Mad Dog & the Sophisticats

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A Winter Warmer.

I do love a winter wedding.

Matt and Laura married on 29th December 2011 at Rudding Park, Harrogate, so we are only a few days after Christmas. Just as Laura specified that her dress should be ‘Christmassy without too much Christmas’ I think the same could be said for their wedding.

It would be tempting to go with a traditional seasonal colour scheme of green and red but here we have vintage pinks and cream and just a touch of purple to remind us that we are in late late December.

And it really works.

Photography today is by the delightfully delicious Anna Hardy.

Christmassy Without Too Much Christmas

I’m not your typical girly girl and, I must admit, the thought of having to find the ‘perfect dress’ was a little bit daunting. I tried on quite a few different dresses, visiting a few different shops with both my Mum and my bridesmaids. I eventually found Louella Bride in Leeds who stock so many gorgeous dresses (I can’t recommend this shop and its staff highly enough – they were fantastic throughout). I was beginning to think I really wasn’t going to find a dress I loved until I tried on ‘Brigham’ from Blue by Enzoani – it was the train of the dress that really sold it to me and the delicate detailing on both the front and back. I think my brief when asked what I was looking for in a dress was ‘Christmassy without too much Christmas’ – If I’m 100% honest, there were dresses that I saw and adored even after picking this one, but there was something about this dress that, when I tried it on, it just felt perfect and, most importantly, I knew Mr B would approve!

Perfect Pearls

I really wanted my wedding jewellery to have sentimental value and so didn’t want to buy anything new. Fortunately, for my 21st birthday, I was given a single pearl necklace by two of my best friends and a pair of pearl and diamond earrings from my parents which were perfect! Mr B’s lovely Nanna also very kindly lent me a pearl bracelet that had previously belonged to her Mum (my something borrowed).

On the morning of the wedding, my Dad also surprised me with the most gorgeous gold diamond bracelet! With regard to hair accessories, I tried on one veil and it just didn’t feel right, so I opted instead to go with some very small and simple pearl clips from Accessorize – I knew if I didn’t feel like me I just wouldn’t be comfortable – it is so easy to get wound up in the world of wedding accessories but sometimes less is definitely more.

Wellies And Flip Flops

First stop in the shoe department for me was wellies! I knew the weather in December wasn’t destined to be cracking and that didn’t bother me, so long as I knew I was prepared. I bought some fancy pants wellies from Ted Baker which I wore whilst we did all of our outside pictures. As for heels, I had my heart set on buying some fancy designer ones, but instead ended up buying some gorgeous simple gold ones with a cute little bow at the front from Coast (and with 20% off, bonus!) and thank goodness they were so cheap and not designer!

After walking down the aisle that was the last I wore those shoes as I had also bought a cute little pair of Kurt Geiger flip flops (the jelly type with the bow on) for dancing in later and had a sudden revelation to scrap the heels and go in early with the flip flops! Best decision ever – comfort is key for me and happy feet was a must!

Natural, Flawless And Radiant

I’m really not big into make-up, I think if anything, it scares me a little as I really don’t know how to put it all on properly! I’m just a bronzer/blusher/mascara girl for daytime/nights out but thought I best get myself a bit more spruced up for the big day. I have a very lovely friend, Regan, who is a fab beauty/make-up artist who happily agreed to help me out and, after a trial at Laura Mercier in Harvey Nichols to test out all of their different products (and my bank account taking a serious hit) I was all set. Regan did an amazing job, it was very natural and I felt like me but much more flawless and radiant!

We had a few wedding hair trials before the big day from Kaylee, a lovely lady found by my bridesmaid, but it was left very much until the morning of the wedding to finally decide how we were all going to have our hair. I was set on a half up style from the beginning as I didn’t want to look too different from my normal self and after a few attempts it looked exactly as I had wanted. She also made my bridesmaids/flower girls look so beautiful!

Vintage Style

Luckily, we had a connection to a very lovely lady named Annie from Rosa Rugosa – she was fantastic right from the start. We knew very little about any type of flowers but knew that we wanted a purple/cream vintage style with not very much ‘greenery’. Annie did an amazing job; my favourite flower (and the only flower name I learned) was the amnesia rose. I was blown away at just how perfect she had gotten it with such a small brief!

Our centre pieces were vintage birdcages filled with similar flowers and fairy lights – the credit here goes to Mr B as he really pushed for these and they looked great on the tables, especially in the evening!

Polka Dots

For our Groomsmen we asked them to buy their own grey suit to wear on the big day, we wanted to them all to look similar, but comfortable, and wearing something they would wear again, but we did supply them with a black & white polka dot tie!

As for bridesmaids, we visited Cottage Bridal in Ossett, who hold a range of Dessy dresses. I was keen on them getting something that they wanted, I didn’t want to influence them too much in what they had to wear as I really wanted it to be a joint decision between us all so I knew my girls were happy. It was when my Bridesmaid Sophie came out of the changing room wearing the floor length Grecian style Palomino dress that I knew we were on to a winner – she looked stunning (!!!). I fell in love and they were ordered. They fitted in with our purple/cream/vintage colour theme perfectly and the flowers added such a gorgeous hint of colour when they were walking down the aisle.


Matt’s a teacher and wears suits every day, so he wanted something a bit different, but he’s really not into top hat and tails. He ended up having a bespoke suit made from A Suit that Fits. It was three piece, and although it had to go back and forth a few too many times, when I saw him as I walked down the aisle he looked brilliant…so handsome! His shoes (brown brogues from Ted Baker) were fab! I thought I was pretty calm and relaxed on the morning of the wedding but as soon as I saw him I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders – I was so incredibly happy that this moment had finally arrived!

Relaxed And Calm

Our photographer was Anna Hardy. This was one of the most important details for us as we LOVE pictures, especially anything that’s a bit quirky. As soon as I saw her pictures on another RMW wedding I just knew that she would be perfect for us. We were looking for a vintage(y)/documentary style of photography and she was exactly that. We arranged to meet in Manchester and knew instantly that she was the one! She was so incredibly fantastic throughout the whole process, she made us feel very relaxed and calm and as if she wasn’t even there. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing the photographs are – she catches the most brilliant moments.

Random Cake

We really weren’t too bothered about a cake. I was pretty keen on just buying a shed load of Krispy Kreme donuts and turning them into a wedding cake style masterpiece but Mother wasn’t so in love with that idea. So, after Googling ‘random wedding cakes’ we found an idea that took our fancy… a Smartie/M&M cake! The ordering was then left in the very capable hands of my Mum and Dad – so much so that we didn’t actually see our wedding cake in person until the day of the wedding – it was a-mazing (!!) and very ‘us’. It’s a shame that the Husband and I didn’t manage even a sniff of it… not even a sneaky Smartie, it was the most expensive pudding we have never eaten!

Mad Dogs

I became a bit of a ‘Googler’ of all things wedding almost as soon as we got engaged and it was on one of these occasions that I stumbled across Mad Dog & the Sophisticats. A swing/jazz band filled to the brim with character! They were, without a shadow of a doubt, the absolute highlight of our wedding day (aside from marrying my gorgeous man, of course!).

They absolutely excelled themselves and even got everybody up during our wedding breakfast to sing/dance along to ‘The Music Man’ – seeing everybody up and playing their imaginary trombones in their glad rags will be a memory that I will treasure forever – it was at this point that I think myself and Mr B caught a glance at each other and realised just how lucky we were to have each other, our amazing families and our wonderful friends altogether in one room sharing this day that we had been planning for almost two years.

For our evening reception, we had a friends band ‘Versonic’ who were absolutely fantastic and catered for all eras – from start to finish they had everyone up dancing!

Another huge highlight was Mr B donning his acoustic guitar to serenade us with his classic – ‘Mysterious Girl’ by Peter Andre, and many others. He’s a true romantic and had also been secretly practising ‘Lady in Red’ with the band, which was amazing – he was in his element (I think he had mistaken the venue for the O2 arena for approx. 3 minutes!) I was love struck all over again!

Use Somebody

Our first dance was sung by our very lovely friend Rebecca Taylor (a member of the amazing band – Slow Club). We had been ‘umming and ahhing’ over what song really represented us, and there were a few, but we opted for a cover of Kings of Leon – Use Somebody. They are my all-time favourite band and we both thought it was the perfect song to dance our way into married life.

Good Clean Fun

After contemplating a few ideas and not wanting to spend a fortune, RMW came to the rescue with a step by step guide of how to make your own soaps. I had a few trial runs – rose scented (not for me!), then cherry (much nicer!) and turned the kitchen into a mini laboratory a few weeks before the wedding. They were so easy and straightforward to make and the whole house smelt amaze for weeks. For men’s favours we decided on miniature hip flasks filled with a little tipple. Both the soaps and the hip flasks also doubled up as place names for the tables as we attached a luggage label and ribbon courtesy of my ever favourite Cath Kidston.

Hanging Hearts

With our wedding being so close after Christmas it meant that we had little to do in terms of decoration as they had a mahoosive Christmas tree in the main reception area and fairy lights around all of the pillars and the stair case – it was magical, especially at night.

My Mum also very kindly made us loads of hanging hearts (about 100!) from lots of different materials and they were hung all around the venue and even acted as a keepsake for some of our guests!

In the Limelight

The photo booth we hired for our evening reception from Limelight was worth every penny. It went down a storm… especially when your guests are a little tiddly and slightly more adventurous!

We decided not to have a receiving line as we wanted the extra time for photos but with us having over 100 guests we wanted to make sure that we got a chance to see everybody. We made a plan to do our very best to see all of our lovely family and friends throughout the meal and it was the best thing we could have done, it meant that they were comfortably in their seats enjoying the vino and we were able to pop from table to table having a giggle and sharing our favourite bits of the day so far.

Being married is, without a doubt, the most amazingly wonderful feeling ever – it was whilst tucking into the starter of our wedding breakfast that I distinctly remember looking around the room feeling an incredible sense of love and happiness… it’s not always about the little bits of pretty (although they do help!) – things went wrong, people dropped out last minute and I felt like I was always conscious of trying to make everybody happy… but when it comes down to it I could have walked down the aisle in my favourite pj’s and still had the time of my life! Enjoy the planning stages, don’t stress too much about the little things, it will all fall into place and if it doesn’t, well, people probably won’t even realise anyway…!!

Photography – Anna Hardy

Dress – Blue by Enzoani

Boutique – Louella Bride

Shoes – Coast

Wellies – Ted Baker

Make-up – Laura Mercier

Entertainment – Mad Dog & the Sophisticats

Photobooth – Limelight

Florist – Rosa Rugosa

A really relaxed and thouroughly warming winter tale.

I love the light pastel bridesmaid dresses, they really do sit well with the floral arrangements. In fact the colour scheme overall is spot on. The vintage touches work brilliantly and the homemade RMW inspired soap favours looked great (although I myself of course would much prefer one of the hip flasks that the guys got).

Thanks to Matt and Laura for sharing your big day with the RMW community