Our wedding took place on the 29th August, followed by a Florence honeymoon and was just amazing. I wish we could do it all again.
I’m brimming with blogging ideas now I have some spare time again. I have LOADS to impart about wedding planning with two pre-schoolers in tow, for example (we managed it, in seven months – please send any medals to PO Box Bonkers).
But first, I thought it would be useful to those planning a wedding in and around Manchester to provide a quick run through of all the suppliers, venues and people who helped to make our wedding the best day it could be.
Starting with with our beautiful rings, we can’t recommend Bud Mulki at GIA Diamonds in Didsbury highly enough. What this guy doesn’t know about diamonds isn’t worth knowing. My husband had already been to see him several times before he proposed and we then visited him together to make the final choice. He really took his time with us and made sure we were happy with our choice. We were so impressed, we also bought our wedding rings with him.
At the beginning of the wedding planning journey, I was floundering slightly in a haze of wedding-world chaos. I had no clue where to source some lovely, handmade invites, but I knew that I wanted them to involve roses and jasmine flowers (rose and jasmine being the middle names of our two little girls). I literally googled something like “handmade wedding invitations Manchester’ and Elouise Designs was one of the top hits. Eleanor is based nearby in Timperley. She was so lovely from the beginning and I was amazed when I turned up suffering badly from the latest cold, spluttered out my ideas and she made up a sample on the spot which was just what I wanted. We also bought our orders of service and guest book from her.
I had heard that the dress could take a while to choose and was warned that I needed to get on with it quickly. However, I’m a rubbish shopper. I really didn’t want to be traipsing around endless shops trying dresses on. A friend had recommended The Case of the Curious Bride and from looking at their website, I realised I loved the style of their dresses. The Curious Bride was the first shop I visited (in the end, I only visited three) and the dress I chose – Lourdes from their White Threads collection – was the very first I tried on. I loved it instantly, but thought that I would surely like others more. Nope – together with my chief bridesmaid, I tried on some other very fancy, embellished dresses, but my mind kept returning to the Lourdes. I love its simplicity and elegance. But I’ll stop there as I sound like a ponce trying to critique a wedding dress. Needless to say, I’m in love with it and will be keeping it for my two girls’ future use. Melanie and Eve at the shop are amazing, down to earth and really know their way around a wedding. They were able to give me advice on accessories and underwear, and even steam-ironed the dress again for me a few days before the wedding. I’d definitely make this your first stop if you’re marrying in or around Manchester.
Now, I browsed many, many wedding attire sites and looked in quite a few shops to find shoes that suited my dress. In the end, I found the perfect shoes in high street store Next, which I didn’t expect. Again, they were simple – ivory satin, a small heel (we don’t want any tripping up down the aisle, do we?) and a lace overlay.
My beautiful, bespoke hair comb was by Nicola at Silver Sixpence in her Shoe. I first had a consultation with Nicola back in June which was a great experience. Throughout the wedding planning process, I’ve been amazed by the creativity and inspiration that seems to come naturally to those in the business and Nicola is a good example of this. She was able to take some vague idea I had and turn it into this gorgeous piece using vintage lace and a lovely vintage brooch she had sourced.
Hair and make up
I’m rubbish with hair, and equally rubbish with makeup. It’s a testamony to Bethany Jane Davies that she managed to make me look good. Bethany had explained that I should source some photos online or from magazines of the sort of style I wanted before my trial. I turned up with three photos I’d found on pinterest, which I had agonised over. One of these was of a lady with long hair and mine is chin length. I really did not know what on earth I was doing. Bethany was able to make me look amazing, but still natural and ‘dewy’ (her word, not mine!). She’s also lovely and made me feel at ease. Plus she’s great at creating curls in hair that has stubbornly resisted curl of any kind all of its life.
She has also recently opened a vintage beauty salon in Chorlton – I’ll definitely be going there before a night out or occasion sometime. Plus – she’s getting married herself nex year. Good luck, Bethany!
My husband wore a bespoke, handmade suit from Richard Smith Bespoke in Manchester, who also provided handmade ties and pocket squares for the bridal party. Hubs (got to get that word in once, surely?) can’t speak highly enough of Richard Smith, who was extremely professional, had great ideas and ensured that he was completely satisfied with his suit.
Bridesmaids and flower girls
We had one Bridesmaid (we’ve been friends for 33 years, no less) and our two girls, aged nearly 2 and nearly 4 were flowergirls.Pink and purple was the general colour scheme we chose. The bridesmaid dress was from BHS – a lovely deep purple. The flowergirls’ dresses could only be from the one and only Monsoon who offer the most beautiful childrenswear. They were a dusky rose colour, covered in rosebuds. To top it off, my mum kindly knitted two pink boleros, and we sourced some deep purple hair slides to match the bridesmaid’s dress.
I’m a complete idiot when it comes to cars. My husband recently asked me what car I would like if we get round to changing ours and my reply was “one that works and has somewhere to plug my iphone in”.
Therefore it seemed reasonable to pass this element of wedding planning over to my Dad and husband. They chose Classic Elegance Cars based in Rossendale, and the car was a Mercedes E Class. It was very nice, had a pink bow on the front and was driven by a nice chap called Bob who was also very patient with us as we took our time drinking prosecco and having photos taken after the service.
My lovely flowers were by Laura Coleman Flowers. There’s a theme beginning to emerge here – I know nothing about flowers. I just knew I wished to incorporate roses and jasmine. Laura and I met in the pub for my initial consultation and I do remember rolling home a little merrier than when I set off. Laura created a handtied bouquet for me, bouquet for the bridesmaid, really cute little posies for the flowergirls together with baskets of rose petals, buttonholes and corsages for the bridal party and pew ends for the church. They incorporated Ocean Song roses, Secret Garden roses, Norma Jean roses, Bombastic Spray roses, Earl Grey roses, blue and white Delphinium tendrils, white Hydrangea, Purple Flowering Mint, pink Astilbe, Pincushion Flower and Amni alongside Eucalyptus, miniature variegated Pittosporum and Jasmine foliages.Phew! As you can see, the effect against my dress was really striking.
Onto the main event! The service took place at the beautiful St James Church, a real credit to Didsbury and Manchester and a Grade II listed building. The church is part of the St James and Emmanuel parish and they are expert wedding planners, taking care of us and our arrangements from the beginning of the process. From a great marriage preparation day to a calming rehearsal session and beautiful ceremony by the Rev Nick Bundock, we highly recommend getting married here.
We served prosecco at the church immediately after the ceremony and then all headed over to Didsbury House Hotel for the reception. This is a great boutique hotel in Didsbury with stunning features and a relaxed feel. They offer many options for weddings and are so accomplished and professional – they really looked after us and our guests had the most amazing time. There’s lots of comfortable seating for everyone and great bar and terrace areas. We opted for their barbeque as we wanted to keep things informal (no seating plan – yay!). This was cooked on their terrace then brought indoors and served buffet style which worked really well. Speeches took place on their grand staircase which the guests also loved. I should add that the bridesmaid and I stayed the night before the wedding and got ready there in the morning. My husband and I also stayed in the bridal suite on the wedding night – I want to go back there (hint…anniversary…)! What a stunning room, with separate lounge, bedroom and bathroom on the top floor of the hotel. I was determined to use those roll top baths, adjacent to each other in the bathroom, no matter what time we escaped the party. So there we were at 2am having a good old soak!
A special mention to my mother-in-law here, who made our fanastic wedding cake, with layers of fruit cake, lemon sponge and rose-flavoured sponge. The cake was so beautifully decorated with delicate roses and jasmine flowers. I’m in awe! We received so many comments from our guests on how lovely it was.
Chocolate dessert table
We also sourced a chocolate dessert table from Cocoa Cabana in Didsbury. I’m surprised anyone could eat anything by this stage, but most of this disappeared. Sarah at Cocoa Cabana is another creative force – she specially developed a gin and rose truffle and a jasmine green tea truffle just for us. The table also included a range of other truffles, brownies, marshmallows and macaroons (note that in my initial consultation, the lovely Sarah gave me a brownie to try and a nice, big latte…bonus!).
Next to the dessert table, we included a sign saying “eat today ot take away” and provided some purple favour boxes from Paper Themes. As it happened – most people ‘ate it today’ anyway, but it was a nice thought!
Unfortunately I haven’t yet got any photographs of the delectable cheese tower from The Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury. Cheese, as my readers may already know, is one of my favourite all time items. I like all cheese. The tower served as our evening buffet, served with crackers and chutneys. The Cheese Hamlet provided us with a Cornish Yarg, a Colston Bassett Mature Stilton, a Rachel Goats Cheese, a Godminster Organic Mature Cheddar and Neufchatel Hearts. We enjoyed eating it.
The band actually MADE the reception. They were brilliant. They are iPanic, based in Liverpool and play at Mulligan’s in Manchester every month, where my husband first saw them. They played a range of covers which got absolutely everyone dancing – the floor in the hotel was shaking!
Our photographer was Lee Fretter photography. We wanted a photographer we felt comfortable around, as he would be with us all day. Lee really put us at ease from when we first met him – he’s a real pleasure to be around and has fantastic ideas about his photography. We cannot wait to see the official photographs from the wedding – he showed me a few on his viewfinder throughout the day and they were stunning!
So there is a run down of all the people who made our wedding day special. A big thank you to everyone – and to our guests of course who made it so much fun!
Our honeymoon deserves another, future blog post. We chose Florence, Italy and had the most amazing time. Culture, excellent Italian food and lots and lots of lovely red wine…hmmm….