September 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The prettiest sleeves on the scene. If in doubt, add lace!
September 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely inspiration for crafty brides-to-be that are planning to hand make a lot of elements for their big day.
Having decided on a relaxed and pretty rose pink theme, bride Shona worked her magic on everything from the flowers and stationery, to the décor, and the results are nothing short of stunning.
So we’ll leave you to take note..
With images by Sue Pell and video by Top Table Films.
shona says: We got engaged at home in our front room on 10th December 2013, having already argued about the fact we were putting the tree up two days early. Little did I know Lee had more to think about than just putting up the decorations.
One of Lee’s family traditions is to close your eyes and make a wish when the lights of the tree are turned on. I was sat patiently with our Labrador Boulmer, waiting for the big light turn on when Lee told me to keep my eyes closed for a second longer. When I was allowed to open them he was down on one knee with a huge plastic flashing ring in front of me. Lee knows how picky I am so thankfully let me chose my own ring, which I had designed by a good friend of mine at a local jeweller. And in case you are wondering the wish I made (and had made every day up until that point) was that Lee would ask me to marry him!
We got married on 30th March 2015 at the amazing Newton Hall in Northumberland. I had already been to two of their open days with both of our mothers for a look around and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Years before we got engaged Lee had told me that we could only get married if I found a venue that could allow us to have a relaxed wedding, next to the beach or countryside and involving our dog – I actually think I couldn’t have found a better venue. I love the quirky styling and the fact that we could make the day exactly what we wanted.
By the power of Pinterest I had about a million themes/styles in my head to begin with and I did find it difficult to stop pinning and start planning! I knew the day needed to be informal to suit our personalities and I wanted to create many of the decorations myself. So I suppose you can say we had a relaxed homemade theme with lots of pretty details. I decorated lots of jam jars and glass bottles, painted some old books and folded some of them to create beautiful centrepieces. Lee cut me lots of wood slices which were perfect for adding some rustic detailing. We had lots of fairly lights and tea light candles to soften the look.
As the wedding was in March I wanted to look at some lovely pastel spring colours. I ordered some fabric swatches online of colours I liked and literally bought everything and anything that matched them so I could see it in a bigger form. I sat with my bridesmaids and went through greens, blues, corals, pinks until we found a light rose colour we all loved. It is such a romantic colour and suited the time of year perfectly.
As with most brides I had an idea of the type of dress I wanted and then went for the exact opposite! I only tried on about six or seven dresses and ended up finding mine by pure chance when visiting L’Amour Bridal Boutique in South Shields. The staff were really nice and helpful and helped narrow down my search very quickly. My mum began flicking through a Mori Lee catalogue and spotted ‘the one’ – Mori Lee Blu style 5108. By chance the store had it in stock, it was stunning and very figure hugging! We narrowed it down to a final two but when I came away all I could think about was the Mori Lee. In the end I didn’t actually buy it from L’Amour as my uncle picked the dress up in America for me – however the girls in the store were fantastic and I would definitely recommend them.
I had wanted Lee and the boys to wear grey as I thought it would match the rose colour theme well but he argued for navy and I’m very pleased he did too! Lee wore a tailored suit from Marks & Spencer and the boys were in a very similar one from Matalan. All in all I’d say they looked very smart, and it went perfectly with the rose of the bridesmaids.
The girls dresses I actually just picked up from the high street, I went on my own in my lunch hour and spotted them out the corner of my eye. They were exactly what I wanted and suited all the girls really well. I was worried the short length would mean they were a bit chilly so I matched it with a gorgeous grey cashmere pashmina and told them to brave the cold if they could!
Lee and I, along with six of our close friends, spent the night before the wedding at Newton Hall. We went for the last supper at The Joiners Arms and then had some drinks and treats back in our room. It made it so much easier being at the hall on the day! Waking up the morning of the wedding next to Lee was so exciting and much more special than being apart I think.
Lee got dressed at the cottage his family had hired down the road and made his grand entrance to Newton Hall on his beloved Mountain Bike with Boulmer trotting along by his side.
Our photographer was a very dear friend of mine Sue Pell. I actually work with Sue and she had long since retired from wedding photography when I met her. However before we met she photographed my cousin’s wedding six years ago which I was unable to attend. In my place I sent a life sized cardboard cut-out of myself and Sue could not believe it when we worked out the connection. She thought it was a sign and agreed to do our wedding photography as a gift to us! She is amazing, and we had a great connection on the day. I would recommend her to everyone although I’m not sure they would be able to persuade her back out of retirement now!
I knew from the start I wanted a lovely romantic bouquet which wasn’t too formed or structured. I love a challenge so I decided to do my own flowers! I ordered a mixture of Avalanche, Memory Lane and Amnesia roses as the colours matched the theme perfectly, then to add some texture and scent we included Freesia, Gypsophila and some gorgeous Silver Brunia. My auntie has been involved in the flowers for all of our family weddings over the years and was amazing at helping me tie them all up and get them looking just perfect. Because we had ordered the flowers from a wholesaler we had so many left over that the glass jam jars and bottles I had ready for decoration were filled with the same flowers as my bouquet.
I was concerned that favours wouldn’t work well as we didn’t have a table plan, however I did want the guests to have a little memento of the day. I packed up some wildflower seeds and let our guests take a pack from a basked we placed on the bar.
To save some money we decided to make our cake stand a little more special and buy our favourite Costco cakes! This way we got a little bit of variety and weren’t concerned if they didn’t get eaten. Lee cut some wooden discs as cake stands and we decorated the table with fairy lights and wicker hearts.
To continue with our relaxed wedding day theme we invited guests to meet us on the beach on the morning of the wedding. We had a lovely walk with all the dogs and our family and friends and then retreated to The Joiners Arms for a good old pub lunch. As our ceremony was later in the day we simply had a hot food buffet later in the evening once or night time guests had arrived. We decided on a Thai curry with sticky rice and some really good side dishes.
I was set on my chosen entertainment from the start. We booked the band Hip Operation as I had seen them several times before and they never fail to put on a performance. The mixture of music they perform was fantastic and they had everyone up dancing. They really get involved with the guests and even came out to join us on the dance floor a few times.
Five weeks before we got married we attended Lee’s sister’s wedding where she had booked a surprise caricaturist. He was so fantastic that Lee and I decided there and then that we wanted him too. Mike Giblin is such a fantastic artist and really mixed well with our guests.
As per Lee’s wedding day stipulations our Labrador Boulmer had to be by our sides all day and he really did make the day fantastic. Also, I think that so much of the wedding being handmade, from the stationery to the décor, really added to the day and made it so much more personal. It was a labour of love for me and I poured my heart and soul in to everything.
During my decoration research I spent a lot of time watching people’s wedding videos from Newton Hall but one really stuck with me. It was by Top Table Films and I realised we should have a video done. I called Jon and explained our unconventional dog walk and pub lunch and he was really enthusiastic. The final five minute preview video absolutely took my breath away. I love having it to look back on and it is by far the one thing I will recommend to every bride. We also got a full length DVD featuring all the speeches and the full ceremony, which I adore.
We would definitely recommend Newton Hall as it lets you be as unique or as traditional as you want. The styling of the venue means to really don’t have to add a lot to it to make it look special and the team that work there all wonderful. Jane was the manager on duty for the day and her organisation skills were fantastic. We had also specially requested John Parker to be our Master of Ceremony as he spent a lot of time talking to us at an open day and really put my mind at ease about doing things different.
Other than the ceremony I have to say my favourite part was getting ready with the girls. I don’t have any siblings and my best friends are like sisters to me. There was such a buzz in the bridal suite while we were getting ready and I didn’t want it to end. Lee’s speech was also a very special moment. It was really good, he made sure everyone was mentioned and thanked but also told some very special stories about the two of us. It was so sweet and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.
To avoid the school holidays we waited a few weeks after the wedding for the main honeymoon and so as a surprise for Lee I booked us a minimoon at Singdean B&B in Keilder. We later went on an all-inclusive honeymoon in Playa Del Carman in Mexico. It was two weeks of pure relaxation and indulgence.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to never settle for something you don’t want. There is always a way around it and if it doesn’t tick the right box for you then don’t do it. Also do not stress over the guest list! Talk to your partner and if you both aren’t completely happy then change it. When it comes down to it the only people that have to be there are you two!
September 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we have another wedding that stands out, not for having an unusual theme or vibrant colour scheme, but due to its simplicity.
After finding a dream venue in the West Tower, bride Victoria set to work adding elegant touches for the classic wedding she’d always dreamed of.
We love Victoria’s stunning Ronald Joyce gown, her maids’ lovely latte coloured dresses, the chic looking cake and all the pretty peonies. Just perfect!
With images by Teresa C Photography.
victoria says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012, three months after having our little boy so Christian asked me when he had got in from work as he was working that Christmas Day. Not very romantic but it was nice.
We picked the date the 30th May 2015 for the wedding because ever since we have been together the weather has always been nice around that time of year.
We got married at West Tower, Ormskirk. I was told about the venue by my florist, who I have known for more than 15 years. We went and took a look around and fell I love with it that much it made me cry. It was just what we were looking for, it had character but was modern at the same so was perfect for us.
I wanted an elegant theme just because it looks so lovely and classy. I think I went for this theme once we had found our venue and I had found my dress as it made me feel elegant so everything just fell into place.
I went with a latte type of colour scheme as again I thought it looked elegant and classy. I just knew I didn’t want bright colours.
I chose a dress I didn’t think I would have as it had a high neckline and I always thought I would go for a strapless. It also had a lot of Swarovski crystals, which again I didn’t think of having initially. When I tried it on I was very surprised as it made stand up straight and made me feel so elegant – I just loved it. I did keep looking for a while but I just kept going back to the first one so that’s how I knew it was ‘the one’.
My dress was by Ronald Joyce and my full length vail was by Joyce Jackson, both bought from Romantica in Wigan. My headdress was by Richard Designs and that was from a friend’s bridal shop, Bride 2 Be, in Leigh. My shoes where Jenny Packham from Debenhams and all jewellery was from Debenhams too.
My husband, the best man and ushers all wore Moss London slim fitted suits with bid like waistcoats, which we thought really set them off. Their shoes were from Aldo and Topman and shirts from TM Lewin. Sue at The Wow Factor (who is amazing) made our son Harry’s full suit, the men’s ties and pocket ties and the bridesmaid dresses.
For transport on the wedding day we hired a Daimler car from Grace Wedding Cars in Ashton Wigan, which was lovely.
Our photographer was Teresa C Photography, who had already done photos for us in the past which we love so we didn’t hesitate at all in asking her would she do our wedding and the outcome was amazing. She is a very talented photographer and we would highly recommend her, as we always do.
Our cake was made by Jane at Coco Cakes. I wanted a simple cake with pearls and a faded colour effect. We also wanted it to be all different flavours, as it was going to be our evening desert after our barbecue. We went for Victoria sponge, carrot, chocolate and then lemon drizzle, plus more chocolate in 50 cupcakes. It was all delicious. She is amazing at cake making and I’ve always got my cakes made by her. It was a three-day proses to make the cake, which was well worth it – she is a perfectionist!
Stacey Whitaker from Perfect Daze, in Wigan, created all the flower arrangements, including those carried by me and my bridesmaids. I wanted all flowers for table arrangements to be mainly hydrangeas and peonies so left Stacey to work her magic. She is an amazing florist and would highly recommend her and her team.
As favours we gave soaps to the ladies and scratch cards to the men.
The entertainment for the evening was a band called Kings of the Dance Floor, who we found on the intern. They were an indie type of band and really got the place rocking! They were excellent all night and the dance floor was packed from beginning to end, which I guess you get with a very good band.
Special touches on the day included my one of my best friends Olie, giving me away as my mum and dad have both passed away. I also had an old picture of my parents displayed on the day. The best man David did an amazing job of his speech and everybody has been talking about it since. He managed to get everyone clicking their fingers to the Adams Family!
We would highly recommend West Tower to other couples, as they couldn’t do enough for us and the whole day ran smoothly. It was an amazing day, and one we will never forget!
We have yet to go on honeymoon. We are planning that for next year as we have just done the two of the most stressful things in life – buying a house and getting married.
September 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
As soon as Brides Up North sponsor James Tracey, told us he’d shot a Halifax couple’s new york, new york we knew it would be good, but it isn’t good – it’s flippin’ fantastic, as you’ll see for yourselves.
Keen travellers Anna and Andy chose to go all out with their wedding by saying their ‘I dos’ in the iconic Central Park before hailing down a taxi cab, with James in tow, to travel around the city’s top tourist spots stopping for amazing photograph opportunities along the way.
It’s amazing how time seems to stand still for Anna and Andy’s intimate moments on their big day but the bustling city of New York keeps going at lightening pace in background. The Grand Central Station picture is my absolute favourite. All in all, a stateside stunner!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, James Tracey Photography.
anna says: Our three-year-old daughter Isabel and Andy woke me up with breakfast in bed one morning. Isabel came in holding a ring box and asked me to marry her daddy. Isabel then opened the ring box she was holding and took the ring out put it on herself and gave me the empty box! Following the proposal, Andy took me to our favourite hotel for the night, The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey.
The date of our wedding was 25th June 2015 – the day before my birthday. My birthday fell on a Friday this year and in New York you can only get married in Central Park Monday to Thursday, so we picked the nearest date.
We chose to get married at Central Park, New York as the city is very special to us. Last time we were there I found out I was pregnant with Isabel shortly after returning home. We also both love travelling and wanted to do something different whilst also getting married abroad. We had a reception back in the UK in August at 53 Degrees North in Halifax.
We knew it was going to be hot in New York at that time of year and had planned to travel round the city immediately after getting married with James Tracey our photographer so we could document our day with some of the famous iconic sites of New York. New York is renowned for style so we both wanted to echo this in what we wore.
I chose a simple but elegant ivory dress wore from Ghost and some Jimmy Choo champagne peep toe shoes. I took some inspiration from Pippa Middleton as thought she looked amazing when she was bridesmaid for her sister and I liked the style of what she wore. I also thought it would look more classic against the inner city back drops of New York. On the wedding day Sharon Becker Hair & Beauty did my makeup and hair which were faultless and stayed on/in place all day without any need for reapplication.
On the wedding day we travelled around in a traditional New York yellow taxi and I carried a bouquet of ivory roses wrapped with ivory ribbon.
We would highly recommend our photographer James to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. He has an amazing eye for photography – the quality of his work speaks for itself. He is easy to work with, friendly, understanding and helps you relax in front of the camera – which is often how you get the best pictures!
We only told close family we were getting married and then sent anonymous save the dates out for a secret wedding reception party back in Halifax. We announced to everyone that we had got married on the 26th June and then sent out passport style invites to the wedding reception, which were designed by The Wedding Angels in Huddersfield.
For our reception in the UK we chose to use A Little Bit of Eden, who are based in Sowerby Bridge, to provide the flowers. I’ve used this florist a number of times before and they do great quality flowers with a difference. At the reception we also had a traditional sweet stall and photo booth, which was provided by Dreambooth. Instead of a sit down meal/buffet we had tapas. The chain that own the reception venue, Ricci’s Group, are well known for serving up fantastic food. Andy and I are both foodies and so wanted to incorporate this into the wedding reception. We also wanted our guests to experience something a bit different than the standard wedding sit down meal. On arrival guests were served with either a Hendricks mojito or American beer and the food was a personalised selection of Michael Ricci’s menus from across his three restaurants.
To provide entertainment at the reception, we hired Agent Smith, a live band from Manchester, who did two one-hour sets with a mixture of new and older classic hits. This was followed by a three-hour set of classic 1990s house music.
New York was so unique and we would certainly recommend the city to other couples looking to get married overseas. Destination weddings are so special because you get to spend more than just a day with your nearest and dearest celebrating one of the most memorable times of your life.
Gail Herring at Travel Counsellors helped plan our destination wedding and bent over backwards to ensure that our wedding/honeymoon went exactly to plan. Whilst in New York we stayed at The Giraffe Hotel, which was the best hotel we’ve stayed at, they couldn’t do enough for us.
All of it from start to finish was amazing – we couldn’t pin point just one part which was our favourite. James has documented the whole day in a picture diary so we can easily look back and go through it again any time we like, which is extremely valuable to us to have. The pictures, if anything, made our day for us.
Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Secrets Silver Sands Rivera, Mexico. We were ready for a week on a beach after five nights in New York. The hotel was luxurious, staff couldn’t do enough for us and we met some amazing people, who were also on their honeymoon. We certainly celebrated in style.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to trust your instincts; be organised because it helps alleviate your stress levels; and relax and enjoy as much as you can as it goes too quickly.
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September 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Last month our real life bride and celebrity columnist Jane Witherspoon, took a brief break from her hectic showbiz reporting schedule to jet off on her hen do to the south of France. Fancy!
Joined by her top ladies, Jane and her squad enjoyed a memorable weekend (well sort of), of culture, relaxation, fine food and wine – oh and champagne, oh yeah, and vodka!
Here she reveals all they got up to (well the bits she can remember), as in true bride-to-be hen do style, Jane adopted a somewhat go hard or go home approach. Jane, we salute you!
Now back home in the UK, Jane has less than six weeks to go until the big day and so is shoehorning in the last minute preparations and planning around her numerous work commitments, which includes covering London Fashion Week. Sounds glam hey? But seriously we don’t know how she fits everything in, she certainly works hard – and from what’s about to follow, she plays hard too…
jane says: It’s often billed as a last big hurrah for many brides to be but I feel like I’ve been practicing this partying business for quite a while now. As for my hens – they definitely know how to have a good time.
I’m very lucky to have some amazing girls around me especially as I approach the six-weeks-to-go milestone. They threw me the most brilliant bash in the south of France and this blog post is dedicated to each and every one of them for the part they played. Mam, Emma, Emsy, Nicole, Karthi, Sara, Karyn and Krysia – love you ladies!
An early start in drizzly Stansted didn’t dampen our spirits as we began our little jet-set jaunt. We were soon air bound having cleaned up on free shots in Duty Free. That’s as tacky as it got…who am I kidding!
On arrival in Lourdes we were soon in a taxi and taking a short detour to nearby town Tarbes to pick up Nicole who was travelling by train from Poitiers to meet us in the Pyrenees. I arrived wearing a fancy dress nuns habit which the girls had insisted on. Not even a ‘hello’ let alone a ‘bonjour’, ‘where’s my prosecco?’ Nicole asked. That’s how it started…
Karyn and Krysia had invited us to spend the long weekend at their 18th Century farmhouse in Bernac-Debat, Midi-Pyrenees. As we pulled up to the iron gates we muttered ‘wow’ in unison. The place was incredible. Shutters, chandeliers and champagne. After a not so quick (the place was huge) tour of the grounds and pool, everyone bagged their four-poster beds and it was down to business. We had a weekend of eating and drinking ahead of us.
For anyone thinking of a trip to the region I couldn’t recommend our base in Bernac-Debat highly enough. It is 20 minutes from the airport on the edge of a fabulous mountain region and nearby Tarbes town and Lourdes is a must.
After a few rounds of hum bug (a guessing game where you hum songs. Sadly these videos have been deleted) we had the most amazing roast duck meal cooked for us. So I’m told. I sadly had to leave the girls to enjoy this without me after a forfeit involving a tumbler of vodka put paid to my plans for the evening. Yes I missed the first night of my own hen do. On the plus side, my 13 hour sleep meant I was fresh as a daisy for day two.
A short bus ride meant we spent the day exploring the beautiful town of Tarbes, its cafes and fountains. A quick trip back to the house to freshen up and we were on our way to dinner.
Emsy had booked us into a restaurant which features in the Michelin guide called Trait Blanc – albeit the booking was for the week after we were there. Our lack of French vocabulary was brushed aside and waiter Jean-Henri sat us in a private garden out the back (which was just as well because of the noise we made). The reviews said ‘look nowhere else’. The food was incredible. I’d highly recommend if you’re looking for great food that’s reasonably priced.
Sunday was pool party day. We soaked up the night before with a fry up then cranked up Gloria Estefan on the music system and went for the burn. More cheese, wine and laughs from the moment we woke till we slept. The weekend was drawing to a close far too fast. But, there was one tourist spot just down the road we had to squeeze in.
You can’t go to Lourdes and not visit the town itself and the famous grotto. So it may not be very ‘hen do-ey’ but it’s definitely worth a visit whether you’re religious or not. It’s a beautiful town and the Cathedral is stunning. After a brief whirlwind tour and a quick prayer we were headed for the airport and UK laden with holy water! Well, we certainly didn’t need any more duty free booze!
Follow our real life bride and celebrity columnist Jane, at @Janeyspoon.
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