Sometimes a love comes along that fills our inbox with so much joy and happiness that we can hardly contain it! Chloe and Joe have shared with us one of those weddings that makes you grin from ear to ear, and we just couldn’t wait to show you.
Last September this lovely couple tied the knot in a beautiful hidden venue in the heart of historic down-town Liverpool. What makes the day so special is how genuinely and purely it reflects the two of them, with personal touches colouring every part of the day. We absolutely love the strong focus on family, personality, and meaningful details, as well as their determination to use independent businesses and small suppliers as much as possible. Not only that; I’m certain that when you see the hand-embroidered welcome sign, the home-baked cake, and the self-arranged floristry, you’ll agree that there’s some absolutely fantastic talent in this family! A warming palette of greenery, autumnal burgundy hues, and sparkling gold fairy lights unfolds around the venue, and we adore the décor of simple potted herbs and ferns, alongside gin bottles of flowers. The couples’ story comes alive through the childhood mementos, details based on the their favourite board games, and family wedding photos, drawing us into this amazing celebration of being true to oneself, and to love.
We really hope you enjoy the stunning capture of the day by Lisa Howard and the bride’s lovely notes below, with lots more fun details, advice, and inspiration.
THE PROPOSAL | We’d drunkenly agreed (after a Uni night out when we’d only been going out a few months and Joe announced that he was going to marry me) that 2015 seemed like a good year to get engaged! It became a running joke throughout the time we were together that Joe was sticking to the plan and waiting until 2015, but then as we went through 2015 both of his brothers and our best friends got engaged so I really thought it was off the table, as he’d not want to steal their thunder. We went to Manchester Christmas markets on one of our first dates and have been to one every anniversary since, so for our 5th anniversary we booked a trip to Cologne to see the German Christmas markets properly. The night before we went (on our actual anniversary) we went out for a lovely meal at our favourite restaurant and went home after quite a lot of red wine to swap cards and get an early night before our trip. He got down on one knee while I was reading my anniversary card on the sofa and proposed with my Grandma’s engagement ring, which was perfect. There were a lot of tears and it felt so surreal that we didn’t even tell our parents for a full 24 hours!
THE VISION | We always knew that when we got married we wanted it to be in the autumn and that we wanted it to be as stress-free and fun as possible. I liked the idea of lots of greenery and warm colours but when I told Joe about this originally he wasn’t convinced – “hmmm…. I’d have to see it on a mood board”!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We didn’t really know where to start but luckily having both several friends and family members planning weddings simultaneously meant lots of room for discussion and bouncing ideas around which really helped! Even though it’s wedding planning blasphemy to say this, I didn’t really find Pinterest very helpful. We set up several boards when we were first planning but because so much of it is from styled shoots rather than real weddings I felt like it ended up being more of a hindrance than a help. I’d say finding out reception venue had the biggest impact on the planning process as it meant we knew what space we were working with and that the style we wanted for our day could work.
Our wedding coordinator at the venue, Holly, was absolutely lovely and full of great suggestions and ideas. They also have an Instagram account dedicated to their weddings (@bridechillas) which gave us loads of inspiration for how to use the space.
One thing we were keen to do was to use independent businesses and small suppliers as much as possible. Neither of us are particularly comfortable with the big ‘wedding machine’ thing (we went to a huge wedding fair early on in planning but it just wasn’t for us) and try to support small businesses in our area in normal life, so we didn’t see why a wedding should be any different.
BUDGET | Meant to be £10,000 but we ended up spending closer to £15,000.
THE VENUE | St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Liverpool & Oh Me Oh My, Liverpool
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was bias cut silk with a keyhole neckline, a beaded cape and an amazing train from Rolling in Roses at Glory Days Bridal in York. I wore it with flats because I’m useless in heels and a leafy headpiece from Lulu In the Sky on Etsy, which was custom made and absolutely perfect (they also made a matching crown for our flower girl). I had a metallic ‘Mrs’ clutch bag from Harriet Sanders which I embarrassed Joe by taking everywhere with me on honeymoon!
The best part of my dress though was my ‘something blue’. When my Mum got married in 1987 my Grandma sewed a blue ribbon into a bow on the lining of her dress, so for my ‘something blue’ my Mum removed it from her dress and stitched it into the lining of mine instead.
FINDING THE DRESS | I was DREADING dress shopping, which really surprised people as I’m quite a girly-girl and usually love shopping. I had a long, long list of what I didn’t want and was really worried that I’d never find something I liked, and I was also worried that I wouldn’t look nice in anything. I’d seen Glory Days in York on Instagram when we first got engaged, but as it was mostly a vintage dress shop and wasn’t nearby I thought it would be better to try “normal” bridal shops first. I was keeping them in the back of my mind for emergencies but my Mum convinced me that we should just make an appointment and have a weekend in York (good call Mum)! Hayley from Glory Days had just started her own brand when we went, and after all my premature moaning about how I wouldn’t find anything I ended up getting married in the first dress I tried on! My dress was the ‘Faith’ dress from the first Rolling in Roses collection, the Zena May collection. I tried on a few more dresses after that but my Mum and my Auntie (who had both come with me) agreed that Faith was the dress for me. The original neckline on Faith is quite plunging which wasn’t very me, so Hayley suggested the boat neckline that I’d liked on another of her dresses. We added a keyhole for extra interest at the front and the dress was better than I ever could have imagined.
Hayley made me feel completely at ease and the shop is to die for – it’s tucked away at the top of an old building and there’s a whole room of vintage dresses to coo over while drinking tea and listening to vinyl records. She designs all the dresses herself and they’re handmade and fitted in York so there’s no worry about your dress not arriving in time or not fitting. I honestly can’t sing her praises enough and would wear that dress every day for the rest of my life if I could!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The one thing Joe knew was that he didn’t want to do the top hat and tails thing, but did want something special so that it didn’t feel like a normal suit he could wear for work. We started looking at different materials or colours and agreed that a burgundy suit would fit the style of the day well and be suitably flamboyant for him! After a disastrous foray into burgundy velvet (he looked like a gameshow host) we eventually found him a 3 piece wool suit on ASOS – and it was in the sale! When it arrived it fitted perfectly and it was such a bargain that we used the money saved on it to buy him some slightly over the top Ted Baker brogues.
He also knew he wanted to wear a bow tie so we used another independent company called Mrs Bow Tie, who were really helpful. All the bow ties are made in England and you can get all sorts of items in the same print/material. He went for a burgundy, grey and blush paisley print bow tie and we bought bow ties and ties in a burgundy cotton to match Joe’s suit for all the groomsmen and the Dads.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | As we had a Catholic church wedding we had religious music and readings. I walked down the aisle to ‘The Trumpet Voluntary’, which my Mum had walked down the aisle to, but I can’t remember which one! We had ‘Tell Out My Soul’ and ‘Thine Be The Glory’ as our hymns – ‘Thine Be The Glory’ is usually an Easter hymn but as I only go to church on Easter Sunday with Joe’s family (Joe is Catholic but I am not) it’s one of the only hymns I know well! I love that it’s upbeat and I’ve always enjoyed singing it so we had to have it.
Choosing the readings was a little more difficult as I automatically vetoed any that involved obedience, much to our Priest’s entertainment, but we settled on two we both liked the meaning of and Father Gerald linked them with a lovely homily about love being the light that shines in people.
Joe’s brother Richard did our first reading, Tobit 8:4-8, which mentions growing into old age together. One of my best friends and bridesmaids, Becky, gave the second reading, from the Letter of St Paul to the Colossians 3:12-17. We loved that it tells you to ‘forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins’.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Ahhh my beautiful girls!! My 4 bridesmaids are all so different but truly are 4 of the best women I have the pleasure of knowing. Kelly & Sarah are Uni friends, Becky L gets the pleasure/horror of me living in her pocket near constantly and Becky H (my wonderful maid of honour) is more like a sister as we grew up next door to each other. During the time we were planning the wedding Becky L was also planning her wedding and all the girls had house moves, engagements, new jobs and their own lives to deal with, not to mention mostly being 2hrs+ away from me but they were all fantastic and I couldn’t have gotten married without them being involved.
Joe and I had settled on a nude/blush/gold colour scheme for the bridesmaids but I wanted them all to be comfortable and feel beautiful so they all had different dresses. We had a couple of weekends where they all came to mine and we drank fizz and tried on dresses which was so much fun and, despite a couple of near-misses with dress disasters, it all came together on the day and they looked incredible.
THE FLOWERS | We were very lucky in that Joe’s Nana, Mary, and his Mum, Sue, regularly do the flowers for weddings and special occasions at their local Church and kindly offered to do ours as a wedding present. Mary & Sue arrived on the Friday with a car full of flowers and are responsible for the huge, beautiful arrangements on the altar in Church which several people commented on. They also made three arrangements for the top table and bought enough flowers to fill the 50 tin cans we had spray-painted gold for the centre pieces – the overall effect was exactly what we wanted so although Friday was hectic to say the least it more than paid off! My lovely sister in law glued ribbons to all the tin cans and it finished them off perfectly.
We used a florist for the bouquets and buttonholes and she did a wonderful job – especially with my bouquet. I wanted loads of greenery and quite a big, relaxed looking bouquet and it was perfect.
THE CAKE | Again, we’re so lucky to know some very talented people as my lovely auntie, Liz, made our cake! She’s a fantastic baker and I knew she’d make it look and taste amazing. We had a classic fruit cake on the bottom tier, vanilla sponge with raspberry jam in the middle and a lemon cake for the top – all the sponge cake flew out so although I didn’t get to eat any I know it was delicious! It was all covered in handmade icing flowers and topped with a sparkly topper with our names on. Liz stirred every tier with my Grandma’s old wooden spoon so that she was a part of the day.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We only met with one photographer as once we’d seen Lisa’s work we knew she was the one for us. The photography was actually one of the things we went over budget on but it was 100% worth it. Lisa made us feel really relaxed and made sure we had wonderful memories of our day. It was hammering it down with rain for most of the day so a few of the shots we’d wanted to do didn’t quite work out – I was not prepared to traipse through the park in pink suede shoes haha – but Lisa was calm and professional throughout and we adore our photos.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We had a mix of homemade and hired items and were very lucky in that our lovely wedding co-ordinator at Oh Me Oh My did all the venue dressing for us! Along with the tin cans that were filled with flowers we had potted herbs and ferns, gin bottles of flowers and a selection of cute (and embarrassing!) childhood photos dotted around the room and on tables. We hired a ladder from a company called Sweetpea & Ivy for our seating plan, along with some fruit crates, fairy lights and garlands. We’d had a working plan in mind of leafy greenery and gold as the main scheme for the décor but had been pretty relaxed about sticking to a theme. We’d been joking in the weeks leading up to the wedding that everything would either come together and work really well or it would be an absolute mess – no in between! Luckily I think we just about pulled it off.
We’re both quite into quizzes and board games so we made Trivial Pursuit style cards for our guests that had questions on about us, our relationship and a few favourite topics which seemed to keep people entertained between courses!
I think my favourite details of the day were the welcome sign that I’d embroidered and our family wedding photos displayed in a glass cabinet underneath the cake.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Crete for a fortnight which was amazing. We love Greek food and just wanted to spend time relaxing together after a manic year, so we booked a quiet hotel just outside of Chania and spent two weeks reading books, eating mezze and drinking beer! Neither of us have had more than a week off work in one go in years so to be off for three weeks in total over the wedding and honeymoon made it feel like a really special break.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I forgot one of my lines during the vows which caused a bit of a giggle! All the speeches were brilliant, the Best Man in particular did a great job – it was the perfect balance of funny and sweet. My favourite moment has got to be our first dance though – I’d been pestering Joe that we needed to practice it before the day but every time we tried it was just beyond awkward and we gave up, figuring we would just wing it on the day. We started off slow dancing but as it’s a fun, upbeat song (Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen) we were both just really enjoying ourselves and got quite carried away! There was a lot of flouncing about and an amazing lift where we nearly took out a few guests, but it was so much fun and I’d love to do it again.
The last song of the night was also Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody) and, after quite a lot of drinks, Joe and his mum ended up doing the most theatrical dance I’ve ever seen – it was hysterical. We were all in a circle around them laughing and then halfway through she ducked out and I joined in, so it looked like a sort of handover of her son! It was the most weird and wonderful way to end our night!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Overall our main ethos for planning was that we didn’t want to get stressed – I just didn’t see why something as joyful as a wedding should cause misery. This meant we tried not to give ourselves too many options so that we wouldn’t get weighed down in choice. I would definitely recommend couples try this although fully appreciate it’s easier said than done! My main advice would be to limit the amount you look at Pinterest and magazines as it’s not always clear what’s from real weddings and what’s from styled shoots. It’s so easy to have this ‘Pinterest-perfect’ wedding idea in your head but in reality nobody’s wedding is that immaculately perfect – the only thing that matters is that it’s a representation of you as a couple and what you want from the day.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Lisa Howard
Venue | Oh Me Oh My
Festoon Lights | Bear Hug Events
Ladder/crates/gold frames | Sweetpea & Ivy
Cars | Keyhole Motors
Invitations & stationery | Tigerlily Wedding Stationery
Florist (bouquets & buttonholes) | Dovedale Flowers
Church & venue flowers | Family
Hair & Make-up | The Powder Room
Bride’s Bag | Harriet Sanders
Bride’s Shoes | French Sole
Groom’s Suit | ASOS
Groom’s Shoes | Ted Baker
Bowties & ties | Mrs Bow Tie
Pocket squares | ASOS
Bridesmaid dresses | ASOS & John Lewis
Flower girl dress | Monsoon
Cake | Family
Cake topper | Sophia Victoria Joy
Favours (seed packets) | Paper Bea (now called Ovo Bloom)
Head dresses (bride & flower girl) | Lulu in the Sky
Guestbook | Love Give Ink (now called Martha Brook)
Engraved plant pot | Letterfest
Thank you so much to Chloe and Joe and their photographer, for sharing such fun, gorgeous wedding inspiration with all of us! Val Xx