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Winter Wonderland

“We wanted a photographer who could blend in with our guests and truly capture their enjoyment, as well as ours.  We found Lisa Aldersley”.

I had moved to Newcastle from Sheffield a few months before I met Martin.  He was visiting friends in Newcastle, and I was out with friends who were visiting me.  It was just before Christmas and we kept in touch over the festive period and met up again in the New Year.  We spent the next two years travelling up and down the A1 every weekend, before we made the decision that I would move back to Sheffield to set up home together.

Martin proposed whilst we were on a weekend break in the Lake District.  I had no idea he had it planned for that weekend.  I got a surprise when I opened the rucksack, and found a small box that was not meant for my eyes at that particular moment!  Martin’s plan to ask me at a beauty spot somewhere along our walk was shelved!  A quiet street in Ambleside had to do!  I was thrilled, and insisted on wearing the ring, despite it being far too big for me.

That Christmas, we sent our proposed guests save the date cards in Christmas crackers.  We wanted to get married the following year, at Christmas time because it is such a lovely time of year.  You don’t have to worry about bad weather as it is a given.  You just hope for a crisp cold day with snow on the hills (fortunately, what we were got!).  We gave our guests plenty of notice, and it seemed to fit in with the festive tone of our wedding.  It also marked the beginning of the next twelve months of planning!

We both had an idea of the type of venue we wanted.  We had looked at several, but there was only ever one contender – Hassop Hall.  When we went to look around, we instantly knew it was the one.  The grounds are stunning and the house oozed charm and beauty.  We particularly liked the two separate buildings we could use.  The ballroom was where the marriage ceremony takes place, and the main house was where the reception takes place.  It made a distinction between the two parts of the day.  It was our first choice, sealed with both our parents’ approval!  The year before our wedding, we went to visit Hassop Hall at Christmas time, which got me very excited.  It was so tastefully decorated and the open fires added to the atmosphere.  Later in the year, we visited again with our families to sample the food and wine.  It was from this visit that we picked our menu of poached salmon, citrus sorbet, roast Aylesbury duckling with bread and butter pudding to finish. It was faultless.

I was so excited when we got engaged; I spent hours looking at dresses on the internet, so I had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted.  However, I was surprised when I tried that style on that I didn’t get the wow factor!  From then on, I decided to try many different types of dresses, from big meringues to sleek fishtails.  I had visited a few shops; it was from a recommendation that I visited Emily’s in Sheffield.  She didn’t disappoint.  I went with my sister; we had fun trying every possible style.  Emily got involved and offered some great advice.  It sounds cliché but you know when you find your dress.  It was one of the most exciting feelings.  I knew it was definitely the one when I took my mum to see it.  Her face lit up in a way it hadn’t done with any other.

As favourite colour is blue, I thought that a midnight blue colour scheme would be perfect for a winter wedding at Christmas.  It was different from the traditional colours associated with that time of year.  I found Marie, a fabulous florist from Millie’s Floral Boutique.  She listened to what I wanted, and had some brilliant suggestions to enhance my ideas.  We talked about the flowers that would be in season, and how we could incorporate some of the traditional Christmas foliage.  She advised me to use steel berries, which were a midnight blue colour.  They looked fabulous with the white hyacinths in the bridesmaids’ bouquets, the centrepieces, and my bouquet of phalaenopsis orchids.  The bridesmaids’ dresses were midnight blue and the white hyacinths worked well with them.  They smelt fabulous!

Finding a photographer who would tell the story of our day was a challenge.  We both knew that we did not want to spend the majority of our day posing for photographs; we wanted a photographer who could blend in with our guests and truly capture their enjoyment, as well as ours.  We found Lisa Aldersley.  The information on her website ticked all the boxes.  Once we met her, we knew she would be the perfect photographer to capture the true essence of the day, without it being contrived.  Lisa gave us great advice without being intrusive.  We now have a photo album which truly tells the story of our day.

Abbie, from Butterflies and Angels, created a wonderful cake.  It was covered in white icing and tiny white flowers.  We could not decide on a flavour of sponge, so we opted for different flavoured tiers.  As it was so close to Christmas, I was unsure if we would find someone to make our cake.  It was not a problem for Abbie; she spent her Christmas baking and decorating our cake!  It had taken her hours to put on those little flowers!

I spent the night before the wedding with my two sisters, who were my bridesmaids.  Martin stayed at his parents’ house.  That night we watched girly films and drank bubbly.  It didn’t register that it was the night before one of the biggest days of my life until the dresses were delivered, and we took them out of the dress bags.  My sisters could not resist trying theirs on, but it didn’t seem right to put on my dress, so I resisted.  I thought differently the next day, when it became a family event to fasten me up!

My sisters and I got ready at Hassop Hall, as did my mum and dad.  Polly Jenson came to Hassop Hall to do our hair and make up (Dad excluded!).  It had been a busy morning.  It wasn’t until I sat down to have my make up done an hour before the ceremony, that the excitement I felt became mixed with nerves.  I remember a moment when Polly, Lisa and I were the only ones in the room and it was very quiet.  My dad was brilliant.  I was very glad he was there to calm my nerves, which disappeared once I walked down the aisle towards Martin.

The day went quickly without any hitches.  The string quartet was perfect; the children loved dancing to their Christmas repertoire.  The mulled wine kept the guests warm on a cold snowy day when they braved a group photograph outside!  We organised the speeches either side of the wedding breakfast, which worked well.  My dad took to the floor before dinner, which meant he could relax and enjoy his duckling.  Martin and his brother, who was the best man, had to wait a little longer.  The staff at Hassop Hall was very attentive during the dinner service, and were accommodating with the children and their meals.  We received many compliments with regards to the food and staff.  It was lovely to hear.

Before the wedding, I kept being told to enjoy the day, not to worry about a thing and that it all goes very fast.  I want to say a big thank you to everyone who played a part in the day.  We had a fabulous time and didn’t worry about a thing.  As for it going fast – it does!  That is why we are very glad we found Lisa.  She captured the day perfectly, and now, we can relive the memories and experience the little things we missed.

Suppliers list for Winter Wonderland

  • Venue – Hassop Hall – 01629 640488
  • Photographer – Lisa Aldersley – 01204 407149

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