I can literally feel the emotion radiating from each photograph, beautifully captured by DBS Creative. Bride Catherine displays every feeling from her gorgeous infectious smile to her adoring motherly glances at her little boy. I literally had to hold back the tears as this reminded me so much of being blessed to have our little boys at our wedding day and the overwhelming pride you feel as a mother when you see your little ones in their outfits.
The Didsbury House Hotel in Manchester was the perfect wedding venue choice for Catherine and Adam who’ve spent many a happy time there attending parties and having dates. Their wedding was always about spending time with family and the intimacy the hotel provided was perfect as well as being totally gorgeous!
Their theme ‘Atonement’ meets the ‘The Godfather’ is so apt, illustrating the vintage glamour (that sleek satin dress!) and Italian family values (ooh those homemade desserts!) perfectly. It’s a truly gorgeous affair with twinkling fairy lights on the veranda, an abundance of gorgeous blush blooms and so much love and laughter.
Catherine The Bride: We got married on 28 September 2014 at boutique Didsbury House Hotel in Manchester, just five minutes down the road from where we live with our 1 year old son Jimmy. We’d been there before for various events in the early days of our relationship, and always loved the intimate, eclectic feel of the hotel. Neither of us wanted a big wedding and we had originally wanted to go to Italy (where my Dad’s family is from) to keep it low key, but as soon as Jimmy was born in 2013 everything changed – it was all about family; ensuring as many of our closest and most loved people were there to share it, and that it felt like one big – but intimate – celebration.
Our wedding was a little bit different in the sense that it was spread across two sister hotels that were just around the corner from each other. After the ceremony and reception drinks at Didsbury House, we moved down the road to Eleven Didsbury Park for the meal, so that we could enjoy eating and relaxing in the amazing gardens, where we set up various garden games and activities to keep the children entertained. We then moved back to Didsbury House for the evening, and as we had taken over the house, guests could dance into the night and then flop to bed in their rooms! That was part of what drew us to the venues – we got the luxury of two boutique hotels, which both had that “home from home” feel, and we could dine in the garden of one, and then party across the different rooms of the other! It was perfect.
As we couldn’t get married in Italy, we wanted to bring a little bit of Italy to us, and Eleven Didsbury Park immediately appealed, as we could eat outdoors on long tables, under a veranda of twinkly lights. We opted for a barbecue buffet, and my Aunt Chiara made huge trays of homemade Tiramisu and Banoffee Pie for dessert, using our old Italian family recipes. We wanted the homemade theme to continue with a selection of wedding cakes made by our talented baking friends! Our mutual friend Nikki (who actually introduced us!) helped me make a traditional fruit wedding cake, and then also made a Victoria Sponge decorated with pink butter cream roses, and a chocolate Guinness cake. Our friends Lucy and Sam also made red velvet cake and Rocky Road brownies, which went down particularly well with the evening guests! Instead of the usual “midnight munchies”, we ordered a Hearts of Lancashire cheese tower from Churchmouse Cheeses, who I’d come across at the Tatton Wedding Show. They included all of the fruits for decoration, and sent the tower direct to the venue without any fuss. We also put on a spread of Italian hams, breads, and other accompaniments – which were demolished within about five minutes!
The feel of the day was English vintage glamour, with a touch of the Italian Riviera! “Atonement meets the Godfather…”! I designed the wedding stationery myself, matching these with our navy/champagne/blush rose colour scheme. I used downloadable templates from the internet, and then modified them myself. Etsy was an amazing source of inspiration, and I ordered some bespoke bunting for the veranda in our chosen wedding colours from the Dollyblue11 store – I would thoroughly recommend her.
Photographer and Videographer
Our choice of photographer and videographer were key, as they had to tick two really important boxes: first, the style had to match the relaxed, informal feel of the wedding – we wanted fly-on-the-wall, contemporary reportage, not reams of posed shots (step up the amazing talents of Damian Brandon at DBS Creative); and secondly to create something that Jimmy could watch back as he grows up and which would really recreate the feeling of what it was like to be there, with messages from friends and family and capturing all the special moments of the day which Viva La Wedding did beautifully.
It was our florist Mat who recommended our photographer Damian, and as soon as we saw his portfolio we knew he was for us. There aren’t enough words to describe him – his shots are inventive yet classic; edgy but romantic. And a genuine, awesome, fun-loving guy. Not just our photographer, but part of our wedding party, and now a friend for life.
We found Viva La Wedding via the RMW List, and when we met them for the first time, Jimmy was only a few months old. With young twins themselves, Guille and Jo were great with Jimmy and completely understood the importance of family and how we wanted to portray this in our video, and the finished result was just as we’d hoped. We’d recommend them to anyone.
Our equally as amazing florist Mat Hepplestone of Red Floral Architecture, who’s been at the top of the wedding game in the North West for some time (and who is luckily also a close family friend!) totally understood the style and vibe that we were going for. The floral spreads on the veranda tables were just beautiful, and he used the ribbons that I had used on our invitations to tie around the vintage glass jars. The hurricane vases filled with rose petals on the steps of the hotel were a perfect finishing touch. He pulled out all the stops to get hold of our favourite flowers – anemones – which were a key part of my bouquet and matched our colour scheme. He is a true floral hero!
I fell in love with my 1920’s inspired Elsa dress with lace bodice by Sabina Motasem as soon as I tried it on. The slipper satin was like liquid, and I loved that it was a golden champagne colour; it felt more like a vintage Oscars dress than a wedding dress.
I wanted a more natural, understated look for my hair and make-up, so immediately went to the people who knew me best – my colourist and wedding hair expert Katie Li from David Anthony in Wilmslow, who listened to my worries about “poking out ears”, and incorporated my bespoke Ivory Tuesday hairpiece into a massive bun of soft sweeping curls. Joanna Jones, one of my best friends (and female usher!), has a fantastic talent for knowing what suits you and has been the first port of call for all of our friends’ wedding make-up! I wanted to look like me, but better, and she did an amazing job.
The Groomsmen all wore matching navy suits with blush pink ties, hired from Whitfield and Ward in Wilmslow. Their selection was fantastic, and the suits fitted the different sizes and shapes of our Ushers much better than anywhere else we’d been. They also provided a matching waistcoat and tie for Jimmy’s page boy outfit, which just made us melt when he tried it on!
One of the best things we did was arrange for Jabberjacks to come and entertain the children in a separate room during the ceremony, and had nursery workers from Jimmy’s nursery to come and help out with the babies. We were so focussed on it being a family affair, that one of the most important things for us was to ensure the children were taken care of and the parents could relax as much as possible. And the kids loved having the run of the garden during the reception.
In the evening we were lucky enough to have our lovely neighbours Dave Fidler and Lily Jo (who are both professional singer/songwriters in their own right) to perform for us, including covering our first dance. It was really special to have our friends there to entertain, and everyone commented on how fab they sounded.
The most special part of the day though, was of course the ceremony, and walking down the aisle to see Adam holding Jimmy in his little page boy suit – I am amazed I managed to keep it together! But instead of crying I just couldn’t stop smiling – it was just as perfect as I’d imagined. I thought I’d be nervous standing in front of so many people, but I didn’t really notice… I hardly even remember saying my vows, I just remember my mouth hurting from smiling so much. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We had an unpredictably hot day, full of fun, family and laughter, and we ate out under the veranda until the sun went down and the kids went to bed. And then the shoes came off, the band started, and the “house” party began…!
Photography by Damian Brandon
- Dress Designer Sabina Motasem
- Bridal Boutique Agape Bridal Boutique
- Bridal Hairpiece Ivory Tuesday
- Bridal Shoes Bespoke from Shoes of Prey
- Bridal Hair Katie Li of David Antony Hairdressing
- Bridesmaid Dresses Coast
- Grooms Suit Reiss
- Grooms Shoes Barkers
- Groomsmen Suit Hire Whitfield and Ward
- Florist Red Floral
- Cheese Tower Churchmouse Cheeses
- Violinist Violin 4 Weddings
- Musicians Lily Jo
- David Fielder
- Children’s Entertainment Jabberjacks
- Videographer Viva La Weddings
- Bunting Dollyblue11
- Venue Didsbury House
- Didsbury Park