Anthony and I met when I worked in a men’s clothes store in Manchester. Anthony is a professional boxer and was shopping for items for an upcoming competition in Las Vegas. We started to talk during his stay there and met up for a coffee when he got back and have been together ever since. Anthony proposed in Dubai during a sunset safari. It was amazing as I wasn’t expecting it and it was a perfect setting.
Booking Merrydale Manor for our wedding was a no-brainer. The layout of the venue was perfect for how we dreamed the day would flow. We wanted to have each part of the wedding to be separate, but still to tie in together and because Merrydale Manor is an exclusive venue, this worked perfectly as we had use of this whole luxury venue just for our guests and us.
Pulling up at the front gates was a big wow factor for us. We loved the long sweeping driveway on the lead up to the venue and we especially loved the fact it is surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds surrounding the estate. We also loved how new and modern the venue felt but still with a homely feel to it.
Anthony and I wanted the theme of our wedding to be modern yet classic. The colours we chose were white, grey and rose gold, which went well with the décor of the venue and we knew, looking back on pictures, it would never date. Also, the rose gold tied in with my shoes and our wedding bands!
We chose Red Floral (one of Merrydale Manor’s recommended florists) to decorate the venue after seeing their displays at many wedding shows and looking at previous weddings where they had done the floristry. From the first meeting with Matt from Red Floral, we had an idea that we shared with him of what we wanted and right away he envisioned how it was going to look on the day and turned our dreams to reality. To be honest, I am not actually a flower person, but once I saw how amazing the ceremony room looked on the day, I was hoping he had gone as big in the Merrydale Suite… and he did. Which I loved every bit of it.
Anthony and I wanted the wedding to be private and intimate but also a fun and memorable day for our guests too. We left no stones unturned when it came to making sure we had the right balance of entertainment, with every part of it making the atmosphere perfect.
As with any bride, my look was an important part of the day too! My dress was by Riki Dalal Haute Couture. I had seen some of the dresses while out dress shopping with my friend and really wanted to try them out. As soon as I tried my dress on, I knew it was the dress for me. I loved the nude colour against my skin tone, and the detail was something I hadn’t seen before. It fitted me perfectly, and I couldn’t find fault with it so this I knew was definitely the one!
To accessorise, I wore a handmade pearl and crystal hair slide, with some pearl earrings that I borrowed from my aunty. I have always liked them since I was younger, and she gave them to me to wear on the day. I had bought two pairs of shoes (Alaia & Jimmy Choo) as I am so indecisive, but I went with the Jimmy Choo pair as they had a lower heel.
Anthony wore a bespoke suit made by Owen Scott in Huddersfield who is also a friend of his. Our son Jesse also had the same outfit made to match. My bridesmaids looked stunning in their white fitted, off the shoulder fishtail dresses by Kirsty Doyle in Liverpool. They had rose gold shoes and bag to match, and we bought them each a small pair of rose gold diamond earrings which finished their look off perfectly.
Before tying the knot, I got ready at Merrydale Manor in the Bridal Suite and Makeup Room alongside my mum, bridesmaids and son Jesse. Our ceremony took place in the beautiful ceremony room at Merrydale Manor. Becoming newlyweds at Merrydale Manor was terrific. Our ceremony was lovely, and we had input to what we wanted to include in the reading to make it more personalised.
After the ceremony, the drinks reception was held in the gardens and the bar area of Merrydale Manor. Barrett’s Events served peach Bellini’s, strawberry mimosa, prosecco & bottled beers. We had a mixture of canapés including king prawns, mac & cheese balls, Parma ham/melon and sticky sausages which were delicious.
For the wedding breakfast, Barrett’s served a delicious meal with goats’ cheese and caramelised onion tart to start. A seabass or braised lamb shank with honey glazed carrots, asparagus and dauphinoise potatoes for the main course, and dessert was a trio including Eaton mess, lemon meringue pie and chocolate brownie square. The goat’s cheese tart was particularly special!
In the evening we had a variety of burgers, pizzas and cones of chips. We had met up with Matt from Barrett’s several times to go over the menu and make sure it was right. We gave him our ideas, and he included his. He helped us look at what would complement each course and what would work best for everyone, I was sure it would perfect on the day, and it was.
The favourite part of the entire day was when everyone was sat down having the meal, and we just sat back and looked around and everyone having a good day.
We had a cocktail bar in the evening that had a choice of five of our favourite drinks to choose as well as a vodka ice lunge that got drank quite quickly!!
The big part of our plans were centred around the entertainment. We went all out here, from welcoming music, to a roving magician during the wedding breakfast (which was good to break the ice for guests who hadn’t met before), to a cocktail bar outside and then onto live entertainment in the evening. Every bit was perfect, and it set the tone throughout the whole day. Each part of the entertainment side was a surprise for our guests as we kept it a secret. From the fire show, cocktail bar to a photo booth and the amazing singer Lucie Evans. It was what we always wanted, which was for everyone to have the best time and always remember our day.
For our first dance, we chose a song called ‘Sunshine’ by Tieks. We had it remixed to feature a slow start and then to increase the tempo to encourage everyone onto the dancefloor, which they did. We didn’t choreograph it as Anthony has two left feet, so we just freestyled!
The events team at Merrydale Manor went out of their way to help us and Shelley, our event coordinator at Merrydale, made sure everything was in order from start to finish. She always made sure my mind was at ease and helped me with anything I needed. Nothing was too much trouble for her at any stage of the planning. The only thing that didn’t go to plan was us both getting our vows mixed up and everyone laughing. Anthony couldn’t get his wedding ring on due to his hands swelling up which could have made it look like he didn’t want to get married!
The biggest surprise of all was later in the evening when I got on stage with six15 and played the saxophone alongside the DaxOnSax and percussionist, Kami. I had had private lessons for 6 months for this, not even Anthony knew! The guest reactions were brilliant, and something I will never forget.
I would advise any future brides just to enjoy every part of your planning process, don’t let the stress overtake the exciting parts and always go with your vision. You will be amazed at how it all comes together in the end!
Bridesmaids – Kirsty Doyle – www.kirsty-doyle.com
Caterers – Barratt’s Event Caterers – www.barrettseventcaterers.com
Crockery – Whitehouse Crockery – www.eventcrockeryhire.co.uk
Dress – Riki Dalal Couture – www.rikidalal.com
Florist – Red Floral – www.redfloral.co.uk
Lighting – Luminate Events – www.luminate-events.co.uk
Menswear – Owen Scott – www.owenscott.co.uk
Photobooth – Snapcandy booths – www.snapcandybooths.co.uk
Photographer name: Richard Milnes – www.richardmilnesphotography.com
Venue – Merrydale Manor – www.merrydalemanor.com