Real Wedding: A Deeply Personal Day with two Receptions on the Isle of Man
They made sure their day was extra special with not one, but two receptions, celebrating the first aboard a steam train, as a nod to Charlotte's childhood love of the mode of transport.
Charlotte wore a striking Jesus Peiro wedding dress, teamed with Jimmy Choo shoes and an elegant veil which she later switched for vintage fur.
Photographer | Shan Fisher
How they met and the proposal
Charlotte's sister met Nick on a business ski trip in Courchevel, France, and decided he was a perfect match for Charlotte.<br /><br />"They called me from their bubble car to set up a date, and the rest is history!" recalls Charlotte.<br /><br />"One year to the day after our first date, Nick took me to Courchevel to propose. He arranged a romantic surprise picnic at one of the highest points in the resort, just off piste and away from most of the tourists," shares Charlotte.<br /><br />"The setting was magical, we had fabulous food and champagne, and while not a complete surprise (Nick was acting very suspiciously for several days) I couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect proposal."
The wedding day
Nick and Charlotte organised a wedding day with a difference, kicking off the celebrations with a pre-reception on the Isle of Man Steam Railway.<br /><br />"The pre-wedding reception was inspired by the fact that every wedding we have ever been to we’ve been starving and dying for a glass of something alcoholic by the time church was over," explains Charlotte.<br /><br />"We also desperately wanted to travel to church on the steam railway which I used to play on as a little girl. So we combined the two!"<br /><br />"To keep to tradition I sadly wasn’t able to attend the reception at the station, but my mum, dad, bridesmaids and I were smuggled onto the train, in our own private carriage, whilst Nick and his ushers met all of the rest of the guests at the station and travelled with them to church. It was such an amazing way to start the day, and even though the bridal party couldn’t join in the main fun, it gave me time to relax a little and calm my nerves with all my most favourite people."
The wedding ceremony and reception
The catholic ceremony took place at St. Mary's Church in Castletown, and was followed by a reception at <a href="http://www.niarbylcafe.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Niarbyl Café</a>, a clifftop café and marquee on the island’s west coast with utterly breath-taking views. <br /><br />"It was actually our second venue and we’re so glad we took the risk and switched," shares Charlotte.<br /><br />"It’s always been one of my favourite places in the world and we’d eaten at the restaurant there many times when I was growing up, but we didn’t know they did weddings. One day, when we were in the middle of a huge crisis of confidence in our original venue, my parents were driving over the mountain past Niarbyl and spotted a huge marquee and a wedding fayre. We couldn’t believe our luck."<br /><br />
The church decorations
"For our colour scheme we chose muted yellow, inspired by the gorse which comes out in the Isle of Man in August, and added in muted splashes of the other Manx National colours – blue for the sea, green for the hills, and white for the clouds. Tying all that together was gold, which we brought out in our stationery, table cloths, and favours," says Charlotte.<br /><br />Using their colour scheme, Charlotte and Nick decorated the church. <br /><br />"A wonderful and talented lady from church, Elaine, kindly volunteered to decorate the church with flowers inspired by my bouquet. She did an incredible job and really made the most of the simple church."
Gold wedding decorations
"I drove the marquee company, <a href="http://www.a3-marquees.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">A3 Island Marquees</a>, mad because I was desperate for gold sequinned tablecloths to bring a bit of glamour to the marquee, and make it feel warm and opulent," admits Charlotte.<br /><br />"I hate vast, empty marquees! Candy from A3 did a great job, shipping them in from the US especially, and they really made the marquee look fab."
Animal name card holders
Charlotte and Nick went for simple table names, just numbering them all, but added a little something extra by spraying animal figurines gold to act as name card holders. <br /><br />"The golden animal escort cards were probably my favourite DIY project, but I went a bit DIY mad, and there were golden bits and bobs everywhere!" says Charlotte.<br /><br />"I loved the idea that there would be lots of small touches to make our guests smile, and that they could keep as mementos of the day. I made small scented candles for every girl, decorated with gold edging, and we bought cigars (or Yorkies) for every man. To go with those, we had bespoke cream and gold matchboxes and napkins made for the tables."
"Given that all of our guests were travelling to the island for the wedding we chose bespoke vintage-style postcards for our save the dates and themed the whole invitation suite to coordinate with them, explains Charlotte.<br /><br />"They were made by <a href="http://www.wethreeclub.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">We Three Club</a> who I found after hours of trawling online. Alex was such a talented artist."
The Jesus Peiro wedding dress
"It took a while for me to find my dress, and the one I chose was entirely the opposite of what I’d originally wanted!" reveals Charlotte.<br /><br />"I thought I would have a slim fitting lace dress with capped sleeves. But I tried on a couple of <a href="http://www.jesuspeiro.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jesus Peiro</a> dresses and realised they really suited my body shape. Mine was almost the last one I tried because I absolutely didn’t want strapless, but it fitted me so well, and made me feel very elegant."<br /><br />Charlotte purchased her Jesus Peiro dress from <a href="http://www.larab.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lara B</a> in Newmarket, Suffolk, despite first seeing it in London.<br /><br />"I’d seen Jesus Peiro in Lara's shop and she was so knowledgeable and caring that I trusted her to make sure whatever I bought from her fitted me perfectly. She ordered it especially and took such care over the fitting that even the two hours of travel each way for my appointments was entirely worth it."<br /><br />"It was a strapless, a-line dress with a full skirt. The fabric was incredible; a heavy satin with a striped organza overlay. The stripe was very subtle but really gave it a unique feel. And Lara cut it to give me a slight drag at the back which felt incredibly bridal. The most beautiful part was a lace applique which ran around the bodice of the dress just at waist level. Again, it was very subtle but pulled the whole look together."
"I spent ages trawling pinterest and wedding sites to find something which would go with the lace on my dress and yet fit with the '60s glamour feel we were hoping to create," says Charlotte.<br /><br />"In the end I hand-made a head-dress of silk flowers on a lace applique inspired by one I’d seen online"
"I wore a simple silk veil for the ceremony to cover my shoulders, but later on I was very glad to take it off and replace it with the an amazing vintage fur from Portobello Market to complete the '60s look."
Jimmy Choo wedding shoes
Charlotte completed her look with a striking pair of heeled Jimmy Choo shoes.
The bridal bouquet
Charlotte's bouquet held host to eucalyptus, roses, eryngium thistles, succulents and yellow craspedia.<br /><br />"Our florist, Heidi Keane from <a href="http://www.flowerstudio.im/Latest_News.aspx" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Flower Studio</a>, helped enormously with the flowers as I hadn’t a clue," admits Charlotte.<br /><br />"I showed her photographs of things I liked – I was more concerned about how they were arranged that what they were, as we wanted flowers to be our main decoration in the marquee. Heidi chose the exact varieties and pulled them all together into beautiful arrangements."
The bridesmaid's outfits
Charlotte's bridesmaids wore skirts from <a href="https://www.coast-stores.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Coast</a> in a retro inspired yellow fabric. <br /><br />"We found the skirts in Coast and loved them immediately. I was looking for yellow, and the brocade fabric and shape were so late '50s/ early '60s they could have been designed for us," she says.<br /><br />"We had the tops made especially as it was tough to find something which would go with the yellow and still look sophisticated and elegant. They were only finished a couple of weeks before the wedding which was a bit nerve-wracking but they looked beautiful."
The groom and groomsmen
"Nick is a real clothes horse and I think he spent more time planning his outfit than I did!" jokes Charlotte.<br /><br />"His suit was a bespoke navy three-piece suit from <a href="https://www.thomsweeney.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Thom Sweeney</a>, and his groomsmen had navy suits tailored for them to coordinate with Nick."
The vintage wedding car
"Nick desperately wanted to drive me away from church in a vintage e-type Jaguar," reveals Charlotte.<br /><br />"My wonderful mum stepped up to the plate and found us one of the only e-types on the whole island, which the owner very kindly lent us in return for a donation to a cystic fibrosis charity. It was the very least we could do."
The wedding cake
"A lovely lady named Lynda who is a retired baker and friend of my mum made our wedding cake, in fact, she made two!" says Charlotte.<br /><br />"We had a huge lemon slab cake to eat on the day (we served it as pudding with local ice-cream), and the decorative cake, which we cut, was a fruit cake, iced by Lynda and decorated with fresh flowers by Heidi."
The most memorable moments
"My most memorable moments include the train ride to church with my family, saying our vows, the drive from church, and the speeches from Nick and my Dad. They were such intimate moments and the bits we both remember most clearly and fondly," says Charlotte.
Advice for other brides
"Make sure you plan your photographs really carefully so that you don’t spend the whole day being photographed," advises Charlotte.<br /><br />"Photos are such important mementos of your day, and ours are beautiful, but don’t let them make you miss the opportunity to spend time with your friends and family."<br /><br />"Also, DIY projects are rewarding but incredibly time-consuming, and if you have 18 months to plan a wedding you will definitely fill it. You just add more stuff! Part of me thinks six months would have been more than enough time."