Roll out the bunting! Emily & Mike opted for a “Chintzy Vintage” theme for their stunning September wedding at Allerton Castle.
Emily says: We got engaged up on the windy, rainy Scottish Island of Mull. In the pouring rain Mike got down on one knee and proposed, although we ran to the car shortly after to shelter (and call our family)!
We decided on either Spring or Autumn for the time of year, and September was available so we went for it!
We had seen a few wedding venues and were put off them for various reasons. Some were really unwelcoming, but mostly they weren’t very flexible. We really wanted a late afternoon ceremony with an evening meal as the wedding breakfast. Most places stipulated we had to get married in time to have a wedding breakfast at 3pm, and provide a later evening buffet. Allerton Castle gave us free reign to pick what time we wanted everything, and we got exclusive use of the castle for the day.
I’d definitely recommend Allerton Castle. The venue is perfect, the team at Dine are so accommodating and are willing to help in every way.
We chose to use Dine because the food looked and sounded amazing, and we couldn’t wait to try it! We wanted to give our guests top quality produce, and not mass produced food. They all commented how brilliant the food was!
We went for a ‘chintzy vintage’ theme. I found lots of lovely fabric, and really liked the idea of using brown luggage labels for place settings. I’m quite creative, so knew I wanted to make all the stationery myself, so found lots of brown card and tried out lots of ideas! I made meters and meters of very small fabric bunting which ended up on the invitations and round the wedding cake.
I was not looking forward to trying on dresses, but ended up buying the first one tried on! It was a Diane Harbridge design, and it just felt amazing! I knew instantly that was going to be my dress, it had a bodice top, and a massive skirt with a train, and the back was lace – the lace won it for me! I wanted to wear my mums veil, as she had made it herself, and it meant a lot to be able to walk down the aisle in it. Shortly before we got married, we were sorting out my granny’s things and found the wax beaded head piece her mother wore on her wedding day – it was a bit worn (being nearly 90 years old!) but sat in my up-do and really finished off my outfit.
I found my shoes in the January sales! I wasn’t looking for wedding shoes but found some bright blue satin peep toes from Kurt Geiger – they were the same colour as the ball room at Allerton so I knew they’d be perfect!
I’d always wanted green bridesmaids dresses, and luckily found dresses that my girls all liked! I’ve never liked the weddings where everything is the same colour, so decided to stick to complementing shades of green, blue and pink and let the chintzy theme take over. We searched high and low for green ties for the guys, but failed miserably so went for blue. My brother called me a few days before the wedding and asked what colour the pocket squares were going to be – I hadn’t thought about pocket squares! I spent the night before the wedding hand sewing pocket squares from some blue fabric we had used throughout, and luckily they tied in really nicely.
Angie Walker provided our flowers. My brief wasn’t exactly the most coherent of briefs, but she got it perfectly. I wanted a hand tied bouquet of antique pink roses, with plenty of other flowers in there to create texture. I loved my bouquet so much I carried it round Fountains Abbey the day after when we went for a family walk!
Mum and I found the tins my Nanna used to make their wedding cake in the back of the kitchen cupboards. We thought – we can make Christmas cakes, so why not a wedding cake! I knew it was never going to be perfect, but would be a lovely thing to do with my mum. We made the cakes together, and fed them for a few months with plenty of brandy. I iced them the week before, but turned up to Allerton the day before with three separate tiers not knowing how to stack them together. Sophie at Dine helped us in the end! The bottom tier ended up with my mums hand print in the top, but we covered that up with the second tier and no one ever knew!
For our wedding breakfast, we knew we didn’t want chicken (too boring) or fish (too risky), or anything that sounded like a roast dinner. We decided on the Roast Chump of Lamb for the main and a Chicken Tartlet for starters and Almond Tart to finish.
When we had our tasting menu we felt that the two tarts provided too much pastry, however the chef said we could turn the starter into a salad (also good for our Coeliac guests!) and bingo! Our menu was created. Being able to tweak the menu like that was great, everyone at Dine was just so flexible.
I wanted to use family pieces for the table centres, so collected as many teacups, saucers, vases and cake stands that I could to be filled with flowers. Angie arranged them all on the tables and they looked great!
I like chair covers, but not the sashes, which have become so generic. Mum and I used lots of chintzy fabric to create garlands of hearts, pairs of love birds and little strips of bunting. We pinned them to the chairs, and they tied our whole theme together. We let our guests take them home as favours – there was such a scrabble to get them, but I love going round to friends houses and seeing where they’ve hung them!
We found old family wedding photos to frame and display on in the ballroom. It added a lovely personal touch, and our friends loved seeing our parents’ wedding photos!
Everyone at Dine was so helpful, especially Sophie and Lyndsey. Sophie was able to keep everything running to plan and ensure there were no glitches. She promised me no bride had ever fallen down the stairs, and there was no reason I was going to break the mould!
My favourite part of the day was actually turning the corner of the great staircase and seeing a sea of phones and cameras pointing at me – and of course, Mike standing at the end of the aisle!
Emily Hannah Photography was our photographer on the day. She was amazing! Emily was just starting out he business when we booked her, so didn’t have a big portfolio but I knew from the moment we met she would capture the day perfectly.
I’d always heard friends say they never had much time with their new spouse to enjoy the day just by themselves. Emily was able to get great photos from standing far enough away that we felt like we were the only ones around. She wasn’t constantly shouting directions at us, so were so relaxed, and could just giggle away to ourselves that we had finally tied the knot! The result – a whole host of photos where we’re so relaxed and happy, not a forced smile in sight!
My school friends played me down the aisle (violin and cello), and sang whilst we were signing the register.
Alexander Lomas sang in the evening – rat pack/jazz mixed with new classics. He got everyone dancing, and I loved having him sing ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, whilst we had our first dance.
We went on a ‘mini-moon’ to London, we’re planning an American road trip for next year!
My top tip for another bride or groom would be to together, decide what you want for your day – and then decide what you’re willing to compromise on. We were adamant we wanted a 4pm wedding, and waited until we found a venue that would do that. Other things, like colour schemes, invitations and favours can be discussed at length in due course!
Images by Emily Hannah Photography