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Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown

Melissa and James, Curradine Barns, Worcestershire

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Couple

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The Couple

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Melissa Northrop, a careers adviser, and James Wilcox, a commercial manager first saw each other on a night out for work six years ago. “We didn’t speak to each other that night, but when I saw him again two weeks later in a club I decided not to let him get away a second time,” says Melissa. “After plenty of eye contact and some cheeky smiles we got talking and he asked me out.”

Four years later, on the last day of a holiday in Hong Kong, James took Melissa for champagne cocktails and dinner to celebrate her birthday. “I assumed he was making my birthday so special because it was our last night there,” admits Melissa.

“After the meal he took me for a romantic stroll along the harbour front and we sat looking at the skyline and the ships roll in and out. It was a complete surprise when he got down on one knee and presented me with a beautiful ring, but I said yes immediately.”

Photography: ickootu reportage photography

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Venue

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The Venue

Melissa and James wanted a venue for both the ceremony and the reception. “We’d looked at a few hotels before we came across the Curradine Barns in Worcester,” says Melissa.

“We knew straight away that it was the place for us and we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. The two barns had real character, but there was plenty of space to add our own touches. It was so different from the tired hotels we had seen before, and although it was big enough to hold our 100 guests, it didn’t lack intimacy.”

To make a feature of the decorative brickwork, the couple hired two dramatic red up-lighters and greenery was wound around the ironwork running across the width of the room.

“The barn has a fantastic minstrel’s gallery overlooking the room which was strewn with pretty willow intertwined with fairy lights,” says Melissa. “The venue was also decorated with two pedestals full of flowers, a floral piece for the registrar’s table, and a large arrangement attached to the gallery.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Ceremony

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The Ceremony

The couple exchanged vows in the Granary barn, which is the larger of the two barns. “It felt very intimate, and the registrar really made it personal,” says Melissa. “Many of our guests said that it was a touching ceremony and they were all moved by how genuine we sounded whilst exchanging vows. For us, that was what the day was about and at that moment it felt as if we were sharing something really special with all of our friends and family.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Dress

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The Dress

Melissa wore a two-piece dress by Cymbeline from Margot Raybould Brides in Wolverhampton. “It was a red taffeta, floor length, a-line skirt with a bustle and short train which split to show an organza underlay. And, a lace-up bodice with spaghetti straps and red lace at the neckline and hip,” says Melissa.

“I knew it was the dress for me when I took my bridesmaid to see it in the shop and she gasped.

“I wore accessories from Sarah Drew. I had tried on some of her pieces but they weren’t what I was looking for. So, I contacted her directly to see if she could create something special for me.

“After a lot of discussion, she made me a bespoke lace tiara to match my gown, threaded with gold wirework, Venetian glass beads and red Swarovski crystals.”

Melissa also wore a matching lace cuff and some drop earrings with red Swarovski crystals from Selfridges.

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Groom

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The Groom

James wore a black lounge suit with a cream silk waistcoat and a red tie from Formal Affair. “I picked his outfit out in the hire shop without him,” says Melissa. “We returned together a week later for him to unwittingly pick out the exact same combination!”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Bridesmaid

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The Bridesmaid

Melissa decided to have just one ‘best woman’. “She wore a cream, floor length, strapless sheath dress made from nu-georgette, from the Dessy Collection at Margot Raybould,” says Melissa. “Her necklace was also made by Sarah Drew and matched my own accessories.

“During the ceremony she was concentrating so hard on not tripping up that she stood on my train and stopped me in my tracks whilst walking down the aisle. I turned around and stated laughing, but she looked mortified! She’s even embarrassed about it now, but its funny memories like that that make the day special.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Flowers

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The Flowers

The wedding flowers were sourced and put together by a family member.

“Orchids are a family flower, so it was important to me to have them featuring on the day,” says Melissa. “In my over-arm bouquet I had green cymbidium orchids with a few cream Singapore orchids.”

“My ‘best woman’ had a hand tied bouquet of red roses to compliment my outfit, with a few green cymbidium orchids.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Entertainment

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The Entertainment

After the ceremony, there was a champagne and canapé reception in the courtyard of the barns. “After drinks, we went to the Barley barn for the speeches, followed by the wedding breakfast,” says Melissa.

“There were two casino tables set up directly after this to bridge the gap between the end of the dinner and the start of the DJ, so the evening guests could have a gamble and dance.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Reception

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The Reception

The couple decorated the tables with red organza runners. “We tried to make the table floral arrangements a little eccentric, and alternated thick church candles along with miniature goldfish bowls, each on a bed of flowers,” says Melissa.

“The place settings were tied to the backs of the chairs, and each had the double happiness symbol – the traditional Chinese symbol used for weddings – which matched all the wedding stationery. And, instead of table numbers, the tables were named after the cities in China that we were going to visit.”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Favours

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The Favours

The couple chose wedding favours from Best Favours.

“The men had Wilcox Whiskey miniatures with the double happiness symbol, our names and the date printed on the label, and the women had Buddha incense burners,” says Melissa.

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Menu

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The Menu

Melissa and James spent a lot of time discussing their food preferences with their caterer, KB Catering. “We had looked at a few different menus but this one really stood out from the rest. The produce was fresh and the finished product was excellent,” says Melissa.

“We had 5 different types of canapé during the drinks reception, ranging from caviar to Chinese dim sum. We then had a 3-course meal of homemade chicken liver pate with chilli chutney, followed by chicken stuffed with red pepper and fresh seasonal vegetables. There was a choice of dessert – either chocolate truffle tore or lemon tart, followed by coffee and mints.

“In the evening a massive cheese board along with hot pork, stuffing and apple rolls went down a treat!”

Modern wedding with fantastic red bridal gown – The Cake

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The Cake

Melissa and James knew they wanted a big fat chocolate cake! So, they looked at local suppliers on the Internet until they found one they liked, Cakes by Karen “We went for a tasting session and we were really impressed by both the taste as well as Karen’s extensive portfolio,” says Melissa. “We chose a four-tier cake with three chocolate tiers and one vanilla, with chocolate slab overlays. The ribbon we used for the stationary was tied at the base.

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“For the cake topper we found a supplier, Googly Gifts, who made us a fantastic bespoke bride and groom. I sent them details and photos of our outfits, and within two weeks we had a miniature version of us for the top of our cake!”