Amber and Youl’s Handcrafted Lace District and French Fusion Wedding by Ally M photography

Happy Friday to you all, and how have you all been this week? It’s been the second week of the school holidays here in Sheffield, which is different to the rest of the country for some strange reason. I have been enjoying lots of Easter activities, with the added bonus that we still have the long bank holiday to come next weekend! How is your wedding planning coming along? Do you have many jobs planned for the weekend?
I am finishing off the week with this gorgeous wedding from the Lake District, which is filled with lots of handcrafted projects, mainly put together by Amber and her friends and family. The Peonies are my personal favourite, the burst of colour is gorgeous against the lovely backdrop of Askham Hall. The day is a true celebration of Amber and Youl’s love complete with gospel choir in the church and a big old party later on in the evening, all captured beautifully by Ally M photography

It was a perfect day, full of love, laughter, music, so much fun, and so relaxed.

Amber and Youl were married on 21st June 2019 at  St Peters Church, Askham then onto Askham Hall, Askham in the Lake District. ‘It was so relaxing there it felt like home. It still does. We wanted the best quality food we could find without feeling like we were imposing like you do in some formal places. Askham was a perfect balance between getting the two. It’s full of history, which I love, but it still carries the atmosphere of a family home. The staff are so friendly and genuine. Youl and I reserved the hotel for two nights so it was important that we be comfortable and our families welcomed. We had 80 guests, proposed in May 2017, married June 2018.’

How they met 
We met in 2000 in a nightclub! Youl had come from France to work in England and I was out with my friends that night. I hated that nightclub usually but my friends’ sister had wanted to go.  I remember saying ‘we’ll go for an hour and if it’s rubbish we’ll go to lizard lounge’. I saw Youl at the bar later that evening and decided I was a fully-grown woman of 19, I should be able to approach any man I wanted! So I plucked up all my courage to approach this man I had followed to the bar. I decided humour was the only way to go and after benefitting from my petite frame and sneaking through all the sweaty bodies to stand next to this super tall man, I cracked a joke about the not so cheerful barmaid throwing drinks at everyone only to be defeated by my inability to speak French! It turned out this beautiful man did not understand a word I had said!! I walked away as elegantly and as quickly as possible, embarrassed but not yet defeated. We scrambled together all the French we could remember from our GCSE’s and came up with ‘Comment t’appelle tu?’. So off I went observed by a group of women, shocked by my audacity and thankfully with no video function on their mobile phones! I approached Youl again, only to deflate at the last minute and say’ I bet your English is better than my French, so lets’ just stick with that’. It was almost 17 years later that he proposed.

The proposal
I had been working late that night and Youl was at home with our two boys, preparing for his trip to Africa the next day. He had said he would collect me from work but I got a lift back so arrived unexpectedly. I saw our youngest son by the window and thought something must be up its 10pm on a school night. I opened the door and the boys shouted at me to wait there. I had to close my eyes while they led me to the kitchen. I opened my eyes to a room full of lit candles and Youl holding a ring box with the boys eagerly watching my response. I will never forget the smile on their faces. I asked Youl what he was doing!! He opened the box and gave me the ring!

How did you allocate your budget?
We didn’t have a strict budget. We just went with what we thought was reasonable.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
I don’t think we splurged on anything. I saved a lot of money on the flowers as I did them myself. I worked for a supermarket at the time so got them at cost.  I purchased all the vases etc so I still have them. I gave some to our friends and family. The silver Mr & Mrs sign next to the cake was from Poundland!  I saved on the Order of service as a friend designed them and I had them copied locally rather than pay a fortune for expensive paper that most people throw away. I bought the lace to decorate the church, which I then donated to them for others to use.
I think the two things I’m so glad I spent good money on was the band and the gospel choir. Both worth every penny, they were so good and made our day and evening. Music was a massive part of our day.

How did you choose your photographer?
I looked online at LOTS of sites and chose Ally as I liked his style.

The dress
Dress was Pronovias but I altered the style. Shoes were Kurt Geiger. Accessories were jewellery I already owned.

The suit and bridesmaids
Suits were from Slaters. Bridesmaid dresses were from Self Portrait.

Theme or colour scheme
We just wanted good quality food, drink and music. Also I wanted to have as much local produce as possible. We are so lucky to live so close to the Lakes and I wanted to show my French family especially what a great place this is. Askham Hall grows all their own produce and meat too so it was perfect.

Peonies mainly with some babys breath and lavender thrown in.

The flowers, heart shaped slates for table numbers and mini bottles of KIN toffee vodka that is made in the Lakes.

Canapes:  Goats cheese and caramelised red onion tartlets/Honey mustard Chipolata sausages/ Tempura Tiger prawns with a chilli dip.
Entrée: Foie gras terrine with toasted brioche and homemade chutney.
Main:  Roast chicken, stuffing, sausage, crispy pancetta, roast potatoes and gravy.
Dessert: Chocolate brownie

Wedding cake
Croquembouche with flavoured cream fillings (Butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate) provided by the Wooden Dove Company, based in the Lake district.

Gospel choir in the church. The Fusion Dukes as a band in the evening. Photo Booth.

Who supplied the stationery?
I bought the save the dates from Hobbycraft. The invitations came from FeelgoodInvites on Etsy. A friend designed the order of service and we used the same pattern on our menu’s which I then wrote by hand. I bought a large gilt mirror from Etsy and made the table plan myself using that and some greenery. I also bought a message book for everyone to write in but not many people did. More people used the Photo Booth book to write messages and stick photos in! I used heart shaped slate for the table numbers and I wrote names on leaves from a plant in our garden as place settings.

Personal touches
Flowers/Table plans/Menus/Order of service/ I made the bouquets and boutonnieres myself too. I decorated the tables myself with my bridesmaids and cousins and friends the night before and I made the place settings myself with leaves from the plants in our garden. We had large light up letters spelling ‘ALWAYS’. It made sense to me as we have been together so long already and although my partner didn’t realise it, it was a sneaky nod to Harry Potter too as I’m a massive fan!!

Special moments 
Our two boys walked me down the aisle. I will never forget that. Singing and dancing our way out of the church to traditional African music was amazing!  The music had been recorded when Youl went to Africa and came from the village of his fathers family. Everyone was singing and clapping. The Bishop said he had never seen a wedding like it.

Advice for other couples
Just relax and enjoy it. Don’t worry about what you have and don’t have at your wedding. Ultimately it’s about atmosphere and that comes with how you feel about each other and the people you surround yourself with. Keep it YOU.

Biggest surprise 
The atmosphere and joy in the church was indescribable as I’m not particularly religious so it wasn’t something I expected. I just felt the happiness of everyone and my youngest son cried his eyes out as he said he was ‘so happy’.


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