Wedding of the Week: Rachael Bond and Ian Nicholson

30 Jul 2018

Held in Liverpool, this Beatles-themed wedding was jam-packed with entertainment including a photo booth, caricaturist and DJ to take guests into the night

How did you meet?

We met at work. We had both worked there for some time, but got chatting at a work barbecue in September 2014 and within weeks we were spending all our time together. I moved in with Ian around April 2015 and we bought our first house together in August 2016.

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Tell us about the proposal.

We had discussed marriage and rings etc. but as we were buying a house I was under the impression it would be another year or two before we got engaged. Unbeknown to me, Ian had asked my mum and dad for permission, bought a ring he knew I had liked, and had planned a romantic proposal. It was at the top of Mount Teide in Tenerife. We had gone on holiday and had booked a cable car up to the top of the volcano to watch the sunset. After we had done that, just before the cable car ride back down, Ian asked me to stand still for a picture. With that, he dropped to one knee and proposed. It was very romantic. He had a bottle of champagne with him to celebrate as well.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

We didn’t have a set theme, as we wanted the day to be about us and reflect our personalities. It ended up having a vintage look, with afternoon tea being served as the wedding breakfast and navy and blush colours.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We chose the Hard Days Night 'Beatles' Hotel as it was well situated in Liverpool's city centre and the staff were lovely. It was flexible in allowing us to have our afternoon tea idea, and felt like us.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

I went to five shops in total, trying on around 20-30 dresses. There were two or three very similar styles that I loved, but when I put my dress on Ian’s mum had a tear in her eye and I knew it was the right one. She loved it, as did my mum and sister. It was an Essense of Australia dress from Natalie Ann Brides in Liverpool. The shop came highly recommended and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

I had three adult bridesmaids: my sister, Kate; Ian’s sister, Carrie, and my friend, Natalie, who wore navy dresses from ASOS. I also had one younger bridesmaid - my cousin, Isabel, who wore an ivory dress with navy sash and bow to co-ordinate.

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Where did you find your suits?

Ian hired his suit from Swarbricks Suit Hire in Manchester along with the best man, father of the bride and father of the groom suits. He had wanted a tweed style suit but found it difficult to find many places which hired this out. We spotted a suit he liked at the National Wedding Show which Swarbricks stocked.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

My bouquet was hand-tied, with ivory and blush roses and a hint of sprayed twig berries and thistle to bring in the navy. The bridesmaids all had similar styles to complement and the buttonholes were roses with thistle. Our table flowers were all arranged to complement the bouquets; they were mixed into various sizes and shapes of vases as the table centres.

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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.

  • We had wedding essential/hangover kits as adult favours. They contained coffee sachets, Paracetamol, personalised Love Hearts, mini Mars bars and mints as standard, with the women also receiving plasters and nail files and the men having keyring bottle openers.
  • Children had personalised boxes, with wedding activity packs, mini Mars bars, personalised Love Hearts, yo-yos, bubbles and glow sticks, with girls also having nail files and nail varnish and the boys having a mini Lego set.
  • We also had selfie sticks and props on the tables for guests to enjoy during the wedding breakfast.
  • We had a sweet table with all our favourites including the personalised Love Hearts, and personalised sweet bags.
  • We had a photo booth with lots of props to choose from. Everyone was able to get their own photo as well as put a copy in a book with a message for us to keep.
  • We had a caricature artist draw a picture of us in our wedding outfits (from pictures we had sent her) which featured in our frame for everyone to sign around as our main guest book. The caricature artist also attended the wedding to draw pictures of our guests, which went down extremely well.
  • Another personal touch was the Mustang I had hired Ian to take him to the ceremony and to take us for pictures after the wedding.
  • I had hired it as a wedding present to Ian as a surprise, as he is a huge fan of cars especially older classic cars.
  • We had a couple of DIY parts to the wedding, from the card box Ian made and the ladder he restored which featured pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days (some of whom couldn’t be with us on the day).
  • We also had old Beatles vinyls as our table names to be in-keeping with the hotel.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I was nervous about walking down in front of everyone, but mostly excited. As soon as the music started and I saw Ian waiting for me, I just couldn’t wait to say our vows.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We had chosen the music for the ceremony together. We had Ed Sheeran - How Do You Feel as the entrance song, as this is one of our favourites, and Pharrell Williams - Happy as our exit song as it summed up how we knew we would feel after the wedding, and felt like it would be quite a fun song. We had my cousin/bridesmaid, Isabel, do a reading called On Your Wedding Day. We chose it as the words were lovely and we were conscious of it not being too old or complicated for an 11-year-old to read.

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What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moments were seeing Ian and everyone else as my dad walked me down the aisle, seeing how happy and emotional he looked. Also going to the Pier Head in Liverpool in the Mustang to have some pictures taken with the Liver Building, Port of Liverpool Building and The Beatles statues. Also at the end of the night, when the music had stopped and some guests kept the party going with a rendition of Happy Birthday for my dad, followed by a couple of The Beatles songs including Twist and Shout. It was around 1.30am but nobody wanted the night to end.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

We didn’t really find anything that challenging to be honest. We had things we had to keep in mind when choosing our venue such as accessibility for my disabled brother and grandparents etc., but nothing was taht challenging. I loved every minute of planning.

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What was the most important investment for you? 

The most important investment for us was the entertainment and food. We wanted to make sure that everyone looked back and enjoyed themselves. That is why we picked a caricature, photo booth and DJ. Ian is quite a fussy eater, so we also wanted to ensure that we had a good mix of food he would enjoy and that everyone else would too. With this in mind we had canapés served after the ceremony (mini burgers, mini fish and chip cones, bruschetta) followed by the wedding breakfast which was a selection of mini mains (lasagne, braised pork with apple fritters, chicken pie), all served in ramekins, with afternoon tea (cakes, sandwiches, scones) on tea stands. The food and entertainment were huge hits, so we know we made the right choices.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

We chose Kodaline - The One for our first dance. We wanted something that had nice lyrics and wasn’t too overplayed. We listened to quite a few songs which we both liked but this was by far our favourite.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

Our wedding cake comprised four tiers and each tier had a different flavour: lemon, toffee, chocolate and sponge cake with raspberry filling. Two layers had marble effect icing and the other two were plain iced with bunting (similar to those on our wedding stationery). It also had some sugar roses dotted around. Ian picked the topper which was a Lego Mr & Mrs on their own aisle.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

I would change how much time we had, both in the morning as the last half an hour felt a little rushed, and during the day itself, as it just went by too fast.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

Nothing went wrong as such, but I did have to have a dress fix during the day as the button had come off my train and needed tightening. Luckily the staff at Hard Day’s Night were on hand to help.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

How fast the time goes and how hard it is to sit in a fishtail dress.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went to Nice on a mini-moon two days after the wedding for a couple of nights, but we had our honeymoon in seven months later due to work commitments. We went to Orlando, Miami, Florida Keys and Vegas. It was the holiday of a lifetime.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Just enjoy it and make it personal to you.

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Steal their style:

Photography/photobooth: Keyhole Studios, www.keyholestudios.com
Wedding dress: Natalie Ann Brides, www.natalieannbrides.com
Suits: Swarbricks, www.swarbrickssuithire.co.uk
Bridesmaids' and ring bearer outfits: ASOS, www.asos.com and Debenhams, www.debenhams.com
Venue (food, ceremony, DJ): Hard Day's Night Hotel, www.harddaysnighthotel.com
Floristry: Shelley's Flowers, www.facebook.com/shelleysflowersormskirk
Caricaturist: Vix Caricatures, www.vixcaricatures.co.uk

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