This is my wedding of the week without a doubt – simply divine with a beautiful bride and handsome groom, delicious photography and a wonderful wedding report. Grab a coffee and prepare to enjoy a very, very special real wedding blog this morning…
Kate and Adam began their relationship as ‘book buddies’ (which is the loveliest story of all!) and after a long engagement began planning their wedding around a vintage literary theme. With a Penguin invitation, piles of books, a vintage typewriter and more gorgeous styling ideas they turned the Grange Hotel into a book lovers’ dream for their wedding day.
The photography is by top UK wedding photographer the very lovely Chris Hanley. His website is http://chrishanleyphotography.com and his blog is (to fit with today’s wedding blog theme!) – recommended reading!
Congratulations to Kate and Adam, and thank you for sharing your romantic story with all of us today. You two are a dream come true (and I love how pretty my wedding blog looks with you on it!) – and huge thanks to my friend Chris of Chris Hanley Photography. Everyone – enjoy! Claire x
Kate and Adam – Vintage Literary Love – a Lake District wedding blog
Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy & The Grange Hotel, Grange over Sands
Invitations and reception stationery
We made our invitations and stationery ourselves; we used a design based on the Penguin Book covers to invite guests to either ‘The Wedding Day’ or ‘An Evening Reception’.
The placecards were made by us and had a quiz on the back to provoke conversation between guests who did not know each other, with the winner receiving a bottle of champagne.
The table names were also made by us, they had the signature of our favourite authors, alongside a love quote from one of their works.
Our favours were bought from Confetti.co.uk; when we saw the Penguin Book design we couldn’t resist adding them to our wedding.
What did you wear?
The men hired their suits from 1860 suit hire, as the groomsmen were based across the country being able to get measured at sites across the UK was useful.
Tell us a little about your wedding venue styling and details
Our wedding had a literary theme, so we used books to decorate the tables with a single white Avalanche rose. We utilised the candelabras at The Grange Hotel and accessorized them with pearl beads to echo the details of my dress.
We bought a receiving box in the shape of a book from Confetti for guests to leave their cards and also a vintage typewriter from ebay as a finishing touch.
Wedding music and entertainment
For the evening entertainment, we hired a local DJ – Gary Mills to provide the music. He had been DJ at a number of family parties and was used to our requests. I choreographed a first dance for us both to Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E. We also had a casino in the evening for the guests, which comprised a roulette table and a poker table. Again, we offered a bottle of champagne to the guest who won the most.
Our wedding day:
Adam and I met a number of years ago and became ‘book buddies’. We would take turns to pick a book and read it, then discuss it together. Fast forward a few eventful years and we were a couple newly engaged. We had a four year engagement, the wedding took a back seat to moving house and changing jobs, until finally we were both in a position to start planning our wedding. Following many trips to wedding fairs and perusing magazines, we found an invite based on a Penguin Book Cover. Once we saw that, we knew we had our theme.
We got married on 6th April 2013, Adam mum’s birthday. That was not planned, it just happened to be the first Saturday after Easter. We did decide on an early ceremony to elongate the day. The day for the bridal party started early, approx 6.30 to be ready for the hairdresser at 7am and the make up artist at 8am. The groomsmen had a much easier time and, in contrast, a lie in.
The wedding ceremony
The ceremony took place at Ripley St Thomas School Chapel; this is where I went to school with one of my bridesmaids. We picked Ripley Chapel because it was special to me, a gorgeously unique venue (only former pupils or people with an association to the School can get married there, following application to the Archbishop of Canterbury) and very private. It also meant that our close family friend and vicar was able to marry us.
The walk down the aisle appeared to be a blur as does most of the ceremony. However, one of the key memories is that moment when you meet each other at the front of the Church. We chose one reading as we were conscious that we did not want a long ceremony, especially due to the distance between the Chapel and The Grange Hotel.
We hired a vintage Rolls Royce to fit in with the vintage theme to take us to The Grange. Due to the unbelievable good weather, we were able to have drinks and canapés on the terrace prior to the wedding breakfast. It also gave us our first opportunity to talk to our guests.
The wedding reception at The Grange Hotel
A conscious decision was made to have our speeches prior to the meal to prevent nerves of those unaccustomed to public speaking. Each of the speeches was fantastic and we took the opportunity to thank all of our guests for coming and some unsung heroes of the day.
The food served by The Grange was amazing. Guests were offered a choice of Lakeland Turkey, Pasta or Red Mullet finished off with Profiteroles or Sticky Toffee Pudding (true to the Lakeland roots!)
Table decorations – vintage literary theme
The tables were decorated with candelabras from the hotel, which had pearl strands draped on them. Each table had a centrepiece of three antique books, tied with a ribbon and accessorised with a white rose.
The table names were our favourite authors; we created an image using their signature and a love quote from one of their works. The favours were small notebooks based on the Penguin theme from Confetti.com and each of the children were given a small storybook instead of a notepad and also some bubbles.
To ensure the children were entertained, there was a table at the back of the room with print outs, crayons, pens and bubbles for the children. These items also entertained some of the grown up guests! 🙂
We had a competition on the back of our name cards to see who knew Adam and Kate best. We felt that this was an ice breaker for people who don’t know each other.
The cake was a stack of books tied together with a blue ribbon. We each chose three of our favourite books to make the cake, which comprised three tiers – Lemon Sponge, Chocolate Cake and Victoria Sponge. The ladies at Blackberry Cottage Bakery excelled themselves with the challenge we presented them with and we loved the final result.
Our evening entertainment comprised a DJ and also a casino. The casino was a late addition as we had won money off from a local wedding fair. That was great fun and certainly showed which of our guests had a competitive streak.
We did our first dance to LOVE by Nat King Cole; I always wanted a first dance which wasn’t the usual shuffle and Adam rose to the challenge.
Overall we had the most fantastic day and feel very blessed. Each of the suppliers we used provided service of the highest standard, especially The Grange Hotel who could not do enough for us.
The most memorable moments for our wedding day include
- Getting ready with all bridesmaids; the excitement in the build up to the main event
- That ‘first look’ when you both see each other for the first time that day
- Our trip to The Grange Hotel, as it was a 40 minute drive it gave us the opportunity to be alone and talk to each other
Wedding day advice:
- Enjoy your day (obvious one)
- Don’t be afraid of having an early wedding; although it means an early start it gives you more time to spend with friends and family – it goes so quickly!
- Make sure you factor in some time to be alone, as it can be difficult to steal a few moments alone together
- Have contingency plans We were lucky enough to have clear blue skies on our day, but should it rain (we live in Britain after all!) you might need a venue with lots of space.
- Also consider a wedding video, we were not sure but were so glad we did. We’ve already watched it 4 times!
- Have a wedding website – that enabled us to allow people to RSVP and put their menu choices online
- Ensure that your wedding encapsulates both your personalities, things that you both love
- Do the speeches before the meal – this way the men can relax and enjoy their meal
- Forget other people, this is a day for you both – don’t spend time fretting over others
- Be organised – we created separate table plans and boxes for each table to make it easier for the venue
- Have a good photographer to catch elements of your day you wish to remember.
Recommended wedding suppliers:
- Chris Hanley Photography to capture the moments of your day http://www.chrishanleyphotography.com/
- Deborah Jane Bridal based in Morecambe http://www.deborahjanebridal.co.uk/
- The Grange Hotel – the staff were so accommodating and thoughtful to your every need http://www.grange-hotel.co.uk/
- Rebecca Cain Make up http://rcmakeup.co.uk/
- Blackberry Cottage Bakery for our amazing cake http://www.blackberrycottagebakery.co.uk/