September 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is the type that calls for some serious pinning, so mood boards at the ready ladies, as this one is brimming with gorgeous inspiration.
Tying the knot at one of our fabulous Sponsor and Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair venues, the wonderful Middleton Lodge, Beccy and Craig took cue from the elegant setting planning a sophisticated yet fun wedding weekend, complete with stunning attire, dreamy décor, delicious food and fabulous entertainment. Top marks guys!
With images by Lucy G Photography.
beccy says: We got engaged on 13th December 2014, just four months after we starting going out (we have known each other for nearly four years though). Craig proposed at my parents’ house, in their dining room! We live in Cheshire but Craig is from Teesside originally. His parents had come to stay with us for the weekend and had brought the engagement ring with them, which he’d bought from Whittakers in Yarm, but didn’t have a way of collecting without me knowing. He had been thinking about all the different ways to propose and hadn’t decided on the best approach, so when we got to my parents for a joint-family meal Craig managed to get my mum on her own to show her the ring and told her he wasn’t sure when he was going to do it. She told him it didn’t matter where or when because she knew I would say yes. The parents were all so beside themselves with excitement, Craig thought then was as good a time as any… and beside which, both sets of parents may have spontaneously combusted at any point otherwise! I had been wondering what was wrong with him given that he offered me his dessert and I’ve never seen Craig not finish a meal before!
Our wedding was on 20th February 2016, as we wanted to get married as soon as we could. We visited our venue on their open day and asked about availability. We nearly went for November 2015 but decided that February would be a good time as it would give us something to really look forward to after Christmas and the New Year. We also knew it would be good weather for where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.
We got married at Middleton Lodge, which is in Middleton Tyas, near Richmond in North Yorkshire. We started looking for venues as soon as we got engaged and were initially thinking of somewhere between Cheshire and Teesdale, like the Lake District, but we didn’t really find anywhere that we loved. We saw Middleton Lodge on hitched.co.uk and we fell in love with it immediately. We went along to an open day there, having not viewed any other venues, and as soon as we saw it, we knew it was the place for us – it was perfect!
We didn’t really have a theme as such for the wedding, our inspiration stemmed from the venue but also my dress, although Craig didn’t know that of course! My dress wasn’t white or ivory – it was classed as blush but it was a very, very pale peachy/champagne pink. Given the colour of my dress, I thought that grey would work best for the chief bridesmaid and her dress was really sophisticated and beautiful. The feel of the venue combined with the look of my dress and my bridesmaid’s dress inspired us to aim for a vintage, glamorous look. We therefore decided to use lots of silver/mercury glass as a key feature. We actually sprayed an awful lot of glass bottles, jars and containers to look like mercury glass ourselves. The glasses had been saved up by us and both sets of parents over the course of a year, so lots of jam had been eaten, along with wine and whiskey drunk, all for the good of the wedding! We dotted these around Middleton Lodge, lighting tea lights in the jars to give off a glow which reflected against the bottles to create a lovely, warm atmosphere. We also had silver candelabras as our centre displays on the guests’ tables with silver candlesticks, which had pearls draped over them. Our wedding stationery also complemented the feel and featured a grey ribbon with a pearl embellishment, as I had lots of pearls on my dress.
I got my wedding dress was from 7th Heaven in Congleton, where we live. The shop is owned and run by the delightful and totally gorgeous Helen Allen. I feel very honoured and privileged to call this lady my friend. Choosing my dress from 7th Heaven was really special. Helen, her mum Brenda, Leslie and the seamstress Carolyn are just amazing. The shop is beautiful inside and out and you are made to feel incredibly special – you never want to leave! I tried on a number of dresses and was struggling to decide between a few until Helen’s mum came down from her fitting appointment to see how we were getting on. She reminded us that they wanted me to try on the dress on the mannequin in the window because it was a little different. As soon as I put it on my mum cried and I knew that was the one!
I absolutely adored my dress, it was Sophia Tolli and it was called Starling. I really felt like a princess in it. The dress was very different to those I had previously tried given its colour and detailing. It was a strapless ball gown with a sweetheart neckline in lace and tulle which had a fitted, lace up bodice. It flared out from the hips into a big skirt and had a chapel length train. The dress was a blush/champagne pink and covered in charcoal grey lace and crystal and pearl beading. It also had a beautiful and very sparkly satin belt to match that went around the waist.
I was incredibly lucky that Helen said yes to my request for her and her mum to come on the morning of the wedding to help me into my dress. They also then helped to dress all the bridesmaids too, it was fabulous having them there! Our makeup meanwhile was taken care of by Gemma Lucus from Dollface Makeup Studio. I have known Gem for a while – she is fantastic and the best makeup artist ever! She is so friendly and lovely and she knew exactly how I should have my make up to complement my dress and hair. Victoria White, who was recommended to me by Gemma, did mine and my bridesmaid’s hair. She was lovely, really efficient and knew exactly what I wanted, even when I changed her mind quite a bit between the trial and wedding day!
For the wedding Craig, his best man (his brother), both the dads and my uncle all wore matching three-piece charcoal grey suits from Ted Baker. We wanted something fairly traditional given the venue and the look we were aiming for. The boys all had pocket watches, which were a lovely touch.
My chief bridesmaid, Katherine, wore a deep grey Amanda Wyatt dress, which had a sheer and lace neckline and was super elegant and sophisticated. The three little bridesmaids wore ivory Dessy dresses, which came with a baby pink sash. We replaced the sash however with the same blush pink satin material from the under layer of my wedding dress instead to tie the colour in. They were tied into the most perfect bow at the back and just looked amazing! All the bridesmaid dresses were from 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton also.
Our entire wedding was held at Middleton Lodge which meant that transport wasn’t required. We hired the venue for the whole weekend – and that was the beauty of it. We had dinner the night before and so all our guests could mingle and get to know each other.
Lucy Greenhill of Lucy G Photography, was our wonderful photographer on the day. There are not enough words to say how fantastic Lucy is, we now class her as a friend! We found the search for the photographer the hardest; we must have looked at about 20 before we saw Lucy’s pictures on Facebook. She was the photographer for a friend’s wedding who I used to work with. She’s based in Cheshire and Hereford but had been to Middleton Lodge once before. She is bubbly, energetic, organised and has such a way with the light! She was able to whip all of our guests into shape and organise the portraits to happen super quick but she just gelled so well with everyone, all our guests loved her!
For my wedding flowers I carried a beautiful hand tied bouquet in a softly domed style. It featured a mix of roses, ranunculi, spray roses, lisanthus and anemones in ivories, whites and blush colours and it was bound with blush silk satin ribbon and secured with delicate pearl-headed pins. Lucy MacNicoll created all our beautiful flowers. She is a preferred supplier for Middleton Lodge but I had already seen her website and instantly fell in love. She’s lovely, really easy to deal with and creates the most beautiful floral displays.
Lucy provided the whole range of amazing flowers that we had displayed Middleton Lodge for the ceremony and for reception, including an amazing flower and ribbon curtain that she installed around the staircase I came down as my aisle, which was so pretty. Amongst the bouquets and button holes she also provided flower circlets for the three little bridesmaids’ hair as well as a pomander for the eldest of the little bridesmaids.
Further venue décor included a collection of mercury and chrome small goblets holding posies of flowers dotted along the mantelpiece of the fire in the main hall. A group of roses were tied to each aisle chair, finished with long trailing ribbon. We then had a chrome rose bowl filled with flowers placed centrally and small chrome goblets filled with flowers with candlesticks framing either side for the registrars table, this then doubled up as the decoration for the top table during the reception.
The guest table centrepieces consisted of a chrome candelabra holding a beautiful sphere of flowers. These were placed on a mirror plate with a series of mercury glass votives. All the flowers were coordinated to fit our colour scheme in beautiful blush, ivory and whites.
We chose to give out sparklers as favours because we wanted something that everyone could enjoy and that could be used on the day itself. We used the sparklers upon leaving the marquee after the wedding breakfast for a photograph, which was captured beautifully by our photographer Lucy.
We had a four-tier ivory covered fruit wedding cake which had two plainly iced tiers and two tiers which had white lace cut out details on. It was finished with blush pink ribbon and pearl trim and had a small posy of fresh flowers on the top. Craig’s mum, Karen, made our cake – it was really special for us to have someone so close to us to make it.
We love our food and so we had a hard time choosing our wedding breakfast from the amazing menus that Middleton Lodge create! In the end we chose duck confit rillettes, fig puree, carrot slaw and ciabatta crisp to start, followed by ballotine of pheasant, smoked bacon, chestnut stuffing, marmalade glaze and potato pressing, and finally, for dessert we chose deconstructed apple and blackberry crumble and vanilla ice cream. We decided as it was our big day, we would go with a menu that we really loved even if it was maybe not quite to the tastes of others.
Craig and I are both big lovers of music, all types and we just love the atmosphere generated from live music, so this was a must when it came to organising the wedding entertainment. Craig plays the guitar and used to sing and play in bands when he was younger so we felt that we wanted to incorporate live music where we could. We therefore chose to have a choir sing for my entrance, during the signing of the register and our exit, which was just amazing. We hid them slightly away so our guests had the full impact and surprise factor when they started to sing as they weren’t seen beforehand. We then had a four piece called Strings Attached, which consisted of cello, violin, guitar and piano. They played for our drinks reception and do really awesome arrangements, they were amazing. We arranged both the choir and Strings Attached through High Row Music Events. Finally we had Munch, our band for the evening reception who we hired through Alive Network. They played a bit of everything from all decades to please all ages and were energetic, lively and a lot of fun. They were even happy to encourage Craig to join in and so he did a few songs himself, which was just fantastic!
In addition to some of the things I have already mentioned like the choir to sing whilst I walked down the aisle and Craig’s mum making our gorgeous cake we had several other special touches on the day which included a sweetie bar set up by Craig’s mum, Fortune Tellers to act as ice-breakers, a ‘Pimp Your Fizz’ table, a lantern and pompom installation by Wedding & Events Floral Design in the marquee where we held the wedding breakfast and illuminated “B&C” lights hired from Party Pics Photo Booths in the Cellar Bar, which we took all our guests down to at the end of the night after the band had finished. Also, our guest book was a picture frame with lots of wooden hearts for people to write messages on and then post through the little slots at the top into the frame. We now have this on our wall in the bedroom; it’s a lovely reminder of our day!
All of our suppliers were absolutely fantastic; we couldn’t have asked for more and would highly recommend all of them, along with our fabulous venue. The team at Middleton Lodge, with a special shout out specifically to Anna and Glen, were just phenomenal and everything went like clockwork. It was all executed so brilliantly that we even got time to ourselves prior to going down to the marquee to have dinner. We were left to just enjoy the day and we didn’t have to worry about a thing, it was honestly fantastic. Having the lodge for a whole weekend was really special, everyone was with us from Friday and that really helped as an ice breaker for those who had never met.
Looking back our whole wedding day was just amazing and so memorable, but if we had to pick any moment as our favourite, it would be saying “I do”. The ceremony itself was intimate and really special. We were both incredibly emotional and we had three wonderful readings from friends and family, which helped to make it really personal.
For our honeymoon we went to Borneo for two weeks where we had five days in Sandakan, staying in the rainforest to see wild orang-utans, monkeys and crocodiles, before heading off to a desert island to see the giant green turtles and the conservation programme in action. We then flew to Kota Kinabalu and from there took a speedboat to the Gaya Island Resort, where we stayed for nine days for some R&R.
Following our wedding I would have two top tips for other Brides Up North, which I think are really important. Firstly, whilst you obviously want to create a memorable day that everyone enjoys, I think it’s incredibly important to remember just what your wedding day is about – it’s about you two – the bride and groom! And the most important thing is that you two have the day of your dreams which you’ll never forget, so don’t spend too much time worrying about everyone else – you can’t always please everyone! Secondly, plan well and choose your suppliers and your venue carefully. If you get that right, your day will run clockwork leaving you to enjoy your special day without having to worry about a thing.
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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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