An Stevie May ASOS Dress for a Modern + Minimalist Wedding at Whitworth Art Gallery

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Weddings in art galleries and museums – I just love them. Anyone who uses these brilliant places for events is providing absolutely essential support, which enables these cultural havens to keep their doors open to the public.

Not only that, galleries and museums often have the most breathtaking spaces available, too. With that PSA done, let’s find out more about today’s wedding! Today we’re heading to the wonderful Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, where they reopened in 2015 following a huge restoration and expansion project.

Images by Maddie Farris Photography.

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If you’ve ever been, by the way, and admired the lovingly restored and original light fittings there (or spot them in some of these beautiful images), here’s where I boast a little and say, my friends did those!  Meet Eve, a visual merchandiser, and Carl, a buyer. They were married on the 4 August 2018 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, and as creatives and art lovers, it was the perfect venue choice all-round.

“It seemed pretty perfect that we could spend our special day surrounded by all the beautiful art. We especially liked how the building represented both of us so well, with gorgeous original parts of the building, including the Grand Hall where we had our wedding breakfast, and the gorgeous, modern glass promenade, where we danced the night away.”

Eve chose a beautiful dress by Australian label, Stevie May, via ASOS, having alterations made to turn the original high neckline into a v-neck, as well as small changes to the back and sleeves. It’s the ruffled, fluttering sleeves I like most about Eve’s dress, along with the ivory floral embroidery.

“I love it because it was definitely one of a kind! I chose it originally because of the beautiful embroidered fabric, and the very special piping and eyelets. I knew I loved, it but I would need to tweak it to make it my own, and perfect for me.”

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In keeping with the fresh and contemporary colour palette, the flowers for the day were filled with greenery, as well as lots of white blooms; roses, sweet peas and dahlias – all by Hannah Elizabeth Flowers.

“When Hannah and I met for the first time, I knew she was the one! She got us, and our vision from the get go. We wanted modern and sophisticated, and that’s what she gave us. My bouquet was beautiful, filled with greenery and perfect pink pops to make it stand out from the rest. We also wanted modern and sophisticated flowers, and that’s what Hannah gave us.”

“We stuck to mostly greenery with whites (lots of them). They were up the stairs, down the aisle, and on every window ledge in sight. She also created an amazing flower trellis wall.”

“My shoes were very understated. I’m a tiny 4’11, so I knew I wanted them to be high, but didn’t need anything fancy as my dress was to the floor. They were a very pale nude with a clear toe strap and block heel from New Look.

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Eve’s bridesmaids wore maxi dresses from TFNC London, with off-the-shoulder detailing in two pretty, contrasting colours – two in ‘Lily’ green, and two in dusty pink. They wore their own choice of shoes, and Eve gifted them a pale grey Katie Loxton pouch each, too.

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In her hair, Eve wore fresh flower combs made by her florist – white roses, waxflowers and eucalyptus, for a modern, yet soft look.

“My veil was handed down to me from my sister, who married 7 years ago. It was a beautiful ivory tulle veil from The White Closet. I also had this shortened for my day.”

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I love Alex Monroe’s whimsical jewellery designs, and Eve was lucky enough to wear two pieces; a delicate fern bracelet given to her by Carl on the day of the wedding, and a bright yellow gold bumble bee necklace.

“This means a lot to me, and I wear it every day without fail. I knew I was always going to wear it on my wedding day. My mum and two sisters also wore theirs on the day.”

“I wore Elie Saab, La Parfum. I’m not a massive perfume girl; I tend to stick with what I know, but my mum and I went to Harvey Nichols, and she bought me this as a gift for the day.”

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Fresh, pretty make-up came courtesy of Ora Makeup, with a simple, stylish updo, with lots of volume, by Charlotte Thorley.

“I was really nervous about both my hair and make-up, because it’s a big deal on your big day! I can’t tell you how happy I felt in my own skin, it was all perfect.”

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Eve and Carl first met at college, just under ten years ago, when they were both aged 17. They were friends throughout college, but then drifted apart, reconnecting via Facebook four years later.

“We went for a beer to catch up, and we haven’t really parted since. Carl’s proposal was one of the most special proposals ever! (I may be a little biased). He planted the ring in my advent calendar for Christmas 2017.”

“It was the 23 December, we were in the bedroom of our newly renovated home, in our pyjamas, and I went to my advent calendar and opened the box. I had no idea, it was the best surprise ever! We decided not to have a long engagement and chose to marry in August, just 7 months later! Now that takes some organisation!”

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Eve, her dad and bridesmaids took a sunny stroll through the Manchester streets to the Whitworth, and its steps looked lovely decorated for the wedding, with big white balloons, as well as more lovely flowers from Hannah Elizabeth, and super-stylish signage, designed by the bride (Eve Tanner Print).

“I designed all the stationery myself. I knew I wanted a modern, sophisticated look, so I went for all monochrome, and used quirky sayings and witty comments to add some humour to the day. I love designing stationery, as I think it’s such an important part of anyone’s special day. It’s all in the details!”

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It was a very special moment for both Eve and her dad as they walked down the aisle together. Eve is really close to her father, and the youngest daughter of six children. Eve’s chosen entrance song was Some Kind of Wonderful, by Carole King.

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Carl was waiting with a beaming smile, wearing a navy blue suit from Slater Menswear, together with a checked waistcoat from Next. He also wore a shirt from T.M. Lewin, and shoes from Topman, and I love that mint green tie!

“We used a celebrant on the day who was a family friend. We wrote four promises to each other, and kept them a surprise for the day. It was a lovely touch, as we both kept it lighthearted, and included some jokes.”

“I promise I will never stop my happy crying. I am so grateful to have you. Even today, I still can’t believe this is happening.”

“I promise to carry on being spontaneous with you, nipping for one pint, and never knowing where we left our cars by Monday morning.”

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Eve and Carl also gave one another rings; Eve chose a diamond and gold etched ring by Jenny Jones, whilst Carl opted for a vintage etched ring from Burns Jewellers.

“I always thought I wanted a plain gold band to sit next to my gold vintage engagement ring, but once I tried some on, I was all about the bling! I ended up with a gold band with diamonds and etching. It’s a great mixture of old and new – just what we like! Carl’s was a pre-loved gold ring with etching. He always wanted a vintage ring with some history.”

“Carl’s sister Clare read a beautiful poem, which she had amended and tailored to us. Everyone was in floods of tears, as it was so unexpected. It was so lovely for someone who we love so dearly to get up and say such gorgeous words about us and our relationship. I would recommend it to anyone.”

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For the reception, everyone headed to the newest addition to the gallery, the spectacular glass promenade. The couple’s friends provided musical entertainment (a band and DJ, sadly no details about these), and they took to the dancefloor for their first dance, which was something just a little bit different!

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Everyone enjoyed drinks following the ceremony, with live music from Didsbury String Quartet.

The lovely, sage green wooden panelling of the the Whitworth’s Jacobean style Grand Hall served as the perfect backdrop for Eve and Carl’s cool, minimalist styling, with more beautiful flowers, as well as miniature potted olive trees.

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White balloons soared in the double height ceiling, also serving as table centrepieces, with pastel coloured bunting strung from the windows.

“We used flowers and stationery to create impact. We also had different sized pillar candles, and vases in the centre of our tables with greenery intertwined. We also had 3 foot white balloons for each table. This looked beautiful against the green in the Grand Hall. I also loved our family bunting hanging above the top table – handmade by myself and my sisters, made of my Grandad’s handkerchiefs.”

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“We donated £1 for each guest, to the Ryan Wilkinson Foundation, which supports anxiety and depression, and then we put another £1 in for every guest who was there. We then put each table into a hat and pulled them out one by one. The last table standing won all the money for their evening drinks! Everyone really enjoyed it, and it added something fun and exciting at the end of a big meal!”

“We also offered little envelopes with stickers designed by myself, filled with sunflower seeds for people to take as a keepsake.”

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The Whitworth Cafe’s in-house food team, the Modern Caterer, cooked a magnificent feast for everyone to enjoy. There were antipasti platters to start, followed by pan roasted corn fed chicken, or stuffed aubergine. To finish, there were a selection of amazing cakes.

There was more cake to enjoy, too, from Layla’s Cake Boutique – a three-tiered semi-naked cake in Victoria sponge and lemon flavours, with buttercream frosting, and decorated with fresh flowers.

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Maddie Farris Photography’s authentic, beautiful images tell the brilliant story of Eve and Carl’s day, and they, in turn, were delighted with the finished results.

“Maddie was amazing! She captured our vision perfectly. The ad hoc moments she captured are so special, and we will cherish them always. She honestly didn’t stop for one minute, and she was just completely on it, not missing a thing!”

“My favourite part of the day was the speeches. I’ve never happy cried more in my life! Every single one was so special and personal in its own way, and there was so much love in the room.”

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“She even took my bouquet during the meal, and put it in ice water to ensure it was fresh for the evening. Every person I speak to tells me how beautiful all the photographs are, and it always brings me to happy tears! We look back at them with such joy, and that feeling is priceless.”

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“My little brother mixed an old song into a new dance song, so we slow danced for a little while before the song dropped in. The whole dancefloor went crazy; such an amazing moment to share with all your family and loved ones. I Know There’s Going To Be Good Times – Jamie XX.”

“To be totally honest, there isn’t much I would change. I think you must trust your decisions and just enjoy the day! Try and take it all in because as cliché as it sounds, it’s gone in a flash!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“We were planning on spending around £14k, and we came in very close. We tried our hardest to be as thrifty as possible, and save money where possible. We didn’t over indulge on extravagant decorations or entertainment, and I also saved a lot of money getting a high-street dress and altering it. I would recommend that to anyone who can’t find exactly what they want!”

“I absolutely loved planning our wedding. We did it in 7 months, and I think the best piece of advice I could give is don’t stress. Enjoy it. Plan your wedding, and not what you think it should be, or look like.”

“Trust your decisions and be happy with them. Do not procrastinate – just go for it! I really believe dwelling on things makes everything ten times harder. Don’t feel like you need to fit into a certain style or theme. Go with what you want; at the end of the day it’s your day!”

“Once you’re married, and your wedding blues come along (because they do come), and all the ‘to do’ lists disappear from your busy brain, remember why this all began. Not because you wanted everyone to have a great day, or to make sure everyone got a fantastic favour. It’s because you love each other, and want to spend the rest of your life together.”

“This was my last promise to Carl: ‘But most of all, I promise when things get tough to always remember this very moment, and how lucky I actually am.'”

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How lovely, Eve! Congratulations to you both, and thanks so much for sharing your beautifully creative day with us. What a cracking wedding venue space the Whitworth is! Do take a look at more big-hearted Manchester weddings on our pages, right here.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.