The first thing that struck me when I met Donna and Stacy at another of my couples weddings was their warm and fun attitude to life. We had a really good natter over food during the wedding breakfast and I crossed my fingers under the table that they would book me. Thankfully they did.
I’m going to hand you over to the brides to tell you all about the details of their day:
We chose Kings Croft Hotel because firstly it was local to where we lived and only 3 miles from our house, also I had attended a wedding of a friends there and thought that the venue was lovely and that was 10 years ago! We had also attended a couple of wedding fairs there and met most of the team which are made up of the family who own the hotel and they put our mind to rest that whatever we wanted we could have. Also the Pavilion was a new addition and we fell in love with the idea of getting married outside rather than being inside a stuffy room (especially as we had a number of children on the guest list) so we were hooked once we saw this and the grounds. We were also able to budget in what we wanted to do by paying for everything separately rather than having to settle for a package deal.
Outfits: Abigale’s Boutique, Moss Brothers, Asos, BHS, Clarks, Vivian Westwood, Marks and Spencer’s, Debenhams.
Bride 1 – Donna always knew she wanted a dress although also dreaded the idea of having to find a Wedding dress, I think the whole image of going and trying on dresses with all eyes on her made her feel sick however she gained ideas from magazines and knew what she definitely didn’t want and so that was a start. We looked online, locally and even went to the Manchester Wedding fair to try and get ideas however Donna made her final decision after a visit to Leeds where she came across Abigale’s Bridal Boutique. She went with a friend (after plucking up the courage to go inside the actual shop) she chose several dresses to try on but alas didn’t like any so the assistant went and worked her magic and brought Donna a dress that she would never have chosen (as she recalls) Once she put on the dress she said it just seemed to fit in all the right places and she got the ‘this is the one’ feeling and became emotional which is when she knew she had found her dress. Her Wrap was from Debenhams and was a last minute decision to add (as Donna knew she may get cold), her shoes were bought online (can remember where).
Bride 2 – My outfit was just as stressful as I found that not many tailors catered for woman’s suits just how I wanted mine to look unless they were specialists and charged a fortune. I initially toiled with the idea of wanting an ivory suit and even took a friends advice and ordered a suit off of the internet cheaply made in China just to see what it would look like… needless to say it ended up in a charity bag, we wont go any further on this part of the story but all I can say is everything they say about ordering from China is true!
So my above experience had totally put me off an ivory suit but by this time I had also decided to have a grey suit after finding the Bridesmaids dresses. So like Donna I trawled the internet until I finally came across the suit I chose from Moss Brothers. Like Donna I tried on the suit loved it and knew that this was the one. (I just needed to lose weight to fit in it!). My shirt was also from Moss Brothers, shoes from Clarks.
Bridesmaids – Bridesmaid dresses we just as stressful, Donna knew she wanted blush as the colour scheme however my niece Emma said she wouldn’t do pink! and so we looked at some alternatives and found the grey colour which we both agreed would go with blush flowers and also gave me the first idea for colour of my suit. Donna spent hours online searching for dresses and finally came across ones she liked from Asos which the bridesmaids loved. Bridesmaids shoes were from Vivian Westwood.
Flower girl – We decided that Connie would wear ivory/cream as these were the general colours for flower girls, we searched but never seemed to find one that we liked or we found a dress but they never had Connie’s size etc. Then out of a stroke of luck we went to BHS on the final week of the sale and found the dress, it was the right colour, size, style, had butterflies on it which mean a lot in our relationship and most of all Connie loved it so we had found the dress finally. Connie’s shoes, and cardigan were from Marks and Spencer’s and her bag from John Lewis.
After booking the venue these were our second purchase, we both knew we wanted white gold and nothing too fancy so we looked around local jewellers until we found our rings in Chapelle after looking together one afternoon, finding two rings we loved we tried them on and bought them.
Our cake maker was recommended to us from one of our bridesmaids, she lived locally and made cakes as a living from home with an online business. We visited the house discussed our theme and she showed us some pictures of cakes she had previously made. One cake really stood out to us so we picked that one and asked if she could incorporate the iced flowers which Donna knew she wanted (Peonies) and our cake was designed and chosen. We had a cake tasting and chose the flavours, Chocolate, Pink Champagne and Carrot Cake.
We had from the beginning said we would have a cheese tower at the wedding to form another cake (we both have a love of cheese!) so we found the Cheese Yard online after looking at places like Marks and Spencer’s who also do them but didn’t have anything special only the usual Cheddar cheeses etc. so we decided to go for a local cheese delicatessen (local to Donnas roots) and went for a sampling session, loved the varied cheeses we tried and picked out our wedding tier.
Flowers: Alice Kan
Our flowers were made by a friend of mine whom I worked with who did wedding flowers as a hobby and asked if id like her to do ours which I agreed after looking at the flowers she had recently completed for her sisters wedding and another friend of ours.
The only thing Donna was persistent and adamant on was that she always wanted blush pink Peonies. We met with Alice at her home and spent a couple of hours discussing our requirements, different flower combinations and exactly what flowers we wanted i.e. venue, button holes, bouquets etc. We chose, Peonies, Roses, Babies Breadth, Gypsyphelia, and Fresia.
Photographer: Laura Rhian Photography
Why did we choose this particular photographer… erm let me see….
Well we had attended Donnas Nephews wedding and you were (as you know) the photographer there, we liked how you blended into the background and didn’t make the photographing formal, everything was relaxed and in all honestly you didn’t even know you were there half the time which is exactly what we wanted. After talking to you at dinner I believe I took your details and after the wedding we looked you up, loved your pictures, what you were about and found you reasonably priced. Also after seeing Dom and Mikes pictures we knew we wanted you and we haven’t been disappointed in the least so thank you.
We originally had Kings Croft local DJ booked and it was only around 6 weeks until the wedding that I chose to book a band. I had played with the idea but left it until the last minute so that I could make sure the most important things were sorted before a band (a little luxury in my eyes). Also everyone who knows me knows that I am all about live music and going to concerts to live performances, music is a big part of my life. I had initially contacted NOASIS tribute act as I am an avid Oasis fan following them from the very beginning (and have even had the pleasure of following Oasis around the world on various occasions being extremely lucky enough to share a few drinks and tell a few tales with the Gallagher brother, gathering memorabilia and adding to my collection of items for my music room). After discussing NOASIS with Donna she thought it was a great idea however we then discussed whether the rest of the guests would really like it and so decided to scrap the Oasis tribute and just go for a band. I looked on the internet for local bands and finally chose the Johnny Cooper Experience. I chose them mainly because Paul the lead and guitarist of the band was very good and also did solo receptions so I was able to hear him play and liked how he sounded, the band also took requests and had a vast set list which included a lot of the bands I love including Oasis, Stone Roses, The Beatles etc. so I showed Donna some online videos of the band and she agreed we should book them.
Beth was only booked 4 weeks before the wedding and totally by chance! We were in Leeds having lunch and Beth was playing in the background, we loved her voice and seemed to recognise her but couldn’t quite put our finger on it until we googled her and found that she had released her second single in January of this year and also been on the Voice. I decided to ask whether she would be interested in singing at our wedding even though it was so short notice and to my surprise she graciously accepted (we were lucky as she said she usually cant do weddings with being so busy but loved doing them and ours she could fit in just before flying off to Chicago to do a festival over there). Beth is from York and one of the nicest musicians we have ever met, lovely friendly girl and I would certainly book her again, for us she was one of our favourite little extras at the wedding.
Like Beth The Yorkshire Booths Brothers was a last minute decision that I made as a surprise for Donna and for a little added extra entertainment for the guests. From attending the national wedding fair in Manchester I had an offer for 25% off and so booked them 4 weeks before the wedding.
We chose our table decorations, table covers, chair covers and sashes, centre pieces, sweet cart, letter box, twinkle back drop, table swags etc from Wish Upon A Venue Dresser. We had seen them advertising on Facebook and they had a special offer on for a job lot of items for a certain price which we couldn’t refuse and so went to their store in Leeds, looked though their items and chose what we wanted. We had also seen that they had been nominated 2 years running for venue dresser of the year so knew we had found someone reputable. The girls who own and run the business were great and nothing was too much trouble.
Elegant Covers and Bows were seen at Kings Croft wedding fair and we initially only ordered the LOVE letters from them we had at the reception however we saw on Facebook that they had a competition running to win a dance floor for your wedding and so I applied and won! we won the dance floor and Jo the owner also threw in the MRS and MRS letters for us for free. Jo and her team were wonderful and I would also use her again for dressing any venue and for hiring the dancefloor which was a hit with our guests.
Our Favours were made by the lovely Dominique Deeming (Donna’s Nephews wife). We were very fortunate to have Dom in the family to be able to make our favours for us as a wedding gift, we love all her products made for Chocolate Baby (her online business) and knew that we wanted Dom from the beginning. She very generously made our favours as a wedding gift unknown to us until we asked what the final bill was after paying her deposit to book her in and she told us that it was nothing. We couldn’t thank her enough as she made them perfectly for us. The theme was for fun and in keeping with what seems to be trending at the minute! we also thought it would be funny to give the Lesbians at the wedding moustaches and the Gay men lips on the Gay table opposite to everyone else haha. Although this did cause concern when the venue dresser called me to say I think they have made a mistake with your favours as one table has the opposite to all the other tables (once I explained she was relieved).
When we started planning the wedding the most important thing for us was that we wanted it to not be formal (even though it ended up being more formal than we anticipated) we didn’t want the sit down 3 course meal or speeches we wanted it to be relaxed where everyone had fun and just celebrated with us. In all honesty if we had our time again we would probably just have gone and eloped and then thrown a party for everyone after which we did discuss initially however we received a lot of family members (from my side of the family) wanting a big day to see us get married and be involved so this is why we went down the more traditional route.
Budgeting plays a large part of the planning and knowing realistically what you can afford needs to be decided right upfront otherwise you can really allow yourself to get carried away like I did with booking bands and photo booths at the last minute! I had given us a budget that I could realistically save for and we stuck to it. I also kept a note of all our contacts, suppliers and costs so I always knew what we were spending and what extras we could then afford to add. I also had a second bank account which I placed the wedding fund in and this was the best way to keep tabs on what was going in and out of the account for me to be able to see exactly what the cost was for the wedding.
Our main advice for the big day is don’t panic, try your best not to be nervous as after all your just having a massive party and marrying the one you love and just enjoy the day. It goes so quickly that you really don’t take everything in, when you mingle throughout the day try and do it together or else you will hardly see each other and just take yourself off for a minute and walk around, take it all in, look around at everyone enjoying themselves and have five minutes just the two of you, honestly no one will miss you as everyone is too busy having fun.
If you would like to chat to me about your wedding plans, click here.