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Emily & Han

Wedding’s really don’t come any prettier than Emily and Han’s gorgeous rustic luxe celebration at The Holford Estate, Knutsford. There are so many lovely details to enjoy, from the voluminous florals by Firenza Flowers, to the elegant semi-naked cake, from the vintage bicycle to the fabulous fashion – every last thing is beautifully cohesive. That’s what happens when you get the lovely Nina Marika to style your big day.

The stunning images come from Petal & Blush, whose romantic style suits this wedding to perfection. There are some dreamy shots to swoon over!

The Proposal

Emily The Bride: We have been together for 7 years, when Han got down on one knee and popped the question at our most romantic holiday together to New York last summer. My natural reaction was ‘yes silly, of course I will!’

I haven’t given much thought to how I want my wedding to be, until the proposal. I had dreamt of a beach wedding in the past, but I have grown out of it. I started browsing through Pinterest for ideas, attending wedding fairs and looking at different wedding sites.

The Venue

A good friend suggested, what about a barn wedding? I love rustic. Barn sounded perfect. We shortlisted and visited a few venues, and it wasn’t long before I stumbled upon The Holford Estate in Knutsford, which was a fairly new wedding venue. It was an absolute hidden gem, right in the heart of Knutsford, laid the most beautiful rustic barn. It was simply perfect. We knew right away that this was THE venue.

The Holford Estate consists of a beautiful, recently refurbished 18th century barn, retaining it’s rustic look, incorporated with a beautiful copper staircase that flows from the mezzanine level to make a grand entrance. It is not massive, but perfect for us as we wanted a cosy wedding. It fits 75 sitting guests comfortably and up to a 100 for the evening.

There is also the most amazing garden for a beautiful outdoor ceremony for warmer days, and 35 acres of woodlands and farm, perfect for outdoor walks and trails. We were very lucky that The Mill had been refurbished and we were able to spend the weekend at the lovely cottage, comprising of five double en-suite bathrooms, a spacious lounge and kitchen which also opens up to a conservatory and extra outdoor space, overlooking the farm and more lush greens. We had the venue and accommodation exclusively to ourselves, from Friday afternoon through to Sunday evening, which was another reason why we totally loved the venue.

Our hosts at The Holford Estate were lovely. Frances took her time to show us around, and we have been back and forth a few times to look at the venue. Hannah, our event coordinator was fantastic and patient in dealing with our requests.

The Styling & Flowers

The theme was blush and copper, and lots of foliage. I love a mix of romantic garden, rustic and boho. I engaged Nina Marika as my stylist – she was amazing. I knew I could leave everything to her because I love her styling. Copper lanterns, terrariums, rustic mixed with boho. Totally me. I reached out to her at an open day at a point when I was very stressed about the decoration and props, and we had an amazing chat to get to know each other and Nina put me right at ease.

Together with Hannah, they put together the most amazing decoration on the day. I knew I could relax and trust it’ll be done well.

Choosing my florist has never been easier. I fell in love with Fiona’s work (Firenza Flowers) – I love the whole loose style, lots of foliage and making the choice was not difficult. Flowers were important to me, and Fiona definitely delivered with my lovely bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, my floral arch. She also helped me source the wooden rustic floral arch that I had wanted!

The Bride

I went with my girls to a few bridal boutiques and two wedding fairs to try on different styles of dresses to find out what suits me best. I loved something that I’ll be able to move around in easily, so something light, something relatively loose yet one that shows my identity. I liked the classic sweetheart neckline and A-line dress, and that turns out to be the style that I felt most comfortable in too.

I fell in love with Penelope by Watters, and tried that on too at a boutique. After contemplating, I bought the dress from an eBay seller and had it altered– it was nearly half the price I would have paid if I bought a new one. It was simple, yet elegant and ethereal with its nude underlay and soft tulle.

I got a second attire, which was a separate from Berketex Brides from a Wedding Fair. I wanted the versatility of having a second dress and a detachable skirt. I wore the Berketex one for our ‘first look’ and then changed into the Penelope dress for the Ceremony and rest of the evening as that was a lot lighter and easier to move around in.

The Wedding Party

One of my bridesmaids was also my fashion guru. She was the first one that came to mind when I thought of looking for the perfect bridesmaid dresses. I wanted blush pink, and tulle. She found the perfect combination of dresses and seperates in no time. The dresses and skirt were from Needle & Thread. I had to get a separate one for one of my bridesmaid who was heavily pregnant and her skirt was from ASOS but it still blended in well with the rest. We made a trip to Moss Bros and found the perfect suit I had in mind. The groomsmen wore a 3-piece suit in navy blue check. We got a grey wool vest for Han so he stood out amongst the boys.

The Morning Of The Wedding

I got ready at The Mill. Rebecca Anderton was my make up artist. I first met Rebecca at my friend’s wedding the year before; Rebecca did the bridesmaids’ hair and when I got engaged, she was the first one that came to mind!

We adopted the Chinese tradition and kicked off the day with some bridal party games where the bridesmaids gave the groom and groomsmen some tricky tasks and quizzes before the groom to symbolise ‘hurdles’ before getting to the bride. Rather than the completely traditional way, where the bride sits and wait inside the room, we opted for the ‘first look’ at the bridge at The Holford Estate. The final game was a quiz to find the clues to unlock the chest drawer with my bouquet – and the bridesmaids took Han and the groomsmen to the estate. It was a touching moment that we will remember for the rest of our lives!

The Ceremony

We had our civil ceremony at The Garden (it was exactly how I pictured it!), and our Drinks Reception at the garden as well, with our lovely Quartet (Manchester String Quartet) playing in the background. Escapade Bars were fantastic and served our drinks in lovely jam jars and some Kilner dispensers atop a rustic wine barrel bar table that we hired from Sweet Pea and Ivy.

After the ceremony, we had a few quiet minutes to ourselves when Clive drove us around in his VW Beetle Cabriolet around the beautiful country lanes around The Holford Estate. Perfect way to unwind and enjoy some quiet moments together. Clive was super patient and waited around the whole day!

The Entertainment

I really wanted the quartet and did not regret having Manchester String Quartet serenade our guests during the drinks reception. We didn’t hire a band, but instead got the in-house DJ, DJ Mark Peters to play for the evening. Mark was totally amazing as well – he accommodated to our song list even though we were rather last minute and kept adding songs to the list! He did an excellent mix and commanded the crowd well.

We also had a few superb friends who gave up a lot of their precious time over weekends off work to come up with two videos for our guests, one was a story about us and our lives, and the other was a dance video that we randomly did around London and Manchester. Han also recorded some songs with the groomsmen and made a cool video out of it! That was unexpected and really funny.

The Food

We both love food, and we wanted it to be perfect. Samuel James Event was our caterer, and they were amazing. Fantastic service. Fantastic food. They really pride their food, and presentation was top notch. We had tonnes of praises from our guests about the food!

Our wedding cake was a three tiered semi-naked cake by Tickety Boo Cakes. I found Erica online and we went for a cake tasting at her home office. It was one of the best cakes we have ever tasted – soft, moist, and best of all, it wasn’t too sweet. We had some floral decoration on the cake, and the cake topper was by Polly & Me. The cake was displayed on a rustic copper tea trolley that belonged to the venue. It was simply perfect.

The Photography

We did lots of homework to find the perfect photographer, and it wasn’t long before we found Natasha (Petal & Blush Artistry). Her photography style was exactly what I was looking for; romantic and creative. Natasha was so friendly and bubbly, and although we hadn’t met until the day itself, we had lots of email chats. She was so good and managed to make me feel calm when nerves took over me during the planning. Also, we received a total surprise a few months before the wedding from Natasha – some rose wine (my favourite!), chocolates, and a book with tips and guides. So, so touched!

Natasha also suggested we got a second photographer for our wedding because there were so many elements to the wedding to capture, and she was totally right! We were so glad we followed her advice (and that she was able to get someone at such short notice!)

The Videography

YSD Media were amazing. We had an initial chat with Stefan over the phone prior to engaging them as our videographer and then again about a week before the actual day. They were absolutely amazing, friendly, totally made us feel at ease and we all had a good laugh. They were also very good at capturing actual emotions which was what we really loved. We absolutely loved their work.

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Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

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