Hello there, all you lovely brides, grooms and wedding suppliers! Today I am smiling from ear to ear – it’s because I’ve just spent half an hour flicking through these GORGEOUS Northamptonshire wedding photos.
And today there are two cherries on our wedding-bloggy cake: because along with the lovely images, I’m about to share one of the best wedding reports I’ve ever published on English Wedding Blog.
Danielle – the beautiful (and I mean stunning!) bride – has written a full report of her Northamptonshire wedding to Mark. It’s heartwarming and full of good advice – including a heartfelt plea about having a wedding videographer, which is interesting and makes a lot of sense.
The photographs are by Northamptonshire wedding photographer Aaron Collett, who gets a fantastic review from the bride and groom, which is lovely to see! I’ll leave you to enjoy the story of their vintage-country cottage wedding day. You’ll need a big mug of tea AND a kit-kat for today’s wedding blog by the way… Enjoy!
A vintage country cottage Northamptonshire wedding!
What did you wear?
With myself and Mark wanting a more laid back approach to the suits, we decided not to go for tops and tails. We went with a grey 3 piece suit hired from Moss Bros, with Mark wearing a suit to work every day we wanted to make sure he looked different to ‘work Mark’, hence why we chose the waistcoats.
The wedding dress: Pronovias
My dress was a stunning Pronovias dress, and a complete bargain at that! I’d heard of a place in Leicester from a friend and on a whim one Saturday morning, my mum and I headed over there. I was not expecting to come home with ‘the’ dress, especially not at a fraction of the price.
The ‘Wedding Dress Factory Outlet’ is definitely worth a look for any local brides to be, the reason my dress was so heavily discounted was because it had been worn in a photo shoot. It still had all the tags and spare beads with it, so really no different to buying it from any other bridal boutique.
Your names : Mark Weekley and Danielle Grinstead
Who proposed, and how?
Mark proposed on a trip to Liverpool, in January 2011. Being a football match virgin, Mark decided it would be a great opportunity to have a little weekend away, by taking me to my first football game to watch his beloved Everton. After a pretty freezing cold, and non eventful, 90 minutes he took me back to what he described as a ‘last minute bed & breakfast’ he had arranged.
This B&B turned out to be a boutique hotel with our room being the penthouse suite! I was still none the wiser to his plans as we tend to joke that Mark can be slightly, shall we say, frugal with money, so I just thought he decided to treat me for a change!
It wasn’t until he called me out to the huge balcony that over looked pretty much the whole of Liverpool, (after three attempts of calling me outside – I was on the phone checking on our two year old!) down on one knee, that I realised what his intentions were all along.
A stunning Northamptonshire Wedding Venue:
We chose Crockwell Farm in Daventry, Northamptonshire. It is still a working family farm and is absolutely stunning! We fell in love on our first visit and knew we had to have it! Not only is the venue stunning but the staff are amazing, they honestly did everything possible to make our day perfect and to make sure it all ran smoothly. I can not recommend this venue enough!
Our fabulous Northamptonshire wedding photographer :
The fabulous Aaron Collett from Aaron Collett photography. We knew he was ‘the one’ when we sat down and first looked through his portfolio, there was not one single photo that wasn’t beautiful. We quickly snapped him up and booked him for our date.
He was such a star on the day; they say that a good wedding photographer should kind of blend in to the background with nobody realising they are being snapped! I have to say, I was amazed when I received a perfect, spectacular, set of photos. I did not recall seeing him hardly at all, all day!
From the pre-wedding photo shoots to the day itself, and everything that comes afterwards, Aaron is friendly and makes you feel so relaxed, in fact in my opinion, the perfect photographer.
How would you describe your wedding style?
After trawling through copious amounts of wedding magazines (saved for me by my maid of honour), I was struggling to decide what style and colouring to go for. I loved little bits from all different styles, so in the end we decided to mix it up a bit. However, after still being unable to decide what colour to go for, I decided to let the bridesmaid dresses choose it for us! I figured that seeing as I had five bridesmaids to please, that finding the right dress shape that would suit them all was more important to me than the colour.
It just so happened that the dresses we found (from feverdesigns.co.uk) came in the most perfect colour and one that I hadn’t even previously considered. The definition of style I would go for would probably be, vintage-country cottage with a splash of bright colour.
The Wedding Ceremony
We decided to go for a civil ceremony after quite a lot of deliberation. With Mark being a Christian and myself really not, we went for a civil to be followed with a blessing at Marks family church.
With Crockwell being slightly in the middle of nowhere, we decided it would be a lot easier for everyone (and slightly kinder on our purse strings) to have the whole day at the same place. Personally, I think this was a great decision for us. It meant that no time was spent to-ing and fro-ing betweeen church and venue, and meant we had more time to spend with our guests, which was important to us. One thing that will always stick with us is that our registrar was called Mrs Jinx!!
Which wedding readings did you choose?
With it being a civil ceremony we obviously couldn’t have any religious readings, which Mark was disappointed by.
We managed to rectify this by having Mark’s Dad say grace for us before we sat down for our meal. I think this was a really nice way to bring the religious side to our wedding and I know it meant a lot to Mark and his family.
The readings we chose within the service were ‘On your Wedding Day’, Author Unknown and ‘The Art of Marriage‘ by Wilferd A. Peterson. We asked Mark’s sister and one of Mark’s brothers to read them for us (emotion did get the better of Mark’s sister and she was swiftly helped out by my maid of honour)!
What were your wedding day highlights?
Of course my first and biggest highlight was walking down the aisle and actually becoming Mrs Weekley. However, the night before the wedding and dancing at the evening reception were definitely a close second and third. Myself, our daughter, my mum and 4 of my bridesmaids all slept over at the venue the night before. The only way I can describe it was like being 14 again and being on a school trip, we had so much fun.
They had even put together a book for me with messages and photos from many of my friends and both mine and Mark’s family. It was just what I needed after months of planning and organising, and then an afternoon of dressing the venue and prepping for the next day.
The dancing was such a highlight for me as it’s what we all do best! The atmosphere was just so relaxed, everybody had (literally) kicked off their shoes, had a few glasses of bubbly and were throwing shapes to our awesome band! It was just so good to watch everyone having a good time, and even better with it being all the people that you love and care about most.
Wedding venue styling and details:
As I said before we kind of went for a vintage-country cottage type of style. The styling and the details were where I really came into my element, from collecting all of the crystal vases for the table flower arrangements from car boot sales and charity shops, to hand making all of the wedding favours, table plans and place names.
Albeit slightly tedious at times (making 128 wedding favours took A LONG time), seeing the venue all set up and ready really was just the best feeling. It looked even better in real life than it did in my head. Definitely worth all the late nights, dragging my mum and daughter through charity shop after charity shop, and favour-calling in I had to do at times (what I liked to call ‘bridesmaid duties’)!
Mark’s very talented Mum made our beautiful cake for us, in fact the night before the wedding was the first time I had seen it. It was so perfect and she did such an amazing job seeing as all I had done was given her a few cut outs from magazines.
We decided to use chair covers and organza tiebacks for the chairs, just to give the overall ‘finished’ look. The company that we used (Beautiful Bows) was brilliant. Liz was great to bounce ideas off of and she suggested so many colours and combinations that I hadn’t thought of.
I think the one thing that set off the venue the most were our flowers. We chose a lady called Anna at Julie-Anna Flowers and she was faultless.
I always struggled with the whole ‘flower thing’, not only did I not want to spend too much money on ‘just flowers’ but I also found it difficult with not being able to actually see what they would look like until the day of the wedding.
This is why I would always say that spending that little bit more on flowers is something to consider, they set off the venue beautifully and our bouquets were simply stunning. Anna listened to what I wanted and managed to completely match our colour theme with only seeing the bridesmaids’ dresses once. Seeing the flowers set out the night before the wedding literally took my breath away and the bouquets complemented the dresses beautifully.
Of course the whole day will be embedded in my memory for life, it really is the best day of your life (so far – as pointed out by my Dad in his speech). Talking of speeches, these were definitely the most memorable moments for me.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when my Dad, Grandad and Ella (our 3 year old daughter) performed a little song about me. It was the most amazing and unexpected moment of the wedding and it still fills me with emotion just thinking about it. Mark and our best man’s speeches were laugh out loud funny, they really did all do me proud.
Wedding day advice :
Two pieces of advice I would give – the first one, and main one is to relax! Take a step back and take it all in as much as you can. People always said to me that it was going to fly by but I think by taking that step back I managed to enjoy every moment.
The second one is kind of a regret of mine. We decided that we didn’t need a videographer, as the venue recorded the ceremony for us. However thankful I am that we have this, I am gutted that we don’t have all the speeches for us to watch back.
A friend of ours recorded my Dad’s speech, and it wasn’t until I watched it back that I realised how much I didn’t actually take in on the day. It makes me think about how much I missed, in Mark’s and the best man’s speech. If someone had given me this advice before our wedding I would have definitely invested in a videographer.
Music and Entertainment:
For the main ceremony and the meal we chose our own songs, we decided to go for more upbeat pop type songs rather than the traditional wedding music. For example we walked back down the aisle to Queen, You’re my Best Friend.
For the evening reception we went for a local band, Thems The Brakes. They were so awesome and completely lived up to my expectations. Mark decided to take control of the first dance as a surprise for me, he’d actually asked the band to learn Al Green, Let’s Stay Together, and they performed it for us. I would definitely recommend a live band, even better if you can find one that suits your own music taste.
Recommended wedding suppliers :
- Crockwell Farm Wedding Venue – www.crockwellfarm.co.uk
- Aaron Collett Photography – www.aaroncollettphotography.co.uk
- Julie Anna Flowers – www.julieannaflowers.co.uk
- Moss Hire – www.moss.co.uk
- Beautiful Bows Chair Covers – www.beautifulbows.co.uk
- Laura Chesworth Hairdresser – 07771 553225
- Wedding Dress Factory Outlet – www.weddingdress-factoryoutlet.co.uk
- Thems The Brakes – www.myspace.com/themsthebrakesofficial