Old friends Victoria & Paul reconnected at university and after a long long courtship tied the knot at the renovated Victoria Baths in Manchester. Both Mancunians they wanted to give back to the community and this unusual venue allowed them to add a pop of fun to their wedding, which included a vintage style photo booth and a bouncy castle. The vast venue holds 3 disused swimming pools and through considerate renovation it still holds its magical charm with rich green mosaic tiling, stained glass windows and even the original changing rooms. This special place is a blank canvas which you can make your own. Victoria and Paul did this through pom poms, giant pin wheels, festoon lighting, hand made flower arches. For some serious DIY wedding inspiration make sure you continue reading the post…
The Love Story
Paul and I were at school together but we reconnected at university when we ended up living near each other, and after a long time as friends, we finally got together.
I think everyone thought it was never going to happen! We got engaged in November 2014 at Betham Tower – the tallest building in Manchester. He popped the question with a vintage opal ring surrounded by 10 diamonds (one for each year we had been together) It was perfect.
My dress was a LouLou Bridal dress from the Green Collection brought from the Something Blue Bridal in Bolton. The beautiful boutique is run by Hannah and a lovely team of ladies who all specialize in individual things. After trying on a number of dresses including a short one which wasn’t right we found ‘the dress’. A 50s length ivory strapless satin dress with a white satin jacket and belt. Hannah recommended I tried on a short lace jacket as a possible change for the evening – it was perfect
On the morning of the wedding I opened my present from Paul, an Alex Monroe gold Bee necklace (how did he know!) I had wanted something simple that I would wear after the wedding and we liked that the bee is a symbol of Manchester.
I also wore my Nanny’s wedding ring on my right hand. It was my something old, and it meant she was close to me for the day.
I had 3 different pairs of shoes – a low vintage esq ivory satin heel with an oval crystal brooch on the toe, a gold t-bar dancing shoe from Topshop and a pair of double strap Birkenstocks. These were a relief at the end of a long night of dancing.
The Hair & Make Up
I have a fringe and found a lot of wedding hairstyles involve having your fringe off your face. So I wore my hair half up, and had some extensions put in to bulk it out. I wanted to look like myself and not look too polished.
A few days early I had paid a visit Perfect Beauty in Lees, Oldham. I had eyelash extensions and an amazing manicure. I had wanted something a little different, rather than a French manicure so Rachel laid gold strips of foil vertically along my nail – it tied in beautiful with the wedding colours.
My lovely friend Aly did the makeup. I wanted to be quite natural. So we all had black eyeliner flicks. Aly added a small bit of gold eyeliner to mine. I had two lipsticks. I wore Charlotte Tilbury Lost Cherry in the day and Chanel Rouge Coco at night.
I had 4 bridesmaids and originally thought that they would all be in the same style dress but in varying shades of green. I ordered several dresses from Lindy Bop they are great value for money and available with gorgeous netted underskirts. We took all the dresses to the Bridal shop where I revealed my dress to the girls and they tried all the dresses on.
They all liked the same dress, so all ended up in pale green polka dot dresses. I wanted them all to feel comfy so I asked them to wear their own shoes, it didn’t matter what style they were or if they were new or not as long as they were gold.
I bought them all a disc necklace with their initial on it for them to wear on the day.
Paul (the groom) wanted a grey textured suit, and we found the perfect one in Kooples. It was slim and fitted perfectly. He wore it with a plain black waistcoat and a crisp white shirt with a black tie. He bought some gorgeous brogues from Grenson and added the green in with some bright green socks!
Paul was Best Man for his friend Martin just a month earlier, and received a vintage pocket watch as a thank you gift, so he finished off his look with that.
Our Best Man, Kurt, wore a dark green suit from H&M with a black waistcoat to match Paul’s. I don’t think either of them were sure at first, but I think together they looked great. I wanted Kurt to link in with the colour theme and also stand out from all the other guests. I’m so pleased with the outcome.
We kept the ushers very informal, as Paul and Kurt weren’t matching we asked them to wear their own suits. They all had matching corsages.
A long time friend David Eccles was our main photographer for the day. He’s not a wedding photographer by trade, but I knew he would be brilliant. He also has a wicked sense of humor which is really important. He had everyone in stitches!
We asked our friend Matthew to bring his instant camera with him, loaded him up with film, and set him loose on our guests! He got some amazing shots of everyone.
David at Frog was recommended to us by a close friend Becky, she had used him for her wedding and he had done an incredible job.
We were doing all the table decorations, bridesmaids bouquets and corsages ourselves, but I wanted an amazing bouquet!
David is a creative genius and understood what I wanted straight away. He made me a stunning bouquet of locally sourced flowers. I wanted it to look like a wild meadow, in just white and green. It was perfect!
Because the venue is so vast it would have been impossible to decorate it all so we focused on the two main rooms, and let the rest of the building speak for itself.
The ceremony room was decorated with paper Pom-poms from Rockett St George . At the top end of the aisle we put up a garden arch and decorated it with faux and real ivy. In its centre we strung rows of colourful paper cranes to add a pop of colour.
In the main room I bought some giant pin wheels that were gold and white, also from Rockett St George. These hung above the tables from the balcony above, along with festoon lighting, provided by our friend Rick, adding a magical sparkle at night.
We had trestle tables with gold central runners, each with glass vases from Ikea containing candles, succulents and cactuses. A dear friend Felicity spent weeks planting them all up. They looked beautiful.
In the third pool, Paul had the amazing idea of having a white bouncy castle hired from Fantasticastle, which kept all the kids happy – and some of the grown ups too!! Also in this pool, we made our own photo booth with a chest full of props and inflatables. We found that the whole venue was a great backdrop for photos – especially the original changing stalls.
We bought various different helium balloons to have around the venue from Magic Balloons in Chorlton. Large white balloons marked the entrance to the aisle. Inflatable letters spelled out ‘DRINK’ at the reception, and our initials on the dance floor.
I had a few different cakes made by friends. The idea for the evening was that we would all enjoy mountains of cheese and cake!
Our main cake was by a colleague of my mum’s – Candice. It was a two tier Victoria Sponge with white icing. I bought a topper from Etsy with ‘Victoria and Paul’ written out in sparkly gold. We also had Becky’s Gin & Tonic Cake, Kaye’s Lemon Drizzle, Liz’s Rocky Road, Charlotte’s Individual Victoria Sponges and Rachel’s Prosecco cake.
We love food and wanted to provide our guests with a meal that they wouldn’t forget. Our favourite food is Persian and luckily enough around the corner from Victoria Baths is Petra, a brilliant Persian restaurant. As it was so close, everything was cooked in their own kitchens and brought round. Salman and his team did an incredible job.It was a help yourself buffet of a mix of kebabs, hommus, baba ganoush, homemade flatbreads…the list goes on and on. People definitely had seconds and thirds!
Music was a really important part to our wedding. Paul took control of this area. During our ceremony my colleague and friend Luci played guitar and sang with her friend Andy.
During drinks and the meal we played a playlist full of songs that are close to me and Paul. Songs that hold memories for the many years we have known each other. We started with classics from the 50s and 60s for the drinks reception in the Turkish baths, and gradually moved on to more modern tunes during the meal.
In the evening we had a DJ from Hi-Life they are a great company with a large range of different DJs that cater for all sorts of music tastes. We told them what kind of music we wanted (Motown and an Indie Disco with a little bit of Hacienda thrown in for me!!) and they sent Darren, who did a terrific job keeping everyone dancing.
My mum hired a beautiful VW camper van as a little gift. It was a lovely sky blue colour. We drove the long way to the venue and waved at people along the way.
Our invites were designed by a graphic designer called John Walsh who I met at university and stayed in touch with. We didn’t want anything too traditional. So he gave us a modern green and white design. I did all the rest of the stationery myself.
Our place names were plastic gold animals with the names printed on bits of card – they acted as the favours as well.
How did you make your wedding eco friendly?
We did as much as we could ourselves, and were lucky enough to be able to call in favours from friends and family.
We made sure that everything we used was locally sourced wherever possible. Our caterers couldn’t have been any more local – they were literally round the corner – and the main beers at the bar were from Marble Brewery down the road.
We passed on decorations and centre pieces to friends as a thank you for helping us set up or clear up the next day, so nothing was wasted.
We really liked the idea that our big day would help preserve a local landmark, and an absolutely stunning building that will hopefully be in public use again one day.
Don’t get hung up on the little things. People are there for you, all you need is good food and a space to dance. Your friends and family do the rest. I worried too much about the finer details which weren’t really necessary and probably went unnoticed.
What a way to celebrate your heritage with a vintage and unique Victorian wedding venue. The day looked perfect and we love how much care and effort Victoria and Paul put into venue styling – thank you for sharing your big day with us! Find more real weddings here.
Photography / David Eccles
Beauty / Perfect Beauty | Makeup / Friend
Cake / Family + Friends | DJ / Hi-Life