Wow. Just look at that venue!!! Mansfield Traquair has to be one of the most breathtaking venues I’ve ever come across and it’s in the beautiful city of Edinburgh too, one of my all time favourite cities.
English Groom Andy fully embraced Bride Yvette’s Scottish background by wearing a kilt – and very dapper he looked indeed. Yvette looked beautiful too, wearing an Essence of Australia gown with such a pretty neckline and lace overlay.
And in another nod to their heritages, the blooms combine pretty Scottish thistles with delicate white English roses. So pretty.
Honestly folks I LOVE this wedding. Chloe is the most beautiful bride and Steven is one heck of a dashing groom.
Just wait until you see Chloe’s dress too. It is…To. Die. For.
Chloe and Steven said their vows at Syon House and followed them up with a glorious reception hosted in The Great Conservatory.
Interestingly Chloe discovered her venue by looking through some photos of a old schoolfriend’s wedding before she and Steven were even engaged. She found herself blown away by the Great Conservatory; an amazing glass Victorian construction which inspired Joseph Paxton’s designs for the Crystal Palace.
And folks, impressive doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Shall we take a look…
Chloe The Bride: I love shopping but I found the experience of shopping for my wedding dress disappointing. I should have felt like I was the most beautiful girl in the world when I was in my dress but that feeling never came and neither did my excitement.
As the wedding was planned in such a short amount of time it was important to make a decision quickly about whether I wanted a traditional dress or not. In the end I decided to hunt for a dress which wasn’t actually a wedding dress but more of a gown. We ventured up to Bicester Village to investigate what they had to offer.
I’ve adored Alice Temperley dresses for as long as I can remember so it was the first shop that we headed to. A wonderful sales assistant listened to me as I described what I was looking for before returning with about ten gorgeous dresses to try on. As soon as I saw my dress on the hanger I got that feeling, that excitement, that ‘this is it’ moment.
A beautiful, bead, sequin and diamanté-embellished pale-pink sheer tulle and silk gown, with off-white embroidery, scoop neck, cap sleeves, front slit, longer at back, fully lined in silk. It was exquisite and had the very un-bridal name Poison which made me smile.
My inner fashionista squealed with joy.
Let Me Feel Like A Bride
I chose to wear a simple waltz length veil which i brought at Anya Bridal, Droxford. As my dress wasn’t a traditional wedding gown I wanted to wear a veil to make sure I felt like a bride and was so happy I did.
I work for Swarovski so of course there was no question where I would buy my wedding jewellery from. As my dress was so heavily embellished, I kept my accessories to a minimum.
I chose the simple New York bangle in Rose Gold and then the statement Sissy earrings which have a vintage feel and complimented the detailing on my dress perfectly. The night before the wedding my Nan presented me with a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring which belonged to my great-grandmother Nelly to wear for the day. This became my something borrowed and my something blue.
I always thought that for my wedding day I would treat myself to a beautiful pair of Louboutins but on a random shopping trip with Steve I found some stunning suede peep top platforms in Zara. They could have been made for my dress – all mink suede with jewelled detailing around the peep toe.
They were so comfortable.
Vintage Up-Dos and No Clowns Please
My lovely friend Lacey Hawkins works for Percy & Reed and I was thrilled when she agreed to do my hair for my big day. I did originally think that I would just wear my hair down as it was more me but I soon got swept up in vintage up dos and boho plaits on Pinterest.
After spending an evening in the salon trialling various styles we both agreed that they just weren’t right. So I went back to wearing my hair down and I was so glad that I did. Lacey worked her magic and gave me this amazing voluminous hair with a slight curl. I felt completely like me.
I had always planned to apply my own make up as previous experiences with make-up artists have always left me feeling bit clownish. So I splurged on some fab beauty buys and didn’t give it a second thought.
Then I met Alice Oliver through a vintage hair and makeup session that my sisters organised on my hen do. She listened to what everyone wanted and then added in her own touches making everyone look beautiful. I just wanted to look like me at my best so we went for soft bronze colours on the eyes and made it all about the lashes. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
My sisters Alice and Maisie were always going to be my bridesmaids. I was happy to let the girls take the lead on the dress front as I wanted them both to feel comfortable. We decided that gold or bronze would be the perfect colour for them.
We finally found a beautiful antique gold cocktail dress from Coast and paired it with sparkly shoes from Ted Baker and some earrings from Swarovski and the same rose gold bangle that I wore, tying us all together.
Our daughter Iris was our flower girl. She wore a floral printed silk dress from Monsoon with a little fur bolero to keep her warm. She looked so pretty walking down the aisle with my sister Maisie.
I was disheartened after meeting with several florists based in the city. None of them really took on board my ideas and the quotes made my eyes water. I decided to look closer to home with the idea that Steve and his groomsmen could pick the flowers up en route to the venue the morning of the wedding. Craziness some would say!
I finally found Jenny at Arcade Flowers in Ringwood. As soon as I met her I knew I had found my florist. She was enthusiastic about my seasonal choice of blooms – hydrangeas – and listened to all my ideas. My bouquet was hand tied white hydrangea heads whilst the bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquet of white gypsophila and Iris clutched a single ivory hydrangea head.
As Syon House is so beautiful it didn’t need any decoration (a plus for our budget!). Jenny made striking arrangements with white hydrangeas and gladioli that were situated on either side of the aisle which we used later in the Grand Conservatory.
I created the table centrepieces myself. We cemented branches in pots and strung Swarovski Crystal rain from them as well as small heart decorations and hydrangea heads. They doubled up as wishing trees too as we asked guests to write us messages of advice on luggage tags and hang them on the trees.
Other tables had tall glass vases with a simple hydrangea stem in them. I asked Jenny to make me balls of fresh ivory carnations to dot around the tables as an extra touch.
Jenny did an amazing job and I am so glad that we didn’t go with one of the London florists out of convenience.
Suited and Chelsea Booted
Steve loves his clothes and is quite particular about them so finding the perfect wedding suit was not going to be an easy task.
He brought a burgundy two-piece suit from Reiss but really had his heart set on a three-piece. When he tried it on at home, I mentioned that it was actually pretty much the same as a three piece sample suit he had brought home from his work – Selected Homme – a few months before. He’d never worn the sample suit as it was too big for him but Steve took it to a tailor in London who altered it to fit him perfectly.
He teamed this with a white shirt from Ted Baker with a black, narrow tie and burgundy Chelsea boots from Office.
Steve’s best man and groomsmen all wore suits from Selected Homme courtesy of Steve’s work. They wore a classic slim cut black suit with a white shirt. We brought them all a burgundy tie from Paul Smith which had tiny white polka dot hearts on it to finish the look.
Both my Dad and Steve’s Step-dad wore the same tie too. The best man had a black version of the tie to match Steve’s.
Above And Beyond
We were recommended our amazing photographer Hayley Savage by two of our friends who couldn’t praise her enough. After looking at her website and speaking to her via email we knew she was the lady for the job.
Her photos are so natural and capture the story of the day which is exactly what we wanted. She went above and beyond on the day and didn’t stop snapping away even after the 1st dance had ended which was her cue to go home. She even came early and took some pre shots of us before the ceremony. She was just fantastic and our photos are everything we imagined and more.
I would highly recommend her to any bride.
Unlock Your Heart
From our scratch-card save the dates to the invites and order of service, I designed and made all our stationery myself. I’m a creative type so it was important to me to do it myself and it helped with our budget too.
We wanted our seating plan to be a little bit different. We collected lots of antique keys that were then hung in box frames with a number hanging from them on black ribbon. Guests’ names were printed above each key and they found their table by looking for their key. It was like a old fashioned hotel reception.
This also turned into another favour for the guests as they could keep the keys; by the end of the night our guests had already used them as key-rings, bag charms, pendants or hanging ornaments.
We hadn’t planned to provide favours. Then on an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride we saw favours based on flower seeds which gave us the idea of creating favours that were personal to us and incorporated our daughter Iris.
We brought some small papier-mâché boxes and I designed labels saying ‘Let Love Grow’. We then placed an Iris bulb in each one on some shredded paper. We loved the idea that our guests could take them home and plant them and have a piece of our wedding grow in their garden.
A Cakey Triumph
Originally Steve and I weren’t going to bother with a cake, neither of us was that fussed about having one and we already had some fantastic puddings. However my Mum convinced us to have one in the end and so we asked my brother-in-law’s sister Rozzy to make the cake for us.
We chose a three tier oversized cake design with each layer decorated differently but all in cream. The bottom tier was a chocolate sponge with a white chocolate and raspberry buttercream filling and the top two tiers were lemon sponge with an Italian meringue buttercream filling.
Oh my gosh they were divine and the cake looked amazing.
Let’s Dance Until The Very End
Music was really important to us from the outset and we decided from day one that we wanted live music. For the ceremony we chose sisters Catherine and Alex Kolubayev. They sang to our guests alongside an acoustic guitar as they arrived and also whilst we signed the register.
They also accompanied my sister Maisie when she sang Songbird by Ava Cassidy during part of the ceremony. It was so beautiful. The girls also sang me down the aisle too; as a tribute to our little girl I walked down the aisle to Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.
For the evening we had the absolutely amazing Freddie and the Freeloaders play. The band plays vintage soul, jazz and modern classics. We loved that they have brass players and every one of our guests danced from the moment they started until the moment the last song was sung.
Words Of Wisdom
What I loved about our day was that it really reflected who we are. We did nothing just for the sake of doing it or because it was expected and made sure everything was personal to us as a couple but also as a family. That is exactly what the day was.
My advice to other brides is to make the day how you want it to be and not what you think it should be. At the end of the day all that matters is that you are marrying the person you love, surrounded by the people you love and that you don’t stop smiling the whole day.
Of course you did. Tell me, which was your favourite part?
I always love to read our brides’ words of wisdom. In fact I often find myself nodding along in agreement like one of those dogs you find on the back shelf of a car staring at you as you wait in traffic.
Anyway I digress…the point I’m trying to make is that Chloe’s sage advice is something to bear in mind. Your day should be about you as a couple; if you hold firm to that mantra then you won’t stop smiling all day long.
Neil and Jessica’s wedding was held at Somerford Hall, in Brewood, Staffordshire.
As I looked through the photos for today’s wedding I thought to myself – “That’s nice, they’ve let one of the younger guests have a photo taken behind the record decks…” Then I realised that Neil and Jessica had actually hired a 12 year old DJ. Amazing!! Check him out behind those wheels of steel.
We also have vintage VW verve and cool Converse chic happening in this retro affair – I am more than a little bit in love with this wedding.
Dress came from the small and independent vintage shop in the village of Gnosall (where we live) After seeing the style I wanted I knew I had to have vintage and not just a copy of a vintage style. After deciding a Jenny Packham was nice but not vintage I went back to what I knew best, local and personal. After visiting the shop and telling the owner what I wanted an original Frank Usher circa 1970 floated down the stairs, I paid and ran out of the shop almost crying with excitement. I had the dress for 25 months before we got married. My mum, an expert seamstress, altered the dress to fit and it was my perfect dress!
I wore a bracelet bought for my 30th by Neil from Swarovski containing amethysts to match my engagement ring. I then had a simple wide crystal hairband from an independent shop in Stafford.
Our wedding rings were provided by Snooty Fox Jewellers in Shrewsbury. Neil opted for a titanium band with rubber inserts, while I had a ring hand made to fit around my marquis cut engagement ring. David at Snooty Fox designed and hand made me a white gold band, with a notch to allow for the amethyst in my engagement ring, the band was also set with amethyst either side of the notch.
Carrie Bradshaw Style
I wore bright blue Carrie Bradshaw style skyscrapers, in velvet!
Hair was done by Kat from Francesco printworks, a pinned up style inspired by 1960s. Sarah Sutton a school friend who is a make up artist did my make up. We chose a look similar to what I would have normally as I didnt want to look any different to who I do normally! Smoky 1960s style eyes with blues to match colour scheme.
Jackie’s Designs from Telford provided seasonal flowers, hyacinths, freesias, daffodils. Daffodils also as I have a family welsh connection. I insisted on seasonal flowers. I also had carnations in memory of my grandmother who loved them!
My mum Annie Mellor made the bridesmaid dress with fabric from Watson and Thornton in Shrewsbury. A 1950s style dress in a cornflower blue with dark blue and grey accessories. The mens cravats and pocket squares were all made in the same fabric as bridesmaid dress.
The mens suits were hired from Misters of Stafford, an independent, proper, old school outfitters. The suits were slate grey, tailcoats with matching trousers and silver waistcoats to offset the cornflower blue cravats. Cravats were overhand tied not ruffled for a simpler more stylish look. The flourish from the groomsmen came in the shape of black, hightop Converse trainers.
Rocking The Converse
The Groom’s suit was hired from Misters of Stafford and again the groom was rocking the black Converse (as Neil wears Converse 24/7 it seemed only fitting to maintain the status quo for the wedding). The suit was topped off with a cane adorned with a silver Tardis (handmade, by the groom and a lot of superglue, hand broken by the Best Man on the morning of the wedding and fixed with an elaborate combination of tape and nail glue), And a ‘Groom’ prefects badge and a new pocket watch from me, that I bought from Fallen Saint in Wolverhampton.
Personal And Relaxed
Matt Parry did our photography because he is awesome. We saw Matt’s work on a friends facebook profile following their wedding 18 months ago and fell in love with his style. We booked Matt within about 30 minutes of finding him and never regretted it. Matt was a consummate professional and really took the time to ‘get’ what the wedding was about and what we wanted from our photos. He created an amazing record of our day while remaining in the background allowing our guests to enjoy their day. Matt was happy to take our ideas on board and his group shot of the boys was better than we had ever imagined. Matt’s service was efficient, personal and relaxed, we really can’t recommend him enough to anyone who is looking for dynamic wedding pics.
A Cake Collection
Cake was made by Jo Fox, the bestmans wife AND owner of the little white cake company. She made us 70 individual cupcakes with designs of sugar cameos on some and quilted style with small icing pearls added on the top. Again we wanted vintage and I adore cameos! They were wedgewood/cornflower blue to match the colour scheme. We also had a 2 tier fruit cake, the bottom tier was dark fruit covered in marzipan and blue icing and cut and served to guests, the top tier was made of the same and is now in our freezer to be kept for the next stage in our life (not too soon though!)
Three Types Of Entertainment
Trying to keep a personal touch to our day we split our entertainment three ways. Firstly during our day we enlisted the help of one of our closest friends and Neil’s partner-in-crime at Juice Comedy Clubs, Rob Halden as our Master of Ceremonies. We dressed Rob in traditional Toast Masters attire and he spent the day not only directing our guests but also, entertaining them with stories and jokes from his repertoire as well as working his compere magic during the speeches.
Into the evening we began with a split set from the band of another of our friends (and Husband of the Maid of Honour) Pete Wearn, .44Pistol are a hard blues band and the threesome started our party with two 45 minutes sets of their foot-stomping, table climbing, harmonica blowing blues tunes. It was important to us to have friends involved and it was great that Pete and his band were able to play for us at the reception.
To link the sets and to keep us dancing into the early hours we employed the services of The Den Disco. The disco is attached to a youth club Jess volunteers with and the DJ for the evening was 12 year old Jack. Jack was ridiculously professional for one so young and he kept the dancefloor bouncing right through to the end of the evening, he was better than many DJs with decades more experience and it was great to be able to give a young person a chance to show off their talent. As we both work with young people this was another important touch for us.
One evening we sat and went through our entire Mp3 music libraries looking for a first dance and couldn’t decide on anything, they were all too fast, too slow or a bit ‘naff’ after much too-ing and fro-ing we played Etta James ‘At Last’ which just suited us perfectly. It was something important that we could dance to and have a smooch and a slow dance too but not too slow so people got bored. Its also quite short so we were able to get on the floor big style after! We followed it up by Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars to ensure the dancefloor filled up fast.
An Easter Treat
We were married on easter Saturday and we decided that a small egg cup containing a small easter egg would be the perfect favour. There were kinder eggs for the kids which caused much excitement with my flower girls dad (I think he was quite jealous he didn’t get one).
There were miles of bunting, all made by Jess’s mum Annie. We had bunting along the stairs that had felt VW beetles added to each triangle in various colours. There was then plain bunting along the edge of the top table that had white rabbits on, for another easter touch. Cake table had cake pattern bunting and the pick and mix table had a chalk board in the middle made by my dad and decorated by Neils dad with a list of all the sweets, this had mini bunting with small sweet pattern along the top and pinned to each side of the table in a ‘fun fair’ style.
Instead of a guest book we had a huge vintage suitcase for people to write/draw guest cards with coloured pens, there was also a knitted red dalek in the suitcase keeping watch (we both love Dr Who) along the top of this suitcase was small map bunting.
Each name tag was a parcel tag in blue card with silver string and each one was hand written and had a hand drawn rabbit on, except Neil’s which had Jessica Rabbit on. All of these were done by an illustrator friend Hazel Monger and they were incredible.
We had vintage cake stands to display cakes, vintage teapot and vases for flowers and candles in large hurricane vases. Helen Reading also designed each menu for the tables and names, all of these had a theatre theme on them, along with the courses for the menu.
Showing Our cheeky Side
The touches we chose made our wedding ours, people made comments on that the menu choice, a BBQ was the best food they ever had at a wedding. There was even a round of applause for the food!
We chose things we wanted, bunting, a vintage VW beetle, a non conventional dress, converse for the boys and more than one theme allowed us to show our creative side and also at times our cheeky side!
The authentic vintage wedding dress by Frank Usher is a beauty. I must admit that I had not heard of this designer until now (I am still learning people – and every day is a school day). But any dress designer called Frank is ok by me! And Jessica wears it beautifully.
And on the flip side – the boys look pretty dashing in their Converse, prefect badges and stripy sock combo’s too.