Victoria and Stefano’s wedding is gorgeous: their style is city chic; they married in Manchester and made their day personal by enlisting friends and family to help – but they didn’t stress about details and focused more on creating an amazing party atmosphere. As Victoria says, “Don’t get carried away paying a fortune for tiny details which may look pretty but go unnoticed! Invest your money in the things that people will remember – the food, drinks and dancing!”
Photographer James Tracey told me a little about the day. “I loved shooting Vicky and Stefano’s brilliant, relaxed wedding. What stands out for me as the photographer was that the wedding featured guests and family from all over the world (with Stefano’s family coming over from Italy), yet everyone partied and celebrated together! It was a so much fun from Jager bombs during the bridal preparation, to the hilarious marriage service followed by a brilliant reception all the way through to the night time party with the incredible Brass Funkeys performing live and making the dancefloor literally bounce! A truly awesome wedding.”
“Didsbury House Hotel is fantastic. The small and intimate nature of the venue ensures that the guests are never far from the party. Didsbury House Hotel is also close to Fletcher Moss Park where there are endless opportunities for amazing couple photos. The hotel is also unique as the wedding speeches are held on the stairs which creates a completely different feel to normal wedding venues. I’d highly recommend the venue, it’s beautiful, intimate and the perfect venue for a proper party!” ~ James Tracey Photography
6 months on, Victoria told me, “I think the one thing that marriage does is cement what you already had and it brings a reassuring longevity to the table. The best thing about being married is knowing that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together, but we knew that already!”
Images are by Manchester wedding photographer James Tracey Photography. See more of James’s real weddings and gorgeous photography here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Victoria and Stefano
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
He was recommended by our florist, Sian at Didsbury Flower Lounge.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Yes absolutely! We called James to discuss the photography before booking and he was professional but friendly and down to earth. He knew the local area well and had shot weddings at Didsbury House Hotel before so that, along with the pictures on his website, gave us confidence that he’d do a great job. I’d been a little apprehensive about having a stranger in the flat photographing my bridesmaids and I on the morning of our wedding but we needn’t have worried! James and his colleague arrived promptly and managed to both ‘fit in’ and ‘blend in’ at the same time. They had a little joke and laugh with us when the occasion rose but then blended into the background when we were focusing on getting ready or having an emotional moment! He was fantastic at the church and at the reception. He took the photos we’d requested and kept us up to date throughout the day. The guests warmed to him and the photos we received were awesome. We love them and already have some up on our wall and have given scrapbooks to our mothers as gifts. I would highly recommend James to anyone looking to book a wedding photographer.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
I’d been dreading looking at the photos a little bit! I know some brides that worry about looking fat, others who came out orange on the pictures, or them simply not living up to our memories of the day. However, we need not have worried – they were excellent! The photos were waiting for us in the postbox upon returning from honeymoon. My husband and I unwrapped the box and sat down to view the pictures. We must have gone through them at least three times before we got up again – we loved them! They were the perfect memory of the day and we’ve been delighted to share them with family and friends.
Didsbury House Hotel
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
An informal yet upbeat celebration of love!
Your wedding style or theme:
We had no specific theme (I just picked what I liked!) but if I was pushed to describe how it looked I’d say “laid back modern”.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
I bought a couple of wedding dress magazines and read articles on Rockmywedding.co.uk and theknot.com. Our flowers were supplied by the shop at the end of the road, the florist recommended the photographer and I simply googled a few things. I’d seen the band at another wedding and my friends and family did the rest!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Don’t get carried away paying a fortune for tiny details which may look pretty but go unnoticed! Invest your money in the things that people will remember – the food, drinks and dancing! We tried to save money where we could. Friends and family did the cake, hair, guestbook. We used my Dad’s old Jaguar as our wedding car and my cousin who is a professional opera singer sang during the service. Friends were in charge of the playlist/s and I used a second hand suitcase from my mother in-law as a card box! It was nice to get others involved in the planning of the day and people really appreciated being a part of it and helping us celebrate.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We paid for additional food and drinks. Guests traveled from as far as Australia and the USA so we wanted to make sure they were fed and watered and had a good time.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
RSVP was done by text, Whatsapp or Facebook. We bought our invitations on notonthehighstreet.co.uk and directed guests to a wedding website on theknot.com where they could find all the information they needed (rather than print additional cards). Order of services were printed at home and bound by ribbon from Hobbycraft. Thank you cards were ordered online using photos by James Tracey.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Not initially, but I don’t think I’d fall in love with any item of clothing (except maybe a Mulberry handbag which I do dream about)! I liked it but didn’t have the overwhelming ‘burst into tears’ moment like they do on Say Yes to the Dress! I loved the experience of trying lots of dresses on and would do it again if I could. The staff and seamstress were fabulous and I was delighted with the design and how it looked on the day. I do like my dress and the memories it holds but it’s too big to store and I’m never going to wear it again. As such, I’m going to try and sell it so that someone else can enjoy wearing it, or failing that I’ll donate it to a charity who can use it for a good cause.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Bethany Hannah in Stockton Heath. Dress – Skyler by Augusta Jones.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I toyed with the idea of getting some nice designer shoes that I’d wear again. However, I wear high heels and I’d have never lasted the day in the snakeskin Gianvito Rossi shoes I wanted! As such, I opted for a pair of very reasonably priced simple Rainbow satin shoes. As it happens, my heel got stuck in a drain and ripped the material so I’m very glad they weren’t beautiful designer stilettos! In terms of jewellery i just wore my engagement and wedding ring and some simple pearl earrings. I don’t wear much on a day to day basis and didn’t want to stray too far from that.
And what did the groom wear?
He and his ushers wore a blue three-piece suit by Ted Baker. They had pale pink ties and pocket squares and tan shoes.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I’d asked my bridesmaids to surprise me with their dresses. I didn’t particularly want the stress of shopping for four girls, I trusted their judgement and thought it’d be a lovely surprise on the morning of the wedding. I’d given them a budget and a simple color palette to follow (pink, nude, blush, cream) and said they could wear the same or different dresses (to suit their different shapes). The girls did a great job narrowing it down to three dresses but then wanted to me ‘approve’ the final choice so I didn’t hate it on our wedding day! In the end we went for a fabulous limited edition blush/pink feather dress by coast! I absolutely fell in love with these dresses, so much so that I wanted to wear it too! One of the bridesmaids has kindly donated me hers (goodness knows how the feather survived) and I plan to wear it to a wedding in May.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My wonderful friend Carly Salter has been cutting my hair for the past 15 years. As her gift to us on our wedding day she did my hair and the four bridesmaids. As such, it just felt really relaxed and like a group of friends getting ready before a night out. I did my own make-up but had been to MAC for a lesson beforehand.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
The flowers were done by Sian and her team at the Flower Lounge Didsbury. We only wanted a few flowers so I didn’t kill myself looking for quotes, we simply used the florist at the end of our road. Her window displays are awesome and my husband had bought me flowers from her before and said she was always great. We met one Saturday afternoon for a consultation and then finalized the details by email. I had a bouquet comprised of soft ruffled flowers in creams, peach and pink. The boys buttonholes matched my bouquet and the bridesmaids had simple bunches of baby’s breath. We then had a few jars of flowers/baby’s breath dotted around the venue (we didn’t have formal seating so didn’t require table arrangements). We didn’t have any flowers in the church to keep costs down (and they always have fab flowers anyway).
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
No, it’s a funky boutique hotel with fantastic decor. We simply added some light up letters to the dance floor.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
I’m not particularly ‘crafty’ and didn’t want the stress of making things in the run up to the wedding. I had family and friends visiting from the US, Australia and Norway so wanted to spend as much time with them as I could, plus I worked up until 4pm the day before my wedding. A friend and local artist, David Lowther, made our guestbook and a finger-print tree and I put a few jam jars filled with sweets around the venue but that’s it!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
My friend, Laura Harding, has been making wedding cakes for over 10 years and she kindly agreed to make our wedding cake. It was wonderful to know that it was baked in her kitchen and I know how good her cakes are after years of sampling them! We chose a three-tiered sponge cake and made sure they were our favorite flavors! Being half Norwegian we also had a Scandinavian showstopper, a Kransekake. This was made by one of my mothers friends and decorated with Norwegian and Italian flags to mark our different upbringings and cultures. My husband Stefano is half Italian hence the Italian flags on the Norwegian cakes!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We wanted the wedding to be laid back and fun. As people arrived from the church and enjoyed a drink we booked a magician to do the rounds and help keep guests entertained until we arrived from having our photos done. Iain Moran was a huge hit and got people talking who didn’t know each other. Our band was called The Brass Funkeys and they were phenomenal!! My husband and I had seen them at another wedding in London and I’d said immediately that I wanted them at our wedding. Everyone complimented us on the band and the dance-floor was bouncing so much that my auntie’s glass of water in her room on the first floor was shaking! The best man produced a playlist for the day and for the evening when the band had stopped playing. When both playlists ran out another friend jumped in with his iPhone!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Don’t get stressed, just relax, enjoy the day and soak in all the fun! Things WILL go wrong but all that matters is that you and your partner are married at the end of the day.
What’s the best thing about being married?
We’re six months on from the wedding and everyone asks how it feels to be married. In all honesty – it’s much the same! We were very happy and committed before and we still are. I think the one thing that marriage does is cement what you already had and it brings a reassuring longevity to the table. The best thing about being married is knowing that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together, but we knew that already!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Hair – Our friend did this as a gift for me and the bridesmaids. Carly Salter from Planet Hair in Stockport.
Make Up – DIY after a lesson with MAC at Selfridges in Manchester.
Wedding Dress – Augusta Jones ‘Skyler’ from Bethany Hannah in Stockton Heath www.bethanyhannahbridal.com
Grooms suit – Ted Baker from Moss Bross www.moss.co.uk
Bridesmaids dresses – Coast
Limited Edition Wedding Shoes – Rainbow
Flowers – Didsbury Flower Lounge http://www.didsburyflowerlounge.co.uk/
Catering (other than the venue) – The Woodland Rover (Woodfired Pizza Van) http://www.woodlandrover.co.uk/
Live Music – The Brass Funkeys (London – http://brassfunkeys.com/)
Magician – Iain Moran http://www.iainmoran.com/
Light up letters – The Word is Love http://www.thewordislove.co.uk/
Invites Not on the High Street
Guestbook and fingerprint tree – friend and local artist David Lowther (@DavidLowtherArt)
Opera singer in Church – my cousin Jacqueline White (http://www.jacquelinewhite.co.uk/)
Bethany Hannah BridalBrass FunkeysDavid Lowther ArtDidsbury Flower LoungeDidsbury HouseIain MoranJacqueline WhiteJames Tracey PhotographyManchester weddingPlanet HairThe Woodland RoverThe Word Is Love