By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
WWW readers Karly and Matt have totally and utterly blown me away with their floral filled, industrial style, feather themed wedding extravaganza. Our pair tied the knot on the 7th April 2018 at Holmes Mill in Lancashire, the warehouse style space looked absolutely beautiful thanks to their creative touch and epic vision.
I have to say, I think hands down these are some of the most stunning wedding flower arrangements I’ve ever clapped eyes on. They really went all out with their florals and the venue was dressed immaculately. Karly’s bouquet featured coral charm peonies and roses amongst greenery galore. The same flowers were used in the spectacular copper frame backdrop, the hanging hoop arrangements and rustic centrepieces. The room must have smelt amazing.
I really love the meaningful touch of feathers in their wedding day details. They featured in the stylish stationery, table plan fabric and were scattered on their absent friends table. Just perfect!
These two looked so gorgeous in their chosen attire, and beside them their dearest circle of family and friends joined them to celebrate the very beginning of their marriage. Their whole day was captured in the most authentic way by the immensely talented Emilie May Photography. Thank you so much Emilie for sharing these wonderful images with us.
We have been together for coming up to 17 years this August, so people had been expecting Matt to propose for quite some time! He finally took the courage to pop the question whilst on a mini-break to Edinburgh after New Year’s 2017. We were staying in a secluded Pigeon Tower (Dovecot), it was absolutely gorgeous with log fire burning, under floor heating, cosy stone walls. Unbeknownst to me, whilst I was drying my hair and choosing the right outfit to visit Edinburgh’s ‘The Dome’ restaurant, Matt was pacing the room plucking up courage to ask the big question. I had asked Matt if he was ready for me to book an Uber to take us to the restaurant. He said he was ready. Uber informed me that the driver would be arriving in 2 minutes, which really amped up the pressure for Matt to make his move. Being the security freak that I am, I was switching off the lights and making sure everywhere was locked up, leaving Matt to fumble about in the dark to dig the ring out of his pocket! He finally felt his way around the walls to turn the lights back on, and when I turned round, he was down on one knee with the ring in his hand. I was completely gobsmacked and asked repeatedly ‘really!? Is this serious!?’ whilst sobbing. Of course, my only answer was always going to be yes, and we were both in tears after a lifetime of waiting to be engaged. All the while, Hussein (Uber Driver) rang and rang and rang to find out where we were! We had a fabulous evening in The Dome, which just finished the evening perfectly, whilst making very excited phone calls to inform our parents. It was just perfect!
With Matt being a wedding photographer himself (Embee Photography), we have seen a LOT of weddings over the past 10 years which has given us feelers for what we liked and disliked. The pressure was on for us to have it exactly how we wanted it, without reusing anything we had seen done before. We like to be a little bit different with our ideas and in our home. Matt is also a graphic designer/web designer, and is super creative, so we wanted his input to create things in his style as much as possible. We knew we wanted the venue to be unlike anything we have seen before, and we knew that we wanted to be hands on as much as we possibly could.
I found it very difficult to have a ‘vision’ initially and was getting really stressed, but one day it smacked me plain in the face: feathers. As a family, whenever we find a white feather, we take it as comfort that maybe a passed relative is keeping out a watchful eye over us. My Dad had been collecting the feathers for me that he found whilst out and about at work. I wanted to scatter the found feathers on my absent friends table, but then it kind of progressed from there, I wanted feathers to feature throughout the wedding, without being too in-your-face. I now had something to work with and it set my mind spinning. I knew I didn’t want to use Pinterest as inspiration and wanted the ideas to come from Matt and I as much as possible, so I started to jot down whenever I saw something that tickled my fancy. Matt started to design the Save the Dates with a simple feather logo to represent the wedding, and after lots of designing and drawing, came up with a beautiful feather themed invite which I was incredibly happy with.
We had to get planning pretty much straight away as Matt had to know when his diary would be closed to his potential clients, so as soon as we came back from Edinburgh in early January ’17 we got round to visiting venues. We only visited two, and instantly knew which one was for us. Our first priorities were booking the photographer and videographer, these were really important to us. Matt had a really good idea of who were amongst the best in the industry so we started to research websites and meet up with people that we liked. We had 16 months from start to finish to get everything planned for.
We didn’t have a particular budget in mind but I had a spreadsheet for everything and tracked very carefully what we were saving. I updated it religiously to make sure we wouldn’t overspend. With some help from my parents we were able to book everything we wished for, with a couple of extras that we didn’t think we would be able to afford. By the time we got married everything was paid for in full which was a wonderful feeling.
Matt has shot weddings at many venues all over the North West and definitely has some of his personal favourites, however, we wanted something a little different from the norm. We had heard about Holmes Mill in Clitheroe from Matt’s boss. Matt freelances for Wily Fox Brewery and designs all of their pump clips, website, etc, and is also a HUGE fan of craft ale. It was important that we had the perfect venue, but it was also important they sold the best ale! When Phil (his boss) told him about Holmes Mill we had it as top priority to visit.
The moment we walked through the blue wooden double doors, we knew this was the place. We instantly asked if our date was available, and we were thrilled to learn that it was. We loved the industrial look of Holmes Mill, and the fact we could use the Engine Room downstairs for drinks after the ceremony. Everything about it really appealed to us and we couldn’t wait to get started on the planning. They offered different catering packages so it was easy to choose which one would be right for us and our guests. I also loved the different décor choices they had to make it your own, from the wooden cinema chairs, to old school chairs, chiavari chairs and clear perspex chairs. Each created a completely different feel to the room.
The events co-ordinators were just outstanding. From start to finish they were on hand to listen and advise. What we loved most was that they were more than happy for us to get creative with their space and were happy for us to try out new things. We developed such a lovely relationship over the wedding planning process and they ended up feeling more like friends by the end. They also arranged for us to have Wily Fox Ales in our beer barrows and on cask which was perfect for us! What I think sets Holmes Mill apart from anywhere else, is that we can visit whenever we like and go back and relive it all, you don’t tend to get that with most other venues. It will always be a special place to us.
We are huge music lovers and have many songs that mean a lot to us. Not necessarily because of the words, but because they take us back to a certain time or place. Whilst the guests were entering the ceremony we had music from Jamie T, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kodaline and The Super Furry Animals. I walked down the aisle to one of my favourite songs, Elbow – One Day Like This, it gives me the chills every time! As soon as the ceremony was over and we moved on to signing the register, we had a song from the soundtrack from Disney’s ‘Up’ Movie, a song called ‘Married Life’, as the introduction to that movie just reminds me of Matt and I as we have grown up and continue to grow up together. We walked out of the ceremony to The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it be Nice, another song we have grown up with and the words just seemed so appropriate.
After the ceremony, we had singer Alex Birtwell tearing up the Engine Room. He sang a mixture of rap, pop to old school classics. Everyone was raving about him and how good he was! He even recorded his set and sent it to me afterwards which was really nice to look back on. In the evening, we had DJ Mike Coombes from DFC Lancashire. He was truly fantastic, so personal and going the extra mile to make sure the music was to our taste and the evening ran smoothly. Our first dance was really important to get just right. Matt isn’t one for mainstream music and we didn’t want to do something that is usually perceived as a ‘first dance song’. It wasn’t really too difficult to choose, we went for the theme tune to one of our most favourite sitcoms (Him and Her), with a song called ‘ Boom Bang a Bang’ by Lulu.
In the evening we had indie band ‘The Watch’ play for us. We liaised with them up until the wedding and bounced back ideas to and fro about songs etc to create the perfect party. They were absolutely amazing and kept an energetic dance floor going all night, it didn’t seem to stop!
Our best friends Sara and Mat very kindly obliged to do our reading, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ by Edward Monkton. Their young daughters (our Goddaughters) made us some decoupage dinosaurs which they held through the reading, which was such a truly thoughtful touch.
I had my three gorgeous cousins as my bridesmaids. My stunning Chief Bridesmaid, Meg, and my two other beautiful cousins, Alex and Beth. As an only child, I have grown up with these girls as my ‘sisters’ so it meant the world to me they were stood by my side. They wore gorgeous halter neck dresses by Chi Chi London and perfectly matched low heel shoes from Zara. I also managed to find the cutest matching clutch bags, also from Zara which finished their look perfectly. The dresses had an intricate strap detailing at the back which they all carried off beautifully, and long pleated skirt. I brought the feather theme into their look by having them wear delicate silver feather earrings (WiseLittleBee – Etsy) and a feather wish band (Katy Day Designs – Etsy).
Matt can be quite fussy when it comes to clothes and only likes what he likes. He knew firmly what he didn’t want, but was quite happy for me to show him various pictures of suits until he finally said that he liked one that I showed him. I had my eye on Marc Darcy for some time, and the Callum suit just looked slick, simple and smart. The website was so easy to use. It took a few times of ordering different sizes to suit all of the grooms party, but nothing was ever too much trouble for them and they were always speedy when responding to emails etc. Mum and I also had a trip down to their shop in Manchester to seek out a particular size of the Callum trouser. The lady was so helpful, she went out of her way to source the pants, and made sure we went away as happy customers.
The men wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues and we sourced handmade Liberty ties and pocket squares from Etsy seller Liberty59, who are based in France. Matt wanted his tie and pocket square to be a little different, so he opted for a mustard handmade tie and a complimentary pocket square from Etsy seller BeauTieUK. He donned a pair of smart Ted Baker Brogues to compliment his suit. They also wore a small feather lapel brooch, which subtly brought the feather theme into their outfits.
This was the hardest part of planning for us, due to Matt being a wedding photographer himself! We both appreciate different styles of photography for different reasons, so finding a comprise of both styles we liked was hard at first. We checked out people we were already aware of, and nothing was clicking for us both at the same time, Matt either loved it and I wasn’t sure, or vice versa.
One day, I was stalking the videographer we had booked (Michael Langley of Satin Pictures), and was reading his blog when I came across a wedding he had shot with Emilie May Photography. I couldn’t stop scrolling. Both Emilie’s photo’s and Michael’s video had me captivated. I shouted Matt to come immediately as I was certain I had found the perfect person for us. Matt took at a look her website and was really keen to meet with her. We met over a coffee in Starbucks. I felt like Matt really grilled her about lenses, lighting, composition (it was probably just photographer chat), but I really loved the responses she gave. I instantly felt comfortable with her, not only was she a great photographer, she was a really cool person, too. We didn’t need to discuss it further after the meeting, we booked immediately and never looked back. Emilie did the most amazing job of capturing every detail, I hadn’t noticed her around at all on the day, it was just like having one of our mates around with us. We are truly thrilled with all of the photos, she has given us so many cherished memories.
I wanted the wedding to be injected with our personalities. We are both creative people and both like being hands on, so wherever we could have an input into creating and crafting, we did! Linking to the feather theme, Matt designed all of the invites using the colour scheme we had in mind for the flowers. He digitially drew each and every feather, and carefully selected the correct typography to get the right feel to the invites.
Mum and I hand painted white feathers in an Aztec style to sit pretty on the tables. We used bright colours, again to link with the flower colours. It took us the whole year. We kept going back to it to do a little more, it was truly backbreaking, but so worth it, they popped on the tables so much and just fitted perfectly.
A lovely lady I knew made the most gorgeous dreamcatchers (Lune Handmade – Etsy). She made me four natural dreamcatchers to drape from the top table with beautiful feathers attached. I later kept one for myself and re-boxed the other three for the bridesmaids so we all had a keepsake from the day. I am the kind of person that gets hooked up on how the little things would look, like the table numbers and name place cards.
I adore stationery and organising, and I wanted to incorporate my Dymo Label Maker somewhere into the décor. I hand punched the 60 name place cards and stuck them to recycled paper (Wedding of my Dreams) and sat them in a small tree log from eBay. I also used the Dymo to punch names for the table plan. I wanted to continue with the hoop theme we were using for the flowers, so we sourced embroidery hoops and some beautiful feather material. I stuck the Dymo labels onto each hoop and attached them into a wire and wood frame that my Dad built for us. I matched the table plan with the table numbers, using the same embroidery hoops and feather material. Our good friend Adam from Custom It UK embroidered the numbers on to the hoops in the same colour as the bridesmaid dresses, they were just what I envisaged. In the end, I think I went through four Dymo label makers and had very sore hands!
The absent friends table was very important to us, we bought various photo frames of different sizes and materials to display the photos of our loved ones and scattered the white feathers that the family had collected all around them. My Dad also built us a huge wire and wood frame that we used to display photos from our 17 years together. We hung them using tiny wooden pegs and entwined some fairy lights around it to finish it off.
For the guest book, I bought a large Kraft scrapbook and mounted a piece of the feather material we used in the hoops. I then used the Dymo label to emboss our names on. We used small ink pads and fine tipped pens for guests to create a fingerprint version of themselves, and also included a Polaroid camera and some washi tape for the guests to be creative. We used a felt noticeboard with peg letters to display our Instagram hashtag, this proved really successful, too!
For our female favours, Matt set some small feathers into a soap mould with some clear resin. They set into a clear block after weekend upon weekend of wearing a face mask so we didn’t breathe in the fumes! My cousin Alex (bridesmaid) is an incredibly talented baker. She baked the nicest vanilla feather biscuits and ‘feathered’ them in the same colours as the bridemaid’s dresses, with hints of brass. They were phenomenal!
I don’t know where to start with our flowers. Wow! I really feel this was a huge and absolute favourite part of our day. We used local florist Sarah Crookston of The Rose Boutique Wigan. Sarah is a really good friend of ours and we wouldn’t have chosen anybody else to work her fabulous floristry skills on our big day. I went to her with all of my ideas, my brief was ‘structured yet messy’. I knew I wanted hoops to feature quite heavily. I envisaged hoops from the ceiling and wanted my bridesmaids to carry hoops as opposed to a traditional bouquet. Sarah listened to all of my ideas and then went ten times bigger than I could have ever imagined, she blew us and all of our guests away with what she had created in the room. During the ceremony she created a huge copper frame, dressed with the flowers from my bouquet. Hurricane lanterns and flowers were scattered on the floor creating a gorgeous atmosphere. She had dressed two large milk churns (sourced from Bluebells and Daisies) with an incredible posy of flowers, and two suspended hoops framed the aisles as guests were seated.
Later, for the wedding breakfast, the copper frame was moved to frame the wedding cake which set it off and allowed the cake to take all of it’s well deserved glory. Huge hoops were suspended from the ceiling horizontally and vertically and filled with moss, jasmine trails, peonies, roses and tulips. They looked like works of art. We also had table top hoops dressed similarly, with complimentary vases and jars with smaller posies. The top table had lots of vases, antlers, posies jars and succulents donned along it, it was everything I wished for and more.
My bouquet was magnificent. I had asked for coral charm peonies right at the start, and Sarah was very honest with me and told me that they were not likely to be in season. As the time approached I became more and more nervous, waiting to know if they were in season. When Sarah presented my bouquet to me that morning, I broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe what she has created for me. It was truly stunning, full of everything I could have imagined, and Sarah had put her own Rose Boutique touch to make it all the more spectacular. I really cannot thank her enough for everything that she did for us.
Our cake was made by my very talented Aunty Janet of The Cake Boutique, Ashton-in-Makerfield. We were thrilled when my Aunty said she would do the cake, and we knew it would surpass any of our expectations. I had a blank canvas for the cake and was open to suggestions. We found a few photographs and then she came up with something truly unique. My Aunty coloured the icing to match the bridesmaids dresses exactly, then draped it with royal icing feathers all around. I was totally gobsmacked when we walked into the room and saw it. Three tiers of perfection! We used cutting cakes for the evening and had a range of lemon, chocolate orange, red velvet, cherry bakewell and Victoria sponge. They were to die for and didn’t last long!
The dress was one of the hardest parts of planning. I knew I wanted something plain and simple. I loved box pleats. I loved bandeau style. But I couldn’t find it, anywhere! I planned in a full day of dress shopping with my Mum and we had planned to visit a few shops to get a good idea of what was out there. However, a couple of nights before our planned shopping day, my friend from work tagged me in an Instagram post from Lulu Browns Bridal. I hadn’t heard of it before, but was fascinated to learn they were based in Whalley, a stones throw away from Holmes Mill. I was intrigued by them and went on their website for a browse, and there it was, in the Jesus Peiro section, my dress! I knew from just looking at this photograph that this dress MUST be the one, but it was a tad away from the price I had been expecting to pay. Mum agreed, it was beautiful and I should definitely check it out regardless of cost.
I didn’t think they would be able to cater for me on my planned shopping day and wasn’t holding out for a response, but they instantly replied to my email and fitted me in with no problems at all. The staff at Lulu’s are just the best. They are welcoming, friendly, and put you at ease instantly. They had already got the dress I had seen lifted out, but asked me to gather more that I liked from the shop floor. There were so many to choose from. I was advised to try on ‘the dress’ before any of the others. As they pulled the curtain back, Mum and I both broke down in tears as this was by far the most beautiful gown I had tried on all day. I knew it was the one, it could not have been more perfect. It had a full cotton grosgrain skirt and jewelled belt. Plain, simple, classic, strapless and just simply beautiful. I had found it!
I only accessorised later on in the planning stages. I work as a Reception Class Teacher, and the children and parents in my class very kindly bought me a simple Pandora bracelet at Christmas. I promised them I would keep it safe and wear it on my wedding day so the children could be part of my day. I wanted to subtly incorporate the feather theme into my accessories. I searched high and low for something simple but classic. After much researching, it dawned on me and my Mum to look on Pandora’s website. We were thrilled to see they did a very simple ‘feather’ charm to go on the matching necklace to my bracelet. It was perfect!
I also searched for something to go in my hair. I found a gorgeous pair of feather diamanté clips from Debenhams. I asked the ladies at Lulu’s to help me with a veil, I went for a plain fingertip veil with simple banding around the edge which finished the dress off perfectly! I am only 5ft 1, so knew I would definitely be needing a heel, but didn’t want something where I wouldn’t be able to last the majority of the day in. I searched high and low for the perfect shoe, then finally found Irregular Choice’s ‘Nick of Time’ shoe. I loved the simple sparkle and velvet bow, they made me feel really special and weren’t too tall. On the evening before the wedding, my Mum had put together a box of gorgeous treats for me. Inside, she had sourced a gorgeous handmade handbag (Etsy) in the same material as my dress and had bought a separate feather brooch which complimented the jewelled belt on my dress. It finished everything off beautifully.
Prior to the wedding we took a trip to Birmingham to make our own wedding rings at The Quarter Workshop. I cannot believe I made my own ring. I look at it everyday and know it’s not the same as anyone else’s, it really was one of my favourite parts of planning the wedding.
One of my favourite moments was being presented with a video Matt had made on the morning of the wedding. He had been back over all of the video clips we had taken from over the years and compiled them together set to music. I laughed and I cried…it was just so special to watch and reminded me exactly why we were about to get married.
Singing a Justin Bieber song to Matt after the ceremony with our singer, Alex Birtwell on guitar. Although not a Belieber it was still a fond memory!
Immediately after the first dance we had requested our DJ play Lulu – Shout to get the dance floor packed. We had bought some plastic animal heads for the guests (Poodle, Horse, Dogs, etc) and I swore I would not be wearing one and ruining my hair! Let’s just say I got caught up in the moment and donned that Poodle head with pride!
During the speeches my class had made a video wishing me good luck. It had me in tears as I would have loved to have them all with me, it was exactly what I needed to see!
Doing the Spice Girls routine we had learned on my hen party with all of my hens!
At the end of the night, Matt and I just sat on a bench and sobbed. We sobbed the happiest tears and did not ever think we would be so happy and loved. We fully appreciated the day we had been blessed with, and was just completely overwhelmed.
Our amazing band, The Watch, creating the best dance floor atmosphere ever!
The bridal party throwing us an ‘after party’ in Room 30. After all the sobbing on the bench, we were presented with a mini party in our hotel – it perked us right back up, although we didn’t last long!
We have just got back from 3 weeks in Florida! We have always wanted to live the Disney dream, and it was truly magical. We had time in Disney, Universal and finished up in Clearwater for a true honeymoon ‘chill’. It has been perfect and we have created lots of brand new memories for our start as Mr and Mrs Burgess!
Be a little selfish. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks – it’s your big day and you do it how you want to! Take as much of it in as you can, it is gone within a blink of an eye and sometimes feels like a blur when you try to remember parts. Enjoy the planning, it can seem stressful at times but when it’s over it leaves a void behind, so have something to look forward to straight after so you don’t get the wedding blues.
Emilie May Photography
Make up Artist
Jodie A Smith
Vintage Love Bugs
The Cake Boutique
The Rose Boutique Wigan
Jesus Peiro from Lulu Brown’s
Old School Photo Booth
Bells and Daisies
The Quarter Workshop
Accommodation Bridal Prep
3 Millstones Inn
Accommodation Wedding Night
The Spinning Block Hotel
Chi Chi London
Wily Fox Brewery
Karly and Matt, what an honour it’s been to share your incredible wedding story, thank you so much xo Lou
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