Oh yes! Now here is a real wedding with oodles of style, crammed with personality and fun times all round. It’s time to share Hannah and Dexter’s achingly cool industrial vibe wedding, which was held at Fivefourstudios in Manchester on the 7th September 2018. Their chosen venue was the perfect blank canvas to their modern, bright and beautiful day. They added some really lovely touches to the studios, which brought their day to life; think giant balloons, a beautiful flower arch and pretty stationery to name a few.
There was also lots of sparkle thanks to the glitter confetti and mismatched pastel bridesmaid dresses adorned in sequins. Talking of outfits how beautiful did Hannah look in her two piece bridal separates by Martina Liana? That tulle skirt. Swoon. Meanwhile Dexter and his groomsmen looked really dapper in grey check suits and pink ties.
Next onto the florals because they were both wild and bountiful, love! Plus shout outs for the amazing sounding menu and the inflatable twister room, just awesome.
We have Ellie Grace Photography to thank today for sharing with us these incredible images. Such fun!
We spent a long weekend in Vienna celebrating our 4th Anniversary. We’d never been to Vienna before and so had planned to spend the days visiting the main sights. On the day of our anniversary, Dexter had organised to visit Schonnbrunn Palace and the huge gardens surrounding it. As we headed over there, the sky’s opened and it began pouring with rain – though that didn’t put a dampener on our plans. We were determined to carry on. So after having stolen Dex’s rain coat, we continue to walk around the beautiful gardens until Dexter mentions stopping to take a picture on his new GoPro. Little had I known he’d purposely bought the GoPro to capture the moment he knelt down on one knee and proposed in the rain. Beyond that, I have to admit it was such a blur for both of us! We spent the last couple of days in Vienna super excited, updating our friends and family and getting a head start on our plans for the wedding.
Dexter and I agreed on the vision for our wedding very quickly. Before getting in to too much of the detail of where, when and how, we knew and agreed that we wanted it to be a ‘big party’. An occasion that brought all of the people we loved and cared for together just to have loads of fun and celebrate with us.
The Planning Process
By the time we had found and booked Fivefourstudios it was already January 2018 and so we had less than 9 months to plan the day. Whilst still a significant amount of time, we both had full time jobs and had never done anything like this before! Also because Fivefourstudios were relatively new to the wedding market and didn’t have an in-house wedding co-ordinator, they put us in contact with InnerCity Weddings. A company that specialises in wedding planning for independent and unique venues in the North.
Ellie at InnerCity Weddings was so quick to help put us in contact with pretty much all of the suppliers that we ended up using on the day. This was so incredibly helpful as it meant that the companies we ended up working with were more the style that we were looking for but not always the easy ones to find as they are smaller.
We found that whilst it was an intense first month or so, once we’d had all of the main suppliers confirmed and they all had a rough idea of what we were aiming for from the day, then we actually had a few months over the summer where we could enjoy our everyday lives and not be too panicked about all things wedding related. We would definitely recommend trying to do this as much as is possible, as otherwise we caught ourselves overthinking certain elements which most of the time led to overspending, ultimately on some things that didn’t even really matter on the day!
£20-25k (not including honeymoon)
We were so incredibly excited when we found our venue. Still a relatively new venue in the world of weddings, we were so often asked how we found it. My answer – some intense googling sessions!! We were looking for a venue that would bring our party to life and avoided anything too traditional; something we really struggled to find.
When we eventually found Fivefourstudios online, we knew it was exactly the sort of venue we wanted – an urban setting, with plenty of space and so much incredible character throughout. But it didn’t prepare us for how magical the venue was when we first got to visit – three incredibly fresh photo studios that acted as blank canvases and then a burrow of moody and (dare I say) sexy corridors, snugs and a fantastic bar. On top of all that, there was even a great little courtyard outside that we could use if the weather allowed.
Neither Dexter nor I would hesitate to recommend this venue to anyone looking for a non-traditional venue in the Manchester area. Not only was the venue itself perfect, but the staff were fantastic; so incredibly supportive during the planning and throughout the day, they did all they could to make sure our day was exactly as we wanted.
The Readings & Music
Both Dexter and I chose another close friend each to do a reading during the ceremony. We let them choose the reading themselves, with the brief of nothing too long or serious – we wanted them to enjoy what they were reading.
Holly chose ‘A bridge across forever’ by Richard Bach. A lovely excerpt that talks about the power of a relationship that is born from a true partnership.
And Jack actually ended up writing his own adaptation of Oasis’ Wonderwalls; changing the lyrics to reflect things about our relationship. It was such a lovely surprise and got the audience laughing.
This was a really important element of the day for both of us. It plays such a role in so many moments of our relationship that we wanted to make sure the music brought the right emotions in to each part of the day. So both Dexter and I spent a lot of the time in the lead up to the wedding constantly adding and listening to different Spotify playlists that we had created for different parts of the day. What’s really nice about having made these ourselves on Spotify is that we still listen to them even now after the wedding, whenever we want to take ourselves back to the day.
Of course however, no party is complete without the right DJ for the evening. We so wanted to make sure we had a full dance floor all night and so finding the right style DJ was really important to us. We wanted to avoid any of the cheesy songs that you’d usually find at a wedding and were really pleased when we found ‘Wedding Jam’ at a wedding fair we’d visited. Through Wedding Jam, we found our DJ Paul McGuire and couldn’t have been happier with the set on the day. From the moment everyone joined us with the first dance, to a constant call for ‘one more’ after the 1am finish, the dance floor was full. He catered such a great range of songs for everyone there and Ellie our photographer managed to capture such great shots of our guests enjoying it – some maybe a little too much!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I found my dress at the Bridal Boutique Warwickshire, a beautiful little bridal store located in Henley in Arden. I knew of this store because two of my elder sisters had also found their wedding dresses there years before. Because of this I was already very excited to visit with my mum and sisters, but Ally and the girls at the store exceeded any expectations I had. Immediately they put me at ease and understood exactly what I was looking for. That’s how I found my two piece Martina Liana corset and stone tulle skirt. The colour in the skirt was perfect in terms of standing out within the bright white canvas rooms at our venue.
Once I had the dress, I started the hunt for accessories. I was keen to keep my look relatively simple so I opted for jewellery from online retailer Missoma. They offer a great range of really delicate and precious gold jewellery which was just what I was looking for.
And then one of the elements I was most looking forward to – the shoes! I ended up coming across a pair I fell in love with whilst shopping at Selfridges with friends. They were light pink satin Micheal Kors heeled sandals. I am used to wearing heels, but I wanted to make sure that I stayed comfortable all day. And so with a platform sole and buckled straps these worked perfectly – staying on from 12pm to 2am!
Dexter asked his younger brother to be his Best Man. They have always been really close and whilst he isn’t known to be the most organised, he did us proud! He somehow managed to organise 26 of Dexter’s friends for a stag weekend and there were no disasters – in fact they all claim to have had a great time.
Despite having bought a ‘best man’s speech’ book they day after being asked and probably having sweated about it for the full 9 months of planning, George absolutely aced the speech. He had everyone laughing and not stop talking about it for weeks after the event!
On top of this, he helped to design all of the stationery for our wedding. As a graphic designer we were super lucky to be able to utilise his incredible skills to bring the mood and colouring of the venue, along with the Italian honeymoon theme in to our invitations, order of the day, menus and table plan.
Dexter was keen to have outfits that co-ordinated but not completely matching, in a similar theme to the none-matching bridesmaid’s outfits. Dexter wore a 3 piece chequered grey Lambretta suit but chose to wear a plain grey suit jacket (from Next) to add a little contrast. The best man wore the full 3 piece matching grey chequered suit. Plain white shirts were paired with a woven pink tie from TM Lewin.
Dexter treated himself to a pair of black Loake semi-brogues for the wedding and bought the best man a pair of Black polished Monk Straps from ALDO as a thank you gift. The grooms outfit was finished off with a button hole provided by our florist, a gold tie pin (from ASOS), and a gold Junghans watch that I gifted him on the day – something I knew he had been wanting for a while!
I had four of my oldest and best friends as my bridesmaids. My love for them driven by how different and unique each are in their personality and style; so I wanted to make sure this was celebrated in the outfits they wore.
I’d seen some examples of mixed bridesmaids dresses on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea, and so we used the tones and sparkle of the wedding theme as the common thread across all four dresses but chose styles and lengths to suit each person.
We bought all four dresses from ASOS, as they had such a great range at the time of the right colours and sequins/beading. I’m a premier delivery customer so it was also super handy to be able to get the different sizes delivered straight to each of the bridesmaids, as they lived across the country.
I’m not overly confident at doing my own make up and I wanted to try and make the morning of the wedding as stress free as possible. So I opted to find someone who could travel to our apartment in Manchester in the morning to do my makeup and hair, as well as the hair for my bridesmaids as a treat.
Amba Logan was recommended to me by InnerCity weddings as they had worked with her before. After a trial at her adorable studio in Bakewell, I was really impressed with the natural look she did for me and how at ease she made me feel – I’m not normally a fan of people playing with my face!
She arrived bright and early on the day with an assistant and powered through the hair for all 5 of us, as well as my makeup and another two bridesmaids make up. It was a military operation! But she was fab and it did really help to make the morning much more relaxed.
We were super lucky to have had a fantastic florist company located in Sale available to create the arrangements for our day. Ally and Bec at Diddibox Flowers did such a magical job. Whilst we had an idea of the sort of look we were going for, but we are definitely not green fingered and don’t really know our Hydrangeas from our Peonies. So instantly they put us at ease, completely getting the look we wanted and translating that in to flowers which were in season and brought the right personality and feel to our arrangements.
They provided bouquets for me and my bridesmaids, corsages and button holes for members of the family and a beautiful really relaxed setting on our tables. But we have to admit that the outstanding element and our favourite piece, was the archway they created as the backdrop to our ceremony and lots of our photos. They provided all elements and even ended up throwing in an additional small arrangement at the bottom as they felt it completed the look. The first time I saw it set up and ready was as I was walking down the aisle and it’s not something I’ll forget quickly!
The Details & Décor
I spent many hours on Pinterest, and with the desperate attempt not to get too carried away, the décor used in the venue was a combination of different ideas I had seen and we both liked. We also tried to tie it all in with an Italian theme, as that is where we were going on our Honeymoon and because we were asking for money towards it as gifts, we liked the idea of having it all connected.
The really stand out and most important elements of the décor for us were…
- Bringing some colour in to the rooms, without taking away from the bright space and clean feel of the venue. That’s where we really liked the idea of using some pastel colour giant balloons in the ceremony room and pastel tassel garlands in the main room. We wanted these elements to create features that would bring a bit of fun in to the room and hopefully look good in photos!
- The prosecco station. It’s fair to say we are fans of prosecco and we’d opted to go for this as a celebratory drink rather than champagne. So we wanted to turn this in to a bit of an event and utilise the great bar space available at the back of the main room. Our balloon supplier did a fantastic ‘bubble’ installation on the wall and we used a mixture of buckets and decorations to bring the area to life as know this was likely to be an area that guests would spend a fair amount of time at!
- The tables were super important to us, as we felt they really set the tone of the day. Wanting to avoid the tradition of a top table, we split all guests out over three long sets of trestle tables. It meant that we both were able to sit in amongst our guests and that all other guests had the opportunity to speak to lots of those that were nearby. It worked as we’d hoped as there was such a great buzz going on throughout the whole of the dinner.
A large proportion of our decorations were either borrowed from friends/family or homemade. Whilst we wanted the right setting, we were really conscious of not spending too much money on things we would never need again – it felt really wasteful. The few elements that we did end up buying from new, were mostly purchased in IKEA and we actually managed to give away to friends who wanted them after the day.
After the venue and date, this was probably the next big decision for us. We LOVE food and we LOVE to eat. So we really wanted to make sure that we got food that we love on the day, and that our guests all left having been fully fed.
For the daytime, InnerCity Weddings put us in contact with Chris Hale who has his own catering company – Pop Up North. He created a completely bespoke menu for us based on one brief telephone conversation where we’d said we wanted something that tied in with our Italian theme and that also played to a more informal sharing style of eating. He was so flexible in adapting and tweaking small bits of the menu based on our feedback and we couldn’t wait to see it all brought to life! Looking back we were actually probably being quite risky in hiring a caterer having never tried their food before, but Chris didn’t let us down. Every course was fantastic and the big sharing platter style worked so well at getting guests stuck in and chatting. We honestly did not stop receiving compliments on the food for weeks after the day – we were so pleased!
Despite most actually being so full from the feast during the day, the evening food was also such a great hit. We hired Pig & Rhubarb to come and set up their stonebaked Pizza oven Land Rover in the courtyard of the venue. So from 9pm onwards, their team were outside making four variants of freshly baked pizza for the guests. There was a queue all night – you can never go wrong with pizza, but these ones were so yummy!! Luckily, my very clever husband had even thought ahead to reserve the last pizza of the night so that him and I could take it back to the hotel and make sure we were ready for our flight first thing.
Don’t get me wrong, we do love a bit of cake! However, we wanted to avoid many of the classic traditions and so decided not to have a formal cake and ‘cake cutting’.
Instead, our caterer supplied a magical flower pot dessert which had all of our guests very excited – words can’t do it justice, you need to see it believe it!
We had the pleasure of the fantastic Ellie Grace Photography capturing all key moments throughout the day. We were put in contact with Ellie through our planner at Inner City Weddings and felt she was a perfect match as her portfolio had the relaxed, in-the-moment shots we were looking for. Neither of us are fans of having our photo taken, so this one part of the wedding was actually something we were dreading. But Ellie instantly put us at ease and managed to capture photos in a way that brought the day to life, but didn’t feel forced. It was actually one of our favourite moments of the day in the end, where Ellie took us off to have a few photos on our own as it was the first chance we got to properly catch up and see each other.
To top it all off, Ellie had managed to process and edit all of our photos in time for us to arrive back to them in the post the day we’d returned from our three week honeymoon. A beautifully thought out package including over a thousand high quality images, a gorgeous cut down slide show to music and even some selected images in print to enjoy straight away. It was a really lovely way to end the honeymoon and re-live the day, before we went to back to the reality of everyday life!
Three weeks in Italy – travelling from Florence through Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast to end the trip in Rome. We ate so much pasta and pizza; drank copious amounts of prosecco and wine and Aperol Spritz’s; whilst visiting different tourist sights in 30 degree+ sunshine. If we go in to any more detail than this, we won’t stop. A trip of a lifetime and such a great way to stretch out the come down from the wedding – it was bliss!
So much of the time and thought, planning and budget went in to the party and details of the day; but without a doubt the most memorable moment for us both was the ceremony. Standing in front of each other and saying our vows. It’s probably not possible to prepare for how you’ll feel in that moment but it was an unbelievable experience. We both wrote a set of personal vows to each other, which whilst I was reluctant to at first I’m glad Dexter made us do. Getting the chance to share our feelings for each with people we care about was everything we wanted from that day and more.
Potentially in great contrast to the ceremony, one of the other stand out moments for us is when we opened the doors to Studio two in the venue, which we had converted in to a ‘kids room’. Between Dexter and I, we had a lot of young nieces and nephews attending the wedding and we wanted to make sure they had just as much fun as all of the adults. So we hired an inflatable Twister for this room, which was opened after the dinner and speeches. It was a huge hit – but not only amongst the kids! We had so many people having a go and messing around on it that it just brought a really fun and silly atmosphere to the day, which is exactly the sort of thing we wanted. Actually a relatively cheap purchase (£150 for day and overnight hire) it was definitely worth every penny! We got some great photos from it too.
Advice For Other Couples
Weddings are an incredible opportunity to spend time with those closest to you both and who you love dearly. And as important as that will be to the day, we would recommend to not lose sight of why the day is happening – no matter the pressure and demands from elsewhere.
During the whole process, remember that it should be a celebration of what is most important to you both as a couple above all else. On the day, take the time to connect and have at least one moment to enjoy and absorb it all in together.
It sounds simple but it can be so easy to get swept away in the planning, opinions of others and excitement – before you know it you’ll be looking back on your photos/videos and you’ll want to make sure you have no regrets.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ellie Grace Photography
Inner City Weddings
Pop Up North
Pig & Rhubarb
Wow, what a brilliant wedding party.
Hannah and Dexter, thank you both so very much for sharing with us your brilliant wedding celebrations xo Lou