Tom and Jess’s delicate pastel coloured wedding at Ringwood Hall, with Jon Cripwell Photography

Tom and Jess’s wedding is beautiful, with mismatched pastel colours for the bouquets and bridesmaids… the details are gorgeous; the bride absolutely stunning. Jess and Tom make the loveliest couple: today’s bride wears a delicate lace dress while her groom is in navy blue – a nice touch for a pretty, elegant, and fun wedding.

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The venue is Chesterfield’s Ringwood Hall, and all images are by the lovely Jon Cripwell Photography. Jon describes Tom and Jess as “an absolutely fantastic match for each other“, and says, “The ceremony was beautiful, and obviously emotional for everyone involved, but especially the bride! Jess valiantly made it through her vows, and it was touching to see Tom reassuring her and helping her through when the happy tears began to fall.

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You’ll love today’s real wedding – more from lovely Jon Cripwell coming to the English Wedding Blog soon! Enjoy.
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Our wedding report: Tom & Jess Swindell

Wedding photographer’s website:

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

Extremely pleased. You only get one chance to capture that one special day and he did it fantastically! The photos are fun and different. Just how we wanted them.

Wedding venue:

Ringwood Hall, Chesterfield

Wedding date:

12th April 2014

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

It was an elegant, classy and fun day which was enjoyed by everyone.

What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?

We were so excited to see them; we loaded them up the second we got home from our honeymoon! I cried while reminiscing about the day, seeing all the things I had forgotten, or that I didn’t see and likewise for Tom, like me getting ready.

Your wedding style and theme:

Elegant, sophisticated, classy, with traditional aspects, but still fun like we are. We didn’t want things to be too serious!

Any happy tears on the day?

Yes, mainly from myself (Jess). Jon actually beautifully captured the moment as my soon-to-be husband leant in for some quiet comforting words.

How did the two of you meet?

We met at school – childhood sweethearts! We have been together for 9 years.

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

19 months – enjoyed every second, I love organising things!

Best bit of budget advice?

We had a spreadsheet which helped us keep on top of payment dates and outstanding balances. This allowed us to know how much we needed to save and when it was needed for.

I also did a lot of bargain hunting myself. My Ebay app became my best friend.

Equally there are parts of the day you don’t want to “skimp” on, we personally thought the flowers, the photographer, suits and food should be things to not skimp on. Again, you only have one chance to make this day so special.

Another thing we thought of was that table favours just get binned or sit in a drawer forever more, so we thought instead of a gift for each guest, we would donate the money we would have spent to Cancer Research UK. That way the money is going to a good cause and everyone got a pin badge. We did get the kids little activity packs to keep them quiet though (from Ebay!).

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

My auntie Sara is a graphic designer so she put the design of the invitation together from our ideas.
I bought slate place names for each guest as their table place names. Everyone has kept these as little keepsakes and I see them around their homes next to photo frames and on mantelpieces. That’s sweet.
The table plan was by Whesthill and it was beautiful. It had a drawn image of our venue at the top and was just lovely.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Yes! Although it wasn’t what I thought I wanted out of my wedding dress! I thought I would want a big Cinderella Princess dress, but this one just fit my curves beautifully. If I do say so myself! 🙂

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

My tiara was a handmade piece I bought from, it came from New York and was perfect – exactly what I wanted.
My earrings were Swarovski, Pandora bracelet with my “something blue” charm and the pearl necklace is my nanna’s and was my “something borrowed”. I also had my Great-Nanna’s handkerchief as my “something old” (which came in handy!), my dress was my “something new” and I had an old sixpence in my shoe.

The groom wore:

Navy blue tails suit from Brigdens in Derby. Ivory waistcoats. The Groom wore an ivory cravat and the other groomsmen wore rose pink cravats.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

I had the idea of wanting them to be in the same dress but different colours, which they were fine with. I wanted pastel spring-like colours as it was a spring wedding. I was so pleased on the day because we had lovely weather and the colours of the dresses just looked beautiful together. The colours complimented each other, whilst looking different. I let the bridesmaids accessorise themselves as they have different tastes on jewellery, hair, shoes etc. but I did buy them all a pearl bracelet as part of their thank you presents.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

I had my hair done at my local salon McCartney’s in Mickleover. They did a fantastic job and didn’t bat an eyelid when I came in the week before for a trial and had completely changed my mind!
One of my best friends Elodie did my make-up. She was brilliant, coming round whenever she could for practice runs trying to get it perfect, which of course it was!

Wedding flowers:

Cindy was the name of our florist and she does a lot of weddings for that venue. She was great, her knowledge of flowers and what would work (and wouldn’t work) really helped, as we know very little. All we knew were the colours we wanted and our mums’ favourite flowers which we wanted to be incorporated in the bouquets and corsages.
I’m sure you will agree the flowers all looked stunning. From the bouquets to the buttonholes and top table arrangement – so much thought had gone in to making them special. I asked for a “little bling” and she put Swarovski crystals in the bouquets and special buttonholes.

What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?

Well because I got a bit emotional I kept forgetting the words I needed to say! So people found it quite funny when I had to ask the registrar to repeat the lines. Woops…

Wedding readings?

We had Secrets of a Good Marriage which was beautifully read by one of my best friends Lara.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Our little extras were provided by Classy Weddings. These included our chosen chair covers and sashes, cherry blossom trees, table sashes, centre pieces (with flowers by Cindy), post box, table sprinkles etc.

The venue itself was just what we wanted. It is a beautiful Georgian Manor House, grand interior, big mirrors and chandeliers, gorgeous grounds and views. Everyone really enjoyed the venue itself, people went off on walks in between the meals and the next morning before breakfast, kids played outside. It really was perfect.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

We went for a traditional wedding cake, 4 tiers, simple, classy. I did however add our own “fun” side to it – from the front our cake topper looks like a standard bride and groom, but from the back the bride is pinching the grooms bum! It is called the Love Pinch. That was a hit.
We also only had one fruit cake layer; we tried a different flavour similar to a Cherry Bakewell for another tier and then vanilla sponge as a fail-safe.


Tom’s sister and her boyfriend organised a surprise for us in the way of Love Doves that we let off.
The DJ was great – played some great songs.

Another surprise that came on at about 11pm (unfortunately after Jon had left!) was Tom’s parents arranged a Lionel Richie tribute to sing! He is Tom’s favourite singer and was extremely good. To the point where some people thought it was actually him!

On the day tips and advice:

As Jon says in his blog, I expected there to be madness the morning of the wedding, but there really wasn’t. Because I had spent so long organising, double and triple checking things; everything ran extremely smoothly. There weren’t any dramas or tantrums. No Bridezilla! It was great that I really just enjoyed it and was really calm. Jon and I were actually saying we couldn’t believe how calm everything was going on the morning.

It’s normal for a bride to be fashionably late but quite often the registrar (and probably the guests) doesn’t appreciate it. We left in plenty of time (early in fact, I hate to be late anywhere!) and due to traffic we still managed to be slightly late. Luckily our registrar was lovely and didn’t mind at all.

Another tip I think is to listen to the suppliers. If they say something won’t work, it’s through experience. Equally if they have alternative ideas, again, it’s through experience. They know better than us how things run on a day, I know it is hard to pass that control on to someone else, but trust them. They are the professionals 😉

Luckily nothing did go wrong or was missed on the day, but if something does go wrong there isn’t anything you can do on the day. The day before our wedding I went to the venue with boxes of things for the tables and room itself. I had written notes of instructions of how I wanted things. Leaving the set up/preparation of the room to other people was really hard. All of the way back home to Derby I was worrying that they wouldn’t do it right, but again they are professionals! It is their job to set up weddings; they have seen it all I’m sure! And everything was perfect on the day. I loved seeing it all come together how we had planned.

Our MC at the venue was brilliant; I knew we were in safe hands with him.

You can’t control the weather, I fretted about it snowing as we haven’t had any this year yet! But on the day we woke up and it was cloudy but on the journey in to Chesterfield the sun broke through and the sun shined on nearly all of our photos!

What’s the best thing about being married?

It isn’t very different for us really as we already lived together, other than I have a new name! But to have declared our love for one another in front of all our family and friends and made it “official” was great.

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Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.




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