Real Weddings

Maggie Sottero for a Relaxed Wedding at Quarry Bank Mill – Megan & James

09th June 2020 | Sarah Symonds

It’s a midsummer day’s dream today on the blog, as we’re bringing you the delightful country garden style wedding of Megan and James.

This wedding is simply packed with pretty florals and elegant touches. From the impactful blossom tree centrepieces echoing the picturesque and quintessentially English surroundings, to the stunning blush pink ombre three-tier cake of dreams, this sweet-as-sugar celebration is practically perfect in every way.

Feast your eyes on the gorgeous photography and soak up the laughter and look of love shared by our happy couple while you hunt for your own wedding planning inspo. Megan glows in her classic Maggie Sottero lace gown, which looks especially beautiful offset by the all-out sparkle in the bridesmaids blush sequin gowns and the maroon ties of the groomsmen. But not even the sequin bling can outshine the evident happiness of these two love birds giggling at each other. Let’s hear more from Megan herself…

With photography by Leah Lombardi Photography


Megan says: We got engaged at Quarry Bank Mill in December 2016. It’s a beautiful place we go a lot to walk our dog, and we both love it. James had it planned with the staff that we would just go for a walk around as usual, but at the end he would take me into the gardens that were closed to the public for the winter and get down on one knee! It was lovely because it was just us, and a complete surprise. It was so perfect that we decided to have our wedding there two and a half years later!


We chose August 22nd 2019 because we were hoping for good weather, as we knew we wanted some parts of the wedding outside. We also chose a Thursday because we had a lot of guests coming from Ireland and it meant a long weekend for them (and it was more affordable!)

We had the ceremony in Norcliffe Chapel, Styal Village. We chose this chapel because it’s next to the mill, just a few mins walk through a field, and it’s a really picturesque little church, the Minister, Bob, was lovely and really put us at ease.

The reception was at Quarry Bank Mill. Obviously it felt special because we got engaged there, but we also loved the mix of it being an industrial mill with traditional English country gardens. We had the drinks reception in the upper gardens with amazing views of the mill and River Bollin, and the meal and evening reception on the top floor of the mill.


We wanted a wedding that was relaxed, and that reflected us as much as possible. We chose Quarry Bank Mill because it wasn’t a typical wedding venue, and tried to then reflect that in the theme. We had lots of floral arrangements with blossom trees and wildflowers to echo those growing in the gardens, and lots of Edison bulbs to reflect the industrial side of the mill.

Our colour scheme was blush, cream, burgundy and we added a little pop of colour with a few wildflowers. Basically all my favourite colours!


My dress was from Blush Boutique in Uppermill, who I couldn’t recommend more if I tried! The dress was a fitted lace style by Maggie Sottero with the most amazing train and embroidered veil. I’d wear it everyday if I could! My mum chose the dress in the end. I had originally an idea of what I wanted in my head, but when I tried that style of dress on I realised it wasn’t me, so the dress I went for eventually was completely different to what I had thought I had wanted. Basically, Mums know best!


James wore a navy suit from Slaters, and a burgundy printed tie from Topman. The groomsmen’s suits were all from Slaters too. They are all irish, so all came over one weekend a few months before and had all their suits, shoes and shirts sorted in three hours – the rugby was on at lunchtime that day so they had a deadline!


The bridesmaids’ dresses were from ASOS. They weren’t expensive and looked amazing on and in the photos.


Our makeup was done by my insanely talented bridesmaid, Michelle. How she got all of us done that morning is still a mystery to me, but my makeup has never been as good as that!

Hair was done by Penny, who I found online. She is amazing at what she does. Being a midwife, my hair always just ends up tied up in a bun, but Penny made my hair look like I’ve always wanted it to!


We didn’t have to hire transport because two of the nurses I work with got their husbands to drive me, my dad and the bridesmaids in a Range Rover and a BMW. It was really nice to have familiar faces taking us to the wedding because I was really nervous and excited by then.


Leah Lombardi was our photographer. I think I’ve recommended her to about 100 people already! Her relaxed and informal style was ideal for us, and the pictures she captured of the day are so amazing. There’s not one I don’t love. Both Leah and her second photographer, Jenn, were both really easy to be around, so professional, friendly and lovely!


Leah did our video too. The video perfectly summarized the whole day and what I loved about getting both the photos and video back is all the moments she captured that I either didn’t see or don’t remember. You really get to relive the day all over again.


I had a bouquet of roses, wildflowers, herbs and greenery. It was beautiful and smelled amazing. All the flowers were provided by Red Floral.

We had blush blossom trees on every guest table, with wildflowers on different height logs around the base and, hanging off the trees, little glass baubles with candles and roses in them.

The lights were provided by Typical Type. We had LOVE letters on the dancefloor, festoon lights all over the room and they made a frame to go over the top table with Edison light bulbs hanging down. The florist then decorated the frame with hanging blossom and greenery. The room looked unbelievable. So many guests commented on how good everything looked!

We used Adamapple Confetti for real petal confetti and I think the confetti photos are my favourite.


We didn’t give out favours, but we had a sweet table with pick’n’mix, afternoon tea stands with little cakes and treats, and a Krispy Kreme donut wall because I love them!

In the girls’ bathroom I also put a basket of flip flops and cosmetics, hairspray, deoderant, hair slides etc, which went down well.


Our cake was made by Grace Emily Cakes. It was a three-tier sponge cake with a blush watercolour gradient effect on the icing and gold leaf. The tier flavours were white chocolate and raspberry, lotus biscoff and lemon with poppy seeds. It looked fantastic and tasted delicious. Grace is really friendly and professional, and I loved her design.


We had canapés at the drinks reception with Pimms, prosecco and Peroni.

For the wedding breakfast we served leek and potato soup, roast beef with a red wine gravy and Yorkshire puddings, and for dessert we had sticky toffee pudding.

For the evening feast we had sausage and bacon rolls with chutney, or cheese and caramelised onion bruschettas. The food was delicious!


For the drinks reception in the garden we chose some outdoor games, like a coconut shy and ring toss, which all the boys loved!

The band we chose was called Agent Smith, we booked them based on a recommendation from a friend and they didn’t disappoint. They had everyone on the dancefloor from the first song, the lead singer is so charismatic that they had all the guests in the palms of their hands all night!

We had a DJ after the band called DJ Rasp, who played so many absolute bangers that one of my friends thought she was going to have a heart attack. Between the band and the DJ, none of us have ever danced so much in our lives.

Thanks to

Thanks to Quarry Bank Mill! It’s an amazing venue, the staff are all really friendly and helpful and Marianne, our wedding coordinator, did everything in her power to make the day run smoothly and make us feel special.

The venue is run by The National Trust so all the money you spend goes back into looking after the amazing buildings.

The bridesmaids and I stayed in Didsbury House hotel the night before and the night after the wedding. Even though we weren’t even getting married in the hotel, they were so accommodating; bringing breakfast to the room when we were getting ready and bringing us some tall stools from the bar for sitting on for hair and makeup!

Best bit

I don’t have one single favourite part, but I think maybe the ceremony, the first glass of prosecco at the drinks reception and the dancing make the cut!


We went to Thailand, Singapore and the Maldives. It was the holiday of a lifetime and we were so lucky to get home just before Covid-19 stopped travel.


My main advice would be to work with suppliers who are established pros in the wedding industry. They will know a lot more than you do about planning a wedding and it makes the whole process easy when you can leave everything to them and not worry.

Do what you want to do, everyone has opinions and gives advice, but at the end of it the day is about you and your partner, and if it feels like you then it’s right.

I also looked at the real weddings on the Brides Up North site all the time for inspiration and suppliers!

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