A surprise white winter wedding

white winter wedding - Rachel Joyce Photography - Bonjour Bride

Happy first day of Summer! Is it raining where you are? For most couples their worst nightmare is rain on their wedding day, but what about a surprise white winter wedding? That’s exactly what Jen and Tim woke up to on their big day in March earlier this year. I love snow, and the little dusting makes this wedding venue – an incredibly beautiful black and white patterned Tudor building even more magical!

These two completely embraced the weather, and apart from a few minor changes – Jen rocking shoe covers on her way to the church to save her pretty ivory shoes – their day went without a hitch! This wedding is a classic celebration with so many personal touches and pretty details. I particularly love the ‘care package’ Jen put together for Tim for a wedding present. Be sure to have a read if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your significant other…

Photography by Rachel Joyce Photography

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How we met

Jen, the bride: Tim and I met on a rather drunken night out in Manchester back in October 2011 – it was at a Chinese Karaoke nightclub! We both completely ditched our friends and spent the night dancing (and snogging each other’s faces off)! Definitely not the most romantic story to tell the grandchildren!

The beautiful dress

My dress was Jasmine Bridal and I found it at Bride to Be in Prestwich. I bought it off the rack and it was about four sizes too big for me. There were some major alterations that had to take place! Their seamstress, Sally, worked absolute wonders!

I had always thought I would go for something which was all lace and quite vintage but when I tried on the sweetheart neckline, strapless, satin gown I felt like a Hollywood movie star! When Holly at Bride to Be suggested I try it with the lace top, I had the best of both worlds! I wore the lace top for the ceremony and daytime reception and it looked like it was part of the dress. In the evening, I removed the lace top for a more glamorous evening look. I loved having the two totally different looks!

I wore a simple, cathedral length ivory veil and a diamante belt to add a bit of sparkle to my simple classic satin dress. My shoes were beautiful ivory lace heels from Monsoon. They had a tulle flower embellishment on the front. The pearl and silver bracelet I wore during the day and the matching necklace in the evening was a wedding gift from Tim. The gorgeous sparkly drop earrings were from a shop called ‘The Day’ in Beverley, East Yorkshire and were a gift from my Mum and Dad. I wore my late Nana’s engagement ring as my something old and borrowed and had transfers on the bottom of my shoes in blue gems which said “I Do” as my something blue. Everything else I wore was my something new!

My bridesmaids wore dresses by Chi-Chi London which we bought from House of Fraser. I wanted something quite different for the girls and I just loved the gold metallic embroidery detail in the ones we chose. It was a happy accident that the top of the bridesmaids dresses was very similar in style and shape to my lace top.

The groom and party

Tim chose a lovely three piece wool blend suit in blue from Next and a blush pink tie and pocket square to match. The ushers and both of our Dads wore the same suit as Tim but with different coloured ties and pocket squares. They all looked very dapper!

We had two beautiful flower girls who wore ivory tulle dresses from Jasper Conran and two handsome page boys who wore navy suits from Roco Clothing. The four of them were little stars and absolutely stole the show!

Wedding gifts

We both arranged for gifts to be given to each other the morning of the wedding. Tim bought me a beautiful pearl and silver bracelet and matching necklace, both of which I wore on the day. He also bought me an amazing DSLR camera as he knew I had wanted one for years! He wanted us to be able to capture all the amazing memories we were going to make on our honeymoon.

I put together a gift box for Tim to open on the morning of the wedding and put little notes on all of the gifts. In the box were little things like his favourite chocolate biscuits (Gold bars), a little bottle of Jack Daniels (to calm his nerves), a “His Lordship” mug, a little chocolate ‘Groom’ plaque, some socks (in case he got cold feet), some mints (in preparation for that first kiss) and some cufflinks which were shaped like a bride and groom. His main gift was a pair of Hugo Boss sunglasses for him to take on our honeymoon.

Full of personal touches

We got engaged in August last year and we quickly decided that neither of us wanted a long engagement. We settled on a March wedding and started the search for our venue. 

We looked at a number of places dotted all over the North of England but eventually we decided on Samlesbury Hall, a beautiful Tudor stately home in Lancashire, for our reception. Samlesbury Hall has a real family connection for us because my ancestors lived there hundreds of years ago (the Southworth family) and it has always been a big feature in my family’s history. Angela and Beth, the wedding events coordinators, were so helpful and when we met with them we had complete faith that they would be able to pull off an incredible wedding, something they seemed to achieve effortlessly!

Blush and gold

We didn’t have a theme as such but we did use different literary quotes in all of the stationery – such as the table numbers, signs and menus, most of which were ‘love’ related. Our colour scheme was navy, blush and gold. All of the stationery was designed by Claire Williamson of Younique to You and it all looked wonderful! We really wanted everything to match and Claire created a stunning design and logo just for us which we used throughout on all of the stationery.

I read lots of wedding blogs and trawled Pinterest for ideas for the wedding. To try and keep costs down where we could and to bring a personal element to the wedding, we made all of our own centrepieces and decorations for the tables, based on ideas we found on Pinterest. My mum spent hours cleaning and decorating jars that we had collected over the past few months in which we put candles and had them on each table. We also made all of the pew end decorations for the church using wicker hearts and silk peonies. It was important for us to have some personal touches and now we have lots of bits to keep… as do lots of our family!

Special music

We wanted a simple piece of music for the ceremony processional, rather than something with lyrics as we didn’t want to detract from that special moment when we saw each other for the first time. We chose The Piano Guys – Beethoven’s 5 Secrets. The music combined One Republic’s tune “Secrets” with melodies from all four movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. We absolutely fell in love with it, mainly because it mixed new with old and the sound of the cello and orchestra was just incredible. The music completely filled the church as I walked down the aisle. So many of our guests commented on how beautiful and emotive it was.

We had two traditional hymns during the ceremony – ‘Dear Lord & Father of Mankind’ and ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ which were played by the Church’s very talented organist, Elizabeth.

During the signing of the register, we played Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You and Birdy – Wings, songs which we both love and the lyrics seemed very fitting for our wedding.

A church ceremony

We were married in a Catholic ceremony at Our Lady & St Patrick’s in Walton-Le-Dale, Preston, Lancashire. It is the ‘sister’ church of St Mary and St John Southworth Church in Samlesbury which has a close family connection for me – my grandparents were married, my mum was baptised and a number of the older generations are now buried there. Unfortunately, it’s quite a small church and because of our guest numbers, we decided to get married at Our Lady & St Patrick’s. It is a beautiful Church and the service was very personal and special.

The photographer

We knew we wanted a relaxed, natural style of photography for our wedding, as well as having some group shots to capture all of the ‘main players’ of the day. We found Rachel Joyce Photography on the internet and didn’t even meet her before we booked her! We looked at lots of her photographs and loved the style and the way she seemed to capture the emotion in a particular moment. After exchanging a few emails, we could tell she was just what we were looking for and went ahead and booked her. We had an engagement shoot up near Rivington Pike (Bolton) which is where Tim had actually popped the question in August last year. That was a really good opportunity to get to know Rachel and to become a little more relaxed in front of the camera!

Our flowers

The beautiful Church flowers were created by two lovely ladies at Our Lady & St Patrick’s Church, Frances and Louise. Our gorgeous bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and the flower girls’ headbands were by Bloomin Lovely in Blackburn. We chose white and pale pink roses to keep in with the colour scheme. Mine and the bridesmaids bouquets had freesias in them which smelt amazing!  

The cake

We had a four tier wedding cake made by Georgina’s Cakery, Bury. We met with Georgina a couple of months before the wedding for a tasting. We chose a different flavour for each tier – vanilla, lemon, coconut and chocolate – the top tier had to be chocolate because Tim wanted to keep that for himself!!! The cake was delicious and fit perfectly with our colour scheme!

We had a wooden laser cut cake topper from Sophia Victoria Joy. The topper was a quote “The Best is Yet to Come” which Tim picked out. He really liked the sentiment that although the wedding day would be amazing, we have our whole future together to look forward to! We sprayed the topper in a gold metallic paint and it looked perfect with the rest of the scheme.

Evening entertainment

We wanted a band for the evening entertainment and chose The Stereo Soldiers. They were brilliant and all the guests commented on how awesome they were! They really got the party going!

Our first dance was Everlasting Love by Natalie Cole. We wanted something upbeat so we could move around and have a bit of fun – even though we both have two left feet!! Halfway through the song, we got everyone up on the dancefloor which was just lovely and such a happy memory!

Mint to be!

We didn’t want to spend too much on favours that some people may just leave behind on the table. So we bought over a hundred packets of polo mints. Claire from Younique to You, who’d designed all of our invitations and wedding stationery, designed a wrapper for them which said “Jen & Tim – Mint to Be, 4 March 2016”. We spent hours removing the polo wrappers and replacing them with our personalised ones. They looked great so the time and effort was definitely worth it! And there were only a couple left behind on the tables – result!!

A surprise white winter wedding!

We woke up on the morning of our wedding to find a completely snowy white scene outside. It hadn’t snowed all winter but for some reason, our wedding morning in March was a total white out! It really was magical! It did make for some beautiful photographs but caused a few logistical issues! In the end, everyone made it and the day was a great success.

When it came down to it, having all of our family and friends around us absolutely made our wedding day. *cheese alert* It was a day completely filled with love and happiness. We just wish we could do it all over again!

Words of wisdom

You can spend months and months planning all of the tiny details but on the day, when you see each other for the first time, all of those things completely fade into insignificance. In all of the planning and madness, don’t forget that whatever happens, the most important thing is that you are marrying your best friend. And just enjoy the whole planning process, don’t stress – it all goes by in the blink of an eye!

The honeymoon

We went to Florida for our honeymoon. We spent 6 nights in Orlando reliving our youth at the theme parks, then drove down to Indian Shores on the Gulf Coast of Mexico for 4 nights. For the last three nights, we drove further South to Miami Beach. It was so lovely to have some time to ourselves after the wedding and the busy weeks leading up to it. We loved the balance of having plenty to do and see for the first part of the honeymoon, and then having the rest of the time to relax by the beach.

Thanks so much to Jen and Tim for sharing their celebration, and I love your words of wisdom to couples still planning. Take heed fiance(e)s! And of course a huge thank you to Rachel Joyce for sharing her wonderful photographs.

Hope you all have a great week.

Sarah x

Jen & Tim’s Little Black Book

Photographer – Rachel Joyce Photography
Ceremony venueOur Lady & St Patrick’s RC Church, Walton-le-Dale, Preston
Reception venueSamlesbury Hall, Preston
Bride’s dress – Jasmine Bridal from Bride to Be, Prestwich
Bride’s shoes – Monsoon Bridal
Hair & makeup – Emma Coppock of Wedding Belles, Lytham
Bridesmaid dresses – Chi-Chi London
Groom’s attire – Next
Flowers – Bloomin Lovely
Stationery – Younique to You
Cake – Georgina’s Cakery, Bury
Cake topperSophia Victoria Joy
EntertainmentThe Stereo Soldiers

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