A timeless navy and coral Lancashire wedding: Rachael Blackburn and Michael Barnes

21 Mar 2016

Rachael and Michael chose the idyllic setting of Eaves Hall, Clitheroe, Lancashire, for their classic navy, ivory and coral wedding. Everything from the Krispy Kreme favours and huge lettered lights gave this wedding a unique style with sentimental finishes 

Photography by Lottie Designs

How did you meet?
We met when I (Rachael) was 17 and Michael was 21. He worked in ASDA stores and so did one of my friends so we got together through her.

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Tell us about the proposal
It was our five year anniversary of officially becoming ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ and it was about 10 in the morning so I was sat at my dressing table getting ready. Michael came into the bedroom and said, "Oh, happy anniversary" (I was totally oblivious as to what date it was). I replied and he presented me with a large box from behind his back. I was excited as I thought he had bought me UGG boots…

Since being a very young age I have always had a ‘thing’ for beautiful shoes, and in just one day I had told Michael if I was to ever get married, I would want to wear bridal shoes by Charlotte Olympia. Unbeknown to me, Michael had taken notice of this conversation and to my surprise when I opened the large box, there was another box inside; however this box was a beautiful Ivory coloured box with a big ribbon wrapped around it and the words ‘Charlotte Olympia’ embedded in the lid.

My stomach flipped and I looked back at Michael who was a deathly shade of white at this point. He was stuttering and just said, "You know I’m rubbish at this kind of thing, but this is my way of asking you if you will marry me?".

I just couldn’t believe it and obviously said yes! Later on that day we went to Michael’s parent’s house and waiting for me there was my beautiful engagement ring. My ring has been passed down to Michael from his mum and is now our family heirloom.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The overall theme was simple and classic. Our colours were midnight blue and ivory.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
It was the first shop I went in to and I had in mind exactly what I wanted, however once I had tried on that style I totally changed my mind. The seventh dress I tried on was one my mum picked for me (I wasn’t so sure) but as soon as I put it on, even before I looked in the mirror I just knew it was the one.

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Where did you find your suits?
Michael’s suit was from Charles Campbell bespoke tailoring. He wanted something different from the standard wedding suit. He got to pick everything, from the material to the colour of the stitching. He chose a grey two piece suit with navy blue lining, a white shirt and black Jeffery West boots. The groomsmen’s suits were hired from Slaters in Manchester.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.
As our theme was quite simple, I wanted some flowers that stood out and that gave us a dash of colour, especially with us having the wedding in February, as I thought it could potentially be a dull day. We chose coral and ivory coloured roses with lots of greenery. They definitely gave the theme that bit of colour it needed.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
As a couple, our tastes are very traditional and simple so we didn’t want too much going on with the tables and decorations. However, we chose a few aspects that reflected our personalities and showed the closeness to our families, for example we created a ‘memory table’ for our friends and family members that were no longer with us. We didn’t want anyone to be forgotten and felt it was important, not only for us, but for all our guests that we included everyone on the day.

The wedding favours we chose were individually boxed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. When we first got together, going to the Trafford centre shopping and then buying a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the way home was a regular thing for us and thought it would be lovely to have them on the day. We had our name and wedding date printed on the front of the boxes to give it that personal touch.

We also hired our first name initials in 5ft lights to go in the entrance and LOVE letters in 5ft lights to go at the side of the dancefloor, just to give it that 'wow' factor. For the ceremony and the champagne/canapés afterwards, we had a string trio. They played for three hours and we picked every song on their playlist, so again, it reflected us as a couple and we also chose some specific songs so that it was meaningful for our parents, family and friends too.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I (Rachael) had been so nervous from the moment I woke up on the day, I hadn’t been able to eat anything and my butterflies were so bad. But honestly, as soon as I walked into that room and down the aisle with my dad next to me and Michael waiting for me at the front, I was the happiest I have ever felt in my life. I didn’t cry as I thought I might, I was just so happy to see all these people who had come to share this amazing day with us.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
We enjoyed every bit of planning the wedding; everything was just so exciting and we wanted to keep it that way, not stressing too much as we knew on the day everything would come together.

However, for both of us the most challenging part of it all was re-scheduling the wedding date. We were originally due to marry in November 2014, but unfortunately the week we gave out our invitations (July 2014), Rachael’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to the chemo and other treatment she had, we only felt it right to postpone the wedding. Getting my mum through her illness was our biggest priority, but I think planning the wedding gave my mum something to focus on and for us too.

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What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
We have said from the beginning that the most important investment is definitely the photographer. Ultimately, you can go on a luxury honeymoon any time, but you only get that one day to get your photos right.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose ‘Right By Your Side’ by James Morrison. We chose this song as it’s on one of the first albums we purchased together and when listening to it over again, we realised how meaningful the lyrics had become, after everything we have been through so far as a couple.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?
We didn’t actually have a proper honeymoon as we had planned to, due to Rachael’s mum’s illness. Instead our chief bridesmaid kindly booked us a night away in a luxury room at a boutique hotel in York - it was fab!

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Yes, don’t stress yourselves out too much. Everything works out in the end, it’s not about the material things, it’s about making sure you do what’s best for you as a couple and just have a fab day.

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Steal their style:
Photography: Lottie Designs, www.lottiedesigns.com
Venue: Eaves Hall, www.eaveshall.co.uk
Wedding dress: Lulu Browns, Whalley, www.lulu-browns.com
Bridal shoes: Charlotte Olympia, www.uk.charlotteolympia.com
Evening bridal shoes: Converse, www.converse.com/uk
Bridal hair: House of Hairess (Charlotte Riley), 07800 635 368; bridesmaids, Hair and Make-Up by Kaye Hirst, 07908 060 830
Bridesmaid dresses: Orchid Designs, Clitheroe, www.orchiddesignsuk.com
Wedding rings: Prestons of Bolton, www.prestonsdiamonds.co.uk
Groom’s suit: Charles Campbell Bespoke Tailoring, www.charlescampbellbespoke.co.uk/about/index.html
Groomsmen’s suits: Slater’s, Manchester, www.slaters.co.uk
Flowers: Daisy Chain (Nicola Slater), www.burnleyflowers.co.uk
Cake: Heavenly Angel Cakes (Claire Jackson), 07968 627 563
Wedding stationery: The Lovely Design Co, www.thelovelydesignco.co.uk
Wedding favours: Krispy Kreme, www.krispykreme.co.uk/occasions/weddings
Table linen and seat bows: Creative Cover Hire, www.creativecoverhire.co.uk
Illuminated letters (R&M): Add Vintage, www.addvintage.com
LOVE illuminated letters: Letters in Lights (Jason and Stacie Darlington),
07568 570 949 / 07568 570 766
String trio: The Dotted Crotchets, www.thedottedcrotchets.co.uk

To see more stunning Lancashire weddings, order your copy of Cheshire and Lancashire Bride on Buyamag here.

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