Mornnninnnngggg! So, Toast of Leeds is on my “list of awesome photographers” (yes I have a list, yes you may be privy to it, but only after a couple of drinks or a crisp £50 note). She has an amazing and the way Shelley uses light is inimitable. This wedding has bunting, dogs, a very happy couple and a rather gorgeous venue. So many details, so much DIY! Perfection.
Lace and co is local bridal boutique stocking House of Mooshki and Charlotte Balbier. Heidi’s dresses are so unique, she understood my reaction to each dress and as soon as tried on my dress I did not want to take it off. The alterations were very straight forward and I would recommend any Yorkshire bride to pop in to see her.
Shoes – Jimmy Choo a wedding surprise from Del ( I know I am a lucky girl)
Bride’s hair accessories/veil – Lou Lou Puchalska fresh water Pearl headpiece Leeds, Birdcage Veil borrowed from my lovely Friend Sara Dawson
Lynne, Stems Design, Huddersfield – I met Lynne during pre wedding preparations for Sara’s wedding and her work is impeccable. Lynne is so enthusiastic about her work and exploring your thought processes. I love flowers but really did not know how things would work together.
Lynne and Rachel combined to make a beautiful arch which had books and flowers intricately wired on to it, with glass baubles with tea lights hanging from it. We were married under the arch by Father Gerry who my family has known for many years. Lynne and Rachel created a truly beautiful focal point for the wedding. I decided on wrist corsages for the bridesmaids with David Austen roses, which matches the button holes for the gents- they looked stunning and also the girls wore them all day.
I chose David Austen roses which were similar to peonies as they were out of season, combined with flowering mint and stunning foliage for my bouquet, Lynne created the most beautiful bouquet, it was like she read my mind. Lynne, Rachel and Shelly have worked together several times before, they are incredibly talented and professional. I would quite happily talk weddings with them every afternoon.
Wedding Invites hand designed by my gorgeous husband Del Wijeratne on recycled eco paper- he included small silouettes of our dog and a tiny ’UP’ house which is one of our fave films. My mum in law sourced some personalised ribbon with our names and the date of the wedding on.
He also printed out photographs of all the places which we had been wild swimming which we used as table names during the wedding.
Rachel Chippendale from Simply Vintage styled our wedding. We had decided to have a very organic feel to the wedding, neither of us wanted to have a specific theme however it sort of evolved into a rustic, literary themed wedding, incorporating our love of books, gin and the countryside into our day. The styling combined with the typical unpredictable weather created a quirky summer fete atmosphere however I am not sure the WI would have approved of the huge amounts of gin consumed before two in the afternoon
Rachel understood the concept immediately and we were just thrilled with the end result. I had been collecting vintage tea cups and saucers from car boot sales since our engagement- crockery as always been a bit of an addiction for me, so armed with my auntie and mum we raided the whole of the north west for the best finds. I also managed to source a 25L glass apothecary jar with tap to serve our gin and tonics from into our lovely cups.
I had also collected enough vintage napkins for each table which matched beautifully with the table settings and flowers.Lynne and Rachel collaborated closely on our wedding creating the most beautiful centre pieces, with soft, pillowy, muted pastel shades against rustic crates and medicine bottles.
From the rafter of the barn, Rachel created hanging decorations covered with book pages, paper blossom pompoms and helium balloons with book pages and roses hanging from them. Rachel also provided candles, outdoor lanterns and bunting all over the barn and outside courtyard- filling empty spaces with huge plant pots filled with aromatic herbs.
We also had wedding cars from Cherry Pie Autos – the retro cars completed the day and I love the pictures of the girls in their 50’s style pastel dresses by the cars. The company were great and they provided a truly individual experience.
The Chilli Barn, The Cheerful Chilli Tearooms, Otley – We chose this venue as we had our first date there four years ago, as fate would have it they started converting the chilli barn just before we got engaged. After having dinner in the restaurant we noticed a tiny sign by the till announcing it would soon be ready for functions including weddings ! I emailed the next day and got in touch with the lovely Ann who was just brilliant at organising the day for us and providing our version of a dream wedding.
The Chilli is a vegetarian restaurant therefore the meal was completely vege- we ended up catering for over 150 people so we decided on a buffet which worked really well as everyone socialised and mingled together.
David created the most yummy food ever including some incredible salads, pies and tarts, tampades, spanakopita and in the evening we had curry served in paper bowls with wooden forks, and the most fabulous cheese boards ever!! We also stuffed ourselves silly with is beautiful selection of desserts and wedding cake. We were able to provide our own wine, beer and champagne at a very reasonable corkage price which massively helped us control our budget. As a result we were able to provided the drinks for all our guests for the whole day.
One our lovely friends Andy has a micro brewery The Revolutions Brewery in Castleford who provided two kegs and bottled ale, including the Clash Porter, Rio summer beer and Go Go Pale ale which went down a storm. Del and I organised a sweet trolley with lots of old school favourites, ice cream and nuts to keep the guests going during our ‘tea’ party.
Ceremony surprise for the groom and gin tea party – the incredible New York Brass Band – these guys are amazing they truly got everyone going and my husband was utterly blown away when they joined our dear friend Halah playing Moon River on the sax as her wedding gift to us during the ceremony. James Lancaster is a legend and highly recommend these guys to anyone.
For the evening party – The Cover Cats booked through the Band Boutique – this classic Liverpool band were so great no one could resist a boogie, resulting in the wedding couple being crowd surfed and forcing the bride to sing ‘proud mary’ badly until she chickened out.
I cannot recommend my bands enough, I wish I could get married every year just to have them back!
Bridesmaids shoes – BHS.
Hair accessories – Jenny Packham for Debenhams, make up by the beautiful bridesmaids and courtesy of sharing brides new make up goodies
Bridesman- Suit his own, bowtie and pocket square Mrs Bowtie
3 piece suit- Next, shoes Next- cufflinks- Not on the High Street – Pocket watch- tie made by my lovely mother in law Suneetha Perera
Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories- Suits- Next chosen by the boys, ties made by Suneetha Perera
When Del proposed we were at the top of a mountain in Pyha, Finland in a tiny café during a snow storm- to celebrate I ordered a flowering tea. Just as well it wasn’t champagne as the ski lift was shut down and we needed to be rescued by an angry man on a snow mobile. I ordered flowering tea balls from Ebay and packaged them into small brown, handprinted bags with ‘Drink me’ labels on them.
Multi Layered naked cake complete with icing versions of the couple, their dog Darcy, and cats Dixie and Bo- made by the incredibly patient and multitalented Suneetha Perera – btw Darcy the dog ate the icing version of himself, both cats and Del’s arm the night before the wedding which were painstakingly reconstructed.
We are very lucky as we did have another wedding in Sri Lanka with Del’s family, we were married for the second time on a beautiful beach at sunset at the Vivanta Beach Hotel, Bentota. Followed by dancing, singing and feasting in a huge way. We continued the trip with a tour of the island with our friends and family from the UK who had made it over for our second wedding. We are extremely lucky.
We did take a tiny mini moon after our wedding in the Chilli in the Lake District at our favourite boutique hotel the Cuckoos Brow Inn. It is our little escape where we can bring the dog, read books and drink wine in quiet corners.
The Fabulous Shelly Mantovani Toast of Leeds – we first met Shelly at our dear friends Will and Sara Dawson’s beautiful Narnia themed wedding. Shelly is a riot and her work is mind blowing, it was like having your best mate taking piccies at your wedding, you feel instantly at ease and the woman knows how to take an amazing picture. She can also party with the best of them which is how she seems to get everywhere and a picture of everything!
We are truly thrilled we our photos and if I could emphasise the importance of a great photographer to any bride, please consider investing the money, it was so worth it for us.
My day was filled with incredible moments, however I think the one that sticks in mind the most was when Shelly took us outside the barn during the most dramatic sunset I have ever seen to take some shots. Our little dog Darcy was in his tuxedo and bow tie- we let him off the lead while we had some romantic pics taken, after running in circles for a minute he decided to squat and take a huge poo in the middle of the photo. Del and I could not stop laughing hysterically and we nearly lost all the beautiful light. Whenever I look at those photos we are really laughing together which is how I think of us.