How gorgeous and happy does this bridal party look?? I’m absolutely in love with the ruffled sleeve dresses, the tousled hair and floral details. Then there’s bride Vanessa who looks absolutely stunning in Inbal Dror (one of the designers featured in our wedding dress guide posted last week).
Chris Barber was the man to capture this wedding day, so expect lots of smiles, fun and frolics. Vanessa and Calum found him right here too, so it’s fabulous to be able to share their wedding day with you all. Enjoy!
Vanessa The Bride: I didn’t have a clue what style of dress I wanted but I knew I wanted to be able to dance all night; so nothing too big and heavy! I spent one day looking at dresses with my mum and sister, and to be honest I loved most of the dresses I tried on. However when I saw a dress by Israeli designer Inbal Dror I was in love, the fishtail shape and low back suited me and I felt contemporary, classic and very ‘me’…I didn’t buy it straight away as I was worried I was picking the first thing I liked, but when in Tel Aviv for a friend’s wedding I walked past the Inbal Dror flagship store and saw it again which made me realise it was the one.
I was very excited to wear a veil as it’s the only time in my life I will, I found a beautiful British made cathedral length veil from Britten Weddings. I wore a beautiful pair of Monica Vinader diamond drop earrings that my parents had bought me for my birthday which were also my something new and a gold anklet with a little elephant charm that my grandma lent me as apparently elephants bring good luck!
I asked my hairdresser Fabz (who’s wedding has also featured on RMW!) to come up from London to do mine and the bridal party’s hair as I have known him for years and wouldn’t make me look like a prom queen! My sister Hannah recently trained as a makeup artist and did our makeup, she did such a good job under pressure and took care in understanding what make-up looks we were all comfortable with, and how they suited the overall wedding theme.
Calum didn’t want anything too formal, plus we were hoping for some sun so nothing too heavy. He had previously used a local formal hire store, Platt’s in Crewe, previously for other friends and families weddings so knew they were very professional and good quality. He chose a navy suit with contrasting grey waistcoat with the grooms party wearing the same. Platt’s were very good and made alternations so the grooms parties suits so on the day they all scrubbed up well!
I am from London and Calum is from Cheshire so when we first got engaged we looked at venues in both places. We saw some amazing venues in London but soon realised we wanted somewhere our guests could stay over and that didn’t stop the party too early. Initially we visited Peckforton Castle and fell in love with it however the only thing I have dreamt of is an outdoors summer wedding and the castle didn’t have gardens. Luckily the owner mentioned he had just bought a new venue called Nunsmere Hall and planned to bring it up to the same beautiful standard as Peckforton Castle. As soon as we walked through the door we loved it, the staff were so friendly and the gardens and lake were beautiful. They provided us with so many suggestions which made our lives easier when choosing suppliers. As we had over 100 guests we used the marquee on the lake for the sit down dinner and luckily it was a lovely summer’s day so were able to have the drinks reception in the gardens. Nunsmere Hall also recommended we have a Master of Ceremonies for the day, they suggested Peter Aust, so after a few calls we decided to book him. It was one of the best decisions we made, Peter liaised with all our suppliers on the day, greeted guests and acted as toastmaster during the meal and speeches. He was wonderful and gave us both piece of mind that the day would run smoothly.
Neither of us had set ideas on the colour scheme or decor, as we were getting married in the summer I wanted something fresh and light. The venue was already beautiful so we didn’t do much except in the marquee which was a blank canvas.
I didn’t have a clue what type of flowers I wanted so when we approached a few suppliers and they reeled off types of flowers I had never heard of and at shocking prices I was worried! Luckily I found Rebecca who runs Ivy Pip and Rose at the Curious Wedding Fair in Hackney. Rebecca immediately understood what we wanted; natural, local, summery flowers with lots of greenery! After a number of edits to our shared Pinterest board we decided on lots of green white and blush flowers in mine and bridesmaids bouquets and large relaxed table centrepieces on tall vases plus lots of mismatched tea lights on the tables and on the tables in the marquee. Rebecca was amazing and I would recommend her in an instant.
The Wedding Party
I was so lucky in that my bridesmaids were very laid-back about what they wore. They are all similar size and height so it was easy to find styles that suited them all. Me and one of my bridesmaids went to a wedding in New York where I found a stunning dress by Reformation, unfortunately it was out of my price range, so I spent the next few months hunting down something similar. I managed to find a few dresses on ASOS and let the girls choose from those, luckily they all decided on the same one.
I was brought up Roman Catholic so it meant a lot to me to get married in a church, as my local parish is in London we had to find a priest to marry us in Cheshire. It was harder than I thought, especially as Calum is CoE. After a few unsuccessful meetings, we met Father Paul at St Werburgh’s in Chester. He instantly put us at ease and made what could have been a heavy and serious process, very fun. The actual mass was full of laughter and he involved all our wedding party and family. One of my favourite moments of our wedding day was standing at the alter after being declared husband and wife. Both my sister’s boyfriend Shane and Calum’s best friend Emily did a reading, Emily read Bob Marley’s “He’s not perfect” and it was the only part of the ceremony where I started crying!
The entertainment and food (and drinks) were probably the most important part of the day for Calum and I and where we spent the most money. My mum is from Trinidad and loves to party; her only request for the wedding was to bring a bit of Caribbean to Cheshire! So we found an amazing steel pan band called Steel Drum Bands for the drinks and canapé reception. When Calum and I arrived at Nunsmere Hall after the ceremony and the sun was shining down on us, all I could hear was the carnival music which immediately put everyone in the mood for a party! It was one of the best choices we’d made! We then had an amazing band called Beggars Banquet, who were recommended to us by Nunsmere Hall, I was keen for a band to play classic sing along songs that would get everyone dancing which they did! The band was followed by a DJ, again recommended by Nunsmere Hall, who took everyone into the early hours. I am glad we spent so much on music as it really made the day what it was.
Nunsmere Hall provided all the food for the wedding. After a number of dinners in their restaurant and our tasting we decided on a selection of canapés for the reception, then a traditional 3 course meal, pate and brioche to start, beef and summer vegetables for main and my favourite crème brûlée for dessert. We also had a buffet in the evening for when everyone was a bit worse for wear which included a huge cheese board, mini fish and chip cones and roast beef sandwiches.
I left Calum in charge of the cake and in typical male fashion he left it to the last minute. A few weeks before the wedding he contacted Kate at Little Button Bakery in a panic. We didn’t have time to visit her or do a tasting so left most of the details to Kate. She was amazing and created a beautiful 4 tier semi-nude cake which tasted delicious. I am not normally a cake fan but I managed to eat most of the top tier on the drive back to London the day after the wedding. I would really recommend Kate if you are getting married in the area.
One of the first things I started looking for when we got engaged was a photographer, I really didn’t want cheesy overly – posed photos photographers. I found Chris Barber here on RMW and immediately knew he was the one, I emailed him straight away and was relieved when he said he was available. He asked us to write a list of everyone important to us on a photo list which meant we didn’t miss anyone out. Chris was brilliant and made us feel very relaxed, I honestly don’t know how he took so many candid shots as I hardly remember seeing him on the day.
Similarly, I didn’t want a cheesy or cliché wedding video so spend ages researching videographers. One evening Calum came home to find me sobbing on the sofa in front of my laptop, when he asked what was wrong all I could do was show him Reel Wedding’s website. I had spent hours watching their beautifully shot wedding videos and knew I wanted them to film our special day.
Planning a wedding can be a rollercoaster, sometimes things go to plan and other times you think the day will be a disaster. It’s important to enjoy the buildup and remember why you are both doing it.
I would also recommend doing lots of research and reading reviews, we only chose suppliers who we clicked with and knew we could trust on the day.
And finally I would advise all brides to try and relax the day before, easier said than done, but you have probably spent months planning the day so if something goes wrong it’s out of your hands (and I’m certain your guests won’t notice!)