In April last year, I shot the wedding of my dear friend Gemma and her husband, Luke at Dunwood Hall, Stoke on Trent. I’ve known Gemma for a few years and we shared many night shifts together whilst I was gearing up to go full time with my business. She is one of my favourite people and we’ve shared lots of time together over the years. It was such a pleasure to be able to photograph her marry the love of her life. Here is Gemma with the low down on their wedding.
Venue: We visited Dunwood Hall a few years before for a birthday meal and I just completely fell in love with the place. I loved every part of it from the beautiful setting, the huge fireplaces and open fires, the decor and whilst it was grand, it was very intimate too. I remember on the way home from there, I told Luke when we got married it was going to be there. We didn’t bother looking anywhere else, as I had my heart set on it. It just oozed vintage glamour, it was like stepping into the 1920s. I absolutely adored the place.
Delphine at Dunwood Hall was absolutely amazing from the moment we called to say we would like to book our wedding, to our actual wedding day. We booked it quite far in advance but we had numerous menu tastings, wine tastings, and met with her to discuss different options. She was amazing on the day and kept the day running smoothly for us. She allowed us to dress the venue and was more than happy for us to be as involved in it as we liked. Dunwood Hall has in house caterers who met with us to discuss food options. Our food was delicious, and everyone raved about the mini yorkshire puddings with beef appetizers. The bar was provided by Louie from Thirst Aid Bar. The bar team were incredible on the day. We met with Louie to discuss bar options, I arranged 3 cocktail options and he sourced a beer which Luke used to drink in his home town. It was a complete surprise and amazing that they pulled out the stops to arrange it for us. Dunwood Hall was a perfect wedding venue for us, we wanted a very relaxed day filled with just our family and very close friends. It provided us with an intimate ceremony, but had plenty of space so that we didn’t feel crowded and for the children to run outside. The back room with the beautiful fire was also used by our older guests to sit, talk and make memories.
Outfits: I tried on a few wedding dresses when we first booked the wedding. Nothing really caught my eye and what I thought was absolutely beautiful just didn’t suit me once I tried it on. I bought a vintage white wedding dress and after a few months I decided to sell as I just thought it wasn’t very me. I didn’t want the big white wedding, I wanted to be completely relaxed and keep true to my style. I like to dress with a vintage style, and like all things vintage. When I saw the dress on the monsoon website I knew it was the one. My accessories and hair just completed my vintage look. I purchased my headpiece from etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LaBelleEpoqueAntique Without realising, my whole wedding outfit fitted in very well with Dunwood Hall and its 1920s vibes.
My hair was vintage inspired and my incredible hair dresser Lisa knows my love of vintage and was able to create a beautiful style that tied in with my dress. https://www.facebook.com/longacrehair/
My make up was done by Aimee at Bare Beauty. I went for a trial hair and make up appointment and she managed to recreate the perfect look and one that I would loved. She completed the look with a lovely red lipstick.
The bridesmaid all wore the same, in a beautiful purple colour which complimented my grey dress. Their dresses were all from ASOS. My original idea was tulle type skirts and a top… however after doing some shopping, we couldn’t find anything that matched the skirts. We went back to the drawing board and found their beautiful dresses!
Luke decided he wanted to take a relaxed approach to his wedding outfit, but he wanted both his father and mine and our two boys to all be wearing the same and similar. Unfortunately a lot of shops didn’t accommodate for larger sizes and smaller for the two boys. We decided to have our own made with matching bow ties so that they all matched and were comfortable and fitted them each well. We used a lady on etsy to make the waistcoats and bow tie:. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/littleladiesandlord Luke decided on a Harrington tweed style, and they all looked absolutely amazing. We also had some very special button holes made for our boys by another etsy business: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/iheartbuttonsuk
Our venue decor we created by us. We used hessian for table runners and because we manage a pub, we had access to numerous spirit bottles which I chalk painted and distressed. These were filled with gypsophila and eucalyptus. We used scrabble tiles for the table names, and had heart confetti made out of old books. Each table had a red succulent to complete the table. We hand roasted coffee beans for favours for women, and we made our own damson gin for guys. Each child had a favour bag full of little treats, games, bubbles to keep them busy during the day. As we were getting married around easter, we made an easter egg hunt for all the children.
Rings: We decided to book a workshop to make our own wedding rings. I can’t express to anyone how amazing it was to make our own rings. I would definitely recommend it as it makes them even more special. We melted sentimental gold from both sides of the family to create our rings. We did the whole process ourselves, they are completely unique, with some small imperfections but that is what makes them perfect for us. We made our rings with Louise, it was such a unique experience and made our rings even more special to us.
FLOWERS AND PHOTOGRAPHER
I’ve known Laura for a number of years now, and worked with her just as she was getting her photography business off the ground. She had been a big part of the key milestones in our relationship so I knew she had to be our wedding photographer. She is so incredibly talented, and kept us calm throughout the day. We absolutely love our wedding photos, and she caught every moment perfectly. Not only is she an incredibly talented photographer, she is also an amazing florist. She created my beautiful bouquet, and helped to pick out beautiful flowers, foliage and eucalyptus to go along with my cappuccino roses and peacock feathers.
Looking back at our wedding day, I don’t think I would change a thing at all. It was exactly what we wanted. A relaxed day, with all of our nearest and dearest with us to celebrate, and to make memories with.
My advice to anyone planning their wedding is to keep in mind that it is your day. Have your day how you want it. Try to plan, and prep as much as you can yourselves. We made so much of our wedding decor, not only was it personal to us but our guests have taken them home as a treasured memory.
— More Dunwood Hall Weddings —
Dunwood Hall weddings have such a wonderful, family orientated feel to them. I love photographing weddings here because it has such an intimate atmosphere to it, as well as having some really cool spots for photography. Dunwood Hall is a beautiful, gothic style mansion owned by a local family. The house has a very homely feel and is perfect for weddings with a smaller number of people. Kids love Dunwood Hall because there are so many fun nooks and crannys and some great outside space. The food…oh my goodness the food! The catering at Dunwood Hall is absolutely delicious. Your guests will leave your wedding with full bellies and happy hearts.