From a Game of Thrones lightning storm engagement, Mike & Laura created a wedding with a relaxed forest vibe, handmade touches and with their own thrones too! After-all with an Architect and an Animator you are mixing creative and style all together the wedding was bound to be a designers dream! Featuring huge willow and blossom arrangements and a venue ceiling to die for! All planned from London to rekindle their northern roots in Blackpool. Oh and did I mention a huge sing along to Lion King's "Can We Feel The Love Tonight!"
"Following three and a half years of ‘is this going to be the moment?’ holidays, I don’t think that I ever thought Mike was going to propose. However, my mum was the main culprit in rousing my suspicions – After years of asking when we were going to get married she had suddenly gone quiet. Something was afoot.
I had booked for the two of us to go away for a long weekend to Dubrovnik in Croatia to celebrate Mike’s 30th birthday. This coincided with finding out that, after 9 years, I had qualified as an architect so it was celebrations all around!
Just as the rain began. Mike pulled out our iPod and splitter and asked that I listen; he’d put together a playlist of all of my favourite songs to listen to as we walked (I had recently watched 'Begin Again' and LOVED the scene where they walked around the city playing each other their favourite music).
Walking towards the city was incredible – Forked lighting and the nearing storm were pretty exciting additions while listening to our favourite tunes, and by this point I was getting suspicious. We finally made it to the other side of the city just as the heavens opened (and after a minor detour due to a wrong turn…).
We were stood in the bay where the ‘Battle of the Blackwater’ (for any GOT fans) was filmed. After waiting for a crowd of German tourists to leave, Mike handed me the umbrella (yes – in a lightning storm), got down on one knee in a puddle, and asked me to marry him. I could barely wait for him to finish his adorable speech before saying yes!
I didn’t even think to look at the ring until we got inside – It’s the most beautiful vintage solitaire from Grey’s Antiques in London. The diamond is repurposed from a 1920’s broach, and is set with side stones and a milgrain edging. And I LOVE it!
We had the most beautiful meal in one of Dubrovnik’s highest rated restaurant complete with celebratory fizz, before phoning our family and spending the next four days in newly engaged bliss!
On the morning of the wedding we had both left gifts for one another to open. As Mike has a habit of running late, and had strict instructions to make it to the church before me, I decided to gift him a watch. I bought him a Mr Beaumont watch from Etsy, which I’d had inscribed. Needless to say it did its job – he was at the church early (!) following a tour around Lytham in a friend’s car with ‘Going to the Chapel’ blaring out at full volume!
Mike has a habit of buying me gifts that I never think of myself, but often turn out to be my most prized and treasured possessions. He delivered once again on our wedding day, with a pair of personalised converses, with ‘Mrs F’ inscribed on the heels. Although I LOVED my Kurt Geiger heels, and they did me well for the day, I was rocking those converse on the dance floor by the end of the night!
I never intended to spend a large amount of money on my wedding dress, deeming it frivolous for one day. However, after falling in love with a Justin Alexander dress at Angelica Bridal in Angel, nothing else lived up!
My dress was an A-line full-length dress, in ivory with a pale gold silk underlay. The dress was head to toe Chantilly lace, with an eyelet finish to the top and capped sleeves added. It had a chapel train, and I wish I could wear it everyday!
I wore my dress with a chapel length veil from Etsy (an absolute bargain!) and Kurt Geiger gold glitter heels. The train of my dress was put up in a bustle after dinner, and I added a belt from Essence of Australia.
We got married at St. John the Divine Church in Lytham, on Saturday 14th October 2017 – 364 days after we got engaged. The date was Mike’s Grandma’s birthday, which made it even more special. A church that has always been important to me as it signified arriving home when I was away at University and living in London. The church and the windmill opposite are key landmarks to me of my hometown. As both my mum and Mike’s dad live within the parish, we qualified fairly easily to get married there.
Mike had always said that he would have Sabina and Matt photograph his wedding.
After we got engaged, Mike showed me Rustic Lovebirds website and facebook page. I think that booking the Rustic Lovebirds was one of the easiest and quickest decisions we made! We contacted them immediately to find out their availability and, thankfully, they were available for our wedding date.
Our reception was held at the beautiful Great Hall at Mains. We looked at venues in the lakes and locally with our mum’s over a couple of weekends, but this was the venue that really made us go ‘WOW’. As we walked around the accompanying house, where we would stay on our wedding night, Mike’s excitement was infectious. He’s always had a good sense for when something is just ‘right’.
The venue was out of our budget, but through waiting for last minute deals, choosing an off-peak season date, and outsourcing the catering rather than using the venue’s in-house provider, we were able to make it work.
Our theme was simply ‘things that we love’. I trawled through countless magazines, blogs and Pinterest for inspiration – In fact it became a bit of an addiction!
We love all things hygge in our home, and this transferred through to the wedding. We were keen to create a cosy and welcoming feel for our guests, with plenty of candles, blankets to wrap up warm, and the compulsory fur throw for the ‘thrones’ at our sweetheart table.
As the Great Hall at Mains has such a high vaulted ceiling we were keen to reduce the scale and further create a ‘hygge’ vibe to the room. Fresh and silk ivy was draped from the beams by Sonje and her team, and they created an amazing chandelier arrangement of ivy and wisteria. Fairy lights were hung from the ceiling, creating a magical forest vibe.
We set the tables with ‘party packs’ filled with love hearts, speech bingo cards, and bubbles, which all went down a treat! For the children, we created bigger party bags, filled with colouring books, toys and sweets. We tasked the older children with being our dinnertime photographers, providing them each with a game of i-spy and a list of key shots to take. It has certainly led to some interesting photos!
One of the nicest comments we had about our wedding was how ‘inclusive’ our little details made it. Every person we invited was so important to us, and we felt that it was important that they knew that!
Our cake was gifted to us by Mike’s mum. She had made Mike’s 30th birthday cake and is a baking genius, so we knew we were in safe hands. Needless to say she delivered, with a beautiful four-tier cake in ivory and gold with lace detail and ribbon. Each tier was different; chocolate, lemon, vanilla and fruitcake, and we were gutted that we didn’t try every one!
Alongside our wedding cake we decided to have a ‘cake and sweets table’ for guests to graze on through the day - mostly as an ode to our love of all things sweet! A kind friend made a large array of ‘cake canapes’, which we supplemented with sweets and oreos for our vegan friends. It went down a treat!
As we are both quite creative in our jobs we were keen to get involved in all things DIY – Great in theory, but we took on so much we had a LOT of sleepless nights the week before the big day! Our stationary and signage was all designed and made by us, and printed on cotton rag paper with gold touches. Our printer hated us for it.
Candelabras with ivy and wisteria were placed at the top of the aisle in the church, and these stood on either side of our sweetheart table through the reception. Sonje also created a huge willow and blossom arrangement, which stood at the back of the church before being moved to the reception. We created our own welcome sign and table plan, which my mum and I adorned with foliage that we foraged from the local wood.
I am a massive colour-phobe, and so we kept the colour palette for the day fairly neutral and clean, with main colours of white and gold with lots of foliage!
My bridesmaids wore a mink / pale pink hue in satin with a lace overlay, which complimented the colours and textures of my dress. Mike spent months agonising over grey versus navy suits, and we had more than one stressful shopping trip, before finally settling on a navy suit from Marc Darcy. He paired this with a pale grey tie from Etsy, a white shirt from T.M.Lewin, and brown brogues from River Island. We bought the groomsmen’s suits and ties, and asked that they provided their own shirts and shoes.
My bouquet was made of ivory avalanche roses, ruscus, lots of flowering eucalyptus, astanthia, Gypsophilia and green bell. I asked Sonje Jones for a wild looking bouquet with a neutral colour scheme and she certainly delivered. The bridesmaids had a similar arrangement, but with spray roses and in a smaller bouquet.
I am not a fan of large flower centrepieces at weddings, largely as I find that they stop you from being able to talk across the table. Instead, with the help of our families, we spent months collecting wine bottles that we filled with tall taper candles. These created a lovely cosy feeling to the room and it was lovely to give all of our friends and family a romantic candle-lit meal as the sun set! We decorated the tables further with heather plants that we bought locally, and made lovely gifts for our guests.
Rowleys, our caterers, did the most amazing job with our wedding breakfast. Paul has known and worked with my family previously, and his team pulled out all of the stops in making sure our wedding food was perfect.
We opted for canapés rather than a starter, preferring to let guests mingle and listen to the live music. We are big foodies, and themed our menu around our love of all things northern! Rowleys provided plates of goat’s cheese bonbons, mini shepherds pies, scallops wrapped in air dried ham, crispy chicken goujons, and black pudding ad Cumberland skewers. For our main we opted for Confit Shin of Beef, and for dessert we celebrated our birthplace: Blackpool. The ‘Treats from the Golden Mile’ plate was incredible, with a Mini Pint of Chocolate Delice, Caramelised Marshmallows, Mini Churros, Candy floss, and Blackpool Rock Ice-Cream on a Shortbread Sand.
In the evening Paul and his team kept the food flowing, with chip cones and ‘posh hot dogs’. Our guests were incredibly impressed, and the food was absolutely impeccable and truly captured the feel of northern homeliness we had wanted for our day.
Picking a top table to us seemed like a nightmare job – Both of our parents have remarried, and we have a lot of close friends, all of whom we wanted to see and speak to during our wedding breakfast.
We decided that, rather than have an (incredibly long) top table we would have a sweetheart table so that we could spend some time together. This also meant that we were free to wander around the room between courses and speak to all of our guests – Something that was really important to us when people had travelled from so far to join us.
The speeches. Truly one of the most memorable parts of the day. My Dad gave a wonderful heart warming speech, rounded off with his favourite anecdote and a lovely nod to Mike. Mike relayed our many, many ‘thank you’s’, and I even had a dabble myself in true 21st century style. I have never been less nervous speaking in public, but I think that was partially as the feminist in me wanted to prove to the room that it didn’t need to be all male speeches! I wrote a poem, saying my own thank you’s to our guests, and rounding off with saying thank you to Mike for making me Mrs Foster.
But the stand up event was certainly the best men’s double act. From banning Mike from speaking (with the promise of honeymoon spends donated from our guests as a prize), to the many, many anecdotes and stories - it was truly one of the best best-men speeches I have heard. And no, I’m not being biased. (Well, maybe a little…).
However the crowning glory was most certainly the finale. On the night that Mike and I met, we had sat with his friend’s at a house party and sung along to the Lion King (incidentally, my favourite Disney movie of all time). The best men rounded off the speeches with a whole room sing-along to ‘Can you feel the love tonight?’ – And it truly was the best thing ever.
Music means a lot to us, and my family have a big love of all things musical, so it was important to us that music should be a big part of our day.
In the lead up to the wedding we put together a playlist of our favourite songs, which we played throughout the wedding breakfast, before the Love Rats arrived for the evening. They learnt and played an acoustic cover of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell as our first dance song, before playing a mix of songs from across the decades to please all of our guests. We had seen the Love Rats perform at a family friends birthday party a few years before, and hadn’t left the dance floor as they played so many great hits, so we knew they were the band we wanted to book.
Finally, as part of our package at the Great Hall at Mains we had a DJ, who was amazing on the night and kept the crowd dancing – even letting my mum have a go on the microphone to ‘Mustang Sally’. We had asked out guests to rsvp with their favourite songs, which the DJ did his best to incorporate through the evening.
Some of our stand out moments from the day are definitely dancing – An impromptu dance with my Dad to ‘Never Forget’ will always make me smile, and finishing the night to ‘New York, New York’ with a big circle of our friends and family around us is one of our highlights of the day.
After endless Pinterest trawling I decided a DIY photobooth was a must; complete with paper cone backdrop and a sprayed gold frame that guests could pose with. We put together a big box of fancy dress goodies, which gradually made their way onto the dance floor through the night. We purchased an Instax camera and asked guests to stick a photo of themselves in our guest book. It has made for the best guest book photo album, and really captures the fun of the day!
Following dinner we made our way outside for ‘sparkler shots’, with some true comedy moments as Sabina and Matt tried to direct our wedding party into taking some clever light photos. My sister running around the two of us to create a stream of light will always make me giggle!
With Great thanks to Laura & Mike, The Great Hall at Mains, The Love Rats, Rowleys Caterers, Angelica Bridal in Angel, Grey’s Antiques in London, Sonje Flowers.
Rustic Lovebirds Photography.