Elaine and Martin – 24th December 2016


At the end of December the whole team were super excited: not only was the last wedding of the year on Christmas Eve, a winter wonderland wedding and our first one outdoors – it was the boss’s wedding!

 Martin proposed on Sunday 23rd October 2016 and they decided they wanted a short engagement – they both love spending Christmas with family so what better than to get married on Christmas Eve?!  Their engagement was only two months and one day but Elaine knew that if we all pulled together with our experience and excitement we could achieve the day of their dreams with such a short timescale! 

Elaine wore a stunning blush strapless ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and lots of sparkling touches:

I was very nervous of going shopping for my wedding dress: being a plus-sized bride and not having time to order a dress I was conscious that my choices were going to be limited and kept putting off going to look for a dress. I had a certain style of dress in mind and felt sure I would have to make major compromises. Eventually my mother-in-law took me shopping without my prior knowledge and I certainly wasn’t dressed for the occasion (I wasn’t wearing matching underwear and my hair was dishevelled) – she knew if it was planned in advance I would definitely have cancelled!

Needless to say, the experience was amazing. At The Wedding Collection boutique we were greeted by friendly staff and I quietly informed her of the size I needed expecting to be shown just a few dresses.  However, she led us through the shop and signalled three full rails of dresses that I could choose from, amazing! Sat right in the centre of one of the rails was a dress in exactly the colour that I wanted, I was ecstatic! The saleswoman gave us six discs and said to choose six dresses to try on, using the discs to highlight them. I tried on my dream dress and it fitted perfectly! I knew I wanted that dress, but I was advised to try on the others just in case. I tried them, but of course I bought my perfect first choice!” 

Elaine’s bridesmaids Ellie and Nia wore gorgeous ivory princess-style dresses with cosy fur jackets to keep them warm.  In their plaited hair they wore snowflake hair pins to match their crystal bouquets.  To fit in with her winter wonderland theme, Elaine decided to forego flowers and instead she carried a sparkling brooch and diamante bouquet.  The mothers of the bride and groom wore matching pins.  Elaine’s bridal look was completed with intricately pinned hair and a sparkling tiara.

“I never wear makeup so again this was a nervous decision to make. In the end, I asked my sister to do my hair and makeup and I’m happy to say I looked pretty good. We had several trials and she did an amazing job, I’m very thankful to her.” 

As they had an intimate family wedding, Martin chose not to have a best man; Elaine’s three sons Matthew, Joseph and Luke were groomsmen.

“Martin wanted to wear grey top and tails on our special day. We had tried to find the perfect suits online and in person in several shops in Hull and Scunthorpe but the customer service often left a lot to be desired.  After another failed appointment, we happened to walk past Charles Richard Menswear.  We popped in not expecting to be able to be seen as it was 1pm on a Saturday but they managed to squeeze us in the very same day at 3pm.  The service was friendly and attentive – one-to-one attention was given to each of the wedding party for both measurements and advice.  They were very professional, organised and polite, giving good old-fashioned service, perfect!”

Each of the men wore a grey top hat and tails, grey trousers with grey silk waistcoats and white shirts.  To be slightly different, Martin wore a grey tartan wool waistcoat and cane.  Their look was finished off with dusky pink cravats and handkerchiefs.

Their ceremony took place under our grand tree entwined with fairy lights in the gardens.  Hay bales were arranged for the guests to sit on, and as it was a cold winter’s evening the happy couple provided soft blankets to keep their guests warm.  Five organza-draped arches with fairy lights and lots of lanterns lined the aisle, leading to the incredible lit-up tree.  As it was outside in the cold they chose to have a snow machine to add to the wintry effect.  There were lanterns at the end of each row of hay bales, with hundreds of logs, candles, jars of gypsophilia and greenery, with white glittery reindeer nestled among them.  The displays were scattered with faux snow at the base of the tree where we were to say our vows, it looked truly magical.

Elaine and her mum arrived in Boris, the vintage Morris Oxford Empire.

“I was very excited to be in my Victorian styled dress being walked down the candlelit aisle to meet my husband to be who with his top hat, tails and cane was also looking rather Victorian: his choice of suit couldn’t have suited my dress more.”

Elaine walked down the aisle to the sounds of a baby grand piano, situated at the back of all the guests, played by the fabulous Ben Thomas.  The bridesmaids walked down the aisle first, followed by Elaine and her mum.

“I honestly cannot say which part of the service was my favourite, it was all so special! My two eldest boys did an emotional reading, I had written my own vows and my mother-in-law did a brilliant reading too.”

The reception was held in The Barn at Elsham Hall after the service.  Whilst the photographer got started with photographs, guests were served hot chocolate and marshmallows to warm up with.  They had the option of adding Bailey’s to their hot chocolate, or even a hazelnut syrup that made it taste just like Forrero Rocher!  After the photographs the guests were seated in the Barn for a delicious wedding breakfast.  The caterers prepared a choice of Elaine’s favourite Hunter’s chicken with plenty of cheese, bacon and barbeque sauce and Martin’s favourite hearty steak pie with mushy peas!  There was a selection of chips, roast potatoes and roasted root vegetables to go with the tasty meals.  Dessert consisted of either a sumptuous chocolate fudge cake with cream or a zingy lemon cheesecake, with cheese and crackers for those who didn’t fancy something sweet.  
“With our wedding being on Christmas Eve we didn’t want an elaborate three course meal. We were very aware that everyone would be having a roast dinner the next day, and we wanted a more informal occasion – I’m pleased to say that our choice was very well received!”

Because of their Christmas Eve date, Elaine and Martin decided to have a fabulous winter wonderland theme.  The chairs were covered in white spandex chair covers wrapped with a white sash.  Ruffles and feathers, along with a beautiful posy of pastel flowers with tiny, sparkling snowflakes tucked in, completed the beautiful chair design.

Their banquet-style table was styled with very elaborate centrepieces of bare trees suspended from the 30ft high barn beams.  These were decorated with hanging crystal garlands, various sizes of glass candlesticks, a variety of logs, candles, lanterns and sprayed snowy greenery.  Glittering reindeer and approximately forty jars of gypsophilia finished the table off perfectly.  A white fireplace and mantel mirror stood at the end wall of the barn, surrounded by trees with hanging crystals, snow covered greenery, glass candlesticks, baskets of pines cones, candles, lanterns and fairy lights. 

Instead of a wedding cake they had a tower of their favourite chocolate, Ferrero Rocher (it took over 400 Ferrero Rocher to fill the stand!)  The table was decorated with ruffled tablecloths and hundreds of fairy lights for a snowfall effect.  

“While our choice of Ferrero Rocher instead of cake meant that we didn’t do cake cutting, we did take a bite out of the giant Ferrero Rocher that sat on top for the photographs!  Our first dance was to Cascada’s ‘Every Time we Touch’. The song takes us back to when we first met. We had a moment to ourselves on the dancefloor, then invited our guests join us.”

After the first dance, the newlyweds and their guests spent the evening dancing to music played by our DJ, mingling and enjoying drinks from our bar.  At 10pm the bride, groom and their guests were whisked away in time to prepare for Santa!   Because they were hosting all the family for Christmas, Elaine and Martin didn’t go away on honeymoon.  They’re hoping to continue the snowy theme later in the year and go to Iceland to see the northern lights and swim in the Blue Lagoon.  Elaine’s advice to future brides and grooms is, of course:

“It’s your wedding, make sure that you do it your way!”

Additional thanks from Elaine and Martin: “We had tried to keep our wedding a secret for as long as possible, trying to book services without letting on it was our wedding, but with it being Christmas Eve the suppliers were all a bit reluctant to book with such short notice until they realised it was me getting married!

The registrars from North Lincolnshire Registry Office don’t usually offer outdoor ceremonies after September due to the unpredictable weather, but with each registrar loving the services offered at Elsham Hall they were happy to perform our outdoor service. 

Our caterer Chris of Your Chef was originally going away for Christmas, but she kindly put off her travel plans to cater for our wedding. 

The chauffeur Jeff of All Occasion Cars has two young children and should have been home with his family preparing for Santa’s visit but he and Boris popped out to work my special day. 

Our photographer Calvin of One Click Photography again, should have been with his family relaxing after a very busy season, but once he knew it was our wedding he wouldn’t take no for an answer and wanted to be my chosen photographer – he felt privileged to have been asked. 

The pianist, Ben Thomas – what a wonderful guy, he even learnt to play three new, special songs specifically for our wedding. This included Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’, which we walked out of the service to.”


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