WWW readers Christine and Mat are with us today to share their wedding day, which was held on the 8th September 2018 at the Chilli Barn in Yorkshire. There are so many things about their celebrations that I love, but most of all it has to be their wedding planning ethos. Together they chose Christine’s dress and they also got ready together in the morning, both really lovely and memorable moments. Another part to their wedding vision was for their day to be dog friendly so that their dog Patrick could join them on the day. How brilliant is that?
A party was the vibe for their wedding and with live music teamed with fun and games, it looked like a fantastic time was had by all! The décor was simple yet oh so pretty, with flowers in bottles, rustic signage and a semi naked cake all featuring. I also adore their chosen outfits, with Christine in a Whistles lace gown and Mat a brown suit with no tie. So stylish! One last shout out for the florals, I just adore the dried flower bouquet, so gorgeous.
On hand to capture their celebrations was WWW fave and Supplier Love member; the brilliant Stevie Jay Photography. I just love these candid, happy and fun images, thanks so much for sharing with us Stevie.
We got engaged over a homemade Sunday lunch. Mat got up half way through and looked at me for a minute, acting a bit strange then got down on one knee. I laughed and said yes right away. When he told me he asked my eldest older brother for permission I broke into tears. He had the ring for 6 weeks and originally planned to propose on our upcoming holiday in Sicily, but made the quick decision to do it there and then.
I’m not a girly girl and never thought about getting married before. We thought about having a traditional wedding in either Cumbria or Ireland but the idea didn’t appeal. We opted to have something close to where we lived and at a central point for friends and family who were spread between Liverpool, Cumbria, London and Ireland. We wanted something relaxed, rustic and outdoors but most importantly dog friendly as we had just got our puppy Patrick when we started planning.
The Planning Process
We gave ourselves a year and a half to plan, which was plenty of time. I had a wedding notebook where I jotted down all our ideas, many lists and a spreadsheet for the budgeting.
We divided the to-do list, Mat organised the evening food, photographer and the honeymoon… I booked the bands and organised the finer details such as décor.
Our guestlist was limited because of the venue size so this was the one thing we did find stressful. This wasn’t easy with one half coming from a massive Irish family!
We budgeted for £12-14k but went over ever so slightly and Mat’s parents very kindly contributed to the venue hire. We spent the majority of our budget on what we felt would be the most memorable aspects, such as the band and the photographer. We did not do wedding favours, we spent that money on offering complimentary drinks to our guests for the first half of the day.
We had the ceremony and reception at The Chilli Barn in Otley. I had been driving past it every day on the way to work but had never been inside. We went to view it and fell in love immediately with how pretty it and the surrounding countryside was. We loved that we could have the ceremony and reception in the same place and being dog friendly also meant Patrick (our dog!) could come too!
Bexs the wedding coordinator from Oakleaf Weddings (and Bow Wow Vow) was our contact at the venue and she could not have been more helpful. She made the whole planning process so easy for us and she even helped to look after Patrick on the day taking him to the dog sitter in the evening.
The Readings & Music
Mat and I spent most weekends putting together our wedding playlists over a glass of wine. We chose all our favourite songs and discovered lots of new favourites. It’s a playlist we still listen to regularly!
We wanted to book a traditional Irish band for the drink’s reception. We had made the enquiry but not heard from the band in weeks despite many emails and calls so had concluded they weren’t coming. After the ceremony had unexpectedly showed up, which turned out to be the making of a great party! We then had Loud Noise’s Brass Band for the evening who had everyone up dancing and singing at the top of their lungs until the end of the night.
I was more nervous about makeup than choosing a dress! I don’t wear a lot of makeup and have had memorable (/scary!) experiences with makeup artists before. I met Charlotte for a hair and makeup trial 6 months before the wedding and fell in love with her style immediately. She put me at ease instantly and did the most amazing job on my hair and makeup. She was also the calming presence anyone would want on the morning of their wedding.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wanted a dress that was quite simple and classic. I tried one wedding dress shop and hated every second of it so bought several dresses online to try. We went down the very untraditional route of Mat helping me choose the dress. He’s my best friend and is normally my shopping companion so his advice was what I needed. His face when I tried that dress on and how good I felt it sealed the deal.
Mat’s mum leant me a beautiful sapphire ring which had been in their family for a very long time and a pair of matching earrings that belonged to her. I also had a dried flower hair pin made to match my bouquet.
Mat got his suit and shoes form Arnisons in Penrith Cumbria, somewhere both sides of his family have shopped for generations. He went with his dad and I can remember how excited he was when he chose the suit. As we were going for the casual feel he opted to go tie free.
Groomsmen & Bridesmaids
We decided to opt out of bridesmaids and groomsmen. We wanted everyone at the wedding to be as relaxed as possible without any extra responsibilities. We were so grateful our friends rallied together to organise hen and stag parties and help on the run up to the big day. We had planned to do a speech ourselves but my brother Eugene surprised us with the most amazing speech written on the back of his boarding pass, which had the room in laughter and tears.
We both wanted a naked cake with fresh flowers to add colour. A friend of Mat’s Crystal from Blackday Bakes made the most beautiful cake ensuring a layer was vegan and gluten free so everyone could have some.
The Details & Décor
We wanted a simple clean look as the venue was beautiful and did not need much. We collected a range of vintage medicine bottles, jars and vases to dot around the venue with colourful flowers and lots of candles.
For the tables we wanted white table clothes (made by Oakleaf Weddings) with pops of colour from the flowers. Bexs from Oakleaf did all the decorating for us and made sure it was all packed up for us the next morning. I would recommend this for couples who aren’t the most creative.
We had wanted an outdoor theme with firepits, marshmallows, hay bales and lawn games etc. Unfortunately, it rained all day. Despite this it really worked in our favour to make the day intimate and cosy. My sister got us disposable cameras for the tables which provided lots of post wedding entertainment!
We knew we wanted fish and chips for the evening, so we had Blue Pepper Catering provide us with traditional Yorkshire Fish & Chips which everyone was ready for after a lot of dancing!
A few days after the wedding we drove to North East Aberdeenshire with a stop along the way. We had a week in the cutest cottage (with Patrick!) by the sea in Gardenstown with a log fire and some time exploring the coast.
We found Stevie Jay on Instagram and booked her almost immediately, her candid photo style was exactly what we wanted. We also did an engagement shoot as we are both incredibly awkward in front of a camera and needed the practice run. On the wedding day it rained all day and she still managed to get the most incredible photos.
I was not going to get a bouquet until Mat asked me what I would do with my hands in photos and when walking down the aisle! Two weeks before, I panicked, but was so relieved to find the Artisanal Dried Flowers Co online and got the most beautiful dried flower bouquet with matching buttonholes for Mat and his parents. I love the fact I still have the flowers in my living room!
I was especially touched by my sister Kerrie who gave me a pendant with my dads photo in it for my bouquet.
So many to choose from because we loved every second of the day. One of our favourites was when getting ready as Mat and I stayed together until I put my dress on.
Mat’s dad was driving me to the ceremony and had the car decorated with ribbons and flowers. I remember being so happy to see him waiting at the car with an umbrella to help me avoid the rain!
My youngest brother was working in Germany and I thought not able to get back for the wedding, it was fantastic to spot him while I was walking down the aisle.
Advice For Other Couples
Enjoy every bit of it and do exactly what you want to do! Have a guest book so your guests can leave you messages and advice. We love reading this over and over again.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Bow Wow Vow
Hair & Makeup
Bespoke Beauty and Bridal
What a fun day!
Huge thanks goes to Christine and Mat for sharing with us their epic wedding celebrations xo Lou