Rebecca and Rhys’ autumn wedding in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is everything a city wedding should be – effortlessly chic, stylish and romantic. From the sentimental catholic service to the elegant bridal gown and the unique reception venue, we fell in love with everything about this uber cool urban wedding! Duncan Cox Photography has managed to capture some stunning, candid moments of the day and this beautiful couple and we are thrilled to be sharing them with you today!
We had just spent two years living with my parents to save a deposit on our first house, so we finally had our moving day all planned and sorted. I did wonder why Rhys was so stressed, but just assumed he was anxious about the move. Little did I know what an important day it would be! It was about 10pm on the Sunday when we finally had everything out of storage and in our new house, and we were most of the way through our first bottle of Champagne when he said there was one more thing to do that day. I looked round and he was on one knee. I was so shocked and couldn’t believe it, he had to ask me twice. But it was perfect, our first night in our own home, it was totally unexpected. So we opened another bottle!
Hair and Make Up
The lovely Tonya Wright did my hair. Easy choice as she did it for Jeanette’s wedding and then for my sisters. I had one trial and she just nailed it! Naturally I did a Pinterest board as I have naturally curly hair, so still wanted it curly and not too tight. I loved it.
For ages I thought I was going to do my own make-up and had a couple of trials at Clinique and Bobbi Brown and spent a small fortune on products but at the last minute I changed my mind, so thankfully Stacey Paxton-Rhodes came to the rescue and gave me a trial about 3 weeks before the big day. I wanted to use the colours I had brought from Clinique, which were smokey greys and silvers. She used a Mac boldly bare lip liner and Pretty Please lipstick followed by Nice Buzz Plush Glass gloss. I’ve since brought all three.
My parents had been away for nearly 6 weeks and in that time we’d moved into a new house, got engaged and booked the wedding! So when Mum came home I said we would have a girly shopping day straight away with my sister and go and look at dresses – just for fun and to spend some time together. I had no idea what I wanted, I thought it would either be an evening dress or something short to show off my shoes.
I knew immediately where I wanted to go, Ivory Tower in Knowle, as they always have the most beautiful dresses in the window. I was so open and tried on any style they all picked for me and was in love with a shorter one with a longer train, so you could see my shoes. Then, when I was getting changed I just happened to see this beautiful, simple and elegant dress hanging up. The lovely Lisa (the owner), let me try it on and that was it. I knew it was ‘the one’ as my sister was almost speechless. I loved it straight away and after a liquid lunch went back and paid the deposit! It was called Sian, by So Sassi of Sassi Holford. The dress was ivory, with a plain skirt and lace peplum over the bodice. I realised on the wedding day that the back detail was actually a subtle heart shape, which was beautiful. It had very small little cap sleeves and Lisa was amazing and let me tweak it, so that we pulled the peplum in a little so it was more fitted instead of flared and just extended the sleeves a touch. It wasn’t a ‘big’ dress, which suited the venue and my style. Plus the front lifted up a tiny bit so that you could see my shoes, which were gold strappy Jimmy Choos. I had to have shoes I could wear again and thought it was the perfect opportunity for my first pair of Jimmy Choos! My something borrowed was my Sisters hair slide and her Swarovski bracelet. I also wore Swarovski earring that my sister brought me for being her bridesmaid and that was it.
It was held at Blessed Robert Grissold Church in Balsall Common. It was a perfect Autumn day! The weather had been terrible the week before, so we were prepared for the rain. Especially as it was the end of October, but it was beautiful. The ceremony was a full Catholic wedding with a full nuptial Mass. I was raised Catholic, so it felt like the natural thing to do. It was important to us to have family involved too, so my Aunty Fiona and cousin Edward did the readings, Rhys’ brother Rod read the Bidding Prayers and the mothers brought up the offertory. I think people were worried it was going to be a bit long, but for us, it flew by. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s canon and we walked out to Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’. The song just always makes us smile.
The reception was held at The Drop Forge in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. We always knew we wanted something a little different and a city wedding ticked all the boxes. We wanted to be able to have it somewhere that wasn’t a typical wedding venue. It was the only place we looked at and we booked it the next day.
The team were absolutely wonderful and Dan, the Manager had spent time with us leading up to the big day, giving us a helping hand on the menu and the bits we needed to bring with us. There was Prosecco and Canapés on arrival and once we had done the pictures we were able to sit down and just enjoy the speeches. We decided to do the speeches before the dinner, so that my dad, Rhys and the best man could just relax afterwards. The team at the Drop Forge just made the whole process really easy and wasn’t stressful at all. The venue was just perfect and we were lucky that we could take over the whole place so it was ours for the day. I love the fact that we can go back any Saturday night and just have dinner at our wedding venue.
The Decor and Flowers
We wanted splashes of red in places such as the flowers, the candles and invites. We both love the colour, so it was an easy choice. We had very simple table centre pieces, just three different sized red candles on a round mirror with lots of red/clear crystal sparkly bits. We also had a huge glass vase with red ribbon for the cards and 5 white lanterns with red candles in the window bays. It was just really simple, as the venue didn’t really need dressing up, but it was just nice to add little touches. The flowers were actually artificial and it meant my bridesmaids and I could keep them. My sister had artificial flowers for her wedding and you couldn’t tell the difference so we had red roses for all the bouquets and buttons holes. We also had a wand made for my niece, Megan, with red flowers at the end. Naturally she loved it and felt very special.
Duncan Cox of Duncan Cox Photography. He was fantastic, we couldn’t recommend him highly enough. Everyone said he was super professional, he was never intrusive throughout the day and managed to capture the day perfectly. People loved him. We were so impressed with the pictures in and around the Jewellery Quarter, he gave it so much thought and consideration ahead of the day, that they were all captured so smoothly and we were just guided around the area really quickly, but never felt rushed. No one was stood around getting bored! He was brilliant!! Looking back though, everyone said ‘Oooh you have to get your photographer sorted straight away’, we just found him online, didn’t have any recommendation for him, but we met him, loved his style and just went for it. Even people who weren’t at the wedding and have seen the pictures have all commented on how amazing our photographer was!
My Bridesmaids were such an easy choice. I love them all so much! They were my sister Sarah and best friends Vic and Jeanette. I was lucky enough to be bridesmaid for all three over the last 4 years, so they were a natural choice. I am so lucky to have them in my life. They were always at the other end of the phone and knew I wasn’t particularly ‘bridey’ so helped me along giving me lots of advice and telling me what I needed to sort and when. There was a lot of Prosecco consumed under the pretence of ‘wedding planning’ and they threw me the best ever hen do. They just put so much thought into making me feel special and even gave me a book of memories on our wedding morning with a note from each of them! My beautiful niece, Megan was our flower girl. She is only 4 and a half and although we didn’t invite any other children, it was so important to us that she was a big part of our day. Sarah, Mum and I took her shopping and let her pick her dress, which she loved. For the meal we did her an activity pack to keep her entertained. Not that she needed it, she was as good as gold.
Our Groomsmen were our brothers, Dominic and Rod. They did a wonderful job of telling everyone where they needed to be and getting people for the pictures as well. Dom was also our master of ceremonies, so introduced us for the first time as Mr & Mrs Hocking, which was pretty special. The best man was Rhys’s best friend Christian. He actually introduced the two of us and set us up on a blind date. So the best man’s speech was lovely as he’s my friend too. It was a perfect mix of sincerity and comedy! He got a lot of laughs with it. We also had my brother-in-law, Kristen drive us to the venue from the church. He got the Jag cleaned especially, put a big bow on and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the car for us. It was really special actually, our first journey as husband and wife and being driven by my brother-in-law. Everyone played a part.
The food was amazing. As we have been to a wedding before at the Drop Forge and also on several nights out for dinner, so we didn’t have any concerns about it at all. Dan the manager, spent several meetings going through the menu and offering suggestions, he was so helpful. We had a buffet style meal served to each table. There was a mix of things for starters, such as breads, hummus, chicken skewers, prawns and chickpeas with tomato and red wine braised chorizo with potato and tomato sauce. For mains we had a mix of roast sirloin of beef, honey roast ham, salmon fillets served with sundried tomato pasta salad, plenty of greens, salad, potatoes and French fries. Everyone said there was plenty of food and wine! We had fun choosing the wine! For the dessert, we had our wedding cupcakes served with bowls of mixed berries and cream. The Cupcakes were made by my good friend Charlotte Manns of Buttercream and Dreams. She made us about 7 different flavours. From traditional Vanilla, to Carrot Cake flavour and of course chocolate. She also made us a gorgeous naked cake we could use as the cutting cake. The food, cakes and wine were all delicious, but as the bride you just don’t eat a lot. I would have loved to have been a guest at our wedding!
The Best Bits
Rhys – For me, it was seeing Beccy for the first time, I felt so proud.
Beccy – Apart from my Dad walking me down the Aisle, it was being surrounded by all our family and friends. Having everyone we loved that means something to us there in one place, was really special. Everyone made the effort, got babysitters if needed, came from all over the country and just really enjoyed themselves. The speeches were so touching. It’s so strange to hear your dad and your husband say such wonderful things (and funny things) about you to a room filled with everyone you love. So strange – but so lovely at the same time. They had put so much thought into them, they were so moving. I think I cried at all the speeches – even the best man’s!
The Brides Advice
There’s always more to do than you think and you will do things last minute, despite your best intentions. Oh and listen to your Mother, she knew this and did try to warn me! Thank goodness she gave me a ‘to do’ list and also organised all the table settings. I don’t know what I would have done without her and my Dad doing all the running around. I think my folks did more than we did! Try and enjoy it and don’t stress about the little things. At the end of the day it’s just about the two of you, that’s what’s important – you’re marrying the love of your life. No one will care really where they sit and also no one will really mind you didn’t do table favours. Give them an extra glass of Prosecco instead!
Bridal Gown: So Sassi by Sassi Holford | Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Grooms Attire: Suit by Moss Bros | Bridesmaid Attire: Ted Baker and Jenny Packham for Debenhams | Flowers & Bouquets: Handful of Flowers in Marsten Green | Entertainment: Mike Peters DJ | Photographer:Duncan Cox Photography | Wedding Cake: Charlotte Manns of Buttercreams and Dreams | Hairstylist: Tonya Wright of the Hair Shop | Make Up Artist: Stacey Paxton-Rhodes | Reception Venue: The Drop Forge | Ceremony Venue: Blessed Robert Grissold in Balsall Common
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Lucy Leaper is our inspiration and bridalwear specialist! She has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. Lucy loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!