Our wedding vision was to host a whimsical and classically bohemian party filled beautifully with non-traditional elements, ethereal greenery and a mix of textures; we used metallics, velvets, metals and dark moody tones to set the scene for our woodland winter wedding. We always wanted a BIG wedding surrounded by our nearest and dearest with relaxed day vibes and a party at night!
We had the most stylish bride tribe, Pornstar Martinis, a weird Daruma Doll, donuts instead of cakes, ancient piggy bank smashing, impromptu guest chefs, a glitzy hat party and a funk and soul band to go with our boho celebration.
Our love story started way back when in 2006. At a college party, Sam smoothly made his way over and complimented the ‘cool tunes’ we were playing. Chatting away, we realised how many mutual friends had arranged to go to a music festival a few weeks later. We decided to organise everyone to go together (typical of us to take charge and organise our lot!!)… and I guess they say, the rest is history!
The Irish Proposal
Fast forward 9 years while motorbike touring the Wild Atlantic Way along Ireland’s awestruck scenic West Coast, Sam eventually popped the question in Killarney! Sam had planned to propose amongst the spectacular scenery, but coming towards the end of the road trip, Sam thought I’d spotted the ring while rummaging through his bag. I was (honestly, swear down) unaware of the blinder hiding inside, however, Sam quickly hid it in the bed of our tipi tent, and typical me, of all places to sit, I only went and sat on the chuffing ring! Sam had no other choice but to propose there and then.
The West Mill Venue
We decided to have a winter wedding due to the classic, unpredictable UK weather (I was worried about the weather before we’d even selected a venue!) and when the date of our 12th anniversary was available (sign?!) we thought why the hell not. Choosing the right venue was the most important factor, and when Sam found this incredible Grade 1 Listed building with the River Derwent running alongside and a majestic woodland, we instantly fell in love with the West Mill.
Ok so, I love to shop… but my gawd this is the best kinda shopping! I tried on about 80 dresses (no lie) and I absolutely loved it! I never wanted the dress experience to end.
While scrolling on Instagram, the Rembo Bjork dress caught my eye! I began my detective work and tracked down the Bjork dress at Alexandra Anne bridal boutique near Bakewell. A stunning little boutique in the Peak District, the drive there is glorious.
As soon as I tried on the Rembo dress, it felt like the dress was made for me! I love the crepe and lace on the dress and the boho back is exactly what I was looking for, something delicate, something quirky. I was so happy to say yes to dress and be an official Rembo Bride!
I couldn’t help but fall in love with the Rembo shawl which had matching lace. Accessorised with a pair of Bella Belle shoes, Mum’s gold earrings my Dad gifted her when I was born and a gold crystal bracelet with white fringe by Luna.
Velvet, wool and crochet textures
With it being winter and all, we didn’t have to worry about being too hot. Sam fell in love with a light blue wool suit from Next and a stylish silk paisley pink tie from Tweed and Groom. Groomsmen also wore the same suit and accessorised with silk blue paisley ties. My bridesmaids wore handmade velvet multi-way dresses by Valdenize on Etsy, in keeping with the textured theme and oh my, those dresses were perfectly made and comfortable for my tribe. My two beautiful little flower girls wore stunning crochet dresses from Monsoon.
Pampas Grass, feathers and dark tonal flowers
Laura at Avant Garden Weddings turned my floral vision into reality. I envisaged plenty of Pampas Grass to create impressive centrepieces, a wild, draping bouquet with pheasant feathers and ribbon and a green leafed flower crown with dark moody flowers and pops of colour. Each creation was bustling with full-bloomed Juliette Roses, Pink Ranunculus, Astrantia, Red Amaranthus, Green Protea, Burgundy Dahlia, Pink Hellebore, Foliage, Thistles, Scabiosa Pods and Blue Anemones.
A Magical Ceremony
Our very good friend Craig, played Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven as I walked down the aisle. One of my bridesmaids Rebecca had prepared a personal reading for the ceremony, it was so beautiful, you can hear this on our wedding video.
We also chose a reading by Dr Seuss:
“We’re all a little bit weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we fall in mutual weirdness and call it love”
For Sam, this was his favourite part of the wedding, watching me walking down the aisle with my Dad. I only kept him waiting 13 minutes! And, I have to agree, it was the most surreal moment of my life, I felt like I floated down the aisle.
Pornstar Martinis and woodland smoke bombs
Our signature drinks were collected from France by the Groom & my Man of Honour, Kieron my cousin (classic Sam forgot his passport but that’s another story!). For the boys, Kronenbourg and Pornstar Martinis and Prosecco for the girls. I used mini milk bottles with personalised Sam & Lauren Wedding stickers with rose gold stripe paper straws.
I noticed smoke bombs were becoming a trend in the wedding industry so I thought I’d jump on the wagon before it became an obvious trend! I purchased a bunch of coloured smoke bombs online and my girls & I ran to the woodland after the ceremony and jumped around in the smoke for a while.
Charcoal candles and lavender scents, giant dreamcatchers and rose gold pineapples
As for decor, the bohemian theme ran throughout. For favours, we had mini tambourines and mini pheasant feathers for everyone to put in their hair. The table decor was a mixture of large wooden cotton reels and logs with coloured gin and wine bottles we collected. Tall dark charcoal candles, lavender, eucalyptus, and feathers poking out the top. We filled glass jars (I must’ve eaten a million of those salted caramel cheesecakes, you know those mini desserts from Aldi’s special range, oh my gawd I’d kill for one of those now!) with moss and scented grey tea lights. Everyone complimented the smell of the room! Guest’s nicknames were used as place cards to make it personal.
As we were heading off on a worldwide travel expedition the week after our wedding (I know, we must have been mental to do all this within a week! Check back on the blog to find out how we went from settled Yorkshire puddings to married Yorkshire Explorers) we incorporated a travel theme into the day. Table names were hexagon glass mirrors with country sticker names, a giant framed world map and a travel tag seating chart. You can follow our travels on Instagram and Facebook!
My mum and I also made giant dream catchers and sprayed a bunch of pineapples Rose Gold. We loved making these together, and now have the dreamcatchers hanging at home.
Red wine and signs
I enjoyed Saturday nights designing wedding signage with my MOH, and cheese of course! We created a clean, modern look which popped with greenery, just like the earthy flower tones in the colour palette. Nat is super creative, so I could rely on her keen eye for design. She also arranged the entire printing with her supplier from work, saving me a huge job… and that’s just one of a million reasons why she was my MOH!
For the catering, we went for a random selection of foods throughout the day. We opted for cheese on toast (4 types of cheeses!) and fish & chips canapés.
The host of roast saw each table served with a joint of roast pork and all the trimmings. We chose one guest per table who were assigned with a novelty apron and chef’s hat and most importantly, the role of Chief Carver! The food was delicious, and as the chefs were carving away, the room quietened down and we took a moment to look across the room and appreciate how lucky we are to have so many people we love to be under one roof!
For afters we had a variety of mini desserts, being huge dessert fans we couldn’t decide on just one! Summer berry Crème Brûlée, mini warm chocolate fudge brownie and ice cream and mini white chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake. UNREAL!
For the evening buffet, Jenkinsons Caterers prepared beef and gammon joints.
Who even eats cake anyway?
We decided to go against the typical cake cutting tradition (it’s just not us to stand there posing with a knife for a photo ha!) and have a donut wall made with 100 donuts arranged by our good friends, the Holgate family. Instead of cutting a cake, we opted to draw eyes on a Daruma Doll and shoved a donut in each other’s mouth!
Funky Boho Celebration
The foundation of our early relationship was born from the love of music, travelling across Europe to unique clubs and festivals, so it was a given we’d have some sort of entertainment at our wedding. We hired a Soul and Funk band, Minnie and the Moochers: the lead singer has a James Brown-style voice! They were amazing and oh my gawd, there were dance-offs galore across the Spinning Room, even between family and friends like they’d known each other years.
We asked our guests to bring a party hat for the evening. My bridesmaid, Rachael (Soul Sequins), created the most striking crystal sequin party hat ever! She absolutely exceeded herself on this one. In the evening, I let my hair loose, kicked off my heels and slipped on my Dr Martens platforms and a jazzed up leather jacket, courtesy of Joanna Holmes-Branaghan. The jacket detailed our wedding date, my new surname, a dreamcatcher, and flowers matching the colour palette of our wedding with rose gold sparkles.
Future Bride Advice
We know everyone says don’t sweat about the l little things or things that might not go to plan blah blah blah, but it’s sooo true. You don’t want to remember the bits you were stressed about on your day so let them go over your head and go with the flow of the day. Make your wedding about everything you both love. You don’t have to follow typical traditions at all, change it up and make it your own. Go with what your gut says and don’t feel like you have to involve everyone (it gets messy) or justify why you want things the way you want them… just go with it!
What didn’t go to plan?
I’ve been asked this a few times and although we didn’t have anything that particularly went ‘wrong’ we just forgot to do a few things ha! Like, Pop the Question Quiz. On each table we had a travel quiz of random funny things which didn’t go to plan during our travels (mainly Sam taking us to the wrong airport or losing his passport, or when I lost my engagement ring eeekk!). The speeches overran as I got roasted but they were funny, loving, emotional, powerful and… we forgot to read out the answers.
The Line Up
Hair Workz based in Sheffield, my friend since 3 years old, I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my hurrrrr
Frankie Noone glammed up my bride tribe
The West Mill Wedding Venue, a Grade 1 Listed, Exclusive Use Industrial-Style Wedding Venue
Minnie & the Moochers Soul and Funk Band
Soul Sequins, the stunning steady hand creator of my wedding crown
Avant Garden Weddings turned my floral vision into a bohemian dream
The fabulous Jenkinsons Caterers can be hugely thanked for the delicious feast
Yorkshire based Bloom Weddings (obvs had to be from Yorkshire!) are responsible for capturing our amazing photographs and a memorable emotional film for us to watch over and over again (and again!). I watched it the other day and balled my eyes out. BEST.DAY.EVER
Our wedding has been featured by the famous Festival Brides, the amazing (and my personal favourite team) How To I Do and the lovely Alexandra Anne where I found my dress of dreams!