I met Chris on Tinder in 2014 (as all modern love stories start!) and hit it off on our first date at a local pub, we bought our first home just over a year later. Chris proposed at home in May 2018, catching me by surprise with music, candles and a beautiful ring which he had worked with jewellers Slack and Andrews to create.
I was so excited to be married and we visited all the wedding fairs! The National Wedding Show (where I first came across my dress shop); UK Bride; Little White Book were amazing to meet suppliers and get ideas of what can be achieved.
I knew my dress needed to be free from too much embellishment (I have dermatographism which causes my skin to go very red if scratched). Shape wise I thought I would want a short 50’s style dress, but it wouldn’t have suited the venue and as I tried them on I realised it wouldn’t suit my body either.
I visited about 10 wedding dress shops, and tried a lot of different styles to get an idea of what would work best for me and for the style of the wedding
I chose the Ronald Joyce Amanda dress in Champagne from Because I Love You Bridal Wear. The shopping experience was the best by far, all the staff were so friendly and patient (I was in the shop for hours). They understood what kind of dress I was looking for and picked out a selection - Amanda was the first dress of their selection I tried and it was perfect. The colour was unusual but I found it more flattering than white, and the style was ideal for my body shape. There was just enough detail on the dress, and the timeless style was perfect for our historic venue. Chris had already decided on a brown tweed suit, so it also complemented his style. Weirdly the shop had received the dress by mistake but wanted someone to try it on - it was the perfect size for me, so I bought the very same dress I had tried in store! Must have been fate.
I kept my accessories simple. Shoes were from Rainbow Club in a matching Ivory Satin. I had a veil with pearl and crystal trim to match the detail in the dress, and a matching hair comb. I also wore opal earrings from Manchester jewellers Jenny Jones which Chris had bought me for a previous Christmas, and a bracelet bought by one of my bridesmaids. Mum had made handbags from the spare fabric of my dress for me and my bridesmaids.
We relied on a lot of spreadsheets for planning, but it worked out well for us as a pair of analytical types! We kept our theme simple and rustic, our venue was so full of character we didn’t need to do much to make it look great. Our flowers from Wild Flowers were white with burgundy highlights to match the bridesmaids dresses, and a lot of foliage and herbs. We used the same flowers to decorate the wedding cake. We chose burgundy for the bridesmaids dresses, and groomsmen ties to stand out against the dark wood of the venue and reflect the stained glass. Music is a big part of our relationship, so each table was themed around an album which meant a lot to us.
In terms of advice, I would say trust your instincts - Samlesbury Hall was one of the first venues we viewed, but we spent a long time working through all the other venues in the area before we booked Samlesbury! Figure out what’s important to you as a couple and stick to that - don’t worry about what a wedding “should” be like. We knew we wanted a live band (who we had seen years earlier) so budgeted for that, as we’re big music fans we were able to plan the rest of the music for the day ourselves without needing additional musicians or DJs.
The whole day was amazing - we just had fun from start to finish! Having the ceremony and reception at the same venue was great so we could spend as much time as possible celebrating with our guests. We picked a venue with Shepherd’s Huts on the grounds for the guests to stay in, so we could continue the celebrations after the reception, and meet everyone for breakfast the next day. Fortunately, we had amazing weather so guests could enjoy the sunshine with some lawn games during the day, and gather in the courtyard in the evening and sample the pizza oven! The food was great, we picked our favourite foods - sharing plates to start, pies for mains (Chris is from Wigan, so what else would we pick?!), and cheesecake for dessert.
We started laughing even from the ceremony - Chris still reminds me of my shout of “TISSUE” when I needed my bridesmaids to help me out when I got emotional during my vows. After the ceremony we walked out to the traditional confetti throw at the end of which one of Chris’ Best Men chucked the rest of the confetti at us from the basket. One of my lasting memories is one of my bridesmaids having to go up my dress from below to try and remove the confetti! The speeches were hilarious and equally touching. And the evening was full of dance offs, and an impromptu performance as I joined the band for a song!
It sounds like such a perfect day and we are so glad to have been a part of it. We wish you a lifetime of happiness! Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Photographer: Nik Bryant Email: firstname.lastname@example.org