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Frances and David’s perfectly handmade wedding at the Fisherman’s Retreat, with Vickerstaff Photography

There’s a difference between homemade and handcrafted details on a wedding day… at least for me. Handcrafted is a level above the norm: it’s the inclusion of real craftsmanship and skill in designing and creating showcase pieces. For David and Frances, handcrafted elements like the slate table plan and place names made all the difference. I love their Fisherman’s Retreat wedding and I know you will too.

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There’s a sense of artistry in today’s wedding, not only with the smaller details but with the imagery of this gorgeous couple’s day. Photographs are by my lovely friend Jamie at Vickerstaff Photography. I’m thrilled because Frances and David have given him the most amazing review – “The pictures were incredible. We laughed, cried and relived the whole day. Truly amazing pictures and we were so pleased as you never really know what you’re getting until you see the final product! We then sent the link to all our family who have all said how beautiful they are.”

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Discover more of Jamie’s wedding photography and book him here:

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Frances and David have written all about their wedding with tips and advice for making your own stationery, and recruiting friends and family to help out (Grandma was a star, helping with their wishing tree, making all of the invitations and willow table centrepieces!) There are some fantastic supplier reviews and recommendations towards the end of today’s feature so make sure you don’t miss those. Huge thanks to a gorgeous bride and groom for sharing such an amazing wedding with us all today. Enjoy.
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The English Wedding Blog Interview: David and Frances

Wedding photographer’s website:

Vickerstaff Photography: http://vickerstaffphotography.co.uk/

How did you choose your photographer?

Trawled through a lot of websites like every bride to be does… something about Jamie’s pictures caught my eye straight away. I remember seeing a picture of a bride’s dad’s expression that I fell in love with. I love how he captures emotion in his pictures. His use of light and perspective in outdoor shots also sold it to me.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

Pleased is an understatement! We first met him about 18 months before the wedding. He was the first ‘big’ thing we decided on after the church and venue. He took time to listen to exactly what Dave and I wanted, and was honest with telling us just what he could do. When we had made the decision to book him he sent us a gorgeous little box with lots of treats which was a lovely surprise. Jamie ensured he kept in touch with us and was always so quick to answer any queries we had in the lead up to the wedding, which is really important when things start to get busy in the lead up to the big day. We spent a gorgeous evening on the river in Chester for our pre wedding shoot in June. That was so much fun! He is a very relaxed photographer and put us both at ease throughout.

I don’t mean this in a rude way (and it’s probably a compliment) but I don’t really remember much of Jamie on the wedding day itself! I know we had to change our plans slightly on the picture front because of the rainy weather we had, but I can genuinely say he was so unobtrusive I didn’t know he was there! Even on the smaller bridal party shots it never really felt like ‘posing for wedding photos’ we just had a laugh and a giggle and Jamie captured those moments.

Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?

The photos came as a surprise on Thursday evening, as we hadn’t expected them until at least a week later. I managed to resist looking until Dave got home from work. We cracked open a bottle of our favourite red wine and set up the slideshow. The pictures were incredible. We laughed, cried and relived the whole day. Truly amazing pictures and we were so pleased as you never really know what you’re getting until you see the final product! We then sent the link to all our family who have all said how beautiful they are. What a lot of people have said is how happy we look in them all. That’s exactly what I wanted, none of those serious posey ones!

Wedding venue:

St Anne’s Church, Tottington This is the church that Dave’s parents married at almost exactly 32 years before! Dave’s grandparents played a pivotal role in the Church before they passed away and most of the cousins have been christened and confirmed there! The Vicar who married us (Rev. Hugh Bearn) confirmed Dave when he was a wee lad so there was nowhere else we could imagine getting married.

The Fisherman’s Retreat, Ramsbottom

Wedding month:

July 24th

Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Our perfect, beautiful relaxed day

Your wedding style or theme:

Simple, natural, understated, handmade

Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)

Wedding dress shop and seamstress both recommended by friends

Most other things I found on the internet!

What’s your top tip for saving money?

Shop around for items and use the internet if you’re making stuff yourself. Craft shops and wedding specialist tend to over charge even for basic materials. But if you really fall in love with something, then go for it, as you can always save the pennies on other parts of the day! Don’t be scared of asking friends and family to help make/contribute in other ways than financially. More often than not they feel privileged to be included! We asked one of Dave’s best friends to be our master of ceremonies and his announcements were both funny and personal to us. Neither of us are ‘into’ cars and Dave’s Uncle as a nice one! So he drove me to the Church, the Dave and I to our reception. It actually made it so much more special that he was so happy to play a role in our day and the car looked lovely with ivory ribbons on.

… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?

Obviously photographer and videographer- definitely don’t scrimp on them! We also spent slightly more on the boys suits, but they looked and felt much more luxurious, and the customer service at the suit shop was second to none. The photobooth was also a massive hit and money well spent!

Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?

A huge labour of love! My grandma made all of the invitations by hand, I made the menus, table name cards and the orders of service. My Mother in law wrote all the invitations and seating plans. My step dad and his wife engraved the table plan and heart name places onto slates. It helps that I’m quite an organised so we got a lot of it done well in advance! We also made a ‘wishing tree’ with card hearts that all our guest wrote us wishes and messages on and hung them on the tree. My mother in law also organised a finger print tree so we have an ink finger print of all our guests which is framed and a lovely keep sake.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

It was the first shop I went into, and the 5th dress I tried on! I didn’t bother trying any more on after that one, or going to any other shops. The seamstress was amazing (Deb by design) I fell in love with the details and shape of the the bodice, but had the skirt completely changed. It had originally a very large tulle skirt which was just a bit OTT for me.

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

Bespoke Brides, Mollington, Chester

Deb by design seamstress

Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!

I bought my shoes off the internet- the first pair I found and they fitted perfectly. Dave bought me my pearly bracelet as a wedding gift and I wore my great grandmother’s pearl earrings. I had a very simple pearly slide above my veil. The bodice of the dress was detailed enough- I kept the accessories very simple

And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?

We would definitely recommend the suits- Off the Cuff in Wrexham. Couldn’t have been more helpful throughout the whole process

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

My older sister wore a sky blue and ivory lace dress from Cheshire Rose Bridal and the flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon.

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

Michelle Sisson. She was ultra professional and created exactly the look I was hoping for.

Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)

A tiny florist near the church called All Blooming Things. I knew I wanted the main flower to be a white hydrangea, the rest of it I took a lot of guidance from them. The flowers were done on a tight budget so we had plenty of green foliage in the arrangements in the church which helped keep the costs down.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The Fishermans Retreat is a stunningly, simple yet beautiful building and it is the view from the floor to ceiling window that creates the wow factor. We therefore kept the decoration very simple. My grandma made willow centre pieces, all decorated with paper flowers. We had hessian runners with a light sprinkling of blue hydrangea petals. Lancashire Chair Covers did the chair bows and bunting.

Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?

There was a lot of handmade stuff! Everyone in the family chipped in which made it all extremely special. Grandma made the centrepieces and wish tree. Step dad and his wife made the slate table plan and heart name places. I made the menus and table names in keeping with the branch theme and of course we had to make a sweetie table!

The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?

A very simple 3 tiered cake made my NV Cakes in Wrexham. She took our ‘branches/ family tree’ type theme as inspiration as instead of a bride and groom on top, we had our own tree with our names engraved onto the trunk. She used my grandmas invitations which were ivory branches with paper blossom and carried this theme up the tiers of the cake,

Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

We had a very special first dance, performed to us by Dave’s cousin Iain Horrocks. He has always been a musical inspiration to Dave and it was definitely a highlight of the day for us. He performed Madness It must be Love.

We had Rose String Quartet perform our music in the Church. I walked down the aisle to Coldplay’s Fix You, and we exited the Church to Randy Newman’s You’ve gotta friend in me (a fitting song to describe our relationship!) The quartet then came to the Fisherman’s and played for us during the reception drinks. Our videographer has used all their music as the backing to our wedding video which is really lovely too (MoviArt cinematic wedding films)

On the day tips and advice:

Always make a little time for just the two of you, even if its just 5 minutes. Try to utilise the time between courses to make your way around the room to chat to the guests, it can be hard in the evening when everyone starts moving around and mingling. Make a list of jobs for your ushers- ours were absolutely fantastic and it helped everything run so smoothly.

What’s the best thing about being married?

Having the excitement of planning the rest of our lives together. Your wedding day is simply the start of even greater things to come!

Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:

http://www.vickerstaffphotography.co.uk/

http://www.lancashireweddingvideo.co.uk/

http://www.bespokebrides.co.uk/

http://deb-by-design-chester.co.uk/

http://www.lancashirechaircovers.co.uk/

http://www.fishermansretreat.com/

http://www.michellesisson.com/

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 www.byMoonandTide.com. 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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