Morning! I hope your week has been good so far. We are in for another pretty treat today (obvs this is SYGM after all!), Freya looks every bit the gorgeous bride in her Annasul Y gown and I love the touch of coral in Paul’s attire. Their wedding was themed around bees, celebrating their hometown of Manchester. There are so many cute DIY ideas for you to steal so get pinning!
photography | Kanashay
We had both the ceremony and the reception at Abbeywood Estate in Cheshire. We wanted to get married somewhere with a relaxed feel but we also needed somewhere big enough to accommodate 150 guests. Abbeywood was perfect. It’s owned and run by Harry Rowlinson and his children and grandchild, who were so friendly and helpful. We were lucky enough to be blessed with blue skies and sunshine so we were able to get married outside in the beautiful gardens which we’d been hoping for. Our wedding breakfast was served in the huge glasshouse which was later turned around for the evening party.
We had a bee theme to represent our home town of Manchester. We used this on the save the dates, the invitations, and dotted around the venue. We also used bees on the programs which we designed and printed onto brown kraft paper. My sister and I decorated blackboards, including the huge one by the entrance to the venue, and I made 70 confetti cones from patterned card. For the table plan we used an old set of wooden ladders which I sanded and painted white. We printed the guests’ names onto bunting and hung these from the ladders using coral string and heart-shaped wooden pegs.
Across the double doors leading into the glasshouse we hung polaroid photos of our favourite memories and bunting that my friend Emily had made when we got engaged. We decorated the glasshouse with more bunting, which Paul sprayed gold, and wicker hearts. The name places were coral and white straws with personalised flags on kraft paper. I’d cut out hundreds of hearts from gold, glittery card so my sister glued these onto the straws to tie in the gold theme. We’d seen giant light-up letters at wedding fairs but we knew how expensive they were to hire so my very handy dad designed and built our very own light-up F + P.
I didn’t want to spend a fortune on flowers so I ordered them from a wholesaler (North West Flowers) for about £300 and arranged them myself with the help of my mum and sister. We put together 60 small jam jars for the tables plus larger jars to decorate the venue. At 9pm the evening before the wedding (in the fading light because the potting shed we were in didn’t have a working bulb!) we made the bridal bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquet from roses, thistles, lavender and sweet peas. We also arranged some flowers in an oasis block for the registrar’s table.
Our incredible 9-tier naked cake was made by our amazing friend Kat and her lovely mum, Marie. Kat spent weeks trialling different flavours (much to the enjoyment of her friends and boyfriend) and eventually decided on three different layers – vanilla sponge with fresh strawberries; lemon sponge with blueberries and a lemon curd butter filling; and orange sponge with a cointreau-flavoured cream filling. On the morning of the wedding she and Marie painstakingly assembled it with layers of cream, fresh fruit and flowers. Everyone loved it and it’s still talked about amongst our family and friends.
My dress was the LM2069B By Annasul Y which I bought from the lovely White Closet in Didsbury. Eve was brilliant at making suggestions on how the dress could be adapted to suit my figure and I chose to have the skirt altered slightly into a loose fishtail style. I had bought a pearl belt off Etsy but unfortunately it was too wide for the style of the dress. Luckily the amazing seamstress narrowed it down for me, breaking each pearl by hand and sewing the ribbon back on itself so that it looked perfect. I didn’t like the style of most bridal shoes so instead I wore incredibly sparkly Dune court shoes which I’ve got lots of wear out of since.
Bride’s hair accessories/veil: I borrowed a full-length veil from my friend Georgina who’d got married the year before. For the daytime, I wore a Willow & Co pearl hair vine before swapping it for a flower crown for the evening. I’d tried on lots of tiaras and headbands but they all seemed too fussy for the style of wedding we wanted.
Sarra Slimane did both my hair and makeup. Lots of my friends were surprised that I didn’t do my own makeup but I knew I’d be too stressed trying to make it perfect and end up ruining it!
My sister Jes was my maid of honour and only bridesmaid. She was 8 months pregnant at the time so we ordered a navy maxi dress from Seraphine for her to wear. She wore gold peep-toe heels from Carvella. Jes looked incredible and was on the dance floor until the very end of the night. Our flowergirl, Bella, wore a white dress that I found in TK Maxx with a flower crown that I sprayed gold. Jacob, our pageboy, wore grey braces and a coral bow tie.
Paul’s suit was Ted Baker and we bought the coral ties that he and his groomsmen wore from eBay. My mum then made matching pocket squares from duplicate ties.
Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories: The groomsmen all wore navy suits from Marks and Spencer with coral ties to match Paul’s. The suits were gifts for the groomsmen to keep.
We made seed packets decorated with a personalised stamp, wrapped in ribbons printed with bees. These were filled with bee-friendly wild flower seeds.
We hired a singer/guitarist called Nick Keen to play during the ceremony and reception drinks. He’d played at our friends’ wedding earlier in the year and we loved his relaxed style. He played Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ as I walked down the aisle and then everyone joined in with The Beetles’ ‘All You Need is Love’. We hired a band called Xebra, who had played at my sister’s wedding four years earlier, for the evening. They were brilliant and kept the dance floor full all night. They even stayed late and let us use their equipment to play our playlist through after they’d finished.
My favourite moment was walking back down the ailse once we had been married and seeing all of our friends and family as they showered us with confetti hearts. Paul’s favourite moment was dancing to the Courteeners’ ‘Last of the Ladies’ for our first dance.
The catering was done by Lauren at Abbeywood. She was brilliant and served the most delicious prawns, pork belly and chocolate bread and butter pudding.
Our photographer, Ailsa (Kanashay Photography), was incredible. Neither of us were particularly looking forward to posing for lots of photographs and we knew we wanted someone with a creative style so Ailsa was just what we had been looking for. She made us (and all of our guests) feel completely at ease and she captured all the little details in her unique style. So many of our friends have since commented on her photos and recommended her to other couples.
We used a personalised stamp to make DIY save the dates on heart-shaped card. The invitations were designed by my friend’s husband, Dave Bradburn, who’s a graphic designer (Opus Creative Design). Dave was brilliant and let me make as many changes as I wanted during the design process.
We went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for ten days. Neither of us had ever been to an all-inclusive resort before so we definitely made the most of the unlimited cocktails and food!
Tips for those in the planning process: Do as much DIY as you can – weddings are expensive when you consider how much you’ve got to pay for and the small things really add up. We saved hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds by doing our own flowers, favours, name places, table plan etc. I’m not particularly creative and definitely not artistic but so many things can be done with a glue gun and some help from Pinterest!
Where did you find your inspiration? I used Pinterest an awful lot for ideas but I also found Etsy really good for inspiration and for showing me what I could buy and assemble myself.