Hellie in Charlie Brear, for her Relaxed & Low-Key Liverpool City Wedding

Screenwriter and Actress Hellie married teacher Jan on Sunday 29th August 2021, on Hope Street in Liverpool.

The couple’s relaxed, intimate and low-key, summer wedding in the city, oozes effortless glamour and fun and features pretty pastel accents and detail. We especially loved to discover that Hellie discovered both her dress designer and bridal boutique through Love My Dress and was a huge fan of the blog when planning her wedding. Absolutely definitely one to fill your Pinterest boards with this one ladies! Enjoy! And our love and thanks to Hellie for sharing so much wonderfully helpful and inspirational detail.

Photography by Mr & Mrs K Photography

How They Met

We met on Tinder in early August 2018 while we were both living in London. However, thanks to work and a couple of friend’s foreign weddings we couldn’t meet in person until a few weeks later so spent the days in between texting like a pair of teenagers.

We got engaged on Valentines Day 2021 during a walk, with our then 9-month-old plague baby daughter on Jan’s shoulders and married that August, exactly three years since we first met.

Luckily we got engaged during the pandemic so we didn’t have to go through cancelling any plans. However it did mean that we were making lots of our bookings based on photographs and recommendations rather than going in person.

I’d never stepped into the Liverpool Medical Institution when we booked, but I knew that it would be a fantastic venue from the limited photos available online- and Karen their event’s organiser could not have been more helpful.

Jan wore a three piece suit from Moss Bros. Catherine at Catkin Jane was kind enough to make a liberty print bowtie especially for him. He also wore a pair of gold oyster shaped cufflinks that I gifted him on the morning of the wedding.

As we decided to get married the summer after getting engaged in Feb, available times for the registrar were in short supply, but we managed to bag the last available slot (10:30 in the morning!) on our Sunday date.

Rather than getting stressed about ever-changing guest lists, we kept to 30 guests even though restrictions were lifted in time for us to have added more if we’d chosen. We decided to take the opportunity to have a small and intimate ceremony this year followed by a bigger party later on with all of our extended family and friends who wouldn’t be able to make it in 2021.

Location & Venue

We chose to get married on Hope Street in Liverpool as it’s been my favourite place in the city since I was a little girl. I trained as a writer at the Everyman on one end, attended drama classes as a teenager at LIPA on the other end an d I think it’s the only street I know of that’s bookended by two cathedrals. It’s also the first place in Liverpool that Jan ever stayed in.

When he came to meet my parents for the first time we stayed at the Hope Street Hotel so it felt fitting that that should be where we had our evening do and first night as a married couple.

We chose the Liverpool Medical Institution (LMI) as we wanted to have a civil ceremony that we could personalise. My Dad is a retired GP and has spent many afternoons in the LMI over the course of his career so it felt especially nice to include a nod to him. It’s also an incredibly beautiful building, despite being something of a hidden gem in the city.

We got married in the lovely wood panelled conference room, which was perfect for our micro wedding of 30 and felt appropriately intimate.

The Ceremony

My mum walked ahead of me with the real star of the show, my daughter (and maid of honour) Nina, who did a great job of waving to everyone, before my dad walked me into the room to the sound of ‘House of Woodcock’, by Jonny Greenwood. Jan was listening to this album (the soundtrack to Phantom Thread) while he was in Poland and we were texting madly before we’d even met in person back in 2018. It’s a beautiful track and one we’ll always associate with that period of starting to fall in love.

The senior registrar from Liverpool council officiated over our ceremony. I was really nervous as you don’t get any rehearsal beforehand and I’d heard some horror stories about registrars veto-ing ceremony choices on the day of the wedding but our lady was wonderful, put us at ease and brought together a really beautiful ceremony for us.

We wrote our own vows which we kept as a surprise from one another for the day and which were my favourite part of the ceremony.

We had two readings. The first was by two of my bridespeople Debbie and Jack were they read out a text message conversation between Jack and I that had happened before my first and immediately after my second date with Jan.

It was cheeky and silly and as it’d been sent exactly three years before our wedding day, felt like too good an opportunity to miss.

It had all of us laughing (especially Jack’s advice to keep things casual and not get into anything serious atm!) and felt like a great way to kick things off! Our second reading was from Stoner by John Williams, which was the first book I ever gave to Jan, and was read by his older brother Daniel.

We wanted to involve both of our mums so decided to incorporate a candle lighting. They each brought a candle stick from their own home (my mum’s was Irish crystal, Jan’s mum’s was Polish pottery) which they lit, before Jan and I used them to light a new candle together.

My engagement ring was from Ethica Diamonds and our wedding rings were from independent Liverpool jewellers, Wongs. Wongs made a simple gold band to match my great-grandmothers wedding ring which Wongs resized and polished up for me!

My sibling Seanie and their best friend Liam played Nick Drake’s Northern Sky as we signed the register and also gave an impromptu concert at the Pen Factory in their garden after lunch.

Without a doubt, our ceremony. It felt personal and intimate and I loved making our vows in that room in-front of our friends and family.

Photographer

Renata and Marcin from Mr & Mrs K Photography were incredible and we would recommend them to anyone. They were so lovely, took beautiful photos and despite us only originally booking them for three hours, they offered to slip down to the docks for some solo photos after lunch which we never would have done without their suggestion but created absolutely gorgeous photos (I doubt we’ll ever look that good again!)

Our good friend Charles is an actor and videographer and he very kindly offered to record the ceremony and speeches – We’re so pleased he did!

The Vibe

We knew that we wanted to have a relaxed and low-key city-centre micro wedding for our closest family and friends after a long time kept apart during the pandemic. It was the first chance for lots of them to meet our daughter Nina and we wanted to make sure that everybody was well fed, watered and looked after throughout the day. We also had five little ones attending so it was important that they had a good time too.

Hope Street became the basis for all of our decisions and it was brilliant getting to walk down our favourite place as a newly married couple. We wanted the styling of the day across the three venues to feel connected.

We then had a canapes and drinks reception supplied by Delifonseca in the LMI’s library alongside oysters from Ferran The Oysterman (who drove down from Scotland that morning!) which I kept as a surprise for Jan on the day as he’s a huge fan.

Bridespeople

I had bridespeople – two boys and three girls. Two of the girls wore mustard yellow slip dresses from Etsy and the third wore a beautiful oyster coloured dress that she felt comfortable in, in her early pregnancy.

The boys wore their own suits and a liberty print tie from Catkin Jane who was brilliant but who unfortunately has just decided to close her store. I gifted them both cufflinks from Not On The High Street and the girls drop pearl necklaces from Oliver Bonas on the morning of the wedding. The girls chose their own shoes.

The flower girls all wore white lace dresses from Monsoon with sparkly pink Mary Janes (that they selected) from Next and white frilly socks. They also wore little pearl necklaces and bracelets from Accessorize that I gave them on the morning of the wedding.

Flowers

Agnes and Bee provided the flowers for the day. I love her modern and fresh style and she was the very first supplier that we booked when we started planning.

I am quite obsessed with flowers and went through a few different ideas over the months that we were planning. Kate was lovely to work with and really receptive to my suggestions (and mood boards!).

Alongside my bouquet, buttonholes and two larger arrangements, she also provided me with a large bucket of flowers the day before the wedding with a variety of glass vases that I arranged to go on the tables at the Pen Factory, which was really fun to do and also helped to keep the cost down.

The Dress

I wore Amine by Charlie Brear, from The White Closet, Manchester. I was a size 16, breastfeeding, first time new mum with year’s worth of the body insecurities working as an actress can give you, so I was really not looking forward to trying on dresses. However, both of my experiences were absolutely lovely.

The first boutique I visited with my Mum, Along Came Eve was gorgeous with all of their available sample sizes listed online so that I knew in advance what dresses would be ready for me to try on. Helena looked after us both and despite still having to wear masks and socially distance, we had a brilliant time.

I was totally convinced that I was going to choose one of two dresses by Wtoo there that I really liked- But the following day I went with my mum and friend Debbie to The White Closet in Manchester, and to my horror found myself crying when I tried on the Amine by Charlie Brear dress with a Helen Martin Poppy veil.

It felt like the perfect combination of the previous two dresses, timeless and elegant but still a little bit romantic. Millie was fantastic to work with and I’d recommend her and her beautiful store to anybody.

My dress genuinely felt like the nicest thing I’d ever worn and I loved how chic and classic it felt without limiting how I moved. It also looked beautiful with the pearl and embroidered cathedral length veil- I know I only had a small micro wedding, but I decided that you only get to get married once so I might as well go all out with a beautiful veil!

Hair was by Amy Jayne and make up by Jen Hunter. The girls were exceptional and did a fab job of mine and my Mums hair and make up, even with a very early start as our ceremony was so early in the morning!

Shoes, Veil & Accessories

Along with my Helen Martin Poppy veil, I wore a pair of blue strappy Jonie Suede block heel sandals from John Lewis.

I also wore a Pearl and gold hairslide from The Bobby Pin. I wasn’t going to wear anything else in my hair, but Amy Jayne my hair stylist suggested I try one that was similar during my hair trial and I really loved it. I normally keep my hair and make up very simple, but this felt like it added something beautiful without being over the top.

My grandma Barb passed away in 2016 and never got to meet Jan. The family decided that my Auntie Jan would look after her wedding ring and that each granddaughter would wear it as their ‘something borrowed’ on their wedding day. With the families blessing I had the ring threaded onto a gold bracelet by Wongs Jewellers (who also made our wedding rings). I’m the first granddaughter to get married and wear it and it felt really special to create a bespoke piece of jewellery that can now be worn safely by all of the other girls on their big days (and it means that my Auntie can now wear it, as the ring was too small for her to wear before so it stayed in its box beforehand!).

My Mum also gave me a beautiful blue garter from Lace & Favour on the morning of the wedding.

 

After the LMI we walked down the road to The Pen Factory for more drinks in their courtyard and a delicious lunch. Once we’d finished at The Pen Factory we had a short break before reconvening at the Hope Street Hotel that evening for cake, music and speeches (and more drinks!).

Some of my favourite photos are the ones of my bridespeople helping to carry our flowers between the venues.

I really hate anything too matchy-matchy but decided on mustard yellow and blush pink as hero colours alongside some other pastels with a flash of burgundy to stop everything becoming too twee. I got quite into Pinterest in our (relatively short!) planning time and it was there that I spotted tasselled spherical balloons for the first time, which the lovely Nicola at Floral Burst sourced for me and looked incredible in The Pen Factory.

I’m a big fan of quirky details while Jan is very into clean lines and minimalism but it felt like we found a happy medium that showcased our favourite things!

Reception, Detail & Decor

I spent a long time sourcing the perfect pastel coloured and yellow tapered candles which were held up thanks to customs until the last minute before making it into the UK the week before the wedding.

They came via Nordic Nest and were by Ester & Erik and were more than worth the wait.

We also brought large picture books and a wooden activity cube that the kids loved playing with in the soft seating area we organised next to the long tables at The Pen Factory.

Cake

The wonderful Hannah of Hannah Matilda Cakes made us a GORGEOUS Lily Vanilli inspired two tier kitsch buttercream cake of absolute dreams. It’s my biggest regret of the day that we somehow managed to miss getting a photo of it! Thankfully we’ve already booked her in to bake another beauty for our wedding party this year.

Luckily, Hannah has a photograph of the cake on her Instagram. She was one of my absolute favourite suppliers.

 

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A post shared by Wedding Cakes by Hannah Matilda (@_hannahmatilda_)

Delifonseca provided canapes at the LMI- and kids boxes of snacks which were enjoyed by our littlest guests! The Pen Factory created a gorgeous menu for lunch that catered to everyone, including our vegan, vegetarian and allergy-prone friends!

As Jan is such a huge fan, in the months before our wedding we gathered oyster shells which I then cleaned, bleached dry in the sun and painted gold with our guests names as place settings. We also did little bags of pastel, silver and gold sugared almonds from Fortnum and Masons as favours for the adults. For the children we had canvas tote bags printed with their names which we filled with little toys, sticker books, colouring pencils and sweets which kept them all happily occupied during dinner!

We did a very low key first dance with Nina to Dolly Parton’s ‘Here I Am’, although, I’m not sure anybody else noticed, it was lovely to have that moment as a three.

On Love My Dress

Love My Dress has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years (well before I met Jan), as a screenwriter I’ve always loved reading the real love stories and the tiny details that people feel are the most important to share. So it was brilliant to finally have an excuse to be visiting in the six months that we were wedding planning! It’s a beautiful, beautiful site with heaps of tips, brilliant vendors and information and I was especially impressed with all the work that Annabel and the team did throughout the pandemic to support the industry. A wonderful light in the midst of a dark time for so many people (I cant quite believe you’re sharing our wedding!)

We sourced our original photographer through Love My Dress but unfortunately due to illness she had to pull out with less than a weeks notice. We really felt for her and she was brilliant at helping us to find a replacement. Renata and Marcin from Mr & Mrs K Photography stepped in and we couldn’t have been happier with their beautiful photos.

I also found my wedding dress designer Charlie Brear and store, The White Closet, Manchester, through Love My Dress.

Words of Wedded Wisdom

Wedding planning in general can be overwhelming and expensive and I know that lots of people feel keen to get the serious bit out of the way, but we managed to tailor the ceremony to be exactly what we wanted and it still makes me feel thrilled now that we managed include things that made us laugh, meant something special and involved our families.

If that’s your thing, don’t let having a civil ceremony put you off or feel that it’s not possible- Liverpool’s registrar team couldn’t have been more helpful and were more than up for the order of service we gave them- The worst anybody can say is no, so you might as well ask!

I probably shouldn’t have sat down to breastfeed Nina the night before as we set up the ceremony room – she was rightly furious when I wouldn’t sit down in the same place to do the same during the ceremony the following day and my bridesperson Kate and our lovely flower girls very kindly skipped the ceremony to distract her and play in the library. (I did give her an apology boob in a back room immediately afterwards which provided some particularly memorable photos!).

We really weren’t interested in spending a crazy amount of money on one day but both of our parents very kindly gifted us some cash so that we could treat our guests and in the end we kept the whole days spend to under £10k.

I would never have thought to hire wedding cars but my Mum insisted and we had three beautiful cars that transported my bridespeople, Mum, Nina, my dad and me. It was really special having that moment with my Dad on the drive over and our driver was absolutely lovely! We hired Grace Wedding Cars, Ashton.

Credits & Thanks

Annabel

Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.

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