full of sweets, a well-stocked donut stand and a gypsy jazz infused live band entertainment. Quirky and unique, we’d say – so let’s hear more from bride Sarah…
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography
Sarah says: We got engaged in April 2016. Shaun took me on a weekend away to Budapest for my birthday. What I didn’t know is that Shaun had spent the previous three months arranging with a jeweller in America to get a beautiful custom ring made and shipped across. We had moved in together in the September of 2015 and with it being my birthday weekend away I didn’t even think about an engagement!
On the first day we went wandering around the city and crossed the Elisabeth Bridge and climbed to a viewpoint of the city. I could tell Shaun was a bit on edge but I didn’t make much of it. As we were leaning on a barrier looking out at the city, Shaun told me that he loved me and asked if I would marry him. It wasn’t over the top or with a big audience, so it was perfect for us.
We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating with lots of prosecco!
We got married on 15th September 2018. We weren’t overly precious about the date. September felt right, as the weather was still fairly warm. We didn’t want it to be the height of the summer and definitely didn’t want it to be winter. We took the gamble that we would have good weather (and it paid off!)
We visited all sorts of venues, but we were always dreaming of a barn style wedding. The North Wales and Cheshire area really gave us a manageable list of venues to choose from.
We were never going to get married in a church so we wanted a venue that could do it all. As soon as we stumbled across Owen House we were sold. It felt different to most of the barns we visited, it had more character and was more our style. We arranged a meeting with Dan and Vanessa and the rest was history.
We had no real theme. The venue directs you in a certain way. We wanted loads of botanicals and bits of copper here and there.
As for the colour scheme, we ended up having navy suits and navy bridesmaids’ dresses but that just happened to be the things we liked.
I chose a two-piece Watters top and skirt, although you wouldn’t know it was a two-piece once it was on. It had a high neck with lace and a plain tulle skirt – both ivory. I decided quite late on to have a veil, which was cathedral length and adorned with subtle diamantes. I chose the top and skirt because I felt the combination was really flattering on my figure and made me feel amazing (it was comfortable and not too big to move around in too).
Additionally, the first purchase for the wedding was my amazing Christian Louboutin shoes! Covered in aqua glitter and with the classic red bottoms. I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk in them all day, but they were so beautiful I didn’t care.
My amazing mum bought both my outfit and shoes, the top and skirt were purchased from Along Came Eve in Chester. I cannot recommend the boutique enough. The shop is beautiful and adds to the experience. They listened to what I wanted and put me at total ease. It’s owned by a mother and daughter duo who are a fantastic team!
I always imagined Shaun wearing something a little different but modern. Shaun ended up have a three-piece navy checked suit made for him by Moss Bros; he paired this with some tan Grenson shoes and silver knitted tie. He also added a small gold fox lapel pin.
We ended up buying the guys a deep navy, wool three-piece suit from Next. We matched the suits with tan brogues and the silver woolen tie and a silver fox lapel pin to match Shaun’s.
I originally told the girls they could have any length and style of dress they wanted as long as it was navy. It turned out they all wanted maxi dresses, so we decided to go for a multi-way dress which I got from Debenhams. I also got them silver necklaces with a small circle pendant. I told the girls they could wear whatever shoes they liked.
I had two flower girls – my nieces who were three and two-months-old. They both had matching dresses, which were from Debenhams with pale pink and blue petals on the front and a glitter skirt. My three-year-old niece is very into princesses so it was important to me for her to love the dress and feel like a princess for the day.
We contacted a couple of photographers but Kate McCarthy Photography stood out from them all. After a Skype call it was obvious that she was the girl for us. We were really keen on having a set of photos that we would love. We didn’t want a lot of posed family photos, so we rattled through the obligatory family ones for the parents but then we let Kate run with the rest. Kate had a thousand ideas and completely removed any of the stress. We had a pre-wedding shoot, which got us relaxed for the wedding and helped both us and Kate understand exactly what we wanted on the day,
We honestly couldn’t be happier with the photos that Kate took. In particular we love the natural photos as they really capture the spirit of the day. Having a photographer, who is so cool, listens to you and is an all-round lovely person definitely helps!
With regards to the flowers, I had such a specific idea in my head and I really struggled getting that onto paper. Shaun surprised me by arranging with Sasha at Sass Flower to have an example of my initial bouquet idea made for our first meeting. As I am such an indecisive person, I did change my mind on colour schemes a few times, but I blame Sasha’s Instagram account for showing so many amazing ideas! The end result was so amazing. I would say the flowers were my favourite thing about the whole day (excluding marrying my best friend, of course). We could not recommend her enough. She is patient, passionate and such a great person.
Sasha brought all the botanicals and candles for our ceremony room and tables too. We also had some copper spray painted dinosaurs which we did at home, some colourful glassware for candles and flowers bought from Ikea, a copper pipe table plan which was made and designed by Shaun, an itinerary board which Shaun also made.
Hipswing installed a ton of paper lanterns in the barn and a curtain of fairy lights. The venue is so beautiful though, so you don’t need to do much.
We didn’t do favours, we gave out a couple of colouring books for the kids but we tried to go all out on the food and drink instead! We brought a trunk full of sweets for the evening do, along with a donut stand and 100 donuts. I have a major sweet tooth and I had a big fear that there wouldn’t be enough food, but we were eating sweets for weeks after!
We used Vanilla in Allseasons for our cake. Shaun doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, so the cake was all my choice. We had a four-tier naked cake that was dressed up with flowers by Sasha. It comprised Victoria sponge, chocolate, lemon drizzle and carrot cake. This was served for dessert, with coulis and cream. I have had so many compliments on it.
Vanilla in Allseasons provided our catering too. Our canapés included mini beef burgers and relish served with mini beers; JJJ Heathcote Cumberland chipolata sausage roasted in honey and whole grain mustard and Parmesan shortbread thins with goat’s cheese and oven dried cherry tomatoes.
We also had nibbles for starters, featuring V in A roasted and seasoned nuts, olives, bread, olive oil and balsamic, and pork scratchings.
For our main we had pie, mash, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding – with a choice of chicken, leek and ham, steak and mushroom, or cheese and onion.
In the evening, we served cod dog – giant cod fingers, with mushy peas, tartar sauce; cheese burgers and truffle mac ‘n’ cheese.
We were quite worried that people would be hungry. As you can tell this was never going to happen. I have received so many compliments on the food. That’s all most people talked about!
Owen House sorted out the drinks; we had beers, cider and Prosecco after the ceremony. On the tables we had Prosecco for the speeches and
with the meals we had jugs of Pimms and buckets of beers and cider. It all went down a treat!
For the daytime, we made a Spotify playlist that the staff at the venue sorted for us. We made specific playlists for waiting music, down the aisle, eating food and entrance music,
For the evening, gypsy jazz infused group The String Beans played two sets from songs we had chosen and then we finished the night with another playlist we had chosen ourselves, The band were super flexible, they had a great repertoire of songs but also learned our first dance track which was Otis Redding, Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay.
We also had a photobooth, which was supplied by Snap Flash Photobooth. They were great and we love all the photos. It’s always fun to have a photo booth at weddings!
Honestly, the day was amazing. We put so much of that down to Dan and Vanessa at the venue. They had all the suppliers running like clockwork. We didn’t have to do anything. I have no idea how much running around was going on in the background but I’m so happy we were left to just enjoy the day.
Obviously, it’s very hard to pick one highlight, apart from the normal favourites like the bit where we are announced as Mr and Mrs.
Shaun had a moment when all the speeches were going on where he was just amazed that everyone was there for us. It was just overwhelming seeing all our favourite people in one place.
I particularly enjoyed the last hour of the evening party where we had made a specific playlist of songs; they weren’t typical crowd pleasers but a random mash of songs we both really like (everything from The Prodigy to Jamie T). There were so many people dancing and having fun so looking around at everyone just made me so happy and I didn’t want it to end.
We went to the Excellence Hotel in the Dominican Republic. After all the hard work and stress, it was so good to spend time together and just completely switch off. We didn’t leave the hotel the whole time and had spent a little extra to get a room with its own pool to make it a little extra special.
The day goes so quickly so my top tip for other Brides Up North would be make sure you get to spend time with each other and stop to make note of what is going on.
Don’t get too caught up in the small details, in particular the décor – on the day you actually don’t notice all the small things that you have stressed and spent money on. I think the important things are feeling comfortable in what you are wearing, having amazing food and drink, and inviting people who are going to make a difference to your day.
During the planning, I used Brides Up North for inspiration and to check for local wedding fairs.