A wedding full of luck on Friday 13th
12 Nov 2020
Their wedding date proved luckier than anyone could ever have imagined when Laura Dale and Chris Griffiths married at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire – just before a nationwide lockdown
Photography: Shane Webber
The wedding date
Chris and I got married on Friday 13th March, 2020. We did this for a couple of reasons; one the suppliers were more readily available due to superstition around the date and two we wanted to represent making your own luck in life and we believe we were extremely lucky to find each other. Friday the 13th wasn’t where our wedding started, but it was where it came to life and we had the most amazing day.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We had been dating for almost three years when Chris proposed at Peckforton Castle which was where we also chose to get married - we couldn’t see ourselves getting married anywhere else given the memories it holds for us. We went there to celebrate my birthday the first year we were together followed by our engagement and I had also spent my mum’s 60th there with her having afternoon tea. We liked the idea of having a 'special' place that we can go back to for years to come.
Tell us about your wedding planning
The planning of the wedding was something I couldn’t wait to get stuck into. Not long after we got engaged Peckforton Castle had a wedding fair along with all of their recommended suppliers. I highly recommend any bride to be attending the fair at her venue. Suppliers are typically well used to being at the venue and seem to be recommended/partners and know there way around and what works well at the venue. This was really useful when it came to finalising details and providing contacts for the castle and confirming insurances etc, as they were already known suppliers to the venue. This was where I built my list of suppliers, starting with photographer, videographer and venue dresser.
Photographs were the key thing we knew we didn’t want to compromise on. Given the lighting in the castle we were keen to get someone that knew the venue and had a good portfolio of weddings at the castle. That’s where Shane came in, his pictures are bright, modern and natural - exactly what we wanted so that we didn’t miss out on the day with our friends and family posing for pictures. The videographers came next - they had done many Peckforton weddings and have won many awards. Their films are simply beautiful. Our photographer and videographer had worked together before so had a good routine between them to capture our day and we couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome.
Tell us about the dress
I have always loved Maggie Sottero dresses but never envisaged myself in the dress that I chose. I knew from the second I put the third dress on that it was the one, I always thought it was a myth that you just knew but it really isn’t. I loved everything about it - particularly the classic style as I didn’t want it to date when we look back at our pictures and video for years to come. I just knew that I would never ever regret my dress choice. Because it was quite simple, I opted to add a belt which finished it off beautifully and I also got a crystal embellished veil to tie in with the crystals on the dress.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
The bridesmaids were four of my best friends – they wore Maya deluxe dresses as they were in a number of styles but same material and I wanted them all to wear a style they would like while still matching and being comfortable.
Tell us about your floral arrangements
I went with seasonal flowers in creams and dusky greens – they were perfect. I had a teardrop bouquet which I wanted to have as it was slightly different to the round bridesmaid bouquets as opposed to just being a larger version of their bouquet.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
Our venue dresser was extremely helpful in making suggestions and ensuring we got exactly what we wanted and the venue was stunning on the day with beautiful blossom trees supplemented by fairy lights. We added a balloon hoop for something a little different to the norm and we did that with a twist by having it made double sided so it could be flipped around for the evening with a splash of colour but perfectly complementing the neutral creams, white and green foliage for the ceremony and reception.
We also decided to have our table plan as large orb balloons in metallic rose gold to tie with the bridesmaid dresses. I have never seen this before and it was totally unique to our day with many of our guests commenting on how good they were.
We tied all of the various aspects of our wedding together through our cake, from the monogram we had used as a wax seal for our wedding invites to the shooting stars on the invites and the colour of the bridesmaid dresses.
We tried to involve as many family and friends in our day as possible from bridesmaids and best men, witnesses, readings and taking part in the magic tricks to our guest of honour on the day, our beautiful Cavachon Barlow. I was so pleased when Peckforton Castle said he could be there for pictures otherwise we may have had to pick a different venue. Barlow was looked after by Pete at The Fetch Club, he stayed at our house overnight and brought him to/from the wedding in his specially made outfit. He absolutely loved it! Working the camera and being around so many people, our day wouldn’t have been the same without him.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I was so excited – I thought I would be emotional but I think my adrenaline kicked in and the excitement took over - surprising really as I cried all the way down the aisle at my best friend’s wedding the May before and pretty much the whole of the week leading up to the wedding.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had some close friends do readings and also picked songs for my walk up the aisle (Westlife, Flying Without Wings), signing of the register and leaving the ceremony room (Take That, Greatest Day).
Tell us about the reception
One thing I wanted to be sure of was having enough to keep our guests occupied as you often hear of the ‘lull’ between the daytime and evening reception. We wanted something a little unique so we had outdoor mini golf and games such as jenga which were a massive hit, we had a mind reading magician who was amazing with very current tricks using Netflix and mobile phones so it really gripped our guests and we had a photo booth in the evening. Our magician did a little stand-up segment with Chris and I during the desserts and teas/coffees and involved some of our guests which was great fun. The other addition to our day which we couldn’t have done without was Stefan, the tall toastmaster -he was literally worth his weight in gold. He was there from early to check on logistics until just after the first dance and he ensured everything ran smoothly on our day and most importantly that we always had a drink to hand.
What was your most memorable moment?
For me it was being at the top of the aisle seeing my husband to be for the first time and all of our friends and family.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
This was Chris’ job (he didn’t have many) and I left it totally to him with the brief of it making him think about us. It was Lady Gaga, Is That Alright. My mum had never heard it before we chose it and when she heard it for the first time she burst into tears.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a fabulous band called Soul Revolver and we did a short Mr and Mrs quiz prior to our first dance.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
If I could change anything it would be to have an earlier ceremony for the actual wedding to last longer.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We are going on honeymoon over our first anniversary. We had originally planned it for late 2020 but postponed due to Covid-19 to March 2021. We were so lucky to marry when we did but we didn’t want the honeymoon to be different to what we expected. We booked through a personal travel counsellor and she was amazing at finding exactly what we wanted within a defined budget, giving us a gift link for friends and family to use and making changes when Covid struck.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Enjoy it, think about the details and do what works for you. Whatever you choose will be perfect on the day. I’ve never been to a bad wedding.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Shane Webber
Venue: Peckforton Castle
Dress: Maggie Sottero
Make-up: Kirsty Cunningham
Bridesmaids' dresses: Maya Deluxe
Groom's outfit: Marks and Spencer and ties from Swagger and Swoon
Cake: Jo’s Couture Cakes
Flowers: Lily’s Flower House
Venue dresser: Luxury Events Group
Videography: Marry Me Films
Entertainment: Crazy 9 Golf, Chris Hurst Magician, Pineapple Photo Booth, Soul Revolver
Balloons: Lovely Little Party Co
Dog sitter: The Fetch Club
Toastmaster: The Tall Toastmaster