A Wedding Gown With A Legacy.

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Sometimes at RMW HQ we come across weddings where the bride has a dream book of wedding contacts. And this is definitely one of them.

Jenn literally has a plethora of talented friends and family around her who helped create her wedding vision.

Which, by the way, was classic English, meets rustic, meets bohemian, meets quirkiness – and I think it’s fair to say that together they definitely achieved it.

Jenn’s beautiful gown was worn by her Mum AND her Grandma on their wedding days. With a bit of love and care from the wonderful ladies at Agape Bridal, it was reborn for the third generation of the family.

Jenn and James married at Liverpool Cathedral (obviously THE perfect location for an epic cathedral length veil) and held their reception in a barn at Owen House Farm which had previously never been used as a wedding venue.

The lucky couple witnessed the Daniel family transform their ‘shed’ into a truly unique and beautiful venue – knowing that they would be the first couple to use it.

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Jen The Bride: My Dad has been an Anglican Minister for almost 25 years now and in 2004 he was made a Canon of the Church of England for his years of service. This ‘qualified’ James and I to marry at Liverpool Cathedral.

James proposed to me at the top of the bell tower of Liverpool cathedral. After we were engaged we visited the cathedral’s chapel for a moment of peace and fell in love with it. The decision to marry there was very easy and obviously my family were delighted.

My wedding dress was also my Mum’s and Grandma’s wedding dress. My Grandma married in the 1930’s and wore a dress made of 2nd world war parachute silk. My late Great Uncle was in the RAF during the war so sent the silk for her to get the dress made.

When my Mum married in 1979, being an accomplished seamstress, she made her own wedding dress on top of the parachute silk underskirt of my Grandmas. She used cream silk crepe, as the original dress has yellowed with age. A professional dressmaker helped her fit the bones of her dress, but she sewed every stitch herself. Overall it had a slightly ethnic, romantic style.

For my gown, my Mum and I went for a wedding dress viewing at Agape Bridal Boutique. Mum asked whether Agape had ever made bespoke wedding dresses. The answer was that they hadn’t thus far but were very open to the idea. We explained my vision to one of the designers, Alex Donovan.

Alex produced three design options she and dressmaker Karen had come up with. Karen and Alex had clearly appreciated my slightly bohemian and romantic personal style. What Agape accomplished for me was not only the fulfilling of a now three generation long legacy but they created a dress that was true to who I am and that I felt simply wonderful in. My dress is the first vintage bespoke gown the Boutique has ever made.

I asked two of my oldest friends and James’s sister to be my maids, but I couldn’t bear the thought of dictating to them how to dress. It felt just wrong to me (personally) to tell them how they had to look, on a day that was important to them as well.

In terms of colour, my favourite colour is deep red, but I love all shades of reds and plums and pinks. So I suggested a gradient spectrum of everything from deepest red to the palest pink. We piled all of our mutual ideas onto Pinterest. Their dresses were from Ted Baker, Wtoo Maids and bespoke by Agape.

We were so, so fortunate to have my sister in law, Anna Potter, of Swallows and Damsons in Sheffield as our florist. My bouquet was spectacular. A wild array of a variety of red roses (Piano rose and David Austin), dark berry astillbe and deep red peonies, which thankfully were still in season. It was big, bohemian and wild, but still classic and structured.

We had a number of really special contributors to our wedding ceremony. I asked the choir I teach if they would sing one of my favourite John Rutter choral arrangements at our wedding. They couldn’t have been more enthusiastic. The students sang ‘The Lord Bless You And Keep You’ by John Rutter and had me in tears at the altar.

We also asked my old singer teacher and now friend and her husband, Kate and JP, who are both professional opera singers, to sing a duet during the signing of the register. The sound reverberating around the walls of the chapel and even into the cathedral was epic.

I had commissioned a musician contact of mine with sourcing and arranging a band back in October 2012. We had a seven piece jazz set up – sax, drums, piano, double bass, acoustic guitar, violin and vocals. The style of music got every age up dancing.

In the evening we didn’t want a cheesy run of the mill DJ, and were recommended a more retro alternative in Vintage 78 DJ. Matt Nickson is a saxophonist and has vast experience as a professional musician. He and his wife Annabel DJ a broad selection of records, including old shellac 78rpm discs and the music ranges from the 20s through to the late 50’s.

My brother, Dan Potter, illustrated a personal ‘logo’ of a tree and two birds for use across all of our wedding stationery. Dan has drawn for the boutique Collard Manson in Sheffield, designed the logo for Sheffield Antiques Quarter, and recently the album and single artwork for the Fratellis. I have always been so proud of him for his work and was over the moon he agreed to draw for us.

I’m glad to say that the majority of my crazy visions came to life and that our guests felt valued and welcomed. But there were also countless occasions where I really lost sight of what was important, and that really is that I got to marry my best friend, who patiently bore by my side as I drove myself mad over this one day. But I don’t regret my efforts, because James got the wedding he wanted too.

James Melia and Jo Bilham have been an integral part of our journey to getting married. From meeting James for the first time to our wedding day he has been a calming, cool influence who helped us to feel ourselves. I’m particularly grateful to James and Jo for managing my stresses on the day so well! And of course for the stunning photographic memories we have.


Photography by James Melia
Dress Bespoke From Vintage At Agape Bridal | Hair Electric Hair | Headband Eliza Vale | Earrings Knutsford Antiques Centre | Venue Owen House Farm | Florist Swallows And Damsons | Cars Red Carpet Wedding Cars | Jewellers Geralds Of Knutsford | Catering Barretts Event Caterers

30 thoughts on “A Wedding Gown With A Legacy.

  1. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Outstanding. Magnificent ring and dress! Love! Liverpool cathedral too what a fantastic location! Jell!! Having lived there for five years (and easily could of lived there more) I appreciate the magic associated with this location. Great post and congrats Jenn and James!x

  2. It is amazing to see Jenn & James’ beautiful wedding right where it belongs- as an inspiration to others on RMW! Jenn and I became firm friends throughout the process- it was a true honour to help bring Jenn’s vision for her wedding dress to life, and to work with a piece that held such sentimental heritage. Congratulations again to the lovely couple! xxx

    1. Ohhh Alex, you lovelies did such a good job!!
      I’m thrilled the gown is here to inspire others too 🙂
      Three generations of Brides wearing the dress is something to be very proud of.
      Fern x

      1. Thanks Fern! Anyone who loves Jenn’s dress as much as we do, look out for our upcoming Agapé Atelier collection, launching Spring 2014 with dresses inspired by our bespoke brides of 2013…and yes, there will be a dress called Jenn! The first two dresses from our new collection will be on the catwalk at Tatton Wedding Show this weekend xx

        1. Thank you lovely Alex! Not only did she design my perfect dress and take care of our families legacy but Alex understood me better than possibly anyone did throughout the process. Such a legend xxx

          1. Wow – a dress named after you!! That is Fab. I echo all the sentiments here re the epic job on the very special and sentimental cloth – amazing work Alex xx

        2. How exciting!!!!!
          Some of our lovely readers won VIP tickets to the Tatton Park Bridal show, so hopefully they’ll be looking out for your gowns 🙂
          Fern x

  3. I’m most definitely lusting after Jenn ‘s dress and her beautiful veil too! Frankly you can’t beat a bit of floral crown action either. Delish!

    1. Hi Shelley!
      The veil was borrowed from one of Jenn’s friends – hopefully she’ll be able to remember where it was from?
      Fern x

      1. Hi Fern, Shelley and lovely ladies commenting!
        Totally made my day to see this up Fern, not to mention the amazing responses! James did a sensational job capturing it all, but I’m thrilled as well the little things I spent years obsessing over can inspire others.
        I did indeed borrow my veil and was so fortunate to have stumbled across it. I have a feeling it’s from a bridal shop in Wigan and have done some investigations. Needless to say it is cathedral length, very simple otherwise though with a very fine silk trim.
        Thank you again Fern. Very proud to have our day published on RMW.
        Jenn xxx

        1. You’re very welcome Jenn.
          The images of you in the gown really do look like a couture Editorial piece – I bet your family were so proud of you. (And James Melia did a cracking job, the photographs are stunning).
          Huge congrats again to you and James 🙂
          x

  4. I am a sucker for traditions and sentimental blah, so this whole synopsis has got me weak. Thanks so much for sharing, Jenn. It’s amazing how much a stranger (ie ME!) feels part of your day just from the photos (and your sweet commentary) – you feel transported in to your world of love – and it was bloody lovely.
    Congrats.
    xxx

    1. That means a great deal to me Nicola, thank you! I learnt that weddings are bugger than just the bride and groom and for me it was an opportunity to do something meaningful for others too. It’s wonderful that it translates how much the whole experience meant to me x

  5. Oh wow that dress is amazing!! I love that it has such history! It doesn’t get more personal than that. Jen’s Mum and Grandma must have been so proud. I’m loving those bridesmaid dresses too! So stylish! That put’s the bridesmaid dresses for ‘Carrie’s wedding to Mr Big’ to shame! 😉 x

    1. Thanks Sophie! My grandmother actually passed away 8 years ago so wearing her dress was even more special, and yes it meant a great deal to my mum, who was a big part of the whole process. And my bridesmaids are to credit for their own impeccable style as I let them choose 🙂 x

    1. I’ve changed the link…and had a good old snoop at the website – there’s even MORE gorgeous images of THE dress on there 🙂
      Fern x

    1. Hi Stephie, thank you! I love love loved my garland and it was made by my wonderful sister in law and florist Anna Potter of Swallows and Damsons. It’s dried perfectly too 🙂

  6. Ahhh so stylish. I was just today trying to convince my mum that our idea for vintage batman postcards would work at a wedding and now I have the best ever proof!

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