Real Weddings

E&W Couture for a Laid-back Wedding at Preston Leyland Hotel – Catrin & Charlie

Sarah Symonds

Catrin and Charlie decided not to worry about creating a single theme or whether things matched or not. Instead they just picked the things they liked and let the lovely styling all fall into place itself. That’s certainly one way to do it!

Keeping things personal and fun was important to our happy couple, who tied the knot in a ceremony at their local church followed by a big party for their loved ones at The Preston Leyland Hotel, ensuring that even the furthest away guests could stay the night and party well into the small hours.

Catrin looks amazing in her gorgeous and unusual jumpsuit choice in lieu of the traditional dress, knowing that the gown option just wasn’t one she’d be comfortable or happy in. When it comes to these big decisions we’re huge advocates of doing you, not conforming just because it seems like the done thing!

We’ve caught up with the beautiful bride in the months following the big day for you and chatted about how it all came together in the end. Over to you, Catrin!

With photography by UNVEILED Network Member Fish 2 Photography


Catrin says: We made a joint decision that it was the right time for us to get married, and we chose the ring together. Charlie kept hold of it, and one day when we were in Keswick he surprised me with the proposal. It was very sweet as he was so nervous even though he knew I was going to say yes.


We were married on 7th August 2021. We are both teachers so it had to be during the summer holidays for us to be able to enjoy some time off afterwards. We were very lucky in that we booked it in 2019, and it was our original date all along with no Covid postponements.

We got married in St Leonard’s Church, in Walton-le-Dale, Preston. It was important to us to get married in our local church, to have that special connection with our home. From the church, we went to the Preston Leyland Hotel for dancing and dinner. We chose these venues as we knew we would have lots of guests travelling from all over the country, and so we needed somewhere that they could all stay (so that we could party late into the night).


I was very laid back and matching colours etc is not really my style. Our bridesmaids wore grey as it is a really flattering colour for them both and the groomsmen wore navy suits with sage green ties. My flowers were pink. All the way through our planning we just picked things we liked, rather than stressing over tiny details and making things match.


I wore a jumpsuit designed by E&W Couture, purchased at Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth. It was important to me to be comfortable above all else, and the typical bridal dress just didn’t suit that. I also wanted to wear something unique and knowing that my dress was handmade in Wales, supporting small local businesses was very special.

I had the most amazing jacket painted by The Mermaid Effect (Mima Rodwell). We designed it through a collaborative process and it said ‘Mrs Parkinson’. I wore it on the day and loved being able to show off my new name. I have worn it many times since.

I also had the most amazing head piece made by Clare Lloyd. She created a bespoke piece based on how it would look in my hair, and it was so amazing. I felt very glamorous wearing it.


The men wore navy suits hired from Moss Bros. Charlie tried a few on but the navy suited him best. He also wore a floral tie as he wanted to stand out from the other groomsmen.


My bridesmaids wore grey halterneck dresses which were purchased online. One of my bridesmaids was eight months pregnant at the time so her comfort was my ultimate priority, plus a style that would accommodate a growing bump.

My flower girl wore a white dress which we purchased at the St Catherine’s Hospice bridal charity shop in Preston. Again, we wanted our wedding to have more of a purpose than just wearing something once and never thinking about it again.


My hair was done by Duncan Fisher Hair Designer and makeup by Betsy Cosmetics. Both were suggested to me through bridal groups I was a member of on Facebook. They were both amazing. We had the most fun morning, laughing and getting ready.


I travelled in a Bentley Arnage hired from Dan Waller Cars. Our chauffeur Duncan was brilliant and made me feel so calm on the way to the church.


Christina from Fish 2 Photography was our photographer. I would absolutely recommend her. From our very first meeting, she made us feel at ease and took our ideas on board. She completely understood the style of photos we were looking for, and captured all of our special memories in the most amazing way. We didn’t feel pressured at all during the day, like some of my friends have at their weddings, and for most of the day we didn’t even notice she was there, snapping away. We are so in love with our wedding pictures.


I carried a medium sized bouquet, my bridesmaids and flower girl carried a smaller version of the same. It contained dahlias which are my absolute favourite flowers, and succulents as I wanted something quite modern.

My florist was The Flower Farm Lancashire and I would highly recommend them. Communication was brilliant from day one and they were really accommodating with my requests.

We also had jam jar centrepieces on every table and on the top table there was a long arrangement, designed and set up in the morning by the florist. We had small decorations like candles and photos on the table which we provided ourselves.

For our seating plan, we printed photos of each of our guests (some of them were deliberately very funny pictures). Each guest had to play the game of ‘find your face to find your place’. It added a really nice touch and was a great little DIY project.

I loved reading the real weddings on the Brides Up North site and picking up small tips and tricks. Looking through the photos provided lots of inspiration for my big day.


We had wooden place names which most of our guests chose to keep. In place of more traditional favours, we then decided to make a donation to The Greyhound Trust, as we have a rescue greyhound at home who is like our baby.


My auntie made our cake as a wedding gift. It was a very simple naked design with lots of fresh fruit. The three tiers were all different flavours; victoria sponge, chocolate with salted caramel cream and lemon and elderflower.

We also had a ‘cake’ made out of cheese which was provided by Churchmouse Cheeses. It was a nice touch and the cheeses, chutneys and crackers went down very well with our guests during the disco.


We had a buffet in place of our wedding breakfast. We wanted our wedding to have a laid back feel, and this allowed us to get up and talk to our guests whilst we were eating. It also gave more time for mingling rather than being sat at our tables for a three course meal.


We had a DJ (Dijay Ben) who was amazing. When our guests RSVP’d, they all gave a song recommendation. Ben took all of these on board and played such a good mix of genres. The dance floor was full all night.

Special touches

My brother walked me down the aisle and he was my best man. He has always been my best friend and I wanted him to have a proper role on the big day.

Thanks to

Our suppliers were all amazing. We were looked after so well by all of the hotel staff, especially Russ. He made us feel like VIPs. He hyped our guests up so well, and that massively contributed to the joyful party atmosphere that lasted throughout the reception.

Best bit

Standing at the top of the aisle at the church, seeing my future husband ahead of me, and all of our very closest family and friends waiting. We were so anxious for the last year that we wouldn’t be able to have as many guests as we wanted, but finally seeing everyone there was really overwhelming and special.


We went to Scotland for the weekend and stayed in a cottage in Dumfries and Galloway. It was extremely cosy and romantic, with a big hot tub tucked away by a stream in the forest. Our greyhound, Bryn, also came along and we had some lovely walks and whisky.

Next year, we will be going to Mexico for our more “official” honeymoon, all things being well!


Our advice would be to chill out! The little details that you may be stressing over now will not matter to you on the day. I was so worried about the weather forecast, and then it rained all day and I didn’t even notice. You are marrying the love of your life, enjoy it!

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