Look at that sky! You know when you go on holiday for a while and then you come home and are reminded just how beautiful the UK is. Well these images by Photography34 have had that effect on me… If ever there was a perfect day for an outdoor celebration then this is it. Abby and Andy must have been over the moon.
With a Stephanie Allin dress, stunning natural wood marquee and exquisite DIY florals there is something here for everyone. Did I mention the brass band?…
Abby The Bride: From the moment that Andy and I got engaged, we knew that we wanted it to be more than a day; we wanted a wedding extravaganza! Our search for the perfect venue took us to North Wales where we found Red Welly. As we live in Manchester, and my family are from Sheffield, it wasn’t remotely near where anyone lived, but as soon as we met the amazingly helpful owner, Julie, and saw the contemporary eco cottages and expanse of turquoise sea, it was a done deal.
I managed to convince my hairdresser, who doesn’t do wedding hair, to drive out to Wales at the crack of dawn to do my loose ‘beachy’ hair, which we topped off with my bridesmaid Aimee’s veil as my ‘something borrowed’. It took an almighty amount of curlers to get that amount of oomph but it was just what I wanted.
I teach Fashion and Textiles for a living and always thought I would get a really modern, directional dress. My mum booked me an appointment in The White Room in Sheffield and the owner, Chloe, was so helpful. When we realised that the modern dress I thought I wanted was actually not working she pointed me in the direction of Stephanie Allin’s ‘Sunset’. Even as I tried it on, I didn’t think it was what I was after, but when my mum and best friend burst into tears as I stepped out of the changing room, the blush coloured lace dress I thought I’d never pick became ‘the one’. I bought some rose gold sandals by Diane Von Furstenberg and the most beautiful mother of pearl set which belonged to Andy’s grandma became my ‘something old’.
Andy has very good taste and was also a little bit obsessed with detail. He chose a custom made, true blue 3 piece suit, with burgundy trims by A Suit That Fits and he looked amazing. We never really wanted anyone to match and I even had plans to put the bridesmaids in different dresses with the same fabric, but my girls really wanted to wear the same! In the end we bought the bridesmaid dresses online from For Her and For Him, in a teal colour that in a happy accident (due to the good weather) ended up matching the sea! My dress choice led the loosely romantic theme. I sourced silver candelabras from car boots and charity shops all over the North West, and my dad (who is a tree surgeon) sliced some beech wood as part of the table centrepieces. The bar outside was actually an outhouse that we transformed with homemade signage, tissue pompoms and a selection of glass paraphernalia sourced from the local garden centre. As I have access to a laser cutter at work, I laser cut loads of acrylic mirrors to hang all around the marquee and tied them with blush ribbon, baker’s twine and flowers.
I think nothing looks lovelier than a mountain of flowers at a wedding, and we were lucky that I could buy flowers from the wholesale market through my dad’s account. What I am not however, is a florist, so I went a little over the top when faced with rows and rows of blooms and leaves. We prepped everything on the Friday before the wedding and my SWAT team of bridesmaids came into their own as we set about decorating the church, making button holes and the bouquets ourselves. After the service a brass quartet, The Gold Diggers, met us outside of the church and played the whole congregation down the road to the reception, dancing as we went. We took over the main road (have you ever seen a bridesmaid as a road barrier?) and were cheered along by cars beeping their horns and waving as they passed.
We selected Tents for Elements to supply our marquees. We wanted traditional marquees, with rope and canvas and Harry and his team provided the most unique marquees we had seen. They were really light and summery with centre poles made from actual tree trunks! As the whole wedding party danced down the lane to the reception, the marquees with their little flags billowing in the wind were a pretty impressive and welcoming sight. One of the main priorities for the wedding was food; we’re such massive foodies and we had a really clear idea of what we wanted. Drinks had to flow and food was to be delicious and plentiful. My dad pulled another blinder by shipping over 4 kegs of Sheffield made ale so that people could pull their own pints in the bar, and made some slow gin, which we bottled and labelled as favours. After some searching (and some lovely tasting sessions) Outside Food came up trumps with a four course Italian wedding breakfast. Before we got married, a lot of people said that you don’t even get a chance to eat the food at your own wedding, but the front of house, Rosalyn literally chased Andy and I with a tray of canapés and a bottle of Prosecco to make sure we were involved!
When it came to invites, I approached a friend of mine, Amy, who had recently set up Sunday Society Press and commissioned her to make personal invites with illustrations of ‘our story’. We turned these illustrations into the table ‘names’ and carried the same graphics through to the seating plan. We set up a cake table in one of the cottages with the patio doors opening out onto the sunset. We made personalised straws, labels, flags and little signs to make sure everything had the same special feel to it.
My advice to other brides would be to accept that not everything will go right; just EMBRACE IT! As we stood outside the marquee and were announced as ‘Mr and Mrs’, everyone cheered but the music didn’t cue in time. After a bit of a kafuffle, my chief bridesmaid just got the whole marquee to stand up and sing us in with our chosen song, Morecombe and Wise’s ‘Bring me Sunshine’! We danced in with everyone singing to us; you can’t plan those moments but they are the ones everyone remembers!
Andy didn’t like the idea of a videographer, but I really wanted to see what was going on whilst I was getting ready and in the places where I wasn’t. We chose Shoot-it-Yourself as a compromise, which turned out to be a genius idea as our photographer got full run of the creative overview and the videos got shot by friends. They were really personal and the later the day got, the fuzzier and more hilarious the scenes and interviews. One of our first decisions was to choose Tony at Photography 34 as our photographer and he was just brilliant. He not only managed to coerce my, then doubtful, fiancé into having a pre-wedding shoot (which we both loved!) but his documentary style captured how much fun we had so effortlessly. You were never conscious that he was there and we have so many beautiful photographs to last us a lifetime… or until I persuade Andy to renew our vows! How long is acceptable to wait to do that? Is the first year anniversary too soon?
Venue Red Welly | Camera Hire Shoot It Yourself | Dress Stephanie Allin | Dress Boutique White Room | Andy’s suit A Suit that Fits | Brass Band The Gold Diggers | Bridesmaid Dresses For Her And For Him | Marquees Tents 4 Elements | Caterers Outside Food | Invites Sunday Society Press