Real Weddings

Real Wedding Recap 2019: Halfpenny London for a classic wedding at Dorfold Hall – Jo & Ed

03rd June 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 10th June 2019 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

Dorfold Hall is the exquisite backdrop to Jo and Ed’s big day last May, perfectly matched to their rustic yet elegant theme. This venue has got everything you could want for a picture-perfect wedding; from the magical marquee to a bluebell wood in full bloom.

With the mother-of-the-bride a florist, you can expect some of the most beautiful floral arrangements to ever grace Brides Up North. Think avalanche roses, spray roses, small daisies and foliage and herbs – and that’s just the styling at the church!

As for Jo’s vintage style gown – purchased from our fabulous Sponsor boutique, White Closet Studios in Liverpool – this beauty has us reaching for our Pinterest boards. And that veil! Wait until you see the wonderful train. It’ll have you daydreaming of being ‘unveiled’ at the altar too. Enough gushing from us though. Time to hand the blog over to Jo to fill us in on all the wonderful details…

With images by Jessica Reeve Photography


Jo says: We got engaged on Porthcurnick Beach in Cornwall in August 2017. We had travelled down to Cornwall the previous day from our home in Shrewsbury. Ed and I arrived late on Friday evening and the following morning Ed played golf with his dad. We then travelled to the beach and on the way stopped at an art gallery in Portscatho where we bought a painting of the nearby beach. The weather was amazing, so hot and sunny, we then walked to the beach (stopping en route at a local pub for Ed to collect a small bottle of prosecco in secret). On the way to the beach Ed stopped and proposed – he was very emotional. I said yes and cried. The ring was beautiful, and I couldn’t believe he had chosen such a perfect ring. Elated we continued our walk to the Hidden Hut beach café for lunch. We returned to the village and had a drink in the pub and told everyone there the good news – which included the art dealer who we purchased the painting from. It was an amazing day topped off with a meal with Ed’s parents and brother and his fiancé who were obviously over the moon. A wonderful day. For about six weeks it didn’t feel real and all we did was celebrate and toast our engagement with lots of fizz.


We got married on 12th May 2018. May has lots of lovely spring flowers – the weather can be good too but with only eight months to plan the wedding, we had to get a move on. We started by calling the church, calling venues, marquee companies and the only date free was the 12th so we had to get planning!

We held our ceremony at St Boniface Church, Bunbury. It’s my parents’ local church, in the village where I went to primary school, close to where I grew up. The local Vicar, Tim, is super friendly and welcoming, and the church also has a great choir and bell ringers.

We had considered having a marquee at my parents’ house but were worried about the logistics, weather etc and we wanted to be able to enjoy the day and not feel stressed.

We went to see Dorfold Hall and loved it. Dorfold Hall is the family home of Candice and Charles Roundell and they have recently opened their home as a wedding venue. Despite the grandeur of the hall, Dorfold feels lovely and hmely.

The gardens are absolutely beautiful so there are lots of great options for photos. Dorfold also have a bluebell wood and we were lucky enough to enjoy the bluebells on our wedding day because spring was so late and the bluebells were still in flower.


We wanted a pretty traditional day and church service. Ed and I both love the countryside and being outdoors so we wanted our day to reflect this, and use lots of flowers and have the opportunity to be outside if possible. Dorfold also has an abundance of space, perfect for the reception. In their walled garden they have a traditional style marquee.

I suppose the theme was country – a little rustic but still elegant. For our wedding day we wanted to use lots of cream and white flowers and lots of green foliage. I wanted the day to feel elegant, wedding-y, and these colours seemed to fit. By keeping the colours simple I hoped we could achieve the look we wanted.

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I wanted a vintage style dress as I usually turn to vintage for special occasions. I think I knew I wanted a dress with lace or embroidery but was very open to ideas and loved trying on lots of styles.

I visited White Closet Studios in Liverpool, and the dresses and designers they have are all gorgeous. Lucy and Eve made me feel so relaxed and I loved both Halfpenny and Charlie Brear designs.

I was so torn between two dresses but finally chose the Halfpenny Iris Rose, I loved the delicate lace and the amazing train! The dress has a vintage feel too so was perfect. I always wanted a two-tier veil, maybe because I love wearing hats and I love the extra-long length that went beyond the train of my dress. Walking down the aisle underneath the veil was really special, I loved being unveiled at the altar. Helen Martin Veils have a beautiful selection of laces and I chose a simple dainty style to edge my veil.

Boutique Alterations in Bramhall did a great job; they made the fit of my dress absolutely perfect. Tusneem and her team are incredible. Tusneem also made my mum’s outfit for our wedding day

Betty and Belle is the best underwear shop, no challenge is too great for these girls, they fixed up me, my mum and the bridesmaids!


Ed and his groomsmen hired their traditional morning suits from Jepsons in Nantwich – my dad has been shopping there for years. The staff are great, they measured up the boys, so it was really easy and quick. The boys all looked the same and very smart! The ties were from Charles Tyrwhitt.


I always knew I wanted Emily (my sister) and Lizzie to wear floral dresses and not a typical ‘bridesmaid’ dresses. I wanted the girls to have dresses that hopefully they will wear again, and Emily and Lizzie are both very creative so wanted their dresses to suit them and be comfortable too. We thought we would have to make their dresses but finding the right fabric was so tricky. Eventually we chose a Liberty silk satin. One of Emily’s friends, Malin, made the dresses and she did an amazing job.

For the flowergirls, I wanted simple cream dresses and the flowergirls were quite young, so we wanted them to feel like little princesses.


I had trials with both Sally Poole for my makeup and Shelly Cox for my hair before the big day. I wanted to look natural, like me, but just the best version!

The morning of the wedding was a lot of fun and it was great having Shelly and Sally with me.


Our car was a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud – this was Ed’s choice of car, hired from Elegance Wedding Car Hire based in Wigan. The wedding party used Top Calibre Chauffeur Services who supplied a Mercedes S-Class.

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Jessica Reeve captured our day. Choosing the photographer was one of the hardest decisions because after the day takes place, the photos are what we have to remind us of our wedding.

I wanted the photos to be light, natural and relaxed and Jessica’s style was perfect. After we spoke on Skype I knew she was the right person. As we had quite a lot of guests, we also had a second shooter to capture all the action at the church (from the front and back) and during the reception while we were away having our couple’s portraits. Jessica’s photos are absolutely beautiful and throughout the day she was really discreet, and we felt so relaxed with her.


Wedding Day Drones filmed the day. This was a last-minute booking after we met Andy at the Dorfold Hall open day the week before the wedding! The drone coverage is great, and we are so pleased we hired Andy, like Jessica – he is really discreet. A few months after the wedding we received a lovely gift box with some of the drone photos and a great short film of our day, watching the film always makes me so emotional!


My mum did the flowers with a little help from her friends Liz and Carol. I had a small hand-tied bouquet of David Austin roses and white spray roses with astrantia, ranunculus anemones, sweet William, thlaspi green bell, wax flower, lots of greenery, trees ferns.

Some of the flowers were supplied by local grower, Carol’s Garden as well as our local wholesalers, and lots of friends also donated foliage from their gardens too.

I had a gorgeous headdress made from cream wax flower, as did the bridesmaids, meanwhile the flower girls had gypsophila.

We decorated the arch at the church alter with lots of avalanche roses, spray roses, small daisies and foliage and herbs. We also made little posies to tie to the pews too.

At Dorfold Hall we created little gardens for the centre of the tables using moss with lots of white and cream flowers (the same flowers that we used in the bouquets and at church), including larkspur, nigella, delphiniums, cream hypericum berries, ferns, rosemary, Alchemilla mollis, eucalyptus, green viburnum – we were always going to have a lot of flowers with my mum being a florist! My mum, her friends and I all helped out! We hired silver birch trees from Real Oasis for inside the marquee too, so the amazing height of the Sperry tent could be shown off.

The Little Paper Shop in Nantwich supplied our wedding stationery. We worked with Cara to design a simple but elegant design that we used for our invites and stationery on the day.

One of my parent’s friends, Sally, made the wedding confetti for our guests to throw at the church, and Emma Weaver provided us with slates that we wrote our guests names onto for the place settings at the reception.

For our favours, we gave our guests Damson gin that my mum and I made.


Ed’s auntie makes the most amazing cakes so choosing which flavours we wanted was tough, but we went for chocolate Guinness for the bottom tier, lemon and elderflower for the middle and white chocolate, orange and cardamom for the top – all totally delicious. The cake was decorated with cream cheese frosting and lots of edible flowers.

Ann also made a traditional fruit cake that was enjoyed with the cheese at the end of the meal.


With a Twist were our caterers and we visited their kitchens and had a tasting evening with my mum and dad (such fun and one of the best parts of planning the wedding!).

We wanted to have some of our favourite foods but also have a menu that everyone would enjoy. The food that With a Twist created is incredible and lots of our guests commented on how much they enjoyed the wedding breakfast.

For starter we had a trio of salmon: gin cured, smoked salmon and beetroot cured, with mini fishcake, lemon jelly and baby capers. Then for our main we served roast sirloin of Bowland beef, horseradish mash, Yorkshire pudding, vibrant seasonal vegetables and rich jus. To finish, we had lemon posset, ginger crumble, elderflower jelly and blackcurrant. Cheese and cake were served later on in the evening.

Escapades provided the drinks. We chose prosecco for the reception, their Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc to accompany the food and Champagne for the speeches and the toast. Later in the evening they opened the bars and a few negronis and margaritas were enjoyed!


We booked a band called The Rush, who were recommended to us by our friend who had seen them at a few weddings. We went to see them play at Albert’s Schloss in Manchester, and they were great – they got everyone dancing, just what we wanted.

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Special touches

I gave Ed some new cufflinks to wear on the wedding day. Ed gave me a beautiful antique bangle with a horseshoe, pearls and a diamond! It is so perfect, and Ed gave me this in the car after the church service on the way to Dorfold.

Our wedding rings, engagement ring and the present Ed gave me were from Thomas Glover in Shrewsbury – Catherine and Andy have wonderful tastes and their tiny shop is full of beautiful treasure!

We used Prezola for our wedding list and they have some many great brands, gift and experiences to choose from.

Thanks to

Yes, we would absolutely recommend the venue. Charles, Candice and their team tailor the day to your requirements. Despite being a relatively new venue they have a wealth of knowledge and nothing is too much trouble for them. They ensure the day runs smoothly so you can totally relax and enjoy yourselves. The rooms in the house are absolutely gorgeous too, the renovations are beautiful but Charles and Candice are also preserving all of the incredible, traditional features.

Best bit

The whole day was amazing! I loved the morning, getting ready, being with my bridesmaids and family at Dorfold. The service was great too, walking down the aisle with my dad felt very surreal, we both laughed all the way to the alter. Ed was very emotional which made me laugh even more!

Having all of our family and friends there with us was the best thing; I didn’t want the day to end.

For Ed, his highlight was the ceremony and seeing all the people we love in one place to celebrate our big day.


Straight after the wedding we went to Pembroke in South Wales for three days and then onto Cornwall, where we got engaged. In September we were very lucky to go to Kenya on safari and Zanzibar.


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, enjoy the preparation – you will never get this time again, being able to spend time with family and friends. We are both very lucky to have really supportive families, so they totally trusted us to plan the day we wanted. Relax and don’t get stressed because it is not worth it. Ed ‘s top tip is to ensure you have a well organised wife-to-be!

I loved looking at the real weddings on Brides Up North for ideas, dress and flower inspiration, and looking at what flowers would be in season for May.

The directory is also really useful.

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