Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

love & laughter. a simply elegant wedding at natural retreats – kelly & sam

October 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (20)

While we adore all the little details of a wedding that make it beautifully individual we also love to see the expressions of the bride, groom and their guests captured on camera, to get a real feel for the day.

Looking at the images of Sam and Kelly’s big day it’s clear to see that this was an emotional and upbeat wedding that was brimming with love and laugher, plus the odd tear of joy.

So not only is the setting of this wedding beautifully natural, but so too are the expressions of those involved!

With images by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories and video by Silver Sixpence Films.

Sam and Kelly from Silver Sixpence Films on Vimeo.

kelly says: In September 2014 while we were both living in Dubai, Sam surprised me with a proposal at sunset on our boat and had booked us into a suite at the Yas Viceroy hotel. We made our way into the marina to be greeted by a huge banner saying ‘I can’t wait to make you Mrs. North’. I cried, a lot.

Sam had already checked into the suite and packed everything that I owned. He said we should keep the news private for a night so we could enjoy the evening without checking our phones and went for an incredible dinner at Cipriani.

The next day he had planned lunch. As we walked into the restaurant I’m sure my heart stopped. All of my friends were there and had known for two months about the engagement. After lots of tears and champagne we all went back to the suite for a good old party.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (1)

We chose the 17th and 18th July as the dates for our wedding weekend as it was the Eid break, which is a public holiday in the UAE, allowing all of our friends to travel to the UK for the wedding.

We have family and friends from around the world and so we needed a venue that could accommodate around 100 people in the same place. The hunt began in Cheshire and Yorkshire as that’s where we’re both originally from. We quickly realised that we wanted an outdoor space and would pray for sunshine on the day. Sam discovered Natural Retreats and the decision was made instantly – 5 star accommodation in a woodland retreat was exactly what we wanted.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (2)

Given the beautiful natural surroundings we wanted to keep everything very simple and elegant, so the general theme was rural elegance. We also chose to keep everything in neutral in terms of the colour scheme to let the countryside speak for itself. We had lots of white flowers and greenery, with the bridal party in neutral tones.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (5)

When it came to my wedding dress I tried on a few dresses to see what style suited me and quickly fell in love with the form fitting Galia Lahav and Inbal Dror pieces. I found a designer, Anne Rashid, in Dubai who helped create the perfect dress for me. Hand beaded pearls for the strapless corset top, a tight fitting skirt with a long train for the daytime, and a second skirt which flared and was easy to dance in for the evening.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (8)

Sam had a bespoke tailored suit made in Abu Dhabi in blue, which he wore with tan Paul Smith shoes and light pink accessories. The groomsmen wore grey suits and ivory ties, all hired from Debenhams.

The bridesmaids were given a neutral colour palette to choose their dresses from. Some of the girls chose to have them tailored by my wedding dress designer and others got theirs from Needle and Lace.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (18)

Our photographer was Paul Liddement, who we discovered after looking through quite a few online portfolios and felt instantly drawn to his style which is romantic and natural – exactly what we wanted. Looking through his photos made us feel like we were witnesses to special moments in time, rather than looking at posed shots.

Paul was fantastic on the day. He blended in with our guests, he provided direction, managed the shots, and was quick and efficient. Initially we were concerned the photos would look too staged or posed and would take up too much time from the day but Paul made us feel relaxed and the entire bridal party had fun. Paul was excellent overall and we’d recommend him to anyone getting married. He was creative and really listened to what we wanted to achieve.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (21)

Our ceremony and reception were all in the same location so we didn’t need transport, however we did drive off in Sam’s TVR T350 sports car.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (28)

Our amazing florist, Alice, from Forage & Blossom, took our brief of white flowers and created beautiful bouquets, table settings and an archway from delphinium, larkspur, sweet peas, ammi, astrantia, norma jean rose, vendela spray rose and Annabel hydrangea, to name a few.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (27)

All of our stationery was done by my lovely friend Maria Gedeon, who designed everything with a logo for our initials and calligraphy for everything else.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (32)

We like to work hard and party harder so we wanted our wedding to have a little bit of fun injected into the evening and so our favours were bottles of Jägermeister.

Our beautiful cake was made by Sam’s mother, Fiona, who created a delicious masterpiece. The cake was decorated by our florist.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (42)

Sam found our entertainment, a band called The Hoops, and booked them before we’d even found our venue! They were fantastic and played a mixture of hits and old time classics. The dance floor was full all night.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (65)

We added a few special touches to the wedding to make it all the more memorable which included making a welcome book featuring photos of all of the guests so people could get to know each other. Our table plan was a giant hedge with Polaroid pictures hung on string which was a great talking point as we had sourced the funniest pictures of each person.

We rented a golf buggy for guests to get around on and decorated it with ribbon and flowers. We also made our flower chandeliers by painting some wagon wheels white and hanging white wisteria from them. For the evening we added some glow sticks, blow up musical instruments and confetti canons to the dancefloor.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (67)

Natural Retreats is beautiful and we would recommend it to other couples. The view from the ceremony deck was spectacular and the lodges housed all of the guests and were luxurious yet homely.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (70)

Looking back at the wedding there were so many fantastic moments; from my mum holding my hand as we came over the hill and could see all of the guests on the ceremony deck, to seeing Sam at the end of the aisle. Sam seeing me walk down the aisle to an acoustic version of Here Comes the Sun was very special and partying all night with our friends is something we’ll always remember.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (86)

For our honeymoon we jetted off to the Lux Resort in the Maldives for some much needed R&R!

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (77)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember that teamwork is key to planning a wedding. We tried to split responsibilities and included each other in any decisions. Set up a joint email account and don’t leave everything until the last minute. Sam should have practiced tying his bow tie before the big day!

the big picture

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about the author

Rachel Parry
Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...

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