December 21, 2022

Byrne Baby Byrne

Byrne Baby Byrne
Gary Nunn
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There is no better season than Christmas party season to host a big fat party wedding... Everyone is already in the spirit and most have the time, it's also the most romantic time of year thanks to all the engagements, the twinkling lights and the promise of what's to come...

Nathalie and Tom took the reindeer by the horns and hosted the most fabulous post Christmas party wedding here last year, in black tie (of course!) with a romantic ceremony in front of our huge tree, neon, bright and fun decor, and a smoke bomb photoshoot.

What a perfect way to end the year!

How did you two meet?

We met in 2014 a week before our birthdays, and having only recently moved to London I didn’t have any plans, so my friend dragged me on a night out that one of her friends was going to.

That night turned out to be Tom’s birthday celebration and after bonding over a nearly shared birthday (our birthdays are a day apart) we got together and were for 6 years before Tom proposed in July 2020.

Tell us your proposal story!

Poor Tom had planned on proposing in April 2020 – 1 month after our 30th birthdays – but Covid had other ideas and we went into lockdown 3 days after our birthday weekend.

This meant I sat through lockdown oblivious to the fact that there was an engagement ring hiding in our flat – and Tom spent the whole lockdown petrified I’d find it. I did nearly find it on a few occasions doing flat clear outs and re-arranging drawers – at one point he had to hide it in the loft!

 

Eventually, restrictions were eased and we escaped London for Devon for a long weekend.

I had absolutely no idea he was planning on proposing, to the point where he basically had to drag me down to the beach for a drink one evening while I complained I was too tired and too cold!!

He then proposed on the deserted (and very windy!) beach – I was so shocked I just kept on asking if he was joking which I don’t think was the reaction he had quite anticipated!!

What made you choose Elmore Court for your wedding?

We knew we wanted a Winter wedding, so we knew we wanted a venue that had beautiful interiors and lots of different rooms so that people didn’t feel cooped up all day. We also knew we wanted a venue that had rooms our guests could stay in and carry on the party after the wedding had ended.

Tom grew up in Worcester and was keen to get married as locally as possible. So when we visited Elmore we realised it ticked all those boxes and more – the Gillyflower was the most amazing surprise and when we were told about the 18ft Christmas Tree which is put up in December, it sealed the deal!

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Tell us about the inspiration for your Christmas wedding

It’s so cheesy but I love Christmas, it is my favourite time of year, and when Elmore said they had 1 date left in December – the Bank Holiday between Christmas and New Year, it was fate!

But I knew I didn’t want our wedding to look traditionally Christmassy as by the 28th of December everyone is over it and looking forward to NYE, so instead I wanted it to feel really opulent and fun, like a combination of the two.

My colour scheme was a bit rogue – navy, burgundy, orange and pink - but it did work all together!!

How was your covid wedding planning journey?

Elmore made the planning process so easy, we knew that everything was under control and no request felt too outrageous or too much. Even when we added in a last-minute firework display a month before they were so accommodating.

We got engaged in June and booked Elmore in July so the ball started rolling straight away, we knew with covid postponements we had to get in quick to secure suppliers!

I found it hard to enjoy the whole process due to Covid, we had booked all our suppliers after lockdown 1 had ended to go into 2 further lockdowns and many more covid restrictions after that which really added to the stress.

We were never 100% sure the wedding would be able to go ahead, especially the month before when a new variant started spreading and more lockdowns were threatened over Christmas.

I think we only let ourselves truly relax when we got to the ceremony and realised it was actually going ahead!!

I enjoyed the creative side of things and we both loved choosing the band and the food!

Elmore made the planning process so easy, we knew that everything was under control and no request felt too outrageous or too much. Even when we added in a last-minute firework display a month before they were so accommodating.  

Tell us about your disco decor and bright flowers

I knew I wanted to complement the amazing space with lots of beautiful flowers but I know nothing about them, so wasn’t fussed on the type of flower, I just wanted what was seasonal and matched my wedding colour palette.

I also wanted to add lots of greenery and oranges and pomegranates into the flowers to really add to that opulent, festive feel.

Luckily my florist was amazing - she didn’t laugh at the fact I wanted half a fruit bowl in my floral displays and even created the most incredible asymmetric floral installation which we had in the ceremony room and then re-purposed for the Gillyflower under our neon sign.

As I knew my dress would be very simple I knew I could go to town on the bouquet so she created me the most insane, giant bouquet which looked amazing.

We also bought loads of different sized disco balls and incorporated them into the décor to add to the disco feel plus a big neon sign with our wedding hashtag Byrne Baby Byrne (Tom’s surname is Byrne).

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What were the most important aspects of wedding planning for you?

We just wanted it to feel like a huge celebration – after nearly 2 years of covid restrictions we just wanted to give everyone a great time!

Tom loves music so the bands were very important, and we both agreed a Motown Band would really get everyone dancing.

I am very visually creative and love interiors, so the décor was one of the most important bits to me.

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How did you choose your wedding dress and accessories?

I actually found wedding dress shopping really hard as wedding dresses aren’t very ‘me’.

I knew I wanted something simple and classic and I knew I definitely wanted to get changed for the dancing. I went to a few places and eventually found my dress at Australian designer MWL Bridal, it was super simple and interestingly had the same name as my bridesmaid who came with me to see it so it was meant to be!

My wedding shoes were the Sophia Webster Wifey For Lifey Pumps which I had actually seen years ago and loved.

But the wedding budget started creeping up and I didn’t feel I could justify the price for a pair of (frankly ridiculous) shoes I’d only wear once. So when I found them on eBay for half the price 2 months before the wedding I bought them immediately - they were my ‘something old’!

My veil had tiny hearts on it which was quite a kitsch addition and my jewellery was from Eva Palm via Wolf & Badger.

My Bridesmaid lent me her Cartier Love Ring to wear as my ‘something borrowed’ which was lovely - I was probably more terrified of losing that all day than I was of my new wedding ring!!

I took my veil off after the reception and put a white tuxedo blazer on to walk into dinner which is one of the best things I did. Not only was I warm but it felt so much more ‘me’ and made me feel much more relaxed.

Tom also changed into a navy blue velvet tuxedo jacket from Hugo Boss which looked great and he still wears to this day!

I then got changed again at about 9pm into a silk halter neck dress from Silk Maison who I found on Instagram and tailored to within an inch of its life!

It was definitely worth changing as I felt like I could really enjoy myself and not worry about people treading on the back of my dress.

You had very cool black bridesmaids look and black tie grooms!

I had 6 bridesmaids and a Maid of Honour and Tom had 2 Best Men and 2 Groomsmen, these were a combination of our best friends and family.

I didn’t want all my bridesmaids to be matching and I wanted them to feel completely comfortable all day so I just chose a colour - black - and let them choose whatever they wanted.

I didn’t even specify they had to be dresses or any length – my sister wore an incredible black sequin jumpsuit which looked amazing.

I love that everyone was slightly mismatched and hopefully they’ll wear them again!

Our dress code was Black Tie so the Groomsmen were in tuxedos with white pocket squares – we also didn’t have buttonholes as it felt cooler without them.

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How did you feel on the morning? and during the ceremony?

The morning of the wedding I was an emotional wreck!! The 3 weeks leading up to the wedding had been awful with the threat of another lockdown and potentially postponed wedding.

Then 48 hours before the wedding (Christmas Day!), when it looked like we had the green light there was a mad rush as we amended the table plans, wrote place cards and did all the last-minute bits that we had originally planned to do over 3 weeks!

So by the time we made it to the day I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t stop crying!!

My poor bridesmaids had to calm me down several times as I kept randomly bursting into tears! My Makeup Artist Victoria deserves a big shout out at this point as she really calmed me down, her energy was amazing and everything was kept precisely to time so nothing felt rushed.

Even Tom who is normally so talkative and upbeat was apparently unusually quiet the morning of the wedding.

But by the time we got to the ceremony, it was like all the stress had never happened. I remember as soon as the door to The Hall opened and I walked down the aisle I felt this huge sense of relief like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, and from that point onwards it was amazing.  

Your wedding ceremony

Tom’s sister Charlotte and her husband Dillan are both incredibly talented musicians, so we were very fortunate to be able to have them play the music for our ceremony. They were given the brief of ‘jazzy Christmas’ for when people were entering the Ceremony room, at one point I could hear them playing the Home Alone theme tune from upstairs which was excellent!

Dillan then played ‘How Long Will I Love You’ by The Waterboys on the piano for me to walk down the aisle to. Tom’s family are Irish so are big fans of The Waterboys plus the song is in one of our favourite romantic comedies – About Time.

At the end of the ceremony we walked out to the original version to tie it all together.

We had two readings by our two very dear friends, again we wanted everyone to feel comfortable so we let them choose their readings.

One of my friends read ‘The Bridge Across Forever’ by Richard Bach which was beautiful and then the other actually wrote a poem for us which was hilarious – I didn’t let Tom see the poem beforehand so it was a total surprise to him as well as our guests which was really special.

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Did you have a drinks reception?

We did our confetti throw immediately after the ceremony in The Hall as I didn’t want guests standing around in the cold for it and I’m so glad we did. The photos are amazing and I’m glad our guests were then able to go and enjoy the drinks reception.

We then had our drinks reception in The Drawing Room which looked incredible with all the flowers and roaring fires – it literally looked like the setting of a film!

We also had Winter Candles burning throughout the day to scent the wedding, we found a candle brand called Byrne Candles which was very fitting!

We did have a couple of quite cheesy nods to Christmas – a personalised Santa Sack for guests to put cards in, and tins of personalised Quality Street saying Byrne Street throughout the room.

Sadly we weren’t able to enjoy any of this as we were busy having our photos taken! Gary was a recommended supplier from Elmore as we wanted a photographer who knew the venue and luckily his aesthetic totally matched ours! He actually shot our video and photos and we would recommend him to anyone – the photos were totally worth missing the drinks reception!!

We also took our Bridesmaids and Groomsmen outside for Smoke Bombs midway through the reception. It was a bit windy which isn’t ideal smoke bomb conditions, but it resulted in some hysterical photos!!

How did you choose your wedding music?

Tom is very passionate about music so he was in charge of this and did a cracking job!

We wanted there to be Christmas songs weaved in throughout the day (the final track on our post band party playlist was Mariah Carey 'All I Want For Christmas' and 'Fairytale of New York' had everyone dancing!) but we also wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much.

We also asked one of our very musical Groomsmen to do the post band playlist so that was a very personal touch – and he smashed it!

Given our whole wedding was built on the hashtag Byrne Baby Byrne we walked into dinner to ‘Disco Inferno’ by The Trampps which was hysterical, you can see from the photos I’m loving it!!

And then we named each table with a ‘Byrne’ song title pun such as ‘Byrne-ing Love’ by Elvis Presley and ‘Byrne-ing Down The House’ by Talking Heads and then had those play throughout the night.

Did you have a first dance?

Our band sang ‘Beyond’ by Leon Bridges which we discovered in lockdown and holds a very special place in our hearts from those tough lockdown days.

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couple dance at party wedding
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What did you eat and drink?

One thing I didn’t stress about at all was the food because after our tasting I knew Elmore was going to deliver!

We had a haddock fishcake to start followed by beef in a red wine jus with mash and sticky toffee pudding to finish – not the lightest of meals but we figured people had already stretched their stomachs over Christmas!!

I’m vegetarian so our veggie options were a winter salad followed by a mushroom risotto with champagne and truffle oil.

We had so many of our guests telling us how incredible the food was which was lovely to hear! For our evening food we had fish finger and halloumi baps which went down so well that neither me nor Tom even got one!!

We served fizz throughout the day and got our wine from a local supplier.

We love cocktails so we also did cocktail hour as our wedding favour right after dinner where guests could choose Espresso Martinis, Old Fashioned’s or Gin Fizzes.

Tell us all about that amazing wedding party!

The Motown Band were amazing at getting everyone dancing and their first track was my favourite song ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire, which they played as the curtain of the dance floor was pulled back surprising all the guests after dinner!

We also asked one of our very musical Groomsmen to put together the playlist for after the band had finished, so that was a very personal touch – and he smashed it!

We then had a surprise firework display at about 10pm which we didn’t even tell our parents about. It was a last-minute addition but definitely worth it to kick off the proper partying for the evening!

couple dance at party wedding
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Bride and groom entrance as newlyweds
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Bright neon party wedding reception in between christmas and new years eve in a soundproof venue in the cotswolds countryside
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Neon wedding reception for black tie winter party wedding in Gloucestershire
Gary Nunn
Black tie bride and groom walking into their party wedding reception
Gary Nunn
winter wedding party reception with neon signs and bright decor
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Tell us about that incredible wedding cake!

My sister is a trained pastry chef so she made our cake for us as our wedding gift, she made it bright and fun and even ordered a bespoke cake topper which matched our neon sign.

We had one layer of chocolate salted caramel, one layer of red velvet and one layer of Victoria sponge and it was amazing.

We took a half a layer on our mini moon with us!

Did you have any personal touches or DIY bits?

We added quite a lot of personal touches, at our rehearsal dinner the night before for our wedding party we gave everyone a Christmas decoration that reminded us of them, so they’d always have something to remember the day by.

We also made up ‘recovery’ bags for everyone staying in the house which had ear plugs, cans of coca cola and sweets in.

The Place Cards I did myself as they were little envelopes containing a voucher for cocktail hour which was our wedding favour.

What was a particular highlight of your day?

The whole day felt like one big magical blur, but we both agreed after that some of the highlights were the times when we were alone reflecting on the day.

The moment when we walked into the Gillyflower and it was all decorated ready for dinner with our neon sign up was amazing – it felt like all the hard work had come together.

A highlight for me was giving a speech at dinner, I decided I didn’t want to leave it to the men to do!

It felt so special to be talking to a room of our favourite people and wedding guests are the easiest crowd you’ll ever play, to so I felt like a comedian for 10 minutes!!

What was your biggest surprise of the day?

One of the biggest surprises was how much we both loved the ceremony.

We had previously thought we just wanted to get it over with and get to the party, but actually, it's one of the moments we both really remember. The whole thing felt so special and worth all the months of stress!!

One of our favourite memories we both have of the day is directly after we left The Hall - officially married – and Elmore staff handed us both a glass of fizz each and took us into The Dining Room to be alone.

We both just couldn’t believe we had actually pulled it off and that moment alone together as husband and wife for the first time was so special. 

Another excellent moment was at the end of the night when my Maid of Honour took to the stage and did a, very drunk, rendition of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas which we have on video. Everyone remembers it as it was hysterical and it was the perfect end to the night!

Our video also captured an amazing moment on the dancefloor where two of my bridesmaids go in for a drunken hug and drop an entire glass of wine – the reaction shot afterwards is priceless!

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Bride and groom entrance as newlyweds
Gary Nunn
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Black tie bride and groom walking into their party wedding reception
Gary Nunn
Bright neon party wedding reception in between christmas and new years eve in a soundproof venue in the cotswolds countryside
Gary Nunn
black tie wedding speeches at a luxe winter wedding
Gary Nunn
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You had a stonking after party...

We had 30 of our nearest and dearest stay over in the house after the wedding reception, and the after party was epic.

Elmore provided the most amazing cheese boards (to this day I’ve not had a better one) and everyone drank and danced in the Drawing Room.

At one point one of my bridesmaids and one of the Best Men were having a handstand competition and some of our other friends were in someone’s bedroom winding them up that the house was haunted!

I wish I’d known…

....that delegation is key and you don’t need to stress over the micro details! And try and get moments alone together – they really make the day.

Who made this Christmas party wedding dream come true?

Shout out to all the brilliant suppliers who made this wedding dream a reality

Wow, what a way to end the year and send all the stress of covid off packing! 

Thank you so much Nathalie and Tom for reliving your gorgeous day in such detail with us, we loved every minute. Happy anniversary and Merry Christmas!

If you find yourselves here after the happy news of a Christmas proposal, chat to us about our last dates in 2023 and let us know if you have any wedding planning questions!

Mistletoe kisses and Christmas wishes,

All our Love,

Team E

xxx

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