April 20th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
With the warm weather set to last into the weekend (yessssssssssss!), we’re dusting down the barbecue and putting the prosecco on chill, but before we head off to find a sunny beer garden for the obligatory Friday after-work drinks, we’re leaving you with this diamond of a real wedding!
Transporting us to the 50s – a magical era of Hollywood glamour and jukebox easy listening, jazz and swing – bride Charlotte had her heart set on a glitzy style wedding of this bygone time from the very beginning, and her vision determined everything; from the choice of venue (opulent York hotel The Grand) to the striking black and gold colour-scheme.
Charlotte initially thought her dress would be subtle and slinky, but one look at the beaded bodice of this (Brides Up North headline sponsor, dontcha know?) Pronovias beauty and it was love at first sight. And what a dress it was – delicate pearls, ornate beading and tulle, tulle, tulle for days. The father of the bride’s reaction – tearful, in the best possible way – says it all.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd Clarke Photography.
[jennaope]charlotte says: We got engaged in October 2016 while in Dubai. Matthew had arranged for us to stay in a room overlooking the Burj Al Arab. On our first night I came out of the bathroom to a bedroom in darkness other than a small light reflecting onto a beautiful diamond ring and two glasses of champagne next to it. It was so magical – the light was reflecting off the ring and all around the room! He then finally popped the question and we burst into tears of joy. It was a moment we’ll remember forever.
Our wedding was on 30th September 2017, as we wanted to get married fairly quickly. We’d been together nearly seven years by the time we were engaged!
I’d always wanted a vintage glamour themed wedding – I love anything glitzy and Rat Pack-related – so we needed a venue to match. The Grand Hotel & Spa in York, was the perfect choice for us: it was quickly apparent that venue was very glamorous and opulent but also so central for everyone – we also lived only five minutes away, which was particularly handy!
In keeping with the theme, our colour scheme was black and gold. This worked pretty perfectly with our venue as the room had gold curtains and chandeliers.
I’d always sworn I’d be wearing a simple, slimline dress on my wedding day but I (rather unexpectedly) fell in love with a very big princess-style dress! My Pronovias gown was strapless and had a fully beaded bodice, adding some real 50s glamour. It was the second dress I tried and I knew straight away I loved it. Bridal Rogue Gallery in York, where I found the dress were great at every stage of the process.
We bought Matthew, the best man and our dads a simple black suit, white shirt, champagne-coloured waistcoat and a gold tie from Dobell – we needed a style to fit all heights (and widths)!
For our transport, we borrowed my dad’s black Mercedes and dressed it with gold ribbon, staying true to the colour scheme.
We spent a long time researching photographers as we wanted someone who concentrated on natural, ‘real’ shots and only a few posed photographs. Bethany Clarke provided us with just that and was amazing from start to finish.
Bethany spent time with us to find out about our wedding theme and what we weren’t comfortable with (I hate my hands, for example!) and then did what she could to avoid those types of shots. She hid in the background taking so many beautiful, natural photographs and giving us the amazing gift of spending the whole day with our guests. For us, it was so important to enjoy our day and time with friends and family rather than spend hours away from them. And, thanks to Bethany, we managed to do that without compromising on our photographs. We simply can’t thank her enough.
We didn’t have any flowers other than a simple bouquet of white flowers for me, which my lovely mum created. Instead of flowers on the tables, we had gold light-up trees with a black sequin table runner to add some more old Hollywood glamour to the room. For favours, we went for lots of heart-shaped chocolates in gold and black foil strewn over the table for everyone to enjoy!
We sourced our cake from Gayle at Where The Ribbon Ends. We first met Gayle at a wedding fair and then booked a tasting and designing session before ordering the cake. We picked a three-tier cake: one layer was salted caramel, another was white chocolate and raspberry, and the final layer was fruit cake. It all tasted amazing! Gayle was fantastic throughout the whole process and she was so helpful with everything, including delivery.
We were a little selfish with food and wine, picking what we liked best after trying everything at the venue’s tasting session (as a tip for anyone doing this in the future: try go book the day off work following your session – you’ll need it after trying all of the wine!) In the end, we went for a crab cake starter, a chicken main and a red fruit trifle with white chocolate custard as well as an alternative vegan menu.
We booked Richard Daniels to sing and he really took us back in time with the music all day. He sang immediately after our ceremony as the rest of our guests arrived and throughout our drinks reception, then again in the evening before the DJ started with the usual pop classics. Everyone absolutely loved him and he was such a key part of our day. We would absolutely recommend him to anyone looking for a talented singer who’ll go the extra mile!
Would we also certainly recommend our choice of venue to other couples. We had such an amazing day. As cheesy as it sounds, the ceremony was our favourite part. We decided to have a private ceremony with just our closest family and the best man present. It was everything we’d dreamed of and we’ll cherish it forever.
For our honeymoon, we spent a week relaxing in beautiful Mauritius and then went back to Dubai for a week – it was exactly a year since we got engaged and so we felt it was the perfect ending to the wedding celebrations and start of our married life together.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – do whatever you want to do and don’t feel you have follow any ‘rules’. You’ll always upset someone but they’re your family and friends, so they’ll love you no matter what!
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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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