We met at school through a mutual friends and a love of alternative music. Tom asked me out on MSN (this can be forgiven as we were only 13 and 14 years old at the time!) on the 1st of December, 2007. We’ve always celebrated this anniversary and after a whole ten years together, on that date, Tom asked me to marry him. He proposed with the most perfect ring, my dream ring! A stunning 1920s style platinum band with a brilliant green emerald and diamonds on the shoulders. The proposal felt like the most natural thing in the world and of course I said yes (after lots of crying!!), and we phoned our families straight away to share the news. Afterwards, we went out for our favourite food – sushi!! – and felt very giddy! It was really important to us to keep that date as our wedding anniversary, because we’d celebrated it for so long and it felt wrong to change it. Tom and I have grown up together really and I think both of us and a lot of other people we know were very happy to see us finally tie the knot.

Wedding planning

When we first got engaged I thought that one year was a bit of a rush to sort a whole wedding, but when we checked dates and found that our anniversary for 2018 fell on a Saturday, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity, it was too perfect not to. We started planning properly at the end of January, beginning of February and wanted to keep things mostly simple, with a hint of our personalities and of course a bit of Christmas because of the December date.

We had had in our minds for a long time than when we did get married, we’d like it to be at Sheffield Town Hall. I had been to a previous wedding there and the building itself as well as the inside is really beautiful, plus the ceremony rooms are relatively small and we didn’t have a huge number of guests to the daytime part.

Ceremony music

To walk down the aisle, I had Somebody by Depeche Mode in a piano cover, one of our favourite songs and possibly my favourite band of all time (and my Dad’s, which was also nice for him to walk to it too). While we signed the register, we had Vitamin String Quarter covers of some of our favourite songs, including Blink 182 – Feeling this (we both are huge fans of this band and we especially listened a lot when we were very young), your song – Elton John (A classic and a lovely song), and The Cure – Just Like Heaven. For exiting, we had the original version of Queen – You’re my best friend. We both love Queen and hae always sang this song to each other.

Sheffield Town Hall wedding

Everything went really smoothly, everyone at the Town Hall were brilliant.
Because it was the 1st of December, the Christmas markets had sprung up all around the city centre and there were loads of people shopping, and a brass band playing right outside! It all felt very Christmassy and exciting, and made for some really fun photos of us walking back to the car to leave for the venue with people milling around in the background.

We were told in the lead up to the day, that we wouldn’t be able to have photos inside the Town Hall on the staircase after the ceremony because the next bride would be arriving, however it turned out we could which we were so happy about. It must have been a relatively quiet day – a perk of a December wedding for sure! These photos in front of the beautiful Christmas tree and with the huge, decorative staircase are so festive and lovely.

After the ceremony we ventured out for some photos in the Peace Gardens despite the drizzle in the air. We hopped up into a giant lit-up bauble decoration and Michal took some of our favourite photos of the day – we love that we were able to take advantage of the markets and turn what could have been a set-back into something that made for unique, fun photos.

On the day, the traffic was quite bad because of the Sheffield United football match and by the time we finally pulled up outside the Town Hall, I was a bit flustered to say the least! We were just about on time though and apparently protesters had moved moments before my arrival; so maybe it was meant to be!

Christmas wedding in Sheffield

We both love Christmas time and have always associated it with our anniversary, often celebrating over a cup of mulled wine at a Christmas market. So we were especially happy when our venue told us there would be decorations everywhere already. I made a lot of the other decorations but didn’t want too much going on, so stuck to our main theme colour, emerald green (to match my beautiful engagement ring), some gold, a few fairy lights and a little glitter.

The Old Rectory

I had been to a family wedding at The Old Rectory about ten years before, and knew it was a lovely, friendly venue with a nicely sized main hall for the meal and reception. Tom and I had said from the beginning that we didn’t want to go mad with the wedding, we just wanted a big party with everyone we love, and I think we achieved that.

Tom and I both like the slightly vintage /classic style with a slight alternative edge, but didn’t want to look too costume-y. For years, Tom has said how he would wear a “penguin suit” as he calls it, a suit jacket with tails. He also had a beautiful personalised pocket watch, as did my Dad but in a different colour. He made a few nods to the “rock n roll” style with Dr Marten brogues and a unique waistcoat which had a skull print lining.

Everyone who knows me would have guessed that I would go for a tea-length, 1950s style dress, as that’s my go-to occasion-wear style. Tom joked beforehand that he would already know what I’d look like on the day – and he probably wasn’t far off! For my hair I went for vintage-style waves, which were done my Mum who’s a hairdresser and that was a lovely memory of the day for me. I did my own makeup, which I’ve always loved to do, and went for a classic red lip.
The groomsmen wore the classic suit with tails and my bridesmaids had tea-length emerald green satin dresses, sparkly red shoes and faux-fur stoles for that vintage style.

Jess and Tom's suppliers

Hair comb and jewellery set: EnglishBridalShop on Etsy

White faux fur stole: Amazon

Nottingham lace garter (blue bow) as a nod to our life in Nottingham and at the University: CraftySewAndCo on Etsy

Handmade lace garter with green bow: an amazing surprise gift handmade for me by a family friend

Dress: Tilly by Brighton Belle, bought at Blushes bridal in Sheffield. Nicola who helped me find my dress was so helpful and kind and made the experience even better

Bride’s shoes: Mary Jane style shoes – Rainbow Club

Makeup: Done by myself! I’ve always had a huge passion for makeup and although I’ve never trained professionally, I have done makeup for weddings, proms and competitions in the past. Growing up, everyone has always joked that I’d have to do my own wedding makeup and so I did! I was terrified I was going to muck it up on the day, so I did quite a few practice runs and it was all fine on the day! I wore my favourite red, MAC Russian Red which is the same shade I wore for my prom at school in 2010 (which I attended with Tom, of course!)

Hair: My lovely and talented Mum did my hair. It is such a special memory that she did it for me on the day.

Necklaces: Debenhams

Bridesmaid dress: Eloise’s secret closet

Bridesmaid shoes: Ebay! They were bargains and so fun and Christmassy with the green dresses

Groom’s attire: Reece Ford suit hire, Dronfield

Waistcoat: Noose & Monkey, a bargain we found months and months before the wedding in TK Maxx. It was about £15!

Groom’s shoes: Dr Marten 3989

Flowers: Faux from The Bride’s Bouquet

Cake: Made by the lovely Pat, a friend of the family. Topper was from BestDecoWedding on Etsy.

Food/catering: Provided by The Old Rectory

Candy/desert buffet: My amazing Mother-in-law put the sweet table together. The jars were from Amazon.

Celebrant: Hilary Mizler at the Town Hall who is actually one of my Mum’s friends, and we know her quite well which was lovely as we had a familiar friend there. She encouraged us to include readings at the ceremony too to make it more personal and I’m really glad we did.

Invitations/stationery: Daisy Chain invites – the green bow matched our wedding theme

Table decorations: For the centre pieces, I bought the jars from Ikea, my Mum lovingly collected the pinecones on walks in the park, the sprigs of mistletoe were from Hobbycraft and lights Primark, of all places! For the place names, we sprayed pinecones with gold spray paint and gold glitter. One of my Mum’s close friends was an absolute gem and came early on the day to set everything extra up.

Venue decorations: Christmas decorations and linens etc were provided by the venue. Extra decorations like fairy lights, candles and Christmas table decor were from B&M, The Range and Home Bargains (love a bargain! :)) We collected the vintage frames in the run up to the wedding and I hand-wrote all the signs.

Wedding car/transport: My Mum’s work colleague owns this amazing lilac Morris Minor and she organised this as a surprise for me. It was an experience trying to navigate match-day traffic in the rain in this little car! But very fun.

Rings: Tom’s – James Hadley, Surrey Street, Sheffield, Jess’ – aardvarkjewellery.com via Etsy