A simple and elegant wedding in the Lake District
22 May 2019
Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa in Windermere played host to Heather Lambert and Tom Hudson's big day and the couple couldn't have wished for a better setting
How long was your engagement?
Just under two years. We wanted the perfect amount of time to plan the perfect day. I wasn’t willing to compromise on any of the details.
How did you meet?
Tom and I are from the same home town (Kendal) and so have known each other since we were at secondary school. We weren’t friends or even in the same friendship group so didn’t really speak at all. When we both went off to university, we got summer jobs at the local nightclub (back in Kendal) and that’s where we met properly. We went on a work team building night out in August (2009) and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tell us about the proposal.
Tom proposed on our holiday of a lifetime in Canada. We both love mountains, being from the Lake District, and had gone out for a day trip to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. We took the cable car to the very top and sat overlooking the whole of Vancouver. Tom set up his GoPro for a photo and just after we posed for the photo, he got down onto one knee and proposed. It was like something out of a dream, and best of all, he had managed to catch it all on camera.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a theme as such. We wanted a wedding that was simple, elegant and fresh. We ended up with a sort of English garden theme, but with no hessian. We were quite set on not having hessian as part of the wedding as we didn’t want a vintage vibe. Our colour scheme was set from quite early on in the planning process. We went for a light blue/grey colour with peach tones in the flowers and stationery.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We looked around a few Lake District hotels prior to booking Low Wood Bay for the wedding. We had just a few simple criteria: lake views, as we wanted to have a cruise on the lake if possible; an organised and calm wedding team; and large enough to suit our ever growing guest list.
When we met with Gemma at Low Wood Bay, it was clear that she is head and shoulders above the other local wedding teams. Her team was amazing from start to finish and made us feel like royalty any time we visited prior to the wedding and even after. All of our requests were handled in a professional manner and nothing was ever too much trouble.
Low Wood Bay is the most gorgeous hotel with the perfect location for a cruise on the lake...even in the rain. Luckily for us, they had just done a huge renovation on the hotel which made it even better than it previously was. Since the wedding we have continued to visit Low Wood Bay and I think we always will. It’s a magical place for a wedding and I wouldn’t have wished for anything more for our wedding day.
When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
My dress hunt was very short. I visited one shop in Lancaster and then had booked an appointment at Mears Ghyll in Caton. As soon as we arrived, I knew I would find my dress there. Elizabeth and Camilla were so welcoming and knowledgeable about their dresses and calmed my bride-to-be nerves in no time.
I tried on various dresses but kept coming back to the Marsha and Sophia dresses from Augusta Jones. Elizabeth suggested that we take more of the shape of Marsha that I loved and the lace top of the Sophia to make a bespoke dress...absolute perfection. We then visited Mears Ghyll again to get the bridesmaids' dresses and I couldn’t have imagined going anywhere else. Mears Ghyll is a different level of bridal shop to their competitors. The calm, homely atmosphere makes it a truly special place to find your dream dress.
We had nicknamed my dress ‘the eagle’ as my aunty had to keep it at her house and bring it to the hotel with her. So the arrival of ‘the eagle’ was much anticipated during the morning. When ‘the eagle’ landed in my room, squeals ran round the room and it just looked stunning. I couldn’t wait to get it on and finally show Tom my outfit. The bridesmaids had all seen it before so it wasn’t a total surprise to them, but it was still a very emotional moment when I came out in my dress to everyone.
Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?
Not at all. I was very open-minded when we initially looked and tried on every style and material as I knew that I needed to try everything before making any decisions. The shop assistant in Lancaster asked me if there were any features I definitely wouldn’t want. I said the only things I definitely wouldn’t want were a long train and lace. What style of dress did I get? One with a long train and full of lace!
Who were your bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had four adult bridesmaids and one flower girl. My bridesmaid choices were fairly easy as I had been planning this day in my head for some time before the actual engagement. I had my cousin who I am very close with and my three best friends from different parts of my life: my two oldest school friends and the best friend I met at university.
The girls’ dresses all came from Mears Ghyll and were by Amanda Wyatt. We tried to find a dress to suit everyone (which is tricky) and did manage to find a style that everyone was comfortable wearing. I was quite specific about the colours I wanted so that helped with our decisions. My flower girl was Tom’s niece who was five on the day of our wedding. She had a tutu from Bob and Blossom and a lace leotard that I ordered from Etsy. She just looked gorgeous and loved the special attention that she got all day long.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum had a longer shopping experience than me for the wedding. We had several days out trawling different shops for the perfect outfit, but nothing was just quite right. We then found a shop called Aubergine in Wigan and decided to try there. The staff were so friendly and helpful. She found the perfect outfit in Aubergine - a nude dress with matching short jacket and fascinator.
Where did you find your suits?
We found the suits at Whitfield and Ward in Wilmslow. We saw them at a wedding fair and were really impressed with the quality of the suits. We wanted to hire them but sometimes hire suits can feel cheap and well worn. Whereas at Whitfield and Ward they were made to measure hire suits. They were a bit pricier than the other suit hire companies but we thought they were worth it.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We used Brackens in Bowness for our floral arrangements. Low Wood Bay had recommended them so it saved us having to shop around. Kevin at Brackens is a floral genius and had been highly recommended so we immediately felt at ease with him.
We wanted simple table flowers that weren’t too tall so our guests could talk to each other easily. We also wanted lots of greenery with a garland across the top table and some lanterns to create a romantic feel. The bouquets were simple in colour and relaxed in shape. Our main flowers were David Austin Roses, astilbe and roses in the peach shades to match the rest of our wedding.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- We saw a photo booth company at a wedding fair (Mega Booth) and instantly decided to go for that. It was ideal as Low Wood Bay has separate rooms just off the main party room, so the photo booth was set up in its own space. The photo booth team also took control of the guest book and each photo from the night was stuck into the book. This is great fun to look back on.
- For our favours we did mini mint tins with personalised stickers on top. We wanted something that wasn’t too fussy or too handmade (being a full-time teacher and site manager, we didn’t have time to be making hundreds of things).
- We also put out advice slips on the tables in the evening for people to write share their wedding advice.
- We decided to do our order of the day cards the same size as a business card. This was so that people could easily fit them in their pocket or small handbag easily and without bending them.
- We put refresher baskets in the toilets with a selection of toiletries and essentials for our guests. This was a welcome treat after a blustery trip on the boat.
- We were aware that there is sometimes a lull between the day and the evening of a wedding, and we didn’t want that at ours. Therefore, we timed the boat cruise on Windermere for after the wedding breakfast and just before the evening guests arrived. This was perfect and was the most memorable part of the day for many of our guests. On the boat we had a guitarist that we have had at many family occasions previously (Pete Lashley). He played a range of music and by the end of the boat trip, we were all singing along and chanting for more.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
We were all actually ready a little bit early so as my bridesmaids, dad and I were waiting and getting more nervous by the second, we decided to dance our nerves away. Next thing you know, Taylor Swift is blaring out of the bridal suite and we were having our own pre-wedding disco.
I felt excited and very nervous but I managed not to cry. Tom isn’t the most romantic person normally, but he went all out for the proposal and the morning of the wedding. On the morning of the wedding, he had given one of my bridesmaids a selection of cards for different points of the day (one for as I woke up, one for as I was getting my make-up done etc). One card that I had opened had my favourite animal on it - a flamingo. Not only that, it was a sassy flamingo! The words in the card were so lovely, but the image of the flamingo kept me smiling and my nerves at bay. So all the way down the stairs and I was waiting, I just kept thinking of this sassy flamingo.
I remember feeling really jittery until the music started and I walked round to the top of the aisle. As I spotted Tom at the end of the aisle, a sudden calmness came over me - it was very surreal. From then on I just beamed all the way down the aisle, I couldn’t wait to get to him.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We chose a poem called These Hands for my aunty to read and a poem that Tom’s great aunt had written was read out by his three small cousins. Choosing the music for the ceremony was a very long process. We just couldn’t settle on anything, and especially the exit music. We sat for hours trawling the internet and then came across Tim McMorris who neither of us had heard before. We loved his song 'Overwhelmed' and decided on that for our exit music. For the entrance music we had a guitar cover of Taylor Swift’s Love Story as that is special to us both.
What was your most memorable moment?
Heather: Everyone singing their hearts out to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love on the boat cruise will forever be one of my fondest wedding memories.
Tom: Seeing Heather walk down the aisle was breathtaking. She looked amazing and it was a moment I will never forget.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The guest list. This was definitely one of the hardest tasks we have ever undertaken. Mixed with then having to fit all those guests onto tables of 10…it was like an impossible jigsaw puzzle, but we got there in the end.
What was the most important investment for you?
We tried to invest in all areas of the wedding rather than ploughing money all into one aspect. However, we would say that the most enjoyable and worthy investment of the day was definitely the boat cruise.
Low Wood Bay have a great relationship with ‘Windermere Lake Cruises’ and organised everything for us. We were keen to have a fresh drink available for all guests as they boarded the boat and of course, we wanted Pete on there too. Gemma ensured that all of that was taken care of, so the first time we spoke with the boat company was on the day as we boarded as Mr and Mrs.
The rain held off ever so slightly while we had our cruise but it certainly didn’t dampen the mood. The guests still rave about the boat cruise as their favourite part of the day now.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Ed Sheeran - Perfect. We were due to have another song (Amazed by Lonestar) as that had always been ‘our song’, but earlier in the year Ed brought out the song Perfect...Tom texted me one morning after driving to work and said: "Listen to this song, it is us and it should be our first dance". I listened to it that day and as the tears rolled down my face, agreed that Tom was absolutely right.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a band for the evening. Getting the right music was important to us and so we managed to secure The Seals as our band. They were incredible and the dancefloor was never empty. In between their sets we had a DJ who kept the party going brilliantly with cheesy classics. On our wedding invitations we had a song request section and made sure that all of the requests were put into a playlist. This meant that there should have been a song for everyone at some point in the evening. The photo booth operated during the evening too.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
The wedding cake was quite far down on our priority list. Neither of us are massive cake eaters or bakers. Therefore we just wanted something that was classy, simple and matched our colour scheme without being too over the top.
We met with the cake designer (Sugar Ruffles) and Tom led the meeting - he was excited to eat cake. I am allergic to gluten and so it was important to us that I could eat some of it. Sugar Ruffles was brilliant and in the end the whole cake was gluten-free at no extra cost. We had three layers: white chocolate and passionfruit, chocolate and cherry and a Victoria sponge. It must have been good as there was none left by the end of the night.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
The weather, although that is impossible to control. It was the first day of rain in three months so we were hoping and praying for a sunny day. Apart from that, I don’t think we would change anything; it was exactly what we imagined and hoped for.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
My veil ripped! The veil that I chose was a floor-length one with teeny sparkles all over it. It was the only veil I liked when I was trying on dresses. However, shortly after the ceremony, as we were having prosecco and canapés, someone stood on it and the comb part ripped away from the veil…I only noticed when I nipped to the toilet for the first time.
Luckily both my cousin and family friend are hairdressers, so after a quick search for them in the crowds they came to my rescue. They removed it from my pristine hair, fixed it with a needle and thread and put it back into place. All drama over within 10 minutes. A huge thank you needs to go to them for their quick work.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
Yes, that I would need strong drugs to sleep the night before. I was so anxious that everything was going to go to plan, that the vendors would all arrive at the correct times and I was so excited, that I only slept for two hours! At 6am I gave up with sleep entirely but had a banging headache. After a latte and two paracetamol, I was good to go. I had anticipated that I might not sleep so I had taken Kalms but they didn’t seem to do anything at all. Thankfully my make-up artist was incredible and worked her magic on the huge bags under my eyes.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went straight away. After a lot of searching and discussion, we settled on Mauritius and it was incredible. The people of Mauritius were so welcoming and couldn’t do enough for us. The hotel that we stayed at was all-inclusive so it meant we could really just kick back and relax for two weeks. Funnily enough, it was only about three days into the honeymoon that we realised we hadn’t spoken to each other about our wedding mornings. I would definitely recommend going straight away if you can, to stay in that wedding bubble for as long as possible.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
We would advise any couples to try not to overthink the small things. Things like table plans and place cards can take over your life if you’re not careful. Instead we focused on the big elements of the day that our guests (and us) would always remember, like the boat cruise and the photo booth. We went for a simple yet elegant feel for the day, with nothing having too much fuss.
Steal their style:
Venue: Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa
Stationery: Ian Lambert (bride's father)
Photography: Lisa Aldersley
Hair: Jo and Cass
Make-up: Make Up by Amy Brown
Floristry: Brackens of Bowness
Wedding dress: Mears Ghyll
Bridesmaids' dress: Mears Ghyll
Suits: Whitfield and Ward
Mother of the bride outfit: Aubergine
Mother of the groom outfit: Flamingo
Flower girl outfit: Bob and Blossom, Etsy, Next
Page boy outfit: Next, Converse
Music: Pete Lashley (boat), The Seals (band), Liam Richardson (DJ)
Photo booth: Mega Booth
Boat: Windermere Lake Cruises
Venue styling: Ambience
Rings: Peter George Banks
Honeymoon: Mauritius - Virgin Holidays
For more Lancashire & Lake District wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of Lancashire & Lake District Bride magazine.