An autumnal cheshire wedding with an Infusion of Boho style
This is a blog post I have been wanting to share for a good while now as it is not only beautiful but also personal to me. Helen (the bride) is not only one of my best friends but also now my sister in law! I was absolutely delighted when she and Francesco (my brother in law) asked me to capture their big day and even more delighted when Helen asked me to be her bridesmaid too! It was fantastic because I got to help her find her dress and help her with certain parts of the day! Obviously it was going to be slightly tricky being in 2 places at once so was relieved when their lovely friend Jon Goodsall offered to 2nd shoot for me!
Helen & Franks wedding day was drenched in autumn colour and full of love and creativity with a subtle injection of boho style. Helen had such a clear vision of her day and together with the help of their friends and family they created the most visually stunning, colourful and creative wedding with DIY elements to die for. Helen who is a talented designer, created and hand made their wedding stationery which completely set the mood and tone of the occasion. Not to mention their forever faithful chocolate Labrador playing a huge part in the day, featuring on the invites and delivering the rings in the ceremony. It was truly a beautiful day to remember. Here's what Helen had to say about the different elements of their day...
THE PROPOSAL | Whilst out on our favourite dog walk, in the Northern Woods, Styal, two years previous to the wedding…to the day…Frank grabbed his opportunity to get down on one knee (while Marvin our dog, was wrestling with a ‘log’ in the river) and asked me to marry him. He presented me with the most beautiful daisy cluster diamond ring (with a beautiful cognac diamond centre)! What a perfect birthday present! Of course, I said YES!
THE VISION | We didn’t think an actual ‘proper’ wedding could be achieved as we had practically no budget, but what we did want was to have a LOW KEY, bright, seasonal coloured (oranges/mustards/teals/burgundy) and extremely ‘chilled out’ wedding. We hoped we could incorporate the beautiful Northern Woods, and the tiny chapel nestled in there… and of course, to have our beloved Labrador, Marvin, involved.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had no idea of a date when Frank proposed, but one day in March 2016, I suddenly thought, why not get married on my 40th birthday (almost killing two birds with one stone! I hate attention and fuss, so didn’t want anything to get too carried away for either and this felt like the obvious solution). We looked into the availability of the chapel – as my birthday was on a Thursday, this could have been tricky, but with a big yes from there, the ball started rolling. We took it upon ourselves to try and find somewhere small for the ‘party’ - as I didn’t want it to get too big, or ostentatious. We found the local cricket club was the ideal size, and although a little tired, we know we could make it work for our big day!. With the help of my decorator dad too, who kindly spruced the place up in time for the big day too!
THE VENUE | Norcliffe Chapel in Styal Cheshire, then onto Styal Cricket Club for the reception.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I wanted a free spirited wedding and didn’t expect I’d be getting an actual wedding dress and certainly didn’t want a ‘meringue’. But, as mum insisted I had a gown, I decided on something floaty and even ‘hippy’ I suppose, so chose an Amanda Wyatt’s Promises of Love dress. I had it tailored to me by adding sleeves and an orange belt.
Shoes were Ruby Shoe… they had to be bright and bold (oranges) but after the ceremony, swapped very quickly to my country boots! I wore very simple stud earrings but a cluster of fine bracelets (my trademark) from Annie Haak, to complement the orange theme.
FINDING THE DRESS | It was in the second shop I went in (now unfortunately closed). After trying on a couple of dresses, which, I have to say, I felt great in, I slipped on the Amanda Wyatt dress and both my mum and my photographer/bridesmaid/now sister-in-law cried!! Well, that sold it to me! To see their reactions filled me with utter confidence. And then, to top it off, very unexpectedly, Amanda Wyatt herself came into the shop while I was modelling her dress. It seemed a dream!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Again, we wanted a low key, not stuffy but seasonal approach to Franks outfit. He’s such a laid back guy and having to wear a suit every day for work, we wanted it to be as relaxed as possible. So we decided on going for the ‘country gent’ look with a tweed jacket, checked shirt and finished off with jeans. We were in no way wanting this day to be a formal do. We had our dads and the best men/ushers decked out in the same theme…along with autumnal bright coloured socks, to add some colour and fun to their outfits. And, of course Marvin, our ‘Best Dog’ was dressed in his tweed collar and lead with a beautiful orange ribbon on his neck (on which we tied the rings!!)
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Even though it was a chapel (Unitarian) wedding, we didn’t want it to be a long drawn out affair. Very kindly, the chapel let Frank’s uncle, Reverend Professor Jonathan Draper, from South Africa, do the majority of the service. He’d travelled all the way from South Africa to be with us, so it was so touching he could play a big part in our day :O)
We only had the one reading, again, on a personal note. My sister (also bridesmaid) read a poem, Bei Hennef by D.H. Lawrence who is our Great Great Uncle. So it was really fitting.
The Chapel has an amazing organist, who played Hoppipolla by Sigur Ross as I came into the chapel, one of Frank and my favourite tunes. We had just two hymns: All Things Bright and Beautiful (a family favourite from my side) and Tell Out My Soul (One of Franks favourites).
And as we left the chapel the organist played the light-hearted Happy Together by The Turtles!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had four gorgeous bridesmaids, who all mean the world to me… My big sister, Alison, my best friend ‘now’ sister in law and my amazing photographer too, Charlotte Palazzo, my longest and oldest best friend Sarah Violi, who I honestly didn’t think could make it to our special day as she emigrated to Australia. But surprised me a couple of months before our big day with a phone call saying she was coming over just to be with me! I can’t tell you how that made me feel, completely made my wedding!!! And of course, Emma Merrill, my best friend from University who I will love to bits and share happy memories!!
As for their dresses, all I asked of them was to wear anything they individually felt great in, as long as it sat in the autumnal colour palate I wanted. I didn’t want to dictate exactly what they wore, as, I think they should feel as special as possible, and if they could get more wear out of their dresses afterwards, then that would be great.
Alongside my beautiful bridesmaids, I had the most beautiful flower girl, my Neice, Florence, our gorgeous little Nephews, Raphie and Harry and of course our little son, Rocco. Florence wanted to be a ‘princess’ and we found her a gorgeous little dress in the same dress shop my dress came from, in the same colour as my dress…full of sparkles. I teamed it up with some cute little orange shoes and a tweed little jacket.
Our son, Rocco, (and his little boy cousins too) wore orange shorts and a rainbow t-shirt with long socks and brown shoes… Again, I didn’t want the traditional page boy look, just colourful little boys!
THE FLOWERS | These were amazing! And all created by my good friend Lesley Brown. All the flowers were completely naturally hand tied, or loosely displayed in the churns/bottles. We wanted simple and not overly ‘precious’ looking arrangements. None of the tight, neat little bouquets, but free ‘bunches’ as though we’d just picked them. Gorgeous Sunflowers, tones of oranges, autumnal colours, heathers, eucalyptus, thistles and my favourite Anenomies. Even the button holes weren’t a last thought… little pretty feathers from our chickens were tied in :O) of course, Marvin had one too!
At the reception, we used recycled bottles of various shapes, heights and just added the odd flower in, rather than huge table decorations.
THE CAKE | Gorgeous! Tiered naked cake lovingly baked by my friend Lauren Brown. Just simple sponges with my homemade lemon curd and apricot jam in between the layers. And a beautiful vanilla frosting filling too. On top, stood pride of place some little wooden figures of myself, Frank, Rocco and Marvin, commissioned by an amazing little wooden doll painter in the US called Knottingwood, who took every detail I told her perfectly!
VENUE DRESSER | Although Styal Cricket Club is a fantastic place, it needed a little (a lot of) work to make it suitable for our big day! My dad who's a painter and decorator came over and gave it a fabulous lick of paint to freshen the place up. My talented friend Lesley (who did the flowers) did a wonderful job of making all the bunting, dressing the windows with fairy lights, twigs and hessian and just transforming the venue into everything we could have hoped for.
We didn’t want a sit down meal either (especially as the tables at the club were small), so we did a buffet of our favourite foods…Pies, mash and peas flowed by a big mountain of fine cheeses!
I just wanted to mention Andy Daniels (the Cricket Chairman), who made everything logistically possible, even down to helping me order the locally brewed beer we had on tap as our toast! (neither of us are champagne fans, so didn’t want this to be our toast for the sake of it. Instead, we chose Dunham Massey Breweries Obelisk Ale!)
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Well, the amazing Charlotte Palazzo Photography. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect photographer. Yes, I may be bias to an extent, as she is my best friend and now Sister in law (married to Franks brother), but, she totally made us feel at ease throughout the day and completely took on board what we wanted and didn’t try to dictate our guests into doing anything too formal. When we
got the photos back, we were amazed at the natural, beautiful shots she and Jon Goodsall (her amazing second shooter on the day) had captured. Completely telling our story, which for Frank and I was so important as we get caught up in the whole day and cannot concentrate on everything.
They captured moments we would never have thought possible and I cannot choose a single photograph out of the collection as they’re all amazing!
THE HONEYMOON | Well, we were very lucky, as we both love skiing and snowboarding, we managed to cobble enough together to go on a lovely holiday in the Italian Alps. However, our fun was cut short when I fell badly on the 2nd day ending up severing my cruciate ligament in my knee. So it wasn’t the best start to married life, but, the hotel staff were absolutely amazing (and so was the wine in the bar!) so we were kept entertained and tried not to let it dampen the holiday. Frank managed to snowboard off on his own a bit, which I’m glad about – I didn’t want my injury to hamper his fun! So, it’d be lovely if one day we could have a second honeymoon to make up for it!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The whole day! But one moment I’ll cherish is when my sister, Dad and I popped into the local pub for a cheeky gin before the ceremony! We were a tad too early for the wedding, so had some time to kill…much to the amusement of the landlord and staff!
Also, when signing the register, thanking Franks Dad for passing down the ring I now have as my wedding ring, from his sister, Alba, who sadly passed away many years ago.
And, of course, having everyone who are dear to us there, to share the day!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | If you want a DIY wedding, have your budget in mind, DON’T get carried away with too many ideas and stick to what YOU both want… not what you think other people would want. It’s your day, full stop!
CREDIT TO OUR AWESOME SUPPLIERS |
Shoes - Ruby Shoe
Suit Jackets – Marc Darcy
Flowers - Helen's talented friend Lesley Brown
Cake - Helen's talented friend Lauren Brown
Cake Toppers - Knottingwood via Etsy.com
Confetti - Shropshire Petals
Dress - Amanda Wyatt
Church - Norcliffe Chapel, Styal, Cheshire
Venue - Style Cricket Club
Pies - Lord of the Pies, Macclesfield
Cheese - The Fine Cheese Company
Wooden Signs - Helen's talented friend Catherine