Laura the Bride:
I really had no idea of what sort of style dress I wanted, so when I went for my first wedding dress fitting, I was very open minded. The style of dresses that I liked just didn’t suit me or I didn’t feel comfortable in and then I tried on a dress that was a bit of a wild card as it was so simple and not what I thought I would be in! Well that was it...I felt so right and so me in it and it was the only one my mum cried at when she saw me in it. It was an Annasul Y
dress and the girls at Lulu Browns
in Whalley were so helpful and made the process so easy, they put me in contact with such a lovely dress fitter called Charlotte at Legends in Blackburn
who made sure my dress fitted me perfectly. With such a simple dress I went all out with my shoes and treated myself to a pair of emerald green Gucci
shoes, which I knew I would not regret.
Shaun knew from the beginning he wanted a blue Ted Baker
suit, which I knew he would look amazing in as their suits always fit him really well. It was a bit of a mission to find a navy blue polka dot tie but we got there in the end. It was Shaun’s idea to pair a grey waistcoat from Zara
with the blue suit, which I thought totally worked. We said to close family and men who were part of the wedding what Shaun was wearing, so it was up to them if they wanted to wear anything similar, this way there was no ‘formal attire’ but everyone involved were coordinated.
We fell in love with Ashton Memorial
ages ago, just because of the architecture and the beauty of it. So when my sister Jo mentioned we should have our ceremony there we thought it was a great idea. For us it was very important to wow our guests as a lot of them were coming all the way from New Zealand and with Ashton Memorial you definitely get the wow factor. When Shaun asked me what type of wedding I wanted when we got engaged I said to him that I would love a marquee wedding as I thought it was such a blank canvass, the only problem was where to have it. My parents have a large garden but it just wouldn’t have fitted a marquee, so when my sister and her husband offered for us to have it on their field, we were absolutely thrilled.
We didn’t really have a theme or colour scheme; we just wanted to incorporate New Zealand and the UK as much as we could. We had a double decker bus, which the kiwi’s thought was awesome, especially with the Coronation Street theme playing through the speakers! We wanted it to be elegant but with elements of fun which showed our personality, we wanted our guests to be wowed but without too much formality and fuss.
We had the most amazing team of florists for our wedding The Flower Shop by Morgan
, Garstang. The only thing I knew was I wanted lots of greenery and bold big flowers instead of dainty ones. I was very lucky that my eldest sister Emma organises events and flowers are her forte, her and Leah have worked with each other before so they came together with some amazing ideas, which they pulled off beautifully. I absolutely loved the king protea’s that my bridesmaids had and was over the moon with my bouquet. We had three 10ft rings suspended in the marquee that were covered in flowers that acted as three centrepieces for three of the tables. The other seven centrepieces were a number of clear candleholders all at different heights surrounded by moss. We also had a number of silver lanterns scattered around, in and outside of the marquee and we hung a few old chandeliers with tall candles in the trees, which looked phenomenal when the sun began to go down.
We decided to have a New Zealand wine theme for the tables. Each table was named after one of our favourite vineyards over there. My brother in law is in the hospitality business and was able to source all the wine from each of those vineyards. We also had personalised aprons made and allocated them to one person on each table so they were the wine sommelier for the wedding breakfast. It was such a great talking point and everyone chosen enjoyed taking on the roll, plus they got to keep the apron.
The Wedding Party
It was always going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare for my bridesmaids and their dresses. Two are from New Zealand and one lives in London and with us spending half the year in each country I was never going to get them all together. So I chose the dresses from ASOS
and had them sent to them individually. I thought all three of them looked gorgeous and I kind of regretted not buying myself one! Do other brides do that!?
Unfortunately two of Shaun’s groomsmen were unable to come to the wedding, so it was only the best man that we had to get a suit for. We found the perfect suit to compliment Shaun’s which was from Next, Alan was coming from Australia so we had to hope that it fit. Which it did!
My sister Jo did a very emotional reading at the ceremony, which had us all in tears. Then my nephew Kieran read out the lyrics to Elton John’s your Song, which every one smiled at, as Shaun is a massive Elton John fan. We decided to have the speeches in-between courses during the wedding breakfast, and then people could relax and enjoy their meals. My Dad started things off which was very heartfelt and meaningful then my best friend Leanne said a few words, which was just perfect. After the starter Shaun’s best man Alan did his speech, which had us all in stitches and Shaun’s step Dad Graham had read out a few telegrams, then it was Shaun’s turn and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, even some burly rugby players were tearful. Shaun
had asked me if I wanted him to play at the wedding and at first I said no as it was his day off and he plays at everyone else’s wedding throughout the year. But as time got nearer he could tell that I was thinking it would be lovely if he did, so he said he would bring the grand piano just in case he wanted to tinkle the ivory’s later on! But during his speech he brought me up and got behind the piano and started to play Bob Dylans ‘Make you feel my love.’
After Shaun had finished and everyone wiped the tears away our good friend Ben took to the floor, which was a complete surprise. He said a few lovely words and then him and Shaun headed to the piano where they did their famous duet of Crocodile Rock, which had everyone dancing and singing along.
During the ceremony we had our friend Josh play acoustic guitar, which was just beautiful and suited the venue so well. When it was time for me to walk down the aisle, I did so to a piece of music that Shaun had written for me called ‘Jayne’ which is my middle name, I knew as soon as I heard it I wouldn’t be able to hold it together. While we were shopping in Manchester we heard the most amazing band busking in the streets called The String Beans, we knew we had to have them play at the wedding. As the guests got off the bus to the marquee and the sun was shining and the drinks were flowing, The String Beans
definitely set the party mood.
It was always going to be hard for us to choose a band for the evening, with Shaun being a succesful musician and playing at many weddings himself he knew the kind of entertainment he wanted. We had been to a couple of weddings the year before where the Deadbeats were playing and Shaun knew instantly that they were perfect. They gave so much energy and had everyone, even my 94-year-old Nana on the dance floor.
As The Deadbeats
got mid way into their second set, they made an announcement for everyone to head outside as the bride and groom were leaving. With cry’s from our family and friends of ‘you cant go yet, its just getting started’ they all made their way outside and we surprised them all with the most amazing fireworks display. It was at that point that Shaun and I held each other and looked up into the sky and knew that we had just had the best day of our lives.
When we had decided on a marquee wedding, there was only one person who I wanted to do the catering who was a family friend from our village, Jane Peter’s Catering
. Jane and her team were just outstanding, the food and the way she ran things were phenomenal. We had canapés and fizz served as soon as the guests got off the bus at the marquee which included a Selection of fresh canapés on skewers, smoked salmon and caper spoons, Goats cheese en croute with candid walnuts and shots of Gazpacho.
We had decided to have a New Zealand themed menu, which was warm asparagus and Parma ham to start and then a duo of lamb for a main course. The dessert was a trio of desserts including kiwi pavlova, lemon posset and chocolate brownie. Later in the evening there was a picnic style help yourself buffet, with ham and cheese and pork pies.
Two family friends who make the most amazing cakes and desserts gifted the wedding cake to us, which we were very grateful for.
It was the easiest decision to make when it came to the wedding photographer. Emma
had shot my cousins wedding two years before and had done the most amazing job and not only that she was the nicest and coolest person I’d ever met. Emma had a second shooter, Greg Milner
who was equally fantastic. They both managed to capture the day in the most wonderful way and slipped in and out without even being noticed. We were absolutely blown away with the final pictures and love reliving the whole day over and over again. The photos that Emma captured were a true reflection of our wedding day, full of fun, laughter and a lot of love and happiness.
We truly had the best day ever and my only advise would be that the small things that keep you up at night the weeks before the wedding, really don’t matter on the day. The only thing that matters is that you enjoy and savour every single minute of your day.