Real Weddings

Topshop Bridal for a contemporary winter wedding at The Millenium Gallery – Chelsea and Ash

17th January 2020 | Sarah Symonds

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We’re absolutely loving the sheer simplicity of this edgy and down to earth celebration in Sheffield. The stunning high street wedding dress, the perfect half-price suit and the ideal blank canvas city centre venue. Put ‘em together and what have you got? The most beautiful and chic winter wedding, of course!

Prepare for sleek and elegant meets fresh and frosty simplicity with an abundance of winter foliage! If inner-city-chic is your jam then make sure you read on for details and photos of our loved up pair tying the knot in style at the industrial Millenium Gallery.

Props to gorgeous bride Chelsea for staying true to herself during the (sometimes overwhelming!) planning process, when it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour. It really goes to show that you don’t always have to follow the crowd to achieve wedding perfection. Just keep it simple, cupid.

With photography by S6 Photography

Proposal

Chelsea says: We’d booked a holiday to Corfu in Greece, around the time of our six year anniversary. I was pregnant with our son and had hyperemesis, but when we arrived my nausea settled and my appetite returned for the first time since being pregnant. He had planned to propose to me on our first night there and kept asking to go for an evening walk on the beach after dinner, but I scuppered his plans by choosing to have a pre-dinner nap. The sun had gone down by the time we ate and I didn’t want to walk on the beach in the dark. I told him we’d do it the next night and go earlier while the sun was setting, so it was still light.

On the second night we got ready earlier, went for dinner and headed down to the pool bar to get some drinks before heading to the beach. The hotel was on a cliff overlooking the beach and the ocean. I stood at the edge of the pool terrace taking photos of the sun setting over the sea while Ash went to get our drinks. When he came back, I was still taking photos as he started telling me how much he loved me and how excited he was about starting our family. The next thing I knew he was down on one knee beside me with a ring in his hand asking me to marry him. Of course I said yes and we both teared up, before finally having that walk along the beach. All of our friends and family had known for months that he’d been planning to propose to me while we were away and I’d had no idea!

Setting

We got married on the 16th February 2019. We’d gone back and forth on a few dates before settling on this one. Originally we had planned to marry in the summer, around the time of our anniversary, however in the process of planning we decided we wanted to do it sooner and I started to fall in love with the idea of a winter wedding. We both work in education and we knew we wanted some time off after the wedding so we planned it for the first weekend of the February half term.

Deciding on a venue was difficult and I changed my mind so many times. When we first started planning it was going to be a church ceremony and a barn reception in a countryside village, but throughout the planning process, and whilst trying on dresses, I was being drawn to more contemporary, minimal styles that just didn’t fit with the country venues. Neither of us are religious and we started to feel like we wanted a more personal approach to our ceremony. I love Sheffield and all of the wonderful industrial, quirky and minimalist spaces it has, so I looked at numerous warehouses and art spaces. In the end we decided to go with the Millennium Gallery and had our ceremony and reception in the Arundel room. I loved the blank white space, tall ceilings and the floor to ceiling glass wall that provides views of Sheffield. It’s a minimalists dream space and a complete black canvas.

Theme

I love everything simplistic, clean and minimal but not clinical. I wanted a blank, white space with some industrial features and lots of winter foliage/greenery, candle light and festoon lights to create a romantic, intimate feel to the space. So I would say my dress, bridesmaids and overall theme for the day was minimal and contemporary, with a touch of industrial chic. We’re both fuss free, easy going people and I feel this reflects our personal style. I am a very ‘less is more’ kind of girl.

The main colours for the day were white, black and greens. The white space with black details – such as the chairs, the industrial candle holders and signage – all helped create a clean and minimal look, and the dark greens in the groomsmen suits, bridesmaid’s dresses and all the seasonal foliage added some warmth and a wintery feel.

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Dress

I had been to a few bridal boutiques and tried various styles of dresses. I always pictured myself in something very bohemian, maybe a lace dress or a two piece with a floaty skirt. But they just didn’t feel right, and made me feel more of a flower girl than a bride. I started being drawn to very simple, minimal, contemporary slip style satin dresses and Pinterest had me lusting over the edgy yet elegant designs of Rime Arodaky and Charlie Brear.

I fell in love with a simple satin slip dress that I was planning on saying yes to but, one night while I was questioning all my previous venue planning I discovered a Topshop Bridal dress that was so similar to the one I had loved in the boutique. It was everything I had been wanting with a very affordable price tag. Our whole wedding was on a tight budget and the dress was never something I felt entirely comfortable spending thousands on. So I ordered the dress to try on and absolutely fell in love when it arrived. I wore it with a long plain veil that was my something borrowed from one of my bridesmaids, an All Saints leather jacket and some dark green pointed court heels from New Look to tie in with the groomsmen and bridesmaids.

Groomsmen

We knew we wanted dark green suits, as he’d tried one on the previous year in Next and we both loved the colour. When we came to look for suits for the wedding a year later there were NO green suits to be found anywhere and it was driving us crazy! Eventually we found one from River Island which we bought, the downside being it didn’t have a matching waistcoat. Four weeks later, we were looking for something for our son to wear in Debenhams when I spotted a flash of dark green in the men’s suit section. I rushed over to discover a three piece Ben Sherman dark green suit that was everything we had wanted. Needless to say we took the River Island one back and ordered the Ben Sherman suit for Ash and the groomsmen. It was an added bonus that, by the time the sizes arrived in and we came to pay for them, the suit had been reduced to half price! Ash paired his suit with black brogues from River Island and a black-bow tie.

Bridesmaids

My bridesmaids wore emerald green satin slip dresses by Ghost London. They both looked incredible and the colour suited them both so much! It was important to me that they be in a similar style dress to myself as I wanted to maintain a simple, minimal style throughout.

Beauty

Our hair and makeup was done by the incredible Jenn Edwards & Co. We had Jenn on hair and Kelly on makeup.

I first discovered them at the Indie Wedding Fair in Sheffield and fell in love with their natural style. I don’t wear a lot of makeup and have always hated being too made-up by makeup artists in the past.

Travel

We stayed in the St Paul’s Mercure Hotel the night before the wedding, so my bridesmaids and I just took a short walk through the winter gardens and into the Millennium Gallery.

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Photographer

We had the amazing Jon from S6 Photography! I’d seen some of his photos years earlier and had decided he was the only one I wanted to photograph my wedding day.

Jon is incredibly friendly and laid back, He’s super easy to get along with and fantastically good at what he does. He somehow manages to be everywhere, getting all those amazing shots, without you even noticing he was there. He captured the day perfectly and was my absolute must-have when planning our wedding.

Videographer

Jon, our photographer, also videoed our day and created us an absolutely beautiful highlights film.

Styling

I had a wonderfully huge bouquet of winter foliage created by Catherine of Sweet Pea and Thyme. I much prefer foliage and greenery to flowers and wanted a wild, super-sized bouquet that tied in to our winter wedding. It was everything I had hoped it would be.

Catherine worked with us to meet our budget requirements and, as well as creating the bouquets and buttonholes, she provided us with a DIY bucket of Eucalyptus, Ferns and French Ruscus. Myself and my bridesmaids dressed the venue and tables the day before the wedding. The styling and sourcing was very much a DIY job. I loved getting stuck into the designing of our day and spending the time the day before with my bridal party, bringing it all together, was one of my favourite moments. It really felt like a labour of love, and got us all excited for the day itself.

I spent a horrendous amount of hours scrolling the internet, Pinterest and blogs including Brides Up North to inspire ideas for the day. The most useful things I found when searching for inspiration were the Brides Up North ‘Real Weddings’. Looking at other winter weddings in particular and the different colours and styling that others had chosen for their weddings.

Cake

My best friend makes the most delicious cakes. Myself and Ash originally weren’t all that fussed on having a wedding cake as we’re not huge cake people, and not very traditional, but when my friend offered to make us one we thought it would make for a tasty dessert after our meal.

She created a three tier cake and each tier was a different flavour. We had chocolate, lemon, and Victoria sponge and it all went down a treat with the guests.

Dining

I wasn’t interested in a big fancy wedding breakfast with multiple courses and delicacies, so we opted for good old pie, mash and peas for our meal, with a splash of Hendersons!

Entertainment

We wanted every bit of our day to feel personal and keep it all about our friends and family and the things we love. With this in mind, we asked our good friends The Sharrow if they would perform at our wedding. We love their music and they are very treasured friends of ours so it just felt right to have our friends perform on the day.

We also wanted to book a DJ to play around the bands performance and went with Stephen from SCC Entertainment.

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Best bit

My favourite part of the day has to be the ceremony itself – walking down the aisle to see my family, friends and my new husband at the end of the aisle, waiting for me – that is what it’s all about after all!

We asked a couple of our family members to give readings in the ceremony. We asked Ash’s sister to choose something to surprise us with on the day and she wrote a lovely short poem for us. I don’t have a sister, but my cousin Donna has felt very much like an older sister to me growing up, she has been a role model to me and has supported me at every stage of my life. I wanted her to have a part in our day, kind of a ‘sister equivalent’, to demonstrate how much I appreciate everything she has done and continues to do for me. She chose an adapted version of The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach and some words from Bob Marley.

Honeymoon

We haven’t yet had our real honeymoon. A few days after the wedding we booked a mini moon and stayed in the Swinton Bivouac Estate Hotel in Masham, North Yorkshire for a night.

It was incredibly luxurious and just a lovely way to relax after all the wedding planning and celebrating was over. We’re not sure where we’d like to go for our ‘real honeymoon’ and family life has definitely taken priority for the time being.

Advice

My advice for another bride would be to do it YOUR way.

Don’t feel the pressure to have certain traditions just because it’s the done thing. It’s your wedding and the main thing is that you’re marrying the person you love. I know some people believe the little details matter and everyone remembers them, and this may be controversial but I don’t believe that to be the case. I think you should just have fun, do what’s right for you and keep the things that are important to you. Everyone forgets what favours were given, or even what food you had so just do you!

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