I can’t quite believe how fast it’s gone since I went from Miss to Mrs! Since getting married, I’ve been inspired to write a series of posts dedicated to planning a wedding and useful guides for the next Bride-to-be. I’m certainly no expert, but I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two during the whole experience.
I want to share with you all the suppliers we chose for our big day. This is everything from the venue and entertainment, to my chosen dress store and hair stylist. Please bear in mind, I live in South Cheshire, so a few of these are based in this area only. However, some suppliers do cover a wider radius and are also nationwide, so be sure to check them all out!
We held our entire day at Crewe Hall in Cheshire. I honestly thought this place would be above and beyond our budget, but we were pleasantly surprised. We dealt with Emily and Alys at Crewe Hall and they were both amazing. For our first viewing, we were greeted with a goodybag of chocolates, magazines, supplier recommendations, notepad and pen to jot down questions along the way, plus a couple other bits and bobs.
We opted for Foster Photographers. Crewe Hall highly recommended these to us, and their portfolio proves why. We decided to meet them at Crewe Hall to get to know them, talk through what they do, view their portfolio in more detail and talk about costs. Unfortunately, the married couple who photographed and videographed our wedding are now retired, but I believe their daughter (who was also present on our big day) continues in their footsteps!
Included in our package was Hipswing – an entertainment company who supply a DJ, but also allow you to hire funky dance floors, uplighting, backdrops, photo booths and more. We went for the absolute basics with just a standard dance floor and DJ. We loved that we were able to put together a song list that we definitely wanted playing at the wedding, as well as the first dance of course. But, they also supplied our guests with a personalised login so they could request songs for the evening too. It was definitely amusing seeing what songs everyone was picking out.
We also opted for a String Quartet for the Ceremony and drinks reception, and these were the Northern String Quartet. The DJ was just for the evening reception, but we wanted a String Quartet to play as the guests arrived, for my entrance, while we signed the register, the recession, then for guests as they had drinks and canapes while we were off having all our photos taken.
We booked two wedding cars with Cheshire Lancashire Wedding Cars and they were so accommodating for what we wanted. Because we held our reception at the same venue as our ceremony, we didn’t need to be driven anywhere after the wedding. However, we still wanted to make use of the two cars. We hired the Beauford 1930’s Style Car and a Daimler State Limousine which picked my husband and his family up and drove them to the venue, then came to pick me and my Bridal party up.
We took many recommendations from our venue for some suppliers, and one of them was for our wedding cake. We went with a lovely lady called Paula at Creme de la Creme for our wedding cake and she did an amazing job! The whole consultation was brilliant – we were there for an hour talking her through our ideas, tasting samples of her cake and then finalising the last bits. In the end we went for a beautiful 4-tier cake with a lot of detailed decoration with the following flavoured tiers: Victoria Sponge, Red Velvet, Butterscotch & Toffee and Almond & Amaretto – a favourite for many. Was literally a boozy Bakewell Tart!
We went with a lovely lady called Ruth at Mayflower Bloom in Northwich. It was pretty simple in our eyes – I designed my bouquet, then we selected 8 buttonholes where Ruth shared her ideas on how we could make the Groom’s buttonhole extra special, then we opted for 12 rose vines which would be our decoration for the large 5-arm Candelabras we hired as our centrepieces. Out of all the florists I contacted for quotes, she was the only one who didn’t charge crazy prices. We also hired our Sweet Cart via Mayflower Bloom. She built her own and hired it out for just £40. We then bought our own decorations, jars and sweets via wholesale sites to dress it with – this made it much cheaper than going with a company who specialises in this.
The dress shopping is what took me by surprise. I’ve never been one to be fussed over this side of wedding planning, but because I’m not a dress wearer, I thought I’d find this part really difficult. Well, in fact, it took me a mere 2 hours to find the one. I visited Wed2B which is a nationwide bridal store that introduces new styles regularly – so you will be spoilt for choice, trust me! The whole experience was so great and they were fantastic and described the dress as you looked in the mirror, and picked out accessories that would complement the dress.
The only downfall to buying your dress from Wed2Be, is everything is off the hanger – therefore, you take the dress home that day and they don’t do the alterations. Therefore, if any minor or big alterations do need making, you will be required to go elsewhere. Luckily, they provided a list of local ones and I went with their recommended one in Stoke-on-Trent called English Rose Brides on London Road. It’s just a 3-minute drive from Stoke-on-Trent Train Station, so you can easily walk there from the station, or catch a quick taxi-ride if you’re not driving.
The lovely lady who owns the boutique is called Sharon and she was brilliant, and reasonably priced. I went for my first fitting where I simply needed my straps shortening so they didn’t fall down, as it was a slight off-shoulder design. She then recommended adding a hook to the train so I could hang it to the bottom of my fastener when dancing and walking around, to make life easier at night! She then invited me back for a second fitting to try it out with my actual wedding shoes and bra, to ensure everything fit perfectly. I went for one more fitting just 6 weeks before the wedding to ensure everything was perfect – and it was!
I’ve been back to her since to get my Bridesmaid dress fitted before one of my best friend’s wedding, and will continue to use her.
Grooms Party Suits
My husband opted to go to Platt’s, a Tailor & Formal Wear store in Crewe, for him and his Groom’s Party suits. He thought they were really good in all honesty, and that they offered him the best advice for what he wanted for his outfits. Plus, the price was very reasonable.
I went with a local hair salon; Blonde in Shavington, Cheshire. They were by far the most affordable for wedding hair in the area, and they did such a great job! Initially I wanted two hair stylists to get the job done faster to save time and stress, but I only had one in the end, but she did a brilliant job.
As for my nails and getting my skin and other bits pampered before the big day, I had all this done at a variety of places – I was driving all over the place! I booked my nails in at Amy Louise Beauty in Shavington, Cheshire, which is the beauty salon linked to the hair salon I chose for the big day. I opted for gel nails in a French finish, but with some silver sparkle on each ring fingernail.
I then opted for HD Brows and Individual Eyelashes, which I had done by the lovely Millie at Headkase in Crewe. She switches between both the Nantwich and Crewe salons, but she does an amazing job. Lastly, I then opted for my final course of Microdermabrasion, which is a facial I had done monthly during the build up to the wedding to get my skin in great condition. I’ve been having this done with an amazing woman called Hayley at Pretty & Pampered. Her salon is attached to her home, so there’s something very comforting about going to have your treatment. If you’re going to opt for a similar pamper routine, I advise you to go for your facial before your eyebrows and eyelash treatment. Otherwise, you’ll find the facial may remove parts of what you’ve just had done!
We went with a company called Smooch who we met at a wedding fayre held by our venue. They have no physical stores and instead operate by a rep coming out to your home with a display of over 200 rings to try on. We much preferred it this way; we were in the comfort of our own home and able to take our time with no pressure from another customer standing behind us.
What sold us in the end was they have a lifetime guarantee for if a diamond were to fall out (we had a fiasco with my engagement ring from another jewellery supplier, so this was key for us), but they also price matched and you were able to design your own ring if you wanted.
This was actually a really difficult choice, as there are so many options out there. In the end, we didn’t opt for price, we opted for the perfect design. My husband actually chose the design in the end and we went with Pure Invitations. They give you all the options such as backing card colour, colour of the card which the text sits on, choice of additional inserts; RSVP, Information Card, Song Requests etc. then if your invites require it, whether you’d like them to assemble the invites ready for you or not. Of course, these all occur and additional cost, but they were so lovely when they arrived – couldn’t have been happier.
If you are in a rush to get your invites, then I will admit these did take 2 weeks to arrive. This was due to us having them assembled, but was based on only 30 invitations being ordered. Therefore, I advise double-checking shipping times if you’re in a hurry.