A Handmade Vintage Countryside Wedding : Sally Louie Nicholson & Chris Slater
07 Apr 2015
The Lancashire/Yorkshire wedding of Sally Louie Nicholson and Chris Slater was filled with bohemian life and beauty
Sally wanted a vintage wedding that didn’t cost the earth, so she created lots of special touches with the help of family and friends.
Photography: Nichola Morton
The secret to a idyllic vintage wedding that didn’t cost the earth is the creation of unique, often handmade special touches - with the help of family and friends, bride Sally Louie Nicholson created the perfect formula. She tells us about her Big Day.
Tell us about your wedding venue.
The venue for our wedding ceremony, Whalley Parish Church in Whalley, Clitheroe, Lancashire, holds happy memories for me as it was next to my primary school and we used to walk through the grounds everyday to go to school. After booking the church, we started to look at reception venues. I've always imagined our wedding to be beautiful but didn’t want to spend thousands to achieve it, so I thought a village hall would be perfect. We looked at a few village halls before finding the perfect one. Tosside village community hall is in a little village (on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border) and the scenery is just amazing. The hall is modern and has beams, so it was perfect for hanging bunting.
What was your theme and colour scheme?
Me and my mum, Deborah, had so many ideas running through our heads thinking of everything that could be done. We went for a vintage, shabby chic style with peonies and wildflowers; I did the bouquets and the flowers for the table centrepieces myself using silk flowers. The main colour scheme was pale, pastel colours and this ran throughout planning the wedding. My mum made raffia bows decorated with flowers for the backs of the wooden, folding chairs that we hired.
We started to collect vintage hankies to make bunting for the ceiling, from antique, vintage and second-hand shops. Another task we set ourselves was to buy all vintage crockery. This meant me, my mum and my daughter, Frankie Lou, going to a lot of car boots, second-hand shops and antique shops. My grandma also helped collect plates and tea cups. We all enjoyed doing it.
Were your wedding favours handmade?
The wedding favours were jars with handles and a ceramic heart tag round them with our guests’ names on, which we also used as table name settings. The ceramic tags were made by friends who have a tile company and also do craft fairs at the weekends they make some lovely gifts.
When and how did you find your dream dress?
The dress I had in mind was boho style, something floaty and easy to move in. I was searching online for 'boho wedding dresses' and came across an Australian designer, called Grace Loves Lace. I was considering having one made to measure and shipped but decided it was too risky. Instead I got in touch with a local dressmaker specialising in wedding dresses. I took her some photos and designed my own. At dress fittings I changed a few things to make the dress suit my body. I loved the end result. The dressmaker also made lace tops for my two flower girls to go over their tutus - they looked really cute.
How did you find the planning process?
At the start of planning the wedding we were all relaxed thinking we had loads of time but the wedding soon came around. On the week of the wedding me and my mum worked hard to get everything sorted. I was up till 3-4am some nights making things and doing the table plan with Chris. However the morning of the wedding was quite relaxing, I think because I had done all I could do and it was time to just enjoy the day. Frankie Lou spent the morning with her daddy then got ready with me. It just made it even more special once she arrived.
Did the stress of planning carry through onto the day?
I was really surprised how relaxed I was even arriving at the church and seeing all our guests in front of me. Chris on the other hand was so emotional and nervous. When I met him at the altar he was crying, but smiling at me. I had to whisper to tell him to calm down because he was going to get me crying too.
Talk us through the ceremony and celebrations afterwards.
It felt surreal saying our vows; I couldn't believe we were finally getting married. The venue had a big open car park so we booked some fete games and, everyone enjoyed playing them, especially the children while waiting for the sit-down meal.
We booked Slater’s ice cream van for the evening – the fact that our married name is Slater’s helped persuade us to do this. We both climbed in to the van, which was tiny, to have pictures taken of us serving ice cream. I got carried away serving it, people were queued up waiting and it was raining at this point.
We had 110 people come to the church and on to the reception. We arranged for a double-decker and a coach to transport our guests. Because we had a lot of guests we decided a buffet would be the best option but I still wanted a sit-down meal so it felt like a formal wedding, so we hired caters to make pie and peas. Everyone really enjoyed it. The food was served on the vintage plates. In the evening we had cheese boards, pork pies, chutneys, scones with jam and clotted cream and other sweet and savoury foods. For entertainment we had a DJ playing music throughout the day and he got everyone dancing in the evening.
How do you feel the day went?
The day overall went really well and we both just enjoyed being with our family and friends. We had time to ourselves when we had some pictures taken in the little wood across from the hall. We decorated the area so it looked really pretty. Nichola and her partner Phil, our photographers, was really nice and made us feel comfortable. Nichola was the main photographer while Phil took pictures of our guests.
Do you have any top tips for brides and grooms-to-be?
Be as organised as possible especial to brides doing a lot of DIY projects so you’re not panicking last minute. Also to get as much help as possible and not be too controlling… just enjoy the experience.
Steal their Style:
Photography: Nichola Morton, nicholamortonblog.com
Venue: Tosside Community Hall, tossidecommunity.co.uk
Dress and flowergirls’ tops: S. M. Haworth, Mellor, Blackburn, 01254 812000
Flowergirls’ tutus: Bob and Blossom, bobandblossom.co.uk
Accessories: Jersey Pearl Emma-Kate filigree pendant and Emma-Kate studs, jerseypearl.com
Wedding rings: Karen Johnson, etsy.com/uk/shop/karenjohnsondesignBridesmaids’ dresses: Coast Millie lace maxi dress, coast-stores.com
Hair: Sherene Bulmer, Sherene.email@example.com
Make-up: Senses make up and beauty by Leanne Jackson, sensesmakeup.co.uk
Groom’s outfit: Slaters, slaters.co.uk
Stationery: I made my own wedding stationery, from the invites to table settings.
Flowers: I made the wedding bouquets and all the flowers for the tables at the venue using silk flowers from Country Baskets (countrybaskets.co.uk). Fusspots, a florist at Whalley, (fusspotsandflowers.co.uk) did the church arch and flowers on the end of the pews.
Cake: Dream Cakes, www.dreamcakesuk.com
Catering: Country Kitchen Cafe, Waddington, Clitheroe, 01200 429364
Venue dresser: Me and my mum Debbie
Transport: Boho Brides Classic Volkswagen Hire, boho-brides.co.uk
Fete games: Fantastic Fetes, fantasticfetes.co.uk
Lighting: I bought fairylights to hang with the bunting, lights4fun.co.uk