I really love how today’s couple fused the glorious countryside with urban-cool on their wedding day. They began with a garden ceremony and moved into the city for the party, the best of both worlds surely?
Rachel and Adam were hitched on the 6th October 2016 at Ness Gardens, followed by a reception at Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. However their wedding didn’t just last for one day, but for four days. As they held their wedding on a Thursday it gave all of their loved ones the chance to celebrate, whilst keeping to their £8000 budget. They also injected a serious amount of personality into their nuptials, mainly their love of books. Penguin paperback favours were used alongside table runners made from ‘The Complete Sherlock Holmes’ pages. They also had paper flowers made from meaningful music and books, a really special touch indeed.
I really love their outfit choices. Amazingly Rachel only chose her vintage off the shoulder beaded gown by Ronald Joyce the night before. Didn’t she look stunning? Adam was suited and booted in grey tweed with a pair of awesome converse finishing his look just so.
Emma Hillier Photography, thank you so much for sharing these brilliant shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | I’d saved up to surprise Adam with a trip to Paris for his 30th Birthday and booked us a tiny attic apartment through Airbnb which overlooked the rooftop of the Picasso Museum. Unbeknownst to me, he had also decided to surprise me with a proposal and as I was busy taking photographs of the sunset out of the window on Halloween, I turned round to find him down on one knee with a pair of white converse trainers and a handmade wooden ring.
THE VISION | We didn’t have a vision as such, but we were keen that it would be ‘us’ and not just a wedding by numbers. Two things were certain from the beginning; The playlist for the day was going to be a labour of love for Adam over the next 2 years and that he wanted herringbone converse trainers for himself and his groomsmen!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Autumn is our favourite season and having got engaged on Halloween and knowing that finances were tight, October was perfect for us. We also opted for a Thursday as it allowed us to stretch our budget further still, and we decided to create a ‘Wedding Weekend’ so that family and friends who couldn’t join us on a Thursday for the wedding itself, could still celebrate with us on ‘Recovery Day’, ‘Family & Friends Day’ or ‘Boardgame Day’ (the Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Adam set up a spreadsheet with all the tasks and a countdown over the following months so that we could keep an eye on how everything was progressing!
BUDGET | £8,000
THE VENUE | We wanted the day to be a real combination of both of our personalities. I had always wanted an outdoor wedding (barefoot in a forest was my dream!) whereas Adam was after a more urban location, so we decided to go for the best of both worlds holding our ceremony outside at the beautiful Ness Gardens under a thatched pagoda next to the lily pond, with our reception at the awesome Everyman Theatre on Hope Street in the heart of Liverpool.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was a vintage Ronald Joyce, found in a sample sale and altered by my local seamstress Paula. My shoes were ‘Abigail’, ivory wedding boots from Irregular Choice. I found my veil in the PDSA charity shop in Glossop when I stopped off for lunch with a couple of friends on my way back from my hen do!
FINDING THE DRESS | Having lost my Mum a few years ago, I found the whole process of finding my wedding dress difficult and emotional. I couldn’t settle on anything, I didn’t know who to ask for advice and the two people who I would have normally asked an opinion from, Adam and my Mum, were the two people I couldn’t talk to about it. I was lucky enough to have support from other family and friends who came to appointments with me and having always been a big charity shop treasure hunter I managed to accumulate six different pre-loved dresses, but with 2 weeks to go until the wedding, I knew that none of them were right. I finally managed to find a seamstress who saved the day, altering two dresses for me and I actually ended up at 11pm the night before my wedding, deciding which one I was going to wear the next day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We ended up ordering Adam’s suit online from ASOS and had it tailored to fit. He decided to go for the lovely grey Harris Tweed as a nod to our Scottish family and heritage. It turned out Converse stopped selling their herringbone Chucks years prior so he went for Converse’s new Chuck Taylor IIs.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had two readings. One was from Adam’s oldest friend Steven and the other from our neighbour and close friend Helen. Helen read a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit, which held special meaning to both her and myself, while Steven selected an extract from Love in the Time of Cholera.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Unfortunately my Maid of Honour, Emma, had to cancel the week before our wedding as she was pregnant with twins and nature took priority! With her being unable to travel, my two bridesmaids, Niki and Meryl took care of me all morning and were incredibly supportive throughout the day. I wanted them to feel as much like themselves as possible on the day and decided to just give them a colour to base their outfits on (grey), letting them decide on whichever dresses, shoes and accessories suited their personal style.
THE FLOWERS | A couple of years ago, I came across the idea of making roses out of paper and it stuck with me, then six months later, I was working as the wedding photographer for a lovely bride called Lorna who had done exactly that and made her bouquet out of her fiance’s batman comics! We had since become friends and so when it came to my own wedding, I asked her if she could make a few individual flowers for us too. For the bouquets, I found a vintage copy of ‘Wedding Music for the Organ’ as a tribute to my Nan who had played it when I was little, and for the buttonholes, we used an old copy of one of Adam’s favourite books ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’. Knowing that it was going to be an autumn wedding, I didn’t want to compete with the rest of the lovely colours at Ness Gardens, and so asked my local florist to incorporate these paper flowers into rustic, trailing foliage instead, including ivy, oak, fern and willow with just a few white roses.
THE CAKE | Having tested and almost exploded after trying everything on The Everyman’s bespoke menu, we decided that adding cake on top would probably just go to waste on the day. Instead we picked up various cakes from Dafna’s Cheesecake Factory for the Family and Friends day.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The incredible Emma Hillier! We loved her informal style, down-to-earth approach and willingness to ‘have-a-go’ at shooting with whatever analogue cameras I threw at her!
We also brought in John and Kate from The Victorian Photographer to create beautiful wetplate tintype photographs of our guests as entertainment after the ceremony.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The Everyman was a perfect start for our décor but although we had strong ideas in mind for what our wedding would look like we needed someone to help us bring it together and actually put it up. Luckily for us, our friend Alice is an expert set dresser and puppeteer, and she went above and beyond in helping us make up our decorations and dressing The Everyman in the morning.
We’re a very bookish couple, so that informed a lot of our style. Our favours were ‘Little Block Classics’ Penguin paperbacks, our table runners were made of ‘The Complete Sherlock Holmes’ pages, and we brought along our vintage typewriter so that people could leave us notes.
We decorated the two long tables with ivy and foliage from Adam’s parents’ garden in Wales, added paper bunting, light up letters and some glittery jam jars whilst our artist friend Stef made us a giant mural for people to colour in as the evening progressed.
THE HONEYMOON | We decided to go back to Edinburgh where it all began for us 9 years ago and spent a lovely week wandering around the bookshops and pubs of this beautiful city.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Taking the scenic route to Ness Gardens with my Dad in the back of a beautiful vintage Rover 90 chatting and laughing with butterflies in my stomach. Reading our vows to each other under the pagoda and trying to hold it together! Adam and I standing in a cloud of bubbles at the edge of the lily pond in the glorious autumn sunshine. Having a wet-plate photographer take pictures of our groups of friends and family. My Dad accidentally throwing an entire glass of red wine over himself at the meal and my wonderful friends and venue staff leaping into action to sort him out! He ended up wearing a ‘Crew’ T-shirt from The Everyman Theatre for the rest of the night. Getting to DJ our ‘First Set’ as an alternative to doing a ‘First Dance’ and seeing all our family and friends giving it beans on the dancefloor whilst I played a set with my band.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to make the day very distinctly your own. It’s a team effort. Listen to each other and be willing to compromise. Know that you won’t be able to make everyone happy and be prepared for some friendships to change along the way. Write your own vows. Listen to the music you’ll be walking down the aisle to on repeat as you travel to the ceremony. It’ll help you hold it together when it all starts for real!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Emma Hillier Photography
Hair & make-up | Russell & Brown’s Vintage Hair
Flowers | Dovedale Florist
Paper flowers | Lorna’s Pretty Things
Dress | Ronald Joyce
Shoes | Abigail’ by Irregular Choice
Bridal prep venue | Titanic Hotel
Wedding venue | Ness Botanical Gardens
Adam’s suit | ASOS
Shoes | Chuck Taylor II by Converse
Catering at Ness | Mini afternoon tea by Mosaic Catering
Bus | The Big Red Bus Company
Reception venue | Everyman Theatre
Engagement ring | Amy Ridyard
Wedding rings | Helen Leigh Dolan
Oh how I love that they had their own DJ set instead of a first dance. Awesome!
Thanks so much to Rachel and Adam for sharing their lovely celebration with us xo Lou