December 28th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for what’s set to be the biggest and best year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty.
Usual service will recommence on 2nd January 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings in 2013. Drop in every day for the very, very prettiest wedding inspiration and if you are a Brides Up North bride, to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
Laura and Mark’s Real Wedding, with images by Paul Santos Photography is utterly adorable. Almost entirely handcrafted and painstakingly personal, this beautiful celebration in Newcastle is something really special. The whole lot may have taken Laura months to make, but her efforts and the end result was entirely worth it. Brides Up North, be very, very inspired!
Laura says: We got engaged in Cardiff, after going to see an opera at the (Mark’s then current place of work) Wales Millennium Centre. We were going away on our first holiday in ten years the next day. He asked just as we were going to bed. I think I asked the poor man if he was ‘taking the mick’.
We got married on 11 August 2013 at As You Like It, Jesmond. I would whole-heartedly recommend them. They were so supportive of our needs and… wow….the gravy on the roast dinner… crazy-good.
The venue was welcoming from the outset and was quirky and informal in a good way. We wanted something a bit different looks-wise, and the staff were so lovely which just sealed the deal for us.
Our theme was really just ‘stuff we liked’ but the vague themes were animals (we put pictures of dogs in the tops of the envelopes) and named our tables after cats. Our cake toppers were two cats decoupaged with the words to our first dance. We also had a few buttons here and there too. The theme for the tables were ‘charity shop chic’, a sort of visual amuse bouche.
Our colour scheme was a palette of blues. The bridesmaids were navy and ice blue and the bouquets a mixture of blue, silver and gold.
My dress was highly beaded and decorated in lace. It had a medium-length train and had a keyhole back. II sewed my veil from a very rough cheap version I got online and added detail to its three metre long length. I made the jewellery (and the bridesmaids, too) from beads (mainly Swarovski crystal) purchased from the Crystals and Ice bead shop in Cardiff.
My bridesmaids and I were pampered on the day by LA Makeovers based at Langley Moor but who came to us on the day. They worked wonders and were willing to work with brides like me who don’t really ever wear much make up and who aren’t good with being faffed with. We looked amazing and they were lovely.
I had three bridesmaids, as well as three bridesmen. I have grown up with these men and I wanted them to be a part of our day. They escorted the three bridesmaids. The men wore suits from Slaters in grey with blue neck wear (Mark wore cream). My sister had a wrap around dark navy/ midnight blue bridesmaid dress from BHS and my other bridesmaids had ice blue halter dresses from eBay. I matched the colour of Kate’s dress by giving them a sash. The pageboy (our nephew) wore a teeny suit (taken in by my mum) from John Lewis in navy.
I loved it all but If I had to pick a favourite part of the day it would be the ceremony. I was worried I would bawl through it (we’ve been together nearly 12 years and also my dad had been very ill and we were not sure if he would even been there). We decided we wanted singing in our ceremony (like you would in a church) and chose ‘Bring me Sunshine’ and ‘When I’m 64’. These went down really well – even if Mark’s Best Man and one of my Bridesmen had to carry some of the songs (thanks, guys!). I wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle, which was good as I was at the point of nearly fainting at that point (some of the guest photos of me are hilarious). I loved looking at Mark saying my vows, loved singing and loved our readings (‘The Places We will Go’ by Dr Zeuss and ‘I like this way that this is going’ by The Eels). I loved walking back down with my husband and having our guest chuck all that handmade confetti at us.
We were (and are) eternally grateful for our photographer Paul Santos Photography. His friendliness and amazing photographs will stay with us forever.
Special touches were the things which took the time. I was determined to be on-budget (and I was!) which meant saving money by DIY-ing. Despite it being my first year of teaching, we decided to make most ourselves.
I wanted everyone to have a mini buttonhole for the day, so I made those to be the same as my bouquets. I also wanted (well, truth be told I get bored, see cool stuff on the internet and decide to make it) confetti as AYLI allow it inside the venue. I made (with the help from one of my friends who was over for a conference) mini confetti cones with vintage sheet music from a charity shop in Rochester and then used a 2.5cm heart-shaped stamp cutter to stamp out hearts from a vintage Alice in Wonderland book (again a charity shop in Rochester). I topped these up with lavender that my sister chose for her wedding but didn’t end up using. I loved the link between our weddings.
The thing which went down the best was the hand-stamped vintage silver-plated name place cutlery which I roped my mum and dad into helping with (OK! doing) on their holiday to Kent. Mark designed and made personalised Wrestling dolls for each bridesman and usher. Oh, and he also designed the favour boxes which were caricatures of us.
I’m not good with real flowers and didn’t like the cost of fresh ones so decided years ago (waaaaay before I was engaged) that I would make ones from buttons. It was my ‘old, new etc.’ and I got friends and family to donate, bought a few button collections off the internet and used ones I had. I’d just finished my PGCE and did not yet have my NQT job so had 8 weeks of unemployment ahead of me. I used this time to make my flowers by stacking buttons on wire and wiring the stems together. I made smaller ones for my bridesmaids and matching button holes for the men. I complimented the button stems with handmade paper roses (mainly because the bouquets would be too heavy with only buttons). My nephew, the pageboy, carried a boy-wand which was a felt and button long-stemmed flower which matched the rest of the buttony things.
We had a lovely tiny vintage post box for our cards on the day from The Finishing Touch Company. They delivered it and picked it up with absolutely no fuss for us.
We have rather diverse taste in music and didn’t want our evening to be at the wrath of a DJ who would play current chart music which would not make us want to dance. Mark made the play list on his Mac (we had previously, years again before we were engaged, made a play list of our favourite songs). We spent ages making sure they would all run nicely together, using how-to’s on the internet. We also (for larks, and because of the Wrestling dolls we gave for pressies) decided to have our eating play-list be wrestling intros. We made a pact to buy a drink to the first two people who noticed this. I suppose, then, wrestling was also a mini theme.
Marks favourite part of the day was the very last song at the end, because we didn’t have to worry about anyone else at that point (2am on a Monday morning) and we danced freely with a few other people. The dancing, and the music and the evening party was a favourite part of both of our days.
For our honeymoon we went to Brussels on the Eurostar from London. We are not particularly laze on the beach people and so went to loads of museums, art galleries and places of interest. There are some amazing museums there and our hotel was really central.
If you’d have asked me a week before the wedding I would have said ‘DON’T, whatever you do, do any DIY’. At that point, I was sick. I had been crafting for nigh-on 14 months (and had spent over 100 hours on Mark’s wedding present of a crochet scrabble board in addition to all the other wedding crafts). A month on, however, I would not be quite so negative about the craftery. This is what made our wedding in my eyes. I dread to think how much time I spent making stuff, but so many people were so amazingly complimentary that it was worth it in the end. I made all the jewellery, we made all our gifts, I glitterified the bridesmaids shoes, I made two veils, we designed and made all the envelopes, invites (which were fortune tellers/ cootie catchers), the favour boxes…the list is endless. So my top tip for other Brides Up North is to simply go with your hearts. Try not to be swayed with what is fashionable (I didn’t want to be fashionable but ended up making lots of ‘in’ choices, but went with them as I wanted them). AND, most importantly, trust in yourself. I saved thousands on pounds by making things and just KNOW you can too.
Congratulations Laura & Mark!
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…