A Ghost Dress for a Multicultural, Colourful and Family Inspired Barn Wedding

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Good evening lovelies! I hope you’re well. Today we have a good old northern wedding at a venue I’ve actually been to for a wedding myself.

It’s an absolutely stunning location, right up in the hills in Bolton and will be sure to inspire some wedding ideas that’s for sure. So, without further ado, let’s introduce you to our couple. Community Mental Health Nurse, Clarissa and Customer Service Advisor, Richard said their nuptials on 27th May 2017 at St Aidan St Oswald RC Church in Royton, Oldham, followed by a reception at The Wellbeing Farm in Edgworth, Bolton.

As a multi-cultural couple, Clarissa and Richard tried to incorporate both cultures into their wedding where possible.

“Richard is English whilst I’m Filipino. We wanted to add a Filipino/Southeast Asia twist to the traditional English wedding but most of all we wanted a mixture of things we liked, incorporating the surroundings, the season and the availability of things like herbs, flowers and flavours. We had different shades of blue as a running motif throughout the decor, and also added lots of other pastel colours to tie in with the rustic environment.”

Photography Project Valentine

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“Another of our themes was family. We wanted our families involved throughout the whole process. I made my wedding sash, my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law arranged the flowers, and my mother made the favours, cake and my wedding veil.

Both families also helped out with the decorating at the church and the barn at the farm. We wanted the whole wedding the be family friendly so our family and friend’s little ones were also welcome. The children were all really well-behaved during the church ceremony and they really enjoyed the fields at the Wellbeing Farm. They even met some of the farm animals and a couple of llamas and donkeys!”To accessorise Clarissa also chose a pair of silver embellished heels by Jenny Packham No 1 via Debenhams and a dried floral head crown made by the Artisan Dried Flower Company.

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To polish off her look, the bride also wore a blue topaz earrings and necklace bought from a Covent Garden market stall, a beaded caplet from Accessorize, a wedding sash with a beaded fan motif made by herself and a rosary gifted to her by her mum to wear on her wrist during the church ceremony.

“My father bought me the Jo Malone, Peony Blush and suede perfume as a Christmas present before the wedding so I could wear it on the day. I still have the perfume and wear it on special occasions. It instantly takes me back to the happiness I felt on our wedding day.”

“Apart from a veil, I also wanted a flower crown. It looked so beautiful and delicate and matched the other wearable floral items (such as my bouquet). It also smelled so good that I could smell lavender, rose and Larkspur all day.”

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To create Clarissa’s beautiful vintage style up do and make up, the bride hired Aspect Hair and Make Up to work on herself, the bridesmaids and her mother on the morning of the wedding

“Chloe and Charlotte from Aspect were great at making mine and the rest of the bridal party’s beauty shine! Chloe, who also did my hair and make up trial, was able to take my vision and make it a reality on the day. The ladies are very talented and I would really recommend them to other brides.”

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Choosing dried flowers for the day, rather than fresh, meant Clarissa could order them 2 weeks ahead of the wedding and begin work on the crown, combs, corsage and bouquets in good time.

“We ordered all of the dried flowers from the Artisan Dried Flower Company. They arrived two weeks before the wedding in big fragrant boxes with instructions to keep in a cool.dry room. This lessened the stress considerably as we didn’t need to wait for them! I chose to have dried flowers to I could keep my bouquet and crown after the wedding. Richards nan’s wedding gift to us was paying for the church and reception flowers and she, along with Richard’s mother also arranged all of the flowers.”

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Clarissa chose a simply gorgeous sleeveless ivory Ghost dress from their flagship London store.

“I tried on the Casidy dress from their dye-to-order range and just fell in love with the simplicity and minimalistic design of the bias-cut dress. The staff at the store were so lovely and accommodating. Normally they have bridal parties coming in to find bridesmaid dresses but they were equally excited when I told them I was looking for my wedding dress. I recently checked their website and found they have a specific wedding dress range now which is great for other brides looking for an affordable old Hollywood style glamorous dress.”

“They also recommended a seamstress called Barbara Pellumbi (based near Bond Street, London) in case I needed my dress shortened or altered. I shortened the hem and straps and the alterations came to around £100 which is a great price for London!”

“I had always wanted to have a touch of 1930s glamour to my wedding day but I also wanted a simple dress so I could add accessories. The bias cut was perfect in giving me an hourglass figure and the dress was fuss-free and could be slipped on with minimal help. It was also very affordable compared to a lot of similar styles from other bridal shops. I was mindful that if I spent a lot of money on a dress, then other elements of the wedding might suffer. It also meant we could enjoy more luxuries on the honeymoon! That said, I have a soft spot for my wedding dress – it made me feel really special and beautiful when I put it on. Like a real 1930s Old Hollywood screen siren.”

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One thing bride Clarissa really enjoyed throughout the wedding planning process was designing and putting together the stationery.

“For the flower motif that ran throughout all of the stationery, I bought a flower clip art package from Etsy seller Twigs and Twine Art, and used it on everything so it all matched. I used Vistaprint for the magnetic save the dates, and for the invites and place names I used Canva. For the order of service I also used Canva, then used Optimal Print to print.”

“We had so many compliments from guests regarding our stationery, especially other bride-to-be’s planning their weddings and finding stationery a minefield. I loved that some of the guests kept their place names and the order of service after the wedding as keepsakes.”

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As Roman Catholics, the couple opted for a mass during the ceremony with the traditional vows, and it was officiated by the same priest who had christened some of Richard’s cousins previously.

“We had to complete a marriage workshop from Marriage Care, but we felt it was less about religion and more about how, we as a married couple, would communicate and deal with difficult situations. My father walked me down the aisle to the traditional Wedding March and it was such a lovely moment between the two of us. He’d been so supportive during the wedding planning process!”

“We chose the church because it’s Richard’s family’s local church. It also held a special significance to him as he was christened there and most of his family members have been married and christened there too.”

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Having known each other since meeting at high school, their engagement was less of a surprise but certainly a  happy occasion when it happened.

“We started going out together when we were 16 years old and have been together ever since. Richard moved to London a year after I’d had to move there for work. We had been discussing our plans to get married for a number of years and decided to choose an engagement ring from Hatton Garden in December 2015. Richard knew I had a ring design in mind and wanted me to try the ring I wanted to make sure the sizing was right. It was also a ploy to avoid having to carry out the daunting task of ring shopping alone.”

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“We then had 18 months to plan the wedding which we felt was sufficient enough time to save as well as get into the swing of planning a very special event. Choosing the month of the wedding was very important to us as well. We loved the idea of getting married in the spring. Richards birthday is in May and the date we’ve counted as our anniversary since we were 16 is in May too.”

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“I couldn’t find the right veil to match my dress that was affordable so my mother made it instead. I bought some soft English net tulle from Etsy and some lace from Abakhan in Manchester, then my mother sewed on small transparent hair combs so it secured to my head just below my flower crown. The veil draped over my shoulders and onto the floor and I loved the simplicity of it. I felt very beautiful and bridal!”

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Her bridesmaids wore a gorgeous mix of mint coloured sequin dresses from Boohoo and navy blue dresses from ASOS and Monsoon, along with their own shoes.

“I also chose for the bridesmaids to have dried flower hair combs to tie in with my crown and also so they could have them after the wedding as a keepsake. I also bought them a gold ombre shawl from Accessorize and our lovely flower girl wore a baby blue dress with tulle and sequins from Monsoon.”

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Following the exchanging of vows and swapping of rings from Ernest Jones was the wedding breakfast, catered by the Wellbeing Farm and their chef.

“Their meat was all locally sourced and the owner of the farm has a family run butchers in the nearby town of Edgworth called Whiteheads. The food was amazing and plentiful. All guests gave nothing but fantastic compliments about the quality of the food. We had a banquet style meal, where large platters of food are served between tables, and everyone had more than enough to eat. The locally made sausages in particular were a huge hit!”

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Groom Richard followed the blue colour scheme with a navy blue suit, hired from Young’s Hire in Debenhams. He accessorised with a Fossil watch, Loake shoes from Debenhams and a handmade black leather belt from M&M Leather Workshop in Camden Stables.

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The couple entrusted photographer Jack from Project Valentine to capture the Old Hollywood vintage glam vibe of the day.

“We wanted to have more of a photojournalism, documentary style for our photos. We wanted more natural pictures and less posed ones and we chose Jack as we loved the vibrancy of the pictures he had taken for previous clients. Jack really captured the energy and the feel of the whole day and he was able to capture lots of different angles that Richard and I may have overlooked due to the excitement on the day. Jack is also a really lovely and approachable guy with a great sense of humour. We really connected with him as a photographer and he captured one of the best days of our lives perfectly.”

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“The reception venue was almost an hours drive from the church but we fell in love with it as soon as we first saw it. It was the only venue we visited and, after meeting with the lovely owner Celia, we booked it. We felt the Wellbeing Farm was laid back, quirky and fun-loving, but it also gave us the chance to show off our creative side. The sheep, llamas and donkeys on the farm were also an added bonus!”

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“The rest of the decor was kept quite simple. Since the barn at the Wellbeing Farm already has lots of decorations and props, we didn’t need to buy lots of things ourselves. For the table decorations we bought cheap Ikea frames and used the Lalalab app to print polaroid-style pictures.”

“We also spray painted the frames gold and used chalkboard markers from Amazon to write the table numbers. The numbers were the years we’ve been together, from 2004 to 2017 with a picture of what we looked like as a couple in that year.”

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The reception venue not only provided a whole host of friendly farm animals, but also a wedding coordinator to help Clarissa and Richard with the planning of the wedding, as well as the organising, decorating and directing of guests on the day.

“We didn’t hire a planner but the Wellbeing Farm provided us with a Wedding Coordinator. We also had help from the staff when decorating the barn the day before the wedding.”

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Along with the bride’s veil, Clarissa’s mother also made the wedding cake (what can this lady not do?!) as is the Filipino tradition, and wedding favours.

My mother bakes cakes as a hobby and wanted to make our wedding cake. She made the wedding cake for all of her sisters and also my own sister in Australia two years ago. We wanted to incorporate some Filipino culture into the wedding so we decided to have Filipino/Southeast Asian cake flavours. The bottom tier was ube flavour; a root plant similar to taro and cassava and which is naturally purple.”

“The second tier was coconut and raspberry and the top-tier pandan leaf flavour. It was covered in a simple ivory coloured buttercream icing and decorated with fresh flowers. We arranged some cake slice containers for the guests to take a piece home each, however some ate theirs on the spot! It was such a hit with all the guests.”

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“Our wedding favours were handmade biscuits baked by my mother. She also hand painted the wedding stationery flower motifs on more than a hundred of the biscuits for each guest! We added a packet of fruit tea (bought in bulk from Amazon) to the biscuit with the idea that guests could enjoy the biscuit at home with a lovely cuppa!”

“My mum added doily paper and placed the biscuit and tea bag in a clear plastic cellophane bag. The bag was then secured with personalised stickers bought from Etsy. I’m so proud of my mum for doing this as it really showcased her talents and creativity.”

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“The whole day was such a blast from start to finish and it was everything we could have hoped for and more. One of the most memorable things for me was during the church ceremony after we’d exchanged rings and vows. Richard whispered to me ‘I can’t sing’. I asked him if he was alright and he replied ‘if I sing I may end up crying’. It was so lovely to have an intimate and private moment like this during the wedding.”

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“Richard also wrote me a love letter that I read on the morning of the wedding when I found a moment to myself before the rush of the day. It beautifully expressed the vulnerability we feel when we fully open ourselves up to another person and taking in and accepting the good and not so good things about each other yet still being with that person no matter what. We didn’t write our vows for the ceremony, but I felt like that letter was his promise to me for our married life together.”

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Lancashire-based DJ Daniel Jones then kickstarted the evening’s entertainment with indie music, keeping the dance floor full to the brim for the rest of the night.

Clarissa and Richard chose Real Love Baby by Father John Misty as their first dance song, liking how it reflected how they are as a couple.

“We loved the lyrics which spoke about honesty and vulnerability and fully giving yourself to love and loving. We liked that the song tempo is slow but not soppy and it reflected us as a couple. It included a mixture of Richards traits; low-key and laid back, and mine; excitable and romantic.”

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Words Of Wedded Wisdom

“Always make sure to look after your health and mental health. Planning a wedding is probably one of the most stressful things we have had to do as  couple and it really took its toll on our physical and mental heath. Make sure in the run up to the wedding that you eat and sleep well. Most brides are juggling different roles whilst planning a wedding and it’s sometimes easy to overlook one’s health. You want to maintain your best self, not only on your most special day, but also as a good start to a happy and healthy marriage.”

“The Love My Dress Facebook group was also a lifeline for me when planning our wedding. The ladies in the group are the friendliest and most thoughtful bunch of women online and it felt like such a safe place to rant or express the range of emotions that brides feel during the wedding planning process.”

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A huge thank you to photographer Project Valentine and best wishes to the newlyweds – here’s to health and happiness in your new adventure together!

Until next time…

Much love,

Holly x

Credits & Thanks

Holly Grocott

Holly Grocott View all Holly's articles

Holly loves nothing more than getting her fill of beautifully styled weddings and couple's individual stories. After living in London for 6 years, she's now moved back North and settled in the leafy suburbs of South Manchester with her husband and much-loved pet pooch. You'll mostly find her reading in a corner, writing or creating a moodboard (or five).

2 thoughts on “A Ghost Dress for a Multicultural, Colourful and Family Inspired Barn Wedding

  1. I love the multicultural weddings you’re now featuring. Very beautiful and please publish more of it! ❤️

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