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Woo Hoo its Friday! I hope you are as excited as I am! I have most of today off and all of Saturday, and then back to work on Sunday, so a fun couple of days ahead! What about you? To end the week I have this Cheshire farm wedding for you from Adam Riley. The couple, Emma and Ben were looking for a laid back, child friendly venue that were going to let them do what they want and put as few restrictions on them as possible, which is why they chose Heaton House Farm. With one of the guests describing it as a ‘spring meadow picnic’ it shows that all of Emma and Ben’s efforts didn’t go to waste! Full of DIY and personal handmade projects the couple created a laid back and relaxed day, full of fun and laughter.
Emma and Ben were married on the 30th May at Heaton House Farm. ‘The countryside location and gorgeous views, the fact that it is a working farm and the freedom they gave us to have the wedding we wanted. It is also very child friendly (no steps, plenty of room for them to run round) and we knew there would be lots of children attending. We had 100 guests and it took our entire engagement (just over a year) to plan’.
How they met
We met through mutual friends at a house party and have been together about 5 and a bit years.
Ben got down on one knee and surprised me in the middle of walking our dog in our favourite woods. It’s lovely to be able to go back to that beautiful setting and be reminded of that day.
How did you spend your budget?
We spent most of our budget on the venue, caterers, photographer, band and dress and then did everything else either ourselves or as cheap as was reasonable.
Why did you choose your photographer?
A client of Emma’s recommended Adam Riley to us, she used to work with him and spoke very highly of him and his work. After seeing some examples and speaking to him over the phone we knew we wanted him as our photographer. His unobtrusive style, capturing the day as it happens with natural spontaneity was exactly what we were looking for.
I don’t know who my dress is by but it is from Lulu Browns bridal shop in Whalley, Lancashire. That is also where my shoes and veil are from. I also wore some really special jewellery on the day: a necklace with a single pearl, from a little jewellers in Whalley. (I got my sister, who was maid of honour, one from the same range to wear on the day which was really special); a beautiful delicate Tiffany bracelet with my new initials engraved on it which was a present from Ben that he left for me to find in our getting ready room on the morning of the wedding; a gorgeous ring with two pearls that belongs to my Mum. It has been the ‘something borrowed’ for my sister in law, my friend and other friends of my Mum’s (all of which are still happily married!).
The suit and bridesmaids
Ben’s suit is a Hugo Boss from Nigel Clares in Chorley, Lancashire. We splashed out on this because he looked amazing in it and (unlike my dress) he’ll get to wear it again!
I asked the bridesmaids to come in their own dresses, somewhere in a pastel range. I am really glad I did this because everyone looked beautiful and I knew they were comfortable on the day in dresses they had chosen. The flower girls dresses were made by my neighbour Christine with help from The Buttonhole in Chorley. I knew how much it meant to each of the flower girls to be part of the wedding and wear a ‘princess’ dress, so making it more about them we went for ‘full and floaty’. The girls were thrilled with them and watching them spinning round and dancing in the dresses I knew they felt really special.
Theme or colour scheme
We chose a rustic countryside/garden party theme/colour scheme to fit in with the laidback style we wanted for our wedding and the rural venue.
Flower arrangements in vintage vases and jars, tea lights in jars and candles in hurricane vases, bunting and matching table squares.
We had wild/meadow style flowers provided by Paul Lomax who did an absolutely amazing job. He did the table flowers as individual arrangements based on the second hand vases and jars we provided which meant they each looked unique. He also included herbs in all the bouquets and arrangements so not only did they look fantastic but smelled beautiful too. Arranged with the table squares we did to match the bunting one guest said it felt like a spring meadow picnic, which we thought was a lovely thing to say
Canapés served after the ceremony (tempura prawns, mini goats cheese and tomato tarts, mini duck rolls). Then a gourmet BBQ, (Seafood Paella, Chickpea and halloumi falafels, spatchcock BBQ chicken, traditional Cumberland sausages, traditional angus beef beefburgers) followed by a trio of desserts served to the table.
Cheese tower (that we ate for the evening buffet with breads, chutney and a ham) provided by Church Mouse Cheeses in Kirkbylonsdale.
The fantastic UpBeat Beatles.
Buy or DIY your Stationery?
Emma designed the invitations and then we had them printed professionally and then put them together ourselves.
Personal or handmade touches
• Bunting and table squares were made by Emma and bridesmaids.
• ‘Finger Print tree’ – an illustration by Emma of us with our dog Lola and one of our chickens under a bare tree. Guests were invited to put their finger print and initial on the tree to represent a leaf (if doing this don’t forget to test the ink and provide some wet wipes!)
• Card box, made from a vintage suitcase and sign
• ‘Free seating’ sign
• ‘Hedgehog Tombola’ – a large vintage trunk filled with hay, sweeties and toy hedgehogs, for the children to dip their hands into to ‘wake up a hedgehog’.
• ‘Comfy Castle’ – Ben and groomsman Paul built and painted a cardboard castle filled with pillows and blankets for the kids to crash out in later on in the evening.
• Colouring in sheets and crayons – black and white versions of all the artwork done for the wedding for the kids to colour in.
• ‘Memory Book’ – an album to remember those who couldn’t be with us at our wedding and celebrate our connections with everyone who was there (pics from our childhoods, teen years, uni days, embarrassing haircuts etc and family photos) displayed in a small vintage suitcase with other items such as notes passed in class with friends and books from school trips.
• ‘Fancy Dress Box’ – Vintage suitcase with an array of fancy dress items (just for fun!).
• Favours – vintage matchboxes with a bean to plant.
• Confetti – handmade cones made of tissue paper secured with an illustrated sticker filled with confetti.
• Rice Confetti – balls of pudding rice in a sheet of tulle secured with a pastel ribbon
• Aisle decoration – pastel ribbons tying bunches of gypsophilia to the chairs.
• Gifts – illustrations of bride and groom with flower girls/bride with bridesmaids/bride with mother and maid of honour/art work for bride’s father. For the best men and groomsmen – a box with tie and hanky (to wear on the day), cigar, cigar cutter, individual vintage match book and a miniature bottle of 12 year old single malt.
• We collected jars, and got friends/family/work colleagues to collect them for us too.
• We used some of these for the table flowers and the rest we filled with a small amount of sand and tea lights.
• We also trawled charity shops buying vintage vases for the table flowers.
The ceremony itself was really special, especially because we made a promise that we had written together to each other. Getting covered in confetti and rice on the way down the aisle was a great memory too. The Danish traditions throughout the dinner service were brilliant fun – people would start tapping their glasses or stamping their feet, which would spread until everyone was doing it, at which point we would have to either get up on our chairs or go under the table and kiss until the clinking/stamping stopped. Also, whenever Emma went out of the room all the ladies would get up to steal a kiss from Ben until she got back, and vice versa when Ben left the room. It was really good fun to include some of Emma’s Danish heritage in the day. The first dance was also a really special moment. It was romantic and intimate and finished with the highlight of Ben getting picked up by all the men, having his shoes taken off and the end of his socks cut off! (another Danish tradition that he had totally forgotten about!).
The outstanding sunset. We could never have planned that, and it was just an amazing gift.
Advice for other couples
Be organised, ask for help (especially if you are planning DIY elements to your day), and decide what are the things that are most important to you about your day – it’s likely that you will need to make compromises so this will help you with those decisions. It also helps to bear these important things in mind to get perspective if small things go wrong or all the details start to overwhelm you. On the day remember to spend time together. We certainly did this, and although initially there was an element of guilt because there are people we wish we’d spoke to more etc we know from seeing them after the wedding that they had a great day.