Stephanie, a Civil Servant, married Sixth form tutor in photography and art, Rory on 22nd July 2023 at Manchester Art Gallery in the L.S. Lowry and Dutch still life exhibitions, followed by a reception at Seven Bro7hers Brewery.
I could not adore this gorgeous, laid back wedding more, or the sensitive way within which the incredibly talented photographer, Monika Chatterton, has captured the sense of joy, love and human connection so effortlessly (the photographer is a former Love My Dress bride herself and has observed all those magical moments on this wedding day so beautifully).
My dress was from Ghost. As soon as we got engaged, I consulted the secret wedding Pinterest board (we all have one!) and found that all of my pins were vintage 70s style dresses.
I’ve always loved the era and the simplicity in the style of dresses I set about to find my dream vintage dress but nothing seemed to match up to my ideal. Then ghost brought out their new bridal collection and I instantly fell in love.
I bought the dress in the first Covid lockdown and it sat in a box for the next few years but I just knew it was the one.
I did my own hair and makeup I’m not one for wearing lots of makeup and just wanted to feel comfortable and like myself on the day.
My shoes were from Office.
I didn’t want the traditional bridesmaid dresses and I wanted my Brides to be comfortable in whatever they chose to wear. I had initially decided on green and pink as the colours but struggled to find dresses that complimented each other.
After months of searching and many failed attempts. My Bridesmaid Olivia wore a pink H&M limited edition tiered maxi dress and Bryony wore a olive green silk oversized sleeve dress from ASOS (via Vinted). We had found both dresses online but they had unfortunately sold out so we were on a mission to locate them.
My Dad proudly walked me down the aisle and my Mum walked our son Freddie down the aisle where he did his stomping walk in his very own DocMartin sandals.
We had the local registry office officiate our wedding and they we great and made us feel at ease from the moment they arrived.
Our walk-in song was ‘Toothpaste Kisses’, bu The Maccabees. For the signing of the register, we had Paolo Nutini’s ‘Better Man’ play. For our exit song, we had ‘We are the Champions’, by Queen.
We knew that we wanted something different for our wedding rings. My engagement ring had been chosen in Nepal whilst travelling and I loved that it wasn’t the traditional style (silver and opal). As we are both crafty we decided that we wanted to make our own rings.
We found Maisie Smith and booked on to one of her work shops. We spent a day at her studio in the Northern Quarter in Manchester creating our rings and it is definitely a day we will remember and are always reminded of every time we look at our rings.
She was so patient with us even when I through a curve ball and wanted the band to sit under my engagement ring half way through the day. We’ve even kept the excess silver to hopefully make something for one of our anniversaries.
As Rory is photography teacher it was always important who we selected to take the images for our wedding. Our friend followed Monika on Instagram and had told us how amazing her pictures were and that she had recently reached out on insta to say she was wanting to start shooting weddings.
We loved her instinctive style and the way she managed to capture intimate and meaningful moments.
We knew from Monika’s Instagram that she loved capturing her clients and this made us relaxed about booking her for her first wedding. Being camera shy people we knew we didn’t want traditional wedding photography and someone who could capture moments throughout the day without us feeling like we had to spend lots of time away from our guests.
We would 100% recommend Monika, we were absolutely blown away be the photographs and she made us feel so at ease during the day. It was clear to see her enthusiasm for the art of photography and love of storytelling through images.
I knew early on that I wanted to do my own flowers, we originally had our own allotment and I planned to grow them all there. But after having Freddie it became increasingly hard to designated the amount of time the plot needed and we sadly had to give it up. Undeterred, I set about planning to grow some of the flowers in our small terrace garden and researched how to buy the rest of the flowers.
Elizabeth was a local grower only a few miles away from where we live, growing the most amazing seasonal flowers. We went to visit the farm Elizabeth’s passion and love for the craft was infectious. I had complete faith in her and gave her free rein to choose whichever flowers looked best at the time she was cutting.
The flowers were delivered on Thursday evening and me and my mum set about preparing them with a glass of fizz ready for a full on day arranging with my family and bridesmaids the next day.
How They Met
We met in 2015 on Tinder, back when Tinder was a thing. We both had a love for art and music and which created a close connection straight away. We both agreed to meet in Manchester city centre after speaking on the app.
Steph arrived in a dress she had made straight from the gym where she talked about her love of traveling and time working in America. I was instantly struck with how similar we are and quickly realised she was the one. Our relationship moved very quickly after this were we met each other’s parents and friends.
In 2018 we decided to quit our jobs and go traveling across the world. We worked our way through south America growing closer with every mile. We concluded our trip in the north of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka where I proposed to Stephanie on a beach as the sun set.
Rory’s suit was from Moss Bros. Rory hadn’t seen my dress but I had hinted heavily that it was 70s inspired. Rory gravitated towards the double breasted suit despite the initial moans from the parents that it was old fashioned! He looked great and the style went perfectly with my dress.
One of our favourite parts of the day was when we spontaneously decided to get a quick drink between venues without guests. We stumbled across Blinker Bar by chance and it was just the perfect place. After a toast at the bar, we retreated to a cosy corner with our cocktails and had some time together to relax and take in the day.
We have always loved Manchester and have a lot of memories going out in the city and seeing great art. We wanted to make sure that our wedding reflected those experiences. All of our suppliers were local.
Helen at The Monton Mouse has become a bit of a local celebrity she does the most amazing cheeseboards, platters and has now started to do buffets. She had catered for one of the local running club parties and everyone was blown away by the attention to detail and quality of the food.
I was so excited when Helen said she had availability for our wedding. She out-did herself the range of food on offer was amazing and the presentation was impeccable everyone didn’t stop talking about the buffet and kept going back well into the night.
Our evening catering was provided by Dough So Good Pizzeria. I think a pizza van was one of the things we both agreed on from the start. We LOVE pizza especially Neapolitan style and just like everyone else in Lockdown we bought ourselves a pizza oven and have been refining our recipe ever since.
When we decided on Seven Brothers they kindly recommended Rhyse at Dough so good as they regularly worked with him at the brewery. We trailed one of his pizzas at one of the events at the brewery and knew we needed him at the wedding. Reece and his team did an excellent job getting bespoke pre-ordered pizzas out to all our guests.
The original plan for the wedding was to keep things simple and keep the focus on our enjoyment of the day. We always wanted to make sure that the venues we selected reflected our personalities and love of Art. We used local suppliers with all of the food and made sure that if we could do anything ourselves we would. This had to be just what we wanted
Dough So Good also provided a marquee for guests who were waiting for their pizza.
We sent out our wedding invites using Papier and we loved that it automatically populated a spreadsheet with all of our guests responses it made it a lot easier when going back to caterers with orders and numbers and keeping track of the people who hadn’t responded.
Rorys mum, Melanie Jane Champion, designed and created our welcome boards with a bespoke drawing of the art gallery at the bottom and all useful times and dates for the day. She is a local artist who specialises in drawing buildings and portraits.
Evening & Dancing
We arranged our own music and created a Spotify playlist over the last 3 years. The guests loved being able to choose their own songs towards the end of the night which guaranteed dancing. We used Rory’s uncles sound system which he used to set up gigs with his friends. His background as a sound and lightening engineer for BBC and Granada had later developed into a house full of speakers and musical equipment. Barry passed away during Covid, so it was very special to us that we we’re able to have his sound system (his party set) on the day.
We love John Cooper Clark and (following on with the Manchester Salford connection) we especially like Arctic Monkeys reedition of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ – and used it for our first dance.
This song has always had significance to us and we have often danced in the lounge with this record on. On the day that we made our wedding rings, we went to see Arctic monkeys play this very song at Old Trafford Cricket ground.
Words of Wedded Wisdom
Your wedding is your day to shine as a couple so don’t be afraid to do your own thing, have the food you love, the music you want, the décor, grow your own flowers and make your decorations!
Your friends and family all want to help so include them in the preparations it just makes the day more special.
I visited Love My Dress when planning – I found the blog featured more unique weddings. Seeing other couples have such beautiful personalised weddings and not necessarily having the biggest budget gave me confidence to try different things. Our wedding budget was £5,000 and we ended up spending around £6,000. It was quite literally the best day of our lives.
The below suppliers and venues are featured in this article, but are not part of the Love My Dress Wedding Directory.