Lifestyle Magazine

Love is the New Black! A Rookery Hall, Cheshire Wedding

By Claire

There’s more! Karen is a designer, and the wed­ding sta­tionery is all her own work. The typog­ra­phy is gor­geous; the art deco feel of her designs is ele­gant and fash­ion­able, and I love a wed­ding where let­ter­ing and type are a key fea­ture of the decor and styling.

Karen and Rick take cen­tre stage as today’s bride and groom, with Karen look­ing stun­ning in her bespoke David Fielden wed­ding dress and Rick so very hand­some in his mil­i­tary uni­form. You will love these two — with an out­stand­ing col­lec­tion of wed­ding pho­tographs and a fan­tas­tic wed­ding report to enjoy — this is one of the very best. Enjoy!

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (49)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (48)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (47)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (46)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (45)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (44)

Who pro­posed, and how?

(Rick) I pro­posed in Rome at the Trevi Foun­tain. After some research I dis­cov­ered a story that said throw­ing one coin into the foun­tain meant a return to Rome, a sec­ond coin leads to a new romance, and a third coin leads to marriage.

I arranged for a fan­tas­tic Ital­ian meal with wine at a local rus­tic Roman restau­rant, fol­lowed by limon­cello for some dutch courage. We then walked to the Foun­tain, it was dark by now and beau­ti­fully lit, I handed Karen three coins and asked her to throw them in over her left shoul­der, one by one.

As she threw them in I explained the mean­ing of each coin and as the third fell into the water I explained its mean­ing towards mar­riage and pro­duced a black and white dia­mond ring and asked her to marry me. After the ini­tial shock she even­tu­ally said YES! How­ever, this ring was only for me to pro­pose with as I knew Karen wanted to design her own engage­ment ring. Lucky for her she got 2 rings!

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (43)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (42)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (41)

How would you describe your wed­ding style?

Ele­gantly clas­sic with art deco accents jux­ta­posed with a con­tem­po­rary mod­ern edge.

The wed­ding ceremony: …

Reli­gious or civil? … Civil

Which read­ings did you choose? … ‘The One’ read by one of our friends.

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (40)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (39)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (38)

Wed­ding venue: Rook­ery Hall, Nantwich

We looked at sev­eral venues, some city cen­tre and bou­tique hotels but as soon as we drove up the drive to the main entrance at Rook­ery we just knew we had found our wed­ding venue. It didn’t feel cor­po­rate at all, and we felt in good hands, even the cute bun­nies hop­ping across the grounds made all the dif­fer­ence! The wed­ding co-ordinator Lind­say and toast­mas­ter Jane were like a dream team which really helped the day run smoothly.

Wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher: Chris Han­ley Photography

Chris and Claire really did cap­ture our day beau­ti­fully. The pho­tos are breath­tak­ing and we are over the moon with them. From the moment you meet them they offer lots of tips and advice for your day and are incred­i­bly friendly and help­ful. The engage­ment shoot was great fun too and put us both at ease in front of the lens in prepa­ra­tion for the day. http://chrishanleyphotography.com/

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (37)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (36)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (35)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (34)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (33)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (32)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (31)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (30)

The wed­ding dress and groom’s outfit

I wore the most beau­ti­ful David Fielden Sposa gown. I was hav­ing no luck in find­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent near home. Every­thing seemed to be the same tra­di­tional strap­less shape and I knew I didn’t want the typ­i­cal bridey look.

I went down to his shop in Lon­don with my mom after instantly swoon­ing over his style of a gown I saw in a bridal mag­a­zine. I fell in love with one dress but adored another part of a dif­fer­ent dress so asked if I could mix the two.

It was all very excit­ing as I got to actu­ally meet David Fielden to see if he could cre­ate the bespoke dress I wanted and he agreed with what I pro­posed to do and said it would look well on me. I was over the moon!

I wore a soft silk tulle full length sin­gle tier veil and bor­rowed a pearl hair comb. My ear­rings were by Jenny Pack­ham, an art deco inspired design called Lula (the name of my beloved British Blue/Cream Short Hair cat which I just had to get).

I had a stun­ning beaded crys­tal cuff (lined in blue espe­cially for my some­thing blue) and match­ing bag by St Eras­mus. My gor­geous shoes were a pair of mir­rored peep toe sling backs by the divine Jimmy Choo. They were the last pair in my size in Europe and I man­aged to locate them at the Traf­ford Cen­tre – it must have been fate!

Rick looked dash­ing in his mil­i­tary dress uni­form and medals. We both designed our own wed­ding bands which were made by the same tal­ented jew­eller who made my engage­ment ring.

My page­boys (two nephews) wore mini ver­sions of Rick’s mil­i­tary uni­form com­plete with a mini­ture Dia­mond Jubilee Medal which they thought had come from the Queen!

The nude brides­maids dresses were a bril­liant find on ASOS, I cus­tomised them by hav­ing the skirt made into a tulip shape by a seam­stress and then I attached a brooch to each dress. They wore black patent peep toe courts and sim­ple pearl jew­ellery to com­pli­ment the wed­ding style.

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (29)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (28)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (27)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (26)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (24)

The wed­ding reception:

What were your highlights?

Good­ness so many to choose from…The rush of adren­a­line I got as the doors opened just before I walked down the aisle with my Dad, it was like being on a roller­coaster ride. I loved the steel band and hav­ing the oppor­tu­nity to play with them again after 10 years! The piper pip­ing us out as Mr & Mrs was a real high­light too.

(Rick) The whole day was a high­light, just brilliant.

Wed­ding venue styling and details:

I came up with the con­cept of ‘Love Is The New Black’ and every­thing evolved from that. Lots of black with accents of white, shiny mir­rored sur­faces, pearls and sparkly brooches which I sourced myself.

I wanted to cre­ate some­thing dif­fer­ent with a WOW fac­tor. I knew I didn’t want the same old white wed­ding styling and vin­tage feel that every­one has jumped on the band­wagon with.

We had a loose Ital­ian vibe run­ning through with all the places we vis­ited in Rome for our table names, olive trees with fairy lights, pros­ecco, and gelato served from a con­verted VW camper­van which Rick loves. The ice cream was to die for too! We asked the ice cream girls to pro­vide Union Jack bunting to get into the spirit of the Queen’s Dia­mond Jubilee which hap­pened to fall on the same weekend.

It all worked really well together with the black and espe­cially with the mil­i­tary uni­form. All linen was black on black with lots of can­dle light and storm lanterns to set the mood. I worked with the florist to cre­ate a mix­ture of tall can­de­labra draped in pearls and low mir­rored boudoir dis­plays with white peonies, my favorite flower. I had a gor­geous Shirley Tem­ple del­i­cate blush peony bou­quet bound with pearls.

I’m a free­lance graphic designer and designed and made all our sta­tionery from the invites, order of ser­vice and menus to framed prints and con­fetti bags, all car­ry­ing the same design. It was all very clean and slick, noth­ing twee.

I sourced love quotes for each guest to reflect their per­son­al­ity on the reverse of their place names tied with black gros­grain rib­bon around the stem of each wine glass. We had fun ques­tion cards on each table to help break the ice which gave us a gig­gle read­ing through them the day after.

Favours were pin badges for Help the Heroes and Can­cer Research, both close to our hearts of which we made a dona­tion on behalf of our guests. I even designed the art­work for the ice cream wafers used by the ice cream VW van to carry the styling through. The devil is in the detail!

I also designed our fab­u­lous cake, tall and white with Chanel inspired quilt­ing and edi­ble pearls topped with a sin­gle peony which I wanted to stand out against the black. I didn’t want to cut into it but all 4 flavours tasted amaz­ing!

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (23)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (22)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (21)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (20)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (19)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (18)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (17)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (16)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (15)

Mem­o­rable wed­ding day moments:

Rick lift­ing me up on the dance floor at the end of our first dance, ‘At Last’ by Etta James, I was not expect­ing it at all.

(Rick) Finally see­ing Karen in her much antic­i­pated dress, she looked stun­ning. My Groom’s Sur­vival Kit that Karen made for me, this con­sisted of a pair of new socks to stop me get­ting cold feet, a small bot­tle of alco­hol to calm my nerves, and some mints for the first kiss, all put together in a neat black box along with a note in the same style as the wed­ding stationery.

Wed­ding day advice:

Savour every sec­ond as it really does go so fast. Try and stick together as much as you can through­out the day and sneak off at some point for 10 min­utes for some alone time to soak it all up.

Rick put together a table plan and room set up guides for the whole day along with tim­ings and other use­ful infor­ma­tion, this proved invalu­able to the staff set­ting up the rooms etc, they were able to fol­low the instruc­tions and get the rooms as we wanted with­out hav­ing to ask for advice. The more help you can give them the bet­ter. This is where Rick’s mil­i­tary organ­i­sa­tional skills came in handy!

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (14)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (13)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (12)

Wed­ding music and entertainment:

Our friend piped us back down the aisle and into the wed­ding break­fast as Mr & Mrs. We had a steel band to enter­tain guests after the wed­ding break­fast of which I made a spe­cial guest appear­ance! I used to be in the band some 10 years ago so it was a nice sur­prise and went down well with the guests. I didn’t want to stop playing!

We had Dave Haslam (for­mer Haçienda) DJ for the evening recep­tion. We both knew we didn’t want your aver­age cheesy wed­ding DJ in the cor­ner of the room and wanted a proper party so I got in touch with Dave to see if he did wed­dings and to our delight he did!

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (11)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (10)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (9)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (8)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (7)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (6)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (5)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (1)

Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers:

  • Chris Han­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy chrishanleyphotos@mac.com www.chrishanleyphotography.com (See also an inter­view with Chris Han­ley)
  • Lind­say Ogden, wed­ding co-ordinator, Rook­ery Hall LOgden@handpicked.co.uk www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/hotels/rookery-hall
  • Cre­ative them­ing for wed­dings and bespoke lux­ury sta­tionery by Karen Shep­herd (Me) hello@designbyshepherd.co.uk www.designbyshepherd.co.uk
  • Deli­cious ice cream and sor­bet by the girls at Ice Cream Dub thegirls@ice-creamdub.co.uk www.ice-creamdub.co.uk
  • Beau­ti­ful flow­ers by Laura at Green Earth Flow­ers laura@greenearthflowers.com www.greenearthflowers.co.uk (See also Green Earth Flow­ers show­case on Eng­lish Wed­ding Blog)
  • Fab­u­lous cake by Diva Designer Cakes lisa@divacakes.co.uk www.divacakes.co.uk
  • Flaw­less skin by Katie Aldridge makeup artist info@katiealdridge.com www.katiealdridge.com
  • Beau­ti­ful waves by Nic Wood­house at Hair-Raising Designs nic@hair-raisingdesigns.co.uk www.hair-raisingdesigns.co.uk
  • Engage­ment ring and wed­ding bands forged by the tal­ented Chris Ran­dall chris@thediamondshop.co.uk www.thediamondshop.co.uk The Dia­mond Shop, Hat­ton Gar­den, London
  • Bag­pipes pro­vided by Tim Bur­rows timburrows8473@hotmail.com
  • The sounds of steel by Pan­fire Steel Band panfire_steelband@yahoo.co.uk www.facebook.com/PanFire
  • Party tunes by Dave Haslam DJ dave@davehaslam.com www.davehaslam.com

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (4)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (3)

top UK wedding photography blog Chris Hanley (2)

I’m always on the look­out for new wed­dings, engage­ment pho­tog­ra­phy and inspi­ra­tion shoots to fea­ture on Eng­lish Wed­ding Blog. If you’re a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher based in Eng­land or the UK I’d love to hear from you. Click on Sub­mit in the top menu for more infor­ma­tion or email me: info@english-wedding.com with a link to your blog post.

I’ve delib­er­ately posted this wed­ding blog fea­ture on a Fri­day — it means you get to keep it all week­end! There’ll be a quick ‘wed­ding plan­ning or work’ this after­noon — but as this wed­ding is so very spe­cial I wanted to keep it on the blog home page until Mon­day and then a lit­tle longer so more of you will spot it! I do hope you love it as much as I do, and I’d love to read your com­ments on Karen and Rick’s day.


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