So we finally did it. After 20 months of planning, 22 blog posts, numerous wedding fairs, endless weekends of wedmin and countless hours on Pinterest. On Saturday 28th May, Wayne and I tied the knot and started our new adventure as Mr and Mrs Fairnington.
Photography | Chiyo McMillan
For those of you that have been following my journey, you will know that there was an unimaginable twist eight weeks before our wedding when my brother Alan passed away very suddenly. Initially we wanted to cancel the wedding, but family persuaded us to carry on in order to have something positive to focus on. From then on all the excitement had disappeared and the priority was just to get through the day as best we could.
In the end we made it the happiest occasion possible. The day we had imagined would never happen but with the overwhelming love and support of both of our amazing family and friends, we did it. And I hope I made my big brother proud. I think I must be the only Bride that clung on to my bouquet for almost the entire day so he was always with me.
When I started writing for soyouregettingmarried back in January 2015 I already couldn’t wait to post my own Real Wedding. So here it is…enjoy!
The very talented Rebecca Wright Hairdressing did my hair, three bridesmaids, both Mums, my god mother and even the groom on the morning of the wedding. Myself and my bridesmaids all had plaits and I went for a relaxed style, with curls and fresh flowers. Becky was amazing and I would highly recommend her.
I had booked a make-up artist for the wedding but after my trial, I decided that it just wasn’t me and decided to do it myself with some help from my bridesmaids.
If you have been reading my blogs, you’ll know that my mission to find my wedding dress was a long and difficult one. In the end I think I managed six separate shopping trips (my poor Mum was dragged to all of them) and all together tried on around 50 dresses.
I had almost given up hope until we visited Amore Bridal Boutique in Middlesborough. At first there was nothing really taking my fancy but I thought I better try on some dresses as I was there. One of the shop assistants pulled out the Maggie Sottero Sybil, told me it was new into the shop and yet to be tried on. I wasn’t mad on it as it had a low neck line and back, two things I always said I didn’t want. But then I tried it on, and it was the most amazing feeling. I could immediately imagine myself walking down the aisle in this dress. It was The One. I felt so beautiful in it on the day, it was heavy though and left me with battle scars from the sleeves but it was worth it. Sybil was definitely a show stopper.
Wayne wore his military uniform. The Best Men and Ushers wore a mix of uniform and three piece suits from Moss Bros in Leeds.
The search for bridesmaid dresses was almost as difficult as finding my dress. I had initially wanted a light pink or pale blue dress but in the end we settled for a pale lilac. I was unsure about the dresses right up until the day. I just wanted everyone to be happy and comfortable. However seeing how stunning they all looked in them on the day, I knew we made the right decision. So many people commented on how beautiful they were. I bought them from ASOS.
Our fifth bridesmaid was our Dalmatian Lola. 4 Paws Kennels was looking after her and kindly brought her along for a couple of hours. Having her there was lovely albeit a little stressful when she decided to jump up at my dress twice! But I’ll forgive her since she looks so god damn gorgeous in the photos.
We got married at St Agatha’s Church, which is in a lovely little village called Gilling West. Our reception was at the Yorkshire Wedding Barn, just a short walk or tractor ride away from the church. The Barn was the third venue we viewed. It had recently opened in 2014 and was absolutely perfect. Stunning views, a modern, blank canvas barn and gorgeous self catering cottages with hot tubs. The bridal suite even had a hot tub for two in a treehouse. Everybody commented on how amazing the setting was and we were even lucky enough to get some Yorkshire sunshine. Thank god for owners Amanda and Nev who created this absolute gem of a wedding venue.
Our photographer was Chiyo McMillan. I met Chiyo at a wedding fair very early on in the planning stages however when I saw her work and the relaxed, natural images she captured, I knew she was the right choice. Chiyo was so discreet, patient and lovely on the day, she really managed to capture the happiness of the day although at times it was a little chaotic (particularly when trying to gather everyone for group photos) You can probably tell from the amount of photos I am sharing that we absolutely LOVE them all. My favourites from the ceremony are definitely Wayne, waiting at the alter in floods of tears (I have never known a groom that cried more than the bride!) and Wayne’s niece Kaycie, obviously exhausted from all of her flower girl duties, fast asleep in her Daddy’s arms. Just gorgeous!
Our amazing flowers were by Sam Coggins of FlowerLab in Darlington. We had peonies, roses and hydrangeas in muted shades of pink and Ivory. From the buttonholes to the church to the centrepieces to my stunning bouquet, everything was absolutely gorgeous. Sam managed to create exactly what I had in my mind for our flowers. I couldn’t have been happier.
Our stationery was created by the very lovely Leanne of A la memoire, also based in Darlington. Leanne is so talented and creative with her designs. She is so enthusiastic, and makes you feel like your wedding is the best she’s ever worked on. Leanne did everything from our invitations, order of service, table plan, place names and a variety of luggage tags for the prosecco bar.
Instead of wedding favours, we decided to donate the money to Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) a charity that is very close to our hearts since my brother passed away. Leanne made little cards for each table that told the guests this.
I wouldnt say that our wedding was ‘DIY’ but we did do a few little things ourselves. We collected jam jars to decorate with lace, pearls and twine for the centrepieces, we made champagne corks into holders for the place names and my very talented Uncle Andrew made our amazing wedding cake. My Dad sourced and perfected our log centrepieces, he also had the very important job of bringing the wine over from France and my other Uncle James drove me to the church in his Range Rover – so you could definitely say it was a family affair and we were so grateful for everybody’s help.
Our caterers were Ray Wade Catering. Ray and his team were fantastic and the food was absolutely delicious. All of our guests commented on how tasty everything was. We had a joint of roast beef for each table for our wedding breakfast and a guest on each table was nominated to carve. They were given a chef’s hat and apron and it was so much fun looking around the room and seeing everyone getting involved.
We also had a kissing menu on each table which listed tasks for the table to do in order to see the bride and groom kiss. We had table after table serenading us, Mexican waves around the room and marriage advice. It was hilarious, and such a great addition to the wedding breakfast. It was one of my favourite moments from the day.
We provided all of the drink for the day. We had prosecco and bottles of corona and lime for our reception drink, red and white wine with the meal and each table had a magnum bottle of prosecco with a luggage tag that said ‘Time to drink prosecco and dance on the table’
Entertainment was really important to us as we both love music, particularly Wayne and we wanted our guests to really enjoy the day. During the ceremony and for the drinks reception we had acoustic guitarist and singer Paige Temperley. I found Paige through AMV Live. She was outstanding. She sang acoustic versions of modern songs mixed with some classics like Norah Jones and The Beatles, which was perfect. My favourite was her own version of Flo Rida’s Low.
In the evening we had a DJ and karaoke (especially for Wayne) from Ultrasound Disco. I also organised a saxophone player as a surprise for Wayne. I found Sam through Cat on Sax. She was great, she played all of the Ibiza classics as requested and got everyone on the dance floor. I managed to keep it a surprise and Wayne absolutely loved it. Wife points for me!
Our first dance was to Last of the Ladies by the Couteeners, closely followed by my favourite Bump n Grind by R Kelly. It was so funny seeing my Nanny up dancing to that one with the Best Man.
My whole attitude to wedding planning changed the moment that we lost Alan. Nothing mattered anymore. I felt so stupid that I had been so obsessed with the wedding when there really are more important things in life. There were lots of things that went wrong on the day but in the end the only thing that matters is that you are marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and you are celebrating this with all of the people that you love most. My only regret is not doing it sooner, so that my brother could have been there. I know it’s difficult with the wedding industry being the way it is and with suppliers getting booked up so far in advance but my advice would be, don’t wait. If you have found the person you want to marry, marry them because you never know when they could be taken away from you.
I have absolutely loved writing for soyouregettingmarried, I can’t thank Phoebe enough for giving me the opportunity and I hope I have offered some useful advice or at least a little light relief for other brides to be. I hope to start my own blog in the not to distant future, so watch this space.
Finally, thank you to all of our amazing family and friends, without you our wedding wouldn’t have been possible. We love you.
Good luck to my fellow SYGM Brides and everyone else getting married soon. It truely is the best day of your life X