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California dreamin'

Laura and Dan brought an American vibe to the Wirral.

Laura Jacques and Daniel Neill fi rst met when working as research scientists at the University of Liverpool. “We'd go out in a group of friends and we'd always order the same food!” Laura says. “We made each other laugh from the beginning.”

Just three years after they met, Dan organised a road trip to California to celebrate the completion of Laura's PhD. “We were in a town called Mendocino and had woken up early to kayak on Big River,” Laura remembers. “After seeing seals, otters and blue herons we stopped on the side of the river for a break. It was in this private and tranquil place that he asked me to marry him.”

Returning home, the couple soon set the date for 4th August, 2018, and planned a day that refl ected where they got engaged. Laura tells us how they did it…

California dreamin': Image 1
We knew we wanted to tie the knot in Liverpool as it's the city in which we first met. St George's Hall was the perfect spot as it's such an iconic building. We wanted to make the day as personal as possible so we had our reception at home. My mum runs a horse livery yard so there were plenty of fields to pitch a marquee in.


California dreamin': Image 2The wooden bases for the centrepieces were taken from trees around our home. Horses and the great outdoors are a big part of our lives, so we decided to incorporate this in to our floral displays. There were flowers in wheelbarrows and wellies decorating the outside of the marquee.

California dreamin': Image 2b We named our tables after places we visited in California, and our table plan was a big map of the state. The place names were cards cut into the shape of hummingbirds as we saw lots of these on our trip.


California dreamin': Image 3
Dan isn't a fan of cake, so we had a cheese tower instead. We wanted to support local businesses so we purchased it from the Liverpool Cheese Company.


California dreamin': Image 4As a wedding gift, our friends set up a bar for us with a range of drinks brought down from Scotland. The gin cocktails were a huge hit!

California dreamin': Image 4b I started looking for a fitted lace dress, but soon fell for the more classic bridal style. I went for the gorgeous Olita by Ronald Joyce, which is a full princess-style satin gown with beaded trim. I teamed it with a cathedral-length veil and a beautiful headpiece borrowed from my best friend.


California dreamin': Image 5
Dan looked handsome in a three-piece Ted Baker suit. We let the groomsmen wear their own outfits, so my step-dad and younger brother wore kilts. My sister, Ellie, wore a pale blue two-piece number from Coast; the shape and style complemented my dress brilliantly.


California dreamin': Image 6A local musician called Jason Allen performed as our loved ones arrived. Our guests loved him; he even got people dancing before the food and speeches.

California dreamin': Image 6b Our friends, family and suppliers all helped make our wedding what it was. Our photographers from Pixsmiths Creative Photography were brilliant. They really captured the emotions of the day and understood our desire to celebrate at home. Dan's friend James recently opened a brewery in Wales – his delicious beer went down a storm.


California dreamin': Image 7
There was a bouncy castle, lawn games and sparklers to keep everyone entertained. We had a California-themed playlist while we were eating.


California dreamin': Image 8We have so many amazing memories. I loved the journey over to St George's Hall in the morning with the feeling of excitement building. The ceremony was really emotional. We loved having our daughter, Rebecca, as such a big part of our special day. She was there for the bridal preparations, the ceremony and then took charge of the bouncy castle!

California dreamin': Image 8b Planning the wedding ourselves was extremely tiring but so worth it. It all went by in a blur, but we now love looking back on a perfect day spent having fun with our loved ones.


Laura and Dan's contact book

Bride's dress

Bridesmaid's dress



Cheese tower

Big Hand Brewing

Wilderness Brew

Flower Oxton
Tel: 07966 280 462

Groom's suit