A gorgeous winter wedding

So I’m asking people to write about their weddings….I figured it was only fair that I showed you mine first!

Andy and I were married on 20th December 2003. We chose this time of year to be a little bit different, and with family and friends spread over the country and some overseas, it was great timing to get everyone together. Although thinking about it now, we were really lucky that it didn’t snow or we may have been a good few guests short!

We were married in St Anne’s Church in Tottington, the church I’d attended when I was younger, and then we held our reception at Egerton House Hotel in Bolton. The church was filled with candles with it being advent and we weren’t allowed to add flowers, but it looked amazing. Getting married at this time of year can prove to be a bit of a challenge. We looked at several venues around the area but where there were multiple rooms we knew we may well find ourselves next door to a Christmas party! What we loved about Egerton House was the barn suite and that it was separate from the hotel.  With its bar area downstairs and the conservatory front it was ideal and meant that my Grandma could have a warm cup of tea inside and still see us having our photographs taken outside, and escape from the music in the evening!

Stephen Redfern captured our day for us. We met with a number of photographers but he was the one we felt most comfortable with and I think that the pictures show that (neither Andy nor I like having our picture taken!).

I wore an Alan Hannah dress. My absolute dream dress. We found it in Bellissima in Holcombe Brook and the ladies in there couldn’t have been more helpful. Made from ivory silk it’s a skirt and a bodice instead of a full dress. I loved how I felt in it and all the sparkles on the top! Although the buttons up the back were a bit of a nightmare on the morning of the wedding! My shoes were from Rainbow Club and the tiara and veil chosen from the shop too. I had a wrap as well for the day – hand woven by my very talented sister-in-law – which was just amazing. It’s a real heirloom piece. And with getting married in winter I bought a white umbrella and it produced my favourite picture from the day.

We chose a midnight blue and silver colour theme for the wedding – I was conscious that I wanted it to be a winter feel rather than a Christmas one – and the hotel were fabulous in keeping the Christmas decorations to an elegant minimum.  The bridesmaids all wore dark blue dresses from Alfred Angelo – all three of them were completely different body shapes and I wanted them to feel comfortable in what they wore so they chose the style of dress and we kept the colour the same throughout. The groomsmen wore navy herringbone frock coats with silver waistcoats and silver scrunchy ties (I’m sure there’s an official word for that!).  John Francis in Harwood were brilliant and there was not one pair of trousers that weren’t a perfect fit!

The wonderful florist that we found in The Last Drop Village filled the venue with pillar candles, mirrors and white lights and our centrepieces were white roses with dark blue ribbons. We wanted the barn to have a magical feel to it in the dark and she completely achieved it for us. Neither of us likes fussy details so we kept decorations to a minimum really, and with the white linen on the tables the room looked amazing. Her skills were evident in the bouquets too – I’m 5’9” and she was right when she told me I could take holding a long bouquet! Made from white roses and orchids, I absolutely loved it. These flowers were favourites of my late Grandfathers and the bouquet was incredibly heavy, but worth the arm ache!

I made our own favour boxes and we put gingerbread hearts from one of my favourite shops, the Grasmere Gingerbread Company, and Uncle Joe’s mintballs inside them – a nod to my husband’s Wigan roots. And my mum made us our fabulous cake – the bottom tier was fruit cake, the middle was chocolate and the top one was ginger cake, made by my Grandma. It had glass vases separating the tiers with curls of silver wire and icing snowflakes to tie in with the little silver snowflakes table confetti we had. The meal at the reception was exceptional and our toastmaster was amazing, helping with the slightest thing and marshalling everyone for group photographs.

There were a couple of comedy moments in the day – one of the ushers lighting the final candle on the advent crown by mistake, the car engine cutting out on the way to the reception, and the vicar was ill on the morning of the wedding so we had a stand-in! Who turned out to be the vicar at the parish church in Bury and was brilliant – I just remember him greeting me at the back of the church saying ‘Do you know who I am and why I’m here?’!

The day now, in my memory, is a series of snapshots. Walking into the church into all the light. Seeing Andy waiting for me at the altar. Us running down the church path in the rain! Sitting at the top table seeing everyone we loved enjoying themselves. Speeches, first dance, my brother being fairly drunk!

It was just the perfect day. And if I did it again today I wouldn’t change a thing. What strikes me now looking at these images is how young we look! All the clichés are true – it’s the best day of your life and it goes so quickly. Enjoy it. Make it your own. And remember it’s about two people in the middle of it all saying I love you.


Photographs re-produced with kind permission from Stephen Redfern – please note that these images are scanned from the originals.

Supplier details

Egerton House Hotel

Stephen Redfern Photography

Toast Master – Harry Campbell. Now retired I believe.

Flowers – Poppies at The Last Drop. Now also retired.

Dress, shoes, veil and tiara – Bellissima Bridal

Groomswear – John Francis in Harwood

Cake – by my mum who’s now an integral part of Cat’s Whiskers Cake Design

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