It was so great to photograph Charlotte & Lottie’s wedding with my special intimate Cheshire wedding photography style! No pandemic imageable could come between the love shared between Lottie and Charlotte, their closest friends and family celebrated them with happiness at their small wedding ceremony at The Isla Gladstone Conservatory in September 2020.
I had the pleasure of photographing Lottie & Charlotte’s elopement in August 2020 and there I heard all about how they’d had to postpone their big wedding to 2021 but were still planning to get married with a small ceremony, the following month, in September 2020. Of course I jumped at the chance to photograph this and use my intimate Cheshire wedding photography style, but thanks to the strict restrictions on numbers, the couple didn’t have a space available for a photographer. The time came that one of their guests couldn’t make it and so I was able to be there! Yey!
The rules meant that I couldn’t move an inch from my chair and of course, I had to wear a mask. The registrar was extremely thorough in counting the number of guests to ensure there were no more than the allowed amount. She checked that everyone had their mask on, which could have created quite a tense atmosphere! Especially since all of the guests were seated 2 meters apart, even if they were from the same household. It’s been such an interesting experience to photograph weddings throughout the pandemic as each one has had a different set of rules which makes the job of capturing the magic, quite challenging by being so restricted! However, nothing could dampen the excitement of the couple’s families who exchanged giggles from across the aisle. So cute!
Stunning Venue Isla Gladstone Conservatory
Let’s hear all about the special day from Charlotte and Lottie themselves!
OUR SARAH BROOKES PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE
What we loved about Sarah’s intimate Cheshire wedding photography style;
We could not recommend Sarah highly enough! Sarah was amazing from start to finish. Prior to our little lockdown wedding, Sarah visited our venue to scope out potential photo opportunities which was great and helped the day run smoothly.
We then had a consultation and discussed which combination of photos we wanted, and discussed the order of service although given the restrictions the time was pretty limited so Sarah ensured she would fit in all the family photos first then allow guests to go off and enjoy their drinks whilst myself and my wife went off and did our couples shoot!
To be honest I didn’t know whether it would be worth having a photographer due to the limited number of guests and was worried it would be a waste of a seat (no offence Sarah!) but I can honestly say I am so grateful that we are able to share all of our gorgeous photos with our wider friends and family who were not able to share our special day. Other family members took some dodgy photos on their phones on the day, but as they were distracted and wanted to enjoy what was happening…their pics were not the best!
Sarah was approachable, well dressed, attentive & organised. The photos were edited and emailed to us within a week of the wedding (Super speedy service!) I would happily book her again, she made us feel at ease because she is so lovely. 10/10.
POP THE QUESTION
Lottie says: I proposed to Charlotte first at a beautiful waterfall in Turkey after the planned proposal at the top of Machu Picchu wasn’t possible. Charlotte was completely surprised and there were lots of happy tears.
Charlotte says: I then returned the proposal believing Lottie deserved that special experience. I surprised Lottie with a weekend in a ‘glamping pod’ and when Lottie arrived the pod was filled with 100 balloons with a photograph and a reason why I love her attached to each one.
Our wedding date was 11th September 2020.
We wanted a late summer wedding and had been together 3 years in September so this seemed to make sense. Plus it was one of the last Friday’s available when we booked less than a year prior!
As Covid-19 hit and it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we planned we discussed it with the venue and they were great at helping us move the ‘big wedding’ to June next year (as it was all already paid for). We did however still want to get married as planned this September and so we began organising our small wedding for the original date.
The Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Stanley Park Liverpool.
We would have liked to get married abroad originally but it is difficult for some members of our close family to travel and so decided against this.
We really liked the idea of getting married outside but because you can’t trust the weather in England the glass house inside/outside feel of the Isla was the next best thing. We also loved the fact that the Isla has the bandstand outside where you can get married if the weather is good. We also went with the Isla because it is a large open space – we originally planned a big wedding with around 125 day guests and another 125 night guests and so needed the space and didn’t like the idea of being in a venue where our guests ended up spread out across several smaller rooms.
When first visiting the Isla as well we immediately found our wedding co-ordinator Rachel really friendly, helpful and accommodating which really sealed the deal. Rachel has continued to be amazing throughout!!
The colour scheme for our ‘big wedding’ is black and gold with lots of greenery. We were originally going to go with blush and green but felt this has ‘been done’ a lot and so wanted something a bit different. As a couple we are nearly always in black and white and we loved the idea of tuxedos and that kind of colour palette so that is what we went for in the end. The greenery is to sort of soften the colour scheme and bring in our love of the outdoors. For the small wedding the colour scheme was white dresses and flowers and then lots of greenery additions
We both bought wedding dresses for the original ‘big wedding’. Lottie designed her own with Jessica Bennett Bridal and Charlotte bought a Stella York Dress from Liverpool Bridal Boutique. Both were absolutely amazing designers/ shops and we couldn’t recommend them enough.
Jessica Bennett is so incredibly talented and worked amazingly with Lottie even as we went in to lockdown to design and create Lottie’s dream dress.
Liverpool Bridal Boutique and the staff there are also amazing. Charlotte was really anxious before going dress shopping but they immediately put me at ease and helped me to find the most perfect dress and even enjoy the process!
However, having decided to go ahead with a much smaller legal wedding and then celebrate in a bigger way next year we decided to save these dresses for June (more people to look at them!). So that meant we had to find alternative dresses for the September wedding.
Lottie bought a dress online from ASOS Bridal range and fell in love with it as soon as it arrived.
Charlotte struggled initially going to Cheshire Oaks and buying every white dress we could find and then taking them all back (it’s hard to find a formal white dress that isn’t actually bridal). After various unsuccessful shopping trips (to shops where you weren’t allowed to try dresses on) and lots of ‘well this one is alright but it’s not perfect’ Charlotte also went online and bought a dress from the Monsoon bridal range that she was completely happy with!
Both of these dresses were around £100 which was amazing and we received so many compliments and comments from people who couldn’t believe these weren’t our ‘actual wedding dresses’.
Our brothers (Lottie 1 and Charlotte 2) will be acting as Best Men/ Groomsmen at the wedding in June and we plan to rent Tuxedos for them and our Dad’s/Grandad but this time round they just wore their own outfits although we did take them all shopping.
We got some of the suits in the sale at Moss Bross Cheshire Oaks which were great value and the staff really helpful!
We have 6 bridesmaids between us and bought their black bridesmaids dresses from ASOS probably around ten months ago. They were probably the first thing we bought (before our own dresses) and we are all really happy with them (bridesmaids included – we hope).
Like our ‘actual wedding dresses’ we decided to keep the bridesmaid’s dresses for the June wedding and although our bridesmaids were at the wedding (bar one who sadly tested positive for Covid-19 the day before the wedding and so couldn’t come!) they just wore their won beautiful outfits.
SARAH’S FAVE BIT OF THIS INTIMATE CHESHIRE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE!
Lottie and Charlotte feel like old friends of mine. When we met and we clicked straight away! They love nature walks; they feel comfortable in walking boots under their wedding dresses and they’re all about their family! They were so kind to Justin and gave our baby the biggest cuddles. They smiled and cooed over him and thanks to this pandemic, we’ve not shared many experiences of him interacting with people, so we stepped back and watched our baby boy giggle and smile at the beautiful brides in front of him. Such a lovely moment. My quick iphone photo of the three of them will be one we show him on his 18th birthday for sure! We are so happy that they found each other. Their love story is truly amazing and we will tell you more about when share their romantic cliff top elopement ceremony story! But for now, lets see more images of their intimate Cheshire wedding photography style!
Our friends/bridesmaids drove us to the venue on the day in their own cars – including sticking a bow on which was a nice touch and we are lucky we have friends with nice cars.
Even for the big wedding in June we don’t plan on hiring wedding cars as the ceremony and reception will be all in one place so no real need and we would rather spend the money elsewhere.
We decided against a wedding videographer for our small ‘lockdown wedding’ and feel the amazing photographs Sarah took capture the day well enough. We do intend to book a videographer for the big wedding in June however.
We also did some DIY decorations for the small wedding just to add a ‘bit of something’.
We used lanterns and candelabras we already owned (bought from Homesense) and decorated them with some fake greenery and flowers (also Homesense – it’s a big favourite of ours) and dropped them off at the venue a couple of days before the wedding.
Rachel from the Isla then laid out the decorations adding a couple of other bits on the tables that the Isla stock (free of charge).
We booked ‘White Events’ based on the Wirral to do all our decorations and flowers for the ‘big wedding’ and when decided to postpone and just have a small lockdown wedding we just asked that they provided us with a bouquet each which they did. Our bouquets were made of false flowers so we will be able to use them again in June!
A lady called Fiona Costigan made our cake. It was a gorgeous lemon and poppy seed sponge with White Chocolate ganache.
For the wedding in June the Isla will be providing the food. On this occasion we went to a restaurant and just had pizza/buffet style food.
We didn’t have any formal entertainment at this wedding (we are planning a live band for September). We created a Spotify playlist used during the ceremony (entrance/signing the register/ exit etc) and then a second playlist for guests arrival/drinks reception. This was really easy and worked well.
Due to our guests not being able to use the bar at the venue we were able to bring some of our own drinks for our guests to enjoy. We therefore tried to get our guests favourites and the venue laid them out for us.
AdamApple Confetti – we had some gorgeous ‘confetti flingers’ in personalised tubes which were a lovely little touch – a lot of our guests chose to keep the tubes as a memento from the day – as did we.
Rachel and all the staff at the Isla have been amazing throughout all this uncertainty and they have been accommodating and reassuring wherever possible.
The venue is beautiful and good for large weddings and as it turns out also for smaller ones!
OUR BEST BIT
It’s a cliché but becoming ‘wife and wife’ was definitely the best bit and ultimately what it is all about.
Whilst there were obvious negatives to having to drastically reduce our guest list there were pluses to. We both noticed that we could really connect with each of our guests during the ceremony because there were so few people and they were spread out meaning we could see everyone clearly. Also having plenty of time to chat to everyone and not feel we were rushing round trying to mingle meant we could really take it all in.
We ended up booking a week at an all inclusive resort in Turkey about 4 days before the wedding. In such uncertain times we didn’t know what we would be able to do/where we would be able to go so we left it until the last minute and then just asked the travel agent where was least likely to go into lockdown.
We are not generally ‘all-inclusive type people’ but having a week in the sun relaxing was lovely.
We are hoping to be able to go to Costa Rica for 3 weeks for a bit of an adventure honeymoon when things are more normal.
Try and stay relaxed – We are both generally quite laid back people but staying relaxed about the wedding was essential in such uncertain times.
This also stretches to the day itself – don’t sweat the small stuff, find quiet moments with your partner and just try and take it all in. This is much easier with a smaller lockdown wedding so there are positives!
supporting this gorgeous intimate Cheshire wedding photography style;
Looking for more small wedding inspiration? Check out Sam & Shannon’s intimate Tipi Wedding
Intimate Cheshire Wedding Photography