A book-themed wedding in Cheshire
07 Jan 2020
Izzie Cooper and Richard Broughton made their wedding day their own with a book theme, pop-punk entertainment and a nod to their engagement with Scrabble tiles
How did you meet?
We met at sixth form in Nantwich back in 2005, but didn’t get together until 2011.
Tell us about the proposal.
We were away the week after New Year 2018 at a lodge in Yorkshire with our dog, Harry. One evening I brought up the subject of holidays and where we should go next. I suggested Santorini, but commented that it was more of a honeymoon destination, so maybe we should save it for that, which prompted Rich to say: "Someone needs to propose first". I answered: "Yes, they do," with some impatience (we’d been together for more than six years and I was dropping hints quite heavily by this point) so without further ado he brought out the engagement ring, which was made with stones from my great grandma’s brooch to make it even more perfect.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
There was a book theme to the wedding; our invitations and orders of service were designed to look like Pelican books and our table names were all book titles. We went for a dusky blue colour scheme with the suits and bridesmaids' dresses and had a hint of blue in the flowers too.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
Dorfold Hall was the first venue we looked at, but we viewed several others after that just to make sure it was definitely the right one for us. Nowhere else lived up to it. We loved the fact that the hall was such a beautiful backdrop, but at the same time we wanted the reception to feel light and airy. The sperry tent in their walled garden was exactly what we wanted, complete with hay bales and fire pits for toasting marshmallows in the evening.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I’m so indecisive so it took around 50 dresses before I finally found the one. I had originally gone to Cheshire Brides in Frodsham to try on a Justin Alexander dress I really liked, but they happened to be having a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I saw my dress and immediately loved it.
I’d been getting a bit frustrated with the whole thing and thought I’d never find the right one, but weirdly Rich said to me that morning that he knew I’d find it that day, and that it wouldn’t be either of the two I was toying between. Turns out he was right.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids and a man of honour. My sister was my maid of honour and I had four of my best friends who I’ve known for years as bridesmaids and man of honour. The bridesmaids wore blue dresses, all different shades and designs. They were from JJ’s House, Chi Chi London, Topshop and Oasis, and the suit was from Topman.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
She wore a cream and pink jumpsuit from Phase Eight.
Where did you find your suits?
The groom and best man wore matching suits from Debenhams. They were the first and only ones they tried on and they loved them straight away – a far easier process than wedding dress shopping.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We wanted mostly green foliage and ivory flowers, but we had some blue to pick up the colour scheme as well. Our florist Fiona was absolutely incredible and gave us brilliant advice on how to make the best use of the space by using tall arrangements on copper stands for the tables so that the guests’ views weren’t obstructed.
We also had a draping garland along the top table, which I absolutely loved. Our bouquets were made from ivory roses, blue thistle, senecio foliage, blue nigella flowers, eucalyptus, ivory astrantia, white delphiniums and blue oxypetalum. We had buttonholes and corsages for the bridal party too.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- Rich’s mum is an amazing baker so she kindly offered to make some heart-shaped shortbread biscuits as our wedding favours, which she decorated and put into personalised paper bags.
- We made our table plan by sticking pages from an old copy of Pride and Prejudice to a notice board and designing book covers with the table names and guest names on to stick over the top.
- Our order of the day was an old wooden pallet, which we painted with some help from friends and family.
- Instead of designing table names to put in the middle of each table, we piled some old books and had the book which the table was named after stood on top of the others.We also made a crossword about us for people to complete at the table while they waited for the food.
- We played Scrabble the night we got engaged, so we made the place names out of wooden Scrabble tiles and found some Scrabble tile stickers which we arranged on the front of our guestbook.
- We also had a beer pong table set up for people to play in the evening, and we provided marshmallows to toast over the fire pits too.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I really didn’t want to cry so I asked my dad the day before to come up with some jokes to tell me as he walked me down the aisle. It definitely helped to keep the tears at bay so thankfully there are pictures of me laughing my way down the aisle instead of ugly crying.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
I walked down the aisle to a piano version of Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters. We saw Foo Fighters together a few years ago and Learn to Fly is one of our favourite songs of theirs.
One of the readings was a poem which I wrote. I hadn’t planned on writing one, but after searching for weeks for a reading that I liked I decided it would be easier and less time-consuming to just write one myself (hence why I called it ‘I Couldn’t Find the Words’).
Rich is a big Newcastle United fan, so we walked out of the church to ‘Going Home’ by Mark Knopfler, which is the song that’s played at Newcastle home games when the players walk out onto the pitch.
What was your most memorable moment?
There are so many. One memory that sticks out is being announced for the first time as Mr and Mrs Broughton by our friend Bradley. Walking into the marquee and seeing the table decorations and flowers for the first time, as well as all our friends and family in one place, was something we’ll never forget. Dancing and partying with everyone in the evening was also a highlight.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Most of the planning was so fun and enjoyable and thankfully there wasn’t too much that we found really challenging. Deciding on a dress was probably one of the hardest things, but coming to a final decision on the guest list was quite difficult as well. Finding the balance between having everyone you want there and keeping everything within budget can be difficult. Staying under budget in general was also one of the biggest challenges.
What was the most important investment for you?
When we were first talking about wedding plans we both said the things that were most important to us were the venue and the food, as they were the main things that would affect people’s enjoyment of the day. They were closely followed by photography and videography. The day goes by so quickly and once it’s over, the photos and video are the memories you get to keep forever.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose All About You by McFly. We don’t really have a song that instantly reminds us of each other, but we both liked McFly when we were younger and we just like the meaning of the song. Plus the lyrics talk about ‘dancing on the kitchen tiles’ and we often dance (terribly) in the kitchen when we’re cooking.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We chose a band called One Big Reunion. They cover 90s pop-punk songs from bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Greenday, Bowling for Soup etc. Rich has always been a pop-punk fan and they played lots of songs that remind us of when we first met at sixth form.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
The only thing I wish we’d done is to spend a moment just the two of us, taking in everything and just watching everybody there enjoying the day. Time just flew.
Did you have a custom hashtag for social media? If so, what was it?
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
That ultimately the small details you can spend hours agonising over probably don’t really matter all that much. If you mess up a tiny corner of your table plan, no-one else is going to notice.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went on a minimoon to the Cotswolds two days after the wedding, but we’re going on our proper honeymoon in April to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It was really nice to have a few days away soon after the wedding; we’d had such a manic week leading up to the day so it was lovely just to chill and spend time talking about it and looking back through pictures. We’re also glad we’re not going on our honeymoon for another few months as it gives us something to look forward to after the inevitable post-wedding blues.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Try to remember that the day is about you. Make choices based on what you both want, rather than what you think would please other people. At the end of the day it’s your wedding and the only opinions that truly matter are yours. That, and wedding dresses can look very different in the flesh than they do on a website.
Steal their style:
Venue: Dorfold Hall
Photography: Epps Photography
Videography: Storyboard Weddings
Catering: Cheshire Dining Experience
Flowers: Fifi Boutique Bespoke
Band: One Big Reunion
Hair: Hair by Hannah
Make-up: Sarah Dunn
For more Cheshire wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of Cheshire Bride magazine.