Cheshire Weddings - Jen Barnfield - Marc Lee, Arley Hall
- Credit: Archant
The planning of Jen Barnfield’s wedding to Marc Lee took two years, but meant that every little detail was perfect and filled with sparkle. Photography: Rob Berry
When Marc asked me to marry him the proposal was totally out of the blue. We had been looking for rings but he always came up with an objection as to why we couldn’t get one. Little did I know that he’d already bought the ring I’d fallen in love with (the second one we’d looked at) several weeks previously in Altrincham. I had noticed the bag in our hallway but Marc swore blind it was a necklace I had seen. Little did I know he had shown the ring to our son who approved and replied, ‘can I watch you ask mummy?’
Swarovski crystal and white was the theme for our wedding and this ran from my dress, the buttonholes and bouquets and the handmade ring cushion our son carried down the aisle, to the table centrepieces and all the stationery.
When it came to choosing my dress I knew it had to be full of sparkle as my mum and I had made and decorated my championship ice skating dresses with Swarovski crystals for 15 years. After around five shops and 25 dresses, all sparkly but all totally different, I fell in love with an A-line Victoria Jane dress by Ronald Joyce sophisticatedly covered with tiny beads and crystals to just below the hip. Mia, owner of Bridal Couture had the dress made and helped me choose my fine silk cathedral length veil which fell perfectly with the lines of my silk dress.
My sister Rachel and best friend Laura were my bridesmaids. They wore A-line, knee length, chiffon claret dresses with a few crystals at the hip that matched my dress. Both dresses were strapless with a bolero to match. They carried calla lily bouquets with crystals to match those in mine. The groomsmen all wore traditional Morning coats and each had a different pair of cufflinks as a gift from Marc.
Choosing the church we were to marry in was probably the easiest decision. We attend St Anne’s Church in Sale, which I also attended growing up. The church itself is also beautiful. On the other hand choosing the venue for the wedding breakfast and evening reception was a lot more arduous. We viewed several stately homes and boutique hotels but none seemed ‘perfect’, until we stumbled upon Arley Hall. As soon as we entered the fabulous grounds we knew this was ‘the one’. It helped that my mum, a violinist, had played at the hall so was familiar with it as a wedding venue.
Our photographer, Rob Berry, was perfect for us and came highly recommended. Even though we aspired to have a ‘traditional’ summer wedding we wanted our photos to be as natural as possible. This is exactly what Rob achieved. He was unobtrusive and merged into our wedding party.
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Marc, his best man, father, brother and our son Tobey arrived at the church in a Daimler Landau, while I arrived in a Ford Model A Landau. Little did I know that Marc had arranged with John the driver to collect us in the bridal car at the end of the night and take us from Arley Hall post reception – a wonderful surprise.
Our florist was Robbie, who owns Robie’s Flowers in Prestwich. My mum and I sat down with Robbie and as I knew what flowers I wanted we managed to arrange everything in two hours. Our theme was white and clean with lots of sparkles and Robbie created this beautifully and professionally. Some of our guests even had sparkly wrist flowers.
We chose two different tablecentres with the vases varying in height. Each vase was filled with crystals and either orchids or calla lillies draping and falling over the side down the stem of the vases. They looked simply stunning.
For our table plan we used an antique mirror with tableplaces handmade by Louise O’Neill from ‘I Do Designs’. The theme was ‘Great Partnerships’, which we named our tables after. The top table was ‘Carl and Ellie’ from our favourite film ‘Up’.
While we had our photos taken in the surrounding gardens with Rob, our guests were served delicious canapés to the sounds of our foot tapping jazz trio. After receiving our guests we were served with a five course wedding breakfast, which can only be described as the most memorable food ever. To this day, our pea soup shot is still talked about!
Our cake was made by my mum. We had three types of cake – fruit for the lower tier, red velvet sponge and vanilla sponge. The cake consisted of three cascading tiers, all pearlescent ivory icing, with claret ribbon on top of transparent white ribbon around the base of each cake. Flowing beautifully from tier to tier were handmade calla lily and orchid flowers matching my bouquet, along with fantasy flowers – clear glass like flowers also handmade and sparkly leaves and crystals lay amongst the arrangements. Our initials ‘J & M’ were placed on the bottom cake carefully exploding out of the bouquet. All the crystals matched my dress, hair, bouquets, stationery and buttonholes.
In the evening our band, Motown Gold, were just fabulous. The seven piece band covering all types of Motown music couldn’t have been better. Our first dance was ‘At Last’ by Etta James whose words mean so much to us both and halfway through most of our guests had joined us on the dance floor. Even the children danced the night away!
The day was just perfect in every way and we both look back wishing we could do it all again!
Mrs Jen Barnfield-Lee
Photography: Rob Berry, 07787 433387, www.robphotographer.co.uk
Venue: Arley Hall, Northwich, 01565 777353, www.arleyhallandgardens.com