Real Weddings

Riki Dalal for a Laid Back Wedding at The Mowbray – Jade & Tom

Sarah Symonds

Today’s featured couple, Jade and Tom, had one of the last pre-Covid weddings on the 29th day of February 2020 and we’ve loved hearing all about how their laid back and utterly personal day came together just in time.

Childhood sweethearts Jade and her beau, Tom, have been together for 16 years! Tom finally got down on one knee in their 15th year and they decided to take the plunge and tie the knot a mere five months after booking the date! Talk about a change of pace!

Sometimes it’s the little touches and the short stories that get us right in the feels. Today, Jade’s tale of her grandad in his Jaguar, dressing up as her chauffeur, wearing his own father’s driving gloves and safely delivering her to the church on time for her to marry her true love is exactly the kind of thing we love to hear about!

Of course, we also love to hear the bigger details; the overall styling, the colour scheme, the food and the dress! Don’t worry gang, those details are all packed in here too!

Jade namechecks us in her account of their day: “I spent a lot of time on the Brides Up North website actually, looking at alternative weddings, getting inspiration from people who had done it a little differently and I found the variety of weddings showcased a real source of inspiration as to how we wanted our day to be.” Well Jade, now you are returning the favour. Let’s go…

With photography by UNVEILED Network Member Plume Creative


Jade says: Tom and I got engaged on the 3rd of May 2019 after 15 years together. We are firmly in that ‘childhood sweethearts’ bracket!

We’d just picked up the keys to our new house, which was a very old, empty renovation project. Tom proposed just as we walked into the damp house, with all our boxes around us, in our old moving house clothes. It was not a glamorous affair but equally perfect!


We married on the 29th of February 2020 – the leap year date. We always knew we wanted our wedding to be a little different; super relaxed and informal. The leap year felt unique and fitting with this vibe. We only decided on that date in October 2019 so we planned the whole thing in 5 months! We just wanted to be married after all that time and the people around us were the most important.

We got married in our local church, All Saints Church in Laughton in Rotherham. Then we had our reception at The Mowbray, an incredible industrial venue on Kelham Island in Sheffield City Centre which captured the relaxed, fun vibe we wanted.


The key thing for us was a relaxed, informal atmosphere and personal approach. I was keen for all our suppliers, where possible, to either be DIY creations by us or family, or young local entrepreneurs who had started their own business. This was one thing I was really passionate about.

We consciously didn’t have a colour theme as such. We weren’t fussed about matching everything. I had one bridesmaid who wore grey, so that was a loose theme but other than that we just chose what we liked and what we were comfortable with. On the day, this felt much more personal than feeling like everything had to sync in.


I didn’t have a vision of a dress in mind from the outset. I knew I likely wanted something more understated, less bridal. Feeling comfortable was key. The dress I chose was a lace top, open back, straight skirt with a small train. My veil was amazing, I had it handmade with the same lace from my dress – that was the indulgence! The dress was by Riki Dalal and was from UNVEILED Network Member Hummingbird Bridal Studio in Sheffield, which was a recommendation from a friend that I would certainly pass on!


Tom wore a Moss Brothers suit. He is an electrician by day so he’s much more used to work trousers and a jumper. It was important he felt comfortable. The suit was a really soft, informal fabric and definitely met the brief!

Tom just had his brother as best man so there were only four of us in the immediate wedding party, plus the flower girl. Tom and his brother wore matching suits.


I have a large friendship group and having seven or more bridesmaids just didn’t feel like it reflected our informal ambition, so I just had my sister. She wore an amazing caped, jewelled dress from ASOS – she definitely brought the glam! Our niece was a flower girl and we found a white caped dress from Debenhams which matched perfectly.


I got ready in a local hotel (as the house was a building site!) with all my friends – there was nine of us. Our hair was done by Amiee Morton from The Mill Hair Studio at Kelham Island, just behind the reception venue, and makeup was by Hannah Atter from Muse 9 Studio. Both girls understood that I wanted an understated and timeless look, they listened and I felt like I got a really personalised approach – I wouldn’t change a thing!


This was my favourite moment! My Grandad was my chauffeur! He used his own Jaguar and took the role very seriously, wearing a chauffeur’s cape and the driving gloves his dad, my great grandad, had worn on his wedding day!


Sarah from Plume Creative was incredible. Again, it was important to me to have someone who would really understand us and know that we weren’t naturals in front of a camera! Her style was very relaxed, capturing all those special moments and very few of the formal ‘stand in a line’ photos, which just wasn’t us at all! We would really recommend her, it just felt like having a friend there on the day and the photos speak for themselves!


Sarah did the full package for us, providing video footage as well as photos. This was important for us, so that the same vibe was carried across. I know a video is often debated but for us, now looking back, it is the one thing that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and transports us both back to all the magical moments.


My flowers were a natural, seasonal mix; predominantly white roses with lots of greenery. They were done by Tom’s auntie, which was very special to us.

With the styling, The Mowbray did everything. It was amazing! From the moment we stepped in for the first viewing, I knew I wanted them to do everything. I didn’t even really set any direction! I trusted they would make the room perfect and that was exactly what happened. It was probably better for me staying right out of it!

I spent a lot of time on the Brides Up North website actually, looking at alternative weddings, getting inspiration from people who had done it a little different and I found the variety of weddings showcased a real source of inspiration as to how we wanted our day to be.


I wrote a personalised message for each of our 78 guests as part of their name card. We felt it was important to tell each guest how much they individually meant to us, and how we felt about them joining us on that day. It was a small touch that allowed for a real personal element.


Our cake was a three tier vanilla sponge naked cake. It was so delicious! Cake is my favourite part of a wedding as a guest, so this one was important! It was made by local business Whip and Whisk Cakery and had real flowers and a ‘finally’ sign on the top, which I think captured what everyone really was thinking on our day!


We opted for the Mowbray’s Winter Laden Table. It was a feasting style with dishes in the middle of the table to share. The food at The Mowbray is incredible! It was all our guests talked about! The main was a 32day aged rump steak and a whole roasted Sea Bass with chunky chips and seasonal salads. The pudding was a classic Mowbray Pavlova with seasonal fruits and a chocolate tart. I’m not doing it justice here! it was amazing!

We aren’t big wine buffs so the venue paired the wine and it was prosecco all round!


Our drinks reception had a background slideshow with old photos of us. Having been together since we were 13 years old, there were some real beauties in the back catalogue that we wanted to share to make our guests laugh! At night we had a DJ, Dan Metcalfe, who played at our request lots of old school R&B and kept the dance floor full all night.

We wanted all our family and friends to just have an amazing relaxed day and I think that really came through.

We didn’t have a first dance. It felt too formal and forced. We had a ‘last dance’ to The Killers – Mr Brightside, which was an incredible moment to end the day on.


Thanks to

Our venue! They took away any possible stress or hassle with the planning. They listened and just re-created what was in our heads without us even really knowing. It all came together without us really doing anything. The venue was perfect!

Obviously, unbeknown to us all at the time, this was one of the last pre-COVID weddings and for that we are even more grateful. Our suppliers have been through so much turmoil since and the industry has been thrown upside down. I therefore think all of our suppliers deserve extra praise for their resilience, since our focus was on independent, young entrepreneurs, we know it must’ve been incredibly difficult to keep going and for that I have a huge amount of respect and awe.

Best bit

There are too many to choose! I think having my Grandad as my chauffeur was a clear personal highlight, and there was one moment whilst Tom and I were having some personal photos that we got a moment to ourselves to just digest. That was so special.


We didn’t get a honeymoon sadly. Covid hit and put an end to planning that. We managed a quick UK break before the world shut down so the proper honeymoon is still pending!


My advice would be to really think now, in the midst of a turbulent year, about what is the most important part of the day for you. Don’t get hung up on colours and detail and schedules. Just try to relax and enjoy the process. It is possible to do in a short space of time and the memories really lie in having those around who you bring love, laughter – not in the colour of the chair covers!

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