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I have a gorgeous wedding for you today from Nicola Thompson, and one where I actually know the bride. Dayle is one of my sister in-laws best freinds, I have met her on numerous occasions and a few where I have been lucky enough to hear about her wedding plans. At the time of hearing about her plans I just knew her day was going to be magical and it sure is! Dayle and Sam chose the gorgeous Woodthorpe Hall for the entire wedding and it really is an amazing venue. With only 7 weddings a year it offers an exclusivity that many venues don’t. I often tried to use it for my Sheffield couples when I was wedding planning but it was always booked up way in advance and it’s clear to see why from this gorgeous wedding. Dayle has done a fabulous job of enlisting some of the best Sheffield suppliers, as well as creating lots of amazing DIY projects with the help of her amazing mum and lots of other friends and family. There are so many amazing details in this wedding, some very creatine ideas and of course a beautiful couple. Dalye, you look stunning and did a wonderful job with this wedding. I wish you and Sam many many years of happiness together.
Dayle and Sam were married on 21st June 2014 at Woodthorpe Hall, Holmsfield, Sheffield. ‘We wanted a small, relaxed, typical English Garden wedding, somewhere a little bit different that would allow us to look after every detail ourselves and not be restricted by set packages etc,- Woodthorpe Hall was exactly what we were looking for. We were actually living in Sydney when we got engaged so sent my parents on a recce on a cold and wet day. They called immediately after falling in love with WH and told us we had to book and trust their judgement as it was a really special place, plus there was only one spot left for 2014. It felt like it was meant to be so decided to go for it. Sam and I didn’t actually see WH for real until six months later when we fell in love with it too. The grounds are absolutely stunning and it’s a located just on the outskirts of Sheffield, over-looking the Peak District in a beautifully secluded spot. The house has so much history, plus the chance to get married inside a cider press was very unusual but appealing! They only host seven weddings a year so it felt very special to be getting married there. We had 70 guests in the day and an extra 10 in the evening. We got engaged 14 months before the wedding date and planning only took a few months, with finishing touches at the end.
How did you meet
We met while Sam was at university in Sheffield and I was just finishing university in Leeds and about to move back in with my parents in Sheffield that summer. Sam was living with a friend of mine at the time’s boyfriend, and we met on the way to a gig when I stopped by his student house for a BBQ. I wasn’t even meant to go – I was only visiting Sheffield for the day but ended up taking a spare ticket as someone was ill. We then went on a ‘planned’ night out a few weeks later, we stayed in touch throughout the summer and that was it.
We’d been living in Sydney for a few years at the time and Sam one day quite spontaneously booked flights to Tokyo (with a proposal in mind I’m told!). He’d been having a ring made in secret for months in the lead up to it. On the first day we arrived Sam had planned a walk through Shinjuku Gardens as it was blossom season, plus he didn’t want to lose the ring so wanted to get rid of the responsibility as soon as possible! I was busy taking photographs when I turned a corner and found Sam who handed me a gift (wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper in April!). Inside was a framed print we’d had an ongoing joke about, inside the frame was the ring which I didn’t see at first until Sam removed it and then got down on one knee. I was in so much shock I have no idea what he or I said! We then spent the most amazing day exploring Tokyo, including seeing a traditional Japanese wedding take place. We ended the day with dinner and bubbles at the top of Cerulean Towers. The waitress even wrote a lovely message on the champagne bottle label, laminated it and gave it us as a gift with our bill. It was perfect.
How did you allocate your budget
The venue was the most important thing to us so most of the budget was allocated to Woodthorpe Hall, followed by the food and drink (we stocked the bar ourselves), and then the marquee. Having a live band in the evening was really important to us so we made sure we prioritised budget for that.
How did you choose your photographer
We chose Nicola Thompson after seeing the amazing photographs she produced of our friends Johanna and Paul’s wedding a few years earlier which we were really impressed with. We didn’t even shop around, just checked Nicola was available! In fact, she was the first supplier after the venue we booked. We just loved her fun, candid and vibrant style.
My dress was by British designer, Johanna Hehir which I bought from a lovely boutique in St Albans called Satin Bow. Victoria the owner actually worked with for the designer years before opening her own store. I did have ‘the big moment’ and knew it was the dress for me as soon as I saw it on the hanger. Before I found Satin Bow, I was not having the best dress-shopping experience as I knew exactly what I wanted (lace with back detail) but just couldn’t find it.
I didn’t have a veil as I wanted to look less formal to match our wedding style, but I did wear a delicate diamonte, boho-style headband which was by Jenny Packham for Debenhams and was a real bargain. My shoes were strappy, white Carvella sandals. I kept my accessories simple. My sister treat me to a stunning pair of earrings that coordinated with my headband, and my parents gave me a gorgeous tennis bracelet on the morning of the wedding. During the speeches Sam also gave me a beautiful daisy diamond necklace (by family nickname) by Annoushka at Libertys which was a huge shock. I was very spoilt indeed!
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Sam and his best man’s slim-fit, navy suits were from M&S. Their shirts, skinny ties, and pocket squares (navy with white polka dots and vice versa) were from TM Lewin. Both of our dads/grandads also wore navy suits too, with the same TM Lewin accessories. Sam’s tan brogues were from Selfridges.
As we were only having a small wedding I just had my sister as my bridesmaid which was lovely. Amy wore a pale, nude pink dress Dessy dress which was made to measure. She wore the same colour pink and white mini roses in her hair and a Jenny Packham at Debenhams statement ring.
Theme or Colour Scheme
The theme was English Garden with a lux vintage touch. We tried to keep everything white and fresh but with pale, nude pink as the signature colour. This was complemented by the groomsmen’s navy suits.
Hannah and Anna at Swallows and Damsons did an amazing job with the flowers. Vintage roses are my absolute favourite so they were the main feature throughout. My bouquet was mainly vintage-style pale pink roses, with gypsophilia, sweet avalanche and pepita spray roses. My bridesmaid simply had gypsophilia, and the buttonholes and corsages were pepita spray roses with gypsophilia. My bridesmaid and my bouquet stems were wrapped in lace from my dress. The table flowers were mini versions of my bouquet and consisted of one main vintage-style vase centrepiece with different mini, cut glass and crystal vases surrounding. My mum spent months scouring charity shops to find so many! The top table was a similar theme but in a garland style with roses laid between the arrangements.
As the whole wedding was hosted in the gorgeous gardens of Woodthorpe Hall we didn’t need too much decoration. Along with the table flowers inside the marquee, the cider press, where we held the ceremony, was decorated by Sue from Woodthorpe Hall with a mixture of white flowers – again, mainly roses. Plus ivy hearts made by my mum. The chandeliers in the marquee were also wrapped with ivy to bring the garden inside and up into the roof, which was covered in fairy lights. We draped a white, wooden Mr & Mrs sign from the front of the top table, and positioned a rose covered heart behind. My mum made a fabulous table plan plant box from a wooden crate which she stencilled with our names and date of the wedding, and filled it with daisies and stems with the table names pocking out between the flowers – it now lives in our lounge as a wine rack! My aunty made moss-covered table numbers which looked great, again to bring the outdoors indoors. We also had chalk boards for the order of service, food menu, gift table and dancing instructions! Our artist friend Alanna also beautifully illustrated the boards with images inspired by Woodthorpe Hall. One of the main decorative features were giant ‘D&S’ light up letters that were positioned by the dancefloor. These were a great addition from Leeds-based company Add Vintage.
We had a gourmet BBQ, catered by PJ Taste. Again, we wanted the food element of the wedding to be relaxed and Sam is a massive meat eater. This consisted of bread baskets and olives on sharing platters to start, and a locally-sourced meat feast for the main wedding breakfast. This included buffalo burgers, a selection of sausages, steak, swordfish, chicken and pepper kebabs, and grilled halloumi. This was served with new potatoes and a choice of salad, plus homemade chutneys, sauces and of course, Hendersons Relish. For dessert we served our wedding cake as a sharing platter on each table, with Our Cow Molly cream and raspberries. We also served a selection of Our Cow Molly ice creams post-ceremony on the lawn, along with strawberries and pink Prosecco. The ice cream was displayed on ice in a giant, old industrial custard container Dick and Sue from Woodthorpe Hall found for us on their farm. They also found a giant barrel to serve the Peroni beers from on ice which looked amazing too. In the evening we offered a selection of ‘posh cheese toasties’ and a two tied pork pie cake supplied by David Bond in Handsworth
Theresa Keats at Tilly’s on Twentywell Lane made our naked cake. I saw an image of a homemade naked cake, decorated with real flowers between the tiers in the initial planning stages and knew this is what we wanted. Theresa’s ginormous and delicious cakes are a favourite of my family so I took a picture to Theresa and asked her if she’d create something similar in a simple Victoria sponge, with the same roses as my bouquet. It looked and tasted amazing. There were reports of guests have third and fourth helpings!
Having a live band was really important to us. We researched online using a site called Warble Entertainment and found The Kickstarts from the North West. They appealed to our taste in music and also played our first dance song as part of their repertoire so that swung it for us. They had excellent reviews and also DJ’d in between their live sets which was great. We chose the set list with them, and sent across some music inspiration for the DJ sets. My sister, our musical director ☺, produced Spotify playlists for the rest of the wedding including post-ceremony mingling and drinks on the lawn, and an eating playlist. We also played a classic Fleetwood Mac CD in the porta loos!
Buy or DIY your Stationery
We originally wanted our friend Alanna to design our invitations but printing etc proved too difficult so we found a Welsh independent company through Pinterest called FeelGoodInvites who had a template invitation we liked which was in a similar style to what we’d been working on. We didn’t bother with Save the Dates as we’d already told all of guests the date in advance, so just commissioned invitations to be made. These were recycled brown vintage-style card, with calligraphic font and a heart bunting design. Mum and I spent an afternoon wrapping them in pale pink, fine ribbon and stitching a delicate bow in the centre to make them look prettier. Guests at the time wouldn’t have known that the bow was representative of the back of my dress! Our family friend Cath wrote them as she has the nicest hand writing of anyone I know, in fact she lent her handwriting to everything wedding related to keep it consistent.
We also bought Words of Wisdom cards from a shop called Vow in Sheffield in the same brown card, which were placed in each guest’s seat for them to fill in with advice for Sam and I. These proved to be hilarious. Mum also found these gorgeous slate hearts from Chatsworth Estate Shop which we made into place settings and usefully doubled up as favors.
The order of service, food menu, gift table and dancing floor instructions were written on chalkboards, again made by my wonderful mum from MDF and chalk board paint, which sat on a beautiful easel found by mum on one of her wedding shopping missions!
Personal or Handmade Touches
See all above answers! We did lots of DIY as we knew exactly how we wanted the wedding to be. My mum proved to be an absolute star shopping and creating all of the important finishing touches for the wedding while we were based south and she was north near the venue – it became her new hobby ☺
The whole thing was just perfect from start to finish. It was exactly the wedding we’d imagined and planned. One of the most special but surreal moments was firstly seeing each other as I walked up the aisle (garden path) and walking back down the aisle as husband and wife. We remember looking at each other and thinking ‘wow this is weird, but amazing’. The speeches were also fantastic. I especially enjoyed my dad’s storytelling and link to Woodthorpe Hall’s history (which he thinks is one of the best places ever!), Sam’s emotional but heartfelt words and Postie, the best man’s hilarious tribute to Sam. Generally just celebrating, eating, laughing and dancing the night away with all of our favourite people in the most beautiful setting. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Advice to other couples
Decide which elements of the wedding are most important to you both to begin with and which things you’d rather allocate little or zero budget to. We luckily had a strong vision of exactly how we wanted our day to be so were very decisive, which meant we arranged a lot in a short space of time and left the final months to enjoy the build-up, however wedding blogs and Pinterest proved to be inspiring when looking at what others did well. I’m a huge fan of an event bible/runsheet because of my job so I created a very detailed spreadsheet which had tabs for every element of the wedding, including specific details for the running order of the day and notes for suppliers. This proved useful when managing multiple suppliers and also sharing with them, so all the agreed details were in one place.
Everyone says the day goes by so quickly but we didn’t feel that way. It felt like we had the right amount of time to enjoy it. Plus you should always leave wanting more ☺ We were both surprised to have lost our appetites from all the excitement. We wished we could have properly enjoyed the food with everyone else.