A Special Chinese Tea Party for Jess & Matt

by o-hine | January 4, 2020 | Real Weddings

During the bank holiday at the end of May, Jess had the half term off as she was studying for an Early Years PGCE. Matt had told Jess that they would do something for the bank holiday but didn’t tell her any plans until the Saturday before!

He simply told her to be at Sheffield Train Station for 7am for a surprise trip and to pack an overnight bag.

On Monday 29th May 2017, Jess arrived at the station as was thinking to herself how annoyed she would be if they were simply heading to her hometown Manchester.

They got on the train and Jess thought Matt was a bit on edge, she soon found they were heading to London and she was really excited to spend the day sightseeing.

They enjoyed doing tourist activities and taking lots of photographs. Walking through several parks, they decided to sit down in Kensington Gardens.

Matt laid out a picnic blanket and they sat down to enjoy a rest from walking around. They started talking about their future together, when suddenly Matt told Jess that he had driven to Manchester the day before with his brother to ask her parents for their blessing to get married.

Jess was completely shocked as she had not expected he could have kept such a big secret from her!

He then got down on one knee and presented a beautiful ring for Jess, who of course said yes!

Excited to start planning, they began looking for a venue as this was the first thing they wanted to book. Knowing they would have quite a lot of guests, their numbers would determine which venues would be suitable for their day.

Researching venues online, Jess and Matt chose a few to go and view. As they lived in Sheffield, they were looking for a wedding venue that was away from the hustle and bustle of the city that would provide an escape to the countryside.

They came across Heaton House Farm and thought it would be absolutely perfect so decided to take a trip to see it in person. And they fell in love instantly…

“As soon as we arrived we felt so welcomed by the staff and we loved that we would have exclusive use of the venue and that there was so much space to accommodate guests”

Another key requirement that Jess and Matt wanted from their venue was a Honeymoon Suite to stay in after the wedding and also accommodation for family who had travelled to attend. Luckily, the 15 rooms available at Heaton House Farm meant they could comfortably accommodate a lot of their guests.

They also really appreciated how versatile the venue was and how they could style it however they pleased rather than being restricted to certain suppliers or themes.

Jess loved the Pamper Room too and could picture herself getting ready in there with all of her bridesmaids. They both thought everything about Heaton House Farm was absolutely perfect!

So, they secured the venue by placing a hold on their date, Monday 11th February 2019.

As they had chosen a date in February, Jess felt she should incorporate a winter theme and picked sky blue as the base colour for the décor and dresses. To complement this, she chose a warm peach and blush colour scheme.

The first thing Jess decided to look for was a dress. She had known from the beginning the style of dress she wanted…

A fitted dress covered in lace detailing with spaghetti straps, a low back, long train and simple flowing veil.

The week of the engagement, Jess went to Emily Bridalwear in Sheffield to try a few dresses on but did not think she would find the one!

So she left it, and then went to a bridal shop in Manchester a few months later but left feeling unsure. A year later, she ended up going back to Emily Bridalwear for a trunk show and ended up choosing the exact same dress she had fallen in love with the first time!

But this time, she opted for ivory instead of white as it suited her complexion a lot better. The dress was called ‘Journey from the Blue’ so even the name fit the theme!

“I absolutely LOVE it and wish I could wear it every day!”

Next thing Jess did was organise her bridesmaids and what they would wear as they stood next to her on the big day. She asked Jess to be her maid of honour as they had been best friends since they were 4!

Then she asked five of her friends she had met since starting university to be her bridesmaids. She chose simply stunning, floor-length, fitted dresses in sky blue which married perfectly with the colour scheme and Jess’s dress.

Matt’s suit was chosen by the both of them as he wanted Jess’s help to find the perfect outfit. He wanted something that was not plain and would stand out so they looked for patterned suits.

A bold, navy three-piece suit with checked pattern looked great on Matt, his best man and his five groomsmen. They teamed the suit with tan leather shoes and a sky-blue tie that complemented the bridesmaid’s dresses.

With all the outfits sorted, it was time for Jess and Matt to turn their attention to making sure the venue looked its best!

Keeping the décor simple, they decided they would create everything themselves! Browsing Pinterest and searching the internet for DIY decorations, Jess filled a pinboard with hundreds of different ideas for her special day.

She made so many different elements that have made the best keepsakes including a beautiful sign with all the important dates of their relationship.

The ceremony table was kept simple and elegant, with vases and candles on top and strings of delicate white origami birds hanging across the front.

Chinese lanterns were hung across Steele’s Barn and all the tables were decorated with a mirror, vases of gorgeous flowers and tealights.

The flowers definitely stole the show, all of the bouquets were absolutely breath-taking! Filled with eucalyptus, pale peach and blush coloured roses and flowers in light blue tones, the arrangements really pulled the scheme together.

Everything had been organised, the venue was dressed and ready, the only thing Jess and Matt had to wait for was their special date.

On the morning of the 11th February, Jess and her bridesmaids arrived at Heaton House Farm to get ready in the luxurious pamper room.

They spent a wonderful morning together getting their hair and make-up done ready for the ceremony Under the Pleats.

With everyone ready to go and guests seated, it was time for Jess to make her entrance as she walked up the aisle to an instrumental version of The Prayer by Celine Dion and Josh Groban.

Firstly, they had a traditional civil ceremony. Once their marriage was official, they had a religious blessing with a time for worship and an exchange of rings in the eyes of God.

It was the perfect ceremony for them both, and they walked down the aisle as a married couple to Accidentally in Love from Shrek!

Everyone enjoyed a few drinks whilst the photographer whisked Jess and Matt off to capture some beautiful shots around the grounds and in the private Water Gardens.

They also made sure they had plenty of group shots with all their friends and family, including lots of amazing photographs in front of the barn doors with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Jess then changed into a stunning red, traditional dress for the traditional tea ceremony. This was a wonderful part of the day that really honoured Jess’s and her family’s heritage.

Jess’s Dad kickstarted the speeches, in a very traditional way that honoured his family and their roots… He made the speech in Cantonese for the family members from Hong Kong who could not speak English!

In Jess’s speech, she also spoke partly in Cantonese as she wanted to show appreciation for her family and her roots. This gave the speeches a really memorable element that would make the day truly unforgettable.

And Calvin, Jess’s brother, translated the whole thing! He did a great job and was absolutely hilarious.

Jess and Matt did not want the traditional 3-course meal and both really love their food so decided a buffet would suit them better. The buffet was perfect as it suited everyone’s tastes and there was a great choice. The Thai Green Curry was definitely their favourite!

As Jess has a sweet tooth, she really couldn’t decide on one dessert so instead they had three! Her favourite dessert is Tiramisu and she had been disappointed that Barretts did not offer this, however, they suggested they could make it for her and she was so glad they did! It tasted heavenly!

After the speeches, Jess and Matt cut the cake. A stunning three-tiered semi-naked cake decorated with flowers. The cake was cut up for everyone to enjoy throughout the evening.Tom Finkill soon got the party started as he got everyone on the floor ready to dance the night away, but not before Mr and Mrs Wharton took to the floor for their first dance.

Lovers of classic songs, they chose At Last by Etta James to dance around the floor to.

The dancefloor was full all night long, making sure Jess and Matt had a fabulous ending to the best day of their lives! Their day was idyllic from start to finish and they could not have wished for a better way to start the rest of their lives together.

Jess’s memorable moment

When our marriage became official and we were announced as husband and wife in front of all our family and friends! I also loved just how the day was so personal to us and it incorporated both our British and Chinese cultures!


Matt’s memorable moment

Our ceremony! Because this was the centre point of the day and gave the rest of the day meaning. It signified the beginning of our life together and I loved it that lots of our friends were involved in different parts of the ceremony – it made it that little bit more special!


Advice for future couples

“Definitely take some time away on the day for just you two. It’s so easy to get so overwhelmed on the day but even a few minutes away from everyone and even the photographers makes it that extra special! I also spent a few minutes just in the bathroom by myself in between outfit changes just to take a breather – it’s definitely helpful!”

“Honeymoon – we recommend taking one day after the wedding for everything to soak in and then fly out on honeymoon! We flew out to Bali 2 days after the wedding and we were so thankful for this advice that we got from many of our friends and we really couldn’t recommend this enough! The wedding day is so overwhelming and can be so tiring that you do need just one day to rest up and sort everything out from the day!”

Suppliers who made their day:

Bride’s Dress Enzoani, Emily Bridalwear
Bride’s Shoes ASOS
Groom’s Outfit Next
Bridesmaid’s Dresses ASOS
Groomsmen’s Outfits: Next
Photographer The Light Painters
Videographer The Light Painters
Caterer Barretts
Flowers Botanicals Floristry
Wedding Cake Jess and Matt’s friends
Wedding Hair Bride’s cousin
Wedding Make-Up Nazima Arshad, Vogue Make Up
Evening Entertainment Tom Finkill
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Heaton House Farm,
Rushton Spencer, Macclesfield,
Cheshire SK11 0RD