May 21st, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th June 2018 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Imagine almost setting fire to your wedding dress while exchanging vows with your hubby-to-be, and imagine being completely unaware that it was happening… Deep breath, readers, as this story has a happy ending! Today’s bride, Emily, thankfully, can laugh about this near-miss incident now. And as you’re about to discover, the rest of her picture-perfect wedding to partner Philip went without a hitch. Hurrah!
In fact, we’re pretty bowled over by the gorgeous details and original ideas incorporated within their special day. There’s Dexter, their dog, who walked down the aisle and even filmed some of the ceremony. Then there’s the elderflower pale ale brewed by the couple in the lead up to the wedding, with the help of the micro-brewery on-site at their fabulous venue, Carlton Towers, in Yorkshire.
Self-confessed foodies, the couple provided their guests with plenty of options for the wedding breakfast and evening buffet, as well as a candy table brimming with sweets. And we haven’t even talked about their dreamy pastel colour scheme and classic theme which featured – as Emily nicely puts it – ‘a touch of grandeur’, tying in wonderfully with the venue’s spectacular, gothic backdrop. We think it’s about time we handed the blog over to the bride and let her delve into all the finer details. Enjoy!
With images by Bloom Weddings.
emily says: We got engaged in Rome, in February 2016. I booked a weekend break as a surprise for Phil’s birthday, letting him know where we were going only three weeks before – I had no idea the surprise would actually be on me! On the second night of our trip, we went for a lovely romantic meal in a restaurant called That’s Amore. Being a cosy, candlelit restaurant, we were quite warm but I had no idea why Phil wouldn’t take off his jacket! As it happens, he was smuggling a ring in his inside pocket.
After dinner we took a short walk to the Trevi Fountain, which was beautifully lit up. As it was February, the area wasn’t too busy, with around 100 people sat on the steps down to the fountains. Phil insisted we get some pictures beside the fountain, which I thought unusual as he’s never one to insist on photographs! After we’d posed away in front of the fountain, Phil gave me a hug and said “Em…” before getting down on one knee, taking a box out of his pocket and asking, “will you marry me?”. I was taken by such surprise, I thought he was joking, and was absolutely speechless! When I managed to find my words, I said “Yes, of course I will!”. The tourists began to cheer and applaud!
We got married on Saturday 26th August 2017. We chose this date as we were keen to get married in the summer, and thought, what better time than the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend? This allowed relatives from further afield to spend longer up in Yorkshire too before returning to work, and for guests to properly let their hair down with two days to recover before heading back to work! Plus, it’s the weekend of my birthday.
We hosted the whole day at Carlton Towers in the Selby District of North Yorkshire. We were seeking a venue where we could host both the ceremony and reception under one roof, and which also had accommodation. Carlton Towers immediately made the shortlist for those practical reasons. And when we viewed the venue, we immediately fell in love with it! Carlton Towers was the first venue we saw, and no other came close to competing.
We loved the gothic grandeur, its history and that it is family owned. We wanted a classic, traditional venue with a wow factor and with just enough grandeur inside for our more formal photographs, in case the August bank holiday weather made the weekend a wash out! Thankfully, we got lucky in that respect.
Our style was actually very in keeping with the venue – traditional, classic and with a touch of grandeur. We also wanted something timeless, so that in years to come, our wedding wouldn’t look dated.
Our colour scheme centered on summer pastels, think blush pink and a light mint and sage green. Although we chose a formal venue, we wanted the feel of the wedding to be summery, bright, light and relaxed, which is why we chose this palette. Plus, we wanted relaxed floral arrangements, with traditional blooms interspersed with more relaxed flowers and arranged with a touch of wildness. Succulents featured throughout the floral arrangements too, complementing our blush wild roses and, of course, our pastel colour scheme.
I wore an ivory Essense of Australia strapless ballgown-style dress from Limelight Occasions in Huddersfield. I have always been drawn to plain dresses and wanted to wear the dress, rather than the dress to wear me. I tried on gowns of all shapes, materials and finishes, and to be honest, I loved them all. However, it was this Essense dress that I felt was the most ‘me’. When I walked out of the fitting room with my hands in my pockets, my mum said she immediately knew it was the one for me! I also fell in love with the button detailing all the way down the back of the gown, as well as the sweetheart neckline. I always said I wouldn’t be influenced by designers or price tags, so tried everything on with an open mind without looking at the label, and this turned out to be ‘the one’!
Philip wore a blue, slim-fit suit, with a contrasting tweed waistcoat, from Next – we explored various suit makers, but were keen to have the same suits for all of the groom party. Next turned out to be the most accommodating, with the suit available in all different fits, from skinny to classic tailored. The groomsmen also wore blush pink ties and pocket squares.
The adult bridesmaids wore gowns from Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth – these were sea breeze green, full-length gowns with lace detailing. The two children wore blush pink prom-style dresses from John Lewis.
Myself, Phil, and both sets of parents stayed at Carlton Towers the night before and had a lovely champagne supper – the perfect start to our weekend! Phil and I, of course, retired to different wings of the house, so that we couldn’t see each other on the morning of the wedding, until the alter!
Our wedding photographers were Chris and Annii, from Bloom Weddings. Chris and Annii not only managed to capture stunning moments and photographs that we will treasure forever, but they also had an indescribable calming influence on the day, particularly when we were getting ready on the morning of the wedding. The output was more than 1,000 photos that we adore! We selected Bloom initially because of their youthful style of photography – capturing moments, colours and the essence of wedding days like no other photographer. We didn’t want posed images, instead we wanted candid moments, caught with a fresh and light feel – which is exactly what Bloom achieved. Another benefit is that you get two photographers, ensuring no moment is missed! We would absolutely recommend Bloom to any future couples.
We had a special guest at our wedding – our golden retriever, Dexter. He had the very important role of videoing the ceremony from his very own Go Pro! The groom’s dad walked Dexter down the aisle ahead of the bridesmaids, before settling at the front of the ceremony room, capturing some of the ceremony…and a lot of the ceiling!
My flowers were from All Occasions in Howden. These consisted of a mix of roses, baby’s breath and succulents – resulting in a bright and wild hand-tied bouquet, which reflected the colours of the wedding, and was traditional enough – with a touch of the wild!
Our flowers and venue styling were supplied by All Occasions too – the flowers matched my bouquet, and were placed on the signing table and all of the wedding breakfast tables. We had crystal candelabras on the breakfast tables, which were adorned with floral wreaths around the base, along with candles and succulents. The aisle was decorated with hurricane vases with candles placed inside, and large and small succulents. There was an almost disastrous moment in the ceremony, where my train very nearly caught fire as it landed on top of one of the hurricane vases! Thankfully a member of the groom’s family quickly ran up and blew the candle out – and I was so caught up in the ceremony, I didn’t even notice this happen!
Carlton Towers has an independent family run micro-brewery situated in one of the old outbuildings within the estates grounds, called Little Black Dog. Phil and I had the pleasure of spending a day with the Little Black Dog brew team, designing and brewing our very own elderflower pale ale. This brewed over the summer and was bottled a few weeks before the wedding, with beautiful labels designed by the craft micro-brewery – reflecting our wedding colours, names, wedding date and the message ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something WE BREWED!’ These were given to all our adult guests, whilst the children had a homemade activity pack.
Our cake was from Nice Icing. It was a grand four-tier cake, reflective of our colours – pastel green, pink and gold, and was in keeping with the gothic grandeur of the venue. The cake was designed with inspiration from cakes I’d seen on Pinterest, and a cake I’d seen Nice Icing make for another wedding. We spent an hour with Lynn, and by the end of it, she’d sketched up our perfect cake! We selected classic flavours for each of the tiers, including vanilla sponge with raspberry jam and white chocolate ganache, milk chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, and carrot cake with white chocolate ganache.
We chose a traditional sit-down wedding breakfast of three courses – each guest had the choice of three starters, mains and desserts, to ensure they could pick a meal to suit their tastes. Both Phil and I chose crab tian, lamb, and then white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. The Carlton chefs are not only exquisite cooks, presenting brilliantly prepared foods – but they also have a small holding on-site which supplied ingredients such as meat and eggs. Our menu featured Carlton reared pork, beef and lamb. As a foodie couple, this was a big plus for us! The evening was followed by an exquisite buffet of smoked fish, cheeses, meats and even some local game. Unfortunately, I was so full from the wedding breakfast, I didn’t get to eat much of the evening buffet…
We had string quartet Serenade Strings playing during the ceremony and throughout the cocktail hour. This included a mix of classical music, popular songs such as The Beatles and Queen, along with a few movie favourites – Jurassic Park and Toy Story. In the evening, we then had a DJ who was instructed to play upbeat music from mine and Phil’s time at university, along with classics, to ensure the dancefloor was full throughout the night, which was a great success.
We had a candy table for guests, old and young, to take a bag of sweets home with them – the bags were adorned with our names and the wedding date. We also had a basket of flip-flops, for all guests to swap their shoes for something more comfortable to ensure they could remain on the dance floor. Finally, we had ‘E&P’ giant light up letters on the dancefloor, provided and installed by The Bright Light Company.
Also worth a mention, we used Unique Media Factory for our save the dates, which were laser cut wooden pocket watches, with the details of the date and venue.
Carlton Towers surpassed our expectations, with everything running without a hitch. The attentive and accommodating staff created such a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. We arrived at the venue on the Friday evening, and were able to stay until after lunch on the Sunday after the wedding – making the grand venue feel like our home for the weekend – a sentiment echoed by our guests.
Our favourite parts of the day were firstly, the ceremony. There is so much anticipation, however we both felt that as soon as we were at the front of the ceremony room together, in front of all our families and friends, a feeling of calm descended over us, and we were so happy and relaxed to be in that moment. Another favourite part I can’t miss out, was the night do! Everyone thoroughly let their hair down and ensured the dancefloor was always jam-packed!
We went to the Maldives on honeymoon the Tuesday after our wedding. We went to a Kuoni represented island called Kuramathi. It was absolute paradise and I can’t recommend it enough! The laidback vibe, food and wildlife made our honeymoon perfect for all ten days. Deep sea snorkelling trips, where we swam with a pod of wild dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and rays, would have to be the highlight, followed by a spa massage experience and some amazing cuisine in the evenings, including a private beach lobster dinner on my birthday.
Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be, have fun planning the wedding and remember, guests are there to see you happy, have a good meal and most likely, a good few drinks! Whilst intricate finishing touches are lovely, your guests won’t know how many hours went into these elements, and will ultimately have a good time, if you’re having a good time! So, I guess my point is, don’t sweat the small stuff, enjoy planning, and go with your gut.
During the planning, we used the wedding venue directory on Brides Up North in the first instance to go through the different venues in Yorkshire, and to see which met our criteria. We also attended a few of the wedding fairs, which allowed us to meet various suppliers that we also ended up using.
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Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...
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