Those of you who read our engagement story will know that it happened half way through our Greek holiday last August while Steve and I were navigating a boat around Paxos and Antipaxos. We agreed that evening, over a massive bowl of seafood and saffron linguine, that we wouldn’t launch into wedding-planning until we got home because it would distract us from savouring much-needed relaxation time and the beautiful surroundings of Paxos.
We did agree two things that night – before we changed the subject and discussed which flavour we’d choose at Lakka’s amazing Italian gelateria (if you’ve never been, you have to go to Lakka where we stayed – it’s so chic and an epicure’s heaven). The first was that we’d get married within one year; we weren’t up for a protracted engagement. And the second was that we’d have a small, intimate wedding in the village I grew up in because Kirk Ireton is, for want of a better phrase, one of a kind.
When we got home we realised that if we wanted to be married this time next year, we would need to get down to business quickly! Before embarking on a bunch of viewings, we made a list of must-haves: a beautiful, light-filled space suitable for an intimate wedding – preferably a period house; bedrooms to sleep in; permission for fireworks and fabulous food. We also wanted good value for money.
We were able to whittle the venues down to one quickly and I think that having our list to refer to helped us enormously – which was good considering we wanted to book something pronto. Shottle Hall is a petite country house nestled in the valley below the village and it’s part of the Chatsworth estate. Suffice to say, it fulfills everything on our must-have list and best of all, with our wedding-day being less than a year off, they kindly offered us a ‘last-minute’ deal with a significant reduction in price. The fact that it’s so close to Kirk Ireton makes having our reception there seem even more personal and intimate.
So here’s our plan: we’re going to make the vows in the tiny stone church that has stood in the village for the best part of a thousand years. It’s only a skip, hop and a jump from my mum and dad’s cottage where I’ll get ready with the help of my four bridesmaids. I was born here so it’s pretty special that this is where I’ll put my wedding dress on before walking over to the church with them and my parents to meet Steve and the rest of our family and friends.
After the ceremony Steve and I will climb into my bright red Mini which we’re going to attach ribbons and a ‘just married’ sign to (and obviously give it a damn good clean because at the moment it’s covered in three months’ worth of Derbyshire winter sludge). Before we can leave Kirk Ireton, we have to partake in an old village tradition called ‘roping the bride’. This sounds horrifically painful but actually entails the children of the village blocking the exit from Kirk Ireton with a length of rope until the groom has thrown a handful of loose change up in the air. Then the little ones drop the rope to collect the change and let the bride and groom pass. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I partook in this as a kid, so it’s extra-meaningful to be taking part in this tradition as the bride!
After we’ve escaped the village we’ll drive to our reception at the beautiful Shottle Hall where we will drink Pimms and fizz in their gorgeous lawned garden before the usual post-wedding reception meal, music and fireworks extravaganza.
So there we have it. Our perfect place. Just five months left to get organised… I have a feeling Sunday 6th August 2017 will come round very quickly!
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