One of the perks of having a wedding blog is being able to blog your friend’s weddings. You can see some others I’ve shared on the blog here, here and here. I’ve been excited to share this wedding of a Northern groom marrying his Southern bride, for ages and now it’s here! I met Dan when I was at university in Worcester. I was a fresher while he and Kirsty were a couple of years above me. Dan and I kept in touch after uni and he’s now a married man to his beautiful wife. I asked Kirsty a few questions and all the answers are in her own words.
When and where did you guys meet?
“We met almost 9 years ago on msn through a friend at Worcester University. We had met a couple of times but when I slipped in the Student Union bar and broke my wrist, I went home (as I didn’t know it was broken) and Dan came over to look after me. We stayed up (me in agony) chatting all night long and he took me to A & E the next morning… We have been inseparable since!”
Where was your first date and what did you do?
“Well I suppose it was Worcester A&E Department! …Followed by a McDonalds stop on the way home as ‘my treat’ to say thanks for taking me to hospital!”
“After 7 years of waiting patiently, Dan surprised me with a long weekend in Iceland the week before Christmas, 2014. As soon as he announced we were going away for the weekend, I just knew. (So I had a manicure!!!)
He’d had it all planned for weeks and had made the 3.5 hour journey from Milton Keynes to my Dad’s down in Devon to ask for my hand in marriage (completely unbeknownst to me). In Iceland, he had it all planned out. We saw the Northern Lights, we swam and drank beer in the blue lagoon, and we got out adrenaline pumping in an off-road (mountain / glacier) private jeep tour, all whilst staying in an amazing hotel.
Whilst experiencing the Northern Lights, I went into a little cafe to get us both a hot chocolate to warm up from the cold snow outside. When I came outside, Dan had flattened a patch of snow for me to sit on on a picnic bench and proceeded to get down onto one knee and tell me that he had recently been down to Devon to see my Dad. He then shone his phone torch onto the snow beside us where he had written ‘WILL YOU MARRY ME?’ … I looked back at him where he was holding the most perfect and most beautiful ring, which fit perfectly! The whole thing was everything I could have ever dreamed of and so much more.”
How long did it take you to organise the wedding?
“We got engaged on 18th December 2014 and we wed on 6th February 2016; so just over a year. For us it was the perfect time to plan. We did lots of the main planning very quickly, in the space of a few weeks over Christmas. We viewed a few venues whilst home in Somerset, as we knew we wanted to get married there.
In this time we had booked the date, venue, photographer Brad Wakefield (I went to school with Brad and have always said I wanted him to photograph my wedding one day!), and the band ‘I Love Amp’ (who we saw when out in Devon one night with friends a year or so before we got engaged and said they’d make a great wedding band!).
We then didn’t secure much more for a while (but I continued planning a lot, and loved every minute!) until nearer the date (nearer the end of 2015) when we did loads more. Over Christmas 2015 we crammed a lot of DIY wedding bits in. We wanted to do a lot ourselves and had the time (& skill I think between us) to save some pennies and make things a bit more personal, such as save the dates, invites, table plan, place names, bridesmaid goody bags etc.”
What were the easiest and trickiest things to organise?
“As we have an extended modern day family, we found the head table to be probably the trickiest thing to plan and make a decision on whilst trying to keep the majority happy (never everybody!) I had envisaged just wanted our mums and dads, maid of honour and best man, but we ended up agreeing on parents AND partners, and maid of honour and best man as we listened to how our parents felt and met somewhere in be middle! This turned out to be absolutely fine and in fact it was lovely to have everyone all together and for them to enjoy the day as much as we did.
A lot of people had warned us that table planning is one of the hardest things, however we found this pretty easy. It worked out well with our guests as we pretty much had a large table worth of couples and a large table worth of solo friends. Then most of our family members were in groups to fit round tables too.
The easiest bit was probably booking the photographer and band. We felt so lucky to be able to book our first choices for each. We messaged Brad as soon as we got engaged pre-empting a rough time frame that we would be getting married as we wanted to ensure he was free on the date before we secured it. We emailed the band and they soon replied to confirm they were available on our date. It was all meant to be!”
Where was the ceremony held, and why did you pick it?
“We always wanted a rustic wedding. A Manor House or a church wasn’t ‘us’. Neither of us are religious and we felt whilst getting wed in a Church is lovely and traditional (& you can’t beat the bells), it wouldn’t be right, nor us.
A barn conversion was perfect, and we wanted a place in Somerset, as that is where I am from. We originally toyed with the idea of getting married abroad, possibly Italy, but with my grandparents getting older and frailer it was a pretty easy decision to have it at home where all of our loved ones could share it with us.
We viewed three venues all on one day, on 30/12/14. The Tythe Barn at Priston Mill in Bath, Somerset was the second of the three we viewed and we both fell in love with the place the moment we drove in. It had everything we wanted and more. The rules were relaxed, the price was good and the space was fab. We had a civil ceremony followed by the reception all in the same place.”
Where did the dress come from, and how did you pick it?
“My maid of honour and I went dress shopping on two separate occasions to 2 different shops. We found the shop I ended up buying from at a wedding show in Milton Keynes shopping centre. I was torn between two… Both the same shape but one was very delicate and was covered in a beautiful ivory lace over a rose gold / coffee colour underlay, the other (which I went for) had more of the wow factor in my eyes, and I could stop looking at it.
It was a little bit gatsby style and had a rose gold underlay wit Ivory beading all over, in patterns that gave my boyish figure more shape, especially around the waist. I fell in love with it the moment I put it on, and couldn’t take my eyes off the detail and overall shape. I felt it went with our venue and theme perfectly- the beading would catch the light of the candles and sparkle, and it wasn’t big and princessy, which I never wanted.
I had always envisaged a long sleeve lace number with a low back,and never wanted a strapless dress as I have a small bust and thought strapless suited a bigger bust, but out of all the dresses I tried on, I loved the strapless ones the best. It definitely pays to try on ones outside your comfort zone or ones that’s the shop pick out for you. I had gone past my dress on the rail but the lady at the shop picked it out after I had described what I was looking for, and on it looked amazing!”
Tell us anything else about the bride’s hair, jewellery, make-up et al
“Me and my maid of honour, my mum & her best friend all had a day out to the National Wedding Show at the NEC in Birmingham in March 2015. When we went home for Christmas in 2014 having just got engaged my mum and her fiancé of 7 years announced that they had in fact been secretly planning their wedding too, and had set the date for 28/06/15! So both of us went to the show as brides to be with our besties.
I bought a beautiful silver with pearls and diamanté headband for across my forehead. It went perfectly with my dress as it matches the pattern and my dress had pearl beading and was also a little bit Gatsby again. I had also decided on pearl earrings, which I had got from Pandora. My hubby-to-be then got me a beautiful delicate small pearl Tiffany & Co bracelet for Christmas 2015 and then one of my wedding morning gifts from him were a pair of Tiffany & Co large pearl stud earrings to wear on the day. They were perfect. Such a thoughtful gift- something I can treasure and a statement piece to compliment my bridal accessories. I didn’t want a necklace as I thought it would be too much with the headpiece.
From early on I had decided to have red lips and red nails (hands and feet). I love this combination and thought it would be a little different to the usual French mani / pedi. I loved it and a few people commented. My hair I always prefer down, so despite having a trial with it up, I felt much better with it down, and didn’t want too neat an up do, so went for a 40’s -esque curled side-swept look. I loved it.”
What about the groom’s outfit?
“I had a say in this one… I said I think it would look great with the theme / venue etc. if you wore tweed-effect suits. Dan was a little apprehensive at first as he said ‘just farmers wear tweed’ and he isn’t a farmer!! I then reminded him that we were getting married in the countryside in a barn! He quickly came round to the idea and we looked at suits online and out shopping together. We looked at brown and green tweed. He mentioned blue but without giving away what I was wearing I said it wouldn’t really go! With my rose gold underlay and lots of foliage in the flowers I thought brown or green would compliment perfectly.
Right from the beginning Dan was very set on having him and his groomsmen (2 dads, my brother & 3 of his best friends) in identical outfits from head to toe. The same collars, the same cuff links, the same socks and shoes! We ended up finding great suits on ASOS, which came out really affordable in comparison to what we might have paid in a suit shop. We ordered the matching trousers, waistcoat and jackets (with tan buttons) and then the white shirts, tan brogues and brown socks all online. A couple of the groomsmen had alterations but all in all it was a fairly straightforward process! They all wore skinny ties and matching pocket squares from ASOS too, which were in a darker blush colour (similar tot he underlay of my dress). We had our nephew as a page boy and he wore little trousers and shirt, with beige braces and a mini blush bow tie to match the men’s ties.”
What did the bridesmaids wear?
“My beautiful Bridesmaids wore high street dresses which took me so long to get find!! I must have spent hours and hours looking through every clothes website you can imagine. I wanted a blush colour to compliment the rose gold underlay of my dress. It proved a tricky colour to find that was also a style to suite each of my maids. I didn’t want them to have long dresses as I thought this would be a better contrast against my long dress. I had to bear in mind it was a winter wedding though.
In the end I went for dresses that were just above the knee (Jane Norman). They were a very pale blush colour with a floral ivory crochet overlay on the top half with a floaty skirt. They went with my dress so well; I was really pleased and they all liked them. I bought them each a cream pashmina (Pasha – local independent shop in Buckingham) to cover up if it was cold (which apart from walking in through the rain they didn’t use in the end, despite my worry of everyone being freezing cold!). I had the dresses altered to fit them all perfectly, and my seamstress also added an ivory ribbon around the middle to be tied in a bow at the back to make them a bit more Bridal.”
I chose gold shimmer heeled open toed shoes (from Next) which I could just envisage glistening in the candlelight, suiting the theme perfectly. Lastly, we bought them all pearl drop earrings and a pearl bracelet, both from Oliver Bonas as a Wedding Morning ‘Thank you’ gift and for them to wear on the day. They had natural looking makeup with a bit of blush (to match mine) and a hint of brown eye shadow. They used a red balmy lipstick (Revlon), which was a subtler version to my striking raspberry red lipstick (Dior). Our flower girls wore ivory / gold dresses which I added ivory ribbons around the middle to match the adults. They also each had blush and gold shoes, ivory tights, cream cardigans and a little ivory bow for their hair. So cute!
I had arranged for all of my Bridesmaids to have manis and pedis the evening before, with French polish. A couple of ladies came to my Mum’s house (where we all got ready) and pampered them. Like Dan, I wanted everything matching! Nothing worse I feel than bridesmaids with all different coloured nails or unpainted toes!
My cousin Debbie who used to work for L’Oreal did all of our hair, including my Mum’s. I wanted all the bridesmaids to have their hair up, again, in contrast to me having mine down. I wanted their hair to look natural and not too perfect / neat. I just said for them each to have a plait as a ‘theme’. She did them all up with plaits at the side, and a bit tousled, they looked fab.”
What was your wedding theme, if any?
Blush, copper, romantic, candlelit, rustic and relaxed
What flowers did you have for your bouquet, and where from?
“Our flowers were all from ‘Flowers by Passion’, which are a local florist to our venue in Bath. They were amazing from start to finish. Dan and I met up with them when we had our tasting day at the wedding venue. We met with a lady called Erin who did a great job of talking us through everything and listening to our ideas, looking at our inspirational photos etc.
I wanted lots of foliage, nothing too neat. I didn’t like posy type neat bouquets, I preferred flowing wild flowers with lots of leaves trailing out. I loved asparagus fern and dusty miller. I also loved peach peonies but they were out of season so they put in a similar looking rose. I had seen a photo of a bouquet with a splash of a rich raspberry red, which I fell in love with. I thought this would compliment my nails and lips and give a splash of a rich colour. Something a bit different. The florists used a red piano rose for this.
We also said we’d like poppies as our anniversary of getting together is 11th November (poppy day) and thought his would be a nice personal touch. Apparently however, poppies are not bouquet-friendly and therefore they suggested anemones, which we had, white ones.
They also had very lightweight silk ribbons hanging to the floor from my bouquet, which picked out colours of the day, such as blush and ivory. We also had pheasant feathers in all of the arrangements that looked pretty cool and we had lots of compliments.
I had an idea of what I wanted in my head, and the flowers were literally 100 times better than I could have ever imagined. They were so beautiful and I just wanted to keep looking at them. It was such a shame we went on our mini moon to Paris the following day so I didn’t get to appreciate them after the wedding! My mum has pressed and dried some for me though so I can keep them forever.
The groomsmen and my Granddad had mini versions of the flowers as buttonholes, with little feathers and were tied with twine. Dan had a white rose, as he is from Sheffield and a white rose is the symbol of Yorkshire.
The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet without the splash of red. Our mums and my Nan had corsages. We had foliage garlands along the top rail of the balcony and on the head table, and then we had green, brown and clear bottles with flowers in scattered around, along with slabs of wood (that my dad had made) and lots of candles for centrepieces / general decoration. We had a few copper lanterns too. A local shop in Buckingham (Secret Messages Interiors) kindly loaned us lots of tea light holders, lanterns, crates for signs etc. for free as a wedding gift!
We made the crates into signs for the order or service and a list of our special dates. We made the table plan board ourselves with a big back board and stuck one pennies all over it (copper!) and had brass photo frames hanging off it with our table plan printed onto the brown card we used for our save the dates and invites, and in the same text. Our tables were each called a different year that we had been together 2007-2016. We had a photo of us from each year in frames on each tables as table name signs.
For our favours, I home made chutney. ‘Henderson’s relish’ is the Yorkshire equivalent to Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, which goes perfectly with cheddar cheese. I’m from Cheddar! So what better than a little Kilner jar filled with homemade Henderson’s relish chutney to enjoy with a lump of cheddar! We printed the labels ourselves with the ingredients in the same style as our wedding stationary. We also put an empty Henderson’s relish bottle on each table with a flower in, amongst the other bottles. The Groomsmen each had mini Henderson’s Relish bottle cufflinks. We wanted these little touches of stuff personal to us. We hope people noticed as a lot of thought went into it, and we both loved doing it all. My work colleague gave us a huge slab of a tree cut down in her garden, which my Dad sanded and we used it as our wedding cake stand. It was a bit heart shaped!
A local roadside carver did us a medium sized piece of wood, which had the rings really evident. They burned our ‘symbol’ of K & D with cross bows (which we had on our wedding stationary) and the wedding date in the middle of the wood. We had this for our guests to sign messages to us, and got them to write within the rings.”
Who made the cake, and was it a hit?
“My step-sister Jenny makes cakes for a hobby and a bit of a home-run sideline business ‘Mount Road Bakes’. She did an amazing job, making exactly what we wanted and exceeded our expectations on how spectacular it looked and tasted!!
Again, we wanted personal – so we had a Victoria sponge base with Cheddar strawberry jam, a Nutella chocolate middle tier, and then a lemon drizzle top tier with Gin icing (I have a reputation for loving Gin!!). It went down a storm and so many guests passed comment on and after the day. Dan and I like eskimos; it has always been ‘our thing’ so we got a little kissing Eskimos ornament from eBay and used it as a cake topper.”
Tell me about anything else interesting or unusual on the day.
“The weather! We chose a winter wedding, as we didn’t want to choose a summer date and then be disappointed when it wasn’t sunny, so we decided on a winter wedding. A few people reacted strangely to this and asked why we would pick such a miserable time of year and what if it snows etc. Well, we chose the 6th of February it is 3 days after Dan’s birthday and a week before Valentine’s Day, the sun goes down early so we can have a candlelit wedding breakfast, more people will be able to make it as not everyone’s on summer holidays!
We had been reassured by the venue that if it snowed the local roads to the local villages would be ploughed. We organised wedding insurance pretty much for this reason alone and to be honest it was my main worry of the day that snow would stop people coming. Little did we know that rain would in fact play a big part!! No snow, but constant torrential rain causing localised flooding. The sweet quaint winding narrow country lanes soon became flooded and only one of two access roads to the venue was useable!
My Dad drove me and him in his vintage Jag, which had it been a few hours later probably wouldn’t have made it through. My step-mum came in a Land Rover as back up! The band were late due to detours due to floods, but luckily when they did arrive, all our friends helped them bring their gear in and set up which made up for lost time. The band (I love Amp, from Plymouth) were fantastic. We always said we’d have a live band to get our loved ones up and dancing!
We also had a student, Joe Merri who I found on Facebook; I saw his name in a local wedding blog In fact. He played acoustic guitar and sang. He played some of his own music and some songs we asked him to learn. He was so good and so many people said how great he was. He played during people arriving, the signing of the register and also whilst we had photos taken.”
What part of your wedding was the most memorable?
“Walking down the aisle with my Dad and seeing Dan at the other end. No question. The emotion I felt was something I will always remember and something I can’t imagine feeling again. Holding back tears, having everyone we love in one room, feeling proud and lucky to have my Dad walk me down the aisle to my future Husband.”
Photographer: School friend, Brad Wakefield
Flowers: Flowers by passion
Band: I love amp
Acoustic guitarist / singer: Joe Merri
Venue: Priston Mill
Cake, my step sister Jenny Evans: Mount Road Bakes
Wedding Dress: Dress Bought from:
Regardez Vous Bridal
Brides shoes: Kurt Geiger
Brides jewellery: Tiffany and Co
Bridesmaid dresses: Jane Norman
Bridesmaids shoes: NEXT
Bridesmaids jewellery: Oliver Bonas
Make-up artist: Friend:Gemma Laverick
Hair: Cousin Debbie Levy at Maytree Salon, Rodney Stoke, Somerset
Suits, ties and men’s shoes: ASOS
Lanterns, tea light holders, crate signs etc: Secret Messages Interiors – Bespoke, Quirky & Unique