Ayo and I met through a mutual friend on a night out in London in November 2011 but our paths didn’t cross again until Ayo moved up to Manchester with work in April 2012. Offering to show him the sights and places to go around Manchester, we soon formed a really close friendship. On 9th June 2015, during a holiday to Venice, Ayo got down on one knee and proposed.
Ayo had been planning the proposal for a long time and roped in the help of one of my favourite artists, Jessie Ware, who we’d been to see perform several times together in Manchester and London. They made a short video together and she wished me a happy holiday in Italy and finished with ‘it’s about to get a whole lot better’ to which I turned around to find Ayo on one knee! I was overwhelmed by excitement, shock and pure disbelief that I hadn’t known it was coming. After saying ‘yes’ I had the nagging question in my head – had he asked my Dad? I hadn’t suspected anything from either of them. But Ayo had met with my Dad weeks before and asked for my hand in marriage and it was the icing on the cake. We enjoyed an evening stroll and celebrated our first evening in Venice as an engaged couple with lasagne and prosecco.
Once home we had the excitement of announcing our engagement to all our family and friends, then it was down to business! We started to look for wedding venues in the local area and started to shortlist and decide what were deal breakers for the venue to have. A beautiful setting, on-site accommodation for guests and a local church – Sandhole Oak Barn ticked all these and more.
Initally I visited Sandhole and a few other venues in the area with my Mum so we could shortlist further before Ayo came out to see them. Sandhole was the first we saw and after that, nothing came close. I was in love with the outstanding beauty of the lake, fields, barn, accommodation and the staff. It was the easiest decision and well worth waiting 18 months for a date to become available. Bill gave us details of the local church to contact to see if they would marry us; St James’ the Great, Gawsworth. Bishop William invited us to service on Sunday and again we fell in love with the Church and the surrounding beauty of the church’s grounds. Moreover the congregation made us both feel at home and welcomed. The date we had provisionally booked with Sandhole was also free at the Church, all the planning so far seemed to link and it was becoming too easy! We paid the deposit and it was official, we were getting married on 13th May 2017 – which also happened to be my birthday! What better way to celebrate than with all your family and close friends, and to get the best present of all – a husband.
Next came the fun of trying on wedding dresses and my Mum and bridesmaids loved choosing and discussing the different designs. We visited Timeless Bride in Poynton and felt immediately welcomed by Janine. Soon the search was over. It was obvious to us all that this was ‘the’ dress. We celebrated that afternoon with lunch and prosecco. The following day I went back to Timeless Bride with my Mum to try it on again, just to make sure I still felt the same way as I had done the previous day. The dress was by a Dutch designer ‘Modeca’ and as my late Grandma was Dutch it felt like a sign and a blessing that this was definitely the dress to buy.
Ayo was fully involved in all the wedding preparations and I would often find him glued to Pinterest searching for different styles of ideas he had had to decorate the venue. Little things that would set our day apart from anyone else’s and before we knew it the plans were coming together.
Our theme was lavender, wood and lace. I have always loved the smell of lavender so we introduced it to our invitations, place settings and flowers. Lily Rose Events provided the breathtaking blossom trees and flowers at Sandhole and the smell of lavender was present at every turn. The blossom trees were tall and elegant, perfect with the high beams and gave that natural effect we wanted.
As Sandhole is so beautiful, we wanted to embrace the natural setting and wood effect throughout our design of the tables and personalised stationery. We made the invitations, decorated the place settings, made confetti cones and pew ends ourselves with a mini production line in our lounge. We also had fun writing a biography of each person in the wedding party to go in the Order of Service, which no one saw until the rehearsal the evening before.
Top Table and Lakeview Bar were instrumental in our plans and they both could not do enough to help. We had the pleasure of having our first tasting with Keeley from Top Table and right from the start we clicked. Our wedding breakfast decision came easily and we’ve had so many comments on the quality of the meal. Keeley felt like another member of our wedding party rather than her just doing her job. Sara from Lakeview Bar was equally as helpful and Ayo and I both really liked the idea of providing signature cocktails for our guests. Sara suggested we have a cocktail hour in the evening as our reception guests arrived. The ‘His’ and ‘Her’ cocktails definitely got everyone in the mood for dancing the night away.
Music has always been a big part of both our lives, so much so that we named our tables after concerts that we had been to together over the course of our relationship. Manchester Sing Out Choir was also our first booking after Sandhole and Gawsworth Church. We knew we loved them from the very first time we saw them perform and everyone commented on how incredible they were making the church service even more special.
Our evening entertainment was provided by The Rush. Planning the wedding was so much fun as we got to see them perform at a number of venues and over time got to know Gavin. We were relaxed about the music they would play as we hadn’t been to a gig where they hadn’t blown us away. They didn’t disappoint on the night either and the danclefloor was always full. It’s common knowledge I love a photobooth, so it was no surprise to our guests that we invited Picabo Photography to come in the evening and set up a mobile campervan converted into a fun photobooth. It was loved by all and gave us some funny memories of the kids and the adults acting like kids!
Rebecca Reville was our videographer and Dan Vernon our photographer. They had worked together before and had a great working relationship which we witnessed first hand on the day. The last thing you want is the videographer and photographer getting in each other’s way and trying to climb over each other for the best shot. There was none of this and they were a pleasure to have around us on the day. The photos we have seen so far are natural and as Dan and Rebecca were so amazing, they definitely brought the best out in us both and our personality.
Ayo and I were so lucky with everyone we worked with to make our wedding day so special. Seeing all our family and close friends with constant smiles on their faces and enjoying every aspect of the day was the best feeling. We could not have asked for our day to be more perfect.
Thank you for making our day so special:
Venue: Sandhole Oak Barn
Church: St James’ the Great Church, Gawsworth
Brides Dress: Modeca from Timeless Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Chi Chi London
Groomswear: Best Man, Stockport
Photography: Dan Vernon Weddings
Videographer: Rebecca Reville
Caterers: Top Table Wedding & Events