Gothic opulence

Sara and Mike created their big day in an avant-garde style with tones of red, black and gold

This couple's worlds literally collided when Sara crashed her car into Mike's just before Christmas 2015. "His friends joke the only reason I married him is so he didn't put a claim in," Sara laughs. There was an instant attraction between them and they knew it was the start of something special when Mike drove all the way from Chester to South Wales on Christmas Day to see Sara, despite having met her only once.

Mike proposed on the very roundabout where they crashed. Sara describes it best: "It was the same date, at the same time we met – four years to the minute. He'd even kept the plastic breathalyzer tube the police used on us that night to hold the ring when he got down on one knee."

The pair chose Thornton Manor as the location for the big day and set the date for 28th March, 2019. Read on as the bride tells us more about their wedding…

Gothic opulence: Image 1 Thornton Manor was the first venue we looked at. With its grandeur and gothic feel I knew it was the one for us.

Gothic opulence: Image 2

If you can, opt for an earlier ceremony. We got married at 2pm and the day flew by. I felt as though I didn't have enough time to enjoy it and speak to everyone.

Gothic opulence: Image 2b

Our centrepieces were a combination of five-foot chandeliers that I’d picked up from a car boot sale and large gnarled branches, which we collected from the park opposite our house before spraying them gold. These were intertwined on each table with rose petals, foliage and handmade gold skulls

Gothic opulence: Image 3

The table plan tied in with the gothic feel and the fact that I'm an ex-burlesque artist. I decided to have femme fatales as the table names on a board entitled "Place of Rest."

Gothic opulence: Image 3b

We opted for flowers in deep burgundy hues to complement the bridesmaids' dresses. I made their bouquets, which also comprised the handmade gold skulls topped with burgundy flowers and foliage, as well as matching buttonholes for the men.

Gothic opulence: Image 4 I handmade the place names in the shape of a coffin complete with hand drawn spiderwebs, bats and each guest's name.

Gothic opulence: Image 5

Our cake was black with gold marbling. It was very opulent, fitting the theme perfectly.

Gothic opulence: Image 5b

Femme fatale table names included Dita Von Teese, Lily Munster, Elvira, Vampira, Poison Ivy, Medusa, Bride of Frankenstein and Maleficent. We had a picture of each along with their names in gold on every table.

Gothic opulence: Image 6 I completed my look with a custom made rose and gold spiked headdress from Bat Cakes Couture. I loved my hair and make-up by Evka Modern Vintage, a lot of my friends commented on how much the style suited the venue and décor.

Gothic opulence: Image 7

Mike rode to the venue on his Suzuki Intruder bike. His biker side was one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place!

Gothic opulence: Image 7b

I wore a custom-made gold beaded dress by Alex Wood Styling with matching cathedral veil. I wanted something unique to me and totally different that was a balance between the dramatic and old Hollywood starlet.

Gothic opulence: Image 8 Mike wore a waistcoat and trousers made by his late father who was a well-established tailor in Chester. Mike worked for him before setting up his own tailoring company when the roles were reversed and his dad came to work for him.

Gothic opulence: Image 9 The groomsmen wore navy suits, gold ties and handmade burgundy buttonholes.

Gothic opulence: Image 10

My bridesmaid and good friend of over ten years is the amazingly talented burlesque performer Ginger La Rouge. She performed her signature champagne glass act. A lot of the guests had never seen burlesque before, so it was a real treat for them and a great hit.

Gothic opulence: Image 10b

Mike was as horizontally relaxed as ever, but I was shaking like a leaf as I just wanted everything to go perfectly.

Gothic opulence: Image 11 I wanted my bridesmaids to wear something in a style they liked that flattered themand they felt comfortable in, which they did, all in shades of red.

Gothic opulence: Image 12 We honeymooned in Sri Lanka for a week followed by a week in the Maldives. We went to Buckley Travel after seeing reviews and the team found us the perfect package. We didn't want to come back, they were the most beautiful places we'd ever experienced together.

Sara and Mike's contact book

Bride's dress


Anita's Wicked Cake


Groom's suit

Hair and make-up

Evka Modern Vintage



Paul Baybut Photography


Thornton Manor