A Manx Afternoon Tea Party Themed Wedding!
Do you remember the Alice in Wonderland Proposal story we featured in 2016? Well that same couple, James and Lexi are back with us to share their wedding day and we are so excited to hear about what they chose! Lexi shares their big day …
It took us a year and a half to plan the wedding which was on 12th August 2017 at Niarbyl (where we had both the ceremony and reception). We loved planning the wedding (maybe me more than James!). We took our time with it which was actually quite nice, we would do some planning one weekend and then take a break for a month or so and then pick it up again. It meant we didn’t get overwhelmed with all the decision making!
My dress was designed by Essence of Australia and it was from Isabella Grace in Tunbridge Wells, it was absolutely stunning and just my style! My bridesmaids bought me a beautiful headpiece to match my dress made by Richard Designs. I wore Irregular Choice shoes (gorgeous!) and my necklace, bracelet and shrug were from Liberty in Love.
The Groom, Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
The groomsmen wore fantastic country style tweed jackets and waistcoats from Xposed London and Manx hunting tartan ties, pockets squares and cuff-links. The bridesmaids wore gorgeous purple Two Birds dresses which were perfect because they could be worn in any style they wanted.
Your Wedding Theme
The theme was a Manx Afternoon Tea Party and we had an Alice in Wonderland themed cake. Each layer was all topsy turvy and looking like it was going to topple – it was so much fun!
The colours for the day were all taken from the Manx Tartan (purple in the bridesmaid dresses, blue in the table cloths etc.) Our table decorations were bird cages overflowing with flowers in the Manx Tartan colours. Over the last year we also collected a whole array of vintage china for the guests table settings.
We had parasols filled with flowers hanging from the ceiling and we had a picnic basket to collect the cards – all to tie back in to the whimsical tea party theme.
We made most things ourselves to be honest. I love making things so for me it was the best part of planning the wedding! My sister is fantastic at art and so she made several signs for the wedding including a timetable for the day made from scrap wood and a seating chart where each guest’s name and table were written on a teabag shaped piece of card and sorted into teacups.
The Wedding Favours
The 12th August is also World Elephant Day and so we decided to donate money in the guests’ names to Save the Elephants. I also made every guest an origami elephant (that took a while!) to take home.
My mum is great with flowers so she kindly agreed to take on the project! We selected the flowers together in the bright Manx Tartan colours and ordered them from Robinsons. Mum then worked really hard to make the bouquets, button holes, centre pieces, parasols and wedding arch flowers. Everyody commented on what a fantastic job she did!
We had a quartet play the ceremony and the drinks reception, a magician (Juan Corrin) performing during the drinks reception, a ceili band (Tarroo Marroo) to get everybody up dancing after the wedding breakfast and then Soul Suspects performed in the evening. All of the entertainment went down a treat!
James designed the wedding stationary and did a great job. We then got them printed by the Copy Shop on the terrace who provided a wonderful service. We kept things quite simple but with the Manx Tea Party theme clearly showing, with each invite/save the date/order of service having the Manx tartan colours to tie it together.
James gave an absolutely beautiful speech. I wasn’t expecting to cry on the day but I must admit I welled up during his speech! My dad and James’ brother Ryan as best man also gave brilliant speeches. My mum then finished the speeches with the Manx toast.
The Day Before
I just felt excited! There weren’t any nerves or anything, I just couldn’t wait to marry James and see all of our closest friends and family. We didn’t see each other before the wedding – my bridesmaids all came to stay at our house the night before and James went to stay with his brother. On the morning of the wedding though we found we had left each other gifts to open. I bought James a pocket watch with an inscription and our wedding date (so he has no excuse to miss a wedding anniversary!) and James bought me a beautiful charm for my Pandora bracelet.
We didn’t write our own vows but we did make the ceremony our own. We started by all singing Ellan Vannin and then mine and James’ sisters gave heartfelt readings. James’ sister in law then sang an acoustic version of Florence and the Machines’ you’ve got the love for everyone, it was beautiful.
Because we were having quite a non-traditional day overall, getting married at Niarbyl, we did want to keep some traditions and we had our first dance to the Manx wedding song.
Your Biggest Splashes and Biggest Saves
We splashed out on entertainment because we wanted to make sure all of our guests had a great time. We saved on quite a lot of things because we made so much ourselves. We definitely saved money on the flowers because we were so lucky that mum agreed to make these for us.
Your Money Saving Tips
By having an afternoon tea party the food didn’t cost as much as a three course meal but our guests were certainly full and loved the theme. It also meant that the wedding cake could be the dessert.
The Best Wedding Idea
I can’t decide! Every element of the day went so well! There were so many photos taken on the day and I’m smiling in every single one of them, I couldn’t have been happier!
The Hen and Stag Do
James’ brother Ryan organised James’ stag do and they had a brilliant weekend in Prague. For mine, my sister and mum treated me to a hen do for the three of us in Disneyland Paris. They then organised a brilliant weekend in Manchester with all my friends.
Your Wedding Advice
I would try to get the big things booked in relatively quickly, like the venue and the photographer, simply because they tend to get booked up quite far in advance. Then I would take a break and give yourself time to come up with your ideas/theme before you start buying things and change your mind! We also found the Your Big Day website really helpful, particularly with providing a list of all the different suppliers, its hard to work out what’s out there on your own.
Your Most Emotional Moment
James’ speech, it really was beautiful.
Your Wedding Suppliers:
- Bridal Accessories – Liberty in Love and Richard’s Designs
- Decorations – Hand made
- Entertainment – Juan Corrin (magician), Tarroo Marroo (ceili band), Soul Suspects
- Event Services – Finishing Touches and Niarbyl
- Favours – Origami elephants
- Flowers – Ordered from Robinsons (they were very helpful) and arranged by my mum (Vicky Watterson)
- Gifts – Compact mirrors with the wedding date on for each of the bridesmaids from Etsy and Manx Tartan cufflinks for each of the groomsmen from Mostly Manx
- Hair – Utopia – and they were brilliant!
- Honeymoons and Travel – We went to the Amazon Jungle and Ecuador (an amazing experience!) and we organised the whole trip ourselves.
- Hotels (for guests and the wedding night) – Our guests booked into various hotels around the Island
- Jewellery – Liberty in Love for my jewellery. Our wedding rings were from Goldsmiths in Liverpool.
- Makeup and Beauty – My sister (Emma Watterson)
- Marquee – A3 Marquees
- Menswear – Xposed London
- Outside Catering – Niarbyl, they did a really good job and were so helpful to us in the run up to the wedding
- Photographer – Simon Park (couldn’t recommend him enough)
- Transport and Car Hire – Mike’s Taxis for the bridesmaids and groomsmen (they kindly decorated their lovely cars with ribbons) and then my dad surprised me on the day with a Rolls Royce provided by his friend. We also hired a beautiful yellow vintage bus from the Department of Transport to collect all of our guests.
- Venues – Niarbyl
- Wedding accessories – Wedding Arch hired from Balloons to Go
- Wedding cake – Taylor Made Cakes
- Wedding Dress – Essence of Australia from Isabella Grace in Tunbridge Wells
- Wedding stationery – Hand made/Copy Shop on the Terrace
- Womenswear – Two Birds Dresses from Brides of Liverpool
If you would like a lovely feature to relive your wedding day, just get in touch with us. A big thank you to Lexi and James for sharing their Isle of Man wedding day. It looked like a truly stunning day!