Should I Have a Winter Wedding? Why it’s the most wonderful time of the year…Some weddings are truly special. In December I was lucky enough to be chosen to photograph Amy and Matthew’s wedding in the stunning Ashfield House. The multi-award winning venue near Wigan was the perfect setting for what can only be described as a winter wonderland of a wedding!
With beautifully rustic homemade flower arrangements, hundreds of vintage brass candlesticks and candelabras, a stunning lilac, burgundy and gold colour scheme and even- to my utter delight- a delicious hot chocolate bar, Amy and Matthew succeeded in crafting a festive dream. If you’re thinking about having a winter wedding yourself, there are a lot of advantages. To begin with, a lot of venues will dress the property in Christmas/festive decorations so you’ll already have a nice head start with the decor (although it’s always worth checking with them first). It’s also a good season for celebration anyway so you can guarantee your guests will arrive in good spirits! And if that weren’t enough to tempt you, imagine the frosted ground crunching beneath your feet and a clear blue winter sky above you as you make your way to tie the knot with your soul mate.
We met back in 2010 in a club called Lux in our home town of Wigan. It was an indie and rock club and was just a place where everyone went on a Friday night. He came up to me and asked me if he could buy me a drink and the rest was history!
Theme for your wedding day?
Christmas has always been one of my favourite times of year so I thought, why not do a Christmas themed wedding? We didn’t want it to look over the top and gimmicky so incorporated Christmas into some of the decorations and created a festive hot chocolate bar. Overall we just wanted something quite classic and timeless.
The colour scheme changed so many times throughout the wedding planning process! I originally wanted grey for the bridesmaid dresses but when the dresses arrived they were more like a lilac so that ended up being a main colour as well as burgundy, blush and elements of gold.
The dress- which bridal shop and designer? how many dresses did you try on until you found ‘the one’?
I originally bought a Lazaro dress, which was fishtail and featured lots of beading and feathers on the train. I ended up changing my mind quite close to the wedding because it didn’t feel bridal enough for me so I had to try and find another dress last minute. Luckily the amazing ladies at London Bride had some samples in my size and I picked out a fish tail dress from Mori Lee. I tried about 8 dresses on in a range of shapes but finally decided that a fitted dress was more for me.
Hair and makeup?
My makeup was done by Natalie Carr and my hair was done by my bridesmaid Lorraine. The bridesmaids hair was done by Claire Wilcox (hair by Claire) and Ruby catteral (ruby fleur hair) who are also both friends of ours so the morning was so chilled and relaxed chatting and catching up with everyone.
The flowers- how did you decide?
I decided to do the flowers myself with the help of my bridesmaids and my mum. I tried to keep to the colour scheme as much as I could but in the end just had to pick up what was available at the wholesale floral market. We headed to the market at 3am in the morning, two days before the wedding to pick up the flowers so they were the freshest possible. I think I over bought but I was worried I wouldn’t have enough. We then took them back to my office and prepped them into buckets full of water to keep them alive, as we were only doing the arrangements the day before the wedding. I was quite confident doing all the arrangements because I’d watched hours of YouTube tutorials and had loads of helpers.
The whole process was actually really fun to do and although I should have been relaxing more before the big day, it saved us an awful lot of money!
The cake- inspiration for design and which flavours did you go for?
I knew I wanted something a little different and I’ve been obsessed with concrete cakes for ages. I ended up going for a concrete grey cake with gold leaf detail and real red and lilac roses to decorate. We had one tier which was red velvet and one tier which was double chocolates. To compliment the cake we had 80 cupcakes which were red velvet, chocolate and lemon.
The finer details– table themes, how did you make your wedding unique to you?
I knew doing the flowers myself I would never be able to have anything super big or extravagant because it would be too difficult to do. Instead I went for smaller more rustic arrangements in glass vases and flowers within giant cloche terrariums. We also had about a hundred vintage brass candle sticks, candelabras and gold tea light holders which all created a really warm ambiance throughout the venue. For the name place cards we went for burgundy with gold calligraphy and these were done by pretty please weddings who also did our welcome signs and table plan. Luckily our venue Ashfield is already decorated beautifully throughout so anything we added just enhanced what was already there.
Bridesmaids dresses- by?
The bridesmaid dresses were by TFNC and purchased as ASOS. As we had 7 bridesmaids, all different heights and sizes we ended up having them different styles of dress but all were exactly the same colour. The dresses are all made in a lilac grey chiffon with pearl detail and this matched my pearl jewellery I wore on the day. I also got all my bridesmaids an Akoya pearl bracelet as a keepsake. Pearls are quite traditional for Chinese weddings so it’s something I wanted to include. My pearl set was a gift from my dad which I designed.
The venue- how did you decide?
I wanted to have a venue that was close to family and friends. We live in London and it’s not the cheapest place to travel to and get accommodation. I’ve known about Ashfield House (in Wigan) for years and never thought about having our wedding there until we went to one of their open days and absolutely fell in love. It was even more perfect that we could have the ceremony and reception there too. The team at Ashfield are amazing and were so helpful right from the start. I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Entertainment- how did you decide?
For entertainment we wanted something that represented us as a couple. We both really like jazz and searched for jazz bands for weeks. We eventually came across the band Wandering Soul and watched all their videos. We booked them straight away. On the day we loved how they interacted with guests and it created a really lovely atmosphere. I also booked a magician last minute because I was in panic mode that we needed something else for our wedding. We probably didn’t but I don’t regret booking Alex the magician as he was fabulous and surprised so many of our guests.
First dance song?
We didn’t do a first dance as a couple because it’s not really us. Instead for the first dance I got all the bridesmaids up and we danced to ‘I’m every women’ by Whitney Houston.
Favourite part of the day?
My favourite part of the day was the actual ceremony as I didn’t realise we would both be so emotional. It was a really surreal experience and so special at the same time.
Words of wedded wisdom to other brides and grooms for their day
Do exactly what YOU want to do on your wedding and not what people think you. should do. This especially applies to doing your guestlist! Also if you plan to do any of the decorations and flowers yourself then just prepare to be super tired on the day of your wedding! Get loads of help and plan it all in advance so you can make sure you get everything you want and in time! Lastly just enjoy it together and stop worrying if everyone’s having a good time. They probably are!