Today’s WWW readers, Matt and Jenna, wed on the 1st September 2017. They wanted a relatively small wedding day with around 50 guests and they created the perfect warm, fun and intimate atmosphere at The Cock O’ Barton in Cheshire. The venue is a restaurant and this kind of setting really makes for such a relaxed feel to proceedings.
Our pair had a long time to plan their special day and had the slight distraction of starting a family in between but luckily Jenna was ever so organised and planned and bought lots of things well in advance. There are lots of gorgeous touches to take in here, including the miles and miles of bunting, which one of Jenna’s bridesmaids created for her in keeping with the colour scheme of the day.
Doesn’t Jenna just look fabulous in her Maggie Sottero gown? I just love the low V at the back and the back necklace that she chose to show it off. I also can’t get enough of the bridesmaids’ two piece look dresses from Coast. What a super idea to have the maid of honour wearing a different colour.
Thank you so much Shane and Claire of Whelan Photography for providing the fantastic images of today’s wedding.
THE PROPOSAL | After a long 3 years of studying for my nursing degree, Matt and I decided to take a trip to Iceland. We’d had a lovely evening out in Reykjavik and walked back to our apartment to enjoy a bottle of wine on our balcony. Matt knew that I hated the thought of a public proposal and so he put on my favourite album by the National and surprised me by getting down on one knee and proposing to me in the privacy of our apartment. It was during the summer solstice so it never actually got dark, Matt proposed while the sun was just hitting the horizon, I don’t know if he planned it that way but it certainly felt very romantic.
THE VISION | We aren’t the type of people for very formal affairs and I’d seen a few weddings on blogs that my sister had shown me where the bride and grooms personalities had really shone through and everything seemed to have that personal touch rather than feeling part of some wedding factory in a big hotel. All we really wanted was for all our friends and family to be there to celebrate our day, to have plenty of fun, plenty of laughs and enjoy some really good food!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | A few months after we got engaged we went to view our venue, we set the date for 2 years later to give us time to save up and decided to start a family in the meantime as we didn’t want to wait another 2 years…so along came Mabel a year later. I decided to plan and book all the big things for the wedding while I was pregnant, not only because I knew I wouldn’t have much time afterwards but also because I’d know how much everything would cost so that we could save enough money.
BUDGET | We had a rough idea of how much we wanted to spend and wanted to make sure we kept costs down as much as possible and we did manage to keep within our budget for all the big things such as the venue, food, outfits etc. however I did end up spending a lot more money due to the fact that I was just picking bits and bobs up as we went along. I also left the decorations until after Mabel was born and I think in hindsight we could have saved a lot of money by making things ourselves before Mabel was born but with a baby in tow it was much easier to buy everything and saved a lot of time and stress. We also decided to treat ourselves to wedding rings that were a bit more money that we originally planned but our thinking was that you wear your wedding ring for the rest of your life unlike anything else at the wedding, so why shouldn’t that be the one thing you splash out on!?
THE VENUE | We knew we wanted to have our wedding at the Cock O’Barton from the start. I’d been to a party there a while beforehand and absolutely loved the rustic, country feel to it. The wedding planners, Sian and Alethea at the Cock O’Barton were also fantastic, and so laid back about everything, they had so many great ideas but also let us decorate the venue any way we wanted to which was lovely.
The Cock O’Barton is a beautiful bar and restaurant in a gorgeous countryside setting with amazing views over Cheshire. We only wanted a small wedding of around 50 people in the daytime and this was the perfect size venue to cater for this size party. The ceremony was held in their beautiful rustic private dining room complete with hanging antlers and a beautiful wooden beam. The had a lovely small courtyard just outside the dining room where we would have our reception drinks and a marquee was set up just behind that. I loved the idea of a marquee, as they are basically blank canvases that you can decorate in any way you like. The venue also built brand new bedrooms which were completed around a year before our wedding which was perfect as we had friends and family travelling from all over the country and the world, so there was not only somewhere for them all to stay but there was also a gorgeous bridal suite for me to stay in the night before and get ready in the morning of the wedding.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was a Maggie Sottero dress called Dierdre in Ivory over gold, which gave a really vintage feel to it. The dress had a lace top with a skirt made of Santorini chiffon which was honestly the softest thing I’ve ever felt with the exception of my baby’s bottom! It had long lace sleeves and a deep V back, which I loved. I’m much more suited to high neck tops and the bateau neckline on the Dierdre dress suited my shape perfectly. I also loved the way the dress made me look like I had hips as I have such a straight and small frame that I’ve always felt self conscious about.
To complement the deep V in the back of the dress I chose a back necklace from a little boutique shop called Gill Clement in my home village of Mumbles in South Wales. I’d worn jewellery from Gill Clement since my childhood and it meant a lot to me to have my bridal jewellery from there on my wedding day, especially seeing as our wedding was in Cheshire, it was like having a little part of South Wales in our wedding. The necklace fell down my back and was made of real pearls and Swarovski crystals.
My earings were a beautiful pair of pearl drop earrings that Matt bought me for my birthday a few years back.
My shoes were bought in John Lewis from the rainbow range, I loved my shoes as they had a real vintage feel to them and therefore matched my dress perfectly, and I also loved how the rainbow bridal shoes have a little blue diamanté underneath them for that something blue.
I chose not to have a veil as I loved the back of my dress so much that I didn’t want it covered up, instead I opted to have a flower crown made. This was quite simple and comprised of all the tiny flowers from my bouquet. I absolutely loved it and gave me the vintage boho look I was after with my hair. My bridesmaids hair and mine was done by the very talented Siobhan Jones and all our makeup was done by Nicky Cox of Paint me beautiful. I asked Siobhan to do a nice loose boho updo for my hair that would suit a flower crown and I asked Nicky to keep the make up natural so that I looked like myself, they both did a fab job.
FINDING THE DRESS | At first I was adamant that I didn’t want a ‘bridal’ gown and I wanted to have something different and something that didn’t cost a fortune so I bought the first dress I saw when I was out shopping with my mum. It was a 2 piece, blush pink top and skirt from coast with a sequin top and a big floaty skirt. It was such a pretty dress and I still love it now but I couldn’t stop worrying about it not being right. I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t like it, I just knew it wasn’t the dress for me.
Once Mabel was born and things settled down, I dragged my bridesmaids out with me on a hunt for a new dress, I found Deirdre in a bridal shop in Chester, however when I took my mum to see the dress, the sales assistants were so rude and unaccommodating that I left with doubts that I didn’t want to spend so much money on a dress in a shop I didn’t trust.
I decided to see if there were any other shops nearby that sold Maggie Sottero dresses and came across a little shop called Elegance bridal in Bebbington on the Wirral. I contacted them and a lady called Jan phoned me back and was absolutely lovely. The didn’t stock the exact dress that I wanted at the time but they made every effort to get a sample dress in my size to try on and were a world away from the customer service I’d received at the other shop. I decided to order my dress with Elegance and they were amazing, they gave me a bottle of bubbly as a thank you for ordering with them, they had me in for as many fittings as I needed and made every effort to get the dress right for me.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Matt is pretty tall at 6ft 5 and has been an usher at a few weddings before ours. Matt always felt that hired suits he’d had previously as an usher had never fit him very well and he didn’t want this to be the case on our wedding day. Matt therefore decided to have a tailored suite made from Reiss as he’d liked the suits they had in there and thought it would be nice to have a suit that had been made just for him and that he could keep for any future events. Matt chose a 3-piece light grey suit that fitted him perfectly and he looked very handsome in indeed.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Neither of us have ever really been big fans of readings so we chose not to have any, Music on the other hand was very important to us. To walk down the Aisle I really wanted something happy so I chose the song from the film Juno called “All I Want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar, and for our exit as Mr and Mrs Shires we chose the song by Arcade Fire “Everything Now”, not because it had romantic lyrics or anything but we just both really liked the song.
During our reception drinks we hired a singer called James Ball aka The Beard Band. It was perfect, as he played straight after the ceremony and really added to the happy, chilled atmosphere of the afternoon.
In the evening we hired a DJ, who was fantastic and everyone had such a good night dancing. For our first dance we wanted a song that we had both really enjoyed together so we chose a song by one of our favourite bands Alabama Shakes, the song was called “I found you”. I don’t really like much attention on me so I absolutely dreaded the first dance to the point where we almost didn’t do one, but I’m so glad we did as it was actually one of my favourite parts of the day and one of the only times that I had Matt to myself for five minutes.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My beautiful bridesmaids were my sister, who wore pink as she was the maid of honour, and three of my best friends, Ceri, Faye and Aisling who travelled all the way over from South Africa to be at our wedding. Their dresses were all from Oasis and they chose their own shoes as I wanted them all to be comfortable. In addition to my four bridesmaids, my 12 month old daughter, Mabel was our flower girl. Mabel wore a simple lacy white dress from monsoon with white shoes from next and my sister carried her down the aisle.
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were one of my favourite parts! I really wanted a nice big messy kind of bouquet with lots of greenery. I took the bridesmaid dresses into the florist for them to match flowers to them and I asked to have dried lavender and wheat in there to give a rustic feel. The lavender smelt amazing! My bouquet was just beautiful and I didn’t want to put it down. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet and the florist put little bunches of flowers in jam jars on the table, scattered flowers around our naked wedding cake and tied flowers to the isle ends in the ceremony room. It all looked so beautiful.
THE CAKE | Our cake was out of this world!! We had a naked wedding cake and each layer was a different flavour. The bottom layer was a classic victoria sponge as I knew everyone would like that, the middle layer was my favourite, lemon and elderflower, and the top layer was chocolate orange fudge cake…which must have been delicious because all the guests gobbled that up before Matt and I had a chance to taste it. But I’m glad everyone enjoyed it! Abbie who made our cake scattered fresh fruit around the cake and the florist placed fresh flowers around it too, we also had a personalised Mr & Mrs Shires cake topper.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographers were Shane and Claire from Whelan photography. They were fantastic and we couldn’t have asked more from them. When we first met them we said that we hated posing and we wanted natural pictures and that’s exactly what we got. We had a few posed shots and some formal shots with our family and the rest of the photos were natural pictures that truly showed how our wedding really was; they show emotion, laughter and love. The pictures are natural and some really beautiful moments have been captured as well as all the detail and hard work that went into creating our day.
Not only were the pictures amazing but Shane and Claire themselves were lovely too, so many of our guests commented on how friendly they were and how you barely noticed they were there most of the time.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | All our decorations were in keeping with the colour theme of grey lavender and blush pink. One of my bridesmaids, Faye made us the most beautiful bunting, and she made so much of it that it covered the whole marquee and courtyard and there was even some left for hanging in the ceremony room which looked beautiful. It was so nice having handmade bunting as it was so personal to our wedding, matched our colours perfectly and the best thing is we have kept it all afterwards to hang up in our home as a reminder of the day in years to come.
We had a lovely welcome sign made which we placed on an easel at the entrance to the venue. On the tables in the marquee we had pillar candles, wooden table confetti with the words ‘best day ever’ on them and the florist made little jam jars filled with flowers. We had personalised sweet bags filled with bonbons for favours, and we tied little brown luggage tags to napkins for place names. Around our cake we had all our parents and grandparents wedding photos in frames, this was one of my favourite little touches to the wedding as I love seeing all the different fashions and dresses that the brides wore through the years, it was also a nice talking point for all the guests.
In the evening we had sparklers with personalised tags on them, which I think everyone enjoyed using, and we set up a little polaroid station for people to take little snaps and hang them up on a picture frame for everyone to see. We decided to do this instead of having a guestbook to sign. For our cards, I managed to find a really pretty box in Homesense and I bought some artificial flowers to place around it with ‘cards’ bunting that I bought off Etsy.
THE HONEYMOON | The day after the wedding my sister and her boyfriend stayed overnight to look after Mabel while Matt and I had a night away at the Abode hotel in Manchester. It was lovely to be able to spend a little bit of time alone after the wedding and talk about how much we enjoyed the day, to share stories and look at pictures people had posted. We had a gorgeous meal at a tapas restaurant in the northern quarter and enjoyed some delicious cocktails afterwards. The week after, we then took Mabel with us for a week in a lodge in Sherwood forrest, we had lovely walks out in the day and enjoyed some of the champagne we had as gifts at the wedding in the hot tub in the evening. We had a lovely relaxing time, which was well needed after such a busy few weeks building up to the wedding.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I think if I had to choose one memorable moment, then my favourite part of the day was straight after the ceremony during the reception drinks. The sun was shining, we had lovely strawberry daiquiris served to the ladies and beers served to the men, the courtyard looked so pretty with all the bunting hanging up and all the beautiful potted flowers in full bloom; James was singing with his guitar and everyone was just so happy! I also felt really happy myself, not only had I just married my best friend but I also felt a huge weight off my shoulders that everything had gone to plan and all that hard work was worth every second. Everything just felt perfect.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | For anyone planning a wedding with young children like ourselves (Mabel was 12 months old at our wedding), I would highly recommend hiring a babysitter for the evening reception. A nursery nurse from Mabel’s nursery came to the wedding once we had put Mabel to bed at 7pm and stayed with her in her room until midnight. This meant that we could really relax in the evening, Mabel could keep her usual bedtime routine and that none of our family or friends would have to be taken away from the wedding to go and look after her.
My other piece of advice would be to choose your photographers wisely and don’t forget that its not just about what pictures you get. So many people commented to us how lovely and friendly our photographers were and how unobtrusive they were. You also want to feel comfortable around them, we felt like our photographers were more like friends at the end of our wedding…all that and they took amazing snaps!!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers | Whelan Photography
Venue | The Cock O’Barton, Cheshire
Florist | Vivid Floral Design, Wrexham
Accoustic guitarist | The Beard Band, James Ball
DJ | Paul Griffiths
Jewellery | Back necklace, Gill Clement
Rings | Kayes Jewellers, Chester
Confetti & Placecards | The Vow, Sheffield
Cake | Polkadot Bakery, Chester
Welcome sign | The Little Blue Brush
Wooden table confetti | Woodineering
Bunting | Made by my beautiful bridesmaid Faye and her mother in law.
Favour Goody Bags | Wedding in a Teacup
Hair | Siobhan Weston
Make up | Paint Me Beautiful
Thank you so much Matt and Jenna for sharing your brilliant wedding with us. Rachel x