James and I met in 2007, while studying at Leeds University.
We were both 19 and at a house party. Years later, one Christmas, he said he
had booked us a trip away instead of buying me a gift. I then overheard him on
the phone talking to Eurostar. Paris, I thought, and then proceeded to tell all
my friends and family. After all, who takes a girl to Paris after seven years
and doesn’t propose?
I later discovered that we were going to Bruges, which threw
me completely off the scent. However, on the first night he got down on one knee
with the most beautiful handmade ring (from David Burns in Hesketh Bank). James
worked with David to design the ring five months earlier (my friends and family
all knew about that, too).
Our venue, Bartle Hall, was perfect from the moment we
walked in. We wanted a traditional look for the wedding and the Windsor Suite
was ideal and so grand; I could imagine getting married there straight away. We
didn’t really have any themes for the day. I am a bit of a magpie so I knew I
wanted lots of gold glittery things. I went with ivory chair covers and then
just chose things that I loved and hoped it would look nice together. All we
really knew was that we wanted everybody to enjoy themselves and for as many
people to be on the dancefloor as possible.
Having only lived in the north west for two years, I was
worried at first about finding suppliers. I searched the internet to find our
photographer, Ashton Photography, who were brilliant right from the start. My
family and friends all commented on how lovely photographers Steve and Steph
were. They produced just the kind of natural relaxed photos we wanted.
We were really lucky to know some of our suppliers. Our
florist, Tracey McClelland, is a family friend of my husband. She took me to a
flower market to pick out flowers I liked, so I felt really involved in the
process. Seeing them for the first time on the day was so exciting – they were
Our lovely cupcakes were made by our friend, Joanne, and her mum,
Kay, from Strictly Cupcakes. They were all handmade, delicious and, of course, glittery.
I would thoroughly recommend!
I found my perfect dress by chance at Bride and Groom in
Preston, then a lovely woman at Halo and Ellis fitted it for me. The dress I
chose was a Maggie Sottero (I had the belt changed to a more simple one), which
came with a little lace off-the-shoulder jacket, which is something I hadn’t
seen before. My gorgeous veil was my ‘something borrowed’ from my lovely friend
Sophie; I was lucky enough to be her bridesmaid a year before and she was mine,
so that was very special for me. I bought my hair halo online; I searched for
weeks for it, as I wanted something very specific.
Walking down the aisle was a really big moment for me; you
always imagine what it will feel like but when it happened it was so
overwhelming to feel all the love in the room.
For us, it was so special to have all our friends and family
together in the same room. The ceremony was surprisingly emotional; there were
lots of tears.
Lots of people commented on the little details that we had made
ourselves: our table plan, wedding favours, confetti cones with real petals,
DIY glittery table numbers and our order of service, which read
We get married
My most vivid memories of the day are witnessing my new
sister-in-law, Julie, dancing on the table, and singing with passion to Craig
David at one in the morning with the last people standing. James’s twin brother
was our best man and he really went the extra mile for us. He has been with us
from the beginning of our relationship and he and James are very close. He had
us very worried about his speech, but in the end he did an amazing job and
worked the crowd like a pro. He really made us proud.
To anyone getting married, my advice would be to just do
your own thing; there are no rules and doing things yourself is much more
Many thanks to:
Venue – Bartle Hall, Preston
Special thanks to Ashton Photography for providing us with
Alice & James’ wedding day photos.