February 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
A tortoise in a tutu, heaps of lace, pearls and roses and a Real Wedding in a tipi in my home town. Thursday mornings don’t get much better than that! Today we join North East couple Kathryn and Dean for their celebration under canvas in County Durham.
With images by SDS Photography.
Kathryn says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012. Dean had planned different scenarios on how and where he was going to propose, depending on the weather. Because it didn’t snow outside, he made it snow inside. Dean covered the living room in fake snow and played our favourite Christmas song – there was a big box in the middle of the room filled with lots of smaller boxes (like Russian dolls). I had wanted a watch for Christmas so when I got to the last box, it was quite big so I thought it was the watch, but there was nothing inside it – I looked up and Dean had big sheets of card with the words of our favourite Christmas song “All I want for Christmas is You”, after each card he dropped the cards, one by one; “Love Actually” style. After the last one he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box with a gorgeous diamond ring in! Needless to say by this point I was in tears and obviously said yes!
We were married on 26th October 2013 at Elvet Methodist Church in Durham followed by a reception in giant tipis in a friend’s field close to Ushaw College.
We had 5 giant tipis supplied by Special Event Tipis, they were joined together to make one huge marquee style space, one of which was the bar and chill out area, and one was for the band and dance floor area, and the other 3 were the main seating area for the meal. We had over 170 guests during the day with an additional 70 in the evening.
We chose to use tipis because we fancied something a little different! My sister and I used to have a business supplying chair covers and sashes for weddings so I had been to most venues in the North East so I wanted something totally different and special!
As soon as I went the visit the tipis, I knew they were exactly what I wanted. Dean wasn’t able to see the tipis before the wedding so he was a little sceptical about the idea, he only saw them the day before the wedding when we were setting them up, but he highly approved, much to my relief.
We went for a natural and vintage feel with lots of lace & pearls. We also had a recurrent theme of logs; from a picture of a tree stump in the corner of our invitations with our initials carved in it, hollowed out tree stumps and logs filled with flowers for the table centre pieces and giant slices of bark covered tree trunk were used as cake stands for our traditional wedding cake and cheese wedding cake.
Our colour scheme was quite neutral with pale gold and ivory.
My dress was from the Wedding Wardrobe at Chester-le-Street and was a Maggie Sottero dress called Grace. It was a very pale gold satin covered in ivory lace. To make it my own, I bought a handmade vintage style necklace and bracelet and had the necklace sewed into the front of my dress under the bust and the bracelet was attached to the top of my veil. I had these removed after the wedding to keep and wear as jewellery.
I had too many close friends and sisters to choose from so decided to only have four small bridesmaids, my nieces. I got their dresses from BHS and teamed them with a cream cardigan from John Lewis. The dresses were pale gold satin with a lace bodice, they matched my dress perfectly!
The men wore dark navy, 3 piece suits which we bought from Next (it proved quite difficult as the men live all over the country) with a white shirt and vintage gold patterned tie form M&S. I also had my nephew as a page boy who wore a navy suit form Monsoon and we had one of the mens’ ties made smaller to fit him.
I had a beautiful bouquet which had white avalanche roses, Roralie roses which were a pale peach/cream colour, talea roses which were a vintage peach/champagne colour, spray snowflake roses, white hydrangea and wax flowers and we also added old brooches which I had collected from antiques fairs and strings of pearls to keep the vintage theme going. All our flowers were by Country Style at Langley Park.
We travelled in a cream VW split screen Campervan from Lovedub Cars called Chaz – he was beautiful.
The actual tipis were amazing and once in them everyone was amazed at how beautiful and spacious they were. We had 20 round tables for the guests so I wanted a few different table decorations rather than having them all the same. We decided on 4 different kinds of centre pieces including vintage cake stands full of roses and hydrangeas, large birdcages with a pillar candle and flowers and hollowed out tree stumps and cream vintage planters with hydrangeas and roses and candles.
We had a 5 tier, gorgeous wedding cake by The Designer Cake Company. We had alternating layers of chocolate fudge cake and Victoria sandwich cake. It was cream icing with real lace and icing lace, with pale gold ribbon and pearls. A very classic cake which tasted as good as it looked. On the top we had a fresh flower posy and a decoration which was on my Granny’s wedding cake over 70 years ago: 2 entangled gold rings with white doves.
We had a sweetie table, which had lots of pick & mix sweets in jars, raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes, and marshmallows which people toasted on the fire pit.
Instead of a guest book, we had a wishing tree for people to write their message on luggage tags and hang it on the tree, the next day we sat and read all the messages and have put them all into a little scrap book.
As well as our traditional wedding cake we had a cheese wedding cake made with local Northumbrian cheese. As the groom is from Lincolnshire it was nice for his family and friends to taste some of our local produce!
We had an amazing band called The Imposters, everyone commented how good they were. They play at As You Like It in Jesmond a lot, so we went a few times to watch them there before the wedding.
Unbeknown to us, my dad had a special touch of his own. During the band interval, he appeared wearing an inflatable horse/cowboy costume with full Indian headgear, chanting to tribal music. He gave a little performance and offered his tribal blessing it was a hilarious addition to the evening and I’m so glad it was caught on film!
After the wedding we went to New York for 3 nights followed by a week in the sun at Mexico. It was amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure that you are both involved in the planning, relax and enjoy the day and try to take it all in because it goes so fast. I want to do it all again!
Congratulations Kathryn & Dean!
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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…