“Magical, romantic, relaxed, whimsical and nature inspired” were how WWW readers James and Danielle described their gorgeous wedding to me, which was held on the 12th August 2017, in a stunning back garden setting. They set their heart on a tipi wedding as they didn’t want any restrictions on how long the party would go on for, in the end the celebrations went on until 5am, how amazing is that!?
I have to say that James and Danielle have style in spades! James plumped for a check suit and brown waistcoat combo which was totally bespoke, while Danielle chose an exquisite Anna Campbell dress called Coco Brocade, teamed with those famous blue Manolo Blahnik heels. I think they both looked utterly gorgeous. The captures of them by Foxley Photography too are just perfect and they look so happy and in love.
There are so many brilliant ideas here too, including lighting, florals and fashion you guys.
23rd September 2015 James planned a holiday to Florida I had never been and I never expected him to ask me to marry him there, I absolutely love Disney I was soooooo excited for that that, that it didn’t even cross my mind. We set off for magic kingdom and I still had no idea. Once in the park I was like a giddy kid, numerous times James tried to ask but he decided to ask when he said I was gawping at the main parade in front of the castle. He muddled his words up, I cried and said yes. It was the most magical day, its the moment you realise that the love of your life wants to spend the rest of theirs with you.
Our main vision was not to forget the true purpose of the day – to celebrate the love we had for each other and to make sure that at all times our big days was exactly what we wanted. We wanted the wedding to reflect our relationship, values and most of all our personalties. We really wanted to steer away from all the things at a wedding that we both didn’t like even though some of those things were “what you’re meant to do”. We had attended many weddings and filtered what we really wanted and what we really didn’t. To someone else what’s important to them was minimal to us, for instance we don’t eat cake so we thought why would we have a cake, we also didn’t get the whole cutting the cake as one and so on for tradition. Me and James had lived together and been with each other for 10 years prior to getting married so we didn’t see the point so out went the cake he he. We also love to party so the thought of our wedding being shut down at 12 or 1 was an absolute no go, hence the tipi wedding, which meant we could absolutely tailor it to what ever we wanted and we definitely did that. We both wanted a celebration of our time together that was relaxed, beautiful and exactly what we wanted. We are both into fine little detail, I’ll never forget the amount of people the next day saying they couldn’t believe all the little things we did that reflected me and James.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
This was pretty simple as James was absolutely amazing he helped with everything meaning we could crack on together and not need the help really of anyone else. First we decided on our priorities and number one being that we could end the event when we wanted hence us looking into the tipis, these beautiful tipis definitely reflected exactly what we wanted. So off we went until we found Big Chief Tipis who where absolutely amazing. Once we had this sorted it was then we decided to look into St James Chapel in Ashworth Valley, Rochdale a place where me and James spend many hours with our dogs. Once these two things where done the rest fell into place, after all it was now time for all the fun stuff.
Lets say we went over what we expected but we wouldn’t change a thing.
The venue was at James family home in his garden. A place that James had spent all his life, we toyed with the idea of farms so noise wouldn’t be an issue, but when a local farmer wasn’t able to pull off what we hoped, we decided on the family garden. We wrote nice letters to the neighbours and pre warned them with plenty of time and not one person complained. (thank god)
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
My dress was an Anna Campbell dress called Coco Brocade, I really wanted a boho style dress and nothing that reflected being a princess. I just wanted to feel myself and to be comfortable. I did get a veil, it was beautiful but on the wedding day when my hairdresser put it in, I felt daft and so decided to have a few flowers that was left over from the bridesmaids hair. I did the same with my accessories I wore none, other than a beautiful pair of pearls my mum and dad got me.
FINDING THE DRESS
So I had an idea as to the style of dress I wanted and not having a clue of how to find it I booked myself in a bridal shop like all brides I suppose do. I went with my mum and the bridesmaids to be, honestly as lovely as the day was, doing this it certainly wasn’t for me I felt having everyone’s opinions on the dress didn’t help me so I did the whole trying everything on but when I got home I didn’t feel like any of the dresses was for me.
After a few weeks of searching the net for styles and looks I like, I found Anna Campbell dresses so I looked into who stocked them I rang up and straight away booked an appointment to go on my own, one of my friends not a bridesmaid decided she was coming. I knew the minute I tried one on these were the dresses for me. I knew what I wanted so the rest was easy. a few tweaks and ta-da it was done.
Flick and Jean where utterly amazing throughout the whole process I really did enjoy the whole experience and having them to help me throughout. Once I’d decided on the dress I got my mum and then James’ mum to see it. I kept the dress as a surprise to the rest even the bridesmaids. I did at times panic so if your a bride and you worry in-between is the dress the right one? Have I picked the correct size? Does it look how I remembered it? Well that’s all normal when I went for my final fitting it was perfect. So the sleepless nights were not needed. I completed the lovely dress with a pair of the blue Manolo Blahnik shoes from The Sex and the City film. I saved up for these and they were amazing, we went down to Harrods in London, which was soooo special.
The suit initially was expected to be a hired one, but one day I thought why do I get an expensive personal dress and he gets a hired suit? It just didn’t seem fair so I told James to buy his own. James is quite particular and the suits he was trying on were just not right, either by fit, choice or style. We began to search for good tailors in Manchester and we were recommended Richard Smith by the Jean Jackson Couture and from the moment we walked in the shop we instantly knew it was the one for James, each and every example suit looked flawless, tight fitting, stylish just what James was looking for. James spent many hours deciding the material, the buttons, the thread, the personalised message within the suit, the lining, the tightness of the pants the lot…. On the day James’s suit got more compliments than my dress and the wedding set up put together.
We then hired the ushers and best man’s suits from Slaters in Manchester, they offered slim fit suits unlike most other dated hire shops. The wedding industry in this area needs a drastic change, the fit of suits and poor measuring some of the companies are sending out is horrific. Richard Smith and his staff were simply amazing, he had, had a tipi wedding himself and every suit in his place was divine. Richard is fun, friendly and eccentric in such a good way. He well well worth the extra £££.
THE READINGS & MUSIC
The order of service was quite strict with it being a Church Of England setting, we had to have 3 to 4 hymns and a reading. We searched the web for nice readings and in the end chose The Union by Robert Fulgham, the words were perfect and summed us two up perfectly. Our choice of hymns were Lord or the Dance, Jerusalem, Love Divine and Shine Jesus Shine, we chose these as they were mostly about love and they were lively, youthful and also very powerful hymns. To be honest this was a difficult decision for us, we loved the idea of a church wedding, James went to a church school and often went to church as a child but when it came to choosing hymns we had no knowledge at all.
Our first dance was Nathan Sykes, Over and Over again. We loved the song and when we watched the video to the soundtrack it reminded us so much of each other, its a must watch. The evening music was supplied by Six 15 Artists an amazing DJ from the Manchester house club scene and a live saxophonist, which none of the guests knew about. The DJ was just perfect, he knew exactly what to play and it wasn’t a ‘nightclub’ by any means, there were some amazing mixes of the classics, zero cheese, the recent hits and it got everyone up alllll night (untill 5am).
I had three bridesmaids, which was definitely enough. I picked people who have been in my life for a long time or people I thought would be forever in my life, picking the dresses seemed to be easy. After being a bridesmaid myself I knew how it felt to be asked, my three girls where all different sizes, heights and shapes so I wanted them all to feel perfect. I decided from the start I would get the dresses from ASOS, it was so convenient I could order the dresses I liked in various sizes and styles with no hassle, from the comfort of my own home. It was easy to send the link to the girls to see if they liked them it was free delivery and free returns giving me and the girls time to try various options and helping me find the correct ones. I had my sister and best friends as my bridesmaids. I also got the shoes and accessories from ASOS. The girls where very helpful throughout the whole event and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them, I love you all very much.
Flowers were a big part of our wedding, we wanted them to be again as natural as possible, like the bride had wondered through the woods on the way to the church and had hand picked them. The colours were very much white, pale pinks, foliage, and elements of blue to match the bride’s shoes. The church was filled with little jam jars with small bunches of flowers, the men had simple natural buttonholes. The venue tables were very much the same theme and Frog Flowers were the florists of choice, their work was unlike no others, no rules, no traditional thoughts, new creative and modern floristry. They were our number one choice as soon as we came across them. Once we found Frog who are situated in the cool, trendy area of Manchester we never looked back. David and Suzie were both utterly amazing and were just as excited about our big day as us. A definite recommendation to any upcoming newly weds.
We stumbled across Foxley (Olly and AJ) at an open day that Big Chief Tipis had arranged. I instantly loved their enthusiasm, pictures and the fact that there was two talented photographers. I’ve heard of horror stories of people only booking a sole photographer and no pictures subsequently being taken of the groom getting ready or the groom at church awaiting the bride and I did not want this to happen so they were well in the lead at this early stage of selecting a photographer.
I loosely looked at other photographers but deep down I knew I wanted Foxley, they had experience of tipi weddings and come the wedding day this showed when they arrived with equipment to secure flashes and cameras to the poles of the tipis. We really wanted them to be invisible on the day, we wanted no group photos of random guests or cheesy jazz hand photos, we wanted the pictures to reflect the mood, and show everyone naturally enjoying themselves, no fake smiles and no fake laughs. Foxley were all over this idea and from seeing their previous images they too seemed to favour the natural feel of images. On the day Foxley were amazing and did so much more than we expected, nothing was too much to ask and they even stayed for longer than required as they were loving taking photos of the wedding. If your having a tipi wedding or any other then do not hesitate to contact AJ and Oli at Foxley they are the besttttt.
We decided against a video as we use Instagram and other apps so much and that is all imagery and we just decided who wants to watch a 10+ minute movie more than once? Images last a life time and are so much easier to show off, print off and post.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
So most of my items were from Ginger Ray, online or eBay we spent many evenings, days off and weekends buying things. We bought things monthly to spread the cost. I also hired a few bits from Atmosphere Venue Dressing, Claire was amazing and would highly recommend her to any bride who doesn’t have much vision to use a venue dresser. We only hired things from them because we had an idea of what we wanted and wanted to do it ourself. We wanted the whole event to feel very whimsical so we used lots of rose gold, foliage, flowers and rustic stuff.
We chose Bali, Indonesia for our honeymoon as we wanted a mixture or adventure, sea, sand and luxury and Bali seemed the perfect choice. The people there are wonderful, can’t do enough for you, like in Egypt but without the offers of camels. It’s a long flight but a must place to visit. We stayed at the Melia Bali Resort and had a swim up room which was amaze!
The whole day is very memorable, it really is, it is easily the best day of your life. I liked the moment we were alone in the car after the church, no cameras, no friends, no one interfering just us two alone. We had not seen each other for over 24 hours and James got to tell me how much he had done at the venue that I had not seen. I got to see him in his suit and he got to see me in my dress.
The first dance was beautiful, the whole party just stopped and it was all eyes on us, daunting but oh so special when you think back.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Take time out together, go into a corner, have a chat, hold hands and talk to each other, the day goes unbelievably fast! If you think you’ve planned it all, wait until the day before or the morning! You wont have done! Plan, plan and plan and pray for good weather but don’t get stressed about it like James did, for the last month, hourly every single day he would check the weather on multiple apps he had downloaded. Another piece of advice would be to on the lead up when your thinking of things you ‘should’ get or ‘could’ get, GET THEM come the day after the wedding there is no going back, have no regrets, you only do it once. Seriously have a long think about evening food, I didn’t even know it was being served, so much was left as people were still full and in our case the focus was drink and partying. Think of your crowd and certainly don’t plan to serve each and every person as they don’t all eat.
Can I take this opportunity to thank our family and friends for helping us in the lead up to the wedding and the wedding day. Let people help where they can and make sure you are both sharing the planning, it should be fun not stressful.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Big Chief Tipis
Luminate Events Lighting
Wild Garlic Catering
Oh how perfect!
Thanks so much to our couple James and Danielle and their photographers Olly and AJ for sharing this gorgeous real wedding story with us all xo Lou