Real Weddings

Claire Pettibone for a bohemian celebration at Rochdale Town Hall – Abigail & David

Katie Byrne

A blush-and-botanical colour palette met a Hogwarts-approved twist at Abigail and David’s spring wedding.

After a traditional Roman Catholic wedding ceremony at a church that meant something special to the bride, the happy couple and their guests made their way to Rochdale Town Hall for the reception. The stunning historic venue proved to be the perfect choice for the couple’s first party as ‘Mr and Mrs’, with the breathtaking decor and architectural details offering a twist of Harry Potter-esque magic to their bohemian-themed celebrations.

Factor in guest party bags for the journey between the venues, a full vegan menu and some incredibly thoughtful handmade details – not to mention a Claire Pettibone wedding dress – and you get a tiny idea of exactly how personal and beautiful this couple’s day was.

Photography by The Pin-Up Bride.


Abigail says

: We got engaged on Christmas day 2017. We always joke about Dave being unable to surprise me with anything. I had been convinced he would propose on my 30th birthday in May 2018, so he pulled this one out of the bag and surprised me surrounded by family! Knowing it would get back to me when he asked my dad for permission, he had to work fast. As soon as my dad hurried off to tell my mum the news, Dave knew that was the moment to act and get down on one knee – it was the best surprise!


We got married on 13th April 2019 – Dave is a teacher and we wanted to get married during a school holiday so we could have time afterwards to let everything sink in…and go on honeymoon! We decided Easter was the best time to do it – it gave us two weeks and is such a beautiful time of year.

Our marriage ceremony was held at St John’s RC church; we chose it because I’ve celebrated some special moments in that church and wanted to add one more to the list. We had our reception at Rochdale Town Hall because of its absolutely stunning architecture and Hogwarts vibes. After viewing it, we knew there wouldn’t be any other place that would suit us quite like that; the Great Hall took our breath away every time we entered it.


We didn’t have a specific ‘theme’ per se but knew we wanted the wedding to be a mix of traditional and boho…with a helping of Hogwarts magic mixed in!

Our colour scheme was blush pink with lots of greenery. We chose them because they complement each other perfectly and have such an organic, natural feel. Those colours also really suited the bohemian feel we wanted to create, too.


The dress I chose was the Bordeaux by Claire Pettibone. It’s a soft mermaid-style gown, with off-the-shoulder detail. I chose that one because as soon as I put it on, I had a vision of myself walking down the aisle in it and just knew it was the one for me.


David wore dark blue tails with a woolen waistcoat from SG Menswear. We loved the juxtaposition of his dreads with the formal tails – it really worked! His ushers wore the same; the blue of their suits really complemented the blush of the bridesmaids’ dresses.


The bridesmaids all wore blush gowns from Quiz. They were off-the-shoulder just like mine, and I really liked that there was continuity running between our outfits.


Our hair was styled by North West Hair Creations – the stylist did such a wonderful job and did a perfect job of recreating our requests, even with a last-minute addition of a headpiece that I was lucky enough to win from Eden Luxe Bridal. I did my own makeup. I spent weeks watching YouTube tutorials to get the technique perfect.


We used a 1970s campervan owned by David’s parents. We’ve had so many fabulous times on holiday in it and it’s like a part of the family! It seemed only fitting that it would be our transport. David’s mum decorated the van and David’s dad was our chauffeur.


Our photographer was the incredible Emma from The Pin-Up Bride. We couldn’t recommend her highly enough – the relationship we had with her from booking all the way through to the big day, was everything you could possibly want in a photographer. She took the most incredible shots of the venue and really knew how to work with what she was given. Everyone commented on how she felt like a part of the family.


My best friend and bridesmaid Johanna did our video for us – she’s the unofficial wedding videographer for most weddings, and she does a brilliant job.


We arranged the flowers ourselves. We had such a brilliant time the day before the wedding making our bouquets together, and I think they looked fabulous! The main flowers we used were blush and white roses, along with carnations, gypsophila and a few different types of eucalyptus leaf.

The decorations at the reception were provided by Lancashire Chair Covers – the company works with Rochdale Town Hall to dress their events. The lovely lady there provided us with two different table centrepieces: one was a white tree with glass pods hanging from the branches, which were filled with moss or candles (and we added blush rose buds to some of the branches). The other centrepiece comprised three tall vases of varying sizes filled with water, candles and ivy. Each table was then finished off with moss to give add an extra twist of magic.


We made our own favours. We chose to give everyone a succulent, which we started growing a month after we got engaged. A month or so before the wedding, when they had all grown to the right size, we handmade the pots they were to be presented in. It was such a personal thing to give – a lot of love went into making them and we hope our guests will be able to enjoy them for a long time.

We also made every guest a little travel party bag to enjoy during the journey from the church to the reception. Each one had a bag of Space Raiders, a roll of Love Hearts, a can of pop or alcohol and a paper straw. Our guests loved them!


The mother of one of our guests kindly made and decorated our wedding cake: a delicious vegan vanilla sponge. We also made our own doughnut wall, too.


It was very important to us to serve vegan food at our wedding: we saw it as a great opportunity to show people how incredible it can be. Everyone was so impressed with what we had chosen. We had Mexican bean soup to start, a butternut squash, beetroot and kale wellington with green vegetables and potatoes for our main course, and sticky toffee pudding and custard for dessert.


We chose a band called Agent Smith, who I had seen perform at a previous wedding and was blown away by. Their energy was exactly what was needed to get everyone up and dancing and they created the best party atmosphere we could possibly have wanted!

Thanks to

We would recommend our choice of venue to any couples who want to get married in Hogwarts, who want to to take their guests’ breath away with the beautiful architecture, or who want their wedding photos to look like works of art.

Best bit

We both loved the moment when we got to see each other at either end of the aisle; all the time and planning we had done had come down to that moment and it was so special.


We went on honeymoon to Italy! We started off in Venice, our hotel was on the Lagoon and had the most incredible views; we spent our days strolling the canals and eating marinara pizza whilst watching the gondolas go by. We then made our way to Rome and stayed in an amazing penthouse apartment that had views all over the city and overlooked the Pantheon.


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan the wedding for yourself, not your parents, family, friends or guests. It’s an expression of yourselves not what you think other people will want.

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