This wedding is extra special so I’d like you to make sure you’re sitting comfortably with a large cup of tea in hand before we begin. The images come from Willo Photography, who some of you may remember as Lee, the husband of RMW Real Bride Karen, whose wedding planning journey we featured a couple of years ago. Karen and Lee have a special place in our hearts as they are two utterly lovely beings, and their wedding was epic, so we’re thrilled that Lee is now carving out a career as a wedding photographer himself. We couldn’t be more happy for them 🙂
Alex and Martyn found Lee of Willo Photography right here on RMW, so that makes this wedding even more special. It’s just like one big happy family here and if you find a supplier on our wedding directory, you know they are going to help you have the best day ever. Anyway, here are the gorgeous images and lovely words…so much love for this feature.
Alex the Bride: My dress was a True Bride design from Liverpool Bridal Boutique. I had seen it online before my appointment. When we got to the shop the sales assistant told my bridesmaids and me to each pick a dress for me to try. I picked up the True Bride dress straightaway and fell in love with it as soon as I put it on! I decided to have a simple, cathedral length veil because, well, when else do you get to wear a veil?! I bought jewelled shoes from Dune which I swapped for sparkly Converse trainers in the evening when my feet started to hurt!
I was very fortunate that my incredibly talented friend Ali Hannah did my makeup as a wedding gift. Jade’s Hair and Beauty in Llangollen did our hair and the makeup for the rest of the bridal party. I would advise everyone to have hair and makeup trials even if you think you know what you want – I ended up having a completely different hairstyle to what I thought I wanted.
Initially Martyn wasn’t too fussed on what he wore and left the suit shopping to the very last minute! In the end his ushers helped him to choose lovely navy suits from Next with contrasting light grey waistcoats and vivid and bold navy and white polka dot ties.
When we got engaged, we had absolutely no idea where we wanted to get married or what style we wanted except that we wanted it to be relaxed and not too formal. We found Tower Hill Barns online and thought it looked stunning, although it wasn’t that local to us. We decided to go and have a look as we really liked the idea of a barn wedding. We absolutely loved the feel of the place when we got there and they were so accommodating and flexible without too many restrictive rules or terms as we had found in other places.
We thought that something simple and quite rustic would work with our venue, which was already beautifully decorated. As we met at a running club, we had to incorporate our passion for running in some way, so we created a ‘race number’ for each table and our table number display was a race map with checkpoints based on local places that are special to us. We bought a lot of our decorations second-hand and my sister collected several gin and whisky bottles to put flowers in on the tables. One of our amazing bridesmaids is really into crafting and she helped us to make the table numbers, the guest book and our table number display. My sister also painted a pallet and we hung photos of all our guests across it. My family made a sweet table which went down very well with guests of all ages!
We used Rebecca of Ivy, Pip & Rose, who I found on the RMW recommended supplier list. We wanted something muted and rustic-looking, but not too fussy. Rebecca was absolutely lovely – we met with her a few times to discuss our ideas and the flowers were more beautiful than I could have imagined. We had smaller versions of my bouquet for my bridesmaids and flower girl and then Rebecca put simple flowers on the tables and a beautiful display in the ceremony room.
The Wedding Party
We knew that we wanted long bridesmaid’s dresses and my sister found the perfect navy dresses in Debenhams with a beautiful cowl back. My flower girl wore a white dress that we found in Monsoon and the groomsmen wore the same suits as Martyn. I bought the girls personalised jewellery to wear on the day as a thank you.
My Dad drove to me the ceremony in his classic MG BGT. It was so lovely to have that time with just the two of us together. We had a harpist, Rachael Gladwin, who played a piece called ‘Due Tramonti’ by my favourite composer Ludovico Einaudi. I nearly cried when I heard the opening bars before my dad and I walked in! The ceremony was lovely and we were able to choose our vows which made it more personal. We wanted readings that were heartfelt but not too soppy. My sister read a poem called ‘Love’ by Roy Croft and Martyn’s cousin read out ‘Wide Awake’ by Hilary T. Smith, but then added in a surprise funny quote at the end from Billy Connolly – there are some great photos of us laughing at it during the ceremony.
After the ceremony, our harpist, Rachael played at the drinks reception then we had a DJ in the evening, Kev from Studio 54 Discos who is based in Liverpool. Our first dance was ‘Me and Mrs Jones’ by Billy Paul, which was fairly inappropriate as it is about an affair but we thought it was funny and a lovely song!
We had a selection of delicious canapes at the reception, then in the evening we had a cheese cake with crackers and chutneys and proper Northern chips, cheese and gravy!
Our wedding breakfast menu was:
Starter – Pata Neora ham croquettes, cauliflower textures, earl grey poached raisins and potted pork
Vegetarian – Goats Cheese & rosemary croustillant, smoked aubergine, piquillo peppers
Main – Slow poached ballotine of chicken with pork and thyme stuffing wrapped in parma ham, dauphinoise potatoes and French beans.
Vegetarian – Grilled seabass, basil mousse, calamari, squid ink, sauce vierge
We had so many compliments on the food! We served wedding cake for dessert as we wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to try it. It was a semi-naked cake with different flavoured tiers (chocolate, lemon and Victoria sponge) by NV Cakes and was a surprise from my mum – we loved the quirky running cake topper!
I searched the internet for a photographer and then came across Willo Photography on the RMW site. We really wanted a natural feel and didn’t want to spend hours having formal photos taken, so we loved Lee’s style of photos. Lee was an absolute godsend before and during the wedding – he really helped to reassure us and gave us loads of advice. I was a bit upset that we couldn’t stretch our budget to a videographer, but Lee captured the day so well that I don’t feel like we missed out by not having one.
I would definitely advise looking at blogs and websites such as RMW and Pinterest for inspiration, but also remember to make your wedding personal to you and try not to compare yourself too much to others. At the end of the day it’s your wedding and as long as the two of you are happy with it, that’s all that matters.