I LOVE a local wedding! Living on the edge of the Lake District is a dream. We’re there every weekend exploring the mountains (and valleys, right now!) and the landscape never fails to take my breath away. Needless to say, it’s my favourite place for weddings and so sharing Jen & Alex’s day with you today is soooo exciting! Most of all I love their day for its relaxed and elegant vibe. Beautiful bride Jen’s dress is non-traditional…. stunningly slinky with a daring thigh split and incredible back detail, it’s by Atelier Pronovias. Alex looks fantastic in chinos and a classic white shirt (because suits are NOT a rule…. or if they are, they’re the first rule to break! I love this look!) The gorgeous couple chose a few of my favourite suppliers for their day: lovely Helen Jane Smiddy was their photographer; Kevin from Brackens of Bowness (“the unofficial god of flowers”) provided their amazing florals, and talented Charlotte of Sugar Ruffles designed their gorgeous wedding cake.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
A lot of research on the internet to find someone who captured the relaxed and fun vibe we were going for. After that a Skype chat confirmed that Helen was the exact type of person you want around on your big day.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
She was a star! Not only is she a bubbly delight she was organised, subtle and her photos were simply beautiful. She really captured the essence of the day and our personalities in her pictures.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We didn’t have a videographer as we are generally very camera shy so even having a photographer was a strange experience. However, we asked some guests to record the speeches on their phones/a GoPro and this was a really good idea as we could barely remember them in the emotional whirlwind. It was a real treat to watch them back over again afterwards.
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
Our venue was Silverholme Manor, which is the UK’s only eco-friendly Georgian manor house and overlooks Lake Windermere in the Lake District. It is set in the middle of an enormous private estate in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Having it all to ourselves was the real treat. As well as being absolutely stunning, the venue allows for loads of extra fun events – we did watersports on Lake Windermere the morning after – this was certainly a hangover cure. It is set up to be completely personalised so you can really add your own twist. The Lake District itself is really special to us as both our families used to come here for holidays when we were children and Jen’s parents have a place just down the road from the venue so it feels like home. Plus there’s the scones at Chester’s and the Apple Pie to keep you going as well. Our theme was Lake District-based generally so all the suppliers and produce was local and we tried to keep everything as outdoorsy as possible (despite the characteristic downpours!)
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
Jen wore an Atelier Pronovias ivory gown which was very sleek and not very “weddingy” with a racy thigh split and a super sparkly back which was the main feature. A pair of (Alex still doesn’t know how much they cost) Swarovski crystal encrusted Jimmy Choos and bespoke earrings from Aya completed the look. The dress was super comfortable and made for moving and dancing. It wasn’t a day for suits so Alex and all the guys wore chinos and shirts for smart casual comfort. Looking sharp but feeling comfy was the main aim!
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
We used Brackens of Bowness. Kevin is the unofficial god of flowers and he’s the one in demand if you’re having a Lake District wedding – and with good reason. Him and his team are artists and curated some really stylish designs including giant floral chandeliers, giant freestanding bouquets and the bridal bouquets, which I have since had preserved in paper-weights as a lasting momento by The Flower Preservation Workshop. Everything was based around white peonies for a crisp and modern look.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Our cake was made by Sugar Ruffles. It was epic. We actually cut our cake at our Sunday BBQ so that people could have a chance to enjoy it (in our experience of other weddings it tends to be lost in the craziness of the main event). It was absolutely demolished and was really excellent. We went for 3 tiers (vanilla, chocolate and fruit) and a simple grey and white ombre ruffle design.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
This was the most fun part and we went to town here. We had:
– our faces printed on Alex’s socks;
– a personalised bar with cocktails in giant jugs that we designed ourselves;
– M&Ms in dishes with our faces and wedding date on them;
– personalised napkins;
– Jen’s Mum made a beautiful slate sculpture as a place setting for the Bride and Groom;
– we foraged (literally) all the other slate place settings from local quarries and wrote everyone’s names ourselves;
– we made personalised goody/survival packs for each of the guest’s cottages;
– a slide show of baby photos and other favourites playing all weekend in the Manor living room;
– Alex made Jen an “our story so far” photo book for her to open on the morning of the wedding.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We did 2 things:
– we are keen Scuba divers so the ceremony reading by Jen’s Mum was extracts from the PADI open water diver manual. The key rule of diving is to always stick with your dive buddy so the analogy worked perfectly for a wedding reading. There were a lot of giggles and tears for this one.
– we did a joint wedding speech which involved a personalised drinking game called “Would we lie to you”. All the guests had green (true) and purple (false) cards and had to guess whether the (mostly very embarrassing) statements we read about each other were true or false (with drinking penalties for incorrect answers). It was a lot of fun.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Our first dance was The Coral, Dreaming of You. It is Alex’s favourite song and given our overall reluctance to do a first dance (we danced for about 30 seconds before getting everyone involved) it seemed like a good one to choose.
An extra treat for the guests
We decided to skip the starter at our wedding breakfast and instead went super size on the canapes and indulged everyone with fillet steak, chunky chips and mac ‘n’ cheese as a side. Our guests are thanking us to this day.
Favourite wedding suppliers
Make up artist – Ely Bartlett