Kickstart your 2020 planning by discovering today’s gorgeous real wedding: namely, Alex and Ryan’s stylish and timeless nuptials, which saw them tie the knot at St Peter’s Stonyhurst Church followed by a reception at Mitton Hall in Lancashire.
With over two years to plan their dream day, this couple had plenty of time to work out the details that mattered to them. Flowers were key to the styling of their celebration, with a floral archway doubling as the entrance to their ceremony venue (an atmospheric local church) and the backdrop for their top table.
However, whilst fresh blooms and fragrant foliage were top of the list, Alex also wanted faux fleurs, too, so she could keep them long after the big day and even incorporate them into the decor of their home. Clever, no?
Fantastic entertainment – think a string quartet, sax player, wedding singer and a DJ – and a menu that will almost certainly make your mouth water ensured the party was pitch-perfect for this couple and their loved ones. Keep reading to get all the details of their gorgeous day – and for some serious decorative inspiration, too. Enjoy!
With photography by Lottie Designs.
It was Valentine’s Day 2017 and we were on holiday: a skiing trip in Tremblant, Canada, with my parents. One day, Ryan suggested using an Early Tracks pass so we could be amongst the first up on the mountain and go on a run we’d done earlier in the week.
It was a lovely sunny day and when Ryan said I should take my helmet off for a photograph, I did as I was told – and when I turned around, he was down on one knee and holding a ring!
We got married on October 12 2019. Ryan didn’t have much preference on when we got married but I didn’t want to be hot and bothered so didn’t want to risk a hot summer’s day. What I did want was lots of twinkly lights and candles and for it to be dark in the evening. We agreed on autumn and knew we wanted a Saturday date. Our venue had the 12th available, which was perfect!
We got married at St Peter’s Stonyhurst in Clitheroe. My mum and dad often went to Stonyhurst and had said how beautiful it was. Father Tim agreed to marry us and we are so thankful for that – it was just the most stunning place to get married.
We had our reception at Mitton Hall. We fell in love with it the first time we visited: it was the second venue we’d seen and we knew it was the place for us. We absolutely loved the Great Hall with its open fire, as well as the amazing main reception room with the Orangery. The whole venue is very us!
The team at Mitton Hall were wonderful: nothing was ever too much trouble. They answered all our (my!) endless questions in the run-up to the wedding and made sure everything ran like a dream on the day.
We booked the wedding back in April 2017 so had two-and-a-half years to plan. During this time, we went through pretty much every theme, liking them all for different reasons. In the end, we decided we wanted to keep it simple but elegant. We loved the church and Mitton Hall as our ceremony and reception venues and didn’t want to distract from either; so, we decided to keep it simple and elegant.
We loved the idea of lots of white and ivory flowers, with lashings of greenery. In fact, I’m pretty sure there must have been a eucalyptus shortage after our wedding! We still wanted some colour to add warmth with it being autumn – we both loved burgundy so included pops of it throughout, which pulled the whole look together.
Before I even started looking at wedding dresses, I thought I was going to be torn between a fitted dress and a big princess-style gown. As I started trying them on, I was torn between the two styles.
In the end, I chose an Allure Bridals dress, which I bought from Emma Hartley in Colne; Emily at Sew in Love made me a big skirt. I wore the big skirt for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, then took it off for the evening reception and wore my fitted dress! After some tweaking, it was absolutely perfect for me.
Ryan is 6’8” tall, so finding things that fit him well is always a little tricky. We enquired about hiring at a few shops but they said they wouldn’t be able to cater for him! Eventually, we found him a navy suit with a grey woollen waistcoat, all from Next.
The groomsman wore the same as Ryan just with a different tie and pocket square.
Our bridesmaids and flower girl dresses were from Dessy; we got them from Emma Hartley.
The bridesmaids travelled to the church in my dad’s car and Ryan went in his stepdad’s car.
My dad and I travelled in a Rolls Royce that we hired from People 2 Places, which then took Ryan and I from the church to Mitton Hall.
Our photographer was Lottie Designs and we couldn’t recommend her enough! She was so much fun and so chilled out on the day. She went above and beyond: not only did she take amazing pictures but she also helped us deal with dress emergencies, rounded up all 130-plus of our guests and kept us laughing all day long!
We booked Daniel and Lauren from Marriage In Motion. They were both brilliant! Again, as with Lottie, they were so relaxed and friendly; Ryan and I really enjoyed having them there to capture our special day.
My bridal bouquet was created by Daisy Chain in Burnley. It featured eucalyptus with ivory roses and peonies.
We perhaps got a little carried away with our styling but I wouldn’t have changed a thing! We had two floral arrangements in the church and an artificial archway around the front entrance, which the florist then moved to Mitton Hall where it acted as an archway behind the top table.
I really wanted some artificial flowers so I could keep them after the big day – and they’re now scattered around our house! We had an amazing arrangement along the top table: six large floral table arrangements with hanging candles, as well as seven sets of vases with floating candles and flowers around the base.
All our flowers were created by Daisy Chain and they were absolutely amazing. We couldn’t have asked for anymore, and they were so reasonably priced!
Another detail I loved were the confetti canons, which were set off during our first dance. They made for some great photos!
We ordered some chocolate hearts wrapped in silver foil, which we put in little jars from IKEA; we attached our own labels, which had ‘with love from Mr & Mrs Gill’ printed on them.
We also provided gift bags for all the children to keep them busy!
We had a three-tier wedding cake with another cake for cutting. We kept it simple decoration-wise and had four flavours: white chocolate and raspberry, sticky toffee pudding, strawberry and vanilla.
It was made by Maria Dobson Cake Design and it looked and tasted fab!
Everything was provided by Mitton Hall. We attended a menu tasting evening with my parents in July 2018 and could give our guests three options to choose from for each course.
For the starter, guests could choose from leek and potato soup, salmon fish cake or smoked salmon and gravadlax. For the main, they could pick from roast pork with all the trimmings, baked back of cod or cheese and spinach souffle; and for dessert, there was vanilla pannacotta, sticky toffee pudding or lemon tart with raspberry sorbet.
Leos Strings string quartet played at the church and then for an hour at our drinks’ reception – my mum in particular was really looking forward to hearing them!
We then had May Crick – aka Girl On Sax – playing saxophone at the drinks’ reception after Leos Strings. We had Howard Wing performing all day and into the evening – wow! He was amazing. My mum and dad had been to a wedding and seen Howard perform and said he was brilliant, so we arranged to meet up with him. He was just great from the first time we met him. May played again in the evening alongside our DJ, Dave Jones.
We honestly can’t choose a single moment – it was all just amazing! We both loved being in the car on the journey from the church to Mitton Hall, when we had just got married and it was just the two of us.
We went away the week after the wedding with my parents – we went to Barbados and they booked us into Sandals Barbados for four nights, which was amazing! We have booked our ‘official’ honeymoon for April 2020. We’re going to Vegas for three nights, Maui for a week and then back home via New York for three nights. Needless to say, we can’t wait.
Enjoy the planning, run-up and the day itself – it all goes so fast. As much as the little details might feel like a big deal beforehand, don’t let them take over!