After travelling all around France, on the hunt for the perfect chateau, Laura and Chris found their dream venue much closer to home!
Half an hour away in fact! It turns out that the beautiful Somerford Hall in Staffordshire, has everything the happy couple wanted. That dreamy French chateau style that they were hunting for… just not in France!
Instead, we’re in the English countryside at Easter, for a classically pretty and utterly timeless spring day. With a simple all-white colour scheme, subtly accented with soft touches of pale lilac and navy, the whole day looks as elegant as can be. And it was all planned in a mere six months! Last minute doesn’t always mean you have to settle for anything less!
If you’re planning your own big day and feel like you’re fast running out of time, you might be looking to pick up some tips for venue styling or the dress hunt. Read on to get the lowdown on all the details from this gorgeous big day.
With photography by Wyldbee Photography
laura says: Chris and I got engaged in Paris. It was one of the first places we visited together and it’s one of my favourite cities. We booked a weekend break with some friends in November 2016, and Chris popped the question on a walk along the Seine!
Our wedding date was Saturday 20th of April 2019. When we went to view the venue in October, they mentioned that they had a cancellation for this date. It was perfect as it was Easter, meaning it was also Bank Holiday weekend. We decided to go ahead and book, leaving us six months to plan! I always knew I didn’t want to plan my wedding for more than a year in advance, but I think it’s safe to say I slightly underestimated how stressful the planning would be!
We got married at Somerford Hall in Brewood. We had both the ceremony and reception there.
We spent months trying to find the perfect venue! Originally, we wanted to get married in France and went to view three chateaus which were all amazing, but then my mum’s hairdresser mentioned Somerford and it was perfect! It was exactly what we were looking for and only 30 minutes away from home – I still can’t believe we travelled all around France and the perfect venue was on our doorstep!
Somerford sits within several acres of land so is totally secluded and exclusive which is exactly what we wanted. There was accommodation on site and other hotels/B&B’s nearby which was also great for us as a lot of guests travelled quite far to be there.
We didn’t really want a colour scheme for the wedding. I really wanted everything to look quite timeless so almost everything was white. The bridesmaids’ dresses were pale lilac and the groomsmen wore navy.
When I started dress shopping, I decided I wanted something simple but not boring. I tried on so many dresses in various shops and just didn’t feel myself in them. I went into a local WED2B with one of my bridesmaids and found an embellished dress that I loved and I bought it the next day. I worked with a local seamstress to change some details and alter the fit slightly. I also added the belt which I bought separately. In the end the dress was an absolute steal!
My veil was from Britten Weddings. I came across them online and they specialise in bridal accessories. I was so pleased with it – it arrived within a couple of days in a gorgeous box with a handwritten good luck note, which was lovely.
Chris and my dad wore ‘Tailor Me’ suits from Moss Bros, which I would definitely recommend. You choose all the details (fabric, lining, buttons) and then they make the suit to measure. You can also have the wedding date embroidered onto the inside pocket, which is a really nice touch. Once we had Chris’ suit, we matched it up with navy suits from Next for the groomsmen. Their ties were from Debenhams and the shoes were from Next too.
Our hair was done by a local hairdresser called Chloe Forrester, who was recommended by a friend, and we all did our own makeup.
We hired Wyldbee Photography as our photographer and we would 1000% recommend her. I came across Sophie on Instagram and fell in love with her photography style. We were so lucky that she was free so last minute.
Sophie made us feel at ease throughout the day and captured the most amazing candid shots, which is exactly what I wanted. As you can see from the photos, she is mega talented!
We didn’t have a videographer and this is my only regret! We did get a couple of quotes, but we just couldn’t fit it into our budget at the time. In hindsight I really wish we’d just booked one anyway!
My flowers were provided by my friend, Meg. She runs The Tiny Leaf Florist in Leek. My bridesmaids and I had white bouquets made up of Roses, Lisianthus, Wax Flower and Ranunculus with Eucalyptus and Olive foliage. The flower girls had baskets filled with white petals.
On our tables we had candelabras that were provided by our florist. We had flowers around them, and they were perfect! We also had some small bouquets in glass vases, and flowers at the bottom of the staircase.
We hired an amazing blossom arch from Bells & Bows Event Dressing. We popped into a local wedding fayre nearby so that we could see them in person, and just booked straight away. We had the arch at the beginning of the aisle during the ceremony and once that was over, they moved it into the wedding breakfast room, where it stayed during the meal and reception. We also rented a post box from them for the cards.
As it was Easter, we had jars with small chocolate eggs inside.
We ordered a white four tier cake from Marks and Spencer and I was so pleased with it. We chose sponge and red velvet, and it tasted amazing. I asked Meg, our florist, to put together some flowers for the top and it looked great. The whole cake cost under £150 so, if you’re looking for a cheaper cake option, I would definitely recommend this!
One of the best things about our venue was that we could provide all of our own day time drinks, corkage free. Following the ceremony we served Hugos (a cocktail made of gin, elderflower and prosecco) and various bottled beers. During the meal we had wine.
The Somerford Hall food menu is quite traditional. We had soup and roast chicken for the wedding breakfast, and we chose afternoon tea style cakes/pastries for dessert. I loved this idea because I’d never seen it at a wedding before and it allowed guests to choose as much or as little dessert as they wanted. In the evening we had a gourmet burger bar and the wedding cake.
During the wedding ceremony and reception drinks we had a harpist, Jessica Louise. She plays a mix of classic and contemporary and it was perfect!
For our evening reception we had a five-piece band. We booked Alley Catz on the recommendation of one of my colleagues. We listened to a couple of their performances online and got in touch with them to book. I couldn’t recommend them enough – they were amaaaazing! They’re based in London but travel all over the UK playing pop/soul/R&B – everything from Stevie Wonder to TLC!
We would absolutely 100% recommend Somerford Hall! The event organisers were amazing and really accommodating – nothing was ever too much. One of the things I love about the venue is that they never have more than two weddings per week. So, they get to spend a lot of time with you, making sure everything is exactly as you want it. All of our guests commented on how friendly the staff were and they all made the day run seamlessly.
We were so lucky that we were able to get married outside. Ever since we booked, I had my heart set on an outdoor wedding (I got a few funny looks considering we were getting married in the middle of April) and it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year! The whole ceremony was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
Apart from the ceremony itself, the band were my favourite part! Choosing a band over a DJ was the best decision we made. They were amazing and everyone was on the dancefloor all night!
We booked a last-minute trip to Spain straight after the wedding and spent a week chilling out. Our official honeymoon is in November. We’ll be going to Orlando with our little boy! I’m glad we booked for later on in the year because it’s given us something to look forward to once the wedding excitement subsided.
I know everybody always says it but the day goes so fast! So, my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take as much time as you can to relax and take everything in, and spend little moments together.
On the run up to the wedding, try not to stress about the small things. Up until the day of our wedding I was worried about the silliest things, and once the day came, I forgot about them all. Everything works out in the end!
When I was planning the wedding, I loved looking at the real weddings and inspiration features on the Brides Up North site. The online directory is a massive help too!