With summer holidays abroad still not on the cards for us in the UK, today...
Today we have another gorgeous wedding to share with you from April of this year, courtesy of Emma Boileau Photography. It’s a beautiful day that took part at Merchant Adventure’s Hall in the heart of York. Kirsten and Mark chose a neutral colour palette with accents of lavender and a soft dusty blues, mixed with some personal touches put together by friends and family. This gave their wedding lots of personality. A truly wonderful day, that I know you are going to love.
Kirsten and Mark were married on 2nd April 2016 at Merchant Adventure’s Hall, York. ‘We loved how quintessentially English it was, the quaint gardens, the use of both floors for ceremony and reception, and how weirdly affordable it was. York is such a beautiful little city, and we knew it would be easy for Americans to navigate! We had a total of 75 guests. We had 15 months to plan the wedding, but the majority of it was planned in the first five months due to my PhD program starting.’
How they met
I was spending a year abroad in the UK and met Mark in the music department at Hull Uni. It turned out to be more than a casual fling, and we did a year long distance while I finished my degree in Arizona. I got accepted to a Masters Program at the Royal Northern College of Music, so we then moved to Manchester together, and have been together for a little over three years!
We were in Phoenix for Christmas visiting my family. Mark and I had discussed waiting a while before getting engaged, so it was fully unexpected! It was a ‘surprise Christmas gift’, which turned out to be a beautiful vintage gold and diamond ring!
How did you allocate your budget
I would like to say we did a lot of DIY, but with a small apartment, being in the middle of a Masters and then PhD program, and not having a car, we relied on friends, family, and Etsy. We opted to spend more money on things we thought were most important, such as photography and food, but to use seasonal flowers and be reasonable with other services.
Where did you splurge and where did you save
We splurged on photography, because we knew that photos would be the only real evidence we would keep after the big day. Mark also desperately wanted a savoury cheese cake, and we both are big craft beer fans, so food and drink was another splurge. We did save a lot on decor, as the hall is so beautiful on its own! We also used several vendors from a little group in York and were able to get money taken off each service!
How did you choose your photographer
I literally had no idea where to search for photographers, and googled ‘wedding photographers in Manchester’. Emma Boileau Photography was one of the first ones to pop up, and I absolutely loved her style. I love how candid and informal some of the photos were, and that nothing was too posed. Every photo felt like someone paused a moment in a movie, and I loved that each photo told a little story.
I was lucky enough to go wedding dress shopping the week after I was engaged with my mom. It was one of the only things I got to do in person with my mom for planning the wedding, and we went to Strut Bridal, which is a plus size bridal boutique in Phoenix. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want, and they helped me pick an Allure Romance dress. My veil is also from Strut, but I have no idea who it is by! I got my blue shoes from Modcloth, and all the alterations, including the gorgeous added sleeves from Bride to Be Boutique in Prestwich.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
With the perk of being a student, we got 25% off Mark’s Ted Baker suit! His shirt is Liberty print, and his shoes are Cole Haan from Nordstrom Rack.
All of the bridesmaids chose different dresses within a colour palette. Two were from ASOS, one from Coast, and one made from the bridesmaid dress maker “For Her and For Him”.
Theme or Colour Scheme
I wanted some neutrals, but with the colours lavender and a soft dusty blue. Nothing too pastel, but just a blend of dusty hues. We decided early on we wanted a laid back wedding, and took bits and bobs that we loved from Pinterest and Not on the High Street and rolled with it!
I didn’t have many requirements for flowers, except for dried lavender and succulents. Being from the desert, cacti are near and dear to me. Greenhouse Florist did such a good job at taking my vague desires and turned our venue into a beautiful mix of ranunculus, blue thistle, roses, succulents, and greenery.
We were quite lucky to have such a beautiful hall for the day, so not much decor was needed! We had white bunting upstairs, with mismatched jars and flowers, hessian and lace table runners, and some wood cut script table numbers. We were ecstatic when my maid of honour’s dad said he could build us some industrial marquee letters! I simply brought some cacti from home, and some sparkly rose gold table runners, and we were set!
Our food was to die for! We had a buffet with steak and ale pie, chicken ham hock pie, and a vegetarian bean pie, all served with mash, mushy peas and seasonal roasted veg. We then had a savoury cheese cake for nibbles a few hours later, and a selection of local and international beer.
Quite Contrary Cakes made us a delicious naked Vicky Sponge cake, but the middle layer was filled with Bailey’s instead of jam!
Our close classical guitarist friend accompanied the ceremony, which was seriously beautiful and intimate. We then had a harpist play jazz and pop music for the reception, and a DJ for the disco. My bridal party also helped me make some garden games, which turned out to be great fun during the canapé hour!
Etsy! I did very little DIY, but I ordered templates and printed them off at Marc the Printers in Manchester, which is a vegan and ethical printer. It was super easy, and they all turned out matching with our own personal silhouettes.
Personal or Handmade Touches
We had silhouettes on all the stationary and seating chart, which was a nice little touch. Mark’s mum cross stitched some Bride+Groom and reserved seat signs, which turned out absolutely darling! We also did all the chalkboards ourselves, which I was quite proud of.
We also decided to do an instant film guest book, which was such a treat to get back after the honeymoon.
Showing my mom the dress, which she hadn’t seen completed, was really special and emotional. Obviously, getting to see Mark (in a somewhat emotional state as well!) looking dapper as ever. Getting to dance with my dad, and getting to spend some time with all the Americans who made such a long journey to spend the day with us.
Advice to other couples
After a while, stop looking online. Your wedding is YOUR wedding, and it could be a mix of a lot of different things, but it doesn’t have to be the most unique, creative, one-of-a-kind wedding. It will be those things without the hours glued to the computer. Relax. Your friends and family are there to see you, not judge your table number choice. I would also recommend a day of coordinator, as that was one of the best decisions we made to make the day so relaxed and efficient!
Honestly, there were no real big surprises! I think the biggest surprise was how relaxed the whole day turned out to be, and how much fun we all had! It does go by in a flash!
Bridal Dress – www.strutbridalsalon.com
Bride to Be – www.bridetobe.co.uk
Photography – www.emmaboileau.co.uk
Caterer – www.bradshaws-caterers-york.co.uk
Cakes – www.quitecontrarycakes.co.uk
Boodika Events- www.boodika.co.uk
Greenhouse Florist – www.greenhouseflorists.co.uk
Night Owls Disco – www.nightowlsdiscos.co.uk
Harpist- [email protected]
Guitar – [email protected]
Hair – www.weddingperfecthairdesign.co.uk
MUA – www.juliemercer.co.uk