March 2nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
This evening’s inspiration comes from the lovely Caroline and Scott, who cosied up at Linthwaite House Hotel for their autumnal Lake District wedding. Opulent shades of plum and pink, a homely and characterful venue, cheese, cheese and more cheese – this wedding just makes me want to crack open the Merlot and be done with today.
So, if time and place allows, we advise you to do exactly that whilst soaking up this beautiful big day…
Photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Bethany Clarke.
caroline says: We got engaged on the 12th January in 2015. We’d been together for almost ten years at that point, and many of our friends and family were starting to wonder if we’d ever get engaged. Scott proposed while we were on a ski trip with friends – we were sitting at a picnic bench at the top of French Alps. It was a beautiful sunny morning and just a perfectly romantic moment. After I’d said yes, some of our friends got off the ski lift and took some pictures, then we all skied down the mountain for lunch and champagne. It was just a brilliant day!
We got married on the 20th October 2016. We chose the date as we wanted an autumn wedding and, as we were getting married in the Lake District, we knew the autumnal colours would look wonderful. Additionally, we hoped that the weather would still be mild with a little bit of light in the evening before the clocks changed. However, we didn’t worry about having it all our own way weather-wise, as if it did rain it would also create a cosy atmosphere for our guests at our venue.
We chose to get married at Linthwaite House Hotel at Bowness-on-Windermere. We always knew that we wanted to get married in the Lake District as it’s such a special place to us. We looked at three other hotels before visiting Linthwaite but as soon as we arrived there I just knew that it would be perfect. It ticked all of our boxes: beautiful views, extremely friendly staff, warm, homely interiors, beautiful rooms for our guests to stay and just amazing food. We really wanted a laid back and relaxed day that wasn’t stuffy; a place where our guests could truly relax once they arrived and, as we had exclusive use of the entire hotel, this is exactly what we got and a whole lot more. I really couldn’t recommend Linthwaite highly enough to any couple looking for a place to get married in the Lake District.
The time of year and the beautiful surroundings of the hotel also influenced our colour scheme. As it was October, we wanted rich autumnal colours and chose lovely shades of plum. It seemed to be a popular choice with my bridesmaids, too!
I wore a dress from Allure Bridals and accessorised it with a belt and bolero. I bought the dress from Adele Louise Bridal, which is a bridal boutique in Wolverhampton. This is quite far from where I live but my sister-in-law is a friend of the owner. I was pretty clueless as to what I was looking for so I went with her and my niece to try on a few dresses. I had an idea that I wanted something quite simple and this dress just seemed perfect. The beautiful lace design fitted in somehow with the timeless Lake District surroundings as well.
Scott wore a blue suit from Next and a bow tie that he bought online from San Francisco. Scott’s best men and also the fathers of the bride and groom also wore the same blue suit as Scott. The plum ties were from the same retailer in San Francisco.
I bought the bridesmaid dress online from a company called JJ’s House. I left getting the bridesmaid dresses quite close to the wedding as one of my bridesmaids was pregnant and I was a bit wary of buying them online, but they were great. They tailored the dresses and had such a big selection that I was able to get four different dresses for each of my different bridesmaids but in the exact same colour and they arrived really quickly.
Bethany Clarke was our wedding photographer and she was just brilliant. We wanted natural photographs that weren’t too posed and would capture the feeling of the day. We wanted a photographer who would take the pictures but you wouldn’t really notice they were there. I had looked at some of Bethany’s work and her photos were just gorgeous. She’d previously photographed a wedding at Linthwaite, which were exactly what we were looking for, and so we got in touch. Right from the very beginning Bethany was a pure joy: extremely easy to work with, really reliable and she gave us amazing photographs that we will treasure forever.
Brackens of Bowness provided our flowers. I’m not very knowledgeable about flowers but we visited them and had a quick chat and immediately they gave us some brilliant ideas for the bouquets and also the table decorations. They really knew what would work best. We provided them with a colour swatch of the bridesmaid dresses and the flowers were outstanding – a number of our guests commented on how beautiful they were. Kevin and his team did an exquisite job.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we decided to have a cheese cake, with four tiers of different cheeses. This was provided by Churchmouse Cheeses.
For the wedding breakfast, we had a ham and pea risotto with a soft-boiled egg on top to start, duck for main course, and the dessert was lemon tart. We went to the food tasting with an idea of what food we thought our guests would like from the sample menus but, after sampling these dishes, it was a really easy decision to change our minds. The food was absolutely delicious. So many of our guests said that it was the best food they’d ever had at a wedding breakfast. It honestly could not have been better.
We also had our own guest ‘Wedding Ale’ free on the bar for our guests, which was provided by Hawkshead Brewery.
Entertainment-wise, we hired a band called Sold To The Sky to perform in the evening. A friend at work recommended them as they had played at his wedding and he said they were excellent. We went along to one of their gigs at the Lancaster Beer Festival and our mind was made up on the second song they played. They were great and the lead singer has a fantastic voice.
They knew how to get a party started and which songs to play, and their set list was so varied that there was something for everyone of any age to enjoy. They also provided a little bit of a DJ set when they had a break, so there was no need to hire in another. We honestly got very lucky with these guys; we couldn’t have asked for any better!
After our wedding, we would absolutely recommend our venue to others. Linthwaite House Hotel was perfect for us. We had a relatively small wedding of 64 guests, but we filled the whole hotel and they let us feel like it was our home for the day. Every single member of staff was superb and helpful and they really went to great lengths to fulfil our guests’ needs. We honestly could not have picked a better place to get married.
Our personal highlight? The wedding breakfast was delicious but I would say the band just managed to make the day. Even though it was a Thursday evening and the band members had work the next day, it was a fantastic atmosphere and everyone danced all night long. They were also accommodating to some of our more crazy song requests, so a big thank you to them for that!
We’d always wanted to see the Northern Lights and decided on a tailormade honeymoon to Norway and Svalbard to chase the lights. We thought Svalbard was quite an unusual place to go as it’s in the arctic circle and hoped we would see a polar bear. We spent four days there and went dogsledding but unfortunately, we didn’t see any bears. We then travelled back to mainland Norway and on to a small island called Manshausen, which is owned by a Norwegian polar explorer. There are only four cabins, each with a glass wall; perfect for Northern Light gazing. We were extremely lucky as each night we were there we saw the most amazing display – and we were cosy inside in our pyjamas as we watched! Amazing!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make the wedding about yourselves and what you like and don’t get too caught up in the details. Also, enjoy every single second – it goes so quickly!
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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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