Photographer Andy Saywell SaywellHQ
What an absolute delight to re-live Julie and Guy’s special elopement wedding at Hazel Gap Barn. When Julie contacted me asking me what I thought about the dress she was wearing with her wedding shoes. “Do you think this is okay for a secret wedding?” immediately I knew that this secret wedding was hers, and there was absolutely no way Julie was walking down any aisle in anything other than her wedding dress!
Because of the COVID-19 restrictions and the wedding postponements the boutique was closed and work on our frocks was paused, therefor Julies dress was still in the toile stage. Not one to shy away from a challenge I suggested that Julie should come on the re opening day on the 4th of July and stay for the whole day, and I would fit the dress to her then and there!
I few changes (and late nights later) I was able to deliver Julies dress the day before the wedding and was astonished at how cool and calm both Julie and Guy were. Julie had made their wedding cake and was creating her flowers. I was blown away with how perfect and romantic this was for them.
Grab a cup of tea and have a read through of not only Julies experience of planning, postponing and having an elopement wedding, but Guys too!
What was your proposal like?
Julie: Stressful. It was more of a discussion and agreement after an argument, over two years ago. Although Guy will tell you I proposed to him via WhatsApp out of the blue one day.
We decided to get a ring I already owned modified and the wait to get the ring back was unbearable. The jeweller injured her hand so work was slow. We were going to Scotland to visit my family and was promised the ring would be ready, but it wasn’t and was getting closer to the day we were leaving. I was upset we wouldn’t have the ring to share the good news with my family. The night before we left, Guy came home from work with Lainey (my stepdaughter) and I was sat at the dining room table talking to Lainey, asking about her day. When I looked around, Guy was on one knee with the ring and a huge smile. “Will you marry me?” “YES!” I was so shocked and so happy. He said he had an elaborate plan to take me to the bandstand at Queens Park, Chesterfield, in the morning and do it then but when he picked the ring up from the jewellers’ everyone was so excited for him and gushing over how beautiful the ring was he couldn’t contain it so had to do it as soon as he got home.
It was perfect, just the three of us. All my worry and stress vanished instantly. I’m glad Guy still managed to surprise me with a proposal even though we’d agreed to it months before and already called ourselves engaged.
Guy: The proposal was unconventional, much like the two of us. Due to Julie’s job, we’re apart from each other often and much of our relationship is powered by Whatsapp messaging and video calls. I remember being stood in the living room and during a conversation with Julie, she just dropped out the question so casually that she had to reinforce to me that she was being serious. I accepted without hesitation and so our story began.
How did you find wedding dress hunting?
Julie: From a previous horrendous experience, I was dreading wedding dress shopping and didn’t go into any stores. I didn’t want to squeeze into too small dresses that would only accentuate my insecurities or be told that I couldn’t have the type of dress I was looking for. I looked online for inspiration for a long, long time and I found a gorgeous dress that was way out of price range. I would have also have had to go to a roadshow in London to try it. That’s when I thought maybe I could get a similar dress made and after contacting a few dressmakers that said no, I phoned Lizzie who gave me a super positive impression from the get-go.
Guy: From my point of view, Julie had found a dress design which she fell in love with and while we were sat eating in a Red’s True BBQ restaurant somewhere she told me exactly how much the dress would cost. I nearly fell off my chair at that point and we had to have a serious discussion about how we were going to compromise on the dress. Julie was adamant that she wanted *THAT* *DRESS* and we seriously considered having to view it at a roadshow in London or even having to travel to Israel to meet the designer.
Julie had the brainwave of contacting some dressmakers to see if they could design and make a dress very similar to the one she’d seen. No one really filled her with confidence and to start with it seemed a little fruitless. Happening upon Lizzie was undoubtedly fateful and instantly we knew we’d made the right choice!
How did you decide upon your chosen design?
Julie: I knew I wanted an A-line (to hide my big hips) with long sleeves (to hide my big arms) and originally was looking at blush coloured dresses but found a super sparkly champagne dress that I didn’t even compare to any others.
Going to meet Lizzie for the first time and looking at fabrics to put together my dress, put me at ease and filled me with confidence that Lizzie would make me look and feel pretty in anything. Over the course of our appointments, the dress design changed for the better, different lace and even no sleeves! Lizzie constantly reminded me that my dress is for me, that although we had inspiration from a model in a photograph, it was my dress.
Lizzie is outstanding at making women feel good about themselves. At not comparing bodies to other bodies, and for doing all that she possibly can do to make your vision come to life.
Guy: Julie and Lizzie worked together basing their original concept on the dress which Julie had found. There was talk of modifying the design to make it unique and perfect for Julie. By the time all fittings had been done and the big day arrived, I’d been told that the final dress barely resembled the original concept but that it was truly bespoke and exactly to Julie’s wants.
What accessories did you style your bridal look with?
I wore my normal jewellery, including the Skin and Bone bangle and ring Guy had got me for my 30th birthday a few months before, and the necklace Guy got me when we first got together in 2017. I’ve only taken it off once and that was while I was going for surgery. I wore a hair vine, carried my Dad’s handkerchief that I’d cross-stitched the date onto and a silver sixpence in my shoe that was gifted to me by my Grandad Hunter. My bouquet had two small photo frames with pictures of each of my grandparents on their wedding days.
Covid-19 derailed some weddings this year. How did it affect your planning at the start?
Julie: Almost our whole wedding was planned. We had pretty much organised it all two years prior. We were just about to send out the invitations, almost the last thing to do. We kept trying to keep positive that our wedding was going to go ahead in its entirety so held off for as long as possible to postpone. We couldn’t risk our family and friends health and safety and knew that many of our guests would decline because of the ever increasing situation.
Guy: It wasn’t really a thing for us back at the beginning. We’d done everything (somehow) quite sometime before the COVID-19 outbreak so we were absolutely mortified when we realised that the virus wasn’t going to go away. However, we faced up to reality and found a new date for May 2021, coincidentally falling on the exact date we first viewed our venue! It was a huge disappointment to us that we had to postpone, but because of the severity of the situation, we knew we had to put the safety and health of our guests first. It felt like unfinished business though…
What made you decide on an elopement wedding on your original date?
Julie: As upset as we were that we’d had to postpone to make sure our friends and family could celebrate with us, we knew the whole point of a wedding was our commitment to each other. I’d posed the option of Guy and I marrying in an intimate setting which Guy thought long and hard about.
When the announcement was made that small weddings could go ahead again, I first got in touch with the registrars to see if we could do a registry office wedding and was told that our notice of intent was linked to the venue and there was not enough time to get a new notice of intent for a new venue. I got in touch with Hazel Gap Barn to ask if it was possible for us to go ahead with the wedding and they were more than accommodating and excited to host our secret wedding.
It would be the first wedding they’d hold since COVID-19 started. Everything aligned to make sure we could get married on our original date and even after postponing it still felt like our date. I’m glad we got married just the two of us on our date because our love and being together is what matters. Much more than a big party. Although we’re just as excited for that too. It was fate.
Guy: After we had realised that there was a huge chance that we weren’t going to keep our original date, Julie suggested that maybe we could get married quietly. I was the one who had insisted that I wanted everyone at our wedding and so I pushed back on this idea for a while. I kept a small portion of my mind open, even though I had huge reservations about the quiet wedding and how that would go across with my family, some of which are quite traditional in their thinking.
It was when we visited my grandparents after the first relaxing of the lockdown rules and my grandmother suggested that we might go and get married quietly, I started to see the situation differently. One of my colleagues said the same thing as my grandmother and my thinking shifted even more towards how a secret, quiet wedding might go. It started to make sense to me and very much became a serious option.
How did you feel when you made the decision the go ahead with the original date?
Julie: Ridiculously excited! I wanted to tell EVERYONE! It was nice having this little secret between us though. Something to share just together. I told everyone I could, people that aren’t directly linked to our families or social circle, like my masseuse and hairdresser, Guy’s barber, and the jewellers.
The weekend before the wedding I started having serious doubts about whether we were doing the right thing. I knew getting married was right, but was it wrong to exclude our loved ones? Guy helped me rationale that my family wouldn’t have been able to travel down, there wouldn’t have been anywhere for them to stay, my Dad wouldn’t have been able to walk me down the aisle, that we were still having the ceremony and reception for everyone in May. If we had had our family there, things would have been stifled and awkward, having to socially distance from everyone when all we want to do is hug and kiss them. It wouldn’t have been an enjoyable day.
Guy: Honestly, I was quite anxious. It seemed naughty and like we were the architects of some grand conspiracy, but that anxiety and worry very quickly gave way to excitement. As the registrars and the venue were only just starting to get to grips with how weddings would proceed and with the short notice, we were still unsure a week before the wedding whether it would actually be possible.
How did you create your flowers?
I made the bouquet and buttonhole myself from flowers I ordered from Bloom and Wild. Our actual florist, Frond and Bloom, offered me some advice and will do the flowers for the sequel wedding in May.
What was the morning like, getting ready together?
Julie: It was really nice. We had a nice lie-in, and I made bacon sandwiches to have breakfast in bed and we just took it really easy, stress free. We were extremely relaxed like it was just another day, but with this excitement buzzing about the atmosphere. We were giddy and laughed all morning, all day.
When Lizzie arrived Guy was banished downstairs. He’d set his clothes out the night before in the most adorable little trail, that’s when the nervousness started creeping in. It was real then. I could have burst. There was a ridiculous amount of energy coming from us. There was a sadness that my sister wasn’t the one helping me into my wedding dress, that Lainey wasn’t there doing final twirl tests in her sparkly flower girl dress and beaming that she was wearing high heels and that Guy wasn’t with his brother and best friends getting ready and swigging whisky from the personalised hip flask I’d gifted him. But there was a happiness that today I would finally marry my person, that we’d waited so long for something so good to happen. It felt naughty but it felt oh so right. I’m surprised I managed to keep breathing. I wanted to squeal with excitement. I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted everyone to be sharing in our happiness but I also love that we selfishly kept it all just for us. Focussed solely on the two of us, because that’s what the day was all about, the two of us.
Guy: It was almost surreal. We had an incredibly relaxed morning, lovely long lie-in and bacon sandwiches in bed. We had some phenomenal excitement building up as every minute and hour ticked by. Lizzie arriving made everything super-real for me and I was quickly confined to downstairs to allow the bridal party space and privacy to do all the preparations, giving me the opportunity to still be surprised and dazzled by the beauty of my bride in her dress.
How did Guy react when he saw you?
Julie: He gasped. His eyes lit up and his jaw dropped! He had the biggest smile. He was speechless. It made me feel like the most beautiful, luckiest girl in the whole world.
Guy: Time stopped. She looked so heavenly in her dress, positively bridal and absolutely glowing with happiness. My mouth fell open and I was unable to find words for a good minute or two. She was the perfect bride.
How did you find the ceremony? Was the emotional?
Julie: Yes! Very. Even though it was just the two of us and three witnesses. I was a mixture of so many emotions I didn’t know what way was up. So excited and nervous all at once that I even messed up saying my own name!
Guy: The ceremony was really intimate. With just a few of us there, it was a really special moment. It was quiet, peaceful and the room was filled with expectation and excitement as I was stood in front of the registrar, fidgeting and babbling nervously. As the music started, my eyes were transfixed on the door to the bridal room waiting to get my first glimpse of my soon-to-be wife. Without guests in the room, my whole view was one of my bride looking absolutely perfect, walking through an aisle of candles. Any remnants of worry dissolving instantly, I was left with an absolute sense of euphoria and filled with love. I’ve never felt anything like how I felt at that time and the image of Julie walking towards me will be one of my dearest memories.
What did you do to celebrate to rest of the day?
Julie: Still in our wedding attire we went to Tesco to collect a food shop for our mini-moon to Sherwood Forest Center Parcs. I didn’t want to take my dress off at all, I just wanted to swish and spin in it all day. I wanted to show it off to everyone and bring joy to other people that good things were beginning to happen again during such a hard and troubling time. Two little girls cycled passed us as we got out of the car at our villa and gushed and shouted how beautiful I was and happy wedding day. We spent the rest of the day and night in the hot tub calling each other Mr and Mrs Wall, grinning away and giggling every time we said husband or wife, drinking cocktails.
Guy: HA! This bit is one of my favorite parts of our wedding story. We had a couple of glasses of champagne and just calmed ourselves a little before we headed off to do what every newly wedded couple does… went to collect our shopping from Tesco in our wedding finery. The guy who came to greet us was blown away at the fact we had been married less than an hour and was highly amused at the crazy newlywed couple whose car he was dumping shopping bags into. Shopping loaded, we headed off to Center Parcs at Sherwood Forest, but not before we found a pub to toast the event, again taking pretty much everyone by surprise and revelling in the congratulations coming from strangers. Center Parcs was a similar affair with almost everyone in the reservations hut coming to wish us well and offer their congratulations. It was so special and I couldn’t have asked for more.
Would you have changed anything about your day?
Julie: The day was perfect for us. We’re not the most conventional couple, deciding to buy a house together on our second date, me moving to Chesterfield after our third, Guy coming to Lizzie’s with me to help design my wedding dress. So a secret wedding, or minimony, was right up our street and we’re looking forward to partying with everyone we love next May when things will be safe. We finally feel complete. Nothing exceptional has changed to our circumstances but we feel whole, like our wedding rings were the only missing part.
Guy: I’m a strong believer in fate and serendipity. There are countless things we could have changed about the day, inviting selected family members or friends, telling people we were getting married beforehand or even not deciding to get married at all. But everything about that day, for us was perfect. It was kooky, unusual and totally non-traditional. I couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful day.
What was your favorite moment from your wedding?
Julie: All of it! Hearing the music start, seeing Guy at the end of the aisle, putting our rings on each other, Guy dip kissing me, walking back up the aisle as husband and wife. I couldn’t pick one moment from the whole day. From realising it didn’t matter Guy’s suit trousers didn’t fit the Friday before, that my hair wouldn’t be perfect, from going to bed knowing we were waking up together on our wedding day, the road being closed and us having to detour, to us laughing all week at us riding a tandem bike and competitively shooting crossbows. It was all exactly how things were meant to be, the way the stars and spirits wanted it to be. I couldn’t pick one moment.
Guy: My favourite part is undoubtedly seeing Julie walking down the aisle. Everything about that moment filled me with love and happiness and it’s a memory I will treasure forever.
What did Julie walk down the aisle too?
I ran up the aisle to Gin Wigmore – I Will Love You. It’s got beautiful lyrics that mean a lot to us. The song didn’t even get to the first chorus! I was so excited, I just wanted to get married to Guy.
How did you tell people afterwards?
Julie: We intended to keep it secret. We weren’t going to tell anyone until the wedding in May but realised that ten months is a really long time to keep it secret and that we’d rather tell people on our own terms than people find out accidentally.
We told as many people as we could on our mini-moon, even bagged a free Starbucks, and a whole bunch of strangers sheer elatedness for us psyched us up into telling our family and friends. We didn’t want to hide something we were so proud of. After getting home from our mini-moon, four nights later, and taking a few hours to settle, we video called my parents and just dropped the bomb. Phoned my Grandad Hunter, then went to Guy’s brother’s and told his parents and family.
Guy: After our break at Center Parcs we headed home, already having done a U-turn on my desire to keep the marriage quiet until May. I wanted to keep it a surprise until our so-called sequel wedding but after the big day and the break at Center Parcs, we couldn’t hide our excitement and we wanted to tell the whole world. So off we popped to my parents to spring the news on them, Julie having to video call hers in Edinburgh.
How did they react?
Julie: It turns out it would have been the worst kept secret in history as our parents and friends all had the same reaction, “I knew it!” They’re all extremely happy for us. Everyone has been understanding and thinks it’s very romantic that we got married on our original date and can’t wait to party with us in May. Guy’s Nan had the absolute best reaction, she has been very strict with isolation and lockdown rules so when we went to see her and tell her, her eyes went so wide “You haven’t!? You’ve got married!? Did you really!? Balls to Corona!” and gave us both the biggest hug.
Guy: Everyone was over the moon and so happy for us. Some even said they knew that we were going to do it. We’re known for being quite spontaneous and I think people knew how much the wedding meant to us.
Do you have any advice for couples who have had to postpone their wedding?
Julie: It’s hard. It’s difficult. It’s like you’re grieving but, you will get through this. Everyone will understand any decisions you make. Hopefully postponing your wedding was as simple and straightforward as when we did ours. All our vendors were available for our new wedding date and it was a straight swap. If it’s not though, then your wedding isn’t ruined, it just wasn’t meant to be that way and you’ll find new vendors that will make your postponed wedding date the most perfect day it possibly can be. Keep calm and know that it doesn’t matter where you are, or who you’re with, or what you’re wearing (although pretty dresses definitely make you feel good), all that matters is the love you share with your partner and the commitment you’re willing to make to spend the rest of your lives together.
Guy: Yes. Consider a quiet pre-wedding. It’s such an intimate and personal event and it takes a lot of the pressure and anxiety out of the equation. There’s almost no downside as your guests will still get to celebrate your wedding with you when your sequel arrives, yet you get to share the actual act of exchanging vows and rings with the one you love without any of the nerves or worry!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to elope?
Julie: Do it! Find a place that you both love and do it! All that matters is you and your partner and not anyone else’s opinions. The wedding is for you two, not for anyone else, so do exactly what you want. Even running away to somewhere remote (or thirty minutes away) and getting strangers to be your witnesses. Anyone that wants to voice a negative opinion isn’t worth your time, they’re not worth crying over, and they especially can’t take your day and your love away from you.
Guy: Try not to overthink too much about the possibility of people being disappointed or feeling excluded by your decision to have your wedding privately. If you’re having your sequel wedding with everyone there, they still get the whole wedding experience and really, that’s the bit that everyone wants to be there for. I took some convincing to go for the concept but honestly speaking, now I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Venue Hazel Gap Barn
A beautiful, quintessentially English, Derbyshire wedding venue. Throw in an amazing Tipi company and a swing and we have the most incredible setting for a wedding, at Heathy Lea.
Set in the breathtaking Derbyshire Peak District, on the Chatsworth Estate. Heathy Lea is known for being a luxury bed and breakfast, as well as offering gorgeous self-catering cottages. But that is not all, Heathy Lea is also a unique wedding venue. Offering couples exclusive weekend use for your special occasion.
With the stunning Peak District quite literary on the doorstep, there is no limit to the beauty of this venue. The garden’s summerhouse is fully licensed for marriages, so you could say your I Dos outside looking at that amazing view. However, if you’d prefer a church service, there is St Peters in Edensor and St Anne’s Baslow. Heathy Lea can then be used to hold your wedding reception in either a marquee or Tipi.
I first met Chris Smith a few years ago when he photographed a wedding that I had created the Bridal dress for and thought his work was wonderful. I was so excited to be asked to work with him again, and he did not disappoint as I am sure you will agree.
We started this shoot at 7 pm in the evening so we could make the most of that beautiful evening light and it was simply stunning.
The fabulous frock we chose for this shoot was our Bronte design. A gorgeous, relaxed yet elegant dress, created from beautiful layers of silk chiffon, and french corded lace. Perfect for this tipi setting.
So grab a cuppa and relax, as your in for a treat!
Location, Heathy Lea
Photographer Chris Smith
Tipi Prestige Events UK
For Charlotte and Zaks relaxed walled garden wedding, colour, music and plentiful celebrations were the order of the day.
It was October, the sun was beaming and The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields was a hub of activity when Lizzie arrived to dress Charlotte in her bespoke wedding dress. Charlotte’s wedding dress was based around our Bea design. To make it perfect for Charlotte we created a fuller skirt and sleeves so she would feel more relaxed, and hand appliqued all the intricate lacework on the bodice, sleeves and hem, to reflect her love of embroidery.
The Walled Garden at Beeston Fileds was the perfect venue for Charlotte and Zaks relaxed wedding vision. The stunning English garden setting with the victorian architecture created a beautiful backdrop for their wedding images. The whole day was stunning, full of emotions and love for a wonderful couple.
What was your proposal like?
Every year we visit York for a few days for my birthday. On this particular birthday
I was woken at 7am to homemade mimosas! And my presents to unwrap. One of the
gifts he’d bought me was a polaroid printer which allows you to print photos from your
phone. Before we went away he’d taken a photo of himself holding up a sign saying ‘Will
you marry me?’ which he then printed from his phone once I had unwrapped the printer!
It was absolutely perfect and one of my most treasured memories.
Did you pick up any tips during the planning stage?
Try and be flexible, if you can. Flexibility saves disappointment! Of course, we all
have certain elements of our dream wedding that we know are non-negotiable. But if you
can be flexible with others it saves so much stress as there is usually a way around most
wedding-crises that crop up!
What was searching for your perfect wedding dress like?
Lizzie ensures that every step of the wedding dress process is calm and stress-
free, but most importantly enjoyable! Sitting in her beautiful boutique with my mum,
having a cup of tea and trying on beautiful wedding dresses, slowly building my own
dream dress, is one of my favourite parts of wedding planning. I wish I could do It all
How did you choose the ‘THE ONE’?
I’m sure Lizzie will agree – I was not the easiest bride to dress!! Lots of girls know exactly what they are looking for when they begin wedding dress shopping, whereas I had no idea. I knew what kind of thing I liked, and more strongly than that what I didn’t like! But I found it very hard imagining those elements altogether. Because of this and because I can be so indecisive I knew I would never have that ‘the one’ moment when trying on a dress. But this is why I knew Elizabeth Malcolm was the perfect place because the dresses are tailored so perfectly to each bride. Lizzie was so patient and helped me work out which elements of each of her dresses I wanted to incorporate into my own, and even let me make changes along the way! But it meant that once it all came together, my dress was undoubtedly the one for me.
What was your most favourite part of your dress?
The beautiful embroidery. Once I’d settled on the style and fit I wanted for my dress, I knew there was still something missing, but wasn’t sure what. I wear a lot of clothing with embroidered flowers so Lizzie suggested we incorporate this and it was perfect! We had lace flowers and embroidery creeping across the chest and down the sleeves, as well as coming up from the hem of the skirt. It tied the whole thing together so brilliantly and made it even more ME.
What accessories did you go for?
I bought a matching necklace and bracelet set in a leafy design which wonderfully matched the style of the neckline of my dress. I then had lovely pearl earrings that belonged to my mum, and an absolutely beautiful hairpiece with flowers and leaves and pearls, tying everything together.
Who did your Wedding hair and makeup?
I was lucky enough to have my hair done by Vicky Rodgers who is my friend first and hairdresser second! Vicky and her colleague Rachael did my hair as well as my bridesmaids and my Mum, and did a brilliant job on all of us.
How did you decide on your look?
I think when it all came together; my overall look was very reminiscent of ‘me’ –
which is what I wanted for our wedding day. A day that encapsulated us as a couple and our personalities and styles.
How would you describe the styling of your wedding?
Very relaxed. Lots of colours, lots of flowers and greenery, a little bit boho! FUN!
Where did you get your wedding inspiration from?
Here, there and everywhere. I knew I didn’t want a ‘theme’ to our wedding, but I did know that I wanted it to feel relaxed. Therefore I was able to include anything and everything that we loved! I took lots of inspiration from online and some magazines, as well as lots of wedding fairs. Especially those at our venue, The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields. This meant we had a bit of everything at our wedding – a magician, an ice cream van, sparklers, temporary tattoos! You name it. But all these different aspects meant it was tailored perfectly to us and our characters.
Any small details that you would like to mention?
For our guest book, we had a polaroid camera to allow guests to leave a photo of themselves alongside their message which was a really nice touch. I love bees so we had ‘seed bombs’ in the shape of bees which when planted will grow wildflowers! And my husband has lots of tattoos so we put hundreds of temporary tattoos on the tables which went down very well with all the guests!
Did you follow any traditions?
We always knew our wedding wouldn’t be very traditional. We had all the usual things like being walked down the aisle by my Dad, the traditional speeches etc. but we didn’t get married in a church, we didn’t do the welcome line-up, my husband had 4 best men! We weren’t concerned with tradition and instead simply went with what felt right to us. Chilled and relaxed.
What music did you have during the ceremony?
We are big music fans and so getting this part right was important to us. We went with beautiful songs that either meant a lot to us or we felt fitted the occasion well. While guests were arriving and taking their seats we had The One by Kodaline and In Case You Didn’t Know by Brett Young. Me and my bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts – the loveliest song. While we signed the registers we had Can’t see Straight by Jamie Lawson, She’s Everything by Brad Paisley and Whatever It Is by Zac Brown Band. Finally, we walked back down the aisle as Husband and Wife to Love Someone by Brett Eldredge. One or two of our guests commented on the music afterwards and asked if we’d picked it all ourselves as they fit so nicely together – so mission achieved!
What about your first dance song?
Our first dance song was Spin Me Around by Patent Pending. This is a song we’ve always loved by a band we’ve seen live many times. The lyrics are wonderful and make it the perfect first dance song. But to make it even more special we had a version recorded for us by our friend’s band Waking Vegas. The best wedding band ever!
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
I can’t decide! Getting ready to walk down the aisle with my Dad, seeing my husband for the first time, looking around during the speeches and seeing everyone we loved in one place, right at the end after an evening of dancing and being so happy and content. There is too many to choose from!
Do you have any tips for brides to be, for wedding planning?
Lists, lists, lists! Keeping everything in your head can make it seem so overwhelming as there is obviously so much planning that goes into your big day. Write everything down, split it into sections – “to pay” “to buy” “to finalise” etc and start ticking stuff off. Seeing it broken down into smaller sections makes it seem much less daunting.
Photographer: Ian Dearman Media
Venue: The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields
Caterer: The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields
Bridesmaid dresses: Asos!
Hair: Vicky Rodgers
Makeup: Amy at The Pout Parlour
Videographer: Ian Dearman Media
Cake: My Aunty did our cake for us!
Shoes: Dune London
“Lizzie could not have done anymore to put me at ease from day 1. She is kind, funny and patient, whilst being very creative and talented. She knew the style that would suit my figure, how to make it bespoke to my likes and made what seemed a daunting process to me, so easy and enjoyable.”- Helen
“Lizzie has a unique way of putting you at ease! Nothing is too much trouble to try, even if it means spending hours trying on all the dresses she has designed. Lizzie always went the extra mile to ensure our dresses were exactly what we wanted, even coming to the venue to on the day to make sure the dresses were perfect! Lizzie is ace!!!”-Lucy
The venue, The West Mill
Flowers, Twisted Willow
Photography, Becky Ryan
Stephanie was the epitome of a classic, traditional and timeless bride. She and Robert were married at St Susannahs Church in Horsley Woodhouse. Then their reception was at The Farmhouse at Mackworth. For their traditional wedding, Stephanie chose to wear our stunning Gracie Rose with the added loveliness of a lace jacket with sleeves, pockets, a super long train and a delicate lace edge veil for her beautiful spring wedding. Small personal touches such as tulips for her flowers, the tea and biscuit station and creating their own decorations, therefor making their day even more special to them and their guests.
Read on to discover Stephanie and Roberts wedding journey and the personal details they created for their special day.
What was the proposal like?
“My husband proposed in the comfort of our own home but it was an unbelievably special proposal. I came home to a rose on the door with one of my favourite songs playing. I walked into our hallway where the cabinet I’d wanted for ages was sat. The cabinet consisted of eleven draws each with a numbered luggage label. Each one was filled with a handwritten note and some special tokens. In the last one was the ring and the message asking me to marry Rob, when I turned around Rob was there! I couldn’t stop crying. “
What was searching for your perfect wedding dress like?
I knew in my head what I’d always wanted and after seeing other people’s experiences and dresses from Lizzie, I wanted an Elizabeth Malcolm dress and experience. Searching for my perfect dress was easy – as soon as I walked through Lizzie’s door, she was ready to help me make my perfect dress a reality.
How did you choose the ‘THE ONE’?
I knew the style of dress I wanted and I knew which one of Lizzie’s dresses was my dream style – ‘Gracie-Rose’. As soon as I put it on I knew it was the dress for me. I wanted a traditional dress but still, one that was unique to me. Lizzie helped me create my dress just that by adding all those extra parts to ‘Gracie-Rose’ that I wanted. A lace jacket and sleeves, the train, pockets, buttons all the way down the back and a huge veil. Lizzie was incredible at listening to all my ideas and incorporating these into making the perfect dress. Each appointment was such an incredible experience.
Seeing your dress develop in front of your eyes and receiving the all-important wedding day advice from Lizzie was priceless. Lizzie always made me and my Mum feel so welcome and she was with us every step of the way. She was even integral to the wedding morning, which flowed so well.
What was your absolute most favourite part of your dress?
There were too many parts of my dress that I loved to pick a favourite. I loved my lace jacket that was added to the top of my dress. It was always my dream to have lace sleeves and it just gave the detail to my dress that I wanted. I was so pleased with my pockets that Lizzie added to my dress to carry those all-important tissues that I was going to need. When I showed my pockets to my husband in the service he was so impressed! I also adored the embroidered name and date that Lizzie added inside my dress along with my ‘something blue’ ribbon and a piece of my mum’s wedding dress.
What accessories did you go for to make your look complete?
I had a beautiful diamond belt around my waist which tied in a bow at the back. I purposely went for a high neck-line dress to avoid having to pick a necklace. I went with a pearl and diamond bracelet and a matching hair grip with pearl earrings.
Who did your hair and makeup?
My local beautician, Caroline from Vanity Hair in Kilburn, did my make-up. I wanted someone who knew me well and could give me that all-important bridal look but still keep me as natural as possible, I don’t wear much make-up in my everyday life. I also went with my regular hairdresser, Kelly from Blend in Derby. She has been my hairdresser for many years and knows my hair inside out. She was incredible at making a plan with me to make sure my hair was the right length and colour to what I wanted for the big day.
How did you decide on your look?
Everything seemed to fall into place with how I looked. I had a basic idea in my head of what I wanted. When I shared these ideas with the professionals around me, they then guided me to help make these ideas possible and to make sure everything worked with what I wanted.
How would you describe the styling of your wedding?
Our wedding was traditional but with a rustic theme. I wanted a traditional feel to our wedding day but with our own personality thrown in. We went for the wooden and hessian look with all our own decorations mixed in and I loved how much we did ourselves. We made a lot of our own decorations and I loved seeing it all come together on the day.
Where did you get your wedding inspiration from?
A lot of our inspiration came from things we had seen online. We would find an idea and then see how we could incorporate this into our big day.
Any small details that you would like to mention?
I love revisiting all the memories from our wedding, especially our guest book and photo-booth book that our guests could write in. But I am really looking forward to opening our first-anniversary jar. We asked our guests to write us a message on a luggage label and put them in a jar for us to open on our anniversary. We had a first anniversary and a tenth-anniversary jar. The tenth is hidden away but our first is on show ready to open on our anniversary.
Did you follow any wedding traditions?
Our wedding was very traditional. A church wedding with a fancy wedding car to take us to our venue. Groomsmen in tails, a three-tiered cake and formal seating on the top table. One tradition that we did follow which didn’t bother me at the time but I am now so glad we did was the line-up into our wedding breakfast. I thought it was old fashioned and unnecessary, but my venue encouraged us that it is a nice idea to give people chance to take in the seating plan and get settle and that it gives us a chance to see everyone. Without that line-up, I don’t think I would have spoken to all our guests on such a busy day. I had some lovely, unforgettable moments with my friends and family during the line-up.
What music did you have during the ceremony?
In the church, we had the traditional wedding march into the ceremony and ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ on the way out. I had ‘Jerusalem’ as it is one of my hymns that I have always loved. While signing the register we had ‘You Were Meant For Me’ from Singin in the Rain because of my love of musicals and ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar. While eating our wedding breakfast, we used a playlist Rob and I had made. We tried to include as many of our guests’ own wedding songs to catch their attention and bring back brilliant memories for them.
What about your first dance song?
We had Steve Tyrell’s version of ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ from ‘Father of the Bride’. The song means so much to me and we both loved the lyrics.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
My most memorable moment of the day has got to be the evening reception. The whole day is special and full of special moments. I loved having the car ride to the reception where Rob and I had a few moments together and a chance to breathe. However, the evening was just exceptional and Rob and I talk about it so often. From the atmosphere of everyone dancing to our incredible Rock n’ Roll band, ‘The Buddies’. Even the brilliant cheesy disco after was great and everyone gave it their all. Anyone not dancing was eating great food and enjoying the photo booth. We ended in a huge circle with Rob and I in the middle dancing to The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’. I loved how we let ourselves go at night and really did dance the night away.
Do you have any tips for brides to be for wedding planning?
A lot of my tips came from other peoples experiences and a lot from the companies we’d chosen to work with. Make sure you have what you want and not what anyone else wants. Only invite the people you want there and don’t let others persuade you. Soak in every minute of your day and enjoy every minute of the planning and build-up. This was the best advice given to me and it was perfect in the end.
Likewise, make lists, lists, lists. I had so many lists and it helped so much seeing things getting crossed off, but also making sure everything gets done. Lists also help your spouse to be, as they don’t always know what’s going on in your head. Also, during the planning, when everything gets on top of you and you just want the wedding to come, just remember that it’s going to be amazing. It will be the best day of your life and, when it’s done, you really are going to want to do it all over again.
Images were taken by a family friend. The venue was St Susannahs Church in Horsley Woodhouse and Reception was at The Farmhouse at Mackworth. The flowers were created by Polka Dot Florist. Make-up was by Caroline from Vanity Hair in Kilburn, Kelly from Blend in Derby did Stephanies Hair. Suit hire was from Brigdans Derby
Over this past month, the effect of the COVID-19 virus has been immense. We at Elizabeth Malcolm, are here to try and shine a light for all brides out in wedding land. We are sharing our top tips for feeling positive though this tricky and difficult time. As well as some ideas on how to handle your wedding postponement.
Firstly I want to say a massive hello to you and give you all a virtual cuddle. What a horrible and scary time for us and my heart goes out to you if you are having to rearrange your special day. As most of you have been planning for about 2 years, just even thinking about postponing your wedding, never mind actually doing this is extremely overwhelming and stressful.
With this in mind, I have come up with a few top tips for you so you can start to feel positive about postponing your wedding day. Also, there are some tasks you can be doing to try and lift your spirits and get you wedding-ready again!
Try Not To Panic, Your Wedding Is Postponed Not Cancelled
I know that is so easy to say and not that easy to put into practice, but just breathe… Your wedding has been postponed, not cancelled. You are still getting married to your favourite ever person and your best people will still be around you. It just may not happen on the day you were expecting. Guests will absolutely understand, and if they don’t then why are they even invited! Can you actually imagine after all this has ended, and we are allowed to gather and party again, just how happy everyone will be to celebrate with you and shower you with love and affection? The party will be epic!
Do Those Jobs You Wanted To Do But Were Running Out Of Time For.
Because of your postponement, now you have got the time to finish those handmade signs you wanted to paint. To creative photo booth backdrop that you couldn’t get your head around. Or even those pesky personalised favours you have been trying to create. Take back some control, be proactive and get some tasks done. You will feel so much better for it!
This article from Brides gives great tips on DIY wedding decorations that can give a personalised feel to the day!
Do Your Research
For those of you that are still in the planning stage. There is no reason why you can’t continue on with that. If you have access to a computer get emailing those suppliers you have been looking into to find out more information about them. They will be more than happy to hear from you. Trust me.
Why not browse through our collection?
Organise Your Research And Pinterest Boards
Get all your research together in a coherent file. And maybe go through everything you have collected. This will actually help you greatly in the long run as you are refreshing your ideas in your mind and can filter out elements you actually don’t want. Therefore resulting in you being a lot more prepared with cohesive ideas when life goes back to some normality. You can then resume wedding planning on the right foot.
Build Your Wedding Website
Wedding websites are a fantastic source of information for your guests and if you enjoy creating one you could really go to town with it. You could list hotels in the area, taxi companies, make an itinerary of the day, or days. The possibilities are endless here!
This is a really good article with examples of wedding websites
You could start online dance lessons! Now this one excites me so much! Learn a few moves to dazzle your guests with. Please don’t try the dirty dancing lift, we really do not need more people in AandE.
Be In Contact With Your Suppliers.
It is so so important that you have a good, trustworthy relationship with your wedding suppliers. Most will have already contacted you with their plan if your wedding is in the near future. If your wedding is more than 8 weeks away, don’t worry they will be contacting you.
I want you to know that as a supplier myself, our goal is to always have your back no matter what. We don’t want you to worry about anything concerning the service we are providing and the main objective is that you have the most amazing day! We love our jobs and who we get to meet, and actually by the end, many customers become friends through this process.
My fellow industry friends have been shaken to the core with what is happening at the moment to our beloved industry. Most are self-employed. Have spent years building their amazing businesses up from nothing and now have the very real threat of it being taken away. Please spare a thought for them at this horrendous time. Show your support for them any way you can. They are working tirelessly to still provide you with excellent service through these difficult few weeks.
Practice Self-care, Eat Well, Drink Lots Of Water
I think this one goes out to us all at this point. Again, very easy to say, but as I have been reaching for the biscuit and sweetie tin this past week, I have noticed a massive change in my skin! It’s red and puffy, I’m getting spots along my jawline and I am actually feeling quite sluggish in myself. I know this is partly stress related but I can help the situation by not eating an entire share bag of starburst at 11 am.
That’s not to say I think we should all cut out the yummy stuff completely! This is a horrible time and if I want to eat a biscuit I will! But maybe the nine after it isn’t such a good idea…
Take some time for you. Have a bath, read a book, get outside and go for a walk (whilst adhering to the social distancing rules). I am actually thankful that this is happening in spring. It is a lovely time of the year, full of new growth and new life. If it’s a nice day sit out in your garden, put down your phone and just be.
I’m not trying to be boring or preach at you with this one. But I truly believe in being kind to ourselves and one another. I understand how frustrating and upsetting this is. There is so much uncertainty and decisions are being taken out of our hands at a fast pace. But we are all in this together, we are all facing the same uncertain times. It is important to recognise how our actions and words can affect each other. Your family and friends. Those key workers, (which includes shop workers, the teachers, the caregivers, transportation workers, those superhumans fighting every day in our NHS) and many more people who are trying to do their jobs the best they can. Give them a smile, a clap, a show of support.
And lastly, be kind to yourself. If you need to have a cry, do. If you need to go for a walk without your other half, do. It’s okay to feel upset, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s how we deal with it after that counts.
Stay safe, Stay calm, wash your hands
“Lizzie is quite simply amazing! She is friendly, patient and understanding as well as being incredibly talented! She worked too hard to make my vision come to life and designed me the most beautiful bespoke dress which was unlike anything I’d tried on. Lizzie cake to dress me on the morning of my wedding as well to make sure everything was perfect. Such an incredible service. The whole experience of seeing my ideas coming to life was really special.”
Images by Martin Urch
Hair by Harriet Harvey Hair Salon
Makeup by Josie Clarke
Venue and Flowers by Floral Media
We WON! we only went and won!
Every year since opening Elizabeth Malcolm we have entered The Wedding Industry Awards. These awards are basically the OSCARS of the wedding industry, set up to recognise excellent wedding suppliers. And if you are planning your wedding their website is a very useful tool to find very amazing suppliers too!
The reason that we only enter The Wedding Industry Awards is that they are the only regional and national client voted awards in the wedding industry, and above all the feedback we receive from our customers and judges is vital to us for keeping our standards at the highest possible level.
Every year we have entered the awards we have amazingly become a Regional Finalist. Last year however was slightly different. Last year we actually won the regional award and then went on to achieve the Highly Commended award at the Nationals. So this year I decided that we definitely needed to come back and defend our title!
We are just so ecstatic to have won the Regionals again and have been floating around in a bubble ever since. It is such an honour to be involved in every single one of our bride’s weddings and we are so thankful for them having taken their time to vote for us. The next stage is the London Regional Finals in January. Keep your fingers crossed for us!