Matt and Jo were the first couple to be married outdoors at one of the Lake District’s loveliest venues, Storrs Hall on the shores of Lake Windermere. They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect location: England’s largest lake is the backdrop to their ceremony photographs.
Jo’s dress is beautiful, although she did have some dress worries before the big day it suits her so perfectly and she’s one of the most beautiful brides I’ve seen. The back of the dress is spectacular and she needed little in the way of jewellery. Matt is such a handsome groom in traditional tails, and they’re a gorgeous couple.
The flowers are the highlight of their day – luscious arrangements by the amazing Brackens of Bowness. I love the combination of lily of the valley and sweet peas in whites for the bouquets (which Jo says smelt beautiful). Florist Kevin’s combinations of shades of pink to decorate the garden pavilion is more than fabulous.
All of the images are by the very lovely David Stubbs Photography. David is a Manchester wedding photographer shooting weddings in the North West and throughout the UK.
Our wedding story: Matt and Jo
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
We were extremely pleased with David. His style of photography was exactly what we were after and his approach on the day, and throughout the process in general, has been one of helpfulness and collaboration.
Storrs Hall, Windermere, Lake District
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
An elegant and magical lake front wedding shared with our closest family and friends.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
Our expectations were high anyway because the venue and the setting were so beautiful; we can safely say that David surpassed our expectations; the photographs are stunning and capture so many beautiful moments. To say we were pleased is definitely an understatement.
Your wedding style and theme:
We wanted it to be a relaxed, informal and elegant affair with traditional elements. Above all we wanted it to be a fabulous weekend for our nearest and dearest; a real celebration of our relationship. For us, we wanted to treat the ones we love to a wedding to remember.
With regards to a colour scheme, we wanted to bring some colour into our theme because of the time of year. We both felt less was more when it came to making a statement, so eventually the base colour was white, with additions of raspberry and green, and elements of silver. That said, we weren’t focused on a particular colour from the start; once we found the perfect dresses for the bridesmaids we gave the hot raspberry colour more prominence in our styling.
Any happy tears on the day?
One thing we really wanted to get into our wedding was the opportunity to make it as personal to us as possible. We decided to write our own vows to each other, and saying those promises to each other in the presence of our families and closest friends was very emotional and special.
Jo: I got a little teary when I saw the girls in their bridesmaids’ dresses for the first time in the morning. They all looked so beautiful and it hit me then that I was about to get married!
How did the two of you meet?
We met through mutual friends back at school. We’ve been together since our late teens – we met in a terribly grimy nightclub back home.
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
We got engaged in December 2012, so around 18 months on and off of intense planning.
Best bit of budget advice?
Discuss what your main priorities are and what aspects of the day mean most to you, and allocate a suitable budget. For those parts that perhaps come second, don’t be scared to consider cheaper alternatives; for example we decided that we were quite happy to spend less on our wedding cake and invest more in decoration and music. When you look back on the day as long as you had the things that mattered the most, everything else falls into place.
We also tried to save money by designing our own menus and by creating our own place settings with reclaimed slate pieces.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
We purchased our wedding invites from notonthehighstreet.com. We wanted them to be modern and simple in their style. We were lucky enough to find some that complemented our colour scheme. In the save the dates that were originally sent out, we also included a personal note to our guests detailing aspects such as accommodation. Having fewer guests at our wedding meant we could put some time aside to attend to more personalised aspects such as this.
Following on from that, in terms of on the day stationery, Matt, with help from a couple of work colleagues, designed some beautiful menus – personal to each guest.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Jo: Not at first. It was the first dress I tried on and picked it up with a bunch of other styles to try, just so I could try an ‘a line’ dress on. In my head, when I walked in to the shop, I was thinking something lace, perhaps in a fishtail style. I tried this one on first simply to get it out of the way but was instantly taken at how beautiful it looked. The Swarovski detail around the neck and down the spine was such a statement, yet it was balanced out by the simplicity of the rest of the gown. On reflection, I wanted something that was relaxed, comfortable and slightly different from what is so popular currently and I found that in this dress.
My sister persuaded me to wear a veil – I’m so glad I did. It made me feel much more like a bride and also looks great on the photos! I did have a crisis following buying the dress as I hadn’t seen it in so long I started having second thoughts but once I tried it on again I was reassured it was the right one! I’m only upset you only get to wear it once.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
The dress style is called Colby and it is designed by Sottero & Midgley. I purchased it from the Bliss Bridal Store in Bolton.
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
Given the detail around the neck and spine of the dress, I was conscious not to overdo it with too much jewellery. A necklace wasn’t needed, and the only jewellery I wore for the majority of the day was diamond studs in my ears and my engagement ring. The full length veil was also decorated with Swarovski crystals.
In the evening I wore a beautiful headband which was made of Swarovski crystals to match the crystals on my dress which gave a more elegant evening look.
The groom wore:
A hired suit from Aults in Bolton. We decided quite late in the day that tails would be more appropriate and Matt wanted to wear something more traditional. We kept the waistcoat, cravat, and pocket square all simple and neutral in colour.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The girls looked gorgeous in their Coast Shania Maxi dresses in raspberry. We were very lucky to source all three and it was love at first sight. The colour looked so beautiful on all of them. It was important to me that they wore something they loved and felt great in. The style of the dress was important too and helped complement the Grecian style of my dress. The two together work really well. Simple diamante jewellery made the raspberry colour stand out even more.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My hairdresser was a wonderful lady called Sarah Devine who has done my hair since I was a little girl and also did my sister’s hair at her wedding! It was important to have someone there I could trust and rely on. She also attended to some of the guests. I decided to do my own make up and treated myself to a trial at Clarins. After purchasing the majority of their make up counter I managed to find a look I was pleased with.
Jo: I wanted lots of flowers; being in such a beautiful, natural space, I really wanted to capitalise on the setting and bring in some beautiful flowers to make it feel like we were in a very special garden. Kevin the florist was brilliant. I wanted elegance and opulence and he perfected it. The colours were very simple but effective; pink, white and green, with some fabulous peonies, hydrangeas and sweet peas. Kevin carefully decorated the pavilion and this looked incredible, as well as the wonderful table centrepieces, which were great. A lot of guests commented on how stunning the flowers were.
My bouquet was very simple and made up of sweet peas and lily of the valley. It smelt beautiful and was wrapped in ribbon with a stunning brooch. I wanted a very traditional bouquet to complement the dress. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of this.
What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?
Matt: I remember being so excited when I saw Jo walking down the aisle, she looked truly beautiful. I also remember being quite nervous about my vows, just trying to get through them without stuttering!
Jo: For me it was walking down the aisle with my dad, the reading of the vows, and also just being incredibly impatient for the registrar to pronounce us as husband and wife! I was so excited to become Matt’s wife, I didn’t want to wait any longer!
Chapter One of One Thousand – by O. J. Preston
This was read by one of our closet friends, Elle.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
We were particularly lucky as the venue had just been refurbished beautifully in neutral tones which meant that we could put our own stamp on it by way of colourful flowers etc. We decided on keeping table linen, chair covers and bows, all in white, allowing the flowers to stand out. The room that we had our first dance in was the one that required the most work and thanks to a company called The North Pom (thanks Sarah!) we were able to decorate this room with beautiful paper pom poms of peach, pink and white. They looked fantastic.
Originally we were going to get married indoors but the venue built a pavilion in front of the lake. Jo really wanted to get married outside and we were lucky with the weather so we just transferred all the original flowers which we meant to be indoors, outside in the pavilion. We were the first people to get married there.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
The cake was a traditional 3 tier design. Each layer was different; sponge, chocolate and fruit. It was very simple in design and colour. Our florist Kevin did a brilliant job adding some extra colour to it with bright pink petals. The cake table was also decorated with bright flowers in little milk jars that added colour to the room.
We booked the Lakes Quartet, a string quartet, who provided beautiful music throughout the ceremony and afterwards at the reception. It was lovely to have the music outside and they did a wonderful job. Following champagne after the ceremony we took all our guests on a boat trip around Lake Windermere. Matt had prepared a playlist of songs to accompany the boat ride and there was dancing and more champagne.
In the evening, we had live music by Backbeat, a great 5 piece pop band who we booked through an agency. They had everybody singing and dancing. They also managed the DJ set in between their performances.
On the day tips and advice:
Jo: Relax as best you can and take some time to take a step back and appreciate your day. One of my favourite moments was on the dance floor towards the end of our first dance and seeing it full of all the people we love dancing around us. It was amazing.
Matt: Make sure to have a best man that you can rely on, my best man Tom was brilliant from start to finish. The ushers deserve a mention as well, my brother Simon, Jo’s brother Paul and one of my best friends Alex all helped to make the day go perfectly. As the groom, try not to get to the ceremony too early, you will only get nervous waiting for things to start and in most cases you really aren’t needed until around 45 minutes before things begin! One final tip from me is to check that you have your full speech to hand before you get up to speak. I didn’t. Although my speech went really well and I couldn’t have hoped for it to be any better it could easily have been quite off putting.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Matt: The best things about being married is knowing that you get to spend the rest of your life with the person you love the most.
Jo: How romantic! I agree, the best thing is knowing that whatever happens, you have a team mate. It’s such a deeper connection – you’re now family.
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Bridesmaid dresses: www.coast-stores.com
Groom and Ushers outfits: www.aults.co.uk
String Quartet: www.lakesquartet.co.uk
The North Pom: Sarah Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue Dressing: www.ambiencevenuestyling.com