WWW readers Craig and Sian were hitched on Saturday 23rd September 2017 at Park House Barn in Cumbria. I love that for half of the year the venue is a working barn and the blank canvas of the space meant that the couple could really make their mark, which they sure did. Think luxe florals in rainbow colours everywhere, Edison light installation, divine arbour backdrop and ribbons galore. It really was rather breathtaking and I am certain in person even more so.
The flowers really were a highlight for me and Sian by the sound of her write up below. I love love an array of stems in bright colours and they worked really perfectly. In fact her floral crown and bouquet matched well with her boho feel tulle gown. Her maids also complimented her style with sequin dresses that they must have been delighted with. Craig’s groom look was perfect, with a tweed and floral print ensemble. Ace.
Be prepared to want all the colours at your weddings folks. The images here today are courtesy of Joe Mather Photography and we cannot thank him enough for sharing them with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Dublin, December 1st 2015. After being together for 11 years previously (childhood sweethearts since high school) Craig had faced the regular question of “When are you going to pop the question” from various family and friends. We had both taken a bit of time deciding on careers but were both now qualified and working in our jobs as a nurse and social worker so I had figured it wouldn’t be far off. On a pre Christmas trip to Dublin I thought this might finally be the time, unfortunately Craig seemed pretty carefree about our carry-on luggage so this dampened my hopes; once there I had also managed to have a route through the luggage whilst he was in the shower and found nothing, disappointed I guessed this wasn’t the time. Swanky meal at night, again no proposal. Day two we had been on a city bus tour in the pouring rain, we both went back to the hotel to dry off and get ready for another evening meal out, when coming out of the shower towel wrapped around me with wet wild ginger hair there was Craig waiting with the ring. I don’t know how I hadn’t found it the few days before but Craig says he knows I am terribly inquisitive therefore had kept it in his pocket the whole time throughout. A gorgeous 18ct yellow gold band with a single diamond solitaire. I said yes.
THE VISION | Flowers! And colour! I am quite crafty so knew that I wanted a Pinterest fuelled DIY affair, luckily Craig was happy to trust my vision. We had also both decided that we didn’t want a hotel wedding as we wanted something a bit more laid back that we could put our own stamp on, neither of us are religious so we also wanted somewhere we could have our ceremony and reception together.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As we were paying mainly for the big day ourselves we knew it wouldn’t be a quick wedding to give us time to save, we both decided that September was a great month for weather as the weather had been beautiful the last few years before so we decided September 2017 would be the perfect time, giving us 18 months to get organised.
BUDGET | We planned to save £14,000, this didn’t include our honeymoon, Craig’s suit or my dress as these were our parents kind contributions. Total cost all in probably £18,000.
THE VENUE | Park House Barn, Heversham, Cumbria. Set within a fully working farm, Park House is a 16th Century half-cruck barn, which is used for lambing in the spring and then as a wedding venue throughout the summer. An absolutely breathtaking barn even when undressed, the perfect blank canvas to create our vision. We actually originally went to view the barn during lambing season, here Craig found it difficult to imagine our wedding in between the sheep; however I assured him that the potential was there and we booked it. This was a key joke in his speech.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Dress was “Jessie” from the Victoria Jane collection by Ronald Joyce, this was purchased at The Dressing Room in Garstang. Here I also purchased a fingertip veil with appliquéd daisies. Shoes were the gold glitter “Charm” from Kate Spade New York, after seeing these on Pinterest a few years earlier these were actually the first thing I bought once engaged, I had always wanted a gold metallic element throughout the wedding so these felt perfect.
Flower crown was made by one of my best friends and bridesmaid Katie, florist of Made in Flowers and completed the look perfectly. Make up was perfected by a local treasure Aimee Chorley, I felt glamorous and bridal all day and her friendly banter was appreciated on the morning when the nerves kicked in. Finally hair by Jess Tyrer who did a fabulous job of executing my brief of a tousled boho up do with plaits and securing the flower crown and veil to my head so well that they remained until bedtime. They both made my maids look sublime too.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had always imagined my dress to have a boho, whimsical feel with some sort of floral aspect (I love flowers). After visiting a number of boutiques and unsuccessfully suiting the “boho” style, I had almost lost hope in my vision. Because I have an hourglass shape it was the more A-Line princess cut dresses that suited me, but I felt this didn’t suit my style at all. After travelling a bit further afield to The Dressing Room in Garstang I picked off the rail a gorgeous dress that suited my ideal and decided I would give the “boho” look one last shot, to my surprise it was the one! With delicate floral embroidery and a skirt made of two layers of different lace “Jessie” by Ronald Joyce was perfect. Cathy at The Dressing Room was so helpful and even replaced the blingy belt with an embroidered tulle one to fit the brief.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Craig picked a blue tweed suit with a contrasting brown checked tweed waistcoat from Mark Darcy suits, we laughed before the big day saying it was very Toad of Toad Hall but he scrubbed up perfectly looking very dapper indeed. Shoes were tan brogues from Ted Baker. Liberty “Tana Lawn Rachel” print tie was by Gianni Feraud, matching pocket square was made by me in the same material. Craig also wore a gold engraved pocket watch, a wedding present from myself.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Entrance music: “Every little thing she does is magic” – cover by Sleeping at Last.
Ceremony music: “Toothpaste Kisses” – The Macabees, “Hearts don’t break around here” – Ed Sheeran.
Walking out Music : “Made up Lovesong #43” – The Guillemots.
Readings : Union by Robert Fulghum & He’s not perfect by Bob Marley.
First Dance: “Drops of Jupiter” – Train.
Reception Drinks: I love fiddles so it had to be a folk ensemble led by Scott Hartley an old school friend.
Evening Music – The Seals (my stepbrothers band) feat special guest Mike my Stepdad on Saxophone.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Four bridesmaids, three of my best friends and my sister, all wearing taupe sequin and tulle Maya dresses from ASOS. Flower girl my niece wearing a dress from Wish, which I altered to include a Liberty print waistband to match the groomsmen’s ties. Pageboy my godson wearing a waistcoat set from Next with bow tie and pocket square I again made to match the groomsmen.
THE FLOWERS | Oh the flowers! Luckily one of my best friends, Katie, whom was also a bridesmaid is a florist, an absolute superstar and very dedicated and talented with all things floral. She knew my vision was colour and lots of it, with a focus on my favourite’s sunflowers and daisies. The Wednesday before the wedding we went to the flower supply van and together picked everything colourful, from here we took everything to the barn and along with the other bridesmaids and family over the next few days made the table centres and venue flowers together, a memory I will always cherish. Flowers were everywhere, a favourite being the bright stems we hung from the Edison lights. Katie made a spectacular job of the buttonholes and bouquets, mine was just stunning an awash of tonal colours, my favourites being the Beatrice rose, Anemones, Sunflowers and Daisies, the stems were then wrapped in gold glitter ribbon; she then finished my look with a bright floral crown to perfect my boho dream. Swoon.
THE CAKE | To fit in with the rustic theme of the barn we wanted a naked cake, here we found Donna of Corr’s Cakes at a wedding fair. She crafted a beautiful four tiered cake, with layers of lemon and Victoria sponge; finished with flowers, berries and edible gold leaf. Our cake toppers were bought from Etsy, the two blue birds represented our beloved blue pet Parrotlet “Susan”.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | When deciding on a photographer we knew we wanted a documentary style, someone to photo the day as it flowed and capture the atmosphere, everyone having fun and being natural. Joe Mather was recommended to us by a few different people and upon viewing his online portfolios we fell in love and knew his style was exactly what we wanted. His pictures are show stopping, the way he has captured the exact feelings of the day transporting us right back to the precise moments every time we look through them. He has also captured moments we can’t even remember, yet as a subject you didn’t even realise he was there, blending into the background perfectly, capturing all of the emotion without being intrusive, he just really put us at ease. Everyone has commented on how great the photos are, pictures we will cherish for a lifetime.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As mentioned previously we wanted colour and flowers, the barn a naturally beautiful venue is a fabulous blank canvas to work with and as we had access to this from the Wednesday before we really could add our personal touch. One of the main show stopping details were the lights, although the barn already has four beautiful chandeliers hung throughout we wanted more lights and something a bit different to fairy lights. After searching we found the wonderful Megan and Darren of Typical Type, Megan was fantastic with suggesting lots of ideas and finally we decided on an Edison board over the ceremony/dancefloor area and festoons hung throughout the main room with Edison droplets hung from these randomly. The finished product was better than imagined, really added an extra dimension to the barn and we loved how the random Edison droplets looked very magical and felt quite “Harry Potter”, something which Craig a Harry Potter fan loved. We also hung floral stems from the Edison board to add a colourful element.
The flowers spoke for themselves and were everywhere throughout from milk churns to glass bottles, we also constructed Katie’s wooden arch to split the ceremony/dancefloor area with the meal area, this was another key detail and once draped with calico and flowers looked fabulous. Another main DIY feature was the ribbon wall behind the top table, this 8×8 foot masterpiece was a rainy day creation me and my mum had made a few months before, stripping bright material and hanging from curtain wire we then hung light up letters “Best Day Ever” and featured this behind the top table to brighten up the large stone wall.
The VW Campervan was a surprise on the morning and belonged to a family friend, I have always loved VWs and had said I would always love one as my wedding car but towards the end of planning the budget just didn’t give, the morning of the wedding as we were all leaving the house there she was in her pride and glory. We also had a red double decker bus to transport all of our guests to the barn.
Other details included sequin table centres and cake tablecloth, which shimmered beautifully under the festoons. Gold chargers and cutlery were hired in to continue the metallic theme, Kendal mint cake liqueur and fererro roche favours were given a Harry Potter twist. We had a pimp your drinks station, hung bright ribbons from the bar, lots of DIY signage and a seven foot pallet with lots of photo memories of us over the years creating a great feature, which guests loved. Later in the evening we hired a selfie photo mirror leaving us with some great snaps of our very drunk guests!
THE HONEYMOON | A four night city break to Barcelona the Monday after the wedding, a much needed recoup after all of the planning!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The week before the wedding, having all of our close family and friends help us with the decorating of the barn, the kindness and love shown to us that week, we couldn’t have done it without the help!
The ceremony. The immense feeling of love when saying our vows, both of us say we can’t really remember what happened as it was a bit of a whirlwind of emotion, but we can both remember just looking at each other thinking how special the moment was.
Our first dance, we have always known since we first got together that “Drops of Jupiter” would be our first dance so after 13 years as a couple finally getting to share that moment was perfect, especially when you have everybody you love in a circle around you singing along.
Having The Seals play where my stepbrother is lead singer, I have followed The Seals for the past 15 years in their various forms so it was extremely personal to have them play and they are a great rocking Cumbrian band whom all of our friends and family enjoy. A real highlight of their set was Mike, my stepdad playing the saxophone with them; playing in a band when he was younger himself Mike had always said he would love to play saxophone at our wedding, for months before he was practising in private and worrying he wouldn’t do it, even on the day he still didn’t know whether he had the nerve to, but he did and he went down a storm. Proud moment. He is now playing with The Seals at their New Years Eve gig after overcoming his fear!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Take some time out on the day to soak it all up with each other, it flies by in lightning speed and you only get this day once.
Be realistic with your budget as weddings cost a lot these days; you may need to save longer than your think!
At the same time respect your suppliers, suppliers work hard to deliver their products and a lot of time and effort goes on behind the scenes so don’t be cheeky with costs when booking people. They charge for a reason. I always saw on wedding groups people complaining about the cost of flowers not realising how much time and prepping goes into making your flowers look perfect, after seeing how many hours and how hard Katie worked to create and prep all of ours it really struck hard that people shouldn’t be ignorant and disvalue a business’s services.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Joe Mather Photography
Venue | Park House Barn
Flowers | Made in Flowers
Lighting | Typical Type
Dress | The Dressing Room
Grooms Suit | Mark Darcy
Cake | Corrs Cakes
Catering | Alison Thompson Catering
Make up | Aimee Chorley
Hair | Hair Design by Jess
Evening Fish and Chips | North West Event Catering
Band | The Seals
Selfie Mirror | Make It Stand Out
Cutlery Hire | Whitehouse Crockery
Oh my goodness. How many fabulous wedding ideas right there?
Craig and Sian, thanks ever so much for sharing your marvellous story with us xo Lou