If you’re having a winter wedding, one way to keep things feeling warm is to fill your day with colour and that’s exactly what Jess and Stuart did. Their colour palette was a classic and elegant one of navy and golds, but the florals were literally a rainbow of shades and they just look SO beautiful against the dark blues and metallics.
Bride Jess and her best friend Laura (who happens to be a dress designer) created some stunning gowns for Jess herself and her beautiful bridesmaids. Not only are they handcrafted by someone Jess loves, but the dresses are totally unique too! I think you’ll agree that the whole bridal party look stunning.
The light and bright images come from the lovely Sarah Jane Ethan (as some of you will know already, her style is so obviously her – full of positivity and joy). Oh and did I mention, this gorgeous couple chose the wonderful Healey Barn to host their day?! You’re in for a treat…
Jess The Bride: As soon as we got engaged I knew exactly where I would find my perfect wedding dress. I am incredibly lucky that my friend and business partner Laura is also a super talented designer and dress maker (Laura Fray Bespoke). I decided to try on some dresses in a few wedding dress shops first, I found it really useful, although I couldn’t find anything perfect for me it gave me the chance to pick out particular elements I liked from different styles and give Laura an idea of the direction I wanted to go in.
From the start I had my heart set on a 2 piece wedding dress, I really wanted something unique, not a traditional wedding dress. I found myself struggling to decide between a long lace skirt and a simple tea length skirt. My mum suggested having both skirts, a long lace one for the day and a shorter one for the evening.
Laura and I picked out some stunning blush toned silk and ivory scollop lace overlay. we went for a heavier ivory silk for the shorter evening skirt. Laura designs and hand-makes every detail of every dress, including embellishment, I went for gold embellishment flowing from the shoulders and down the the v back. The whole process was just a dream, totally stress free, Laura knew exactly what I wanted, and it was amazing to see the design develop from initial sketch to final dress, not many brides experience that! She also made a gorgeous veil trimmed in the same lace as my dress with matching embellishment and a garter with navy trim. I went for simple gold stilettos from ASOS to finish the outfit off.
I really couldn’t have asked for more, It is the most beautiful outfit I have ever worn, it made me feel amazing, and so comfortable because it was designed especially for me and fitted me perfectly, I really am so lucky to have such an amazingly talented friend.
We decided on a deep navy and gold colour scheme for the wedding, with bright flowers. So the suits had to be navy, we found the perfect 3 piece suit in Slaters, the quality was great and the shade of navy was exactly what we wanted. Stuart and all of the groomsmen wore matching suits, crisp white shirts and we found some lovely gold ties in Slaters too, perfect!
Laura (who was also one of my bridesmaids) also made 3 of the bridesmaids outfits and an embellished sash for my little sister’s Monsoon dress. We went for two piece outfits in a beautiful rich navy lace with gold shoulder embellishments. We found some fab glitter shoes in the sale at Kurt Geiger. The girls all looked stunning on the day.
My cousin Helen (John Gerard hairdressers) did hair for myself and the bridesmaids, we decided to go with a different style for each bridesmaid. They all had plaits incorporated into their styles. I had simple natural curls, a style I know suits me. Helen did a fantastic job, I can’t recommend her highly enough! Another friend Laura Delooze did my make-up, I wanted it to be really natural because I don’t tend to wear a lot of make up, however I do love a red lip. She did a great job, I wish she could do my make-up every day!
I designed our rings myself and they were handmade by Jon at Manchester Craft and design, We went with a leaf theme, mine was designed to fit around my engagement ring, it was engraved with two leaves, Stuarts was brushed/matt finish on the outside and shiny inside with leaves engraved inside and the wedding date incorporated into both designs. We also asked Jon to make bracelets for the bridesmaids and necklaces for our mums each with a small leaf pendant and the date engraved on the back.
The venue was a very easy decision for us. I had actually seen the plans for Healey Barn years ago, just after we’d got engaged, and I knew that it was going to be beautiful. So it was the first and only venue on our list to visit. It was exactly what we wanted, in the heart of the Northumberland countryside, the ceremony room is just stunning and we felt that we’d found it the perfect balance, beautiful, cosy and intimate with a casual feel and amazing food (an important factor for us!) So we had one viewing and booked it straight away. The staff were really supportive and helpful thought the whole planning process and on the day everything seemed to flow seamlessly.
The flowers were a very important element of the overall look of the wedding for me. I paint flowers day in day out so I have a slight flower obsession! I have always bought flowers from my local florist Flourish, so I thought they’d be ideal for the job, they certainly were! I put together a board of my final ideas for Grace. She translated my inspiration perfectly, in fact the bouquets were even more amazing than I imagined. We also calculated how many bunches of flowers and foliage we would need for table arrangements, myself, friends and family got together in my hotel room the night before the wedding and arranged the flowers into random vases I’d been collecting from car boot sales.
Being a designer I throughly enjoyed creating all of the little personal touches. Myself and Laura have an illustration company (Ink Inc Illustration) we design everything from greeting cards and gifts to wedding stationery, so my invites, table plan, wedding favours and even the paper they were wrapped in were all Ink Inc.
Rock My Wedding and Pinterest were my bible during the planning stage they inspired me to come up with some quirky ideas. For example our table plan was a wine bottle stand with table numbers printed onto each of the wine bottle stickers, each sticker featured a different Ink Inc illustration. Our wedding invites were wine themed too, giving the effect of a wine pouring from a bottle into glass. My Dad made some amazing light up letters for us, they made a stunning feature in the evening all lit up while we were dancing. I was so pleased to get so many compliments on how unique and creative the wedding was, people really appreciated the effort that had gone into the little details.
I was so surprised that I actually felt quite calm during the ceremony, I’d been worrying about it for weeks because I am not one for public speaking and was very nervous about saying my vows in front of everyone. But the registrar really made me feel at ease and I actually felt surprisingly relaxed. We walked down the aisle to ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac, the very talented Faye Shearer sang for us, it really set the scene beautifully for the ceremony.
We struggled a bit to decide on readings because we didn’t want anything too cheesy. So we decided on ‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley, our good friend Amy read it beautifully, it was important that she read it because she actually introduced us, so the day really wouldn’t have happened without her! Then we asked Laura’s mum Eileen to write a poem for us, she also read it at the ceremony, a really special moment.
As mentioned perviously Faye sang at our ceremony and throughout our drinks reception. So many of our guests commented on how beautiful her voice was. She was also really helpful in the run up to the wedding she and even sent us a recording of “Songbird’ (which she learnt especially for us) so we had an idea of how it would sound on the day.
We hired Andy from AMDJ Services to provide evening entertainment, he was brilliant and had everyone up dancing. Our first dance was ‘Never tear us apart’ by INXS. We also added a few fun little extras like Facemats at the table and a dressing up box with polaroid camera, they didn’t cost much but gave everyone a good laugh and were great entertainment.
Healey barn has a reputation for its fantastic food. During our drinks reception everyone was given a warming glass of hot winter Pimms, and we had canapés which were delicious. Then for our wedding breakfast we had starters of potted shrimp, potted pork and curried eggs, roast chicken and all the trimmings for main (both starter and main were sharing dishes which was a fab idea because it really brings the table together and gets everyone talking). Dessert was chocolate tart. Later that evening we had roast pork sandwiches. It’s safe to say no-one left hungry! The guests were very impressed.
Our cakes were from Pudding Parlour. we decided not to go with a traditional tiered cake but 3 separate cakes on stands, the main cake was a rainbow sponge iced with simple vanilla buttercream and a sprinkling of gold glitter. The lovely Andrea from &Made made beautiful peg doll cake topper versions of myself and Stu, they wore replicas of our wedding outfits. We also had a lemon drizzle cake and a white chocolate and raspberry cake from Pudding Parlour, they went down a treat.
Stuart decided to make a cake himself to add to the cake table, unfortunately it didn’t quite have the same finesse as the Pudding Parlour cakes, but it was a talking point and gave everyone a good giggle, and although it didn’t look the part it tasted delicious so his efforts didn’t go to waste!
One of the most important things to us was finding the right photographer. Stu is not a fan of having his photo taken so we needed to find somebody who would be discreet and take natural photos. We really didn’t want anything posed or awkward. We were over the moon when we found SJ, her style was just perfect, and we loved the beautiful light in her photographs, ideal for brightening up a winter wedding. I felt at ease with SJ as soon as she stepped though the door on the morning of the wedding, and very quickly got used to her discreetly snapping away in the background. Stuart felt the same.
We were absolutely amazed when we received the photos, she just captured everything so beautifully, the gorgeous dresses, the venue and most importantly the happiness we all felt. Booking SJ was one of our best decisions we made, we now have the most gorgeous photos to look back at for the rest of our lives.