It is said that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful experiences a couple will go through – the endless amount of appointments, consultations and of course ultimately, the expense that usually follows.
Therefore, it was a pretty remarkable and somewhat pleasing surprise when the months ahead of the Big Day went by with relative ease.
Laura and I met just over 7 years ago. We worked in the same office building but rarely bumped into one another. An embarrassing encounter with getting stuck in a turnstile around a year later, led to us engaging over social media and romance blossomed from there.
I proposed in the Lake District back in 2018, and we then went about putting plans together immediately, visiting Crewe Hall on our return journey.
Crewe Hall played a significant role in making this day exactly what we had hoped for. It had always been the setting in mind – its stunning décor and period features were the exact backdrop we wanted for our day. This was probably the easiest decision we had to make throughout the planning process.
The time frame between proposal and wedding day was relatively short – 10 months to be exact – so this left little time to put our plans into motion. We secured our date as a first step and this then paved the way for the rest of our plans to fall into place.
The usual “B” word (budget) was frequently aired during our many appointments and it was quite clear we would have to prioritise certain elements over others.
The venue would have however been a compromise too far. Therefore, with this secured, it was then my job as the groom and budget planner, to try and deliver both the day of our dreams whilst ensuring costs were kept in check. Thankfully, very supportive parents meant we were able to get the venue plus a bit leftover for the rest.
Given the size of the venue, our guest list was relatively moderate in comparison. We elected for 70 day guests and 100 evening guests, meaning we could strike the balance between having the people there that really mattered, whilst keeping it relatively intimate.
The seating plan probably posed the greatest amount of stress; devoting hours matching personalities of people who don’t know each other to ensure they’ll be able to tolerate a few hours together over our wedding breakfast. Thankfully, we noticed conversation seemed to flow throughout, given we spent most of the breakfast observing each table in the hope everybody was mingling and getting on. It was a God send that family feuds are kept to a minimum in our family!
Flowers were a bit of an obscure one, as neither Laura nor I are particularly knowledgeable in this field. Laura had a pretty fixed idea on colour scheme, so we contacted a local florist who talked us through some packages.
We were able to agree a very sensible quotation by assembling a very effective arrangement, meaning the flowers were inexpensive whilst looking full-bodied.
Candelabras were an absolute must. Therefore, having plenty of foliage certainly had the desired effect. It was also suggested to us to recycle as many flowers as we could – clearly a wedding means people are directed to different rooms throughout the day and therefore will rarely see one arrangement again. This proved to be a useful tip.
Once again, the venue certainly helped to compliment the arrangements as the high ceiling and delicate decoration needed plenty of height, which the arrangements certainly delivered on. The navy and blush pink colour scheme looked stunning, so we tried to keep it consistent throughout the table stationery and managed to match it with the groomsmen’s suits too.
Our cake designer was also given the same spec and she delivered it to a tee – a three-tiered cake of assorted fillings. It made for a stunning centre piece in the bay window of the long gallery as well!
Helen – our photographer – did an incredible job of capturing our day perfectly. We were complimented throughout on how comfortable she made everyone feel whilst retaining the control and organisation needed to ensure people were where they need to be, which is no mean feat when 70 people are wandering around a 17th century estate!
Helen had knowledge of the venue and had shot plenty of weddings there before which we felt was important. She knew all the right shots, angles and captured some natural moments that reflected our day perfectly. One of the biggest compliments given was by a family member, who said she had never ‘felt the love’ at a wedding like she had on that day. To hear that felt so special and the photographs illustrated that so perfectly.
The wedding itself was a bit of a weekend event for us. My family live in each corner of the UK. Therefore, we deemed it would feel more special if we were to have a pre-wedding soirée to include family that had travelled far and wide in a more casual environment.
Crewe Hall had provided us with access to one of their function rooms and it allowed us to settle into the venue and enjoy the build up without the rush of travelling to and from the venue.
Laura and I sort of broke tradition and spent the evening before together until she disappeared with her entourage at around 9pm. From thereon-in, the nerves began to ramp up. The following morning, Laura had arranged breakfast room service whilst I joined the rest of the family that had traveled up.
We don’t meet as often as we should, therefore this really gave us all an opportunity to catch up, so I felt it lessened the pressure on the day itself. My Best Man and I went for a stroll around the gardens as we talked through the order of the day, and then headed off to get ready mid-morning.
Our ceremony was scheduled for 2.00pm, so enough time to get ready and sink a quick shot of Whiskey to settle me down. As people started to arrive, what really resonated with me was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that so many people wanted to share our day with us.
The Wedding party all met in the bar and had a swift one before the ceremony, with time accelerating as we neared 2pm. As I stood at the front, Laura’s Bridesmaids (and Bridesman) emerged and in the corner of my eye, all I could see was a stunning white dress making its way closer.
It was the most surreal feeling and emotion took over. Laura had selected music that was obscure; we wanted pieces that had probably never been used before to avoid clichés and these elements really combined to create a wonderful moment.
We completed our vows – then I had the challenge of trying to place the ring on Laura’s finger gracefully. We made our way to the front to sign the registry book with a sea of beaming faces in front of us. The order of the day then seemed to fast-forward in front of our eyes; you try and take each moment in whilst ensuring you’re meeting your obligatory duties.
We completed our photographs on the lawn and made our way inside to setup the greeting line. We were very conscious that we were unlikely to speak to everybody during the day, so felt this was a fantastic opportunity to ensure we managed to greet everybody and more importantly, thank them for everything they had done.
Speeches followed – including an embarrassing anecdote or two from the best man including photographs – and then it felt the pressure was lifted from our shoulders. The evening party began and as the first chord of The Killers’ Mr. Brightside was struck, Laura & I took a moment aside and realised that the day had been precisely what we wanted it to be. Family, friends and the amazing people that contributed to the day, made it just that.
Cake – CE Cake Design – www.cecakedesign.com
Dress – The Dressing Rooms – www.thedressingroomsbridal.co.uk
Florist – Lavendar Florist – www.lavendarflorist.co.uk
Menswear – – Peter Posh – www.peterposh.co.uk
Photographer – Helen Williams Photography – www.helenwilliamsphotography.co.uk
Venue – Crewe Hall – www.crewehallcheshire.co.uk