Sarah & Martin’s Allerton Castle Wedding
Venue: Allerton Castle
Event Manager: Dine
Sarah and Martin chose Allerton Castle for their relaxed, personal and beautiful wedding day on Sunday 23rd August 2013.
Sarah says: We got engaged in San Francisco – or Sausalito to be precise. We were walking along the bay when Martin asked me to take a picture of Angel Island. I did, and when I turned around he was on one knee with the ring. It was all a bit of a blur after that! Luckily the picture was good so we’ll always have the exact moment saved for posterity!
Allerton Castle wowed us from the moment we walked in. It’s such a beautiful place, inside and out. Lots of other stately venues we looked at were beautiful outside, but very tired inside (if you were allowed inside at all). Allerton was actually ours to use, not just get photos in front of! It was also at a competitive price with other venues that offered a lot less.
Allerton’s layout, with everything centred on the Great Hall, is great for keeping everyone involved and maintaining a party atmosphere. We loved that it would be ours alone for the entire day, and that Dine were so helpful in letting us add personal touches.
We would definitely recommend Allerton Castle to another Bride and Groom.
Lyndsey from Dine was really helpful and accommodating throughout the whole process, and helped everything go exactly as we wanted. She kept us in the know too, which is really essential when you’ve got a lot going on.
On the day Lyndsey kept everything running smoothly and let us get on with the important business of having a good time! She also stayed up heroically late when a couple of our guests got marooned on the front steps.
We didn’t really have a theme as such, we did have a certain sort of vibe which we used to try and guide our choices. We went for a touch of Edwardian garden party, and lots of books, wildflowers, teacups and pocket watches. We wanted the day to be fun, for everyone to be involved and to make it memorable.
We chose a purple and silver colour scheme. We both like purple, it’s a colour that complements a lot of people and works well in a variety of contexts. Martin does design as part of his job and is quite particular about that sort of thing!
I stayed at my parents’ the night before, and got a lift from my dad! Martin stayed in York the night before with his party, and they all got a cab over together. Having the reception and the ceremony in once place was a real boost – travelling is always the most boring part of a wedding.
I knew from the start that I wanted a lace dress with a train – preferably with a button back and a sweetheart neckline. I looked at lots of dresses online and just couldn’t find the right one, so started panicking that it might not exist!Fortunately I found the perfect dress in a family-run bridal boutique called London Bride (near the not so elegant Elephant and Castle!). The moment I realised that the dress lace was dotted with little pearls, I knew that no other could beat it for me!
Martin wore a custom grey check suit from Suit Supply, with shoes by Joseph Cheaney and accessories by Drakes London. He doesn’t like morning dress, so if there’s a time to have a suit that fits you perfectly, it’s your wedding day! I bought him a beautiful pair of Simon Carter mother of pearl and platinum cufflinks (to match his suit buttons) and he had a silver buck tie bar.
The bridesmaid dresses were purple maxi dresses from Monsoon. We had them altered and had straps added by a lady that my Mum knows in Wakefield, so the girls felt a lot more comfortable in them on the day. We also bought them customised silver bracelets to wear on the day as thanks for being bridesmaids.
Blooming Fantastic provided our flowers, and we really would recommend them! We had a mixture of purple and cream wildflowers, including hydrangeas and gysophila. We preferred a natural style of flowers – relaxed and romantic. We also incorporated the wildflowers into our table arrangements, along with antique apothecary jars and books which we sourced ourselves but that Lizzy at Blooming Fantastic did a brilliant job of setting up.
We chose from Dine’s menu, and played it fairly safe to keep everyone happy. We had Smoked Salmon, Chicken and a French Apple Tart (which went down well!). We also had some lovely canapés and bubbly between the service and the breakfast, and a Hog Roast to keep us dancing into the night.
We tried to do a lot of little fun bits. It’s all about celebrating your love for each other with all the other people you love, too, so it’s important to get them involved. One of our bridesmaids is a fantastic singer, so she sang for us whilst we signed the register (and her mum was our registrar!). We had a dressing up box for the evening, a “tip jar” for people to write advice for us, individual favours (hand-picked vintage teacups for the ladies, pocket watches for the guys, antique toy cars for the kids). Our table names were literary characters we like, and we made the signs from old scrabble tiles stuck to manila envelopes – each envelope had one of our favourite love poems inside.
I was feeling brave and decided to make the cake myself. Thankfully it turned out okay! I made a fruitcake, a chocolate fudge cake and a vanilla sponge cake, and kept the decorations simple with just a few flowers and some bunting on top.
Scott Anson sang swing music at our reception, but he also acted as DJ and played songs requested by the guests. The dance floor was pretty raucous, and we covered everything from Dean Martin to Nirvana!
For our honeymoon we went to Thailand. It was awesome. We spent 8 nights in Krabi at the Tubkaak Resort, which is an idyllic eco-resort with just a few little cottages right on the beach. It was basically heaven (apart from when Martin made us go kayaking round a mangrove swamp). We went to Bangkok for a few nights on the way back too, which was pretty much the opposite experience but still very fun!
My top tip for another bride and groom would be that love is fun, so we wanted everyone to have fun. There are a lot of people in a wedding, and the more you can get them involved and make sure everyone has a good time, the better it’ll be – it’s infectious. It’s already going to be amazing for you, but getting everyone else involved takes it to the next level.
Plan details carefully and give yourself time to execute them. A bit of a foresight saves you money, hassle and gets you better results! If you give yourself enough time you can just get stuff done without having to get all stressed out about it. No stress means more fun! We were lucky and the only thing that went wrong for us was the weather… and that was because we had loads of time and leeway to get the details sorted.
Images by Mik2 Photography