I think this is the first real wedding piece I’ve written about with a reception celebration taking place at a country cottage.
The rural setting, surrounded by woodland, is absolutely idyllic and completely magical. It also proved to be the perfect venue for our couple – close to the church they were married in, and in a village that holds wonderful memories of their blossoming relationship.
Meet Maddy, a marketing specialist, and Mike, a quantity surveyor. They were married on the 15 September 2018 in a church ceremony at Rivington Church, Lancashire, followed by a reception at Spring Cottage; an event space and cafe on the edge of woodland where deer often stop by to say hello – how wonderful is that?!
Images by Rachel Burt Photography
I love the stylish minimalism of Maddy’s wedding dress, with its sweeping, clean lines and low v-back. This was a bespoke design made by the team at The Dressing Room Wigan.
“After trying on a few dresses it became clear that lace and pretty details didn’t suit me. I had always wanted something simple but couldn’t find anything that was quite right. I liked a bit from this dress, a bit from that. In the end I contacted a few dressmakers on the off chance that I might get something made.”
“The Dressing Room in Wigan was the only place that replied, and after I met Keren and Carole I trusted them completely to make what I wanted. I showed them some pictures and they just drew a sketch and it all went from there. It was completely simple, elegant and exactly what I wanted (low back, all one piece rather than a top and skirt with a seam around the middle) and a nice heavy fabric then fell in a flattering way and didn’t look to shiny or blingy.”
“Mike and I had our third date at Rivington Pike (a walk and picnic) so it’s a special place for us, and the venue was perfect. It was important that the church wasn’t too far from the reception to make it easier for young children (we have a 6 year old daughter, Imogen) and elderly and disabled relatives.”
“There were many things that Mike and I were fussy on; I always knew I wanted to get married in a church, we both wanted it to be a simple, relaxed day and we knew we wanted a band rather than a DJ. When I found Spring Cottage it was absolutely perfect. We both love the outdoors and felt that a venue with a good amount or outdoor space would help us get the relaxed feel we wanted (and give the kids enough space to run around without feeling like they’re disturbing things).”
“It also helped that Rivington is a special place to us both, and the church was just round the corner so we could actually walk from church to the reception – perfect! We started attending Rivington Church so that we could be married there and it was such a lovely, welcoming church.”
The lovely, bespoke experience didn’t stop there, either. On her feet, Maddy wore a pair of bright blue block heels from Shoes of Prey (sadly, since Maddy and Mike were married, Shoes of Prey are no longer in business).
To complete her beautiful, contemporary look, all that was left was to add some wedding day perfume, and Maddy wore Jo Malone’s Jasmine Sambac and Marigold, which was gifted to her by Mike specially for the day.
There’s a lovely story behind the classic, fingertip veil worn by Maddy, which served as both her ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed.’
“I wore my mum’s veil, which had been in a box in the loft for over 30 years. My mother-in-law lovingly restored its colour. The veil was made for my mum in 1986 by a family friend.”
Daughter Imogen was flowergirl for the day, and she looked beautiful in an ivory dress with tulle skirt, made from the same fabric as her mum’s wedding dress by the team at The Dressing Room Wigan. I also love the addition of white ankle socks and sparkly blue shoes with butterfly wings, to perfectly coordinate with Maddy’s look.
Imogen also wore a garland of fresh, lilac hued waxflowers in her hair, and Maddy and her bridesmaids carried exquisite bouquets in shades of purple, lilac and pink; a beautiful mixture of greenery with roses, dahlias, sweetly scented stocks, snapdragons and other delights, all put together by Felicity Farm Flowers.
The bridesmaids wore pleated, soft chiffon maxi dresses the colour of bluebells by TFNC via ASOS, along with gold block heels, also from ASOS, and their own accessories.
“I wanted them to be able to choose whichever dress they were most comfortable with (and my sister -in-law was 7 months pregnant so wanted something to fit around the bump). TFNC had a range of designs in the bluebell colour, so I told the girls the pick whichever dress then preferred. In the end they all chose the same one anyway!”
Courtesy of Avacab, Maddy and her party took a discreet black minibus over to Rivington Church – perfect for when they arrived early, drove past the church and then parked up nearby at Spring Cottage and watched guests go by!
Inside the church, Mike was awaiting their arrival, looking smart in a charcoal grey three-piece suit, with contrasting blue waistcoat from Marc Darcy via Jenson Samuel Shirts, with the groomsmen in matching outfits.
There was also the addition of an amazing Lego buttonhole made by Mike’s mum (which she also made for Maddy’s dad and the groomsmen), and shoes from Jenson Samuel.
“We met in 2014 (we met online) and got engaged the night before going on holiday to Morocco in 2017. Mike was going to do it on holiday but was worried about losing the ring on the journey or me finding it when I inevitably repacked the bags.”
“So, he did it the night before, at home, in our pyjamas. But it was perfect for us. And in the morning when Imogen woke up she was very excited. I didn’t want a long engagement so we planned to get married the following year.”
Maddy was accompanied down the aisle by her dad, and chose the song, I Will Spend My Whole Life Loving You by Imaginary Future and Kina Grannis. The ceremony was conducted by Rivington Church curate, Jo Smith.
“We had traditional church vows. Even before we were engaged, we had discussed whether we would write our own vows and it was a quick and unanimous no!”
“Mike didn’t want a traditional ring; he wasn’t sure how much he’d wear it after the wedding day anyway as he’s never worn any jewellery. He wanted something light that he wouldn’t notice as much so chose a carbon fibre ring.”
“We had two readings. One was by my younger brother and one was by Mike’s grandma. Grandma read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is Patient. We asked her to choose a reading that she would like to do and this was her choice.”
“The second was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. We asked my brother to read this one. Since our wedding was about more than just me and Mike, but about Imogen, too, and the three of us becoming a family we loved the line, ‘A cord of three strands is not easily broken.’“
After the wedding, there was a walk into the lush, green woodland around Spring Cottage, so beautiful in late summertime, with rustic signage and bunting to show everyone the way to the party.
“Style-wise I had a busy Pinterest page, which I shared with my bridesmaids but my general theme was pretty simple. Spring Cottage is such a naturally beautiful place I didn’t need to add much. I think simple and natural and bright were my main stipulations.”
“I wanted a team who could come to the house to make it easier than carting myself, five bridesmaids, mum and daughter all the way to the salon. After they had done our hair they even entertained Imogen playing UNO. We did our own makeup, and my sister Sophia (one of my bridesmaids) did my make up for me.”
Maddy and Mike designed and made lots of components of their day, with Mike designing the couple’s stationery based on ideas shown to him by Maddy, and used a local printer (no details supplied) to have them made. After accidentally having too many printed, Maddy and Mike cleverly repurposed the spare invitations by converting them into cones to fill with dried petal confetti.
“A friend shared the page on her Facebook account and I loved the flowers in the picture, so I looked into it and found that Elaine who owns Felicity Farm Flowers was based really close to us.”
“Turns out she often provides the flowers for Spring Cottage so was familiar with the venue and the vibe I was going for. I didn’t offer much direction other that to send her a picture of the bridesmaid dresses and show her a few flowers I liked but didn’t know the name of.”
“I wanted something that was bright and colourful, not too structured but didn’t look like I’d picked them myself on the way to the church! I really liked her style, and just left her to do what she does best. I absolutely loved my flowers. And she added sprigs of mint so they smelt so fresh and lovely.”
“We printed Polaroids of guests for the place settings and stood them in little logs cut by my step-dad. For the seating plan we painted a ladder, which had glass jars holding the table settings. The ladders were decorated with a pine cone garlands made by one of my bridesmaids and fairy lights. We had a second smaller ladder which had gift bags for each of the children. Mike’s mum made the gift bags and filled them with toys and games to keep them entertained.”
“We used a band called Acoustica, headed up by Rick Moorhouse. They played at Mike’s cousins wedding and were amazing so we booked them. We had Acoustica (two piece) playing at the church and for the welcome drinks and during the meal.”
“Then for the evening the full band came . They absolutely were the icing on the cake and played the perfect soundtrack for the day. All our guests commented on how good they were.”
There was also a bouncy castle, too – in theory for the children, but undoubtedly enjoyed by the adults, too, which came courtesy of Eventech UK.
These incredibly fun and colourful images come to us courtesy of Rachel Burt Photography. Maddy and Mike were thrilled with Rachel’s work, and it’s easy to see why. She really captured the rural idyll of the setting so beautifully.
“I spent ages looking for the right photographer. There are so many talented photographers who take stunning pictures, but I wanted to find something that was just right for us, and would be as relaxed as we needed but could still get the right feel to the necessary staged family shots.”
“I instantly loved Rachel’s style. Her website matches her style perfectly and she was so friendly and approachable. This might sound like a silly point I really liked that Rachel was upfront about costs too. I found it frustrating when websites weren’t clear or upfront about costs. Rachel gave all the info needed in a super friendly way.”
“Throughout the planning process she kept in touch and was on hand for any questions I had. She was great on the day too. The right balance of being totally friendly, but also managed to blend into the background. There are so many moments she captured when I didn’t even realise she was there.”
“She was great during the group shots, there was no pressure at all and she even coped with our daughter getting bored of pictures and running off back to the bouncy castle. She put me and Mike at ease when doing nice pictures of just the two of us, and we just got the giggles!”
The incredible sounding food menu was created by the talented team at Spring Cottage, beginning with canapes of sliders, mini jacket potatoes and sausages, followed by Ploughman’s sharing platters served on long boards in the centre of the table.
“The food itself was like a table decoration. It all added to the relaxed feel we were going for. In the evening we had paella made over one of the large fire pits in the courtyard. We had the choice of using external suppliers without a surcharge but love the food Spring Cottage do, and their prices were very reasonable so chose to go with them.”
After joyful speeches, toasts and lovely ice cream, there was time for bouncy castle fun, and then dancing. Maddy and Mike took to the floor for their first dance together, and chose the song Marry You by Matt Wills.
A whole host of talented family and friends lent their creative and making skills to lots of thoughtfully handmade items, too.
“My mother-in-law helped me make the wreaths that hung in the marquee, my stepdad made the blocks that the Polaroid place settings stood in, and the cake stand. My mum made and decorated the cake. My sister-in-law did the table flowers. We made floral wreaths with ‘Love’, ‘Mr & Mrs’, and ‘Best Day Ever’, laser-cut words – one of my bridesmaids is a technology teacher and did the laser cutting for us.”
“My favourite part was – all of it. I’ve always thought the ceremony is the most important part of a wedding (I know a lot of people prefer the party afterwards, but to me the ceremony was the important part). I loved getting ready at home with my mum, daughter and bridesmaids.”
“I was more relaxed than I thought I’d be especially after not getting any sleep. But I danced around the living room with my daughter and was just excited about marrying my best friend.”
“When we got close to the church, I started to feel more nervous (then got a bit stressed about guests running late) but I loved the ceremony. I got the giggles and Mike got teary eyed when he saw Imogen.”
“I also loved going off with Rachel to get some pictures of me and Mike, because it was a chance for us to step away and have a moment to ourselves and look at all our family and friends enjoying themselves.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“My advice would be to jump right in with all the magazines and websites and Pinterest, and totally overload yourself, but don’t book anything yet. Then give yourself a break, and when you look back at it all you have a much clearer vision of what you really like, and what you want for your day.”
“There are so many beautifully styled days with gorgeous themes, it can be easy to be swept along with it all and not actually end up with what you want. Give yourself a time out and go back to it with fresh eyes. And don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. I found that when I asked others for their opinion it either really helped guide me along, or it made me realise that I already knew what I wanted.”
Maddy and Mike, many congratulations, and thank you for giving us this peek into your charming country cottage day. Many thanks to Rachel Burt, too, for these wonderful images. It’s been fantastic to feature your work on Love My Dress.
Credits & Thanks
- Photography - Rachel Burt Photography
- Ceremony - Rivington Church, Lancashire
- Reception + Food - Spring Cottage
- Maddy's Dress - The Dressing Room Wigan + Veil - Heirloom + Shoes - Shoes of Prey (no longer in business) + Jewellery - 77 Diamonds + Jenny Packham
- Hair Stylist - Eclipse Hair and Beauty
- Florist - Felicity Farm Flowers
- Bridesmaid's Dresses - TFNC via ASOS
- Flowergirl's Dress - The Dressing Room Wigan
- Mike's Suit - Marc Darcy via Jenson Samuel
- Transport - Avacab
- Rings - 77 Diamonds + Lance James The Jewellers
- Napkins - Confetti
- Favours - My M&Ms
- Bouncy Castle - Eventech
- Ice Cream - Milk Maids
- Entertainment - Acoustica