Timeless and elegant

27 Feb 2014

Timeless and elegant

Ben and Kristina’s wedding in Singleton was a beautiful day shared by family and friends

Ben Hopes and Kristina Johnstone

Where: Ceremony and reception at The Great Hall at Mains, Singleton

Photography: Ashton Photography

We started looking for our venue almost immediately after our engagement. We had looked at a couple of venues before visiting Mains Hall, but nothing seemed to wow us. We wanted to have our wedding ceremony and reception all in one place for our family and friends. We passed Mains Hall by chance on a day they were having a wedding fayre and instantly fell in love! It was the only venue we were able to visualise our special day and couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. The venue was totally perfect, from its beautiful grounds to the interior, especially the amazing huge stone fireplace, which looks incredible surrounded by candles. There was also accommodation for us to stay on our wedding night at Mains Hall Manor, which is simply stunning. Mains Hall Manor has seven double bedrooms, in an old historic building, which meant that we were able to enjoy the morning surrounded by our closet family.

I started my search for ‘the dress’ as soon as I possibly could. I booked my first appointment at Dreamcatcher in Kirkham and went along with my mum, sisters and best friend. I tried on several dresses, including my dress (Beatrice by Sassi Holford), which was my absolute favourite. I loved everything about it, the style, shape and material. We visited several other bridal wear stores and I tried on many other dresses, but I always returned to Dreamcatcher to try Beatrice on.

Ben hired his suits from Moss Bros. He chose the traditional top hat and tails (minus the top hats) in charcoal, with waistcoat and tie to match the colour scheme. His two brothers, also his best men, wore the same.

My bridesmaids dresses were a little trickier as I had an idea of what I wanted and I could not seem to find anything similar. I was really starting to panic as the wedding day was becoming so much more a reality. After months and months of searching the internet and bridal shops I found a dress by Leila Rose for Dessy and knew that it was perfect. It was the material, style and colour that I could picture and it complemented my dress.

I chose to have a very neutral colour scheme, as I wanted it to be timeless and elegant. I had lots of lace and pearls running through my flowers and wedding stationery, with colours like palomino and cream. The Great Hall at Mains is such a beautiful venue, I thought that the subtle colours complemented it well.

I couldn’t have planned my wedding day without my mum! She travelled the country with me attending wedding fayres and taking me to bridal shops. We had some extremely sad family news shortly before the wedding and despite this my mum continued to help and support me. She was amazing. My two sisters and best friend were a massive help with everything also. They planned my hen party and managed to keep me calm during the weeks and months leading up to the wedding day.

I had all my wedding stationery made by Charlotte Designs. Charlotte created the most simple, yet beautiful invitations, seating plan, place cards and table numbers. The decision of which florist to use was an easy one. A local company, Flower Design, came highly recommended to us and they did not disappoint. Jane and Jason Thompson were incredible and could not do enough to help us with planning the floral arrangements for our special day. Jane was so helpful and always at the other end of the phone if I needed any help or advice. Jane and her amazing team helped to create some of the most beautiful floral arrangements I have ever seen, which included my favourite flowers – white roses and lily of the valley.

I found my cake in a wedding magazine by Peggy Porschen. It was a very simple, four tier cake, decorated with white roses and lily of the valley to match my flowers. We decided to have each tier of the cake with a different filling. We had traditional fruit, lemon sponge, marble cake, and chocolate fudge cake. We also had our wedding favours made as we had decided to have cake pops. We had chocolate fudge brownie cake pops covered in white chocolate and decorated with tiny edible pearls to match the theme.

I stayed at my parents’ house the night before the wedding, with my parents, sisters and best friend. We had a relaxing evening watching Father of the Bride and drinking pink champagne. The morning of the wedding I woke up at 6am, far too excited to even consider trying to sleep. We ate breakfast together and were all surprisingly calm. We then enjoyed being pampered, having our hair and make-up done. I saw the wedding cars arrive as we were finishing our preparations and for the first time tears filled my eyes and I got butterflies in my stomach! The sun was shinning and we were so relieved after the terrible weather we had during the days leading up to the wedding. My dad and I travelled together in the wedding car, sharing old family stories and reminiscing. It was a very emotional journey.

I was so nervous walking into the room and I could barely look at anyone for fear of bursting into tears. I was so glad to have my dad by my side, as he has always been there for me. I caught a glimpse of Ben and he had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I instantly relaxed and couldn’t wait to be standing next to him, ready to become Mrs Hopes.

Our ceremony was fairly intimate, with our family and close friends. We found ourselves in fits of giggles during our vows, a mixture of nerves and excitement! We walked down the aisle together for the first time as husband and wife to the Beetles, All You Need Is Love, surrounded by the people that matter the most to us. I was totally surprised to see my great grandad who is 93, sat waiting at the back of the ceremony. I had absolutely no idea he was able to attend and seeing him turned me into an emotional wreck. Paul Guard, our singer, took to floor, entertaining guests during canapés and photographs, performing classic and modern swing.

I think any groom who is not nervous about their speech is fibbing! For that reason we decided to do the speeches first so that Ben, my dad and his best men could enjoy their meal and the rest of the wedding breakfast without worrying. Paul Guard, our singer, also acted as our master of ceremonies. He was absolutely brilliant and really made everyone feel comfortable, cheering on the boys with all our guests. The speeches were a mixture of emotions, incredibly funny and incredibly sad. My dad included a slide show of family pictures throughout the years and finished his speech with a game of Mr and Mrs for Ben and me. Paul Guard continued his singing shortly after the speeches, subtly through the meal. It really helped everyone relax, and turned something which I think is normally quite formal, into a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. Everyone was singing along and chatting to each other, and some guests even got up to sing along with him. We chose With A Twist as our caterers, who prepared the most amazing food, served literally ‘With A Twist’. The quality and presentation of their food could not be faulted and wowed everyone on the day.

Our photographers were incredible. We chose Ashton Photography and had both Stephanie and Steve with us on our wedding day. Stephanie came to my parent’s house on the morning of wedding and took some family photos and pictures of the bridal preparations and Steve met the boys at Mains Hall. We instantly felt relaxed around them both and everything was effortless and never too much trouble for them. We wanted our photos to be natural, apart from the traditional group shots, and they did just that. Stephanie and Steve did everything they possibly could to keep everything running smoothly and helping our guests relax during the photos.

We cut our cake first, shortly after our evening guests had arrived, followed by our first dance. We chose You and Me, by Lifehouse. It was the first time we were really able to spend any time together, just the two of us! Family and guests joined us on the dance floor towards the end of the song! I then danced with my dad to a song called I Loved Her First, by Heartland. It was so emotional but really lovely.


Photography: Ashton Photography, 01772 435184, www.ashtonphotography.co.uk

Venue: The Great Hall at Mains, Poulton-Le-Fylde, 01253 885130, www.thegreathallatmains.co.uk

Dress: Dreamcatcher, Kirkham, 01772 515090, www.dreamcatcherbridal.co.uk

Accessories: As above

Bridesmaids’ dresses: Leila Rose for Dessy at Bespoke Brides, Mollington Grange, Chester, 01244 888311, www.bespokebrides.co.uk

Make up:Sonara Parker, Blackpool, www.sonaraparker.com

Hair: Sophie Craddock @ Ethan Hull, Blackpool, 01253 293293

Groom’s outfit: Moss Bros, www.moss.co.uk

Stationery: Charlotte Designs, Weddings by Alexander Jones, Lytham St Annes, 01253 640608, www.charlotte-designs.com

Flowers: Flower Design, Blackpool, 01253 724100, www.flowerdesign.co.uk

Cake: Caroles Creative Cakes, Blackpool, 01253 391452

Catering: With A Twist, Darwen, 01254 778270, www.withatwistcatering.co.uk

Venue dresser: Creative Cover Hire, Leyland, 01772 614461, www.creativecoverhire.co.uk

Transport: Magnolia Classic Wedding Cars, Southport, 01704 233477, www.magnoliaclassics.co.uk

Entertainment: Paul Guard, www.paulguard.com

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