Chartered Surveyor Jen married Chartered Accountant Phil in August last year, at Arley Hall and Gardens Wedding Venue in Cheshire.
The couple wanted a classy British summer wedding and this beautiful Cheshire wedding venue played the perfect backdrop
The bride chose a divine Emma Beaumont wedding dress and veil, which she accessorised with beautiful, floral Dior shoes and carefully selected jewellery. Jen very sadly lost her father very suddenly not long before her wedding, and shares some heartfelt words for other brides on how to cope with grief on your wedding day.
Arley Hall & Gardens Wedding Venue
We wanted it to feel like a traditional British summer time wedding, throughout the process I kept thinking of the weddings in four weddings and a funeral! As the planning progressed, I was very keen to try and avoid ‘trends’ so the pictures would remain timeless.
I studied historic buildings for my masters degree which makes me very picky about the details! I really wanted somewhere that still felt like an old house, something which Arley really delivers on! You feel like it is your family home for the day.
I lost my Dad suddenly, eight months before my wedding. It was traumatic and I was extremely anxious about how I would feel on the day.
We had also lost my aunt (my Dad’s sister) in April 2020, so it had been a tough couple of years for my family.
An Emma Beaumont Wedding Dress
Having studied Costume as my undergraduate degree, I have such respect for the work that goes into bespoke dress making. I actually went to school in Knutsford, the small town in Cheshire Emma’s studio is based.
I have followed her work for years, and always knew an Emma Beaumont dress was my one non-negotiable when it came to the wedding.
Emma was a dream to work with, for all her talent she is so down to earth and instantly makes you feel like a friend. Some of those appointments with her in the aftermath of loosing my Dad were such a shining light in the darkness for me and my Mum to look forward to.
It was also lovely to know that the dress was made 15 minutes down the road from the wedding venue, and that the process contributed to encouraging local creative talent.
Something I was not expecting is, having been a part of the dress creation from the start, it meant on the day it felt totally comfortably in the dress. The dress making process gives you the opportunity to learn how the dress feels and moves, and to refine every small detail, so when it came to the day I was totally comfortable in it.
Not an accessory as such – but my Dad lived in Lacoste polo shirts so I took two of the Lacoste logos off a couple of his old polo shirts and Emma stitched them into the cuffs for me. It was such a lovely tribute to him and something else that makes my dress special.
One of my favourite details about the dress was that the fabric used underneath the lace was made out of recycled rose petals! Me and Emma were struggling to agree on the right fabric, then when she showed me this and I felt the sample I couldn’t believe it was real (and still cant!).
Growing up as a child I used to refuse to wear anything that didn’t have a flower on it, and now for my wedding dress to be made from recycled roses – it was meant to be!
Veil, Shoes & Accessories
I loved my Dior shoes! I was originally going to go for the plain nude, however when I saw the embroidered floral design I it just felt like they were mean to be! They were such a lovely detail. I would highly recommend to other brides to invest in a good pair of shoes.
Every time I wear them now it feels extra special, and let’s be honest, you can get a lot more repeat wear out of them over the dress.
I wore a simple Emma Beaumont veil to not distract from the dress and my perfume was Jo Malone’s Tuberose Angelica. I bought it especially for the wedding, now every time I smell it it takes me back to that day.
My earrings were by Soru Jewellery. I had a classic pair for the day and a more flamboyant pair for the evening. I would say changing up accessories is a good way to go if you want to transition the look from day to evening, but don’t want a full dress change.
Natasha Oates of Oates Floral. Myself and Natasha have been friends for years and I always wanted her to do my flowers.
I am picky with flowers, but knowing Natasha meant I felt like I could put all my trust in her. The instructions I gave were a mix of modern classical, and what she produced on the day blew all expectations.
How They Met
We met through mutual friend groups. Before we got together, our friends group would sometimes cross over. Phil likes to joke that he used to think I was rude because I didn’t talk to them, but actually its just because I’m shy!
We both became single at the same time in 2015, it was them our mutual friends thought we would be perfect for each other, and it looks like they were right.
My Grandad has owned a Jaguar since 1997 and I’ve always wanted to use it as our wedding car.
The wedding took place within the grounds of Arley so we didn’t actually need a car, instead my husband and his best man drove it to the venue.
My brother gave me away in place of my dad. We walked down the isle to strings ‘Wonderwall’, we are proud Mancunians so had to get the Manchester reference in there!
We wanted a local location and after attending my cousin’s wedding in Italy the year before, we loved the idea of an outdoor ceremony. However, given the British weather, we wanted to make sure that the ‘back up option’ indoors would be just as good and wouldn’t feel like ‘second best’.
Our rings were from H&H Jewellers’ in Altrincham. We wanted to support a local jewellers with our rings
Photography – Jenny Appleton Photography. We got so luck with Jenny! Our original photographer went silent on us 4 months before the wedding and I realised they hadn’t posted on Instagram for a year. We were sick and frantically sent out emails praying for someone we liked to have availability.
A lot of photographers were really understanding, getting back to us to say they weren’t available but giving recommendations for others. Jenny appeared on these lists a few times, we loved her work and were over the moon when she said she was available.
What she captured for us was perfect. The pictures are romantic and candid. Shes a complete pro at making you feel amazing.
Harvey Films came as a recommended supplier through the venue. I loved their work and knew we had to have them! Some people around us said to hold off on booking them until we had booked all the ‘essentials’, but to us they were an essential and we booked them as our first vendor.
I would recommend to anyone, if budget allows, to hire a videographer. After we lost my aunt is 2019, I knew my cousins would pay any amount of money now for footage of their Mum. To me the video is an investment for our future.
Unfortunately my Dad didn’t make it on to the video, but when I’m missing him I take so much comfort in watching the video back and all the tributes to him that are weaved through it.
Phil decided on black tie for himself and the groomsmen, made up of his best man (Jamie) Dad (Keith) Brother (Richard) and my brother (Alex).
Phil’s suit was bespoke made by Norton and Townsend. It was a dark midnight blue to give a slight contrast to the black groomsmen suits. The groomsmen suits were from Marks and Spencer and looked a lot more expensive.
My Dad was a big fan of watches and I gave him my Dad’s Rolex as a wedding present. Phil put a lot of work into selling my Dad’s business after his death, so giving him the watch was a gift from me my Mum and my brother for everything he did during that time. I know my Dad would have been pleased to see him wearing it on our wedding day.
Arley was a great venue in that it took your breath away without any need for additional decoration. The flowers that our florist Natasha of Oates Floral put together were the perfect additional touch. One of my favourite elements were the blackberries she added into the table centre pieces. Now whenever I see blackberries growing wild I think of our wedding flowers.
I managed to get my hands on a load of antique looking miniature gold picture frames, which I included a black and white picture of each guest. They were really well received and also doubled up as an alternative to place cards.
Evening & Dancing
The Leighton-Jones String trio for the ceremony and drinks reception. Band ‘The Royale’ for the evening. Both were fab!
It is extremely hard to pick a favourite part. I loved the wedding breakfast and the speeches. The speeches were fantastic. I asked my uncle only 3 days beforehand to do a speech in tribute to what would have been my Dad’s father of the bride speech. He did a fantastic job.
Being able to be sat in the same room with all of our friends and family, after the 2020 lockdown and a tough start to the year, felt very special.
I also have to mention the party after, it felt so much fun to let our hair down and dance the night away with everyone we love. Harvey Films stuck around all night and I love how they have captured the party atmosphere for us.
How To Deal With Grief At Your Wedding
I know there will be others planning weddings with the fear of how grief will affect their day on their minds. The day after my Dad died I was told ‘don’t worry about your wedding, it will be tough but you will be able to prepare for knowing he will not be there. It’s the simple times you aren’t prepared for that knock you off course’.
That piece of advice really stuck with me and it was so true. Yes there were emotional parts of the day, but it was a day filled with so much love that the energy around us was nothing but happiness and joy.
Remember that your loved one would want you to have the best day possible, so do them proud! Weddings that I have been to since have now taught me that I have to leave the room during the farther of the bride speech.
I find it hard watching others because my Dad loved speeches and I know he would have done a great one! Some might see this as odd or rude, but always do what you have to do to protect your heart.
Words of Wedded Wisdom
I wish I had done a speech myself. I had always intended on doing one, but after loosing my Dad I thought I thought I would find it too emotional. On reflection I wish I had said a few words, but then again I know I would have ended up with all my make up streaming down my face! Try to get as much done early on, so you can take a break from it before diving back into in the weeks leading up.
I was forced to do this as I was sitting my assessment to become a chartered building surveyor six weeks before the wedding.
I knew that if we didn’t get most of the planning done before my revision had to start, I would chose wedding planning over revision everyday. I thought this would be a nightmare but it worked perfectly as it forced me to forget about the wedding.
As a result I think it made me feel a lot more relaxed overall in the weeks leading up to the day as I had been forced to put it out of my mind for months.
Finally, if you can, try to take a few days away just the two of you when it is all done. We went to Barcelona and it felt like we were just in a perfect little post wedding bubble before coming backdown to earth.
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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.