September 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s a small, small World.
In today’s wedding feature, our bride Jude marries a man from the other side of the globe next to the green in the village where she grew up. There’s something kinda special about that, isn’t there?
Now who has the Disney theme to “It’s A Small World” on loop in their head? Yes me too, so sorry about that.
With images by Walker & Walker Photography.
Jude says: We decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and share our happiness with our friends and family. We began planning our wedding in 2013.
We were married on Saturday 7th of June 2014 at 4pm. The ceremony was in Brandesburton Methodist Church. We had wedding photos taken on Brandesburton village green, with the the 12 century stone cross and my family home in the background. The reception was held at The Bell Hotel in nearby Driffield.
I wanted to get married in Brandesburton Methodist Church because I was christened there. It is a 1930′s Art Deco chapel. The Bell Hotel is an 18th century coaching inn and former corn exchange in Driffield, a few miles from Brandesburton. Brad is Australian; there are few buildings in Australia that particularly old, so he loves historic English places. The Bell, with its beautifully restored oak panelled bars and antiques in every corner, ticked that box. It was very good value for money, which was also a consideration.
My dress had a huge satin bow in around the middle which stretched along the length of my train. The pale green colour of the bow was echoed in the bridesmaids dresses, men’s cravats and ribbons on the decorations. The shade was also picked up in the flower arrangements, which featured eucalyptus leaves to remind Brad of the trees back home in Australia.
My dress was bright white: a strapless satin bodice with a tulle skirt. It was entirely plain apart from the long green bow. It was from TKMaxx Online. Brad wore a black tailcoat, grey striped trousers and a silver waistcoat with a pale green cravat. They were hired from an online outfitters, Formally Yours. He topped of the outfit with a traditional top hat.
My Maid of Honour, Helen, wore a pale green dress from BHS with matching bolero. Our little bridesmaid, Madeleine, wore a flower girl dress from an online outlet. The Best Man, Warren, wore a tailcoat that matched Brad’s.
I carried a bouquet of eucalyptus, gypsophila and white roses by Judith Tait Flowers.
During the service, a choir of four friends sang Bernstein’s ‘Make Our Garden Grow’ from the musical Candide, and ‘A Clare Benediction’ by John Rutter. They were accompanied by professional musical director Mark Warman. It was an ethereal sound, giving the ceremony a heavenly feel.
When we came out of the church we saw that some people from the village had come to wish us well, which was very touching. It meant a lot to me that so many of those who had watched me grow up came to watch me get married. This was my favourite part of the day.
Our cake was made by my Auntie Averil. It was three tiers of rich fruit cake with traditional royal icing, finished with ribbon to match the colour scheme and fresh flowers.
The stationery we used was all brown manila; it was easy to match and inexpensive. We used brown luggage tags for the ‘save the dates,’ place names and the seating plan.
For wedding favours, we had M&Ms printed with our names and a little photograph of us. We put them in little heart-shaped boxes.
I lived in Scotland for five years and whilst there I fell in love with ceilidh dancing. Hessle Ceilidh Band had an excellent caller to guide the English and Australian wedding guests through the dances. It encouraged people who didn’t know each other to mix together and the live music added to the party atmosphere.
We had a mini-moon at Redworth Hall Hotel in County Durham. We travelled to Australia to celebrate our marriage with Brad’s family in August, before going on to explore Borneo for two weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to practice mindfulness on your wedding day. It’s a way of focussing your attention on individual moments derived from Buddhism. Your wedding day is a packed 24 hours and passes so quickly – it’s easy for it to fly past in a blur. Every now and again, take a screen shot of your emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring at that moment. For example, I took a mental picture of exactly how I felt as I was stood in my parents’ front room in my wedding dress, about to leave for the church. It’s a memory I’ll treasure forever.
September 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
The North West Wedding Fair is taking place at EventCity, Manchester on 26th to 28th September 2014.
Visit www.theweddingfairs.com for more details. Brides Up North can save 1/3 off usual show prices by entering exclusive discount code NW58 at checkout.
I’ve also got a handful of FREE passes for two people up my sleeves, and I’ll be giving those golden tickets away to the first 150 brides through the door at our own Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Hilltop Country House on Sunday 14th September 2014. Bonus! Be there…
If you’re a regular around these pages, you’ll recall that last spring (doesn’t it seem like absolutely ages ago now?) I was approached by Mercury Events, the organisers of the ma-hoo-sive North West Wedding Fair, and invited act as their ‘Official Blogger’. Quite the compliment!
^^^And yes, that is me nervously introducing the showreel above! (dies) ^^^
Now, you know that we run our own Luxury Wedding Exhibitions here at Brides Up North – including two very special events in the North West this autumn – so at first I wasn’t sure… partner with the competition? Hmm.
But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Whilst our events are bespoke, exclusive (and perfectly formed… are they in your diaries yet !?), The North West Wedding Fair is the largest premium show for brides from the North West. Visitors love that every one of their Exhibitors and Partners are dedicated to serving the North West region. Isn’t that what Brides Up North encourages: thinking local?
Also, whilst I can’t wait to see as many as possible of you at our own events this season, I wouldn’t want my North West readers to miss out on the biggest juggernaut of a bridal event to come your way this autumn either. There’s plenty of room in the diary for us both and what better way to get my brand in front of thousands more Brides Up North and fuel this Northern Revolution even further?
Plus, it was loads of fun last time. And I like having fun.
Our position as one of the top wedding blogs in the UK – and the only one specifically for Northern Brides – is extremely valuable, so alliances like this one need to be right for us. It is Mercury Events’ excellent reputation in the market that gave me the confidence to join up with The North West Wedding Fair, and I‘m happy to report that it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
I’m back this autumn, reprising my Official Blogger role.
As well as hosting my own features over on the show’s official blog, I’ll also be on site on the Friday evening at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat on their designer catwalk no less), trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible and also putting my judging hat on to award the “best in show” exhibitor prize.
Joining me this autumn will be 150 of the most trusted suppliers from Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool. The best boutiques in the North West will be on hand to help you find the best type and fit of dress for you and your whole wedding party.
Ideas for every aspect of your wedding will be on tap all weekend, with stunning Catwalk Shows, The Essential Bridalwear Collection, Favours & Finishing Touches Marketplace, Live Entertainment Stage, Inspired Bakes Showcase, free Tasting Sessions and so much more.
I can’t wait.
Visit www.theweddingfairs.com for more details. Remember – Brides Up North can save 1/3 off usual show prices by entering exclusive discount code NW58 at checkout, or we’ll see you for those free tickets at our Hilltop Country House event!
September 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Say Naomi Neoh and I think ‘swish!’ This lady’s delightful gowns were made for movement, with swingy silk chffon, draping bows and the softest lace. Dresses that wash the catwalks with delicate blush, dare you to twirl and encourage a little sashay.
You can tell I’ve fallen head over heels and I challenge you not to. Let’s meet Naomi as we debut her beautiful collection for 2015.
Naomi says: I design my dresses for elegant, romantic women who have a sense of fun and want to feel glamorous yet feminine of their wedding day.
What were your inspirations for this collection?
My other half bought me a book about the life of the Hollywood costume designer Edith Head who is one of my heroes – I love her work. This year’s collection was inspired by the iconic sirens of 30s 40s and 50s Movies, Lana Turner, Dorothy Lamour…
What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?
For this collection I will be using some new Italian weaves, with some silk mixes to give the handle and luxurious feel of silk but with less creasing! My love affair with silk chiffon will also continue through into the new collection with subtle tones of blush and peach. There are also delicate embellishments throughout, hand beaded waist details, and of course the signature silk corsages.
What is the favourite piece in the new collection and why?
It changes all the time, but at the moment I’m particularly loving Loretta – the silk satin chiffon of the skirt is my favourite fabric, and it’s a versatile dress which can be worn in so many different ways with the selection of jackets I have designed to co-ordinate.
What does 2014/ 2015 hold for Naomi Neoh? What are you excited about?
I’m excited about the launch of six new Naomi Neoh stockists from October so even more brides will be able to get to see our dresses! 2015 will be all about creating and fine tuning again a bigger and better collection for 2016 brides.
What are your ‘best things’ in life?
I like little things, sun rise, freshly mown grass, laughing, and beautiful flowers.
Where can Brides Up North find out more about Naomi Neoh?
September 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North sponsors etc. Magazine have pulled out all the stops to bring their popular wedding fair to Sunderland Minster, to start what’s set to be a very pretty season in style.
It’s the first time the luxury lifestyle magazine for the North East has brought its wedding spectacle to this exceptional venue.
This free boutique event will take place on Thursday September 11th 2014, from 6pm to 9pm, and feature more than 25 hand-picked exhibitors from across the region.
From dresses and suit hire to cakes and cocktail samples, the evening will cater for all your wedding needs and brides and grooms-to-be will find all they need to plan their big day under the roof of the church.
Guests can also enjoy a live bridal catwalk show as Miss Sunderland beauty queen finalists strut down the aisle in wedding dresses from local bridal shop Just Perfect, along with suits from Menswear by Just Perfect.
Simon Godding, owner of Just Perfect and Menswear by Just Perfect says: “It’s the second time we’ve taken part in etc’s wedding show and it’s always great to work with the team. The shows are always a success and we get to showcase our fantastic range of wedding gowns and menswear. The models always look stunning on the catwalk.”
After completing the model’s make-up, celebrity make-up artist Amanda Bell will also be on hand to offer advice to soon-to-be brides who want a flawless look on their special day. Brides-to-be will receive a VIP goodie bag.
To register, visit www.etcnortheast.co.uk.
Brides to be can also collect their copy of etc Magazine’s special September wedding issue at the Brides Up North Super Showcase Grand Wedding Exhibition on Sunday 21st September 2014.
September 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Welcome to the week Brides Up North! Let’s start this one super prettily, as we join Leanne and Tom for their rustically styled wedding day, full of beautiful blooms and soft pastels. Very easy on the eye.
With images by Arusha’s Images.
Leanne says: Tom proposed on the 26th April 2013. We went for a walk on the beach in Morecambe. My 6 year old daughter took her metal detector & her & Tom were hunting for treasure when ‘surprisingly’ they stumbled across a message in a bottle which my daughter read out to me. It said “Leanne, I love you, will you marry me?”. When I turned around to look at Tom and he was on one knee with the most beautiful ring!
Our wedding date was Sunday 29th June 2014. We chose that date as it was one day before I turned 30!
We chose the beautiful Beeston Manor in Hoghton. The location was ideal for both sides of our family to travel to. It was a family run business & we loved the story of its history, being transformed from an old run down ruin of a barn into a stunning wedding venue, by its owners John Bickerstaffe & his father. The grounds & gardens were amazing & each room had a lovely intimate feel to it. It was a blank canvas which I loved as I am quite fussy with decor & a lot of places we looked at had pictures on the walls or carpets that clashed with the wallpaper. We loved all the stone & the wooden beams. It was perfect!
I would not hesitate to recommend Beeston Manor to other couples. It is the most beautiful venue and the staff are fantastic. They will work with you to ensure you have a wedding that is exactly how you want it.
The style of the wedding was quite rustic; hessian bows, bunting, jam jars, etc. We chose this as it worked well with the style of venue & all looked so pretty. The colour scheme was brought out mainly with the flowers. I chose ivory for my dress & also for my flower girls then pastel shades of pink, lilac, lemon, green & ivory for all the flowers & the cupcakes.
I chose an Essense of Australia gown from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster. It was ivory, strapless, with a sweetheart neckline, drop waist and full skirt. The bodice was lace with a full tulle skirt with lace detail between each layer. It was stunning! I chose that dress because it was completely different to anything I had originally wanted & it made me feel like a princess. It was classy and glamorous & after trying on hundreds of different dresses that was the one that I kept thinking about & going back to!
My hand tied bouquet was provided by Abi’s Arrangements in Bare, Morecambe. She used a mix of flowers including spray roses, phlox, lisianthus, peonies, & gypsophila.
Tom wore a tailor made brown tweed suit by Victor Valentine. It was pretty unique.
We didn’t have groomsmen, or big bridesmaids. But the flower girls wore ivory dresses that had a full net skirt with scattered Swarovski crystals and big flowers attached, from BHS. They also had flower crowns by Abi’s Arrangements
Our photographer was Arusha Jenks from Arusha’s Images Photography. She was fantastic & we couldn’t recommend her enough! She arrived early so she could look around the venue and the grounds & find the best spots for our posed photos. She took photos throughout the day and captured all the special moments without intruding or getting in the way. She was so lovely & knew exactly what to do to get the best from us & get smiles from all the children! She has produced beautiful photos that we will treasure for the rest of our lives!
All the flowers for the wedding reception were provided by Abi’s Arrangements. Other decorations included decorated jam jars, hessian place mats and top table runner, bunting, place names cards & seating plan. All these little details were made by my mother in law, Shirley. She worked tirelessly to recreate all my ideas & she did a wonderful job! The chair covers & bows were provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
We had favours on the tables for our guests. These were shortbread biscuits with an iced heart design, they were wrapped in brown paper & tied with string & a “with love T & L” gift tag. These were also provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
We decided to have a BBQ instead of a sit down 3 course meal. We both wanted something informal and it worked so well. We had homemade burgers, sausages & BBQ chicken with floured buns, salad, jacket potatoes and garlic bread. We had so many compliments about the food. It was delicious! In the evening, cones of chips were given out to our guests with all the condiments on the table. It was a great idea & perfect when you’ve had a few beers!
For our wedding cake, we chose vanilla, lemon & white chocolate cupcakes, decorated with iced flowers in pastel colours. They were yummy! These were also provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
During the day we had a guy called Brendan McMahon, who sang and played guitar. I had found him busking in Manchester city centre a couple of months before the wedding, and just asked him there and then if he would play. He was fantastic! I knew I wanted the whole day to just feel really laid back and relaxed and he created the atmosphere perfectly!
Later in the evening we had a band called Sold to the Sky. They are very well known locally & were my first choice! They played a mixture of songs from ACDC to Rhianna and had everyone up dancing all night!
We also had a photobooth from The Party Project, which kept everyone laughing. It was a great idea & everyone loved.
I arranged a surprise for Tom. He was in the army for 7 years and was also in the pipe band: The Pipes & Drums 1st Battalion Scots Guards, as a base drummer. It was a huge part of his life which he loved and the other band members are some of his best friends so it seemed fitting to have them play on our wedding day. Along with a highland dancer from the regiment. Tom was so happy! It was the best present I could have given him, and he even got to play his old drum again with the band on our special day! Everyone danced along too!
My favourite part of the day was the look on my husband’s face, firstly when he saw me walking down the aisle towards him then later when he saw the Pipes and Drums play. Priceless memories. Also waiting to walk down the aisle seeing how excited my daughters & my other flower girls were. They all looked so beautiful.
We went on a cruise for our honeymoon. Starting in Barcelona, then moving to Cannes, Genoa, Rome, Montenegro, Croatia & ending in Venice! We had a week of child free, complete relaxation! Lounging by the pool. Afternoon siestas in the hammocks that looked out onto the beautiful views. Hot tubs, massages, great on-board entertainment! The ship was stunning. The food was amazing. I think we came home at least a stone heavier than when we left! It was so romantic. The perfect start to married life!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to invite the people that mean the most to you, even if others may be offended. It’s your special day, surround yourself with all the special people in your life! Think outside the box, most hotels have wedding packages, but it doesn’t mean other options aren’t available! It’s your day, do it the way you want it!! Enjoy every single moment because it really does go so fast!
August 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
August 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Ahh! Time for your Friday morning cuppa, bacon sarnie and wedding watching.
Friday mornings go so well with catching up on your favourite blogs, don’t they? It’s been a very pretty week here at Brides Up North HQ… take some time to browse… but we’re so excited to bid adieu to August and start our Brides Up North luxury wedding exhibition season with gusto this September and beyond.
One very lovely stop on our journey will be at the drop dead gorgeous Middleton Lodge in Richmond on 12th October 2014. Already gorgeous, this fine, exclusive use wedding venue has just added a brand new boutique hotel and restaurant to it’s offering. It’s most definitely one with the wow factor, a date for your diaries, and just happens to be the beautiful backdrop to Sophie and Jeff’s wedding day, which we are happy to share with you this morning.
With images by Keith Moss.
Sophie says: We got engaged after returning from an amazing holiday in Egypt. I think my exact words were, “Just set the date!”
We got married on 3rd May 2014 at St Michael and All Angels church in Middleton Tyas, followed by Middleton Lodge. We found Middleton Lodge after I had provisionally booked another venue while Jeff was working away, and when he went to look around he didn’t like it (groomzila, I know)! I had removed Middleton Lodge from our search as felt it was a little bit too far for our guests to travel but once we went to look round, we fell in love with it. We found the church afterwards with the help of Anna, their wedding coordinator. The church was so pretty, it was perfect.
I picked a striped fabric for my bridesmaid dresses so styling wise, went down this route with pink striped bunting, orders of service and name settings. Our orders of service, name settings and table plan were all designed and created by my friend Christina. It all looked lovely, she did a brilliant job.
Colour wise, I prefer natural colours and trawled Pinterest for months looking for ideas for my bouquet! I went to my florist with a bunch of ideas and they came up with the gorgeous combination of muted pinks, greys and creams.
I chose an Enzoani dress from Poppy Bridal in Darlington. I actually spotted it whilst out on Bridesmaid duties with my friend who was also getting married. I saw it on the hanger and knew instantly that was the one. I went back a couple of weeks later and tried it on and bought it the same day.
My shoes were Nicholas Kirkwood. I had spotted them in Las Vegas in the September but decided to wait and look once I got home. After trawling the internet and shops I still couldn’t get these shoes out of my head but I had called the Nicholas Kirkwood store and had found out the price – I thought they were too expensive so continued looking for another pair. I came home one day from work to find them waiting for me! Jeff had ordered them for me as a surprise. I absolutely love them and will definitely wear them again.
My flowers were anemone, verbena and tulips which were created by Darling and Green. I also had a vintage badge attached to the lace on my bouquet as my something old, my mum gave this to me as she had worn the same one on her wedding day
Jeff wore a bespoke suit from Bakers Tailoring. We visited the store in Middlesbrough every Saturday for a month until he finally made a decision on which fabric he liked! Paul at Bakers sourced hundreds of fabric samples for us to choose from. The service was excellent and Jeff chose everything from the buttons, to how many pockets he wanted and even had a J&S stitched into the blue polka dot lining. He is already planning the suit that he is going to order next!
The bridesmaids wore custom made candy stripe Kate Fearnley dresses and the groomsmen wore dark grey suits from Bakers Tailoring.
Our photographer was Keith Moss, who I met through a friend when we were working on a fashion project. He also lives in the same village as my parents, and was the photographer at a friends wedding, so I knew that I loved his style of photography. As we are both a little bit scared of the camera, we wanted the majority of our wedding shots to be natural. Also as we got married at 2pm, the last thing we wanted was to spend our wedding day posing for photos! We wanted to be there, and experience our day.
Darling and Green dressed our wedding reception. This included a hanging flower ball and floral swag in the speeches hall at Middleton Lodge, cups which spelt out LOVE with flowers in them, petals and floating candles in the font, plus various scattered bottles and jars with flowers in. They also provided the flowers for our wedding cake.
I had also collected a selection of tea lights, plants, candles and lanterns which I used to decorate the venue. As we had the whole place exclusively to ourselves I wanted to decorate every single corner.
We also had Giant LOVE light up letters from Coco Luminaire which provided a fab focal point and wow factor on the dance floor and a Booth Revolution photobooth. To finish our day, we had a karaoke machine in the famous Middleton Lodge cellar bar!
Having good quality food at our wedding was very important to us and after eating at Middleton Lodge before the wedding, we knew that we would not be disappointed!
My cake was kindly made by my very clever Aunty Andria! We had four tiers of fruit, lemon, red velvet and Victoria sponge.
For our favours we chose personalised biscuits and macaroons for adults and disposable cameras, colouring books and toys for the kids.
We had Jamie Graham playing acoustic guitar during the day, followed by The Fallen band at our evening reception. We are really into our live music and we wanted a band which was going to get everyone up and dancing!
My favourite part of the day was the speeches. We decided to do the speeches (father of the bride and groom) during the drinks reception. I am so glad we did this, as we wanted to day to feel laid back and not formal at all. We did the speeches on the staircase in the main hall and it was a lovely atmosphere and really got the reception off to a great start.
For our honeymoon we went to Sugar Ridge in Antigua. It was absolutely beautiful, I felt like I had jumped into a postcard once we saw the gin clear sea and white sandy beaches. The people were so friendly too and the food was fantastic. Plus, we were often the only people on the beach! It was amazing.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to get your wedding filmed! I wasn’t going to bother but a friend showed me hers and I was hooked! As she said – ‘You can snuggle up on a rainy day with some chocolate and re watch your wedding over and over again’
Our wedding was filmed by Adam Mendum.
August 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m delighted to give you an exclusive sneak peek at the impeccable new collection from one of my very favourite bridal fashion houses, Jesus Peiro. Entitled ‘Perfume’, the 90 piece collection designed by Merche Segarra takes inspiration from, and pays homage to, the delicacy, individuality and uniqueness of a fragrance.
Alongside the pieces, the brand has created its very own perfume – Jesus Peiro - to complement the stunning collection and add an enchanting touch in its 26th year.
The team say: Drawing on a scent’s precise creation, its allure and the emotions it conceives and conveys, the collection is exquisitely bold and abundant through its use of textures, the curious combinations of fabrics and the overall embellishment of each design.
Reflecting the current trend for soft, smooth and romantic silhouettes, the collection has been designed to showcase a range of volumes in a modern way. Dresses that open into full ball gowns from the waist with cartridge pleating to increase the texture of the fabric and display all the mystical grandeur of the skirt. More streamlined in terms of proportion, the cut at the hips is achieved through symmetrical pleats opening to an exaggerated flare while empire waists are made softer through lighter structures. The dramatic mermaid cut has also been given a new updated touch – all coming together to deliver a lighter, more contemporary twist on the big volume style.
Traditional ivory dominates the colour theme and is complemented by a chalk white hue, light tea, soft silver and mother-of-pearl in embroideries, fabrics and embellishments. Cabochons in stone grey crystal contrast with butter-coloured crepes, old gold and copper hues create a little vintage feel, and a touch of amber draws us back to the collection’s fragrant inspiration. The fabrics include Chantilly lace used alone and in combination with other materials to create new shapes, appearances and lines; tulle in distinct finishes, weights and hues to deliver a charming, romantic effect; and plain fabrics offer fluidity to each design.
Motifs are in line with the geometrical trend – stripes, dots and borders are balanced, whilst embellishments and embroideries are in the form of tiny motifs and crystal and metal beads.
The fragrance used to complement the collection was created by Daniel Joiser, one of the best-known perfumists of today who has developed scents for Yves Rocher, Puig and L’Occitane. ‘Jesus Peiro’ combines citric notes – lemon, oranges, Italian bergamot and mandarin from Sicily – with intense cardamom, a sweet touch of caramel and the strength of musk to offer a fresh, sparkly, elegant and contemporary scent perfect for any bride.
For more, or stockist details, visit www.jesuspeiro.com
August 28th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wow – just wow! This wedding knocked my socks off the moment I received the images of Amy and Andy’s big day set in good old Yorkshire.
The beautiful colour palette of coral, yellow, creams and gold sets the prettiness level sky high and Amy makes one of the most stunning brides I’ve ever seen in her customised Maggie Sottero dress and ethereal twisted-twig flower crown.
There are lots of cute personal touches in this wedding that made for a memorable, stylish and super enjoyable day.
So let’s go back to the start – the proposal. Be warned ladies, it’s a tear jerker (excellent work Andy)!
With photography by Kate Cooper.
Amy says: Andy proposed on February 16th 2013. He had taken me out for an Italian and when we got home he asked me to stay in the car for a minute and, although confused, I did as I was told. After about five minutes, and almost freezing to death, he came out to get me. When I walked into the house he’d covered the living room in candles and our favourite song, A Real Human by College and Electric Youth, was playing. It was beautiful. As I walked further into the house he’d lit candles up the stairs and alongside the candles were little notes tied to a long ribbon. As I went up the stairs the notes went through all of the best moments we’d had so far including moving in together, our first holiday and bringing home our miniature schnauzer, Enzo.
The ribbon went up the stairs and into the bedroom where it stopped on the bed. The card on the bed told me to turn around and he was down on one knee behind me. We both cried, I said yes and then cried some more down the phone to anyone who’d answer my calls! I loved my proposal and he’d put so much thought into everything. It was such a perfect evening and it made it more special that it was just us two at home.
We set the date for Saturday May 31st 2014. Our plan was to get married later on in the year but my grandparents fell ill and so the most important thing was that they shared our day with us. Unfortunately, two of my grandparents passed away during our engagement but we know they were looking down on us and we tried to make them proud.
We chose the Whiston Manorial Barn in Rotherham as our wedding venue. We had always loved the idea of having a barn wedding but found it difficult to find exactly what we wanted. When we finally looked around the Manorial Barn we instantly knew it was where we’d marry. It is such a breath-taking place and it was exactly what we’d spent so long looking for. We would definitely recommend this venue to other couples. The women who co-ordinate the weddings at the barn, Claire and Karen, were so helpful and were always at the other end of an email or phone call whenever we needed advice or help.
We didn’t necessarily have a theme for our wedding, but just wanted it to be a fun atmosphere full of colour. We were very unsure about the colour scheme at first but as it was a summer wedding we decided to go for something bright. My favourite colours are coral and yellow and so we wanted to incorporate these and we tied them with creams and gold. We wanted the flowers to be the main focus of the decorations as they added so much colour so we kept everything else quite neutral and it seemed to work well.
We hired a cream Daimler V4 1/2 to transport the bridal party to the venue. As the company were based only 15 minutes away we decided to have just one car to do two trips so my bridesmaids and mum went first and then it came back to collect me and my dad. I remember the wait feeling like forever when really it was only half-an-hour. The service we used was called American Pie Limos, based in Wales, South Yorkshire. We would highly recommend them as they were perfectly on time and free Champagne is always a winner!
I’m quite into textiles and sewing and so my initial plan was to make my own wedding dress. I had help from my grandma as she used to be a seamstress and we bought a few Vogue patterns to use and modify. Unfortunately around August last year my granddad was diagnosed with cancer and so everything was put on hold. As it was such a stressful time for the family, I decided to visit a bridal shop called Blushes in Sheffield. The shop assistant Zoe, took down my details and potential styles I liked. After describing my ideal dress she pulled one out and it was perfect – well almost. The dress was Dalton by Maggie Sottero but I had it altered quite a lot to fit the design that me and my grandma were initially going to make ourselves. It was supposed to have a zip right up the back which was made into a ‘V’ back and we shortened the sleeves. We also added netting underneath to make it kick out more.
Andy wore a three-piece Hugo Boss suit in steel grey which fitted him perfectly! He had a white shirt with ivory wool tie. He’d also bought a pair of dark brown brogues. He looked so dapper!
We didn’t really have set rules on what our bridesmaids/groomsmen would wear. This was mainly because we wanted them to be able to wear their outfits again and so it was important that they really liked them. The adult bridesmaids, Katherine, Laura and Beth, wore art-deco style taupe gowns embellished with steel beads by Adrianna Papell from House of Fraser. The dresses were gorgeous and the girls looked absolutely stunning! Our nieces and flower girls, Lily and Josie, wore dresses from Monsoon and looked so adorable.
The groomsmen all wore different suits and whatever they felt comfortable in. We just wanted everyone to feel relaxed – and they really brushed up well!
When it came to our wedding flowers, I carried a bouquet made up of Garden Roses, Peonies, Scabia seed heads, Eucalyptus, Freesia, Craspedia, Panicum Fountain Grasses, Larkspur and Nigella. As mentioned, we wanted the flowers to be the focus of our wedding and they were the main decoration for the barn. The coral, orange and yellow colours tied together beautifully and the florist did such a great job at putting them all together. I also wore a flower crown with just a few flowers on one front side of the band. This was made from twisted stems/twigs and I loved it!
My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet but the colours were a bit more subtle. Lily had an even smaller bouquet and Josie had a single peony wrapped in ribbon. It was all put together by the very talented Kath who owns Of The Wild in Broomhill, Sheffield. She got everything absolutely spot-on and I actually cried when I saw our flowers because they were so stunning and were exactly what we had asked for. Kath is very highly recommended if you’re after something a little different and more detailed than your average bouquet.
Our photographer on the day was the amazing Kate Cooper. We arranged an engagement shoot with her beforehand just because Andy and I aren’t the most graceful people in front of a camera. She made us feel so comfortable and laughed along with us when it was a little awkward – it was fun overall and we soon loosened up. We did get some lovely photos and it definitely set us up for the main event.
We had always liked the idea of our photos being natural and we wanted someone to capture people in naturally happy settings and record the general mood of the day. We did have a few staged photos of family but the rest we left completely to Kate. We put a great amount of trust in her (sorry Kate) but we knew she’d do an amazing job. We are going to recommend her to anyone in need of a photographer because she is honestly one of the nicest people we have ever met and worked with. We are so thankful that she was there, not only to capture our day, but to help us celebrate. Knowing that Kate was around meant that we could enjoy our day so much more without the worry that the atmosphere wouldn’t be captured and that things would get missed. Kate covered absolutely everything from table settings, venue details, to our terrible first dance and we were speechless when we received our photos. They were simply incredible.
Our floral decorations added an amazing boost of colour to our tables and brought a summery feel to the venue. To add to the decor, I made a trip to Ikea where I bought polka dot lace fabric and made table runners. We had yellow and orange candles scattered around and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law made some lovely bunting for us to tie from the beams. Andy is very artistic and he did a great job of designing all of our table names, seating plan and stationery himself. We had our chair covers done by a lady named Paula from Cover in Style and she also put up some fairy lights for us which looked gorgeous at night when the main lights were dimmed.
Andy’s mum, Margaret, is the best at baking so there was never any question about who would make our wedding cake. We had a few designs in mind but wanted to keep it quite simple. We finally decided on a deep two-tier cake with little icing beads at the bases and a large pink peony on top. One tier was Victoria sponge and the other chocolate and we decorated the cake board with gold glitter to tie it all together. It was so delicious! Margaret also made us our wedding favours which were little heart shaped shortbread biscuits topped with white icing and gold glitter sprinkles – yum!
Our wedding menu consisted of pate for starters, ‘Chicken Manorial Barn’ for main, which was chicken in puff pastry served with vegetables, and then Andy’s favourite for dessert – treacle sponge. The food was provided by the staff at the Manorial Barn and it was well presented and gorgeous! For the reception we also hired Emily’s Ice Cream Bike who provided our guests with yummy ice cream in all sorts of flavours. If anyone hires them they’d be a fool not to choose Jaffa Cake ice cream, it was so good!
We wanted to keep things simple at the reception and just enjoy ourselves in a relaxed environment so we simply had a DJ provided by the barn as our entertainment. He was great and we were able to put together our own playlist before the night. We incorporated this into our wedding invites and asked guests to suggest a song to dance to. The responses were somewhat interesting but it just made it that bit more personal for the guests and everyone really enjoyed it. We had dance-offs, dirty dancing lifts (ending with collapsed tables and red wine on white shirts) and general sassiness, especially from the boys!
There were several special touches on the day which helped to make it all the more personal and memorable. We both wrote our own vows for the ceremony as we found the standard vows very basic and not very personal. We decided not to show each other until we read them in front of each other on the day which made it that much more exciting! They were both very different but it is something we will both remember and we kept the books we wrote them in so we can look back at them from time to time.
My nan also lent me her wedding pearls for the ceremony which I thought was very touching. The pearls had been worn by my nan, my mum and my auntie on their wedding days so it was an honour to be able to wear them. I had decided to put the necklace on just before leaving my parents house but as I put it on one of the strings snapped and it was then a mad rush to fix it. Luckily my matron of honour, Katherine, whipped out a sewing kit and gave it to me all brand new when I arrived at the barn. My other nan had always kept a bottle cork with a penny stuck through the middle of it. I was told this was supposed to be good luck but with my bouquet I was unable to carry it, so it got stuck in my bra – classy!
Andy’s dancing also added a certain special touch to the day. It’s not possible to describe this – it has to be seen to be believed, trust me!
I have so many favourite moments but if I had to choose just one, it would have to be the ceremony. I loved that we were able to say our own vows and that it was so personal to us. It was made more perfect that all of our family and friends were together in one space and the moment we became husband and wife was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Secondary to that would have to be the moment Andy threw himself at his best man, James, when Time of Our Lives (Dirty Dancing) came on. They both flew backwards, into a table and ended up covered in red wine. Andy got up the next morning and said “where did all of this wine come from?” He was mortified when I told him!
Andy surprised me with a trip to America for our honeymoon. We flew to Washington and once on the plane Andy told me what we would be doing. I cried when he started telling me that we would be transferring from Washington to San Francisco then renting an RV to drive around California and back up the coast. Andy arranged everything perfectly and I’m so grateful to him!
Our advice to other couples would be don’t dwell too much on the materialistic things. Sometimes things don’t work out how you imagine them to and it’s not the end of the world. Of course there are bound to be problems along the way, but for us it all came down to family. All we wanted was to be surrounded by the ones we love the most and to make sure that everyone had as much of a good time as we did. Planning our wedding has taught us to think about the bigger picture and to try not to get carried away with things that really don’t matter that much in hindsight. Our parents and families helped us every step of the way during our wedding planning and we are still completely overwhelmed with how amazing these people are. We will never forget their generosity and kindness.
August 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We recently featured Ms Balbier’s new Iscoyd Park bridal collection for 2015 on these very pages, and today I’m proud to hear all about the inspirations behind my wonderful friend’s beautiful designs. So Brides Up North, will you be a Balbier bride? You lucky, lucky things.
Click here to view the extended collection.
Charlotte says: A Charlotte Balbier bride is confident and daring in both her wedding dress style and every day fashion choices. My brides certainly have their own sense of individuality. Whether you’re a relaxed boho bride whose bouquet choice is wild hand picked rural flowers or a city fashion forward bride who keeps it minimalist and chic. Some brides like a theme and some like to keep it eclectic, it’s a personal style and choice and both are gorgeous.
What were your inspirations for this collection?
The Iscoyd Park Collection is very close to my heart as I designed the collection based on my wedding day to Teddy. My wedding day took place at a venue called Iscoyd Park in North Wales last December. ‘The Iscoyd Park’ collection is made up of over twenty new gorgeous gowns in an array of styles to suit the modern day bride, their wedding and style. The new collection includes two dresses I actually wore on the big day called ‘The Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ I am flattered we’ve had such a positive response to brides wearing the same dress as I did on my big day! The ‘Iscoyd Park’ collection was designed with love, close to my dear heart.
What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?
The Charlotte Balbier collection has always been fashion inspired. Gowns that are forward thinking for the new generation bride. My signature style and look is using soft French laces. Charlotte Balbier is utterly feminine in charm and grace. My gowns are inherently traditional but with that added extra twist of fashion for a modern gown, bride and wedding day. The collection presents classical elegance and timeless gowns that never go out of fashion in array of styles, silhouettes, fabrics and a soft gold, pink and ivory colour pallette.
What sizes are your gowns available in?
Our sizing is from 0 to any size. Brides can choose the sizing they need and our stockist’s usually amend the dresses to fit the bride to perfection.
What does 2014/ 2015 hold for your label? What are you excited about?
Charlotte Balbier has been around for more than 10 years now and we’ve built a great brand. I am now embarking on a new chapter and looking forward to another 10 years, staying at the forefront of British bridal and looking to also take the Balbier brand International. Last year I won the Wedding Ideas Magazine’s Bridal Designer Awards and I’ve just been nominated for Perfect Wedding’s Best Bridal Designer. Winning Awards is a great achievement and honour to be recognized in the industry. Brides who’d love Charlotte Balbier to win can vote here.
What are your “best things” in life?
I am a very lucky lady because the best things in life surround me all the time! I’m constantly surrounded by lovely Charlotte Balbier bridal dresses and of course everything else in the bridal industry. I love shoes especially Jimmy Choo’s, Aruna Seth and Freya Rose. I love Clarins facials and enjoy one once a month religiously! I love my dog Buster and my dear husband Teddy!
Where can Brides Up North find out more about your label?