Jess looks utterly gorgeous in her Giselle dress by Anna Campbell, found at one of our favourite boutiques, Jean Jackson Couture. It's the perfect mix of sparkle and elegance, making it ideal for this relaxed wedding at Sefton Park Palm House. Images come from the ever lovely Sarah Jane Ethan, whose positive, warm vibe never fails to bring out the very best in her couples. Enjoy team, it's a very pretty wedding day...
The BrideJess the Bride: The designer of my gown was one of the first things I decided on after getting engaged. I have always loved all things vintage and particularly fashion from the turn of the century. When looking at Pinterest and googling Edwardian themed weddings, I came across the designer Anna Campbell and fell in love with her romantic, vintage inspired gowns. I had to have one! I found the nearest UK stockist to me at the wonderful Jean Jackson Couture, a beautiful family owned boutique in the trendy Northern Quarter in Manchester. I knew what I wanted and had a list of gowns which the lovely Felicity pulled for me, also sneaking into my dressing room her favourite dress, “Giselle”. Although I loved them all, Giselle was the one for me! I didn’t want a veil as the back of the dress is so detailed and beautiful so Felicity suggested a dainty headpiece from the Anna Campbell collection which finished the Edwardian look off. Felicity was wonderful, really gets to know her brides and knows exactly what you want before you do! I kept my jewellery simple on the day wearing of course my engagement ring (and then wedding ring!) along with a bracelet my husband bought me as a gift on the morning of my wedding and finally a ring which belonged to my friend and bridesmaid who we sadly lost the year before the wedding.
The GroomThe suits were the last thing we decided on for the wedding. After scouring every suit shop in practically the whole of the Northwest we found a lovely shop called Groom hidden away inside the “Wedding House” in Liverpool. Ste had decided he wanted tweed quite early on and Groom had lots of option available. We also wanted him to stand out as it seems unfair that the bride always be the centre of attention! Because of this, we decided to dress the groomsmen slightly differently and mismatched all the suits. Ste wore a tweed jacket, waistcoat, navy trousers, matching spotty tie and spotty pocket square and brown brogues. The groomsmen wore the full navy suit with the tweed waistcoat, matching spotty tie and pocket square and brown brogues. We hired all the suits but bought the waistcoats as they originally came with a red silk back which I didn’t like and had theme replaced with navy in keeping with the theme. Ste wore a pocket watch on the day bought for him by myself as a wedding gift. I had the watch engraved with “See you at 3pm, don’t be late!”
The VenueThe venue is a beautiful grade 2 listed glass house built in 1896 and houses rare varieties of Palms, orchids and various other tropical plants and flowers. After buying our first house in South Liverpool, I fell in love with the area and particularly Sefton Park and its Palm House which is only a 10 minute walk from our front door. I’d sneaked a look at many weddings here on our walks and always dreamed of getting married here myself. When Ste proposed, I went straight to the wedding fayre there 2 weeks later and put our names down! I loved that we would getting married so close to where we had decided to set up home.
The StylingI was quite set on not having a colour scheme as such as I didn’t want the wedding to look dated in years to come. I decided on grey for the bridesmaids as felt this was a classic yet modern colour that would stand the test of time (hopefully!). The décor I really struggled with at first. The Palm House is such a beautiful venue that I didn’t want to draw attention away from the flowers and Palms themselves with fussy décor. I settled on minimal festoon lighting across the wedding breakfast/dance floor area with some up-lighting placed in the Palms to really accentuate them in the evening and that was it!
The FlowersMy florist was recommended to me by a friend and I jumped at the chance to meet with her when I found out she had already done other weddings at The Palm House. Again, due to the beauty of the venue, I worried about the flowers and centrepieces that they would get lost amongst the botanicals already there. I met with Yvette (florist) and tried (poorly!) to explain the feel of the wedding. Relaxed, non-traditional and non-fussy. She knew exactly what I meant and excitedly showed me lots of Pinterest boards, magazines and images of ideas she had. As I didn’t have a colour theme, I decided on white flowers with lots of greenery. I wanted that “I’ve just gone to the nearest meadow and scooped these up” look!! Yvette was just fantastic and I needn’t have worried. The centrepieces were all mismatched with jam jars, boxes, vases and various other bits filled with loose arrangements of mixed foliage and white flowers throughout. Each table had a tall vase with a loose arrangement of hydrangeas and delphiniums with a rustic box containing textured foliage to go with it followed with numerous smaller jam jars. My bouquet was gathered and relaxed with lots of foliage including eucalyptus, berried eucalyptus, ivy, ruscus, stocks and senecio. White veronica and white thistle were added for texture and delphiniums, lisianthus, stocks and astilbe added for touches of white throughout finished and bound with twine for a more natural look. The bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet with smaller foliage and white lisianthus buds for buttonholes.
The Wedding PartyMy bridesmaids wore grey. I wanted a neutral colour that fitted in with our relaxed feel. I let the girls pick their own dresses as I felt it was important that my best girls be comfortable and have the best day! We arranged appointments at 6 shops and my mum had a strict itinerary we had to stick to in order to get to all shops in one day. The first shop we went to was “One Fine Day Bridal”. The girls straight away picked two dresses they liked, tried them on and 15 minutes later had decided and I was paying! Claire at the store was shocked at how easy and quick we’d been (as was I!) The groomsmen as said in point 2 wore a variation of Ste’s suit.
The CeremonyOur string quartet played all the music for our ceremony. I walked down the aisle to “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films and I heard the version by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole played during a luau on a family holiday to Hawaii and fell in love! We signed the marriage register to Celine Dion’s “My heart will go on” (played by the string quartet). My favourite film of all time is Titanic and anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with it! After Ste vetoed having a full titanic themed wedding (in hindsight thank god he put his foot down) I knew I had to fit it in somewhere. It was quite nice to see the smiles on our guest’s faces when they heard the music playing! Finally, we walked out to “We Found Love” by Rhianna, again played by the string quartet. We had two readings during the ceremony. The first was an extract from Winnie the Pooh read by my oldest friend and bridesmaid and the second a quote by Albert Einstein read by one of Ste’s oldest friends and groomsman. We spent a lot of time choosing the readings as we wanted ones that would mean something to us and reflected us a couple. I chose the Winnie the Pooh extract as it’s one of my favourite books and loved that it focuses on friendship. Ste, as a lover of science, chose our second reading. We decided to have a candle lighting ceremony as we liked the symbology of bringing to people and families together and it really completed our ceremony.
The EntertainmentThe day entertainment was provided by The Wedding String Quartet. As mentioned above, they played whilst our guests arrived, during the ceremony, the reception drinks and throughout the wedding breakfast. They did a medley of songs ranging from Beyonce to Game of Thrones! They really made our day and we received so many compliments on just how good and different they were. For the evening entertainment, we decided to have a DJ. With our invites, we asked all guests to choose their favourite song that would get them all dancing. Our DJ, Chris, was fantastic. He put all the requests together to create a really good playlist and the dance floor was full all night!
The FoodAs really foodies, the food was one of the most important parts of our day. We met with a number of caterers who all provided set menus and were quite inflexible in changing that. Our final meeting was with Adam Franklin, owner and head chef of Adam Franklin Bespoke Catering. Adam was absolutely fantastic. We’d decided to go with our relaxed, Edwardian wedding that we wanted to have a picnic. This was looking less and less possible after meeting with other caterers but Adam’s face lit up when we told him. He was so excited to do something different and excitedly started running around finding picnic hampers he had and drawing various diagrams of what he envisioned! We knew straight away that he was the chef for us. Adam created the most beautiful wedding breakfast which consisted of our guests each having an individual mini picnic hamper containing a homemade pork and apricot sausage roll, a pork and bramley apple pie and a black pudding scotch egg served with chilli jam. In the centre of the table on a lazy susan was a selection of terrines, platters, salads, tarts, cheeses and artisan breads to share. Adam had asked me during our meeting what our favourite deserts where. We both agreed that we couldn’t decide between Tiramisu and lemon cheesecake so Adam decided we didn’t have to and made mini versions of both for each of our guests! Our canapes consisted of mini gruyere & pancetta palmiers and shallot and dolcelate tarte tatin’s. For our evening food, we chose mini halloumi burgers and mini beef burgers, to soak up the alcohol! For our cake, we chose a “half dressed” three tier cake. The bottom tier was lemon sponge filled with lemon buttercream and lemon curd. The middle tier was a vanilla sponge cake with raspberry preserve and vanilla buttercream and the top tier was coconut sponge cake filled with coconut buttercream and lime curd. The cake was decorated with foliage and flowers provided by our florist to match our bouquets and table centres.
The PhotographyI found our wonderful photograph, Sarah-Jane Ethan, after trawling the internet for days and days. I was so adamant that I didn’t want formal wedding photos that at first we were planning on not having a photographer at all! Little did I know at that point that the amazing Sarah-Jane Ethan existed and thank god she did! I instantly fell in love with her work. Each image looked like a dream and at that point I knew I had to either have her or have no-one! I and Ste were a little apprehensive about having our photos taken at first but we needn’t have been. SJ made us feel at ease from the moment we met her. She fitted right into our day as if she were one of our guests. The images she created of us are so beautiful and I still can’t believe that’s us and our day! She captured all the moments we missed, beautiful images of our special guests celebrating with us and having a fantastic time. I’ll never get bored of looking at them!
DIY Projects & Other BitsWedding sign – I really wanted a wedding sign made and had showed my Dad over dinner one evening what I had been looking at. I got the usual response of “don’t waste your money, I’ll do that” and two days later there it was! A lovely handmade wooden sign with a base that was the trunk of a Birchwood tree and the sign post made from an old pallet he had found. I then hand painted “Welcome” “Jess & Ste” and the date “04/08/17”. It looked fantastic on the day and in keeping with our rustic, relaxed wedding. Table plan – Another of my Dad’s “don’t waste your money” creations was our table plan. He used an old pallet to drill mini silver pails to which our florist then filled with our wedding flowers. I then made luggage tags and printed our tables and guests names to each one. So simple but looked so beautiful! Bridesmaid’s gifts – I bought little boxes and made up gifts to give to my bridesmaids, mum and aunty on the morning of our wedding. Each box contained a dressing gown, champagne, a hangover kit and a bracelet, the proceeds of which went to the teenage cancer trust in memory of my bridesmaid who we had lost to cancer the year before. Groomsman’s gifts – We bought each of our groomsmen a mini hip flask that we had engraved with the date and filled with whisky. Favours – After losing my bridesmaid, it was really important to me that she be remembered and included in our day. Our favours was a donation in the name of each guest to the charity Steph’s Wishes who provide memory days for young people with terminal or recurring cancers. A charity close to my heart as they provided a day for my bridesmaid, Becky. First dance – Our first dance was to Florence and the Machines – You got the love. We chose this song as we had met at Leeds Festival 9 years earlier and Florence played whilst we were there.
AdviceMy one bit of advice to anyone getting married would be to take time for yourselves! Adam our caterer called our guests to dinner sneakily 15 minutes earlier than he needed to. He then whisked us off to a bench outside and placed a prosecco in our hands and left us. These 15 minutes spent quietly together were my favourite of the entire day. The time fly’s over and you’ll find yourself being passed from guest to guest but try to take time for yourselves and remember why you did it in the first place!!
Bride: Anna Campbell | Boutique: Jean Jackson Couture | Shoes: Kurt Geiger | Groom: Groom Hire | Flowers: The Flower Barn | Venue: Palm House Sefton Park | Lighting: Ultra Lighting | Aisle Runner: Unique Venue Dressing | Bridesmaids: One Fine Day Bridal | Hair & Make Up: Powder Room | String Quartet : The Wedding String Quartet | DJ: UK Events Group | Catering: Adam Franklin | Cake: Pretty Tasty Cake