Relaxed English Country Garden Party Wedding

Relaxed English Country Garden Party Wedding http://hayleybaxterphotography.com/

I just adore this vibrant pink wedding today, it’s filled with love, smiles and gorgeous touches to boot.

WWW readers Grace and Neil were married on the 18th of June 2016 and held their wedding reception at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. They chose the venue as they live locally and often walk in the beautiful grounds. Not to mention how perfectly it fitted in with their English country garden party theme, complete with afternoon tea, yum.

There were so many touches which were oh so beautiful, including the Peony filled bouquet and reception flowers which were very pretty indeed. I also fell for the petal cake and fun giant tassel balloons, which added some whimsy. One of the loveliest moments has to be when Grace played the accordion with her dad, so sweet.

Grace looked incredible in Coco by Anna Campbell, with it’s scalloped lace and pearl and bead embellishments. WOW. Neil donned a check jacket and navy chinos with floral accessories for a quirky meets classic look. Gorgeous.

Thanks so much to Hayley Baxter Photography for sharing these divine images with us.

 

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THE PROPOSAL | Best day ever…. Neil had been planning it for a couple of months and unbeknown to me, while I was asleep during the day in a set of nights (I work shifts as a nurse) he was driving all over the country to different family members and filming them for the proposal video! He had wrote out a script of our relationship and why he wanted to marry me and filmed all those closest to me or asked them to send him clips and edited together the most fantastic film. So when we sat on a beautiful sunny day in June at Tatton Park having a picnic of scones and clotted cream I was surprised as to why Neil got his iPad out of the basket and asked me to watch a video… what followed made me cry more than ever and I’m sure my noisy tears scared away a few deer but I knew what my answer would be straight away! Out came the ring, followed by some prosecco to celebrate!

THE VISION | We always knew straight off the bat that our wedding day would be a relaxed affair and that what we really wanted was a day together with our closest family and friends to celebrate our love and commitment with those we love the most. We didn’t want to be tied into something super formal where our whole day was regimented and we couldn’t have the freedom to get round all our guests and enjoy the day with them. Something relaxed, with a focus on an English country side garden party, something with a vintage feel and afternoon tea was always our main goal when envisioning our day.

THE PLANNING PROCESS | We both really enjoyed the planning process which I’m sure like most brides these days began with starting a pinterest account, scouring hashtags on instagram and reading up our favourite wedding blogs for inspiration. I found it so exciting reading real wedding features and picking out certain features we loved and thinking how we could incorporate certain aspects into our wedding. I’m very lucky to say firstly my groom is a fantastic planner… you need a spreadsheet of to-do lists and someone to reign in the finances and keep suppliers organised… Neil’s your man! It really was a team effort to create something that was special and personal to us both. Secondly our families were amazingly supportive throughout, from my wonderful Nanny Jean and Auntie Helen on bunting duty for months leading up to the wedding to my parents enlisting the help of their baker friend and his bakery the week of the wedding to create over 70 gingerbread biscuit favours, and mum letting me raid her house for baskets and props, we were blessed to have an amazing wedding party who enjoyed the planning and build up as much as we did.

THE VENUE | Picking the venue was an easy choice, we knew we wanted a local wedding somewhere that we both felt connected to, somewhere we could enjoy the surroundings and be outside for part of the wedding to go with our country garden party vibe and that wasn’t going to be a massive trek to get too on the day. We live near Styal where Quarry Bank Mill is and often go for walks around the mill and down through the surrounding woods on an evening or weekend, which was where we found the church. So even before we were engaged we knew that when the time was right we would love to get married in Norcliffe Chapel which is nestled along the most beautiful picturesque country path in the village on the way down to the woods and through to the mill. We are also National Trust fans and love the history and natural, rustic outdoor vibe that the Mill and gardens had so when we found out they did weddings and that we would be able to enjoy the gardens next to the river and wheel for part of our reception we knew it was our first choice. We also loved the idea of our guests enjoying the short walk across the field from the church down to the mill to break up the day and enjoy the views walking down into the Mill.

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I chose an Anna Campbell Coco pearl and jewel embellished scalloped lace dress with a beautiful vintage but still modern feel to it. It was perfect with its long train that could easily be pined up at the back into a bussle for walking over the field after the reception. For accessories I knew I wanted a long veil and the lovely ladies at Jean Jackson helped me to find the perfect scalloped lace edged double tier veil and the most beautiful vintage looking jewelled Ivory and Co headband to try on, (very Downton!) which I then was lucky enough to have found it at a wedding fair where my bridesmaid treated me to it! The dress already had enough jewels and pearls so I didn’t want to be laden down with too many accessories so pearl drop earrings from my mum and two Pandora stacker rings that I got as a gift from my groom the morning of the wedding along with my engagement ring complemented my look perfectly. Shoes were difficult, I’m already quite tall and didn’t want to be wobbling my way over the cobbles in massive heels that would potentially get ruined on the way to the reception so I went for some ASOS block heels which were super comfy all day and still complemented the dress.

FINDING THE DRESS | This was definitely my favourite part of planning, and I was looking forwards to it from the beginning! My Pinterest was chocka-block with different ideas but as I’m sure all brides feel, I couldn’t settle on one design as really, when do you ever wear one white dress when you know all eyes are going to be on you? I had a vision in my head and definitely knew what I didn’t want and that I wanted lace and beading to be incorporated but couldn’t seem to put that from my head into reality. I had one small but unsuccessful trip wedding dress shopping with friends and left disappointed after unhelpful sales assistants, too small sample sizes making me feel like I was a giant trying on dresses and nothing really special enough to catch my attention. I did some research on different wedding dresses and boutiques and Jean Jackson Couture came up on my searches with rave reviews about their shop and they stocked Anna Campbell dresses… which I had seen online but never dreamed of being able to try on. I booked my appointment with Mum and we went and had the most wonderful afternoon with Bec and Flick showing me the most beautiful dresses, and totally getting my vision when I described a relaxed day, loving lace and also the beading and glamour of the Anna Campbell dresses. I was thinking boho meets Downton Abbeys Lady Mary! Lo and behold after trying on a few and feeling great but none of them the one I was finally tried on the COCO dress… I did and then the eyes watered and I knew it was the one because of how wonderful I felt. The beading, the scalloped lace, the bows… perfection. It was everything I was looking for and when my Mum gave her seal of approval I was sold!

GROOM’S ATTIRE | Neil was easier than me when it came to our outfits, he knew he wanted something smart but nothing too formal, and something he could wear again. Navy was his first choice and by chance on a wonder through Marks and Spencer’s he spotted his chequered jacket and knew that was the one for him. Combined with navy trousers and waistcoat his outfit was soon organised and looked so on trend yet classic. He knew I had asked for a pastel and mixed flowers as the basis for our bunting and to match that and my vision for my bouquet on the day he found some fabulous floral ties and matching pocket squares from Sun London on Etsy and got these for all the grooms men to match.

THE READINGS & MUSIC | We didn’t want the service to be too much so we just chose one simple poem as a reading about coming together as a couple but it was definitely made special by my brother reading it in church – tears all round! Music was important to us, I had always dreamed of walking down the aisle to Pachabel’s Cannon so we chose the Edymion String Quartet to bring that to reality and had Clean Bandits ‘Rather Be’ for signing the register and the Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ for walking out of the church! They sounded amazing in church and then played outside the mill while everyone had Pimms, which created a fantastic atmosphere for everyone.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Bridesmaids dresses were from Monsoon’s wedding collection and I was pleased as the lace on the top of the dress ended up tying in perfectly with the lace on my dress.

THE FLOWERS | Flowers were another key aspect, I grew up with a Mum who also loves fresh flowers and always had beautifully arranged vases at the table so I feel that was passed onto me and I had a clear idea in my head when it came to the wedding. I wanted relaxed, loose and beautiful flowers with a mix of colours and foliage with mismatched jam jars to create that country vibe and knew some specific flowers such as peonies that I wanted to incorporate. With the church being so classic I also dreamed of having a huge floral arch over the doorway to decorate the wonderful porch. I found Cheshire Flowers at a wedding fayre and went into the shop armed with some pictures from pinterest and the church for the florist and I think they immediately got the vision I was hoping to express for the day! They looked wonderful on the day with the tables having jam jars sat on wooden stands on each table and some giant mason jar arrangements around the room and looked perfect on the tables as the centrepiece. Every last detail was beautiful right down to the natural buttonholes for the boys. The arch and my bouquet were my favourites with the most beautiful mix of natural colours and foliage.

THE CAKE | Our cake was from the Little Button Bakery, and was a stunning 3 tiered cake covered with butter cream icing and real edible flower petals, tied in with our natural pastels colour scheme – another pinterest fantasy come to life! I was very lucky to have such a helpful baker in Kate who was so involved and a joy to work with, especially as I accidentally ordered a topper from Etsy that was huge so she found me the same one and we swapped so the cake wouldn’t be toppling over! Flavours was obviously key for two foodies who only go to the gym so we can eat more, so we chose a tier each – Neil’s favourite peanut butter was the top tier, chocolate in the middle for me and then lemon on the bottom for my Mum and everyone else!

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Photography was one of the first thing we set about looking for after picking the venue, as we knew it would be the one great reminder of the day so wanted it to be perfect. We both knew we wanted natural photographs to capture the spirit and joy of the day and nothing formal or rigid posed photographs, so set about our search online. We ended up being recommended Hayley and as soon as we saw her website and blog of pictures were sold. Her style is so relaxed and natural which creates beautiful pictures that really capture the moment in time, and not just that she was so chilled and fun to work with we knew we could trust her to work with and help us create the most beautiful memories to cherish the day with. We had ideas of certain parts of the day we wanted to capture, for example the confetti outside the church and she really understood us and helped to gather the guests and organise us without taking us away from our everyone or feeling like we were missing out on the day, and was amazing at my house before the church helping de-stress me getting ready when I felt like I was running out on time, not only a photographer but bridal life coach! Now that the photographs are back we couldn’t be happier, they capture the love, life and soul of the day and tell a story with bits that we didn’t even notice at the time.

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Décor was very easy as we already had the stunning setting of the woods, fields and the mill so we knew we already had the foundations! There were lots of DIY projects involved and we worked together to create our own personal take on decorations. I loved the idea of signs to point the guests in the right direction when walking across the field path from the church to the reception so for months we collected vintage gold frames and Neil spent a couple of weekends chalk boarding everything in sight ready for the signs! We wrote our own and used them for the table plans and drinks signs right down to signs in the village for the church.

We had my wonderful Nanny Jeans bunting and I even got handy with the sewing machine myself and so used bunting at the venue, in the gardens and on the entrance to the church and it just looked so joyful and celebratory, made more special by the fact we know who made it for us. Some things were already ours, like the sweet table light box, and I used my own vintage make up table to put all the sweet jars on and we spent an afternoon in Costco debating the merits of M&Ms versus Jelly Babies to decide what we wanted inside them!

We were also very lucky that my parents know a baker so for favours I had personalised biscuit cutters made from Etsy and sent them across to Mum and Dad who got busy with the ginger bread and created little bags with tags on which doubled up as favours and place names for the tables decorated with string.

Instead of a photo booth we borrowed our friends instax Polaroid camera and brought one for us to use as a guest book. This was a great idea and everyone joined in sharing the cameras round that resulted in some great poses and photos that can only be remembered on film. Neil’s mum also cleared out her loft and found some vintage Polaroid cameras so we had a couple dotted around for everyone to use!

A great addition to the day – which received rave reviews from all, was the ice cream van. We chose a vintage VW that arrived as a surprise while we were in the church and parked up nearby to serve us when we came out of the church. Not only lovely ice creams to keep everyone going before the reception, it gave everyone a chance to mingle and chat after the ceremony and was a great hit with all the grandparents!

I also have long been a fan of the giant balloons with tassels so splashed out and got some to decorate the garden with for drinks and we used them as props in the photos and they just looked incredible when Neil and I walked down to the mill and saw the balloons bobbing high over the garden with all our guests waiting for us so we really were blown away and so excited to start the celebrating.

Finally the Love lights were another must as they really lit the room up and added a big of a wow effect to the room and as a dance floor back up.

THE HONEYMOON | We decided to mini-moon in Nice in the South of France for a weeks R&R post wedding and then have booked New York at Christmas time for a big trip! We were lucky enough to have the flights gifted to us as a wedding present but wanted to go for Christmas when the decorations are all up so chose a mini break first to relax and try to ease the post wedding come down! We loved it and after all the pre wedding fitness (bride body mission!) we indulged in all the cheese and seafood Nice could throw at us! An ice cream a day keeps the wedding blues at bay right?

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | There were so many memories to cherish!

Getting ready with my mum and having a quiet moment upstairs with a few reassurances and telling off’s to breathe before the church and walking down stairs to see my Dad in my dress for the first time, I will honestly never forget it! So much love in one room!

Walking into the church was so emotional I knew the tears (that had already made an appearance before I had even left the house) wouldn’t be long and meeting Neil at the top of the aisle and a squeeze of his hand set me off again but it was finally the time we had both been so excited for!

We loved our confetti procession outside of the church walking through all our guests were such a joyful moment as Mr and Mrs!

In the time between the church and the reception we had some photographs with Hayley and walked across together to the venue, over the path we have walked so many times in wellies to be there in a wedding dress and suit and with just the two of us to reflect and chat about the service and how each other looked and felt was a relief that we had made it through without tripping up the aisle or fluffing (tears don’t count!) our vows.

Walking down into the mill while the other areas were still open to the public was so funny we felt like celebrities with little children waving to us and everyone cheering and clapping while we walked through the court yard.

I played my accordion for some traditional Irish tunes with my Dad for the guests walking into the evening before our first dance, and despite initially being worried about it and nervous I was so happy I did It and created such a memory of playing music together as we have done since I was in primary school!

The dance floor dance offs were a highlight for everyone, even all the grandparents got up for a boogie despite any knee replacements there were still some amazing routines on show.

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | We planned the wedding for a year and so enjoyed the excitement and build up of all our plans coming together that on the day we couldn’t quite believe it was all here! Take the time to have a moment together to just enjoy and talk about all the things you love and what’s happened. Also the biggest cliché that everyone tells you and you think no… not me – its true. It goes SO FAST! One minute your stood clutching your Dads arm scared/nervous/excited/thinking you can’t breath about to walk up the aisle and the next minute your up it stood ready to say “I Do”. I can only remember a few faces from walking up so take it slow and if you think you are… go slower! Take the time to look around and enjoy who’s there, its rare you ever have a party or have everyone you love and want to spend time with so its so special to celebrate and look around with those that love you having a blast together!

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |

Photography | Hayley Baxter Photography

Venue | Quarry Bank

Dress | Jean Jackson Couture

Ties | Sun London

Ice Cream | Ice Cream Dub

VW Camper | Posh Pampa Campa

Flowers | Chelsea Flowers

Cake | Little Button Bakery

Balloons | Bubblegum Balloons

Musician | Endymion String Quartet

Lights | All You Need Is Love

 

How special was that? It looked like fun was had by all.

Grace and Neil, thank you both so much for sharing your amazing wedding story xo Lou

 

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