Our big white winter wedding

November 24, 2020

Today we’re celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d do a blog about our wedding day, and all the suppliers who helped make it so perfect, and so special. 

Paul and I had been together 4 years before we got engaged, and on the day of our wedding on the 24th of November 2017, we’d been together exactly 6 years. It was just the perfect day from start to finish, and I will always be grateful that I got to have the wedding day I’d dreamt of since I was a little girl. 

Every little girl dreams of their wedding dress, but for me this made the process of finding the right one so much harder. I knew in my head the style that I wanted. Mermaid, long sleeves, completely backless and with a long train. But this was nowhere to be found except for haute couture bridal boutiques, where at £10k a dress, was completely out of my budget. I went to so many dress shops and left in tears having not found anything I liked. I then saw the Mori Lee 2871 dress online and thought, if I can add sleeves to that – it’s perfect. I made an appointment at Natalie Ann Brides in Childwall in Liverpool as they had the dress in stock, and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one. Natalie Ann Brides were so helpful. They worked with me to add sleeves and tailor the dress to exactly how I wanted it. I’ll always be so grateful to Natalie Ann Brides for letting me change the dress so much, and making it the dress of my dreams. I went for the shortest length, and the champagne and ivory colour. It’s also available in ivory and white. 

 My shoes were from an online bridal shop. With 3 of my bridesmaids being tall and Paul being 6ft 3, I knew I needed big heels for at least some of the day! These were actually so comfy, and I didn’t take them off until the wedding breakfast. I loved the off white satin colour. 

Straight away Paul and I both knew we wanted to get married at Thornton Manor. We’d been to a couple of weddings there before, and there was nowhere else that came close to it for us. It’s a grade II listed Elizabethan manor house built in the middle of the 19th century, with the most beautiful decor and grounds. It fitted our traditional, subtle theme perfectly so after a viewing we booked the wedding there and then for 18 months time! We didn’t even view any other venues because we just knew it was the one. 

For me, our wedding day started with me waking up at my Mum and Dad’s house, just like I’d always wanted to. My bridesmaids arrived and we had a champagne breakfast whilst having our hair and makeup done. As someone who is always so stressy and uptight, no one could believe how calm I was. I was so excited for the day ahead, and I just couldn’t wait to be husband and wife. Paul had sent my wedding present for me to open that morning, and it was a surprise trip to New York for our first wedding anniversary! I was so shocked but so happy as I’d always wanted to go around Christmas time, so I was already so happy that morning. 

My maid of honour was my best friend Pippa, we’ve been friends since the day I was born, so it was never going to be anyone else. My bridesmaids were my sister Bex, and my 2 cousins Fleur and Mia. They had stunning Coast white bridesmaid dresses with trains, and the colour just went perfectly with my champagne dress. So many people were shocked when I said I was going for white for my bridesmaids as it wasn’t traditional, however I didn’t like any other colour and I thought white was just so classy and timeless. I put together gift boxes for my bridal party to open in the morning with shoes, clutch bags, hair clips, jewellery and champagne glasses which I painted and personalised myself. 

Kate Hayes did our makeup, I went for a heavy glam, which is quite unusual for a bride, but I always go full glam for a night out so I knew I didn’t want it any different for something as important as my wedding day! My close friend Sammy Tebay did our hair, I chose to have mine curled and then up in a messy low chignon with a hair vine. On the day it went even better than my hair trial, so I was over the moon. My bridesmaids all had a similar style, I thought it looked so beautiful with their dresses. I had my wedding nails and lashes done by Holly Turner Beauty, again, no plain french manicure here! Full bridal glam all the way. 

It was such a lovely morning, and it flew by! My mum and dad gave me some beautiful new jewellery to wear, which I still wear on special occasions now. That was the only time that day I got emotional! Next thing we knew the flowers and cars had arrived to pick us up to go to the church. 

Paul was getting ready at a cottage in the grounds of Thornton Manor with his groomsmen, so the cars had picked them up first and taken them to church before they came to my parents house. The boys suits were hired from Moss Bros. It took me a while to persuade Paul to go for the traditional tails design, but we were both so glad in the end because they were so smart and timeless, and perfect for our venue and traditional theme. 

I went for really simple flowers. I had a huge bunch of cream roses, my bridesmaids had gypsophila posies with cream ribbon around, my flower girl had a gypsophila crown and pomander, and the button holes and corsages were also cream roses and gypsophila. I had a brooch of my late Nanna Brooks’ on my bouquet. She’d passed away the year before our wedding, so this meant so much to me as I was devastated she had never got to see me get married. But she loved Paul so much, so I knew that would have been so happy for us. 

So I went in one car with my Dad, whilst my bridesmaids and flower girl went in the other with my Mum. The cars looked stunning, again they were so perfect for our traditional theme, and they were cream and black with a white ribbon on. The journey to the church felt like the longest ever, and I remember being so cold as the cars were so old the windows had gaps in! When we arrived at the church I couldn’t contain my excitement, I was so desperate to get in there and see all my friends and family, and finally marry Paul after all these years. 

Walking down the aisle with my Dad was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Some people hate this part, they hate being the centre of attention and everyone looking at them, but I loved it. We walked down the aisle to the traditional Bridal March on the organ, just how I’d always imagined. I hadn’t quite appreciated the weight of my 6m veil, as I hadn’t practiced with it beforehand, I didn’t even think to! As I stated to walk down the aisle it felt so heavy I panicked it was going to come out, but thankfully it just stayed intact until I got to the end! 

Our church ceremony was really special. We got married at Christchurch in Port Sunlight, a beautiful quaint little village frozen in time on the Wirral. We picked this church because of how beautiful it was inside and out, it was like a cathedral. We had the choir help us sing the hymns we’d chosen, and we had family do bible readings for us. Being brought up in a devout Christian family, this part of the day meant a lot to me, and I was grateful to Paul for agreeing to have whatever I wanted during the ceremony. We said our vows perfectly, and I felt so calm throughout. I just knew that it felt so right, I had wanted this day for such a long time that I wanted savour every single second. We left the church to the traditional Wedding March on the organ, whilst the church bells were ringing. It was spectacular and I felt like a royal princess. Our guests showered us in confetti before we headed back to the cars to go to our reception venue. 

We arrived at Thornton Manor to a ‘pimp your Prosecco’ welcome drink, I’d arranged for fruit and purées to be set up, so guests could create their own Bellini style cocktail. Our guests then had canapés and a sweet cart (provided by Truly Sweet Candy). We hired a white postbox for our cards, also supplied by Truly Sweet Candy, and I made a little frame to honour those who couldn’t be there on our wedding day. The huge open fires were roaring all day to keep our guests warm, and Thornton Manor had several Christmas trees around the house, so it felt so festive and cosy. I customised an old mirror we had with flowers to use for our order of the day, and I got a vinyl transfer made . 

Whilst our guests mingled around the Manor House, we had our photographs taken inside and outside. We were so lucky with the weather. Part of the reason I wanted to get married in the winter was because I wanted a long sleeve dress, and I didn’t want to be reliant on the weather. We planned our entire wedding inside, but when the sun was out for most of the day we were so grateful to be able to have some outdoor photographs using the amazing Manor House grounds. When you hire the Manor House, you get exclusive use of the whole building and gardens, so we had free reign of anywhere to take photographs and new that everyone around was either staff or our guests. 

We then sat down for our wedding breakfast meal and speeches. We asked guests to choose what they wanted on their RSVP, and trying to find something that 90 people liked is so difficult!! 

The food was amazing, but I was so full of adrenaline that I could barely eat. To be honest, I can’t even remember much of our speeches. We still hadn’t had time to let it sink in that it was our wedding day, and I remember sitting there on the top table looking out at all our guests thinking ‘this is my actual wedding day’. It was so surreal, but so amazing at the same time. 

The cream flower wall behind us was supplied by The Wishing Well company, and was the perfect backdrop to compliment the beautiful ornate organ that we sat in front of in Thornton Manor’s music room. We then used this same flower wall as a photo booth backdrop at our evening reception, and it went down so well!

I designed our table centres all by myself, and my bridesmaids and mum helped me put them together. I bought white Manzanita trees from a wholesale florist site, and hung clear glass baubles filled with candles, white feathers and cream roses. I also used one for our seating plan, something a little different to a traditional mirror or flat board. Our laser cut table numbers I ordered off eBay, and I hand painted them with a white shimmer spray. Our florist then added some gypsophila into small glass vases that I’d sprayed frosted white with the letter ‘E’ stencilled out. Our place names were laser cut wooden names sprayed gold, these were supplied by VM Bespoke, and were a nice personalised takeaway gift for our guests that they could keep. 

We weren’t sure what to have as favours, as I didn’t like any of the usual ideas. But we decided on Lindor white chocolate truffles in a champagne lace box for the men and children, and Wedding Day Yankee Candle votives for the women. We had the large versions of these candles burning all around the manor throughout the day, so the idea was that when our guests lit their votives at home, the smell would remind them of our wedding! Even to this day it’s my favourite smell. 

After our wedding breakfast, our guests went back into the Manor House whilst the staff turned the room around for the evening reception. It was then that we got to mingle with everyone and catch up with them, and we got some lovely informal photos whilst waiting for the evening guests to arrive. 

This was when we cut our amazing cake. I had been planning our wedding cake for so long, and Cakes by Carla made my dream become a reality. I sent Carla a sketch of what I wanted, and she created it perfectly. We went for a 6 tier champagne and ivory colour scheme, with the letter E in the middle, and edible lace and flowers. We chose 6 tiers to represent each year we’d been together. 

The 6th tier was originally planned to be a ball on top of the main cake, but Carla explained that unfortunately it wouldn’t hold the weight, so she just added it to a separate tier which we had on the cake table. I loved the glass bowl filled with flowers in the middle, it was so unique at the time and just looked so elegant. We had a mix of classic vanilla and fruit cake, and we still have the top tier on our freezer ready for when we christen our first baby!

After we cut our cake, we went outside with all our guests to light the sparklers that’s we’d also given out as favours, with personalised tags on. This was such a special moment and just broke up the day a bit. 

The evening party was so much fun. Both of us said it was like the best night out we’d ever had, as all of our friends and family were together and we knew every single person there. We hired our friend Danny as our wedding singer and DJ, and he got it just right. The dance floor was packed all night, which is just what you want at your wedding! 

Paul and I had been so nervous about our first dance. Paul isn’t a dancer, I mean AT ALL, so we just decided that we’d sway for a few minutes before dragging everyone else up with us! We danced to Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John, because The Lion King is Paul’s favourite film, and I absolutely love Elton John so it was the perfect choice. It was also unique, we didn’t want a John Legend or Ed Sheeran song that loads of other people had had as their first dance. After a short while, we encouraged everyone else to join in until the end of the song, which then went into Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis. Everyone knew the words and joined in singing, it was such a feel good moment. I also danced with my Dad to Wind Beneath my Wings by Bette Midler. That song always reminds me of my Dad as he used to sing it on karaoke when we went on holiday; so it was always going to be that song for us. The lyrics are also so meaningful for a Father Daughter dance, and I get emotional watching the video of this every time. Not everyone gets the chance to dance with their Dad at their wedding, and I’m so blessed to have been able to have that opportunity. 

We hired some casino tables for outside of the main party room, and they were a huge success with our guests. With having 220 people at our evening reception, we knew partying wouldn’t be for everyone, so this gave those who didn’t want to dance something else to have fun with. We had our names and photograph printed onto the fake money, and the guest with the most money at the end of the night won a bottle of champagne! We also had personalised Snapchat filters made, although we barely got any photos with them!

Our evening food was a hog roast and oh my word, to this day it’s literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Pulled pork and apple sauce on a brioche bun was just incredible, and for the veggies we had halloumi. We also had the manor staff cut up our wedding cake and serve that to guests so it didn’t go to waste – but we didn’t manage to get a single piece, I’ll always be a bit gutted about that!

About 9.30pm I remember Paul coming over to me and saying ‘should we get drunk now?’! We’d welcomed of our evening guests and all that was left to do was for us to enjoy the rest of our wedding night. I felt like I just danced all night long, my face ached from smiling so much. I was so overwhelmed that so many people had made the effort to share our special day with us. Family and friends had travelled from all over the UK and paid to stay overnight just for our wedding. My new work team who I’d only known for a few months all came to the evening reception, despite being quite far for them to travel. We were just so grateful, and having all those people there with us just made the day what it was. 

As we knew it was going to be a long day and night, I got a load of white flip flops from Primark and put them in a basket next to the dance floor for anyone that wanted them, and they all went! 

By the end of the night, everyone was so drunk and we made so many funny memories like my Dad doing the limbo, Paul spouting water over everyone on the dance floor and Paul’s ushers picking my bridesmaids up and spinning them around. Everyone just had so much fun, and we couldn’t have been more grateful for such a perfect day. The last song that was played was Mariah Carey ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, and it genuinely one of the best moments of my life that I will never forget. 

We had breakfast the next morning with all our guests who stayed over with us in the Manor House and the cottages within the grounds, then we went home and opened all of our cards and gifts. The next day I went straight to the bank to change my name and get my new bank card; and the following day we flew to Mexico for our honeymoon. 

Those 2 weeks were the happiest of my life, I just enjoyed every single second. I still can’t believe that our special day was 3 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Being married is the most amazing thing, and I’m so happy we did it and went all out. We don’t regret a single penny we spent on our big day.

This anniversary will be the last one we’ll spend just the 2 of us, and that’s even more amazing. I can’t believe we’re about to welcome our very own baby into the world this year. 

I’d recommend getting married to anyone, it really is the best thing we’ve ever done. 

Love Mrs E

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