Joanna and Andrew Brindley-Guy met at an ice rink in Nottingham, where Andrew took an unconventional approach to wooing her. “He skated around me in his new skates like Bambi on ice,” Joanna laughs. “He followed this by writing a note asking if I'd look after his plants while he was away – but he wrote it from the plant's perspective. It was at this point I knew he was the one!”
Just three months later, Andrew popped the question at home before having a ring designed at the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. “We really wanted to get married at home. At the time there was talk of the law being changed so you could wed outside of a registered building,” the bride tells us. “Sadly this never happened, and we ended up waiting 17 years to tie the knot.”
The pair finally set the date for 16th September, 2017, and chose a country-chic theme with rose gold, pink and mink accents. Joanna tells us how they planned their dream wedding…
As we couldn't legally marry at home, we held our ceremony at Harrogate Register Office before hosting our reception in our picturesque garden. Our landscaper, Kerb Appeal, designed it specifically with the wedding in mind and it was completed with just a few months to go. We hired Papakata tents to host celebrations.
My bouquet was a mixture of pretty French ruscus, quicksand and amnesia roses with greenery. We hung a huge cartwheel in the centre of the largest tent. It looked spectacular covered in foliage and roses.
We wanted people to have something to remember the wedding by, so at the end of the night we gave each of our loved ones a beautifully potted succulent that had decorated the tipi during the day.
We didn't want all our tables to look the same so we had three different layouts featuring roses, succulents, foliage and candles for a country-chic vibe. We designed the centerpieces so people could easily chat.
We were keen for our guests to get to know each other. Our food was served on sharing platters to encourage conversation and each table was named to reflect the people sitting at it.
There was a savoury and sweet cake. We didn't want lots of waste, so the brownie cake was part of the dessert platter and the cheese tower was divided up and formed the basis of the grazing station in the evening.
Being forever practical, Andrew wanted to buy a suit he could wear again, so he, the best man, my dad and son all looked super-smart in an M&S suit with mink accessories. I had two bridesmaids; my best friend and my daughter. It was difficult finding a style to suit them both, but we cracked it with a gorgeous lace and chiffon number by Romantica.
I fell for a Justin Alexander dress while researching online. It was a beautiful silk gown with a sweetheart neckline and beaded bodice in pearl pink. I went to the designer's trunk show at The Harrogate Wedding Lounge; I loved lots of styles but ended up with my first choice.
The evening party kicked off with a special naming ceremony for our daughter, Molly. My 14-year-old son Jake's band, Concrete Junglz, followed this. We called the party Clifford Fest as we had four bands performing in total!
Guests were welcomed to the venue by the sound of a jazz and soul band. The band played in the garden while everyone mingled in the sunshine and drank bespoke cocktails named after our children.
It sounds like a cliché but it really was the best day of our lives. It was fantastic realising our dream of hosting our wedding at home, and we're so proud of our children for their contribution. My dad's speech was one of the funniest moments. The whole place was in stitches with people claiming he was funnier than any comedian!
Joanna's top tip: “Keep the day true to you and your family. Don't ever lose sight of this.”
Cake and catering