I first met Matt whilst on a night out with friends, a couple of my friends already knew him as they were from the same village. He made the first move and asked my friend Katie for my number and things just went on from there.
Matt’s proposal took me completely by surprise. We were in the Lake District and had stopped for a picnic when one of our dogs, Daisy, came running over to our picnic blanket with a little white pouch tied around her collar – in it was an engagement ring and a little note that said ‘Will you Marry Me?’ - I said YES!
We loved everything about our wedding venue, Beeston Manor. Matt and I are quite outdoorsy so we wanted a venue to suit the natural, country theme we had in mind. As soon as we visited Beeston Manor we knew it was right for us; an old converted farmhouse with exposed beams and exposed stone walls – it was just perfect.
To go with our country theme we used lots of hessian and lace along with rustic pastel flowers. Matt enjoys shooting so to reflect that he went for a tweed waistcoat and tie.
Our main idea for the day was to create a relaxed atmosphere where guests could just chat, chill and enjoy a few drinks! We didn’t want anything too formal or fancy.
Finding our perfect suppliers was easy thanks to all the wedding fairs in our area. We found both Kerry our photographer and Lizzy our florist (Lilybets) at aLittle White Books' wedding fair at Beeston Manor - they were both AMAZING. Kerry’s photography style was exactly what we were looking for, again with the relaxed approach and nothing too formal, with lots of outdoor shots. Our florist was also amazing, she immediately got a feel for what we were looking for and on the day, when I saw the flowers, they exceeded all my expectations. For other things such as the cake, my dress, groomsmen outfits, hair and makeup and videographer, we tried to use local businesses.
I found my dress at Orchid designs in Clitheroe and I couldn’t recommend them enough. The owner and dressmaker Liz understood the look I wanted to achieve, which was a great help. I had been to a few other bridal shops and there was nothing that I totally fell in love with - I was starting to worry that I would never find THE dress! At Orchid Designs however, with Liz being a dressmaker, she suggested I choose my favourite dress and then we would work on it together to turn it into my perfect dress. At first this sounded a little crazy as I am not at all creative, however with Liz’s help we transformed the dress (Mon Cheri Emerson) into exactly what I had in mind. She did an amazing job and not only did I have my perfect dress it was also completely original. Liz and all the girls in the shop were just so friendly and it made my dress buying experience a joy. I also got my shoes, hairpiece and veil from there, it was so handy to have everything is one place.
Looking back to my wedding day is actually a bit of a blur, the whole day just flew by so quickly. I remember enjoying getting ready with my four bridesmaids, it was so special to have time on the morning of the wedding with my favourite people. We had Prosecco and had our hair and makeup done - it was wonderful to see all the girls ready and looking so beautiful.
The speeches also stand out as a highlight of my day, my dad’s in particular. He was so nervous beforehand, but as soon as he got up there anybody would have thought he was a natural born comedian. It was great to hear him officially welcome Matt into our family. I also specifically remember Matt comparing me to his dog, Hattie, during his speech – at first I felt a little offended, however I then realised it was actually a compliment, as she has always been his number one girl.
Our first dance song was ‘The One’ by Kodaline. I felt it was a little clichéd as it is a typical first dance song, but the song had a special place in our hearts.
For our honeymoon we decided to go on a cruise. We visited Spain, Portugal, Madeira and the Canary Islands onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. We didn’t set sail until the Tuesday after we were married, so it was nice to spend that time together relaxing after such a busy few months planning the wedding. We loved every minute of it.
I think our family and friends most enjoyed the food at Beeston Manor (food to die for!), our magician Jason Rea (who was truly amazing) and also our singer Daniel Reid. We had so many compliments and good feedback on all three of these things which was great to hear.
So many people went that extra mile for us on our wedding day, we are just so lucky to have such amazing friends and family. Firstly my Auntie Sue was a massive help before the day, helping with room décor, she definitely deserves a mention for the many hours of bunting making too. My sister, and bridesmaid, Beth was also brilliant in the months leading up to the wedding and on the actual day, I’m fairly sure she is now a fully qualified wedding planner. Also my three other bridesmaids, Emma, Katie and Becky, and Matt’s best man also called Matt, made sure everything ran smoothly and that we had the best day possible - we couldn’t have done it without them. Finally both sets of parents, it was just great to see them looking so proud and of course none of it would have been possible without them.
My advice to any bride and grooms-to-be would be to take time to step back and take everything in on the day. You will be told so many times that the day will go in the blink of an eye and that is so true. It was fantastic to look around at all our guests enjoying themselves. You will get lost in all the formalities on the day and really what’s important is the two of you enjoying the day together, so try to take that time out.
Many thanks to:
Venue: Beeston Manor,
Flowers: Lilybets Flowers
Photographer: Kerry Woods
Special thanks to Kerry Woods Photography for supplying Hayley & Matt’s fabulous images from their wedding day.