Lovely Bride Roz wore a pretty green gown for her wedding day and I think it’s fair to say she looks amazing. Anyone who is considering stepping away from the white/ivory/champagne norm – I hope this wedding gives you the confidence to do so!!
Roz & Tom actually made quite a few decisions that don’t come under the ‘traditional’ idea of a wedding – they had three venues for their big day, holding their ceremony at the Victoria Baths in Manchester, followed by dinner at vegetarian restaurant Greens, rounded off by a good old knees up at pub The Woodstock Arms.
They also didn’t ask the Bridesmaids to wear particular dresses and they served scotch eggs with Prosecco as canapés…it’s such a fun wedding and a great example of a wedding on a budget.
Roz The Bride: I proposed to Tom on his 30th birthday in January on a trip to London – took him to a steak restaurant followed by seeing his favourite band and used a keyring engraved with lyrics from one of our favourite songs and “Marry Me?” on it (wasn’t sure about the male engagement ring idea!). Think this came as a bit of a surprise to everyone as had planned it in secret from my friends. Tom had actually asked me a few years prior to this, but the time just wasn’t right, so really glad I got to ask him this time round.
I knew I didn’t want a “traditional” dress and wasn’t prepared to spend thousands of pounds on something I would only wear once. The first wedding dress I tried on was £90 from BHS, I very nearly bought it! After browsing the high street options and not finding anything quite right, I went to The Case of the Curious Bride, which stocks vintage dresses and independent designers. As soon as we walked in we spotted this pale green dress in the corner, and I think we all knew I was going to end up with that! It’s actually meant to be a bridesmaids dress, by ButtonBelle, but I think it worked really well. Plus I can wear it again, great value for money right there! I spotted the Rachel Simpson shoes in a local bridal shop, and when I found out you could get them in pale green that was the decision made. I got so many comments on the day about them – even my Dad commented on how much he liked them!
For accessories I wanted something for my hair. Initially I went to a bridal shop and tried on a pearl headband, but it was £300, and I realised I have a string of my Mum’s pearls at home, so when I had my hair trial my stylist managed to improvise and weave this into my hair instead, worked a treat, and free! It was also nice to wear my Mum’s jewellery as she died when I was younger, I also wore her engagement ring on my right hand.
I borrowed the cardigan from my friend Rachel, and the pin from my bridesmaid Alice. As the most of the venue has no heating some extra layers were vital!
Again, Tom didn’t want top hat and tails or anything, so we just looked at the high street options. By the time he was getting his I already had my green dress picked out so was able to influence him to buy a green shirt and tie, plus he had his green Doc martens to match. I bought him a watch as a wedding present, which worked well with his outfit.
We knew wanted to get married in Manchester where we met and both still live, and wanted somewhere nearby that we had a connection to. As soon as Victoria Baths was granted its wedding license a few years ago it was on the list for me. It’s a listed Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish Baths complex, and has recently reopened and still being restored. It’s absolutely beautiful inside, I love the green tiles. The only problem was that the building has no central heating, so they generally only do weddings in the Summer. However as we wanted to get married in the smaller Turkish Baths room, we could arrange for a small gas heater to make sure our guest didn’t freeze. The thing that sold it to us was that they offered a guided tour of the Baths after the ceremony – love the idea of our wedding being educational! This was also a great way to keep our guests occupied whilst we went and got some coupley photos.
We knew we couldn’t use the building for the meal and reception due to the heating issue, so explored options elsewhere. Greens is one of our favourite restaurants, so was a natural choice. It’s vegetarian (which neither Tom nor I are), but we knew we would be able to win our guests over with their cooking, and their speciality of veggie black pudding! They were super helpful and the room was really intimate which is what we wanted. We knew we didn’t want to travel far as would need a third venue for our evening reception, but luckily The Woodstock is great pub with an upstairs room a short walk down the road. We really wanted the reception to have an informal ‘party’ feel and the pub was great for that. They even arranged for us to have some cask beers we like on tap, and let us decorate the space with fairy lights.
As we were using 3 different venues we needed to transport our guests. Initially we were going to get taxis as we only had a small number of guests at the ceremony, but I had a vision of everyone shivering on the pavement in Manchester in November, and decided maybe we should get a bus…Tom found Yorkshire Heritage Buses online, and one of their fleet used to service a route in Hull (where Tom is from) in the 60s, and was a really pretty black and cream double decker so was perfect. The guests really loved the journey to the meal and we really liked that everyone was together. The bus also drove me and the bridesmaids to the Baths – was nice to arrive in style!
I was never going to be ones of those brides that crafted everything, I just couldn’t face it. However me and the girls managed to do a few things to add a few wedding touches to the venues.
For the confetti, I picked up a heart shaped hole punch, and bridesmaid Emily took on the unenviable task of stamped hearts out of our left over invites. Emily also added in some bits punched out of a medical dictionary and some maps (Tom is a doctor, and also loves maps!) It looked really pretty and love the fact it’s recycling as I try to be very ‘green’!
I picked up a chalkboard from a market early on in the planning, and we used this to write the menu on (rather than getting them printed for tables) in Greens, with the seating plan pinned on the other side. We decorated the tables with some DIY decorated jam jars and tea lights, and used some of the homemade confetti to sprinkle on the tables. I picked up some ink stamps and we made placemarkers using luggage tags, ribbon and stamping names on. Relatively simple but thinking they looked nice.
One of the reasons for choosing the Baths is that the inside is so pretty, there’s not much call for decorations. So we just set up a few candles the day before, and wrote an order of service on one of their chalkboards.
I’m totally clueless when it comes to flowers, but I had seen Gypsophila on photos and loved its simplicity. After looking at some different options, my friend Helen told me to ask for an “unstructured meadow” and our florist somehow managed to translate that into some lovely flowers!
The Wedding Party
At the start, my four friends were “wedding consultants” – I never wanted to have them walking down the aisle and make them wear matching dresses as the whole day was supposed to be very low key, but by the end of the planning I think I had come to accept that they were definitely bridesmaids!
I wanted them to feel comfortable and wear something they liked so they picked out their own dresses, and they all looked beautiful. My friend Lauren was due to give birth a few weeks before the wedding so I also wanted her to wear something she felt comfortable in.
The only problem with civil ceremonies is they are so short! We knew we wanted to have some readings to extend the proceedings and was nice to involve our friends. There is A LOT of awful awful stuff on the internet when you Google wedding readings, it took us a long time to settle on ones we liked and that would be suitable, but eventually we decided on:
– Pulp, lyrics to Something Changed – read by Nick
– Roger McGough, A Vow – read by Mike
– W. H. Auden, Foxtrot From a Play – read by Alice
After the ceremony we gathered in the Turkish Sauna area for Prosecco and scotch eggs (classy), and then the guests embarked on an educational tour around the venue whilst we took photos. Gutted we didn’t get to do the tour ourselves!
As we wanted the reception to have a party feel, we asked our friends Kirsty and Dave to DJ. They used to run an indie night in Manchester called Underachievers Please Try Harder, which was our favourite club night. We knew they would get the dancefloor moving! We are both into music so wanted to hear songs we and our friends would like, Kirsty and Dave were under strict instructions not to play any requests for Abba or anything! This was great and meant we spent most of the evening dancing with friends to Pulp, The National and PJ Harvey – my favourite way to spend a Saturday night!
We thought our guests might get a bit peckish during the day so we ordered in lot of scotch eggs from Moocher Foods in veggie, black pudding, pork varieties. Tom loves scotch eggs and they were really easy to serve at the Baths, went down a storm! Also got lots of comedy photos of people biting into them!
For the cake, I approached my friend Vicky who is a very skilled cake baker. We weren’t bothered about fruit cake, so we went for three layers – chocolate salted caramel, lemon curd, and Victoria sponge. It was amazing! Especially the chocolate salted caramel, mmm!
Our friends had given us a little bike they picked up on holiday (we are both keen cyclists) and we thought it would make a great cake topper, so Vicky popped this on along with some green ribbon and flowers to match my bouquet, looked beautiful.
We wanted to impress our carnivore friends with the menu at Greens and they didn’t disappoint! We went with:
– Veggie black pudding, with soft poached egg and grilled artichoke
– Spinach, feta and pistachio filo pie
– Chocolate, red wine and orange pot with orange blossom shortbread
It was all lovely, and had so many comments about it, people didn’t miss the meat! The staff at Greens were all so helpful.
We are both beer enthusiasts so our Prosecco was actually ordered from Adnams (generally known for brewing beer) and arranged to have some cask beers on tap at The Woodstock.
We initially approached our talented friend Kate Scott but when we worked out her due date was the same weekend as the wedding, she recommended her photographer friend Andrew Keher to us and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Andy managed to really capture the atmosphere, and the pictures really tell the story of the day. He also got lots of behind the scenes shots so it meant we got to see what was happening elsewhere on the day. Tom and I are both slightly camera shy and worried about ‘awkward coupley’ shots as we both felt embarrassed, but Andy really but us at ease and made things as easy as possible for us to get some nice photos together.
Final Words & Advice
Tom and I have been together for years and were keen not to have a long engagement, so November that year was perfect for us. We are both cynical and don’t trust the British weather so weren’t bothered about waiting until the summer to get married. This worked out really well as meant it was much easier to get venues and suppliers are often quieter – highly recommend it.
We were also keen not to spend a fortune on the wedding, as we are saving up for a house. We managed to do it all on a reasonably low budget (in wedding terms!), so I would encourage other brides to be not to get swept up and challenge things you “have” to do (e.g. save the dates – we just sent an email), and not taken it as a given that everything has to cost lots of money.
My main pieces of advice would be to a) be selfish and b) don’t get too bogged down in the detail. The first is because you can’t please everyone, so you may as well please yourselves! It’s your day, so try not to care too much about what everyone else will think (us booking a vegetarian restaurant is the perfect example!) And with the details, ultimately people aren’t going to remember if the shade of ribbon on your tables doesn’t exactly match your theme etc etc etc; what is most important is having a good time with the people you love.
Photography by Andrew Keher Photography
- Boutique The Case Of The Curious Bride
- Bride’s Dress Button Belle
- Shoes Mimosa by Rachel Simpson
- Groom Next
- Ceremony Venue Victoria Baths
- Dinner Venue Greens
- Party Venue The Woodstock Arms
- Transport Yorkshire Heritage Bus
- Florist Blossom Flowers
- Entertainment Underachievers
- Scotch Eggs The Moocher
- Invitations Feel Good Wedding Invites
- Guestbook The Vintage Binding Co.