Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

year-round beauty. four seasons in one day for an inspirational styled shoot at stock farm

March 20th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Stock Farm (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (17)

Believe us, it’s tricky task to deliver one gorgeous styled photoshoot in just one day, which is why we were so impressed when a dynamic group of industry suppliers from the North West upped the ante recently and pulled off what was essentially four different styled shoots – yes, you heard us, four – in 12 hours.

The backdrop for the shoot is the stunning Stock Farm on the Tatton Estate in Cheshire, where we will be hosting a Pop Up Wedding Festival on Sunday 8th April, 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY. We will be joined there by a collection of the area’s top wedding suppliers, including a few that feature in this very shoot, to help inspire your big day while giving you chance to view this gorgeous venue first-hand.

Falling in love with the venue’s country charm, the creatives behind today’s shoot were on a mission to prove that choosing a farm or barn as your wedding location doesn’t automatically equate to a rustic theme. And with looks and styling as diverse as ultra-glam makeup, edgy bridal separates, urban-style neon lighting and luxe candelabra floral arrangements, we’ve got to say – we’re in agreement.

The professionalism and skills of the team involved here is quite simply phenomenal and if you’re planning a wedding in the North West, we think you’d be incredibly lucky to have any of these guys on board! Over to the lovely Jacklyn now from Precious Things Event Styling to tell us more.

Images by Stephen McGowan Photography.

Stock Farm (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (34)

jacklyn says: As a new venue, Stock Farm were keen to show the versatility of their barn, and so the idea for a ‘Wedding For All Seasons’ shoot was formed. It’s such a beautiful new venue and has been deliberately designed as a blank canvas. We worked in the big barn but also in the outside areas and another smaller barn. We wanted to illustrate how the setting could suit each season and how it could be adapted for any style and theme; from rustic to glamorous.

Stock Farm (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (1)

We used different flowers and styling approaches for the different seasons, of course, to create a range of completely different looks. The summer colour scheme was soft golds, ivories and blush pinks, complemented by avalanche roses and lisianthus nestled at the centre of a gold candelabra, set against a background of eucalyptus nicholii, pink grevillea and gold-dusted eucalyptus cinerea. We dressed the chairs with ivory sashes and gold tulle flowers, used an ivory carpet and positioned ivory lanterns to dress the aisle. Love Lights The Way‘s rustic neon heart finished off the ‘relaxed glamour’ look perfectly. Hattie, our model from Boss Model Management, carried a hand tied posy bouquet of roses, hydrangeas and lisianthus and James, our groom, wore a pink rose buttonhole detailed with lisianthus and gold wire around the stem. The beautiful five-tier cake by Marie Antoinette Cakes complemented this colour scheme perfectly with its soft pink and gold detailing.

Hattie wore a gorgeous boho dress – the Lea by St Patrick – with a chiffon skirt, an open back and an overall light and airy look. 7th Heaven Bridal provided all of the dresses for the shoot and they were real beauties. James wore an Italian stretch fabric jacket by Circolo, a blue shirt, navy Jacob Cohen jeans and shoes from Joseph Cheaney & Sons, all provided by Stephen Muldoon Bespoke.

The menu, created by Top Table Wedding and Event Catering, was dreamy – prosecco, plus canapes of slithers of rare Angus beef on rocket crostinis, lobster mac n cheese, tiger tail king prawns with a Pina Colada dip and strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake.

Stock Farm (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (25)

For our spring photoshoot, seasonal flowers dominated (obviously!) Mixed tulips, anemones and ranunculus were set against a background of sword fern, eucalyptus nicholii and asparagus fern. Hattie carried an elongated bouquet and wore an asymmetrical flower crown while James sported a parrot tulip buttonhole detailed with an oversized bow. The spring table setting was a tulip tree with an abundance of sword fern and rainbow tulips, which were simply gorgeous on their own. Dusky pink chiffon ruffles transformed the chairs and the subtle, elegant table stationery by Inspired by Lisa had just the right amount of sparkle.

For this shoot, Hattie wore some super-cool separates by Charlotte Balbier – the Lyric topper and the River skirt – provided by 7th Heaven. Her makeup, created by Gemma and Amy at Dollface Makeup, was soft and fresh with subtle pink and lilac hues on the eyes and bold matte pink lips. They styled Hattie’s hair in natural, soft and textured boho curls, providing the perfect base for the flower crown. James donned a blue check suit and silk tie by Pal Zileri and a white shirt from Eton.

The canapes were heavenly: mini vegetable garden filo baskets with a red pepper hummus and pine nut pesto, broccoli and Gruyere soufflé tartlets, ham hock and cheddar cheese terrine and lemon and lime panna cotta garnished with a chocolate shard.

Stock Farm (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (46)

Autumn was unanimously our favourite season to shoot – and the mix of burgundy anthuriums, trailing red amaranthus, plum astrantia, blue eryngium, dusky pink cymbidium orchids, dusky pink chrysanthemum blooms, green hellebores and blush pink spray roses set against a background of mixed, berried foliages was just stunning. Pheasant feathers and hydrangeas also featured. We shot autumn in the outside barn area and lit the archway with vintage Edison bulbs and rustic love letters. Hattie carried a relaxed, unstructured trailing bouquet and wore a headpiece of hydrangeas, feathers, leucadendron and skimmia. James wore a boutonniere of spray rose, astrantia, hellebores, berried eucalyptus and feathers dressed with raffia as well as a very elaborate bow tie made of pheasant feathers! The stag-themed, rustic table plan fitted perfectly with this look with its hessian backing and vintage embroidery circles and the stunning hand-painted cake – another of Marie Antoinette Cakes’ creations – beautifully captured the warmth and depth of this beautiful season.

Hattie wore Justin Alexander 8925 with its adorable sweetheart neckline and lace applique. The makeup was bold, with deep burnt orange and bronze shades, black smudged eyeliner and fuller lashes. Matte skin and defined brows were finished off with a dark plum matte lip. Dollface Makeup styled her hair in a lightly structured side bun and some textured curls, while feathers and flowers created a statement feature to complete the look.

Top Table served mini toffee apples, fish and chips with tartare sauce, crispy duck spring rolls and quail scotch eggs with black pudding and homemade piccalilli – divine!

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the sky’s the limit: high flying helicopter

March 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

High Flying Helicopter (14)

When ticking the wedding day must-do boxes, ‘arriving in style’ features highly on most couples’ lists. After all, the journey to your chosen venue is all part of the experience and so it’s important to make it both memorable and enjoyable.

There are many ways in which to travel, from classic car and vintage bus to cool campers or traditional horse and cart. Perhaps the most impressive way to get from A to B though is in your very own piloted helicopter.

Just imagine the adrenaline rush as you soar through the skies to your wedding destination, sharing the moment with your nearest and dearest, and instantly removing the worry of getting stuck in traffic.

If this thrilling option spikes your interest, or that of your partner’s, then you will want to pay extra close attention to this afternoon’s post, as we’re taking a look at the fabulous offering from experts in the field, High Flying Helicopter, to see how their various air travel packages can add to a couple’s wedding experience, not only on the big day itself, but before and after the “I dos” too!

High Flying Helicopter Proposal

cloud nine proposal

As a reader of the blog there’s a high possibility that you already have a ring on your finger. However, if you are still waiting on the official ask, or are planning to pop the question to your partner soon, then why not do it a thousand feet up in the air, for that real cloud nine feeling?

High Flying Helicopter offers a range of Proposal Experiences for varying budgets, that can be tailored to achieve your dream ring-reveal moment! You could select one of their helicopter tours over the capital, taking in London’s iconic landmarks before touching back down by a “will you marry me” banner and celebrating with bubbly and chocolates. Alternatively, you could add on a champagne afternoon tea at a 4* hotel, or even dinner at a Michelin star restaurant.

Taking things up a gear, you could spoil your new fiancé with an overnight stay in a swanky penthouse or luxury hotel. Then there’s also the option to top off the helicopter ride with an indulgent spa day or romantic vineyard tour and wine tasting. Though, for the ultimate proposal, there is no finer option than High Flying Helicopter’s Paris Proposal, which includes a return helicopter trip to the French capital, a ten ft personalised “will you marry me” banner, chocolates, flowers and champagne, plus lunch/brunch at a Michelin star restaurant. I mean, if that doesn’t have your other half nodding frantically when you get down on one knee, we’re not sure what will.

High Flying Helicopter Proposal

heavenly big day

A sure-fire way to blow your guests away is arriving by helicopter on your big day, and High Flying Helicopter can easily make that possible with their fleet of fabulous aircraft.

From ensuring the bride makes a grand entrance to providing transport to the airport for the newlyweds, its experienced team can provide Wedding Travel for all aspects of the day.

Imagine surprising your other half with a helicopter ride before the wedding, with the pilot then safely delivering them to the venue in time for the ceremony. Alternatively, the bride and groom could be whisked away after the “I dos” for a little alone time up in the skies as they celebrate becoming husband and wife, and then touch down at their reception to carry on the celebrations. And as nobody likes the added pressure of rushing to get to the airport for the all-important honeymoon, High Flying Helicopter can even get couples to the gate on time ready to depart on their holiday of a lifetime!

High Flying Helicopter (16)

uplifting gifts

Once the big day has been and gone, why not reignite the excitement of taking to the sky with a special package to celebrate your anniversary? Chose from one of High Flying Helicopter’s spectacular Gifts and Experiences or even create your own, with the possibility of soaring over London, the Lake District or even travelling to a cool European city, such as Amsterdam.

Those minimooning in London following the wedding could choose to add an experience to their itinerary for magical memories that will last a lifetime. Or you could even choose to surprise your new husband of wife with a Helicopter Lesson, giving them to opportunity to get behind the controls of the cockpit and learn the joy of flying for themselves.

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pastel perfection. a country wedding at le petit chateau, otterburn – melanie & rory

March 19th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pretty Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Kristos Kabiotis (36)

It might be Monday (and still bloomin’ freezing!) but how could we be feeling blue with a gorgeous real wedding such as this to kick off the week? Bride and groom, Melanie and Rory, were one of the first couples to book their wedding at Le Petit Chateau – a truly gorgeous French-inspired country manor hotel in the heart of beautiful Northumberland; instantly falling in love with its summer holiday feels.

After getting engaged in the Big Apple, it seemed only fitting that there would be a subtle nod to this special location; and this came in the form of their table names. Keeping things simple though, no other theme was needed. But this doesn’t mean the wedding was lacking in personality or special touches – far from it!

As well as writing their own vows, Rory’s mum aka ‘Crafty Crofty’ stepped in to create some truly wonderful favours, table centrepieces, invitations and decorations for the couple, re-imagining their ideas and bringing them to life. She even baked their elegant white cake. (We’re wondering if we can steal her away for our special occasions too?) We’ll let Melanie tell us more about this quirky DIY approach though – prepare to soak up those Mediterranean vibes!

With images by Kristos Kabiotis Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Kristos Kabiotis (31)

melanie says: We got engaged on 12th February 2015, in New York. We were in an extremely cold Central Park and Rory was attempting to get me to walk out onto one of the lakes, which had frozen over – I flat out refused as I was scared we’d both end up cracking it and falling through into the freezing water! Instead, we went to see the Alice in Wonderland statue and it was just along from here – on a bank called Cedar Hill – that he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

I was completely taken by surprise and just to make the moment even more magical, it started to snow! He had managed to find possibly one of the few secluded spots in one of the busiest cities in the world where it felt like it was just the two of us. He later told me he wanted to propose on the frozen lake but I’d scuppered that plan!

A Pretty Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Kristos Kabiotis (11)

We always wanted a summer wedding as we love going on holiday and our venue – Le Petit Chateau – definitely provided that Mediterranean vibe. We were one of the first couples to book the venue on its first open day, so were lucky enough to have our pick of the dates available. We ended up choosing a date almost a year from the day we booked!

I’d been interested in the venue since The Apartment Group announced the plans to build a new venue in Otterburn, and we fell in love with Le Petit Chateau the moment we saw its Belle Époque on the open day. We loved the idea of being in one venue for the entire day, so we wouldn’t have to travel between the ceremony and reception.

A Pretty Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Kristos Kabiotis (37)

We had no specific theme for the day, but I loved the idea of naming the tables after places we’d visited on our trip to New York, where we got engaged. We used Central Park as the top table.

I knew I wanted to have a neutral/pastel colour scheme, which would contrast with the venue and its colourful gardens during the summer.

A Pretty Wedding at Le Petit Chateau (c) Kristos Kabiotis (15)

I searched for hours online looking at different wedding dress designers and visited around seven bridal shops trying on almost every style of dress, but nothing was exactly what I wanted. I eventually went to Wed2B at Gateshead, after it was recommended by a colleague and tried on even more dresses…until I found the one! It had everything I had envisioned, and I knew straight away that this was what I wanted to walk down the aisle in.

Rory didn’t want to go for something conventional and had his heart set on a dark tweed suit. We heard about Master Debonair in Boldon from a friend, so Rory and his dad (who was also his best man) went to try on some suits, along with my dad. The guys in the shop were great and allowed Rory, and both dads to try on several suits whilst enjoying a couple of beers (I arrived after work and was delighted to find a glass of prosecco on arrival). Rory eventually decided on a dark blue slim cut suit – he looked very dapper! Rory also selected a skeleton pocket watch and a champagne coloured tie and pocket square.

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destination fairytale. bespoke sarah willard for a chateau wedding in pays de la loire – helena & owen

March 16th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (42)

Soooooo over the ‘Beast from the East’, we’re leaving our weather woes behind this Friday afternoon and escaping to a 19th-century chateau in beautiful western France for today’s hugely Pin-worthy real wedding!

Vintage enthusiasts Dick and Angel set about restoring Chateau de la Motte Husson to its former glory and more than three years ago, and today’s bride Helena reports that she fell in love with it immediately. Looking at this veritable wonderland of circus memorabilia, fake taxidermy and eclectic additions (think unicorn heads and butterfly-adorned walls and you’re getting there…), it’s immediately obvious why.

For their magical wedding, Northern couple Helena and Owen chose to decorate the venue with meadow grasses and wildflowers and chose sparkly mismatched gowns for the bridesmaids in delicate shades of oyster grey, gold and pistachio. They ‘ate French’ (beef, baguettes, cured meats, local pork pie and wine) and added a touch of whimsy with hand-embroidered napkins as favours.

In short, the overall effect was sublime and, looking at these pictures, we can’t help but wish we’d had an invitation.

With images by Marie Marry Me.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (30)

helena says: We got engaged while on holiday with two of our closest friends in September 2016. We’d hired a car for the day and were exploring the volcanic Nature Park when we stumbled across a hidden beach. Owen asked me to walk over the rock pools so that we could get a photo together – our friend Ben volunteered to take it. As we stumbled across the rocks, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Naturally, I said yes!

Our wedding date was 28th May 2017. We chose it as it was a bank holiday weekend and we knew we wanted to have a weekend full of celebrations!

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (14)

We got married at Chateau de la Motte Husson in the Pays de la Loire, France. We went to visit the venue in November with our parents and fell in love with it straight away. Dick and Angel, the owners, are the most amazingly accommodating couple and we knew straight away that we would have the most perfect celebration here.

There wasn’t a strict colour scheme. In fact, it took longer to find my bridesmaids dresses than my own! I chose a grey/green for the bridesmaids as it was a colour that all four girls felt comfortable in and suited their different complexions.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (33)

I had a bespoke, couture gown made for me by Sarah Willard. Sarah is a ridiculously talented designer and dressmaker based in Staffordshire. When I went to view her gowns with my mum and bridesmaids, she was so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. She spent almost three hours asking questions and listening to us describe the wedding and two weeks later she sent the most beautiful sketches and swatches in the post. It was a very easy decision to choose Sarah’s dress.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (39)

Owen wore a blue Hugo Boss suit, a white shirt and a red tie gifted to him by my dad. He bought two suits and chose to wear this one on the day as it was slightly less heavy than the other. It was around 27 degrees, so pretty warm for a suit!

My bridesmaids’ dresses were a mixture of Jenny Packham and Adrianna Papell.

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rachel’s diary: the wedding venue hunt

March 16th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Andy & Rach

After riding that cloud-nine-feel of getting engaged over Christmas and New Year the realisation of planning a wedding hit me head on in mid-January. Even though I work in the industry my vision was clouded by the ring-finally-on-finger euphoria and I thought (possibly like many other couples) that we had loads of time to find a venue and start making plans.

However, when Andy and I started to seriously discuss timings we narrowed when would like to say our “I dos” down to a three-month-window next spring; being April, May, June 2019. Now, if you’re quite happy to have a long engagement, or perhaps, aren’t too fussed about what time of the year you get wed, you don’t need to panic just yet. For us it was a case of timing the wedding to fit in with a season that we like, months that would work well with our jobs, and also avoiding the peak summer season price hike – we, like the vast majority of brides and grooms, don’t have a bottomless budget and therefore are taking care to spend wisely.

With this in mind, we have also done the unthinkable and booked a, wait for it…Thursday wedding! We figured those that love/like/just about tolerate us will be willing to sacrifice a day’s annual leave to celebrate our special day with us – and, as a thank you, we will be investing the saving we made by opting for a week day into elements our guests will most definitely benefit from – being the food, booze and entertainment!

Middleton Lodge Fig House - Image by Gary Walsh Photography

Middleton Lodge Fig House – Gary Walsh Photography

So, where oh where will the big day take place? Well prompted into panic mode we went to view three venues which I know of and love; and so really it was a case of gauging Andy’s feelings on these. New addition to the stunning Middleton Lodge Estate in North Yorkshire, The Fig House was a front-runner from the off. Fresh and fabulous, this stunning Georgian inspired building is set to start holding weddings in the coming months, and we both loved the fact that none of our family or friends would have got hitched there before. Better still, The Fig House is concealed within a breath-takingly beautiful walled Kitchen Garden, and visions of beers and Bellinis on the lawns had us hooked. However, back home when we mulled things over, logistically it was going to be a struggle for us with pretty much all guests being from our home-city of Sheffield and even further south. Those of you on the venue search around the North Yorkshire area though must absolutely check out The Fig House and wider Middleton Lodge Estate.

Saltmarshe Hall - Image by Aden Priest

Saltmarshe Hall – Aden Priest Photography

Next up was gorgeous Grade II country house, Saltmarshe Hall, located in rural East Yorkshire. What I adore about this venue is its grand façade and gorgeous interiors, which offer an air of luxury and opulence, and yet it feels a real home from home, instantly welcoming and exclusive. Having recently added more stunning bedrooms to its offering it was another strong contender, with its light and airy reception rooms and speak-easy style bar adding extra ticks. Though in the end, for us, we felt we needed just a bit more space for the size of our wedding party (and also to accommodate Andy’s dance moves without people getting injured!) However, again, if your wedding venue search area covers East Yorkshire, please do look up this truly beautiful Hall.

The West Mill

The West Mill

And so that brings me onto our third and, as it turns out, winning venue – The West Mill in Derby. I’d never visited this place in person prior to our viewing but I’d often spent far too long staring at images of it, either via real weddings featured here on the blog or those I found on Instagram. What drew me to it was its cool, industrial luxe style and I thought (and hoped!) this would be right up Andy’s street too. Cue a wonderfully personal show around by owner Andrew, and we were sold.

The West Mill

The space within the Grade I listed former cotton spinning mill, situated next to the river Derwent, is nothing short of exceptional with space to wed, dine and party across four fabulous levels, plus outdoor space too – oh and eight brand new gorgeous on-site bedrooms.

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look book: pared back & pretty

March 15th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

Watters Cassia Skirt

Unsure about thousands of sparkles, puff sleeves and a skirt so voluminous you disappear into it the second you sit down? Never fear – if you’re a bride who prefers the simpler things in life, there are gorgeous gown options aplenty. And to help you make your selection, for this look book we’ve rounded up a collection of our very favourite pared back & pretty designs.

Main post images by Watters.

Watters Hymn

First stop, and setting the styling bar high, is the fabulous Amanda Wakeley whose gowns are all about the elegance and glamour. The Amber is beautifully graceful dress in luxe silk jersey and showcases a pretty Swarovski-encrusted belt fir just the right amount of sparkle. The Antonella is a panelled silk Mikado dress with a full skirt and cathedral train – simple in style but luxurious in quality! We also love the Olivia – minimalist from the front but dramatic at the back, with rows of delicate beading and a draped train giving the best of both worlds!

Watters Geneva

Another brand to explore is Watters. The silk Hymn gown has the most exquisite illusion back, dotted with buttons, yet gives the impression of a clean, simple sheath from the front. Then there’s the Geneva – a dream for brides who want simple and elegant with a sexy edge. The Leona is chic and beautifully minimal, while the Mabel has a lovely satin bow detail on the back and a simple and sophisticated air. If you fancy a very plain bodice but a bit of oomph in the skirt department, try the Cassia skirt, made from soft netting. It’s playful and full but looks divine with a classic bodice for a more minimalist look.

Next up, Enzoani. See the Lindsey for a timeless gown with a gorgeously full A-line skirt. The detail comes in the form of a pretty, glimmering beaded waistband. The Lenore is an inner dress with a bateau illusion neckline over a sweetheart neckline that you can wear underneath your chosen gown for a unique look. Choose a simple dress to wear it with for maximum impact. The Justice has a sleek bodice down to the knee, before flaring into a tulle skirt accentuated with embroidered stones, while the Lacy is simple and chic at the front with a glamorous illusion back for an old-Hollywood feel. Or rock the Grecian goddess look in the Harmony, a full-length mermaid gown with beaded straps and subtle ruching.

Watters Leona

Finally, we look to the fabulous Jesus Peiro – a designer that gets the pared back and pretty brief down to a tee. We love how gorgeous textured fabrics are used to create structured dresses with impact but that still have a calm and clear overall appearance, such as design 8000 and 8027, the latter finished with a simple yet highly satisfying bow. More slim-line gowns are in the offering too; some in sumptuous silk fabrics and others in matt. For just a touch of detailing we adore the cowl back and jewel embellishment of 8017, and also the simple sheer linear panels of 8002. However, if it’s a truly pure creation you crave, there can be no better choice than the amazingly-cut 8062.

Watters Mabel

So, as you can see, if you see yourself gliding down the aisle in a dress that you wear – rather than one that wears you – there’s an exquisite array of chic and minimalist gowns out there to get trying on. High time for some boutique bookings we feel!

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