The blooms in this mornings wedding are just gorgeous - I'm loving that there are loads of brightly coloured buds spilling out of silver spray painted vessels (such a good way to make different jars and pots look more uniform btw), they just fill Owen House Wedding Barn with colour. Suze looks stunning in her Jenny Packham gown and if anyone is having dress wobbles, make sure you check out her report as Suze never had a 'the one' moment and also nearly ended up with three dresses because she couldn't chose...it's definitely worth a read, once you've swooned over the images from Kate Scott Photography of course!
Feeling OverwhelmedSuze The Bride: In writing this all down, I’ve realised how much of an indecisive bride I was. The day after the wedding I remember feeling quite overwhelmed. It is a strange sight to have all those you care about in one room just for you and after months of planning it is over far too quickly. Having discussed with other brides afterwards, the overwhelming feeling seems to be common. It’s hearing the stories and seeing all the photos afterwards which really remind you of all the details that on the day pass you by. I would really like to thank our parents, Teresa, Alan, Sheila and Mike, all the bridesmaids Lisa, Sophie, Anna, Gemma, Liz, the best man Chris Thomson and the groomsmen Mark, Rob and Nath.
The BrideFinding a dress was hard. Dress shopping is just such a bizarre experience; practically every dress looked ok! How often does that happen?! I wish the same thing happened when trying to buy jeans...So how to pick?! I’m still not sure how I did! Ok my secret: I’m slightly ashamed to say I am the owner of two dresses and it was nearly three...The first dress was bought off a sale rail on a whim with fantasies that I could turn it into some kind of dream dress. A sensible well-needed word from my Mum dampened the dream, that probably would have become a nightmare having no experience of dressmaking. There was also another dress about to go on order before the final Jenny Packham choice. It was nothing like what I thought I would wear, I just loved the detail and the fact it felt so floaty on. It wasn’t all plain sailing with the dress, there were a number of issues with the size ordered and alterations that didn’t quite work. I ended up taking the dress to a second alterations lady, Hilary, days before the wedding. She worked a miracle and I am ever so grateful for her time and straight-talking in my hour of need. My advice to other brides is to be absolutely clear on what size dress the boutique is ordering and to find a personally recommended dressmaker to do your alterations. I would have loved to not wear any shoes in my floaty dress but alas gravel stone paths and potential rain (this is Manchester!) made this an impractical option. So the next best option were a pair of twinkly flats from Matalan. My accessories were all a little last minute. I decided on a veil the week before, picking a long style just for some formality in the chapel. The bracelet was a 30th birthday gift from my girlfriends and the necklace was borrowed on the morning of the wedding from one of my bridesmaids! My hair was created by my brilliant hairdresser Zoe owner of The Retreat Hair Salon. Zoe took me for a glass of wine and showed me the pin board she put together to think through styles: things like this just made planning the wedding so enjoyable. My make up was expertly done by Sarra from Artiste Creative. I had a trial with another supplier first and made the mistake of not briefing her well enough. I didn’t know what I wanted and only afterwards realised heavy face make up and pink lippy were not me! I learnt that the most important thing you need to do is brief your make-up artist fully, providing them with pictures of the look you are after; from there Sarra took my ideas and made it right for me.
The BridesmaidsFrom ensuring I had the most brilliant hen do, to providing a listening ear and creating craft production lines, my bridesmaids (sister Lisa, friends Anna, Gemma, Liz and Sophie) were wonderful. One of my bridesmaids had her baby only days before the wedding and still made it. Finding Bridesmaid dresses was nearly as difficult as finding my own dress! I am sure I am on some sort of blacklist due to the number of dresses I bought and then had to return. I just happened to find this slate grey dress in H&M and was pleased it was from the Conscious Collection too. It suited all the girls so well. My mum found some chunky necklaces to complement the simplicity of the dress. The little flower girls rocked it in pink ballerina style dresses, picking dresses for them was a delight!
The Groom & GroomsmenNeither of us really liked the formality of a full wedding suit, and seeing as we were having a party in a barn, something a little more tweed like was the natural choice. Ties and pocket squares were courtesy of the best man and his girlfriend who picked them up during their travels in South East Asia. The maroon colouring was the closest Jon could get away with as tribute to his beloved Man U ;)
The CeremonyWe married at a beautiful old Unitarian chapel in Hale Barns. The service was probably both our favourite part of the day. Our minister Jeff made everyone feel welcomed and the Unitarian service was absolutely perfect. We chose the classic Corinthians reading as well as lyrics taken from Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky and Elbow’s Starlings. If any bride wants to marry in a church but is unsure about the religious aspects, have a look into a Unitarian service which we found much more suitable to our liberal outlook.
The VenueWe really wanted something relaxed and Owen House Wedding Barn was the perfect venue. The owners Dan and Vanessa made us feel instantly welcomed and chilled about the whole wedding. Every time we went they had created something new to make the venue even better and quirkier. The photo back drops they created were an absolute treat and the service on the day was absolutely spot on. I remember Jon and I wandering through a field late in the evening listening to the dancing and singing in the barn, absolutely amazing. Stables Cuisine ensured we were all well fed with a summertime twist on a classic lamb dinner. Food tasting was definitely Jon’s favourite part of the planning.
The DecorBack 18 months ago when I first started pinning and ripping things out of magazines, the colour scheme was all very pale, blush, and delicate. Then the closer we got to the wedding, we decided on something much louder! Some of my favourite places we’ve ever visited are full of colour: Morocco, Turkey, Vietnam, Cambodia: I wanted this brightness in the flowers. Cue the hot pinks, oranges and purples which Maggie arranged as if they’d just been picked to complement the rustic barn. Going with a solo local provider like Maggie’s Flowers helped with the cost and gave us a real personal service.
The DIYI went a bit DIY craft crazy: I blame Pinterest. My favourite DIY bits were the spray painted jars for the colourful blooms, the table plan made from polaroid pics of all the guests (I got photos of guests from facebook and printed them using Square Snaps, a great service) and hung on the inside of a suitcase with a heart table number, menus designed with a replica of the image used on my mum and dad’s wedding menu, cake topper painted in gold glitter and the ‘cards’ suitcase lined with pics of Jon and I. Instead of hiring in an expensive lighting backdrop, I bought tiny LED fairy lights on battery packs and hung them from the ledge behind the top table, cheaper and I was pretty pleased with the effect. The balloons were courtesy of one my bridesmaids and brought drama to a big room, and they made excellent photo props! I really enjoyed putting everything together but advice any brides-to-be to start their DIY as soon as possible! Many an hour was spent browsing Hobbycraft, then returning there to get things I’d forgotten and buying things I never used: it’s the crafter’s curse. Rope everyone you can into helping you: my Mum did the name placecards and my Bridesmaids made excellent crafting slaves, they will all accept payment in Prosecco.
The PhotographyI’d followed my uni friend Kate Scott on her photography blog for a few years and knew straight away I wanted her modern documentary style coverage for our day. Kate’s photos did not disappoint and I loved the way she had them ready for when we arrived home from the honeymoon, just when we needed a little lift from the downer of it all being over. There were times Jon and I just had a few moments to ourselves: I don’t even remember Kate being there to take pictures of it!
The EntertainmentWe had seen Chief Brody play before and even though we looked around a little, we did just keep coming back to these guys. We had decided set times before but they sensibly took a decision to cut the first set short as guests were still enjoying the sun outside and instead played a much longer set later on when the dance floor was packed. Just little things like this make a difference between being a good supplier and being a fabulous supplier. The music was a rock twist on classics that were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone which was exactly the plan.
The PhotoboothThe photobooth was inside an old black cab, painted white and superbly decorated. As well as creating a photo montage guest book given to us at the end of the night we also have a memory stick of the funniest videos of our guests attempting to leave us advice for the future. The guys running the booth were such good fun. The guests loved this photobooth and it was definitely worth the splurge.
Bride : Jenny Packham | Alterations: Hilary Jane Designs | Veil: Joyce Jackson | Make Up: Artiste Creative | Hair: The Retreat Salon | Bridesmaids: H&M Conscious Collection | Groom & Groomsmen: Best Man Hire | Florist: Maggie Earl | Venue: Owen House Wedding Barn | Cake: M&S | Photo Booth: Avago Booths | Invitations: Wonder Associates | Band : Chief Brody | Transport: CLWC