Relaxed & Cool City Party Wedding

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WWW readers Jess and Andy tied the knot on 26th August 2017 at Manchester Town Hall and celebrated afterwards at the iconic Manchester gig venue, the Deaf Institute. The day was a relaxed affair and a real love letter to the city of Manchester

Their reception already came complete with a giant disco ball and Dolly Parton wallpaper (LOVE!) so not too much additional decoration was needed – a few giant balloons, some bunting and coloured garlands finished the look perfectly. Make sure you check out the fantastic personalised bibs our pair provided for guests!

Jess and Andy look like they had so much fun, and their special day was accompanied by a five hour long playlist, such a wonderful idea to cement those memories of a day which passes by in a flash!

The whole day has been expertly captured by the lovely Emma Boileau, thank you so much for sharing Emma.
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THE PROPOSAL | In 2015, on our annual trip to Barcelona for the Primavera Sound Festival. It was a complete surprise! I cried and kept repeating “are you joking?!” … although the sangria probably played a part in this!

THE VISION | No grand theme, just a big party with good music, good food, and all the people we love!

THE PLANNING PROCESS | When we got engaged we couldn’t afford to get married right away. We chose a date and booked our venues two years ahead, sent save the dates, and then didn’t really do any other planning for over year whilst we saved for the big day.

When it was a year to the wedding, we had a bit of a “ahhhh we’re getting married next year” moment … cue panic from me as I realised we hadn’t really thought about any of the finer details. I set about googling “wedding planning checklists” and made a spreadsheet timeline of when we needed to look at different aspects of the wedding. Throughout the planning process we made a note of everything on the spreadsheet including guest list, RSVPs and menu choices, and order of the day. It was also a great way to keep track of our budget and how much we’d spent. In all, we ended up with no less than 10 tabs on there! I know it may seem a bit over the top to some, but as we didn’t have a wedding coordinator, I found it really helped me not feel overwhelmed by all the bits that needed doing and reassured me we were on track with everything!

THE VENUE | We’re both from Hull originally and did consider getting married in our hometown. However, we have made our home together in Manchester and we thought it would be special for us to get married in our own neighbourhood. We live in the city centre and our venues were both a short walk from our flat, which was great for scheduling appointments during the planning process and meant we could stay at home together the night before the wedding.

We chose Manchester Town Hall for our ceremony as it is such an iconic venue in the city and a gorgeous building inside and out. It’s now closed until 2024 for refurbishment so we feel so lucky that we were able to get married there!

Our reception was at the Deaf Institute, which is one of our favourite music venues. It’s a super cool building with bags of character and we thought it would set the tone of the day perfectly. Deaf also offered the opportunity to accommodate any ideas we wanted for our day; there are no packages or set menus to chose from, meaning the day could look and feel however we wanted it to.

Although the Town Hall and Deaf are within walking distance of each other, lots of our guests were from out of town so we booked a bus from Travel Master to transport them between venues easily.

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Looking for the dress was initially one of the scariest parts of the process for me. I’m not a person who really gets dressed up and when I thought about wedding dresses I pictured big princess gowns, which are just not something I would feel myself in.

I found Glory Days in York online. I had originally made an appointment at Glory Days as they have a massive selection of vintage dresses. However, while I was there I tried on some of super-talented owner Hayley’s own designs with her Rolling in Roses label and fell totally in love with the Witch Hazel dress from the Cynthia Rose collection.

My shoes were Carvela Kurt Geiger pink velvet heeled sandals purchased at Fenwicks in York, and I kept it simple with a delicate pendant necklace from Oliver Bonas. The bridesmaids, mums, and I popped down the road to Fretwell Bennett on the morning of the wedding. Cristiano has done my hair for 10 years so it only seemed fitting he would do my wedding hair too! Then we headed back to my Maid of Honour Lizzie’s flat to do our own make up, with plenty of fizz and pastries.

GROOMS ATTIRE | Andy: I knew I wanted a suit that I would wear again on a day-to-day basis. You see a lot of grooms wearing suits that they will probably never re-wear and I thought I’d use the opportunity to splash out on some special pieces I could wear separately after the big day. I’m obsessed with Universal Works and opted for a grey suit (although the actual name is Navy Crosshatch) with a navy waistcoat. My best man and I didn’t wear matching suits, but we did wear the same royal blue polka dot tie also from, you guessed it, Universal Works.

My shoes were by a brand called G.H.Bass and from Oi Polloi in Manchester. Again, I wanted something bit special that I would actually wear again. I finished my look off with socks by Japanese brand Anonymous-Ism bought from the Hip Store in Leeds.

My hair/beard were cut the day before the wedding by Chad (the owner) at Mr Beardmores Barbershop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Lovely guys.

THE READINGS & MUSIC | Andy’s mum Tina wrote her own gorgeous poem for the two of us and read it for us at the ceremony. I also asked my bridesmaid Tasha to do a reading and she chose the lovely “Foxtrot from a Play” by W.H. Auden.

Incorporating our favourite music into the day was very important to us. I get my love of Bob Dylan from my dad so chose “I want you” to walk down the aisle to – a surprise for him and such a lovely moment when the music kicked in. We signed the register to Interpol “Slow Hands” and the Walkmen “Heaven”, and walked out as a married couple to the Black Keys “Everlasting Light”. We created a massive 5-hour playlist on Spotify for the daytime reception and it worked so well in setting a relaxed atmosphere during the day. Guests loved it and asked us to send them the link. We still love listening to it now!

While playlists were great for the day, we had a DJ for the evening to create the party atmosphere we wanted. We loved Hi-Life Entertainment’s online music planner, which allowed us to pick what genres of music we wanted and even ban any music we didn’t want playing, meaning none of the usual wedding cheese!

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My five bridesmaids, my four best pals and big sis, all picked their own outfits; I just asked them to wear something pink. The girls chose two jumpsuits, two dresses, and a skirt/ top combo in varying shades of pink. I didn’t get to see them all in their outfits until the morning of the wedding and it was such an ace moment seeing them all together looking gorgeous! They wore their own shoes and they all decided to wear the necklaces with their initials that I got them as thank you gifts.

THE FLOWERS | A mix of simple wild flowers from Venus Flowers in Manchester. Benjamin was so lovely to work with and made our Pinterest boards a reality!

THE CAKE | Rainbows are special to me and my family, and with our wedding being the same weekend as Manchester Pride, it only seemed fitting to have a gorgeous rainbow cake with extra rainbow sprinkles! The cakes was made by Hey Little Cupcake in Manchester and not only looked ace, but was sooo delicious with a vanilla sponge and buttercream filling.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The one and only Emma Boileau. It’s obvious that Emma is a very talented photographer, but from the moment of meeting we were struck by how warm and friendly she is. On our big day Emma fit around our plans and followed our day across Manchester City Centre seamlessly and guests still tell us how professional, fun, and totally cool our photographer was! We love how Emma’s photos capture the spirit of our day and all the little special moments.

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | One of the things we love about Deaf Institute is it’s amazing décor – a huge disco ball, Dolly Parton wallpaper and a wall of vintage speakers – so we knew it didn’t need much dressing up. I ordered a few bits to add our own touches, multi-coloured garlands from Maisy and Alice on Etsy and pink/purple/white giant balloons from Magic Balloons.

A tip for those not wanting to splash out on expensive wedding stationery, I discovered Canva, a free graphic-design tool, through my work and used it to create various bits for the wedding: the seating plan, order of the day, and posters with our social media hashtags on. We printed them at our local print shop and picked up some cheap frames from Wilkos to put them in.

A special mention too of our personalised bibs from Sand Scripts. I can’t say it was cheap shipping them from the U.S. but they were so worth the splurge as they looked great and, with burgers at the reception, they were essential for preventing us and our guests from getting burger sauce all down our wedding outfits!

THE HONEYMOON | Five glorious days spent in Sorrento straight after the wedding!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Andy: Obvious, but seeing Jess walk down the aisle was just unbelievable. I had an idea or what she would look like but when I turned around and saw her I couldn’t help but shed a tear. She looked beautiful. Too beautiful to put into words! Also, 2am dancing with all of our friends to our favourite music – magic!

Jess: The ceremony and meeting Andy at the end of the aisle! We had spent so much time planning the reception that I didn’t really think about what the ceremony would look like. It was so intimate sharing vows and forgetting everyone else was there. Also, walking through the packed streets from the Town Hall to the Deaf Institute during the Pride parade with passers by wishing us congratulations!

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | If you’re having speeches, consider doing one together! It takes the pressure off and means you both get the opportunity to thank your favourite people.

Also, take your honeymoon straight after the wedding if you’re able to. We were originally going to wait until later in the year, but are so pleased we didn’t. As amazing as it is to plan a wedding, it is so stressful in the weeks leading up bringing everything together and hoping it all goes to plan on the day. Our honeymoon in Sorrento was the most relaxing holiday we’ve ever had and gave us time to reflect on how gorgeous the day had been and bask in that lovely newlywed feeling – the shed load of all-inclusive pasta and booze certainly helped us de-stress too!

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |

Photographer | Emma Boileau

Reception Venue | The Deaf Institute

Dress | Glory DaysRolling in Roses

Suit and tie | Universal Works

Flowers | Venus Flowers

Rainbow Cake | Hey Little Cupcake

Giant Balloons | Magic Balloons

DJ | DJ Rich Banks from High Life Entertainment Ltd

Bus | Travel Master

What a wonderful day Jess & Andy! Thank you so much for sharing everything with us. Rachel x

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