Our Wedding: All the Details

For the last 6 months we’ve been planning our wedding, and then finally, on 8th April the day actually arrived! I have the most amazing memories of our wedding day – everything from not sleeping the night before and shaking with nerves before walking down the aisle, to the beautiful ceremony itself and then spending the day with my favourite people. It was genuinely the best day of my life and although I was careful not to post anything about wedding planning on here before the event, it’s now time to share all the details!

Bridal beauty

Wedding day Eaves Hall

Wedding Eaves Hall

Venue:

When we first started looking for our wedding venue I thought we’d find it in Manchester, where there are so many to choose from. But as we searched it became clear that we weren’t going to find what we wanted. Then after speaking to a colleague we decided to view Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and oh my goodness, it was just perfect for us! It was further afield than we’d planned, but otherwise it ticked every single box! It’s a stunning venue, with beautiful rooms and gorgeous grounds for photographs. We loved the idea of an exclusive use venue and this one had so many spaces for people to chill and chat. Also the price was within our budget thanks to a late availability deal. Of course, this gave us just 6 months to plan the whole thing, but it was worth it!

Invites:

I wanted something pretty yet simple and in the end our invites were a DIY project, designed and printed by us, and featuring calligraphy by me. Creating our own invites was just one of the ways that we made sure our wedding didn’t cost the earth! Take a look at my previous post to read all about our DIY wedding calligraphy.

DIY calligraphy wedding invitation

(This image was taken by me, not our photographer)

What we wore:

I was so worried about finding a dress that I loved just 6 months before the wedding date, so my first port of call was off-the-peg bridal retailer Wed2b, and what do you know – I found “the one” on my first visit! I can’t explain my joy at finding this beautiful tulle and lace dress (at a decent price), and then being able to take it home with me that same day!

Choosing a bridesmaid dress was also quite easy because I had just one bridesmaid, giving us a lot of flexibility to choose the perfect dress for her. I was determined that the dress would be found on the high street, and so ordered about 20 for her to try on in various shades of pale green and blush pink. The one we settled on was a pale green Jenny Packham dress from Debenhams because the fit and colour were just lovely. As a bonus, it was on sale, and just so happens it was the last one in stock!

Wedding dress still life shot

Tulle wedding dress

Lace back wedding dress

Bride and bridesmaid dresses

Hair and makeup:

Oh our hair! I can’t even explain how much I loved our gorgeous boho braided styles. I had a Pinterest board dedicated to wedding hair (of course) and it was full of all sorts of flowery braids, and I’m so impressed at how our ideas were brought to life. I would highly recommend our hair and makeup team Ashley (hair) and Kate (makeup).

Wedding braid

Bridesmaid halo braid

(These hair images were taken by Ashley, not our photographer)

Flowers and decorations:

This leads nicely onto our beautiful flowers by Victoria at Lancashire Floristry who captured my “ivory and blush pink with plenty of greenery” vision perfectly!

Beautiful bridal bouquet

Leafy wedding bouquet

Jam jar wedding tables

Wedding portrait shoot

Wedding bicycle with flower baskets

She also provided the flower arrangements for this pretty wedding bike, which ended up being quite the feature! The bike itself was provided by my dad who restores vintage bikes. Isn’t it cute?!

We chose our venue partly because it is so beautiful that it doesn’t need dressing up in any way. This saved us a lot of budget and stress, but we did decide have a couple of feature “décor” pieces in the end. As well as the vintage flower bike we also had these large light-up LOVE letters that are so popular at weddings right now. They are pretty cool, and Craig was very keen to have them, so we did!

LOVE lights

Music:

Music is a big decision for weddings as it’s so personal and you have to get it right for both of you.

I chose to walk down the aisle to Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker, which was lovely for a small, intimate wedding ceremony room. It’s from my favourite ballet and is such a romantic piece!

During the ceremony we also had two further pieces of music. My friend sang for us, which was lovely! She sang Promise, the Closing Music from Epcot, because the lyrics are perfect for a wedding (and it was also a subtle nod to my love of Disney!) And we also had You Belong To Me sung by Jason Wade. Finally walked out to You’re So Cool, the instrumental music from the end of True Romance, which I love because it sounds cute and joyful.

Following the ceremony and throughout the breakfast we had a lovely pianist playing, because Eaves Hall has an amazing grand piano that would have been a shame to waste! And in case you’re wondering about the first dance, we finally settled on Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Andy Williams.

Wedding Cake:

And our cake, which we’d decided to have very simple in design, had a different flavour for each tier. Chocolate and salted caramel for the largest tier, lemon for the middle tier, and a top tier of carrot cake – all of which tasted delicious.

Simple wedding cake

Wedding Photographer:

The photos used in this post were taken by Claire Fromm of The Fromm Shoppe. She was so amazing and we couldn’t be happier with our gorgeous photos from our day!

Confetti shot

Eaves Hall swing

Eaves Hall grounds

Eaves Hall grounds wedding

Eaves Hall at dusk

Kahlua Brunch Club

Isn’t brunch just the best?! Eating breakfast food at an hour when it’s reasonable to drink alcohol – what could be better than that? Well something fun has being happening in Manchester – a pop up brunch club hosted by Kahlua! Kahlua is the Mexican rum and coffee liqueur that forms the basis of the Espresso Martini – the classic brunch cocktail, and the Kahlua Brunch Club was running over several weekends this spring.

Kahlua Brunch Club

Kahlua Brunch Club Manchester

Kahlua Brunch Club Manchester The Loft

That’s the reason I started my very sunny Bank Holiday Sunday at The Loft in Manchester. This cool industrial-looking event space was a nice social venue for a weekend brunch, and it was all decked out in tropical plants, flowers and Kahlua colours. When we arrived there was an opportunity to relax with a coffee and play games such as table football and darts before we were seated.

Kahlua brunch club menu

The brunch itself was a set Kahlua-inspired menu including 2 Kahlua-based cocktails:

Espresso Martini: Kahlua, Espresso, Vodka & Sugar Syrup

We started with a classic Espresso Martini, which we prepared ourselves with instructions from our hosts.  Apparently the key to any cocktail is all in the shaking, but particularly for this one to get that foamy layer appearing on top. We of course also added the iconic garnish of 3 coffee beans. I’d never actually tried this cocktail before, and surprisingly really enjoyed it!

Cocktail making

Espresso Martini

Eggcellent Kahlua Stack: Smashed Avocado, Poached Egg and Kahlua & Maple-infused Bacon on an English Muffin.

Is it even brunch without avocado and egg?! Not for me – I loved this dish, particularly with the addition of the Kahlua bacon.

Kahlua Bacon and Eggs

Kahlua Rainbow Pancakes

My brunches don’t often come with a dessert course, but I would never complain about such a think! I really enjoyed the cute pancake stack which came covered with warm Kahlua chocolate sauce, and especially being able to add a choice of toppings (I added them all – chocolate drops, strawberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows!)

Kahlua pancakes

Pancake toppings

Chokahlua Orange: Kahlua, Tequila, Crème de Cacao, Orange & Chocolate Powder

And of course, finishing up with a final cocktail!

Kahlua cocktail

Considering that coffee is not usually my favourite flavour I really enjoyed all the elements of this brunch, even the espresso martini! With 2 cocktails included, I found that the Brunch Club was a really great way to start off a day of social drinking (which is the best way to spend a sunny bank holiday weekend in my opinion!) Unfortunately, I attended the last of the Brunch Clubs, so if you didn’t go along then you’ve missed your chance. But I thought it was an excellent idea and I’d love to see more of this sort of thing popping up in Manchester!

DIY Wedding Calligraphy

I developed an interest in calligraphy since I attended a Brush Calligraphy workshop a few years ago, and have been creating various calligraphy projects ever since. When it came to our wedding stationery I knew I’d want to incorporate beautiful lettering, and once I realised how expensive it could be to have invites printed with metallic text I knew it would have to be a DIY project! Obviously I had to put in a lot of practice to make sure my finished items were actually wedding worthy, but I’m really happy with how everything looked. And now that our big day is in the past I thought I’d share our wedding calligraphy with you for inspiration, as well as all of my recommended materials and helpful sources.

DIY wedding invitation calligraphy

DIY Wedding Calligraphy Invitations

We designed our wedding invitations ourselves using Photoshop and some pretty floral illustrations that we purchased from Etsy, and actually also printed them ourselves on good quality linen-textured card. The only part that didn’t get printed were our two names in calligraphy which I added onto each invite later in rose-gold metallic ink.

When it came to selecting the calligraphy style, we settled on one from my favourite calligraphy blog, The Postman’s Knock. I thought it was a pretty and elegant style, but still readable which is important for an invite! It’s called Janet and you can download a free worksheet here.

DIY calligraphy wedding invitation

DIY Mirror Table Plan

Ornate mirror table plans are rather popular right now, and no wonder because they look so striking. I DIY-ed the whole of ours using a mirror I was able to buy for just £15 from The Range. I attempted to recreate our names from the wedding invites in faux calligraphy using a white glass pen (which didn’t turn out perfectly, but I’m still happy with), and then continued with the rose gold calligraphy for our table name headers.

DIY mirror table plan

DIY Calligraphy Table Names and Settings

We then continued the rose gold calligraphy through to the tables, with a simple design of handwritten table names on linen-textured card, and cute handwritten personal place settings. I made the executive decision to simplify the lettering style slightly for the place settings because the font was just too fancy for the smaller size!

Simple calligraphy wedding table names

DIY calligraphy wedding table names

Calligraphy place setting

The materials I used

  • Wooden Oblique Penholder and Nikko G Nib. This is apparently a great nib for beginners.
  • Finetec Bronze Ink Refill.
  • White Linen Cardstock. Using a textured card did hinder my calligraphy a little, but I adapted to it and it worked out fine in the end.
  • SAVFY Super Thin A4 Light LED Box. This was simply to allow me to follow ruled guidelines without drawing them on every invitation. It isn’t an essential piece of kit but it saved so much time and energy! I printed out ruled guidelines from The Postman’s Knock.
  • Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker, Medium Point, White. This was for writing on the mirror.
  • I also used a paper trimmer to ensure everything had neat edges, and masking tape for creating guidelines on the mirror.

Great resources for your DIY calligraphy projects

  • The Postman’s Knock is my number one online resource when it comes to calligraphy. It is full of helpful posts, printable guides, practise worksheets and general advice. Plus, this was where I found the calligraphy style that we went with.
  • I also definitely benefitted from a beginners calligraphy workshop that I did with Artsynibs a few years ago and would recommend something like this if you are serious about starting up calligraphy.

I hope this post inspires some of you to try some calligraphy projects, and if so, that you find some of this information helpful. I’m so happy with how our DIY pieces turned out and love that we had something handcrafted by me personally as part of our big day.

My Very Chilled Hen Weekend

Not being one for typical hen celebrations, we’d decided that my hen weekend should be a quite low-key and relaxing with a small group of some of my favourite people, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. I had the most amazing and memorable hen weekend with good friends and plenty of fun and fizz, and here are some of the details:

Fairytale cupcake

Venue and Location

We chose the town of Matlock purely because we wanted somewhere within 2 hours drive of Manchester, and then we found our ideal house there. We could have ended up anywhere really, but Matlock Holiday House turned out to be the perfect place to stay. Matlock is also a great base for visits to the Peak District, if you get the time (we didn’t!)

The house itself was a lovely old town house, expensively furnished and decorated with space to sleep 13, a games room and sauna, an amazing covered hot tub in the garden and a huge kitchen which would be perfect for our planned activities. It was also situated right in the middle of pretty Matlock and within walking distance of shops, cafes and bars.

Activity 1: Hot Tub and Takeaway

One of our main venue requirements was a hot tub, and it turned out to be the best decision! What does a bride need a month before her wedding more than relaxation in a hot tub with friends and a glass (or several) of prosecco? This was the perfect addition to the weekend, and one we made full use of. In fact, because we enjoyed it so much, we ended up scrapping one of our Saturday afternoon activities in favour of more hot tubbing! (Worth it). And as always on the first night of “moving in” somewhere, we ordered takeaway.

Activity 2: Escape Room

We’re an Escape Room type of group, and we added this into our Saturday morning schedule at the last minute when we found out Deception Escape Rooms was right around the corner from the house. I’ve written a separate review of the escape room here.

Escape room success

Activity 3: Fairytale Themed “Crafternoon Tea”

I like crafting and I like afternoon tea, so we combined them into one lovely “crafternoon tea”. It was fairytale themed to tie in with the evening’s big event, with cute storybook cupcakes provided by Little Joy Emporium, and a fairytale photo booth prop making session, which I’ve written about here.

Fairytale themed afternoon tea

Flower cupcake

Crafternoon tea

Activity 4: Games and Pampering

We actually spent a lot of the weekend playing games, and this was the general vibe of the weekend! And of course we found plenty of time to pamper ourselves with facemasks and drink prosecco in the hot tub.

Activty 5: Murder Mystery Dinner

And finally, the weekend’s main event was a fairytale themed murder mystery, with various storybook characters coming together to discuss murders, disappearances and poor book sales(!) in Fairytaleland. My and my sister had decided on a murder mystery night rather than dining out, and then found a range of great themed print-at-home game at printablemysterygames.com. Being a huge Disney fan we decided to go with the fairytale theme, and I was Little Red Riding Hood, in a costume almost entirely made of items I surprisingly already owned!

Fairytale murder mystery

Fairytale dinner party

Chocolate Mousse

Dinner was provided by our amazing chef from Dine Indulge, who cooked us a 3 course meal of French Onion Soup, Coq au Vin with Smokey Bacon Mash, and Chocolate Mousse, all from the kitchen in our house! It felt like real luxury to have a 3 course dinner cooked for us at home, and not dining out also meant that we could go to town on our character costumes! If you have budget available for something like this, I’d definitely recommend hiring a chef to cook for your dinner party!

(Not Forgetting Activity 0: The Treasure Trail that we never got around to doing)

Sometimes you plan to do too much in a weekend, and so it was that the Matlock Treasure Trail that we’d printed out never got played. It’s a shame as the town looked lovely and it would have been nice to explore more. Even so, I’m including it in my post as I’m a big fan of Treasure Trails and I genuinely enjoy them.

 

Review: Deception Escape Rooms, Matlock

For my hen weekend a group of us stayed in a lovely holiday house in Matlock, Derbyshire. If you don’t know much about Matlock (we didn’t) it’s a lovely town on the edge of the Peak District with plenty of coffee shops, wine bars, parks, walking routes and cute shops. It’s also driving distance from Bakewell, Buxton and other pretty Peak District towns.

Anyway, one of our (almost) impromptu activities (we only booked it a few days earlier) was Deception Escape Rooms. I love doing an escape room and have now done about 10 in total with various brands. So when I found out that Matlock’s first escape rooms were literally round the corner from the house, I definitely wanted to fit it into our plans!

Deception Escape Rooms - Trapped

The room we did was “Trapped”, which is set in Victorian England in the office of Dr Papet who has returned from war and is conducting creepy scientific experiments in private. The aim is to break into his office and discover the secrets behind some strange goings on and mysterious disappearances.

I thought this was easily one of the best escape rooms I’ve done. A lot of thought had gone into creating a very immersive experience, and the level of detail that has gone into creating the room is brilliant. It’s not just about the inside of the room either – before you even go through the front door of Dr Papet’s office you are stood on a spooky replica Victorian street!

The puzzles themselves were very elaborate and some were very unusual – quite different to anything I’ve seen in other escape rooms. Although I don’t want to reveal any spoilers about what happens, I’ll just say that it was very atmospheric and quite scary at times but that just added to the fun! Although it was quite a tough room we were successful in getting out in time, and my escape rate is still looking pretty good as there’s only one I’ve ever failed!

Escape room success

I’d highly recommending Deception Escape Rooms and I actually wish I lived a little closer so that I could go and try one of their others!

And while you’re here, why not check out some of my other escape room reviews:

Escape from the creepiest motel at Breakout Manchester

BREAKOUT Manchester: the Sabotage room

 

How to Make Fairytale Photo Booth Props

As part of my fairytale-themed hen weekend I wanted to do something a little crafty, and after a lot of deliberation*  I finally settled on photo booth props as it was a craft session we could do ourselves without guidance or instruction, and we could buy all our own materials from places like Wilkos and The Works.

*We had males in the group so I wanted to avoid making female-centric accessories like flower crowns. And I also quite liked the idea of making something that could be used at the hen weekend or wedding.

Disney photo booth props

Here’s how you can make your own fairytale photo booth props:

What you’ll need

  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils
  • A selection of coloured card, including metallic and glitter finishes
  • Scissors
  • Paper glue
  • Embellishments (such as sequins, self-adhesive gems, glitter glue)
  • Adhesive foam pads (optional)
  • Long cake pop sticks
  • Tape and PVA
  • Lots of templates printed out on a standard printer (more details below)

Templates

Although there was a general fairytale theme to our props, quite a few of them were specifically Disney (because I love Disney)! I’ve included a few of the templates we used below for you to download.

I also found some great Disney princess dress templates online. Visit Hot Hands Bakery to download them from their site.

Finding more templates to use

I found all of my templates online by searching for simple line drawings of the items I wanted. Line drawings are easiest to trace! Check out my Pinterest board for more template ideas. Quotes in frames are also a great idea.

How to make your props

  1. Use tracing paper to draw around your chosen template designs and transfer them onto your chosen pieces of card. Start off by tracing the outline of the overall design, which will be the basis of your pop. Then trace around each extra shape individually, as they will all be separate pieces. (If it’s been a long time, here’s a simple guide to transferring images using tracing paper).
  2. Cut out your shapes and assemble your prop using glue or double sided tape. Create 3D levels by raising up some of your pieces using adhesive foam pads.
  3. Add embellishments!
  4. Let all your glue dry properly. Then use PVA and/or tape to fix the long sticks to the backs of the props. Let them dry.
  5. Display in jars in your photo booth and enjoy!

DIY photo booth props

DIY photo booth props 2

DIY photo booth props 3

Photo booth villain

As you can see, we used some of our props for our fairytale murder mystery that very weekend, and then they also made an appearance at our wedding as part of our DIY photo booth area!

Grand Pacific High Tea

I am famously a big fan of afternoon tea, and after many years of trying out various afternoon teas across the North West, I’ve started to look out for the most unusual ones to try. That’s why the High Tea at Grand Pacific had been on my “to do” list for quite some time, and this month I finally got to experience it in all its glory with my mum and sister. It was an early mother’s day treat and we were not disappointed!

High Tea Grand Pacific

First of all, I have to mention the venue itself as it is just a stunning place. It’s a Grade II listed building, formerly the Reform Club, so as you’d expect it has some gorgeous architectural features. And the colonial themed decor really adds a feel of exotic luxury – it’s the perfect setting for a romantic meal or luxurious afternoon tea!

Grand Pacific Manchester

The High Tea itself is served in 2 courses, unlike the traditional afternoon tea where you’ll receive both savoury and sweet treats on one cake stand. I really liked this for the simple reason that I could really enjoy the savouries without being distracted by cake! Alongside this we had tea and a glass of prosecco.

High Tea Grand Pacific, savouries

High tea savouries 1

High tea savouries 2

The savouries (pictured above):

  • Smoked salmon potato cake
  • Salmon and tuna lomi
  • Classic sandwiches
  • Goats cheese arancini
  • Crumpet with crab butter
  • Eccles cake with cheese

High tea sweet course

High tea sweet treats

High tea sweet treats 1

High tea sweet treats 2

High Tea Sweet treats 3

And then came the sweet treats (pictured above):

  • Lemon tart
  • Passion fruit brulee
  • Jasmine tea bread
  • Sherry trifle
  • Sesame brittle
  • Lamington lollipop
  • Chocolate truffle
  • Pavlova

I think this has to be one of my favourite afternoon teas so far! Even though there were so many items to enjoy, I didn’t find myself as hugely full as I would do with traditional sandwiches and scones. Everything was the perfect size, which meant I could enjoy the whole thing. All the food was very original and felt a little more special than a traditional afternoon tea, with exotic flavours as you’d expect on a Grand Pacific menu. Even though I can honestly say I enjoyed everything, the standout items were the savouries, which is surprising as I’m usually such a sweet tooth! I didn’t find myself missing a scone or a slice of cream cake either, and very much enjoyed the mix of exotic flavours in the desserts.

So overall it’s a glowing review for me for the Grand Pacific High Tea. At £25 per person (including a glass of prosecco) it’s in a similar price range to many of the other afternoon teas in Manchester, and it’s more than worth it for something a bit unusual.

High Tea Manchester

Have you tried this High Tea, and are you a fan of more traditional or slightly quirkier afternoon teas?