February 3rd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today we are welcoming Abbie and Darren back to the blog to share their big day with us, having previously shared their sweet engagement shoot on our pretty pages.
This wedding is a lesson in luxe styling – there’s a pair of Valentino Rockstuds softened by some perfect floral detailing, romantic calligraphy and plenty of gold and blush accents.
Quite frankly, Abbie and Darren’s big day at Leeds’ stunning venue Oulton Hall, gives us goosebumps.
Today’s mantra? Go gorgeous, or go home.
With images by Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography.
abbie says: We got engaged in Santorini in June 2014; it was just perfect. Darren presented me with a gorgeous princess cut diamond ring, which was exactly what I wanted. Our engagement shoot was featured on Brides Up North last year.
Our wedding date was Saturday 30th July 2016. We chose this date because we wanted a summer weekend wedding, plus it means we get to celebrate our anniversary in summer – who wouldn’t want that? I’d always wanted a string quartet at our wedding and had pictured them playing outside while our guests enjoyed the summer weather and drinks. Amazingly, it was a beautiful summer day and the dream became the reality!
We got married at Oulton Hall in Leeds. I’ve always loved this venue as it has the modern décor I adore while still having the charm of an older building. We also loved the courtyard which turned out to be perfect for the drinks reception.
The style of our wedding was elegant and romantic, with lots of floral patterning, blush and gold tones and lots of white. I love these colours and Darren let me run away with my ideas for the colour scheme!
I choose a Pronovias gown called Duende from Bridal Rogue Gallery in Harrogate. After trying on probably around 20 dresses, I just knew this was the one. I hadn’t wanted tulle to start off with – in fact, I had my heart set on a lace fishtail gown. However, after lots and lots of trying on, I still couldn’t find one to fit the bill. My dress was the perfect mix of tulle and lace and I customised it to make it perfectly ‘me’ – it originally had feathers! I also wore a pair of Valentino nude rockstud heels – man, I love those shoes! I also wore a pair of diamond earrings that were gifted to me by Darren the morning of the wedding.
Our bridesmaids wore fitted fishtail blush dresses from Coast. I wanted my bridal party to feel gorgeous and they got lots and lots of compliments on the day.
The makeup artists for the bridal party was Frankie of Makeup by Frankie. I would recommend her wholeheartedly to any bride. My sister was so nervous about having her makeup done but Frankie put her completely at ease and my sister was delighted with the result. We also used a brilliant hairdresser, Bridget of Hair One located in Ossett. Again, I’d recommend Bridget to any bride-to-be.
Our groomsmen and both fathers wore navy suits from Slaters with navy ties – we wanted them to match but make sure that Darren stood out. It all ended up looking perfect.
Both Darren and I stayed at Oulton Hall the night before the wedding but in different sections of the hotel. We also had a lovely meal with our families and bridal party the night before the wedding to start off the weekend.
Our photographers were Holly and Phil of Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography. We chose Belle and Beau because we love their style and how Holly makes every single frame stunningly beautiful. Holly is extremely approachable and very calm; we instantly felt comfortable around her. I couldn’t recommend Belle and Beau highly enough. If anyone is searching for a fine art wedding photographer, they should contact Holly!
For our wedding videography we used Stephanie of Ninety Degrees North. We’d looked at so many videographers and none of them were our style, but when we watched Stephanie’s videos we fell in love. She has such a romantic way of editing; her work really is stunning and so emotional. She’s such a lovely person and went completely unnoticed by our guests throughout the day.
I knew I wanted a huge bouquet and huge is what I got! My friend and florist Caron provided all our flowers on the day. I loved all of our flowers and even got my absolute favourite: David Austin roses.
For our centrepieces, we had bouquets of flowers by Caron on top of tall glass vases which we purchased from Country Baskets. To complement the tall vases we also had small glass vases with single stems in them, which we purchased from The Wedding Of My Dreams website.
I made all of our decorative signs for the venue myself by buying templates on Etsy and then having them printed by K Print in Wakefield. We also hired chairs for our wedding from Black Event Furniture as I specifically wanted gold chiavari chairs. They looked fantastic.
For favours, we gave the ladies miniature bottles of sparkling wine tied with straws and ribbon. For the gentlemen, we gave cigars tied with ribbon. Both went down very well!
My favourite cake is chocolate fudge cake, and so there was no way I was budging about the flavour of the wedding cake. Darren knew he wouldn’t get a say! It was made by a friend of a friend, Louise, and was covered in white textured icing. It looked and tasted amazing!
We had a four-course meal of tomato and roasted pepper soup, haddock tart and sirloin beef roast dinner. Dessert was, of course, chocolate fudge cake.
For table drinks, we decided on a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay, a merlot and a zinfandel rose. We wanted there to be a wine suitable for everyone’s taste so this was the reason for choosing four different wines. Everyone commented on how tasty the food was, which we were so glad about as food is such a big part of the day!
We hired a band called Vibetown for our evening reception entertainment as they’d been recommended by a friend. Everyone danced the night away to 70s pop and Motown and our first dance was Let’s Stay Together by Al Green.
As a special touch, we decided to put out handkerchiefs for our guests to take away with them for the ceremony which turned out to be a good and useful idea. Darren’s late nan loved Elvis, so we decided to walk down the aisle to Can’t Help Falling In Love, which meant a lot to us both. We also used my great grandma’s cut glass cake stands for our cake and macaron table at the evening reception.
Following our wedding, we’d recommend Oulton Hall to any couple looking for a venue in Leeds. All the staff on the day were so helpful and polite and the planning went smoothly.
Speaking on behalf Darren, I have to say that the best part of our day was seeing each other for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see him and when I finally did my heart was in my mouth! Another favourite moment of the day was when we greeted my nan at the end of the aisle after our vows – it was a moment I’ll never forget and will treasure forever. Unfortunately, my nan (who I was extremely close to) was very ill and in hospital on the day of our wedding. We convinced the doctors to let her out for an hour to attend the ceremony, which she did. I carried one of her charms on my bouquet and she was in everyone’s thoughts on the day. She was delighted that she made it and we’ll always have that special memory. Sadly, though, my lovely nan passed away while we were on honeymoon.
We flew to Bali two days after the wedding. We had four nights in Ubud before moving on to the Gili Islands for five nights. We then spent four nights in Seminyak to finish the honeymoon off. We had the best time and it was much-needed after planning a wedding for two years! Bali is a honeymooner’s paradise and the Balinese people can’t do enough for you. The weather was also perfect.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to sweat the small stuff. Make decisions based on what’s best for you both rather than family members or friends. Also, take a moment out on your day to talk to each other alone, even if it’s just for five minutes. So much is going on around you that it’s easy to forget taking a moment for yourselves!
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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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