April 18th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has a somewhat unusual theme to it, though we just love to see brides and grooms thinking outside the box and injecting a little of their personalities into the day. This is exactly what Nick and Nicola did by picking an underwater wedding theme to reflect their favourite hobbies: angling and scuba diving.
To complete the look, Nick and Nicola chose a beautiful teal colour scheme, which tied in with their chosen theme, as well as the venue’s existing décor, perfectly.
We will be visiting the fabulous Allerton Castle in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, ourselves this Sunday to host one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. The event will give couples the opportunity to see this impressive venue for themselves whilst also meeting some of the area’s top wedding suppliers, several of which were a part of Nicola and Nick’s glorious big day. So if you like what you see be sure to register for the event here, it’s free entry!
With images by Laura Calderwood Photography.
nicola says: We got engaged at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum, which has always been a special place of ours to walk and relax. We wandered to our favourite spot with the lake in front of us and the trees behind, next to the giant acorn sculpture! I thought we had just come out for a nice stroll in the sunshine, but as I turned around Nick got down on one knee and asked “will you marry me?” I couldn’t believe it, of course I said yes! Nick had a mini bottle of champagne in his back pack, which we enjoyed in the sunshine. It was such a peaceful place and very romantic. When we went back home, our parents were waiting for us and had decorated the house in banners and balloons, it was such a lovely surprise and I had no idea it had all been planned!
Our wedding date was Sunday 24th May 2015. We wanted to get married in spring, in the hope for some nice weather on the big day. We chose the Sunday as it was the bank holiday weekend, and it was nice to have the whole family celebrate for a long weekend. It also meant that those who had to travel long distances would not have to take any time off work.
We got married at Allerton Castle, which is a beautiful place. We went to our first wedding fair at the castle and it just took our breath away. As we looked round other venues, we kept comparing them back to Allerton Castle, we just knew straight away it was the place for us. Another practical point was that Allerton Castle were willing to hold smaller weddings on a weekend, requiring 60 guests during the day. Other venues insisted on a minimum of 100, or even 150 guests, for a weekend, which we thought was quite unfair. We had 65 guests during the day and 85 in the evening, it was just the right number for us.
We had an underwater theme for our wedding. We both love the mystery of the water. Nick is an angler and I’m a scuba diver, so it seemed like the perfect choice for us. The seahorse became the official motif of our wedding when Nick’s best man, Dave, designed a stunning image of two sea horses looking at each other with their tails entwined into a heart shape. The original drawing now sits pride of place framed in our front room, for all to enjoy, and a reminder of our special day.
Our colour scheme was teal. We felt it was a beautiful colour and would go well with our theme. By pure luck, the colour also matched perfectly with the existing decoration in the ballroom where we had our wedding breakfast.
My wedding dress came from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. It was an ivory lace, strapless dress designed by Maggie Sottero, with a matching lace off-the-shoulder style bolero. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted my wedding dress to be like, I just knew I wanted something elegant and not too voluminous! This was actually the last dress I tried, however initially I thought I was going to pick the first dress I tried on, another Maggie Sottero design. I tried a variety of other dresses and none felt right. I went back to The Harrogate Wedding Lounge, ready to order the original dress, only for them to tell me a new design had just arrived, I tried it on and absolutely loved it – I knew this was the one, it just felt right.
Megan Green did my hair and makeup, she was great and I would also recommend her. She came to our house a few weeks before the wedding to trial some designs and we worked together to come up with the final ideas. She is friendly and confident, willing to share ideas and work with you to get the best results.
Nick wore a lovely grey suit with a white and grey patterned waistcoat. His cravat and pocket fancy were teal, to continue the underwater theme. The suit came from Harrogate Suit Hire. The groomsmen all wore the same as Nick, but with a plainer waistcoat
My bridesmaid wore a beautiful teal dress from the BHS wedding collection. It was a full length gown with three flowers at waist level as subtle detail. It was a very simple but elegant design.
I was lucky enough to get ready at the castle on the morning of the wedding, so we didn’t need to hire any transport. My bridesmaid, my mum and my mother-in-law-to-be and I all got ready in the stunning bridal suite with champagne and cake!
Nick and his groomsmen meanwhile all enjoyed the billiard room before the wedding, playing snooker whilst having a laugh and a joke with a couple of beers to calm any potential nerves!
Our photographer for the day was Laura Calderwood, a lady with such style and elegance to her photography. She did such a wonderful job and we have some amazing pictures now to remind us of such a special day. Laura joined us at Allerton Castle whilst we were getting ready and stayed right through until after our first dance. We would definitely recommend Laura to anyone as their photographer, she really put us at ease and her ability to capture the moment, without anyone even realising, was brilliant.
My bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, buttonholes and table centrepieces were provided by Twisted Willow Floristry in Ripon. Joanna and the team did such a wonderful job to produce some amazing flower creations for the day. The bouquets and table centrepieces had white and taupe roses, white calla lilies and eucalyptus leaves. Our head table centre piece was entwined around a stunning piece of driftwood that Nick and I had found on one of our walks. Starfish were also added to continue the underwater theme.
Each table had a centrepiece using the same flowers as the bouquets but sat in glass vases on a glass turntable. There were a few tea lights spread around each one.
Natasha Jane Events supplied our chair covers and decorated the stairs into the Great Hall with elegant glass vases with candles and white rose petals.
We made our own seating plan, menus, table numbers and place names, all based around the seahorse theme, with our motif pride of place. The place names were individual seahorses that sat on the top of each wine glass.
We wanted to continue our underwater theme with the favours, so we chose starfish-shaped candles for the ladies and replica coral wine-stoppers for the men.
We had a three tiered wedding cake and each tier was a different flavour. The bottom layer was traditional Victoria sponge, the middle tier was chocolate cake and the top layer was lemon sponge – all of our favourite flavours! We couldn’t decide which one to pick so thought we would have all three!
Since the whole wedding was to be a formal event, we wanted the cake to be a bit of fun. On the top tier, was a model of Nick sitting with our Labrador, Otis, enjoying his favourite past time, fishing. The middle tier demonstrated the transition from land to sea. On the bottom tier, there was a model of me scuba diving, my favourite sport! The cake was designed so Nick was catching me with his fishing line! It was a real talking point and everyone loved the comedy approach.
Following the ceremony, we had a champagne reception in the castle gardens and enjoyed a variety of canapés, including beetroot cured salmon, mini tartlet of smoked chicken with mango salsa and mini toad in the hole. Afterwards, we all went into the ballroom for our wedding breakfast provided by Dine. We started with Greek lamb and cherry tomato souvlaki, followed by sirloin of beef, and sticky toffee pudding to finish. The food was excellent and since there were 65 guests, each plate was picture perfect and perfectly cooked. Later we had bacon sandwiches and roasted Mediterranean veg paninis, to keep us all going on the dance floor!
During the ceremony and the drinks reception, we had a duo playing piano and cello from The Event Music Company. They were amazing and played all the songs we had requested. We chose A Thousand Years by Christina Perri for me to walk down the aisle to, however it was the version from The Piano Guys that we loved, and the duo replicated it perfectly. We had a DJ in the evening from Exclusive Entertainments. They played a great range of music to suit everyone’s taste and kept the dance floor full all night.
For the evening reception we also hired a photo booth from Limelight Hire. Our guests took the opportunity to put on a bit of fancy dress and have a photo to take home. An additional photo was printed and put in our guestbook. Guests then wrote their messages and signed in the book. A slightly more informal photo book of the day!
After our wedding we would definitely recommend Allerton Castle as a venue both for the ceremony and the evening reception. Having the whole event at one place was much easier logistically. We felt this meant that guests could relax and enjoy the whole event from start to finish without any hassle.
My favourite part of the day was walking down the stairs with my dad into the Great Hall for the ceremony. It was wonderful to see so many family and friends there. Nick and I grinned at each other, we could not believe the day had actually arrived. When we gave each other the rings and were announced officially married, it was the proudest moment of our lives, and one we will never forget.
We went to Mexico for our honeymoon, we both love the hot weather, and at the end of May, we felt it could not quite be guaranteed in Europe. The travelling felt like an age, but when we got to the Excellence Hotel in Playa Mujeres, it was completely worth it. Our private taxi pulled into the hotel grounds, the staff were waiting for us and welcomed us with champagne, we walked in and we could not believe it. The hotel was beautiful, there were seven pools, nine restaurants and we were right on the beach. The door to our room had a big honeymoon banner and the bed was covered in rose petals with our towels folded into swans. The staff were so attentive and nothing was too much hassle for them. It is a five star all-inclusive hotel and I would recommend it to anyone. It was hot and sunny every day, easily mid 30 degrees, and because there were so many pools, you could either join the fun by the pool bar or you could chill out by the lazy river. The best part of the holiday for us, was the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, what an experience, something we will never forget!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be, don’t get stressed out during the preparation for your wedding. You only get to do it once, just enjoy it! Everything will look great on the day.
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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…
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