Our first date was typical of us as a couple, we went for a walk on a cold, rainy January day in 2014, along Tynemouth beach and up the coast (I’m not a big fan of any of these, whereas Matt loves nothing more as a keen surfer).
After several months of a long distance relationship with me in Newcastle finishing my degree and Matt in Manchester. I eventually moved back home to Manchester and then bought our first home together. After nearly 4 years together, whilst on a last minute trip to the lake district at Christmas, Matt proposed on a this time snowy walk up to Tarn Hows near Coniston which was a total surprise!
We decided we wanted to have a relatively short engagement and jumped straight into wedding planning by the next week. We found a few wedding open days of nearby venues and the first place we visited was Sandhole Oak barn.
Safe is to say, it was a very hard place to follow as we both had fallen in love with the venue straight away. This was only made stronger when we stood in the spot you say ‘I do’ and saw the view! The lake ahead of you is truly wonderful. With its onsite rooms at the Farmhouse for our guests we couldn’t think of a more perfect place to get married.
We visited lots of wedding fairs on weekends, which we found was a great way of speaking to suppliers and found our cake maker there – For Goodness Cake, who gave us some delicious samples and came to our house to do a tasting. We went for a semi naked 3 tier cake with lemon and raspberry layers, dressed with real flowers and a gold Mr & Mrs Dobson topper.
Flowers were an important part of our wedding, as we felt they would create the pretty and soft theme that we wanted. They included a lot of Helen’s Nana & Grandmas favourites which they had grown in the past were something we tried to include in as much of the wedding as possible. We wanted it to have personality and little touches of our family and friends within it.
We chose a florist called Flower Design Events, and our flowers included roses, alstroemerias, peonies, sweet peas, fresh jasmine and eucalyptus. They had been designed to look a little wild and softly gathered, with my bouquet being held together with hand dyed silks from Silk & Purl in tones to match the bridesmaids.
My dress was from a bridal boutique called Lu Lu Browns in a small village near Clitheroe called Whalley, which ironically was where my grandparents had been to buy their wedding outfits for my parents wedding 28 years before!
The dress was named ‘Erin’ by Justin Alexander and was framed with a soft floor length veil and gold leaf comb.
The colour scheme of the wedding was reflected in our wedding stationary, we chose Hannah from Knock Knock Penny studio, who painted flowers like in My bouquet, with a gold foil line drawing of the venue featured on the front. Hannah also put together our menu and place cards and helped create our ‘order of the day’ board which I had asked one of my bridesmaids to draw the illustrations for.
In the months leading up to our wedding, we tried to do as many homemade elements ourselves. Making signs leading up the drive which gave the first date, the “Yes” date and the best date. It was this sort of thing and visiting the wedding suppliers that we enjoyed the most in the lead up to the wedding and they are some of the memories we will always have.
The day of our wedding came around quickly, it brought a beautiful sunny day with a sunrise and sunset to match. After bringing our families all together the day before. I stayed at Sandhole with my bridesmaids and got ready in their gorgeous bridal room which is like a girly heaven! The bridesmaids wore dresses by Rewritten, in soft pink and grey tones and we all had our hair done by Maria, from Jane Alexandra Hairdressing. Our makeup was by Lauren Shaw.
Both ladies helped give us all a fabulous experience getting ready for the big day!
Tony Higginson our photographer, was there from early morning as he is a documentary style photographer. He shot everything as it happened and nothing was staged. This made us all feel a little more relaxed, as it can be daunting having so many people focused on you! It also meant we got some really special pictures of our family and friends.
Matt and the groomsmen wore dark navy three-piece suits by Marks and Spencer with ties and pocket handkerchiefs from Mrs Bow Tie with a Liberty London Print on them.
We were married at 2pm in an intimate ceremony, by the lovely Catherine from Your Ceremony, who we felt was very warm and genuine. We had readings from friends and family and were walked in by one of our nieces who made a very sweet flower girl!
This was followed by drinks and canapes in front of the lake, served by our wedding caterers Top Table, who were extremely helpful and organised throughout the wedding day and the planning beforehand.
Our tables were dressed with fresh flowers, with favours of homemade jam by Matt’s parents. The tables were named after places that meant something to us both which were then illustrated in watercolour by Helen’s mum, all touches that we thought made the day our own.
We had a delicious wedding breakfast and some great speeches, followed by live music from Matt’s dad and friend. We had decided to surprise our guests and learn a dance routine for our first dance with the patience of our dance teacher Fiona from Top Table. It had the desired affect and was then followed by our band The Rush, who got everyone involved in having a dance and sing along! We had photo booth fun from Boothtube, which was very easy to use and was never empty the whole night!
Our day truly was the best time of our lives and having all our friends and family there with us made it so special, we have some fantastic memories and we are excited for our next chapter!
Cake – For Goodness Cake – www.forgoodnesscake.net
Caterer – Top Table Wedding & Events – www.top-table.co.uk
Dress – Lu Lu Browns – www.lulu-browns.com
Photobooth – Boothtube – www.boothtube.co.uk
Photography – Tony Higginson – www.anthonyhigginsonphotography.co.uk
Stationary – Knock Knock Penny Studio – www.knockknockpennystudio.com
Venue – Sandhole Oak Barn – www.sandholeoakbarn-weddings.co.uk