Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

autumnal amour. charlotte balbier for a magical lake district wedding – laura & rich

January 26th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (41)

Today’s gorgeous couple were married at Broadoaks Country House in the heart of the Lake District.

Shabby chic vintage vibes? Check. Moody autumnal skies? Check. Jaw-dropping lakeside photographs? Check. Readers, you’re going to love this.

And flower fans, get those Pinterest-clicking fingers ready – I guarantee that this is the most beautiful bouquet you’ll see this year.

With images by James Tracey Photography

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

laura says: We got engaged on 29th September 2015. Rich took me to the Lake District, our favourite place, and had set up a proposal at Broadoaks Country House – we’d stayed there before and loved it. Rich had arranged for his brother to be there to secretly photograph the proposal. We had afternoon tea out on the terrace and Rich had bought a mug that said ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ The staff brought it out with the afternoon tea and Rich said ‘I think this is for you.’ Suddenly he was down on one knee and proposed with a ring that he’d chosen himself.

We wanted an autumn wedding and so we set the date for the 27th October 2016. We chose Broadoaks where we got engaged for our venue. Rich set up an appointment with the wedding planner there and we knew that was the only place we would want to get married.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

We had a small wedding and didn’t want everyone to have to wear matching suits and so on. In fact, the whole day was really laidback. Our theme was vintage/shabby chic because I just love that style.

We didn’t really have a colour scheme. I don’t particularly like reds and oranges but wanted my flowers to reflect autumn; I eventually opted for berry colours and dusky pinks. My sister was my bridesmaid and I told her she could pick her own dress to go with the flowers, so she chose a dress in a mink colour.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

I knew from the start what style of wedding dress I wanted and I had an idea in my head. I must have tried on more than 50 dresses, but none of them were right and then I found my dress at Lace and Co Bridal in Horbury, Wakefield. I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. It was a Charlotte Balbier dress and was called Tabitha. I absolutely loved it. I thought it needed something extra, though, and my mum found a sparkly brooch which I added to the front of the dress to personalise it.

My bridal makeup was done by Lisa from Lime Beauty at Equinox in Bowness, and my hair was by Louise from Equinox. They came to the venue and were absolutely fab! I’d recommend them to anyone, they’re so friendly and put us completely at ease.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (56)

Rich decided he didn’t want to hire a suit and so he bought one from Hugo Boss that he could keep. It was a blue two piece and he added a grey waistcoat also from Hugo Boss which went really well.

For our wedding party we just had my sister, Amy, as my bridesmaid and Rich’s best friend Matt as best man. As Rich had bought his own suit, we asked Matt and my dad to wear what they wanted – they didn’t have to match.

My sister’s dress was a mink coloured 50’s style dress, which we ordered online. She also bought a pink petticoat which she wore to make her skirt flare out more.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (2)

Our photographer was James Tracey. There’s only one way to describe James: absolutely brilliant. We used to work with him and had seen lots of his work before. We knew he was the only photographer we wanted and we were so keen to have him that we checked his availability before we even confirmed the booking with the venue. James is just incredible – he is so laidback and we hardly knew he was there. We’ve been to some weddings where the photographer completely takes over and the couple end up spending hours away from their guests and we didn’t want that. James captured the whole day and so many special moments. We love every single one of our photos. In short, I would recommend him to anyone!

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (5)

My flowers were dusky pinks and purple. My florist Lily Lou’s also sourced some roses which were practically the same colour as Amy’s dress. I loved them. Amy had a smaller bunch of flowers which was similar to mine. Rich’s buttonhole was made up of the same flowers as my bouquet and Matt and my dad had a buttonhole which was similar to Amy’s flowers.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (13)

Our chair covers were also hired from Lily Lou’s. We had hessian and lace bows which worked well with the theme. For the rest of the venue décor we hired a venue dresser, Chris from Beautifully Vintage. She was the best money we spent! She completely transformed the whole venue; I couldn’t believe what an incredible job she’d made. We had met with her a few weeks before the wedding and told her what we liked and the theme we wanted and then put our trust in her. She was incredible and I would recommend her 100%. It removed so much stress!

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (39)

Our wedding favours were an individual bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne. We bought champagne glasses and decorated them with hearts so that people could keep them. I then got some mints which had ‘eat me’ printed on them and Chris made tags that said ‘drink me’ that we hung around the necks of the champagne bottles. We also had candle wax melts ‘Wedding Day’ by Yankee Candle for the woman and an Izzay Miyake scent for the men.

My sister Amy made our wedding cake. It was two tiers – lemon sponge and chocolate Nutella. It was decorated to match our vintage/shabby chic theme and looked incredible.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (44)

For our wedding breakfast, guests were given an option for each course. For the starter there was baked camembert or chicken liver and foie gras parfait, the main was lamb, pork or duck breast and the dessert was sticky toffee pudding or tarte au citron.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (45)

Entertainment-wise, we booked Classic Ensemble for the ceremony; a musical husband and wife duo! They played a mixture of classical and modern music and even the Game of Thrones music which we’d requested for during the signing of the register.

In the evening we hired a jukebox from SAP Pro Audio so that our guests could choose their own music. We both loved this and we ended up with a real mix of tunes.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

As extra entertained, we printed an Eye Spy game and left it on the tables with suggestions of photos that our guests could try to capture. This was a great way to get people mingling and talking. We also had £1 bets going for the length of the speeches and the closest person to the right answer got to keep all the money. Rich ended up the winner! We also had a big Instagram frame made up (I’m a big Instagram fan) which was fab and all our guests took selfies as the night went on.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

We would 100% recommend our venue to other couples following our wedding. It was the perfect venue and all our family and friends commented on how amazing it was. The staff couldn’t do enough and considered every little detail. The food was out of this world; several of our guests commented that it was one of the best meals they’d ever had. Broadoaks may specialise in weddings, but we were made to feel like we were the only ones and I can’t thank them enough for everything.

We loved the whole day from start to finish, but if we had to pick just one ‘best bit’, it would be the moment we were announced as husband and wife.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

After the wedding, we went on honeymoon to Mauritius. It was incredible; a real paradise. We spent two weeks at the Sugar Beach Golf Resort and Spa and I would recommend it to everyone. The hotel, food – everything was perfect!

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (57)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try to avoid getting stressed and enjoy the planning and the build-up. Remember, it’s your day so do what makes you and your partner happy. Also, take a moment to sneak off just the two of you together. The day goes so quickly and it’s all about you two!

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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