Ask The Experts: 5 Things You Should Do to Have a Green Wedding
Eco-friendly and Green weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Retailers and vendors are offering sustainable options...
Todays wedding was sent in to me by Julia the bride herself, a regular reader of the blog, so it is my honour to share her amazing wedding with you all. Julia and Jon stuck to a theme of blue and white and created a DIY wedding, where many of their friends and family pitched in to help. From the flowers to the cake, the favours to the decor, there are so many pretty details in this wedding all running along with their bunting theme. I love the camper van and the Quarry Bank Mill Wedding venue is a wonderful backdrop to a gorgeous day. Thanks to Helen Howard Photography for the photos.
Julia and Jon were married on the 28th May 2016 at the Quarry Bank Mill. ‘We were looking for somewhere not too far from home as we have lots of friends and family in the Manchester area so wanted to keep it nearby. We also wanted to have the whole day in one place. We were familiar with Quarry Bank Mill, I (Julia) had even been on a school trip there. It was the only venue we properly viewed and we were instantly won over by the light airy rooms with high ceilings, a great canvas for our ideas. Quarry Bank Mill is a National Trust venue with lots of character, it offered a unique backdrop to our pictures and amazing gardens. We loved the brickwork and the fact that we can visit the venue for a walk round and remember the day for years to come. We had 95 day guests (including 10 children) and a further 25ish who joined us for the evening. The planning took around 15 months, a house purchase meant we did not start any planning until Jan 2015.’
How they met
We’ve been together almost 8 years. We were both on the same course (Applied Sport Science) at The University of Salford. However we did not get together until after Graduation Ball in 2008, where we both scrubbed up better than usual!
My family (Julia’s) have been visiting Guernsey in the Channel Islands for many years each summer. It’s a holiday that Jon and I luckily manage to tag on to every year. Guernsey is such a beautiful, calm place and somewhere we look forward to visiting each year. We were visiting in August 2013 and had spent the afternoon along with my sister in a small bay we had to ourselves. We were getting ready to set back when sister disappeared and Jon proposed on the beach. It was the perfect setting and one we are able to visit annually. We even nipped back on our mini-moon to eat some wedding cake on the same spot!
How did you allocate your budget?
We didn’t have a set budget, but we knew we didn’t want to spend too much. We did this through lots of researching! Food and drink were the largest expense. A cancelled Fleetwood Mac concert paid for the VW Camper Van, which my Dad kindly permitted with returned ticket money!
Where did you splurge and how did you save?
We really wanted to have live music throughout the day. So the Live Lounge Duo joined us for the ceremony, drinks reception, meal and evening reception. They were amazing! We then saved money by doing lots of researching and having lots of talented friends! We also used eBay for lots of crafting bits.
How did you choose your photographer?
Helen was recommend to us, having seen her website and style photographs we knew we’d really like to have her photograph our day. She was a lovely calming influence. On the day our only request was lots of pictures of our venue and guests, which is exactly what we got. We love our photos!
My most asked question before the wedding was ‘Julia are you going to wear a dress?’ Since the age of around 5 I have only worn a dress a handful of times so for me this was one of the most difficult parts of the getting married process. I left it as late as I possibly could (Jan 2016). I did have idea in my head but was unable to find it in the 2 shops I was forced to visit by my bridesmaids. So I bought a long strapless dress which was actually 2 sizes too big with the plan to have it altered. The outlet recommended Amina at Stockport Wedding Services and after 5 or 6 visits she transformed my dress to a floaty tea length dress with a detailed top. The top of my dress is actually made out of the bottom part she chopped off and she hand sewed the detail back on. I absolutely loved it! It was a perfect Julia dress and I was extremely happy wearing it.
I wanted some bright blue shoes and found them in Debenhams.
The suit and bridesmaids
Jon and Gareth our best man had matching blue Ted Baker suits. The backs of the waistcoat accidently matched in perfectly.
I spotted the bridesmaids dresses in Coast. The colour and length were winners.
Theme or colour scheme
Blues and white were the colours we worked with. We knew we wanted blue but could not decide on a shade so decide to mix up sky blue and cobalt blue breaking it up with the white.
The bunting theme ran along the stationary, flower jars and cake. We had lots up in the venue, it really pulled it all together.
We also had a Guernsey theme for our table plan and table names.
I absolutely loved our flowers! Our super talented friend Katy sorted and arranged them. We had jam jars on the table full of beautiful blue delphiniums, hydrangeas, nigella and white freesia, avalanche roses/spray roses and my new favourites peonies. The foliage used for texture included eucalyptus baby blue and green bell. They looked fantastic in the jars and the bouquets were beautiful, exactly what I wanted. She even made mini wild buttonholes for the men which were perfect. Lots of our guests got to take a jar home with them to enjoy for many days after the wedding!
We had lots and lots of bunting! I even managed to sneak some Harry Potter in via confetti on the tables made out of pages of the books.
We had Canapes and Pimms on the lawn after the ceremony. We then had a 3 course meal which was delicious! In the evening we had gammon sandwiches, accompanied with a large jug of gravy, one of Jon’s few requests!
Jon’s other request was a barrel of beer from a local brewery (Robinson’s in Stockport) which was £1 a pint which went down well…and quickly.
Another talented friend Rachel made our cake, it was a tasty 3 tier iced sponge cake (chocolate, vanilla and lemon). The decoration fitted in perfectly with our blue and white bunting theme.
The amazing Live Lounge Duo were with us all day. They were fantastic. We also had a DJ for in-between and after the Live Lounge Duo’s sets, he had a long list of guest requests to get through!
Our save the dates were postcards from Quarry Bank Mill and we had a stamp made on Etsy with the detail. My Chief Bridesmaid and all round ‘sorter outer’ Emma took charge of our stationary and made sure everything from the invites, signs, and menu’s looked amazing. They all had the bunting theme running along them.
We really wanted to make it a day for everyone so we spent lots of time making and adding as many personal touches as possible, we couldn’t have done all this without the help of the bridesmaids and my Mum and Dad’s jar collecting skills –
We asked guests to send in their wedding pictures which we displayed on a pin board, this was the backdrop to our card table.
We had an instant photo guest book, where we let our guests take their picture on a Instax wide Camera and stick it the guestbook along with a message, this worked better than expected! It gave the guests a task and we loved reading back and looking at some entertaining pictures! We made our favours, almond and orange liquor filled miniatures with a delightful picture of myself and Jon on.
We had 8 children under two so we made them each a goody bag including bubbles and a personalised ‘Ju & Jon wedding’ bib to wear.
The decoration of the jam jars was the most time-consuming element, my good (?!) idea of making mini bunting for around the top of each jar was fiddly but worth it for the finished effect.
With the huge help of our friend Matt we managed to get a large map of Guernsey for our table plan printed on foam board. Jon and I had took pictures in our favourite places the year before to display as our table names, I was most nervous about this working but we managed to pull it together (literally) a day or so before the wedding.
Another hit was the ‘Bathroom Gubbins’ box! Which contained items such as deodorant, paracetamol and plasters.
Special Moments or Highlights
Seeing all our friends and family in one place was amazing! Including most wearing their blackboard peg place names throughout the evening!
The last song of the night Never Forget by Take That was emotional, the mass group hug at the end was a perfect end to our perfect day!
Advice for other Couples
Make a spreadsheet to keep on top of costs and start crafting as early as possible (earlier than we did)!
That everything came together and it didn’t rain!
Supplier Shout Outs
www.helenhowardphotography.co.uk / www.helenhowardphotography.co.uk/blog / [email protected] / 07877 303172 / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST / T: @hellsbellsphoto / I: @alifeshared
I have been photographing weddings for nearly 10 years, based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, but my work takes me all over the UK, mostly around Cheshire, Staffordshire and Hertfordshire. I work unobtrusively to capture the moments and emotion of a wedding day, my style is relaxed and I work with all my couples to ensure they feel comfortable in front of my camera. I love my job so much, I hope that shows through my work. I feel the emotion of every wedding I shoot, I am laughing and crying with my guests throughout the day and if I laugh and cry may way through editing a wedding then I know its definitely a good one!
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