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We were married on Valentine's Day, 14th February, at The Cathedral Quarter Hotel in Derby. The ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening were all in the hotel.
We looked at many venues, but the Cathedral Quarter seemed to have everything. It is by Derby Cathedral, almost in the City Centre. It's a beautiful building, which has been carefully restored with great taste. The entrance staircase is spectacular, with a huge stain glass window at the top. It gives such a great light and feel and is ideal for photography. We also chose the venue having met the general manager at a taster evening. The food and the service really are fantastic. The whole day was run with precision and attention to detail. This is a reflection of an excellent management team who really do care and want to make certain your day is special. Also the suites are well designed and very spacious with large bathrooms and lounge areas within the room. This is so important when guests are in and out prior to the ceremony.
I had no set idea for a dress at all. I had planned to use a store out of Derby that I knew and friends had used in the past. However, we visited a wedding show and met the team from Lori-G. They seemed to have some great ideas and after a visit with the bridesmaids and my mother, I made a decision very quickly. Although I had ideas of what I thought I wanted, I was more guided into what really suited me as a shape and a style. My confidence in the team paid off and I was delighted with the dresses and the service. We only set the plans for the wedding in September and visited Lori-G in October, which is a tight schedule for a dress, but they performed to time without stress.
The theme was black and white. We had one bridesmaid in black and one in white. The groom, best man and page boys in black dress suits. We kept the theme running with black candelabras on beautiful white linen (ironed) table clothes and ivory/white flowers around each decoration. A head table with a spectacular run of flowers and a large pedestal. The flower runner and pedestal was used for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. As a hairdresser I see lots of weddings and know the importance of getting the flowers right. We used John Preston, based in Ashbourne, who is a master florist and incredibly creative and gives great ideas. We knew that flowers could be difficult being Valentine's day, one of the busiest days of the year for a florist. But John chose flowers that would not cause any clash with the day, in terms of supply, quality and cost. John did an incredible job, like with many things, you get what you pay for and it is certainly not an area to skimp on price, as long as you have quality and creativity and we had that in abundance.
The room lends itself to a grand occasion, with splendid decor and a room with great height and great entrances. We had soft jazz playing during the breakfast and the acoustics are fabulous, with no overpowering sounds in any part of the room, which is often a problem. We opted for a grand design cake. We had looked on the internet for celeb wedding cakes and came across a design we loved. At a wedding show, we showed our picture to a number of companies, most of who coughed with horror, at the possible complexity. However when we came across Layers Cakes, they showed a real excitement and enthusiasm with the challenge and did everything they could to source the materials and the build design. It was a 3 layered cake that looks like it is suspended in mid air, each layer surrounded by strings of crystals. It really worked and looked stunning. The girls built it up at the venue as it couldn't be moved, once in place.
The cake also mirrored the invites, favour boxes and table planners. They were all white with crystal and really nice quality. The favour boxes had perfume for the ladies and aftershave for the guys. The work was done by No9 designs and we were delighted with everything we received. We also chose a photographer carefully, as at the end of the day, it's one of the most important decisions as it's the complete bookmark and memory of your special day and another area where it is not worth skimping on price. We chose Stuart Wood, an award winning photographer, who is as happy in the commercial world as he is with weddings. We loved his work from the moment we saw it and also the way it is produced in to album form, with special finishes unlike anyone else. From the very start of the day to the very end, Stuart's enthusiasm and professionalism never stopped. He is a photographer that captures moments rather than set pieces. This comes from his skill in the commercial world of capturing something special in a very short space of time. We could not recommend Stuart highly enough.
I guess all in all, we worked in a short time frame, chose the very best professionals who make life easy, we chose a venue that worked with care and military precision to ensure everyone had a special day. Apart from the florist and the car, we chose everything else by visiting wedding shows and getting a feel for what is available and who shows real enthusiasm for what you want to achieve.