Sarah & Dan – A Christmas Wedding Love Story

A Christmas wedding proposal under the mistletoe was the idyllic, fairy tale beginning to Dan and Sarah’s wedding. ‘Dan got down on one knee at home over Christmas 2012’ smiles Sarah. But, a spell in hospital following a cycling accident meant that the planning process started at Dan’s bedside. ‘At this point I had to admit to having wedding magazines hidden under the spare room bed!’ says Sarah.

The Venue

A venue with a large capacity that also felt intimate was important to Sarah and Dan. ‘We wanted to invite all our friends’ explains Sarah, ‘and Sandhole Oak Barn was the perfect size and space’.  The happy couple fell in love with the beautiful Cheshire barn wedding venue as soon as they saw it.  ‘We loved the elegant space and the lakeside setting’ says Sarah. ‘On our visit, the barn was covered in a thick blanket of snow and the lake was frozen. It was stunning and the owners were so welcoming, we were sold immediately!’

Set up for a Christmas wedding ceremony at Sandhole Oak Barn
Exterior of Sandhole Oak Barn wedding venue at dusk

The Styling

Sarah and Dan decided to get married four days before Christmas, so a festive winter wedding theme was key. On each table sat a hessian sack, filled with a personal Christmas wedding favour for each guest and tied with a beautiful satin bow. ‘It took me two years to buy and wrap over a hundred presents’ laughs Sarah, ‘but it was worth it to see everyone opening them during the speeches’. The festive sacks worked perfectly as both a favour and table decoration idea, along with beautiful flowers created by Sarah’s aunt who is a florist.  When it came to the cake, Sarah and Dan saved their pennies with a Marks and Spencer purchase. ‘We decorated a tiered sponge cake from M&S with silk flowers and simple ribbon,’ explains Sarah. ‘It saved us a lot of money and took only an hour of my time.’

Christmas themed wedding favours with red ribbon

The Dress

Sarah wore a stunning Ronald Joyce dress with full tulle skirt. ‘It was exactly what I had in mind,’ she says. ‘I felt like a princess all day’. Accessories were elegant and simple – Sarah’s grandmother’s diamond earrings and a necklace that was a surprise wedding gift. To complete the look, Sarah splurged on an amazing pair of shoes. ‘I bought a stunning pair of bright red Casadei shoes in Florence just after we got engaged’ she says. ‘They had been sitting in the box for two years, waiting for that special moment!’

Getting ready with the bridal party at Sandhole Oak Barn
Getting ready for her big day at Sandhole Oak Barn

The bridesmaids looked radiant in Champagne-coloured prom dresses and gorgeous peep-toe Carvela heels, while the groom and his ushers wore indigo-blue three-piece suits from Ted Baker. ‘We also had seven pageboys who looked adorable in the same coloured trousers and waistcoats with little brown brogues,’ says Sarah.

The bridal party shoes for the big day
Groom and groomsmen in navy blue suits at Sandhole Oak Barn

The Ceremony

Sarah and Dan tied the knot in a civil ceremony in Sandhole Oak Barn’s beautifully rustic Oak Barn. ‘We both enjoyed the ceremony’ says Sarah ‘and a surprise reading from a friend was the icing on the cake’.

Bride and groom just married at Sandhole Oak Barn

The Celebrations

After the ceremony, caterers Top Table served Champagne and canapés before the three-course wedding breakfast. Speeches followed and had the desired effect! ‘The speeches were brilliant’ explains Sarah. ‘There were lots of laughs, tears and toasts. I was so touched by the effort made by Dan, my dad and the best man.’ Guests and the newlyweds then partied the night away to music played by FM Party Band. ‘They had everyone up on the dance floor and even let a couple of our guests join them on the mic for their favourite song.’ smiles Sarah. ‘We danced our first dance to ‘Happy’ by Bruce Springsteen which has always been our song.’

Wedding reception first dance at Sandhole Oak Barn

Sarah’s Top Tip:

‘Just enjoy it. No doubt you’ve spend a lot of time and money planning your special day. Don’t overthink the little things on the day – no one will notice if the table centres aren’t exactly as you imagined. Make a point of spending time as a couple wherever possible during the day’

Photography courtesy of © Motivstudio Photography