A Retro Inspired Wedding at Victoria Baths in Manchester

wpid438942 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 31

Prepare yourselves ladies; you may audibly gasp wherever you lay eyes on the images I have to share with you today. Equal parts sweetness, retro fantasy and sumptuous noir, this unique celebration has enchanted me and left me grasping for words that adequately describes its splendour (sorry Annabel!). All I really want to do is point at the pictures and open my mouth in awe, but I shall attempt to talk you through the planning behind this wondrously cinematic love story.

Zoe, a Fabric Technologist and Tom, a Civil Engineer tied the knot on 16th May 2015 at the uniquely kitsch Victoria Baths in Manchester…

“We always knew we wanted somewhere a bit different and unexpected. We had seen a number of weddings in disused warehouses and old cinemas and loved the idea of using somewhere unconventional that had a history or story.  I had visited Victoria Baths for a vintage home fair a couple of months before we got engaged and then one day just thought, I wonder if they do weddings?! We didn’t even look at any other venues; we just knew it would be the perfect setting for the whole day. The venue has 3 old pools, balconies and a Turkish baths and they are happy for you to use the space how you wish which gave us the freedom and space for what we wanted to do and to fit all our guests in! We also loved the fact that it would help towards the restoration of such a beautiful building that was once threatened with demolition.”

Photography by Sansom Photography

wpid438942 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 31Is it too late to order a new dress with 4 1/2 weeks to go before my own wedding? This tea-length ‘Claire’ dress from Mooshki cinches, pops and is covered in polka dots and I’m not sure I’d ever stop twirling in it. Tea length instantly adds a sense of fun and kitsch to proceedings and the beautifully detailed gown looked heavenly against the vintage interior of Victoria Baths. If calf length glamour tickles your fancy, may I suggest enjoying the bespoke adornments of another wow-inducing shorter number we shared recently and browsing more happy Mooshki Brides here.

wpid438908 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 14

“I had always wanted a tea length dress and after a lot of wedding blog and Pinterest research I came across a number of designers and shops that suited my style. I booked in a fun week of dress shopping with my mum and after traveling to Chester, Manchester and London I ended up getting my dress from Seaham, a town just 15min drive from where I grew up in Sunderland! I loved the process of trying on dresses and felt spoilt for choice, every time I put on a dress I wanted to spin the skirt around.

I almost went for a vintage 1950 dress from Elizabeth Avey who has a beautiful collection of dresses but once I tried on some of the Mooshki collection at their head office I knew I wanted to be a Mooshki bride! The appointment was relaxed and personal and they tailored the dress to me perfectly. I loved serval of the Mooshki dresses I tried on but what I loved about the Claire dress was the mix of polka dots and lace, perfect mix of fun and vintage!”

wpid438912 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 16wpid438910 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 15wpid438944 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 32wpid438916 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 18wpid438922 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 21wpid438924 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 23wpid438926 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 22

Bridesmaids were allowed to choose a preferred style and shape in matching Peacock Green shade from For Her and For Him. This Little Book For Brides  stalwart offer affordable bridesmaid options that allow you to customise gowns with a common theme or colour – perfect for bridesmaids of all shapes and sizes.

Zoe  Tom - Sansom Photography-168



wpid438934 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 27

Sansom Photography and Victoria Baths was a match made in my wildest wedding fantasies, I honestly couldn’t tell you which one I like more. Curveball angles and a deliciously dark celebration of shadow make for some seriously memorable shots from Chris and Verity (Sansom Photography). As wedding photographers themselves, Zoe and Tom didn’t take the decision on whom to snap their Big Day lightly, and revelled in the creative direction Sansom brought to the table.

wpid438936 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 28

“Picking someone to capture the day was one of the biggest decisions for us as we are so passionate about photography ourselves. With so much talent out there we were spoilt for choice. We chose Sansom Photography because we loved their style and creativity and ability to capture emotion and those little moments that matter. They were great on the day and so easy to work with.”

wpid438938 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 29

“They set up a great idea to capture the first look photos. Chris and Verity knowing we were wedding photographers ourselves had us trying out some new and creative ideas which were a lot of fun; they even had use lying on the floor at one point! Each photo is beautiful and they bring the atmosphere of the day to life. They are an inspiration to ourselves as photographers.”

wpid438940 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 30

A simple, retro inspired chignon by Stevie Upton from Reform Hair and Beauty was home to Zoe’s ‘something blue’- a vintage swallow brooch nestled into her pin curls. The classic ‘Mimosa’ heels from Rachel Simpson in mint were one of Zoe’s first Pinterest finds and a slick of red lipstick completed a truly gorgeous bridal look.

wpid439025 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 34wpid438952 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 36

Can you imagine how many styles of swimwear these tiled walls have seen?! Mosaic floors, boldly painted ironwork and a train station worthy ceiling all go some way to explain the effervescent charm of Victoria Baths. Opened in 1906, this much loved institution has evolved into my most favourite of all venue categories, the unexpected one. You can donate towards its on-going restoration by clicking here.

wpid438954 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 37

“The staff and volunteers at the venue were flawless and frequently went beyond the call of duty to help where ever they could.  The wedding planner Martin was exceptionally exceptional!  Throughout the whole process of planning and on the day he was always looking for ways to help us or make things easier. The venue has hosted such a broad array of weddings and other events he always seemed to have the name of a supplier for this or that or could tell you that something similar had been done before, putting feasibility worries at ease.”


wpid438956 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 38

Handsome Groom Tom put a lot of thought into his attire, even changing for the evening. I like a man who knows what he wants and Tom chose bespoke options to bring his desired look to life. I’ll let him tell you a bit more about it.

“I knew I wanted a navy suit and decided the Ted Baker Custom Made service was the best match for our taste.  Zoe and I had a fun morning at the shop picking all the different details of the suit from the material to the buttons and the lining.  I opted to get the waistcoat made as well as we both thought the lining was really cool. Choosing a bespoke service made the process special and unique, having the date monogrammed in the jacket is a really nice reminder whenever I wear the suit to other special occasions.”

wpid438958 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 39wpid438960 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 40wpid438962 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 41wpid438964 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 42

Choosing to have an ice-cream reception instead of a champagne one (told you this wedding was a winner), the couple hired their favourite local ice-cream make Gingers Comfort Emporium to provide an array of exciting flavours after the ceremony. Peanut and Salted Caramel anyone?


wpid438966 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 43wpid438968 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 44wpid438973 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 46wpid438975 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 47wpid438977 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 48

As if mountains of cake weren’t enough, Pieminister provided their deliciously different pies as a wedding feast. When our Bride and Groom found out that this much admired company provided wedding catering the decision was made and the casual style of grub and helpful staff made this a very well received choice.

“We loved the idea of having a photobooth for our guests as its always great fun. We looked into a few options to hire but nothing quite seemed right until one day we realised that we could photograph it ourselves! What better way to interact and have a fun time with the guests than to run a Bride and Groom’s photobooth for an hour between the ceremony and meal. The Victoria Baths have traditional changing booths at the pool side which were perfect. It was a great way to ensure we caught up with each of our guests and to capture some fun shots of each of them. We also asked some musically talented friends and family to set up in the same pool to entertain guests in the queue. The volunteers at the baths also offered some guided tours and people were free to explore the beautiful building on their own so there was plenty of entertainment for the guests which was important to us when planning the day.”

wpid438979 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 49

Zoe and Tom gave a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society as a lovely nod to family members who they had recently lost to Dementia instead of providing favours.


wpid438981 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 50

“Music is a big love for both of us and so choosing a great band was high on the list. We came across Myles Sanko by chance at a Craig Charles Funk and Soul night at Band on the Wall in Manchester. We had never heard of Myles but he blew us away, the way he got the crowd going to both his own songs and classic covers such as James Brown and Otis Redding. After the gig we asked if he would perform at our wedding. Myles and his band were even better than we could have asked for on our wedding night, we didn’t stop dancing! Some guests couldn’t wait to speak to him at the end and get his autograph, think he gained quite a few new fans that night.”

wpid438983 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 51wpid438989 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 54wpid438985 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 52

Bring Your Own Cake/Dessert is a concept we have seen a few times on Love My Dress and one that adds the most delicious personal touch. Asking guests to get involved and unleash their inner Mary Berry makes for a fun talking point but also more sugary goodness than you or your guests know what to do with. Zoe and Tom were presented with over 40 cakes and bakes and report on some very greedy guests piling their plates high with all of the combinations (what I wouldn’t give for one of those plates right now!). In addition to the lovely guest’s best efforts, And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon provided a large red velvet wedding cake and cupcakes.

wpid438987 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 53wpid438991 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 55wpid438993 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 56wpid438995 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 57

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Your wedding day is about celebrating you as a couple, pick things that you love and plan a day that reflects your personality and style. Don’t feel you need to follow traditions and “wedding rules” it’s up to you want you want your wedding day to be!

The people you share it with are one of the most important elements of a wedding. We wanted to make sure that throughout the day there was plenty of fun activities and entertainment to give our guests a full day’s experience.

We would more than recommend first look and family photos before the ceremony. We loved the intimacy of the first look and it took the pressure off the day, giving us more time to enjoy ourselves with our guests.

Lastly enjoy the planning and looking back afterwards as much as the actual day itself!”

wpid438970 mooshki bride manchester victoria baths wedding 45

Have any of you lovely lot had a first look? If so we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Slightly overbearing hugs must go to Zoe and Tom for sharing their hugely inspiring day with us. Chris and Verity from Sansom Photography don’t get spared in the hug-fest either, these shots are the work of exceptionally talented people and it’s been a great pleasure to indulge in these images – more please!

Oh, and do please keep sending us your proposal stories, as a romance obsessed nosey parker I now look forward to more than just Gin O’Clock on Fridays.

Stay classy Love My Dress folk,

Emily xxx

Credits & Thanks

Emily Colwill

Emily Colwill View all Emily's articles

Emily daydreams by the sea in North Cornwall, owns more pyjamas than clothes and is still very confused when referred to by her new married name.

11 thoughts on “A Retro Inspired Wedding at Victoria Baths in Manchester

  1. I. AM. IN. LOVE. Swirling, twirling, polka–dot scattered skirts and delicate lace, yes please! Zoe looks phenomenal. What an icnonic wedding venue in one of my favourite UK cities; the baths lend themselves so well to little quirks and fun choices. What an awesome day and what a fab way for us to kick of a Tuesday! Emily your excitement and love for this beautiful celebration is just infectious – your turn next lady! 4.5 weeks to go?! Wow! X x x

    1. *kick off. Also need to get my outfit sorted for your wedding, Em! Just coming back for one my look at this dress first though, sigh. Could we get away with two wedding dresses each do you think? X x x

  2. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous day. I love old swimming baths so this was a guaranteed winner with me but the beautiful bride in her dress, vintage styling and tables full of cakes add all sorts of wonderful! Absolute loveliness. Congratulations xxx

  3. All round gorgeousness! These images really capture what I love about weddings – they’re full of love and reflect the couples own unique style. I’m now desperate to visit these Baths, twirl in a Mooshki gown and eat over 40 varieties of cake! Happy Tuesday guys xxxx

  4. I *love* a first look – so wishing I had done this with my hubby, there would have been tears on both sides that’s for sure – and what a brilliant, quirky venue! Huge congrats to the beautiful couple and I am in absolute awe of the cake and ice-cream catering – massive high fives to you both! xxx P.S. Emily B – you completely draw me in to each and every feature, thank you for a happy end to my day here in the future in Oz 😉 xx

    1. Aw Jo! Thank you so much! I find I get drawn into most things, especially gorgeous, wedding related things (its exhausting!). Your kind comment means so much and I’m super proud that I can make people in the future smile! xxxx

  5. OH MY WORD THAT DRESS! It’s absolutely stunning! Just looked at the Mooshki website (not a good idea…I’m getting married in less than 10 days…!). Just gorgeous and such a lovely unique venue too!

  6. Hi,

    What a great unique wedding. Photos are stunning, everyone looked great and looked like they had an amazing time. All the best to the new couple in the future.

    We are a luxury wedding car operator called Phantom Hire. We specialise in providing transport to weddings across the UK and Ireland.

    To see more about ourselves and the services we offer, visit us at – http://www.phantomhire.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *