Welcome to the Sheffield-based wedding of the beautiful Cat and her groom Marvin, an effortlessly cool day with a ‘not very weddingy’ theme!
Cat has had her eye on her dream wedding venue for quite some time. Watching the renovations, and then other people’s weddings from afar, waiting patiently for her own big day to come around. Fast forward a few years and all of her dreams have come true!
This laid back and loved up pair sauntered down the aisle and into wedded bliss after their big day earlier this year. Every part of their wedding was done in their own style, from the custom-made pin badges to the ‘keep it simple’ motto. Stress-free and breezy with a fresh and modern vibe and, of course, cocktails galore! Sounds like our kind of wedding! We especially love the fun juxtaposition of wedding florals and finery against the backdrop of such ordinary surroundings.
If you agree that it’s all about getting the right space for you and your favourite people to have a fantastic time and make memories, you might want to pick up some tips. After all, that joy, love and happiness is what makes the day, right? As the bride says “You can’t bottle it, or buy it, but you can create it when you surround yourself with good people.”
We catch up with Cat to find out more about how it felt to marry her perfect match, all the pretty style details that the venue organised and how important it was to her that she found her perfect dress with her favourite independent dress designer.
With images by Tim Dunk Photography
Cat says: It was the first time we visited Berlin and our hotel had a great rooftop bar, ‘The Monkey Bar’. We were enjoying a few cocktails and Marvin casually said, ‘Will you marry me?’. Equally casually, I just replied, ‘Yeah, you know I will’. We then a comedy few moments with him saying, “No I’m asking you” and me saying, “Yeah, OK”, the penny not dropping. He had to spell it out, “No, really! I. Am. Asking. You!” Once I realised what was happening, I said yes properly, and we rang our friends and family to tell them the good news. My Mum and Dad sent us some Champagne. It turned out, Marvin had asked them for their blessing the day before we flew out.
We got married on the 6th of September 2019. We knew we wanted a September wedding because we both wanted the long evening and the lush late-summer sunshine. Our ceremony was held in The Chimney House, Kelham Island in Sheffield and the afterparty was in The Mowbray.
I used to live in the apartments next to The Chimney House and I’d watched it be renovated and transformed from an old empty building into a beautiful events space. I’d seen weddings from my balcony and often thought, ‘If I ever get married, I’d like it to be there’ but when I enquired about having our event at The Chimney House, the capacity was too small and they didn’t have a spirits license. So there went my Chimney House dream. Except that the guys who renovated The Chimney House were working on another property just around the corner in Kelham Island… The Mowbray! It could not have been more perfect for us!
We both knew that we wanted something different, we would never have gone for a stately home, or hall, or church, we always wanted something modern, edgy and dare I say, ‘hipster’. The Mowbray had it all; polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls, perfect lighting, velvet curtains, tables made from old school hall flooring, chairs from another lifetime, bottles with single flowers in them, a rooftop terrace with festoon lights, a living wall in the making. It was just so ‘us’. We knew we had found the place.
We were able to have the more intimate ceremony at The Chimney House and then walk through Kelham Island (it’s always been a dream of mine to walk somewhere normal in my wedding dress!) to The Mowbray where we joined more guests and had drinks, food and dancing!
I originally organised Louisa Starr from Starr Gazing Ceremonies to conduct the ceremony, and we were going to do the registry office thing beforehand. Then, when The Chimney House was granted its licence, we worked with Lucy at The Mowbray to come up with a way to blend the two. Our registrar, Shaun, was amazing! He was so enigmatic and fun to be around. When he was pronouncing us husband and wife he said, ‘And it gives me great pleasure to say, you’ve gone and done it!’ in a big Sheffield accent. Louisa absolutely nailed it too! She put together a service about Marvin and I and our love for music, films, running, cocktails, and travel. She did it to music clips and was making a cocktail as she went along. It sounds completely random but it was so much fun. I think it brought everyone closer and showed them how we’d met and grown together. Everyone loved it, Louisa stayed with us for food and milled about with the guests all night. She was an absolute pleasure to work with we will never forget all the laughter she brought to the day.
We really didn’t want to do things just because they’re tradition. In fact, we probably did the opposite! So, I think you could call our theme, ‘not very weddingy’!
The benefit of The Chimney House and The Mowbray is that they style it for you. I used the same florist and they dressed the venues with flowers to match mine. There was no bunting or balloons, or table dressing, no chair covers etc. We didn’t want any of that. We wanted modern simplicity.
I put myself in the hands of experts when it came to things like a colour scheme. I trusted that the florists knew what they were doing and I was more than happy to be led by them and they absolutely nailed it. My dress was an unusual colour – the silk underskirt was ‘chinchilla’ colour and the lace was a dark cream, so I took swatches of the material to the florists and they picked the colour scheme. Marvin chose his suit because he liked it and it was pure magic that it all blended together.
I wore ‘Astilbe’ by a lovely independent Sheffield-based designer called Kate Beaumont.
I chose Kate because, when I lived in Sheffield, my friend Grace used to model Kate’s wedding dresses and I always loved them. The way they fit, the materials used and just the understated beauty of them. They’re different and memorable.
Kate’s dresses are a combo style; there is a silk layer underneath and then lace over the top. The base dresses come in different colours, from a traditional ivory to the chinchilla that I had. I didn’t actually pick it, it’s just the one that Kate put on me and we went from there. I tried on every dress and the one I ended up picking was probably the one I least expected.
Kate was wonderful to work with. In the end, it honestly felt like my friend had made my dress for me. She always had time to sit and chat, and to get to know me and my Mum. We talked about all sorts of things and she really took time, care and attention and wanted everything to be perfect. I miss her now that it’s all over!
I also wore baby blue Charlotte Mills shoes and this meant that the flower girls could easily wear blue. It would match Marvin’s suit too.
Marvin wore trousers, shirt and a waistcoat from Thomas Farthing, a designer based in London. Again, he wanted something a little bit different and non-traditional. He didn’t wear a suit jacket, it’s not very ‘him’.
Gemma, my Maid of Honour, wore a dress from Little Mistress. It was tricky to find her dress because of the unusual colour of my gown, but we decided to go with cream to match the flower girls’ dresses, which were from John Lewis. I live in Leicester but Gemma actually lives in Blackpool and she’d only recently had her daughter, so coordinating dress trying-on was hard! We sent lots of photos of dresses back and forth, and I bought options from ASOS and posted them up to her to try on! But it all worked out in the end and she looked beautiful, as did Mabel and Nova.
The very talented Helen Sutcliffe did our hair. I liked Helen’s subtle hairstyles and I’d seen that she’d worked with flowers in the hair. My Mum and I went to Helen’s to have our trial and she just knew exactly what I wanted – hair up but loose, with plaits and very bohemian. On the day, she was so calm and controlled, the flowers came without being stemmed and I thought that was a disaster but she worked with it and produced the most beautiful work. I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect. It really stole the show!
She also did my Mum’s and Gemma’s hair, and did a little twiddle of Mabel’s hair. They all looked stunning.
Our makeup was done by Amanda Humphreys. I stalked her on Instagram and knew she’d be perfect. I don’t wear a lot of makeup in my everyday life and didn’t want anything too glam or heavy on the day. The same went for my Mum and Gemma. Amanda just ran with it and was another ‘normal’ person who clearly loves their job. Again, on the day, she rocked up, did her thing in a calm way and added some laughs to the atmosphere and helped me get ready.
My Dad drove Gemma and I in his new Mini. It was just what I wanted; no fuss, no great big car, just us three, chilled out. My brother travelled with Marvin and Stevie.
Tim Dunk was our photographer! Would we recommend him? HELL YES! He was so much fun! Everyone has told us they loved him. We didn’t want really posy pictures. We just wanted someone in the background, capturing the moments as we’re both quite shy. He managed to get photos right from within the thick of things. His use of light and unusual spaces really nailed it for us, and he was so easy to work with. The resulting photos speak for themselves and even the ones where we had to pose a little bit were fun and not at all awkward. We would very much recommend him.
We didn’t have a videographer but I think we now wish that we had!
The flowers for the venue, my bouquet, my hair, the girls, my mum and Gemma were provided by Swallows and Damsons. They work with The Mowbray and Chimney House teams as part of the set up for weddings and events, but I would’ve picked them anyway. Their shop is beautiful, the staff are extremely knowledgeable and just ‘got’ exactly what I wanted.
They created a big, cascading, natural and unstructured bouquet for me, in dusky and muted tones of whites, blush, champagne and copper. It featured grasses, amnesia and quicksand roses, astilbe, brown lisianthus, oxypetalum with coppery foliage and eucalyptus. I wanted astilbe to be a feature because that was the name of my wedding dress.
They were also so amazingly helpful when we realised after the flowers had been delivered that we were one wrist corsage missing because I hadn’t ordered enough! Oops! They quickly made another one and sent it over to us in a taxi!.
We had amazing, bespoke pins badges made by a legend of a guy called Sam from Sam T Made It. He was so brill to work with. He was so chilled and all we had to do was send him photos of Marvin and I, he came up with an image of us and we worked with him on the design. The favours had our own personalised backing card and were delivered all ready to go. Everyone loved the pins and said how ‘us’ they were. We even gave the suppliers that we worked with one each as a thank you too.
We had a two-tiered fruit cake, made by my mum. We weren’t that bothered about having one but Mum really wanted to make one for us and we’re so glad that she did. It looked beautiful decorated with a cake topper provided by the florists.
We didn’t want a sit-down traditional wedding breakfast and instead wanted people to mingle and be stood up. We opted for the ‘Yorkshire Grazing Table’, which is one of the menu options provided by The Mowbray. Their food changes with the seasons and it is all locally sourced, which was important to us. Unfortunately neither of us ate anything on the day! But we heard that the food was completely out of this world! There was a chicken pie, salmon, salads, all kinds of things. Dessert was Bakewell Tarts.
The Mowbray have a cocktail menu and had espresso on tap for all the martinis people wanted. We had a welcome drink of a delicious Southside cocktail, which we discovered in a little basement bar in Shoreditch one weekend in London.
Marvin created the playlist for the whole day. Music is his thing and his passion, in particular disco and soul music, and so he put hours and hours into creating a playlist for the ceremony and reception. Our friends share the same taste in music and we knew that this would be the best option for us, rather than having live entertainment. A lot of us go to the Liverpool Disco Festival every year, and Marvin and his mates have done a lot of Southport Weekenders in the past, so this was a really great opportunity to play music we knew everyone would love.
Thanks to our venue! Absolutely. We would definitely recommend it to another couple, especially if they are looking for a drama-free wedding. They did everything and it all worked like clockwork. Neither of us worried about anything and we had complete faith in the teams and suppliers. I don’t think we could have asked for more, a better service or be made to feel any more special.
It’s so hard to say which was the best bit really. It is true what they say, it goes so fast and it’s all a blur. I think we enjoyed the atmosphere the most, so much love and happiness. You can’t bottle it, or buy it, but you can create it when you surround yourself with good people.
We spent two weeks touring around California in a convertible Beetle. It was heaven. We flew into San Francisco and, after a few days there and lots of sightseeing, we headed down Route 1 to Big Sur for a night. We had a meal at Sierra Mar and drove across the Big Little Lies bridge. From Big Sur we carried on to Los Angeles and biked up into the hills to The Observatory. After a day wandering up and down Melrose, our next stop was Palm Springs, taking in Joshua Tree at night for some stargazing, then up the 395 to Bishop and onto Yosemite for three days of trekking and hiking around. Then we headed back to San Francisco. It was exhilarating. We made some fantastic memories.
Our advice would be to enjoy the process, don’t get caught up in the hype and stay true to your own style and identities. Be who you are as a couple and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to tradition or to outside influences. Less is definitely more!
Talk to your suppliers before committing to them, anyone who is willing to ring you and put up with looking at you sideways on Facetime because you can’t both fit on the screen otherwise (hello Tim!) is worth more than anything money can buy!