I have a beautiful winter wedding to share this afternoon; perfect for those of you planning your wedding in the coming months.
Dave and Helen married on the 18th January 2014 holding their wedding at Victoria Hall, Saltaire. They did things a little differently from the norm, with Dave helping Helen to choose her gorgeous gown and them greeting their guests together before the ceremony.
It was important to them to make their guests feel special, with personally written cards for each of the 300 guests and organised games for the children.
I so love the stylish attire, with the bridesmaids and bride donning the cosiest lambswool blankets and gorgeous flower crowns.
Huge thanks goes to Tierney Photography for providing these lovely images this afternoon.
THE PROPOSAL | We became privately engaged when Dave let slip that he wanted to marry me during a conversation in his sitting room, surrounded by his and his two housemates’ hanging washing! I said that I also wanted to marry him, there were deep, happy tears, and we considered ourselves engaged from then on. We call this our ‘proper’ engagement. We went through the formal procedure surrounded by bluebells in woods where I used to walk with my family. Dave went down on one knee and produced a beautiful pearl ring in a seashell he’d picked up on a holiday in Scotland we’d shared with friends earlier that year. Both moments were lovely in their own special ways.
THE VISION | Our vision for the day was that it would not only celebrate our marriage but also our friends and family and the part they had played in our lives up to that point. We did everything we could to make it a day that served them. This meant things like inviting everyone to the whole day, providing goodie bags and organised games for the children, creating an informal and relaxed environment, keeping the waiting around to a minimum, providing card and board games for people to play, and writing rather lengthy cards to all 300 guests each with messages from us both to tell them what they meant to us and thank them (a mammoth but very worthwhile task!) We also broke tradition in that I was there to greet and welcome our guests as they arrived, although not yet in my wedding dress, so that the focus would be on their arrival not mine. We then stayed until the end of the day to see everyone off.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As I was recovering from glandular fever while trying to work full-time and plan the wedding with Dave perhaps the least said about this the better! It was extremely hard, particularly as we didn’t go with any kind of wedding package but organised everything ourselves, although we do think that it was worth it. Google Drive and more spreadsheets than I ever want to see again certainly came in handy! We didn’t have a wedding coordinator but Dave’s dad was an absolute hero on the day and, along with the rest of our family and the wedding party, took everything off our hands after some thorough delegation!
BUDGET | We did things in a ‘budget’ way but then we did have 300 people there for the whole day so it all adds up rather quickly!!
THE VENUE | We got married at Victoria Hall in Saltaire. It was the only place nearby large enough for our 300 guests but was also ideal in that it allowed us to use our own caterers, gave us sole use of the venue, was easily accessible by train and combined beauty with a relaxed village-hall-type feel. Moira and Vicky, who worked with us to organise the day, were both wonderful.
FINDING THE DRESS | I knew I wanted a dress that I felt comfortable and relaxed in and nothing too structured. I also wanted to dress to please Dave and not just myself so I brought him into the process and showed him the photos of me trying on the dresses. I went for the dress that was his favourite, which I was also very comfortable in and loved wearing: Maggie Sottero’s ‘Carlene’. And he had plenty of time to forget what it looked like before the day came round! I also had a green cardigan and a lovely check lambswool blanket to keep me warm.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We had a great time shopping for Dave’s outfit in the kilt shop in Paisley, Houston’s, where he used to work as a Saturday boy. I never knew there could be quite so many tartans, tweeds, buttons, sporrans, kilt pins, sgian-dubhs, and jacket linings to choose from! Dave wasn’t fussed about having his family tartan so together we picked our favourite, ‘Highland Cathedral’, along with a nice blue tweed for his jacket.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Keeping in trend with Dave’s kilt tartan, my bridesmaids and I were bagpipe-d down the aisle to ‘Highland Cathedral’ with the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’ played once round at the start and end of the piece. My brother, Matthew Cotterill, a music producer, put together a beautiful arrangement for a backing track, which was very special. We walked out to a lively piece of swing music called ‘Sock him in the jaw’ from the film ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’, which has a wonderful soundtrack!
We’re both Christian so we picked a medley of our favourite worship songs and Bible verses which we incorporated into one big time of worship during our wedding service.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | And they really are very beautiful! I was very keen that my bridesmaids had dresses and shoes that they loved and which they could happily wear again. I did hope that they would go nicely together but wasn’t bothered at all about them matching. In fact, I rather prefer the mismatched look! So I gave them all a rough colour range and they went off searching. In the end I loved how the dresses all looked together and the flowers gave a beautiful continuity that drew the whole look together. In order to keep them warm outside and as their thank-you gifts we bought them lambswool blankets. Again, I wanted them to have something they loved and had chosen themselves but wanted the blankets to work together and with their dresses. Working this all out was fun and games, especially as none of my bridesmaids lived near me, so I was doing it all virtually. But again, worth it in the end!
THE FLOWERS | Ah my most favourite part! Anne from ‘Real Country Flowers’, based in Pudsey, did all of our flowers and I cannot recommend her highly enough. I found out about her on ‘The Natural Wedding Company’ website. She grew all our flowers from her home so that they were all local, seasonal and organic. And what an incredible job she did, particularly bearing in mind that this was a January wedding! When I first spoke to her I mentioned my long-held dream of having snowdrops in my bouquet, while realising that mid-January was a little early for the snowdrop season. A short while later she got back to me having spoken to the country’s leading snowdrop specialist with news about a special early-flowering variety of snowdrops. She continued to work tirelessly with us towards an end result that was within our budget and looked natural, colourful, spring-like and fabulous. When it came to the wedding day itself, she stayed up the whole of the previous night putting together our bouquets, wreaths, buttonholes, corsages and jars/bottles/teapots/tankards of flowers for the tables. When she arrived with them the scent was heavenly and the appearance so beautiful; I was sadly rather ill on our wedding day and the flowers were wonderfully therapeutic!
THE CAKE | Instead of having one wedding cake we asked a number of our friends and family to bake a cake to bring with them. The end result was the most incredible spread with so much choice I don’t know how we all managed to decide what to eat! Everybody loved it.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer was Mark Tierney of Tierney Photography, based in Sheffield. We chose him because his photos are so full of life and humanity, capturing those spontaneous moments and wonderful facial expressions. He was kind and unimposing and worked hard in the background throughout the day to capture it beautifully. We’ve had great feedback from people about the photos and would certainly recommend him.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | For table decorations we went for a rustic look with hessian table runners and scrap pieces of tartan downstairs and gingham table squares upstairs, natural-looking flowers and jam jars for tea lights, decorated with lace, twine, raffia, gingham and tartan. One of my bridesmaids came to visit and was such a hero doing the vast majority of the jam jars.
THE HONEYMOON | After a couple of nights at the beautiful Traddock country hotel in the Yorkshire Dales we had a wet, cold and windy couple of weeks on the West Coast of Scotland. For the second week we stayed in the wonderful, quirky ‘Seashell’, a self-catering round house owned by Glenmore Holidays, which was such fun and has the best fireplace ever!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The evening of dancing created one big memorable moment for me. We had the lively Homecoming String Band playing for us with their unique Bluegrass Ceilidh. The dance floor was packed and there was such a sense of joy of and fun; it was lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves so much. And what was so special for me was that I was able to dance at all which, considering how ill I was, was rather miraculous. I absolutely loved it.
Dave’s most memorable moment was encountering all the children, led by the bridal party, careering down the stairs, all, including the bridal party, in outrageous fancy dress, on their organised treasure hunt. Perhaps the highlight of it all was one of the groomsmen, who had done the sermon during the wedding service, in a pair of short, colourfully striped dungarees put on over his suit! I am so sad that I missed this!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | People often advise that you make the day about you rather than trying to please everyone else. I would say that there’s actually huge pleasure to be found in looking out, above all, for the interests of your guests. It is certainly impossible to please them all but the day is as much theirs as it is yours and we, at least, found that it was possible to retain the things that were most important to us while also seeking to put on a day that served and blessed them. We do, however, have the enormous advantage of having friends and family that in no way tried to impose on us their wishes and I do see how much that must help and am so grateful for it!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Tierney Photography
Venue | Victoria Hall, Saltaire
Flowers | Real Country Flowers
Dress | Maggie Sottero ‘Carlene’ from Abigail’s Bridal, Leeds
Groom | Houston’s, Paisley
Such a fun and meaningful wedding day.
Thanks so much to Dave and Helen for sharing their amazing wedding story with us XOXO Lou