How we met... We met at university in Sheffield, we were both placed in the same halls of residence on the same floor. I think it’s fair to say we didn’t have love at first sight but as the first year went on we became good friends. We moved into a 10 bedroom house together in the student central of Ecclesall road in 2010 and that’s when our relationship began.
The proposal... The proposal was like something out of a film - we were on holiday in Australia in December 2016, I had seen friends that had visited Whitehaven beach and knew that was somewhere I had to go, being a total beach and water baby! Callum organised a surprise private helicopter ride over the Whitsunday islands which landed on the empty white haven beach at 9.30 in the morning. We had a Champagne breakfast picnic and then Callum got down on one knee in the ocean to ask me to marry him! The most beautifully romantic proposal that I will be eternally grateful for!
Our vision for the day... We wanted a really relaxed atmosphere for friends and family to enjoy the day, with plenty of food and drink! We didn’t have a theme as such but as the planning went on it became more of a rustic, foliage and candle lit theme, which Dodmoor is totally perfect for!
What we wore...
The DRESS – So I had found a designer that I loved on Pinterest over a year before I started looking for dresses (Stella York), and I found that the bridal boutique Gowns and Garter in Thrapston 10 minutes from where we live that stocks that designer!! (what were the odds!). I booked my first appointment when they were doing a Stella York designer day with her new collection. I knew I would find my dress that day so I had taken my mum and my Auntie the day before dress shopping at wed2be in Hinkley, just so I could try on lots of dresses and styles!
At Gowns and Garters I pulled out over 15 dresses, all beautiful and a couple of different designers, but there was one that stood out immediately to my bridesmaids. I tried this one on second and got an overwhelming feeling of excitement. It had everything; a detailed back, lace around the bottom and the most beautiful long train with delicate straps, fit and flare style and SPARKLE! Everyone that knows me knows I love a bit of sparkle! I was pretty sure this was the one but I carried on trying all the dresses because well, you only get married once and I totally wanted to enjoy the experience of dressing up as a princess in all these fabulous gowns! The gown that I had seen on pinterest over a year before was a close second. My designer was Essense of Australia gown D2208. I would say to anyone that loves lace detail this designer is an absolute must to try on as her photos online do not do them justice, you have to see them in real life!
The groom and groomsmen - Now you would think it would be the bride that was fussy with finding her dress but no, Callum went to six different hiring shops all around the Northamptonshire/Leicestershire/Cambridgeshire area for suits and hated them all! As someone that worked in Hugo Boss for a number of years as a student, he knows a good suit when he sees one. Not having a budget of thousands of pounds to get a tailored suit he found a great suit hire shop in Manchester, (Whitfieldandward.co.uk) which as soon as he walked in and saw the quality of the suits he felt relieved. He went for a three piece navy suit with a checked waistcoat, and groomsmen matching with plain waistcoats and checked ties. They all looked very dapper! Luckily Callum's family live up in Manchester so not such a random place to go!
The bridesmaids and flower girls - I must have ordered over 20 bridesmaid dresses online and just couldn’t find what I was looking for. I am very lucky to have a friend that was just starting up her own bridal wear business and had made some beautiful bridesmaid dresses for her own sister’s wedding. Katie Dodd the designer and owner of Katie Dell bridal design in Kibworth put together the beautiful skirt and lace top combo for my bridesmaids, completely bespoke made to measure with alterations all in. Flower girls wore matching Monsoon dresses.
A special mention to my bridesmaid Kate Rouse who also does the most beautiful wedding hair @weddinghairbykate and managed to do my hair, herself and my two other bridesmaids, and they all looked incredible!
For the canapes from Portfolio Events during the drinks reception, we had Thai fishcakes with sweet chilli sauce, pork balls in soy sauce, goats cheese and caramelised onion tartlets and chicken skewers with avocado dip… delicious and served so lovely on little white spoons!
The main event - because we both love sharing food and we will always have half of each others meal when we go out for dinner, we wanted a relaxed sharing type feast for our guests. We went to Portfolio Events after talking to them at a Dodmoor open evening. We discussed our ideas of a tapas type main course which we really weren’t sure they would be able to do, but they ensured us they could pretty much do anything, and that they did!
Starter – antipasti, breads, olives and dips, on big wooden sharing boards which looked amazing.
Main - chicken and chorizo paella, meatballs in tomato sauce, halloumi, chorizo and roasted veg skewers, Greek style salad, griddled green beans and asparagus with parmesan shavings.
Pudding – chocolate fondant with honeycomb ice cream, which was an absolute dream and possibly the best pudding we’ve ever eaten!
Evening food - We used the Dodmoor burger bar and sweet cart which our guests loved. Knowing how good they were from the number of opening evenings we attended, it was a no brainer!
Our favourite part of the day... We both agree it was the ceremony, the whole reason everyone was there to see us get married. For Callum it was waiting for me to walk down the aisle. For me it was probably walking down the aisle and seeing Callum's face, and managing to hold it together and not cry, which was nothing short of a miracle! But also standing at the end of the isle holding Callum's hand, and all my nerves fading away and smiling from ear to ear.
The ideas that we felt really worked on the day... Myself and my bridesmaids getting to the Dodford Room as early as we could - we had stayed at the Mercure hotel the night before and our aim was to get hair and make up finished by 11am and then to get to the venue for 11.30am. That was such a special time to relax with my bridesmaids and my mum and have a glass of Champagne, and it also meant we managed to get lots of beautiful pictures. I got into my dress about 12.30pm, an hour before the ceremony and the hour went so quickly but there was no mad rush, it was so lovely and calm.
Also, the homemade limoncello shots that were given out to guests just before pudding, and our timeline of photographs in the bar which got lots of guests talking, and a lot didn’t realise we had been together so long!
Entertainment... We had Darren Jones play an acoustic set during the drinks reception - this was wonderful and set such a lovely atmosphere. His band the 45's joined him for the evening, who played our first dance, 2 x 1 hour sets with DJ music between, and provided all lighting.
We had a photobooth on the mezzanine for the evening which is always great fun and fabulous to have the memories in the guest book with a copy of every photo.
Where we feel our budget was well spent...
The venue – taking into account the venue itself with the grounds, lawn, the staff, our incredible wedding coordinator Jeni, all the decorations included and the free corkage throughout the day, and not to mention the beautiful honeymoon suite and gorgeous breakfast the following day, the venue was by far money well spent. When booking we had no idea how amazing the Dodmoor team would be in organising, co-ordinating, looking after our guests so well and generally ensuring the day ran smoothly, taking away any stress. This for us was priceless.
The live music - I absolutely love live music so this was always going to be a major factor in our day and money well spent, as it created a relaxed vibe during the drinks reception on the lawn, and the band in the evening got everyone up and dancing the night away. The 45’s wedding band were very reasonable and extremely talented.
Personal touches that reflected us as a couple...
- We had Becky's brother play acoustic guitar and sing two songs for us during the signing of the register and this was a real personal touch that we both loved.
- Callum's brownies! Cal is well known for his triple chocolate brownie making skills so when it came to favours there really wasn’t anything else we could have, and the Dodmoor team managed to get some as well!
- Our sharing food as discussed earlier was very us.
- The ice cream cart, people that know Callum know he is an ice cream monster, ever since being a little kid and his Nanna making him knickerbocker glorys. It's not rare to see him polish off a full tub of Ben and Jerrys in one sitting! Ice cream dreams bicycle was just beautiful and fitted our theme wonderfully, Steve was fab and our guests loved him and the ice creams!
- Our M&S Colin and Connie caterpillar cakes. For us we find people don’t eat the wedding cake after all the food during the day. We really didn’t want to spend hundreds on the cake so the caterpillar cakes were ideal, it kept in theme with our aim for a relaxed fun filled day perfectly, and who doesn’t like caterpillar cake?! Also a great talking point!
- Sparklers. As mentioned earlier I love sparkle and ever since being a little girl I’ve always imagined sparklers at my wedding! Our photographer managed to get some sensational shots with our sparklers.
Recommended suppliers we used and loved...
- Green Room Flowers. Sofia works at Dodmoor regularly and just knew what works! For me I was fairly laid back when it came to flowers and didn’t want to spend a fortune on centre pieces that would be wilting by the end of the day. My vision changed a little during planning and having a couple of meetings with Sofia was so valuable - we went with just foliage for our banqueting tables with candles and foliage around the barn. Mine and the bridesmaid bouquets were beautiful with just a hint of colour in my bridesmaids and an injection of yellow freesias in mine and the button holes, which just looked stunning against the blue of my bridesmaids and the navy of the groomsman.
A special mention about the cake as I just asked Sofia to jazz them up with a little gyp and my goodness she went all out and made them look totally incredible with the help of Jeni our wedding coordinator, who assembled them for us on rustic log slices, they were a total dream and so fun!
- Portfolio Events. They made our vision come to life with the menu we put together, and the team on the day were also super lovely and professional.
- Dodmoor House Burger Bar and Sweet Shop was just perfect for the evening. Our guests loved it and the food was delicious, also Dodmoor sorted it all so one less thing for us to arrange... Bonus!
Also a mention to Andrew Cooper Photography and Shelley Costello Photography who came together as a team. I had not met Shelley but she was fantastic with the bridal party prior to the ceremony capturing some really special moments, whilst Andrew was with Callum and capturing our guests arriving. After the wedding all you have are your memories and photos, so having over a hundred of our photos come back to us in less than a week has been amazing so we can keep re-living the day.
Finally, if we could give a tip to other couples... Take ten minutes away together to watch all your guests enjoying themselves and watching all your months of planning come together and take notice of all the little details. It’s a whirlwind and over in flash so enjoy every second, step back and take it all in!
Special thanks to Becky and Callum for sharing their story, and to Andrew Cooper and Shelley Costello for the photos x