Kate & Steve’s super creative and personal Peak District wedding, with John Mottershaw Photography
A beautiful Peak District wedding with the most thoughtful touches for guests we’ve ever seen! Kate and Steve celebrated their love at Losehill House, and chose John Mottershaw Photography to capture their day. These two are perfect together; clearly adored by their guests and head over heels in love with each other. And we love the little extras Kate told us about – the hampers for guests, the pet treats and surprise arrival of Branston, their super cute pooch! There was even a cave tour on the morning of the wedding… as you do, in the Peak District!
Do scroll all the way through for the gorgeous photos and Kate’s lovely supplier reviews and tips, as well as all those brilliant ideas for a truly personal summer wedding. Kate and Steve – thank you so much, you’re the most amazing pair and we wish you many years of happiness together!
Wedding photographer’s website
Wedding photographer review
John was the perfect Losehill House wedding photographer – we couldn’t have asked for more. He was friendly, professional and unobtrusive – he listened to what we wanted and realised that we didn’t want to leave our guests for long periods to have any sort of contrived ‘photo shoot’ – we wanted as many spontaneous photos as possible and that’s exactly what we got. We were delighted! This is what we said to John when we saw them –
“We absolutely LOVE them! We’ve just looked through the lot and we’re so chuffed with how much of the day you’ve managed to capture i.e. everything! Thank you so much for taking such beautiful pictures of the venue (and all the various ‘activities’ going on) and all our guests… lots and lots of photos for us to treasure… Thanks once again for being such a kind and patient (and very talented!) photographer – so many of our guests commented on how brilliant you were! We’re absolutely delighted with the results.”
Your best moment or memory
The ceremony itself! Everything that came afterwards was simply a bonus. Our Humanist celebrant, Louise Luke, crafted the perfect ceremony for us, underneath the gazebo (decorated by my Mum!) in the beautiful grounds of Losehill House Hotel and Spa – it was just incredible.
The weather was amazing (probably too hot actually, but far better this than it tipping it down with rain) and so many of our guests already had a drink in their hands by the time I walked down the ‘aisle’ (path!) – it was really informal, which was lovely!
Tell us anything you did differently – we love hearing about NEW traditions (or none at all!)
Where to start?! Lots of parts of the ceremony were a bit different…
I came down the aisle to ‘Hey Jude’ (we’re both from Liverpool!) performed by the Vitamin String Quartet.
Numerous readings – we had 6! – including an extract from Anne‘s House of Dreams read by my Dad (the Anne of Green Gables books were my favourites as a child)
The handing over of the family olives!!! This one was was certainly a bit different. A jar of Crosse and Blackwell olives (amongst other store cupboard items) had been given to my great-grandmother by her mother in 1913, while she was away on honeymoon (her mother had stocked up the cupboards while she was away). Unfortunately they just stayed there because she didn’t like olives, and so they were passed down to her daughter (my grandmother) and so on and so on – it became a bit of a tradition! The jar of olives (which celebrated their 100th birthday in 2013 – we held a party for them!) were passed to me on my wedding day, and that definitely formed quite a quirky part of the ceremony.
The football scarfs were Louise’s idea – she suggested introducing handfasting into the ceremony, and as we are Liverpool and Everton supporters, we thought this could be a good idea – our fathers brought up the scarfs!
We also formed a pop-up choir to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – one of my best friends is Director of Music at Southwell Minster School, and she kindly agreed to sort the whole thing. We have several family members and close friends (including my Dad, Auntie and Uncle) who are very good singers, so she liaised with them and they had just one rehearsal, immediately before the wedding in the spa of the hotel! What they managed to do in a ridiculously short time was incredible! This took place while we signed the certificate.
Other things that were a bit different included:
- An ice-cream cart ready to dispense ice-creams as soon as the ceremony was over (a really good shout as it turned out given the temperature!)
- Surprise wedding singers who were undercover waiters until the big reveal after the Best Man’s speech. They did an amazing job, and the songs they performed were all hand-picked by us. They even sang part of ‘Islands in the Stream’ for Steve’s Mum, as she is a big Dolly Parton fan. There was lots of audience interaction, and we ended up doing a conga around the venue.
- A dress-up area of Edwardian/1920s clothes and accessories (this was the loose theme of the wedding) – as a History teacher I have collected a lot of this stuff over the years and, with some contributions from my Mum, I was able to put this together without paying for a photo booth or anything like that.
- A sweepstake organised by my niece for guessing how long the Best Man speech would go on (this was delivered via Zoom, as our Best Man was still in Jersey – his little girl had been born just days earlier)
- We asked people to bring a favourite recipe with them – whether one that had been handed down through their own family or just one that had become a family favourite) – we provided paper to write this down on when we issued invitations and then I bought a 1920s Mrs Beeton recipe book from eBay – I stuck envelopes with our guests’ names on in the book and then our guests added their recipes throughout the day.
- We also had a treasure hunt running throughout the day – there were tags with numbers on added all around the venue and people had to collect as many as possible. These then served as raffle tickets later. People had the opportunity to win fairly obscure and naff prizes that my Mum had prepared (she gets a lot of free gifts through her catalogues and they are always ridiculous – lots of light-up garden animals, that type of thing!!!).
- We also had the traditional sweet bar (though we went with entirely early 20th century sweets) but we had a dog and cat treat area too, in honour of our Fox Terrier (Branston) who couldn’t be at the wedding…or so we thought. The lady he was staying with actually arranged with my sister-in-law for him to make a guest appearance, wearing a very smart blue bow! This was also a highlight of the day! Branston appears in quite a few of the photos, which is lovely!
- Finally, we also had a broomstick to jump over for couples to make their wedding official in Wales! My Dad’s side of the family is Welsh so there were one or two Welsh connections too.
- Oh, and one last thing I’ve just remembered – on the morning of the wedding (while we were getting ready) we organised a cave tour for anyone who was interested of Treak Cliff Cavern, just down the road in Castleton. About 15 people took us up on the offer and enjoyed being underground for a few hours given the heat of the day!
Venue name + review
We couldn’t have asked for a more friendly and accommodating venue. We’d had to postpone our wedding from February to July due to Covid, and the hotel took this all in their stride and only charged us/our guests the February rates that had been agreed, which was so kind. Jules (the wedding coordinator) and Paul (the manager) didn’t blink at any of our weird and wonderful ideas/requests – Paul was even there, sitting behind the gazebo, to sort the music during the ceremony. It felt like Losehill was our home for the day, and all our guests felt completely at ease there – we had the place (and the beautiful valley it sits in) completely to ourselves for the day. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Tell us a little about your outfits – both of you!
My dress was handmade for me by the wonderful Kate Beaumont, a designer based in Sheffield. She specialises in vintage-style dresses and is so incredibly talented. I settled on my dress the first time I visited, as it had the Edwardian feel (layers of lace) that I had in my mind but hadn’t seen anywhere else. She adapted her design to suit me (I wanted sleeves, for example) and the whole process from start to finish was wonderful – we spent more time chatting about politics and various things than actually talking about the dress. That just took care of itself. Kate was really aware that I had to do the dress stuff on my own due to Covid – I really missed being able to have friends and family there – but she made up for that by making me feel really special !
Steve went with a Paul Smith suit for his outfit – I think he enjoyed being made a fuss of too in the swanky Covent Garden shop. Apart from him coming back with a multicoloured tie the first time (which I told him would not go with the ‘look’ of the wedding – he wasn’t even aware that the colour scheme was a dusky green and pink!!!), it was a relatively painless experience for Steve and I loved the suit he chose – he looked very handsome!
Florist name + review
I was determined that I wanted wild flowers, or at least flowers native to the UK that hadn’t been grown in hothouses!
I found out about Hollow Meadows just outside Sheffield, run by the wonderful Rachel. We visited a few months before the wedding and saw the field the flowers were growing in…but at the time of visiting we couldn’t actually see anything because nothing had grown yet! So we put all our faith in Rachel, and I’m so glad we did.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the flowers – all seasonal, with pink being the dominant colour. Rachel prepared all the table flowers and bouquets, button holes etc. and also brought some flower buckets of assorted flowers that my Mum and Godmother used on the morning of the wedding to fill the glass bottles and jars that were hung at the end of each aisle. They looked stunning!
Cake maker name + review
We got lucky because the fabulous ladies at ‘Cake Corner’ in Bakewell, who don’t usually do wedding cakes (or didn’t at the time of our wedding – not sure now) agreed to make three huge Victoria sponges (Steve’s favourite!) with assorted filings that could be assembled as three tiers once at the venue. This was a really cost-effective way of doing a wedding cake – it cost a fraction of the price of wedding cakes we’d looked at – and with the frosted summer fruits on each tier (and the wedding rubber ducks we’d been given by a friend who couldn’t make the wedding) on top, it couldn’t have looked better. It tasted fantastic too! It ended up being cut earlier than expected as it was so, so hot that day, the hotel was worried that the cake was going to melt and collapse!
Stationery maker’s name + review
Papier – we ordered all our wedding stationery online from Papier (Noveau design – to fit in with our Edwardian/1920s theme) and we’re really glad we did – again, we didn’t want to spend too much on stationery when there were other things (including alcohol!) than we wanted to save money for!
Any other crafty projects or homemade styling touches?
We did gift bags for each person attending the wedding, showcasing the best of Peak District produce. These included:
1. Holdsworth chocolates (Bakewell)
2. Brock and Morten chilli flavoured oil (Ashford-in-the-Water)
3. Cheese from the Hartington Creamery
4. Beer from the Thornbridge brewery
5. Buxton water
6. Bakewell tarts (fresh that morning from the bakery!)
7. National Park pencil, rubber, magazine etc. from Bakewell Tourist Info
1. Extract from Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery
2. Guess how much I love you? By Sam McBratney
3. Extract from Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
4. Let me put it this way, poem by Simon Armitage
5. Extract from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
6. I’ll be your mirror, by Lou Reed
First dance song? Playlist recommendations?
We had the ‘Power of Love’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood as our first dance. We actually gave people 3 clues about what our first dance would be in our invitation, and when they RSVP’d they were allowed to guess a song! Those who got it right got a prize (a couple of bottles of our local beer from Thornbridge Brewery) on the night!
Hair + makeup name + review
Got my own hairdresser (Claire McEvoy, now at Alta Hair Studio in Chapel-en-le-Frith) and Tansy (from beauty salon of the same name in Bakewell) to do all the hair and make-up on the morning of the wedding – they both came to the hotel. They were absolutely brilliant and put up with some very raucous behaviour on the part of me/my bridesmaids in the run-up to the wedding – we had a really fun morning and they made us all look and feel a million dollars!