A Wonderfully Informal Summer Garden Party Wedding

by Michelle

Glorious high summer sunshine and the truly beautiful venue of Crook Hall & Gardens in Durham set the scene perfectly for Rosie and Liam’s wonderfully relaxed wedding. With fabulous images captured by Erika Tanith Photography, this really was an English country garden wedding at it’s most delightful.

By going with what felt authentic to them as a couple, Rosie and Liam decided against the formality of a sit down meal and rigid table planning, and instead opted for food that everyone could enjoy wherever they chose to sit. This is such a great way of taking the pressure off yourselves with time, energy and hassle saved on table planning. As your guests won’t feel obliged to stay seated in the same place throughout the day, it also encourages them to socialise and mingle.

We also love the relaxed vibe of the first dance, again so many couples stress on this one, but why should you? Just follow Rosie and Liam’s lead and choose a fun song that’s special to you, that you don’t feel the need to choreograph, but you know will have everyone joining you on the dancefloor to share the love and laughter with you.

With so much more to tell you about their day, it’s straight over to Rosie and Liam now:

What was the style of your wedding?

We wanted it to feel like a relaxed and summery garden party with all our friends and family – luckily the weather on the day was absolutely perfect!

How did you make your day feel really personal to you as a couple?

We just went with what felt right to us rather than what’s traditional, so for example instead of a sit down three-course meal for the wedding breakfast we had fish and chips (with ice cream cones for dessert), and no seating plan, so people could just sit where they wanted around the gardens.

We also went for a more upbeat first dance song (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye) as neither of us are amazing dancers and we wanted something fun to dance to rather than shuffling around the dancefloor awkwardly.

How did you decide on your venue?

Crook Hall was the first place we looked around, and we loved it so much we didn’t even look anywhere else – it’s in the centre of Durham so it was really easy for everyone to get to, but it feels like you’re in the middle of the countryside.

The gardens are absolutely stunning and as soon as we saw the part of the garden where the outdoor ceremonies are held we knew that it was where we’d be getting married.

Tell us about your wedding outfits

I always knew that I wanted a fifties-style wedding dress and I loved the shape of the ‘Annie’ dress by LouLou Bridal – a sweetheart neckline with an amazing full skirt with lots of layers of tulle – but I wasn’t sure about the all-over floral pattern of the one that I tried on in the wedding dress shop.

The lovely ladies who own the shop got in touch with LouLou and arranged for them to make a plain ivory version of the dress, which was absolutely perfect. I wore vintage-style shoes to match the retro feel of the dress, and a veil with floral lace detailing.

Liam went for a skinny-fit navy suit with brown brogues, and a soft pink tie to match my bridesmaids’ dresses.

What was your standout moment of your day?

It’s hard to pick just one as it was such an amazing day, but our favourite is probably when everyone in the hall just started singing and dancing along to our first dance song with us, it just felt really special to have all our friends and family sharing that moment with us (and also it made us a lot less nervous about dancing in front of everyone!)

What are your top tips for other couples planning their wedding?

If you’re getting really stressed about something minor, try to take a step back and ask yourself if the thing is really worth getting so stressed over – it’s easy to lose perspective when you’re spending so much time and money planning something.

Also make sure you get a few minutes alone with your new spouse at some point during the day just to take it all in together, as the day goes by really fast.


The Supporting Cast

Photographer: Erika Tanith Photography

The Venue: Crook Hall & Gardens, Durham

Dress: custom version of ‘Annie’ by LouLou Bridal – from One Fine Day Bridal Wear, Durham

Shoes: Rainbow Club

Veil: Rainbow Club

Liam’s whole outfit: Debenhams

The Cake: Made by a very talented friend of Liam’s mum!

The Flowers: Pins, Petals, Powder

Wedding Breakfast – Bells Fish Shop, Durham

Ice Cream Van (for Wedding Breakfast dessert): Scoops n Smiles


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