Introducing bride Catherine and her groom, Chris. We follow our happy couple’s romantic tale from intimate Lake District proposal to perfect English, white wedding at the stunning Iscoyd Park, and find out how the whole day came together perfectly, with a little help from their suppliers and the amazing team at Iscoyd.
Catherine herself looks the very epitome of pure, modern bridal style in an unfussy Mikado silk Pronovias gown with a boat neck and low back, and we love the natural sage green of the bridesmaids, echoing the greenery in the floral arrangements and bouquets, rather than adding another colour into the mix. This beautiful wedding is certainly a reminder that keeping things simple doesn’t need to mean compromising on style.
With photography by Photography 34
The Lake District will always be a special place for us. Chris took me there in May 2018 for a weekend away at our favourite place. I was clueless, and with his Best Man having proposed to his now wife only a couple of weeks before, I thought I would have to wait a while until it was my turn.
We decided to climb The Old Man of Coniston on the Saturday and, despite me offering several times, Chris was adamant that he was to keep the rucksack on his back. I thought at the time he was just being kind, however I later found out it was because it had the ring in it. Somewhere near the top apparently I said I felt sweaty and horrible and couldn’t wait to get back down and have a shower, so Chris abandoned his plans to propose at the top! We got back to our hotel, and treated ourselves to some pizza and champagne from room service – my favourite combination! We sat out on our little private terrace overlooking the stream and that’s when Chris proposed. I said yes in a flood of tears.
The ring was a three stone diamond ring from Boodles. I didn’t know at the time but my Nanna also has a three stone engagement ring from Boodles, so that made it extra special.
We facetimed our immediate family before going off to dinner. At dinner we ordered food but couldn’t eat any of it due to the excitement. So we took our drinks and went back to the room. It was the best weekend ever.
We got married on Friday, 6th September 2019. We always wanted a September wedding date. I remember when I was a little girl at school, you’d have the whole summer holiday and the weather would be rubbish, then you’d go back to school and the first few weeks would be glorious sunshine. So we went with it for that reason, despite Chris wanting to move it earlier so he could get married when he was still in his 20s – he turned 30 in June 2019!
I grew up in Chester and, when I was younger, I made a deal with my parents that they couldn’t move from our family home until I had got ready there on my wedding morning. We’ve been in that house for almost all of my life so it was really important to me.
We visited Iscoyd Park on the open day in June 2018 and it was a beautiful day of sunshine. Charlie met us and showed us around the stunning house and then left us so we could have a wander round by ourselves. We went out into the garden and sat on the grass and just looked back at the house and already we started to imagine ourselves on our wedding day.
The house had absolutely everything we could have wished for – stunning grounds and reception rooms, a beautiful blank canvas marquee for us to put our own stamp on, and the perfect party room for the evening. To top it all off, we were able to have our immediate family and bridesmaids and ushers stay overnight with us in the beautiful bedrooms, each of which has been individually designed. Chris and I viewed three other venues but none compared in any way. We got back in touch with Iscoyd and reserved the 6th of September.
We didn’t have a particular theme, but our flowers were all white and we wanted everything to be simple, classy and elegant.
My dress was a Pronovias dress, which I got from Brides of Chester. It was a beautiful Mikado silk gown in a very traditional style. A boat neck fit and flare with a deep V at the back and buttons all the way down to the bottom. It was classy and traditional but still felt modern.
My mum got married 30 years ago and had a dress with big sleeves, roses and ribbons. She still has her dress so we took one of the ribbons and roses off it and sewed it into the inside of my dress, which was my ‘something old’.
When we went dress shopping, Brides of Chester was the first shop we went to. I was actually really nervous about dress shopping so, despite getting engaged in May, it took until late October for me to actually book an appointment. I thought I had a firm idea of what I wanted, but like many, I went for the opposite! It was actually the first dress I tried on and I just knew. I only took my mum and my auntie dress shopping as I wanted to keep the dress a surprise for everyone else for the day. I’m so pleased I made that decision as showing my bridesmaids on the wedding morning made it even more exciting.
We ordered the dress the same day and I couldn’t wait for May to come around when it would arrive in the shop. Going back for fittings, I used to get so excited to try it on again, but so frustrated when I had to take it back off again. The day before the wedding we went to collect it and I was so excited.
I knew that my dress was beautiful but simple so I wanted a veil to go with it. I got the most beautiful cathedral length Stella York veil.
Chris wore his own tails but bought a new waistcoat to set him apart from his ushers. It was dove grey and double breasted and he wore a lovely blue silk tie with a fleur de lis motif on it. He wore Russell and Bromley shoes which I had bought him as a wedding present. He also wore a pocket watch lent to him by his father which is a family heirloom and belonged to his great great grandfather.
Chris wanted a traditional look for the groomsmen so they all wore tails, which we hired from Moss Bros. The ties and pocket squares were in an ivory satin as he didn’t want them to have to match the green of the bridesmaids. They all wore single breasted dove grey waistcoats and they looked so smart!
The girls wore sage green dresses from Hobbs. They were a lovely, flowing floor-length style with a high neck, big bows on the back at the top and made out of chiffon.
We had the best people we could possibly have wished for on the day and we had the best morning ever! Our hair was done by Lizzie Griffiths and her colleague Helene. I wanted a sophisticated look for all of the bridesmaids with their hair up. It was an early start but the girls all loved their hair and looked amazing.
Our makeup artist was Tammy Faye Brown. I’ve known Tammy for a number of years as she’s based not far from me, in Alderley Edge, and has done my make up a number of times. There was absolutely no one else I would have trusted with my makeup on my wedding day. I felt a million dollars all day. Tammy even stayed to help my Mum get me into my dress. She also did the makeup of all of the bridesmaids and they all looked beautiful.
We hired a vintage Rolls Royce from Chester Wedding Cars. Our driver John, who owned the car, was so lovely and a total professional, especially getting a big dress in and out of a car! We had visited him a few months previously, where he showed us his impressive collection of cars and, hearing all of his stories, it quickly became clear that his cars were his passion and not just simply a business to him.
We had debated over whether to get a car as it’s only five minutes from Iscoyd Park to St Mary’s Church, but we’re so glad that we did. It made it more special and the drone footage that the videographers shot of the car coming up the drive towards Iscoyd is breathtaking.
We had Tony Wilson of Photography 34. Unlike most couples, we actually wanted to find a photographer who had never photographed a wedding at Iscoyd before. We wanted someone who could bring a totally fresh perspective, in order to make our photos truly our own. Tony had photographed our close friends’ wedding the year before and luckily he was available on our date – and he was just as excited as we were about photographing at somewhere totally new.
Roland and Lisa Turner from RTP Films had captured Chris’ sister’s wedding a few years ago and there was never anyone else we wanted to use. They had visited Iscoyd once before and, when we told them where we were getting married there, they were so excited to go back! We love our video.
Our flowers were done by Margaret Mason. The first time we met her we knew we were in such safe hands, and she actually knew what we wanted better than we did. Although we went in with our own ideas to begin with, she wasn’t afraid to make suggestions and they were always better than ours!
Margaret took the time to visit St Mary’s and Iscoyd with her team before the wedding, travelling all the way from Preston! We then left the rest to her and she did an incredible job, including bringing my bouquet to me in person in the bridal suite just before I was due to leave for church.
I will never forget walking up the church path in my wedding dress and seeing the breathtaking arch over the door – it was so beautiful.
Back at Iscoyd, the centrepieces were a mixture of high and low arrangements with lots of candles and we also had a ladder of beautiful flowers hanging from the ceiling in between the chandeliers which made the marquee look incredible.
We gave all of our flowers away to friends and family the day after the wedding as we were going away on honeymoon straight afterwards, which was so sad as we didn’t get to enjoy them past the day itself! But my bouquet has dried beautifully and now sits pride of place on the console table in our hallway. Our flowers were so important to us and we are so lucky to have had Margaret, she was incredible.
We got mini Colin and Connie Caterpillars from M&S. We wrapped these individually in little favour bags and tied them with a sage green ribbon which matched the bridesmaid’s dresses.
We had Colin the groom and Connie the bride Caterpillar cakes, which were giant versions of Colin the Caterpillar, again from M&S. Chris has had a caterpillar cake for his birthday every year since he was little and everyone loves chocolate cake so it also went down well with our guests!
We had a really tough time choosing our menu as all of the food at Iscoyd is so good! We brought both sets of parents with us to our tasting evening and tried so many of the options, but we settled on the smoked haddock fishcake to start, followed by the free range roast chicken breast and the Eton Mess to finish. I’m vegetarian so the vegetarian option was just as important to us, and we chose the leek and Belton cheese tartlet to start, followed by spinach and ricotta tortellini and finished with the Eton Mess. We couldn’t be more grateful to the chefs and their team who kept us fed with the most delicious food throughout the day and the evening.
We served champagne to our guests when they arrived at Iscoyd after the ceremony. Iscoyd saved the cork from the first bottle that was opened and gave it to us as a memento of our first drink as a married couple, which was such a lovely touch.
Iscoyd also served our guests some lovely canapes during the drinks reception, even bringing out our own separate bride and groom’s board so that we got to try each one of them.
Whilst we wanted a religious ceremony, we chose to incorporate contemporary music into the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to At Last by Alexis Ffrench who is an incredibly talented pianist and contemporary composer. At the end of the ceremony, we walked out to Perfect Symphony by Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli.
We went through Jonny Ross Music who were fantastic from start to finish. We were quite indecisive to begin with, as we wanted to get the right band and they have so many amazing ones to choose from! We eventually settled on The Wilde Ones and they were fantastic. Our dance floor was full all evening and we had so much fun.
We named our tables after some of our favourite restaurants from all of the places that we’ve lived. The top table was named after Piccolino as we are regulars in their Manchester and Didsbury restaurants!
We were reassured from the second we walked into Iscoyd that the team was there every step of the way, to hold our hands through the crazy journey that planning a wedding takes you on. The house is incredible but without the incredible staff both front of house and back of house, it wouldn’t be the dream place that it is.
We especially loved the privacy of Iscoyd – we truly felt like it was our home for the time we were there and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We were made to feel like we were the only bride and groom to ever be married there, the staff made it that special for us. Even the small touches like my favourite Neom scents filling the bridal suite before we arrived in the morning, to saving the cork from the first bottle of champagne opened at our drinks reception to receiving beautiful cards in the post when we booked and at Christmas – everything had been thought of. So many of our guests have commented saying what a beautiful venue it is, the perfect mix of old and new, and the addition of being able to marry at St Mary’s made Iscoyd the one for us.
We were so lucky to have Ffion at Iscoyd who took care of all of the arrangements that we needed her to. Ffion became our best friend and we couldn’t have gone on the journey that we did without her. Even now, six months on, I swear that we only had the day that we did because of her.
During the ceremony itself, saying our vows. Chris managed to get through his really well but I got emotional at points. Walking into our wedding reception with all of our friends and families smiling back at us was magical too. We were so grateful to be surrounded by everyone that we love so much. Then going out into the gardens at sunset with just us and the photographer and videographer. It was the first proper time we’d had on our own all day and it was surreal and the first time we actually took it all in that we were now husband and wife.
My advice would be to try to be organised, as it takes the pressure and stress off later on. Also, make sure you choose the suppliers that are right for you, even if it means seeing a few different ones to begin with. Once you find the right ones, you’ll know. Finally, as bride and groom, it’s totally your day and whilst everyone loves to offer help, guidance and opinions, make sure you make your own decisions and make it the day of your dreams, not theirs.
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