March 8th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Victoria was just one of the legions of brides-to-be who walked into a bridal boutique claiming she knew what she wanted only to find herself disappointed. Thankfully, she was persuaded to try this classic Jesus Peiro number with ultra-elegant high neck and heavy silk, satisfyingly-swishy princess skirt and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her wedding to the lovely Christopher (full marks for that surprise Italian balcony proposal, Chris!) has sophistication in spades – we particularly love the dreamy peach and sage colour-scheme, just perfect for a summer bash, and the way these gorgeous images glow with a champagne-y light.
And we have a Brides Up North first! Have you ever seen a GoPro camera on a bottle of whisky? No? Us neither! We bow down to your ingenuity, guys – and we would love to see the footage…
With images by Shane Webber Photography.
victoria says: Chris took me away in October 2016 as a surprise 30th birthday present. – I had no idea where I was going until we were checking in at Gatwick! We went to Cinque Terre in Italy and on the second day we were making breakfast to enjoy on our balcony. When I walked outside, Chris was waiting for me on one knee. It was the day of our 5th anniversary.
Our wedding date was set for 5th August 2017. I’m a teacher, so I really wanted it to be during the summer holidays – I knew I’d be so much more relaxed and it meant we could go on a three-week honeymoon straight afterwards. Chris also wanted a day where it was more likely to be sunny!
Our venue was The Grange Hotel, Grange Over Sands, for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted to have the wedding in the Lake District as it’s somewhere we love and visit often. We spent a whole day visiting venues and fell in love with The Grange Hotel straight away; it was just what we wanted and luckily the perfect date was free!
The idea of a theme only came up once we started designing our seating plan, table names and favours. We were already considering using holiday photos and destinations as our table names as they were responsible for some of our best memories in our five years together. When looking for favours and seating plan ideas, I came across some DIY suitcases on Amazon that we could use for both, so a travelling theme became a small part of our wedding!
Palette-wise, sage was the primary colour, with peach as a secondary. We just love those subtle, natural, summery colours.
I wore a Jesús Peiró dress purchased from Marrime Bridal Wear. I was really struggling to get ‘that’ feeling in any of the dresses I’d been picking out on visits to other bridal shops. However, I instantly loved the thick silk material used in the Jesús Peiró selection, so decided to try some with a fuller skirt for fun (one of the many styles I was certain I didn’t want!) Once it was on I knew I couldn’t go back; I was so excited. I’d found my dress! I used Belles and Bows on the Isle of Man for my alterations. Rachel was so patient and went out of her way to make the dress fit perfectly; I’d recommend them to anyone looking for dress alterations.
Both Chris and the groomsmen wore three-piece lounge suits in blue, with sage ties and brown shoes. To stand out, Chris wore a silver waistcoat with a cravat. The suits were hired from Peter Luis on the Isle of Man.
The bridesmaids wore a sage skirt from Coast, and a lace top from Miss Selfridge. My two nephews and two nieces walked down the aisle with my bridesmaids; it meant such a lot for them to be a part of our day.
Bridget Foster did my hair and makeup and the makeup for my five bridesmaids. She was happy to do a trial and remembered all of the small adjustments I’d requested for the big day. She was willing to travel from Carlisle and arrived at the hotel early in the morning. Bridget was so professional and a great person to have alongside the bridal party. She gave me lots of advice and kept me calm and collected.
I used Em J’s Hair Studio in Grange to do the bridesmaids’ hair. I wanted them all to choose different styles, and they were happy to do this for us. She offered to come to the hotel and did a great job!
Shane Webber was our photographer and we couldn’t be happier with our decision! He was calm and personable on the day, making everyone feel completely at ease. It felt like he was a close friend rather than a photographer we’d never met and so many people commented on just how lovely he was. I can honestly say the day wouldn’t have been the same without him. Shane captured some truly stunning photographs; they are perfect and we will treasure them forever.
Our videographer was Tom Harrington and we can’t recommend him enough, either. We barely noticed him on the day, which is just what we wanted, and the film he produced was stunning – we must have watched it 20 times on the first day! Chris scoured the internet for the perfect videographer (he’s extremely picky!) and we are both so glad he did because he found him!
All the flowers were provided by Grange Flower Service. Without knowing the names of flowers, I didn’t have a clue how to describe what I wanted, so I gave them some sample images and a rough budget. What they produced was far beyond our expectations; in fact, I was overwhelmed when they brought the bouquets up to my room. They were exactly what we wanted: absolutely stunning yet so natural looking, and they matched perfectly with our colour scheme. Such an excellent service and wonderful people to deal with.
Ambience Venue Styling did all of our chair covers, the bows, the table covers, and the backdrop to go behind the top table. Yvonne was a great help when we first visited to get an idea of what we wanted and it was all done to perfection. We decided we wanted a backdrop only two weeks before the wedding, but Yvonne was happy to go out of her way to get it arranged for us.
Our favours were personalised printed green and white M&Ms with a photograph of myself and Chris printed on each one. They were packaged in little suitcases for guests to pick up on entering the wedding breakfast, forming our seating plan. We also had a mini bottle of whiskey for each guest as a toast to Chris’ late dad. The guests were also given sparklers to wave us off as we headed to our honeymoon suite.
Neither of us have a particularly sweet tooth so we opted for a wedding pie cake from Higginsons of Grange. We often visit Higginsons when we go to The Lakes so it was a bit more personal, too! The bottom layer was pork pie, the middle layer was huntsman pie, and the top tier was turkey and cranberry pie. It went down very well and looked more beautiful than we could have ever hoped once The Grange Flower Service added their special touches.
We tried to choose food that reflected our tastes, as well as accommodating a large number of guests. We went for a tasting meal earlier in the year with my mum and dad, after which we selected our four favourite dishes as options for each course.
We wanted as many guests on the dancefloor as possible and so chose a seven-piece band for the evening entertainment. We hired Downtown Underground and they were fantastic!
We also hired a harpist for the arrival of the guests, the ceremony and post-ceremony drinks; Anna Kate Pearson. She was recommended to us and gave us a huge ‘playlist’ to choose from. On top of this, we were able to make special requests such as the theme from the Disney Film, Up, while we signed the register. These little touches really meant a lot and made the experience even more special.
Following our wedding we would highly recommend The Grange Hotel. The hotel itself is grand, traditional and immaculately kept. The rooms and the honeymoon suite are the most luxurious rooms we’ve encountered anywhere in the world! But above all, the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Organising a wedding from afar can be rather daunting, but Angela at The Grange put our minds at ease and we knew we could trust her 100%. We are so thankful to them and we intend to visit regularly.
Our favourite moment from the day? That’s such a difficult question to answer! We have so much love for every little part of the day that made it what it was. Of course, that moment when you see each other for the first time walking into the ceremony is very special. But I think for us it was the friends and family that surrounded us that made the day what it was; we’re so lucky to have such a great circle of people around us, and our wedding day just highlighted this to us.
For our honeymoon we went to Hawaii via, France and Australia! We spent four days in Burgundy, staying in Chateaus and eating and drinking wine. Then we spent two days in Sydney, walking around the city, enjoying the markets, going on coastal walks and, of course, enjoying the food. Then we flew to Hawaii where we spent four days on Oahu, followed by a seven-day cruise around the islands. We were blown away on every leg of the journey and couldn’t possibly pick a favourite place. It truly was the trip of a lifetime.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – whatever you plan, make sure you’re able to relax and enjoy every second of the day, and don’t forget to spend time enjoying it together! Chris constantly made sure we had our moments together – I particularly remember him making an effort to find me on the dancefloor and I’m so glad. It’s true what they say: the day really does go far too fast!
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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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