A classic black and white wedding in Birkenhead

12 Apr 2019

Dr Richard Bailey married Deborah Gardiner at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, followed by a reception at Hillbark Hotel, Frankby

Compiled by Samantha Cunningham 

After meeting at university the couple have been inseparable ever since – Rick even proposed earlier than planned for fear his bride would find the ring, resulting in a proposal in pyjamas rather than the original New Years Eve party proposal.


Tell us about the proposal: 

My sister Beci, who lives in China, was at home for Christmas so we took her and her best friend, Amy, into Liverpool for dinner and some drinks. Our plan was to spend the next day just the two of us wrapping Christmas presents and watching films. We arrived home around 10:30pm and, while Rick offered to make me a cup of tea, I put on my PJ's. When I turned around Rick was down on one knee. I have since been told he was actually supposed to propose at midnight on New Years Eve at a family party but got too nervous that I would find the ring.


What was the theme and did you have a colour scheme? 

As we married in the family Church, where the women in my family have been married since 1841, we decided on a classic look for the wedding. The theme was black and white.

What venue did you choose? 

We chose Hillbark Hotel for our reception because of how classic and beautiful it is with its modern twist.


When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

After trying on 10 to 15 dresses, I knew I had found the dress from my mum’s reaction. However, both my mum and I agreed the dress was missing certain aspects and so, taking inspiration from Grace Philips dresses, we enlisted the help of my dress maker Lorraine from Booby Trapp Corsets who created the perfect bespoke dress. 

Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose? 

The dress I chose was pretty much the complete opposite to what I thought it was going to be. As I was a petite bride at 5ft1 and curvy I thought I would need a fitted dress to avoid looking bigger and shorter than I am.


What did the bridesmaids and your mother wear? 

I chose black multiway dresses from Marks and Spencer so that all my bridesmaids would feel totally comfortable and could choose their own style. I had six bridesmaids which included my sister, Beci, as maid of honour, her best friend who is like my sister, Amy, as well, three of my cousins, Lauren, Olivia and Alexandra, and Rick’s sister, Sheryl.

While my Mum wore a bespoke red full length dress made by my dress maker, Lorraine, with inspiration taken from Dior.


Where did you find your suits? 

Rick and his groomsmen’s tuxedos were from Moss Bros.

Tell us about the flowers.

The flowers were classic white as white roses are my favourite but I had a few blush pink ones in the bridal bouquet and in the tall table decorations. My florist also made a replica bouquet of the flowers my Nan had at her wedding, held at the same church, so we could recreate her photographs.


What was your favourite part of the day? 

The favourite part of the day has to be that my mum, Chris, had organised a surprise of singing waiters that no one except her and my sister Beci knew about. They came out singing to 'I Say A Little Prayer For You' as My Best Friend’s Wedding is one of my favourite films.

How did you feel as you were walking down the aisle? 

Walking down the aisle felt totally surreal. I actually forgot to walk until my step dad turned to me and said; “whenever you're ready”, as we had been stood there for so long.


How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

We had my step brother and my best friend do the readings but, as it was a catholic service, I didn’t want it to feel like a normal service so we hired a choir to sing a motown medley whilst we signed the register. Also, our priest changed the way we stood and had all the bridesmaids and groomsmen stood at the front with us as we made our vows and we made them facing all our guests which was unusual but fantastic.

What was your most memorable moment? 

The most memorable moment for me was my mum and sisters reaction when I came down the stairs at their house. Rick said his most memorable moment was waiting for me to arrive and seeing all our friends and family together.


What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding? 

The most challenging aspect of planning was doing table plans. 

What was the most important investment for you? 

The videographer was the most important investment for us because their work means we can watch our day all over again.

What song did you choose for your first dance and why? 

We chose the song "Special Lady" by Ray Goodman and Brown because Rick had it playing on his vinyl player when I first went to his house and we joked at the time that it would have to be our wedding song.


Did you have any evening entertainment? 

Yes, in the evening our singing waiters sang on stage for all our guests and we had a DJ.

Tell us about your wedding cake. 

Rick and I both agreed that the wedding cake was not something we thought was hugely important except to get a photo of us cutting it. Instead we opted for a Marks and Spencer cake where we could choose different flavours of cake for the different layers. We also asked our florist to add some fresh flowers to the cake. 

As my parents had recently been to China they had come across a shop making figurines so they had a caricature cake topper made of us. 


If you could go back and change anything, what would it be? 

If I could change anything it would be to take more photos and encourage other people to take as many as possible. You never know what little moments others capture that you weren’t aware of. We have loved seeing some of the photos others have taken.

Is there anything you wish you had known before? 

There wasn't anything I wish I had known before because everything people tell you about is true. The day goes far too quickly, you never get to spend too much time with anyone - your new husband included - and even though you maybe photographed with a drink in your hand, you certainly never get to drink it.


What were your plans after the wedding? 

We had a hog roast and BBQ at my mum’s house the day after the wedding which was fantastic because it gave everyone a chance to catch up after the big day. We went to Cape Verde for our honeymoon the following day.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

My advice is to make the most of the planning stages because after the wedding you won’t know what to do with all your free time.


Steal Their Style

Dress and Veil: Booby Trapp Corsets
Venue: Our Lady’s Church
Reception: Hillbark Hotel
Suits: Moss Bros
Flowers: Nicola Savermuitto
Rings: Rojers Jewellery
Bridesmaid dresses: Marks and Spencer
Cake: Marks and Spencer
Photographer: Arran James Photography
Video: Northwest Wedding Videos

For more Cheshire Wedding inspiration view our 2019 Cheshire Bride Magazine here. 

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