Just squeezing a wedding into 2020 by a whisker, Clare and her now-husband Jack decided to marry in between lockdowns, and they’ve certainly managed a lovely day! From the restored and amazing venue to the impressive floral arrangements and four tier cake, this certainly doesn’t seem like anything but the perfect day. As Clare herself says, “Don’t be afraid to opt for a small wedding… all of our special guests said it was the best wedding they have ever been to.”
We’re also totally swooning over the contemporary cool of the chic Jessica Bennett dress and Clare looks beautiful, serene and elegant in it, especially paired with a classic navy for the suits, accented by brighter colours in the flowers decorating the venue.
Over to you for all the gorgeous details, Claire!
Clare says: We had been visiting the restaurants that were featured on The Trip (a TV show with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydan) and our last restaurant was the Yorke Arms, near Harrogate. Jack took me there for my 29th birthday and the next day we went for a walk around Brimham rocks. We climbed up one of the rock formations and when we sat down to take in the views, he very nervously asked me to marry him. Obviously I said yes!
Initially we chose Friday 28th August to make it one long party bank holiday weekend. There were supposed to be lots of friends and family coming over from other countries. Sadly, Manchester was kept in a tighter lockdown with local restrictions and the original wedding venue was not open so the date was moved to 21st November, by which time, once again, the country was in a national lockdown with no weddings allowed. We delayed it one more month to Saturday 19th December to ensure we got married in 2020 and to ensure our grandparents were able to be present.
We had our wedding ceremony at St John’s RC Church, Chorlton. The priest is a family friend and we wanted our families to enjoy the day as much as we would.
In the end, our wedding reception was held at The Holford Estate near Plumbly. Our amazing photographer, Kate McCarthy, had recommended it to us as she knew we were so keen to get married. As soon as we went to visit and spoke to Frances and Hannah, we felt reassured they would make the day as beautiful, special and stress free as possible.
I didn’t want things overly fussy or to go with a trend that would date. I felt simplicity and elegance was key.
Colourwise, the ushers, groom and bridesmaid were all in navy. Jack and I love the colour and think it’s always elegant and timeless. For the flowers, to make things a little brighter we had whites, pinks, purples and LOTS of foliage to make everything smell beautiful.
I am very tall and when trying on a few dresses I found that any that had a lot of detail were too much on me. As soon as I saw Jessica Bennett’s work I knew I wanted to wear one of her stunning, bespoke dresses. She is based in Liverpool and could not have been more helpful, kind, organised and professional.
Through all the stress of moving my wedding around, my dress was the one part I always looked forward to and I cannot thank her enough for making the dress of my dreams.
Jack and the groomsmen wore bespoke suits from Doherty, Evans and Stott in Manchester. Again, the men who run the shop had a keen eye for modern yet elegant tailoring and accommodated the party to get measured up. I know all the groomsmen loved their suits on the day and are looking forward to wearing them again.
I had ordered lots of dresses from various online websites. The range online now is unbelievable, catering for tall, petite, curvy and maternity sizes. In the end my bridesmaid chose her favourite, which was from Jarlo London.
My hair and makeup artist, Lisa Simms, was wonderful. We had not been able to book a trial due to Covid restrictions but she knew what looks we wanted to go for. I didn’t feel completely caked in makeup and still looked like myself which was important to me. She is so skilled and not only made me feel special but included my Mum and bridesmaid too. She didn’t rush any aspect of her work and did a tremendous job.
Broadoaks Cars provided me with a beautiful Rolls Royce to take me to the church with my Dad, and then onto the reception with Jack. Again they were hit hard by Covid and cancellations but were so helpful and considerate throughout. The drivers on the day were wonderful and couldn’t do enough to help.
Our photographer was the amazing Kate McCarthy. She is a close friend of my hairdressers and I had seen her work on instagram and loved how she captured the couples making all the moments look fun and not posed in any way that seemed false or tense. She just seemed to capture the most wonderful and special moments. We felt you couldn’t help but smile when looking at her incredible work.
On the day, Kate was organised, she kept time kept for us but never took us away from our special day and guests. To quote Jack’s Dad, “you wouldn’t recommend her; you’d demand people have her. She is worth her weight in gold.”
Originally we felt a videographer might not be our style as so many seemed flashy and a bit much for us. With the changes in circumstances and having to drastically reduce our numbers, family members were asking to be sent a video. We felt instead of people filming us on little phone cameras. we should do it properly. Kate then recommended UNVEILED Network Member Amy Louise Photography and once again she came up trumps with an incredible suggestion. Amy was fantastic, capturing our day tastefully and sensitively to the point where we didn’t feel we were being watched. That meant she captured some beautiful moments for us and for that we are so grateful.
I LOVE flowers! My first job as a teenager was in a florist. From then on I have always adored flowers. We got our incredible bouquet flowers from Kai and Adi at Vedure flowers. They were stunning! Not only did they last, they smelt beautiful and truly made our photos so special. Their team worked so hard and did an amazing job. They were completely flawless.
Vedure did all the venue styling flowers too. They did a floral arch at the church and at The Holford Estate. Everyone was in awe of them.
We gave everyone a lottery ticket in the hope it might bring luck to someone and chose Lily O’Brien chocolates for everyone to have. Unfortunately there were no lottery winners!
My cake was made and designed by Fancy Cakes by Rachel. Once again, despite all our date changes, she was so helpful, accommodating and understanding. Everyone adored the cake and we even made party bags for people who couldn’t attend and dropped them off.
To make the most of the day, we chose a taster menu consisting of seven courses. It made it a little different and special for our nearest and dearest. We had plenty of pink Champagne to celebrate the occasion and to have something nice to celebrate, with it being a year no one will forget.
We had Matt and Donal who are Duo. They sing some brilliant songs and we have often watched them perform locally in Didsbury. Their music suited everyone at the wedding and my nana had a ball clapping along to their tunes.
I got wedding photographs of our parents and grandparents framed and placed around the room. This was partially to remember the grandparents who couldn’t be there but also to show the special days our families have had and the merging of two families.
Definitely our venue. Any concerns I had were reassured with proof and facts. Hannah was amazing and liaised with all the suppliers to make the day run as smoothly as possible.
I did in fact recommend The Holford Estate to a colleague at work who had her reception there two days after ours and she said how incredible it was too.
Having our family watch us exchange our vows at St John’s Church was extremely special to us. There were lots of tears from the pews. We loved every moment of the ceremony.
We were very fortunate to jet off to the Maldives two days after the wedding. We weren’t going to go away but felt a week before we should see where we could go. We had our PCR tests and flew off to have the most wonderful week away and had our first Christmas truly together with beautiful weather and crystal clear water.
We were supposed to have a big wedding and in the end having a small wedding (which admittedly was forced upon us) made everything so beautiful and special. Don’t be afraid to opt for a small wedding with your nearest and dearest as all of our special guests said it was the best wedding they have ever been to.
Savour the day as it’s gone before you know it! We wish we could have the day again… without Covid, although it certainly made a talking point and was all the more special.
The Brides Up North real weddings set close to where we are from were the most helpful for me to look at suppliers. The inspiration features are an excellent way to see what styles you like and what suits you as a couple.
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