An Intimate & Alternative Christmas Wedding
Laura & William’s Special Day At The Empire, Belfast
Laura and William tied the knot on 21st December 2016 at Belfast City Hall, followed by drinks at Belfast Christmas Market and a reception at The Empire, Belfast.
Photography by Francis Meaney
While on a visit home from University in 2010, Laura bumped into William in a bar in Portadown. There was an instant connection and the couple were so smitten, that they decided to embark on a long distance relationship when Laura had to return to Birmingham to study, just after they first met.
Fast forward to June 2016 and William popped the question while watching Muse on their third night at Glastonbury. Laura describes the moment as, “unexpected, but very, very special.”
Laura and William’s main objective from their wedding was to have a relaxed, informal day – and that is exactly what they did! Due to the time of year, and location of the ceremony in Belfast City Hall, the couple reserved tables in the beer tent at Belfast Christmas Market for drinks immediately following the ceremony. “Everyone received a token for a free drink and it gave all of our guests a chance to mingle,” says Laura. “After the Christmas Market, we moved onto the Empire, Belfast. The venue was ideal for our wedding and had lots of character without us having to decorate it.”
The couple opted for a simple, intimate, and wintery theme. Laura says, “It was perfect as we had a strict budget and it was Christmas, so all of our venues were already decorated for us! I love winter, but didn’t want to be predictable, so we chose colours in pink, grey and white tones. I wanted the day to reflect our personalities, as well as our love for music, food, family and friends, brought together with lots of personal touches.” Event Planners NI decorated the tables in the Empire with pink, grey and white candles, while Laura made the centrepieces by filling large candle holders with foliage and fairy lights. The favours were homemade blackberry jam and apple chutney prepared by Laura herself!
Francis Meaney was the couple’s photographer for the day. “They really listened to what style we wanted and were able to capture the real atmosphere of the day. I’m so glad we chose them, I absolutely love our photographs and would recommend Francis to anyone.”
Laura wore an elegant wedding gown from designer Justin Alexander, purchased in Portadown bridal boutique, Orchid Studio. “I wanted a dress that I was comfortable in, that would also be timeless in our wedding photographs,” explains Laura. “I loved the Sabrina neckline, attached beaded belt and alternative buttons on the train – it felt very ‘me’. I completed the look with a soft grey cardigan to keep me warm and a hairpiece form Gibson Bespoke.”
William and the groomsmen hired dark grey, three piece suits from Red Groomswear in Belfast and couldn’t fault the staff for their helpfulness.
Laura’s sister Sarah was a bridesmaid and she wore a pale grey bridesmaids’ dress also from Orchid Studio with a pink cardigan to keep out the cold!
House of Elliot in Lisburn provided the flowers for the day, and the couple chose pink avalanche roses, pine cones and lamb’s ear for the bouquets. Laura’s talents didn’t stop at making her own wedding favours and she was able to hand make the button holes for the bridal party with needle felting and foliage from the garden!
As a nod to their proposal, Laura and William’s wedding invitations were carnival tickets designed on Kraft paper by ‘Made by Rae’ on Ebay. They carried this theme throughout the day from their drinks tokens to their guest book, which Laura placed an instant print camera beside inviting guests to stick a photograph inside.
The relaxed atmosphere continued throughout the day as Laura and William chose not to have a table plan and opted for a delicious menu to please any foodie, including a hog roast, desserts served in shot glasses from Windsor Bakery and cheese, crackers, chutney and traybakes to round off the festivities at the evening reception. The wedding cake was a family effort as Laura’s mum made three tiers of lemon, vanilla, and chocolate, Laura’s granny made a fruit cake and Laura needle felted the decorations for the top of the cake!
William’s favourite moment was their band, Juram Gavero Trio, playing two Led Zeppelin tunes back to back and Laura’s most cherished memory is, “walking into the beer tent at the Christmas Market, hand in hand with William as everyone cheered. It was very surreal to have all of our friends and family in one place and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
And their advice to other couples planning their wedding? “Keep it simple!”
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