Ready for a beautiful country estate wedding filled with romance and eclectic touches? Yes guys, it’s time for WWW readers Laura and Sam’s summer nuptials held on the 25th June 2016 at The Lingholm Estate based in Cumbria in the Lake District. The location was out of this world, with picturesque gardens and enough accommodation to host the majority of guests over the weekend long festivities. Not to mention the beautiful tipi tent, which was on the couple’s dream list when planning the celebrations. Other must haves were the live band and free bar, these top priorities meant that they cut back on other elements. It’s all about compromising after all.
They certainly didn’t compromise on the outfits though. Laura chose a Jesus Peiro Mikado silk gown, while Sam was suited and booted in a blue Reiss suit. They looked amazing didn’t they? The flowers were really special, I really love the log stand with blooms in jars perched on top and Laura’s delicate bouquet. They also plumped for themed tables to represent them and their lives together, such a fun touch!
I am utterly enthralled by these divine images by Jo Bradbury today, thanks for sending them through Jo.
THE PROPOSAL | Classic Christmas Day proposal! Sam gave me a massive box, which I opened to find a smaller wrapped box and the boxes kept getting smaller until I got to the tiny box revealing the ring! The proposal was a complete surprise, I really wasn’t expecting it. Although I knew we were on the path to forever I hadn’t even started dropping hints about wedding bells!
THE VISION | We wanted the wedding to be a bit different to the norm. The main priority was making it a really special day for our friends and family with lots of personal touches ending in a party to end all parties with good music and a free bar! There was no colour scheme/theme. It was just us and everything that we liked.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We were completely naive and had no idea how much things would cost when we started planning and everything was so much more expensive than we anticipated. We knew we wanted the night party to be in a tipi and we really wanted a good live band and free bar but when we priced this up this was most of the budget so we tried to cut down and make other things cheaper.
BUDGET | £20k but we went a little bit over shhh!
THE VENUE | At the time Sam proposed my mum’s boss of over 20 years had recently sold the company and bought an Estate in Keswick called the Lingholm Estate. My mum suggested that we go up there and have a look one weekend and as soon as we saw it we fell in love with it. It is right on Lake Derwentwater and there was space in the grounds for the tipis we wanted and we were allowed to do our own thing and really put our stamp on the venue. When we first visited the Estate was a real work in progress but the staff and owners were working really hard to renovate and they were building holiday cottages, which could accommodate most of our day guests. We booked it then and there and never looked back.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was Jesus Peiro from Lovebird Brides in Ilkley and the hair vine was made by Laura Rhodes who is the extremely lovely and talented owner of Lovebird Brides. Due to the fact I went way over budget on the dress the Louboutins were out of the window and I just bought a pair of cheap gold heels from Dorothy Perkins for under £20.
FINDING THE DRESS | I never really had “that moment” finding the dress. I went to lots of shops with my mum and grandma and every dress I tried we liked but there were no tears or “this is the ones!” we just liked them all so it was so hard to choose. I think there is a lot of pressure choosing the dress, people kept saying if I hadn’t cried and didn’t know for sure then it wasn’t the one. At the end of the day though I am not a crier and it’s only a dress and after going to a number of different shops I was getting in a complete muddle so I just wanted to make a decision. The Jesus Peiro dress was completely different to the boho dress that I imagined but it made me feel elegant, classy and bridal but it was also comfortable and not too heavy. I am also really clumsy and the Mikado silk was pretty much stain resistant! There was an outdoor swing on the estate and I was having some photographs after the ceremony and ended up falling off and miraculously the mud just wiped off and no stains!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Sam’s suit and shirt were from Reiss. He wore the watch that I bought him for Christmas and the tie/pocket square we just bought from a local suit hire company.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had Sam’s sister and my mum doing readings in the ceremony and it all got a bit emotional. Sam’s sister read The Art of Marriage, which had been a reading at her wedding. My mum kept her reading a secret. She found a poem called Heirloom of Love and it was really poignant. Nearly the whole room was crying.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 6 bridesmaids (Kerry, Lucy, Amy, Claire, Tracy and Liz) who all have their own individual styles and they are all very different shapes and sizes so initially I was worried about choosing bridesmaid dresses and was going to get different dresses for all of them but then I saw a long champagne coloured dress from Biba in House of Frazer and bought it in a discounted brand event for them to try and it suited all of them and they all looked beautiful – easy peasy!
Our flower girl was our niece Isla and she was 18 months old at the time. We found a cute little dress from H&M, which was also champagne colour and matched the bridesmaids.
THE FLOWERS | We didn’t want formal bouquets and wanted to keep the flowers quite loose and wild. I did some internet research and found a florist local to the venue in Penrith called Greenwheat Flowers. As soon as we went to the shop we knew that the owner, Laura would be brilliant. We just let her get on with it, I didn’t specify what flowers I wanted and just left her to her art. The bridesmaids bouquets were gypsophila as I like it and it happens to be one of the cheapest (bonus!!) she also made a little gypsophila wand for Isla our flower girl.
THE CAKE | My Auntie Cathy made the cake. We were quite relaxed about the cake and wanted a rustic/naked cake. Cathy made the cake with fresh cream and flowers and it was quite hot in the tipi and throughout the course of the day the cake started melting and drooping. In the end we called it the leaning cake of Keswick! It was a great talking point though and made for some funny photographs. It still tasted absolutely delicious.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We met our photographer Jo Bradbury at the National Wedding Fair in Manchester. As soon as we looked at her work and spoke to her we knew she had to be our photographer. I absolutely love her photographs. They are very relaxed, romantic and beautiful. Jo was so enthusiastic about the wedding and the venue and even came to meet us up in Keswick a few months before to suss everything out. I am really not photogenic and get a bit nervous in front of the camera but Jo put me at ease all day. She stayed well into the evening and managed to capture everyone but was completely unobtrusive, even to the point of hiding in bushes!
We also had a videographer. Initially I thought a videographer was an expense we couldn’t afford but my mum’s friend told me that her and her husband used to sit down on their wedding anniversary every year with a bottle of champagne and watch the video and it sounded so lovely – I was sold! Obviously I still had the issue that the budget was spiralling out of control but I looked for videographers on Gumtree and found a man called Anthony Hamilton who was starting up a new videography business and wanted to attend weddings for his portfolio. I sent a message not really thinking anything would come of it but Anthony rung straight back and said he was interested and confirmed that he didn’t want any payment because I was helping him out. I was still half expecting him not to turn up on the day but he arrived bright and early with 2 of his colleagues and lots of equipment. He even brought a drone and got some beautiful footage of the estate. He prepared a 5 minute edited video of the wedding to send to guests and then gave us all the footage on USB for completely free. I can’t wait for our first anniversary when we are going to sit and watch the video in full with a bottle of bubbly!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We did all the decoration of the venue, tipis and tables ourselves. We made 100s of feet of rag bunting for the tipi and trawled car boot sales most Sunday mornings to try to find eclectic pieces for our table centre pieces and decoration.
The Christmas before the wedding M&S had some fake logs with gold glitter that I saw and thought they would make a lovely display so I asked in our local M&S store if I could have them after the wedding and good old M&S agreed and they looked amazing for our flower displays.
We wanted the wedding to really reflect us. I found a lady on Etsy, Sarah Saturday, who is an amazing artist and did a cartoon picture of me and Sam and our cat Enzo standing in front of a tipi in wedding outfits. We then took this to a local printer and this was our invite and gave people an insight about what was to come.
The tables were all based on an element of our lives. We had the Yorkshire table because all Sam’s family are from Yorkshire, the London table because my mum’s family are from London, the Manchester United table because my dad’s family are from Manchester and we are all massive reds! We also had a mechanic table in view of Sam’s job, a lawyer table for my job, a Thai full moon party table as that’s where we met, an Alvor table for our favourite holiday destination and a real ale top table because Sam loves his ale! …on each table we made the centre pieces to reflect the theme and really went to town. Sam’s Auntie Pat then made the name places on each table to match the theme. It was really hard work but we were so pleased with how the tables turned out – it was so much cheaper than getting flowers on the tables and they all looked really quirky.
To save costs we didn’t have a three course meal and cut it down to two courses with canapés after the ceremony. Charlotte at Karen Rhodes Catering designed a menu with us of a leg of Cumbria lamb with dauphinoise potatoes followed by a trio of deserts. The lamb was carved at the table by one of the guests which was a really nice touch. The lamb was cooked to perfection and everyone was raving about the food. For the evening guests we had a hog roast, which also went down a storm.
We cut out wedding favours entirely because I took the view that unless you spend a bit of money on them (which we didn’t have) and get something decent they tend to get left on the table anyway. We thought people would appreciate the free bar more than a few sugared almonds!
We didn’t want there to be any dull moments at the wedding so we hired giant Jenga and Connect4 and people were playing all day and night.
We booked the West Coast Heroes band and they were amazing – worth every penny. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Everyone absolutely loved them. It was like a proper gig rather than a wedding and we were dancing all night. The band and their management were so professional throughout they were absolutes stars.
THE HONEYMOON | All our immediate family and the wedding party stayed at Lingholm for the full weekend. The day after the wedding we hired a boat to take everyone around the lake and had a BBQ in the evening. From Lingholm, me and Sam went to Mexico to the Hard Rock Hotel Rivera Maya and had a well needed relax with copious amounts of pina colada!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We decided to have a first look. There was a beautiful orchard on the estate and before the ceremony Sam waited at the orchard and I walked down to meet him like an aisle. It was so romantic and we both got quite emotional. It was lovely to spend some time together just us before all the madness started.
Sam also surprised me after the meal. I went to the toilet and came out and Sam had bought a white 1972 Beetle. I had no idea – he had been to collect it in Preston the day before and had hidden it in the garage on the estate.
Sam loves his cars and in particular his VWs and I have been to a few car shows with him and my favourites were always the white beetles. We drove the beetle round the estate to the house where we met the evening guests.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | If you want a stress free run up to the wedding book a hotel with everything included and a wedding planner – don’t do what we did unless you are ready for the wedding to take over your life and home and suffer lots of sleepless nights!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Jo Bradbury
Band | West Coast Heroes
Venue | The Lingholm Estate
Tipis | Fjell Event Tipis
Caterers | Karen Rhodes
Hog Roast | The Whole Hog
Florist | Greenwheat Flowers
Videographer | Anthony Hamilton ([email protected])
Wasn’t that first look just magical? Such a special moment.
Many thanks to Laura and Sam for sharing their wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou