We have an urban luxe beauty of a wedding to inspire your big day planning today, complete with seasonal blooms, thoughtful details and carefully chosen music.
Visiting Holmes Mill for the first time during a Brides Up North wedding fair, no less, Ashleigh and Chris were so smitten with the venue that they booked it there and then. With a spring 19 wedding on the cards, the couple worked together to design a day that represented them and their love story perfectly.
Oh, and what a day! Filling their character-rich venue with foliage and blooms for a wild-yet-sophisticated look, this relaxed, romantic celebration is positively brimming over with pretty. Pinterest boards at the ready, people!
With images by Madison Picture
Ashleigh says: On Christmas Day 2017, Chris surprised me with a trip to Budapest for the following February. On our second night in Budapest, we went to a lovely steak house, which was at the bottom of the hill that leads to Buda Castle and The Fisherman’s Bastion fortress. Chris had planned that following the meal, we would walk up to the Bastion as it overlooked the River Danube and you could see all of Budapest lit up.
When we got to the top, it was snowing quite heavily. We were on the balcony overlooking the river when Chris got down on one knee and proposed!
We got married on Saturday 4th May 2019. I always liked the idea of getting married over the May Bank Holiday; I really love that time of year and had previously been to a couple of May weddings where the weather had been perfect.
Our first visit to Holmes Mill was in April 2018; the venue was hosting a wedding fair with Brides Up North. As soon as we began to look around, we knew it was where we wanted to get married and that nowhere else would compare. I asked one of the wedding planners for the availability of the following year and they only had one Saturday left – the May bank holiday! The date was perfect as was the venue, so we booked it there and then.
Holmes Mill is such an original venue and there are so many different aspects to it; I first heard about it from my dad as he had been to Bowland Brewery before, which is part of the same space. I then found out they did weddings and when we first visited knew it was perfect for us.
We had both our ceremony and wedding reception in the function room, while the drinks reception was held in the Engine Room. The function room has a really stripped-back feel and would look amazing even with nothing added to it. The whole place has so much character and is a perfect mix of original features and modern touches. Our wedding planner Mike was amazing on the day and did everything possible to make sure it ran seamlessly.
We didn’t have a particular theme but I knew I wanted lots of flowers and lights.
We had a flower arch for the ceremony and sprigs of wild flowers attached to the aisle chairs. Our florist sprayed the arch silver and we had flower arrangements at the base of the arch (my mum kept these in her garden for a few weeks after the wedding and they lasted ages!). We had two giant tassel balloons for the entrance to the ceremony room, which we ordered from Balloonsmith.
My mum’s friend came to the venue in the morning and fitted lights around all the pillars in the function room; they framed the dancefloor in the evening and looked amazing.
My friend, Paige Cartledge Illustrations, designed our invites, orders of the day, welcome sign, table plan and favours.
Our main colour scheme was navy and blush; all the suits were navy and the bridesmaid dresses were ‘taupe blush’. I wanted the colours to be pretty simple: white, navy and blush, with hints of deeper pinks and dark greens.
I’ve been following Pronovias on Instagram for years – their dresses are so elegant and I knew I wanted my gown to be by them!
When looking for Pronovia stockists, I found Knutsford Wedding Gallery and booked an appointment there. My dress was the third one I tried on and I knew it was perfect for me: I loved how simple yet subtly detailed subtle it was, with elements like clear beading and textured fabric. I have a necklace that contains my grandad’s ashes, and I had that sewn into one of the gown’s pockets. The necklace is my most loved possession and it meant a lot to me to have him with me through the day.
My veil was by Made With Love Bridal who are based in Australia. I had seen the veil on their Instagram, paired with a similar style dress to mine. I was made up to discover they had a stockist in Altrincham, LOVE Bridal Boutique, meaning I was able to try it on before ordering.
I really loved the bridesmaid dresses and they all looked so beautiful in them. The dresses were by Maya and I bought them from ASOS. The top part of the dresses were sequin and appeared twinkly in the lighting of the ceremony room.
My flower girl Dottie wore a matching Maya dress in their mini range, which was from Next.
The only thing in the wedding that Chris wanted to choose was the suits; he wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, with brown and navy shoes that he bought from Slaters.
The groomsmen and our dads all wore the same three-piece suit as Chris, with pale pink ties and brown shoes.
Myself, the bridesmaids and my mum all had our makeup applied by Amy at ORA Makeup. ORA specialise in bridal makeup and they are amazing!
Our hair was styled by Charlotte McGurk Hair. Charlotte was so lovely from start to finish and my hair stayed perfect for two days!
We stayed at The Spinning Block, which is an on-site hotel at Holmes Mill, meaning we didn’t need to travel. Chris drove to the venue on the morning of the wedding with his best man and got ready at The Spinning Block too.
The team at Madison Picture were our photographers and I can’t recommend them enough! They’re amazing, as are the quality of the pictures.
Both Nick and Paul photographed the day, and they are so lovely and easy to get on with. They were totally discreet and captured everything. We absolutely love our photos and I’ve already recommended them to a couple of friends who are due to get married!
Jo Gendle Films was our videographer; she had filmed my friend’s wedding a couple of years earlier so I knew she was good.
In the nicest possible way, I didn’t notice Jo was there! She captured the whole day so subtly and the film is a lovely keepsake.
Our florist was Flowers with Passion who are based in Longridge. I planned the wedding around a photo of a bouquet I had found on Pinterest that I loved. I showed the photo to my florist and we planned all the flowers from that; whites, pale and deep pinks, greys and greenery.
I’d discussed with the florist that I wanted the flowers to look wild but still classy; they created just what I was hoping for and the flowers were a dream.
My bouquet included peonies, which are my favourite flowers,as well as astilbe, astrantia, roses, lisianthus and grey and green foliage. The bridesmaids carried smaller versions of mine. My flower girl Dottie carried a twig hoop wrapped with foliage and flowers, which doubled up as a flower crown.
I styled the wedding reception with dusky pink candles and bunches of wild flowers as the centrepieces, with a neon light from Brides Little Helper attached to the flower arch to give the room a different feel from the ceremony.
In place of favours we donated to Willowbrook Hospice, which is a charity very close to our hearts. We bought each of our guests a Willowbrook badge and bought glittery heart-shaped lollipops for the kids.
My mum made our wedding cake and my sister decorated it with her. We had three separate cakes decorated with silver leaf and macaroons; each cake was a different flavour. In the run-up to the wedding my mum baked several varieties of cake for us to try and we decided on lemon sponge, white chocolate with pistachio and white chocolate and raspberry.
For our drinks reception, we had Pimms and IPA from Bowland Brewery. The IPA was in personalised beer bottles which we designed ourselves with Holmes Mill.
Chris and I are big foodies so it was important to us that we had a great menu. Our canapes were sausage rolls, monkfish and potato, lamb sliders and veggie mini club sandwiches. We gave our guests a choice for each course of the wedding breakfast; either tempura vegetables or ham hock for the starter, and sirloin steak, chicken breast or vegetarian mixed grill for the main course. The deserts were lemon tart and sticky toffee pudding.
For our evening food, we chose tiger rolls filled with an option of smoked bacon, fish fingers or portobello mushrooms.
Our evening entertainment were a band called The Wilde Ones provided by Jonny Ross Music and they were fab!
Me and Chris have different tastes in music, so I knew I wanted to represent both of our styles. We had a band playing Chris’s favourite artists, such as Arctic Monkeys, then had a saxophone and DJ for afterwards. Everyone was on the dancefloor until the music finished and the saxophone was one of my favourite things about the day.
My entrance song for our ceremony was Gravity by Embrace and we walked out to Whatever by Oasis.
My favourite memory is from the end of the night; all my friends and family were in a circle on the dancefloor for the last song, Champagne Supernova. It was the best feeling ever knowing the day had been everything we’d hoped for and seeing everyone enjoy themselves.
We’re going to Mauritius in September this year for two weeks of relaxation and neither of us can wait! I’m glad we’ve had a few months in between as it’s something for us to look forward to at the end of the summer.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to just really live in the moment – it’s unlikely there’s going to be another time where you have all your friends and family in one place and it’s such a nice feeling that they’re all there for you!
One tip that’s been passed through my friends who have got married is to make sure you look up when you’re walking down the aisle and take everything in. I thought this part would be really daunting but it was one of my favourite parts of the day! It’s amazing seeing everybody for the first time and knowing you have your whole wedding day ahead of you.