May 31st, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
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.
Stacy and Andy’s stunning day represents the best of two very different wedding worlds, with wild, windy Wuthering Heights-style portraits at the top of Pendle Hill placed alongside the laidback industrial cool of Holmes Mill in Clitheroe.
From the moment this decisive pair stepped foot in the venue they just knew it was for them – falling instantly in love with its exposed stone walls, cool lighting and chic industrial features. Their theme evolved organically, with lots of dark red, evergreens, candlelight and Stacy’s Edwardian-style dress setting an effortlessly elegant tone for a spectacular winter feast. The Northern Soul and Hacienda-influenced playlist and pie, pea and chips supper gets a big thumbs up from us and, quite frankly, pushes Stacy and Andy into poll position as our current festive wedspo favourites.
There’s so much to crush on in these images, from the vintage cocktail glasses to the unfettered emotion in those triumphant fist-pumping shots taken outside the church. So, without further ado, it’s time to indulge in some beauty!
With images by S6 Photography.
stacy says: Andy’s proposal was a complete surprise. We were spending Christmas 2016 separately with our families (mine in Lancashire, Andy’s in Berkshire) as we both live and work in London so don’t get much time with them throughout the year. On Christmas morning, Andy made the four-hour drive up to surprise me at my parents’. I answered the door, and my mum and dad – who knew he was coming – were so excited that they appeared at the door too, along with my brother. When I opened it to find him on the doorstep on one knee, he proposed to all of us! We had such an amazing Christmas Day – my mum had already set the table for five (I hadn’t even noticed), and we all ate Christmas dinner together, then drank champagne and danced into the small hours.
Our wedding was 30th December 2017. The date wasn’t significant, we just didn’t want to be engaged for a long time, and I always liked the idea of a winter wedding over a summer wedding because of all the aesthetics, with cosy candlelight and dark colours and foliage.
The ceremony was at St Peter & St Joseph RC church in Rossendale, Lancashire. The church is special to me because my parents were married there in 1984, and my grandparents in 1946. My grandparents Nellie and Jack attended mass there until their deaths, and we reserved their usual bench with a sign and two red roses, so it felt like they were there. Throughout the ceremony I felt that if I’d turned around I would have seen them, which was a lovely feeling.
Our reception was at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. My dad Stuart found the venue, and as soon as we walked in (it was the first venue we saw), we knew it was the one. We’re quite decisive! We loved how it felt almost like a private members’ club, with potted palms and nooks and crannies with comfy sofas. I love all things Victorian and Edwardian, and loved the way they’d made all the old mill equipment the focus of each room. Upstairs the function room was perfect, with exposed walls, Edison bulbs and a glass wall overlooking the brewery. I think we made our minds up before we’d even talked prices.
There wasn’t a theme but I suppose we wanted everything to be seasonal, with natural lighting, dark colours and foliage. There ended up being a lot of dark red – my flowers, my shoes, Andy’s tie – which wasn’t planned but came together well.
My dress was from Savannah Miller’s collection at Debenhams. I knew I wanted long sleeves and a high neck; when I was looking at dresses I was drawn over and over again to Edwardian-style dresses with narrow shapes and beautiful detailing. It made it easy to shop for one because at every showroom or boutique I visited (about four in total), they only had one or two long-sleeved dresses. When I tried the Savannah Miller dress on it was just perfect – and it helped that it was about a third of the price of everything else I’d tried!
I shopped around for bridal shoes but found most of them weren’t my style. I eventually chose a pair of Bordeaux velvet court shoes from the V&A collection at Ravel, which was a beautiful contrast to the ivory dress. My earrings were from Latelita London, and I bought an ivory fur cape from Helen Moore to wear outside. My veil was from Kimberley Anne Bridal Boutique in Clitheroe.
Andy’s suit was from Walker Slater in Covent Garden. He decided he wanted a brown suit, and there wasn’t a great deal of choice available. Walker Slater specialises in Scottish tweed and he found exactly what he wanted. Being decisive again, it was the first and only suit he tried on because he loved it so much, and he also bought his tie and braces from there. His oxblood leather shoes were from Loake.
The groomsmen wore whatever they liked, and Andy bought them all Happy Socks to wear on the day.
All my bridesmaids were children and I wanted them to wear ivory like me. Their dresses, tights and shoes were from Monsoon, and I got the four younger ones ecru knitted cardigans from Boden. They all wore flower crowns.
Our photographer was the amazing Jon from S6 Photography – I’d seen a wedding he’d shot on Instagram and followed him for about a year before we got engaged! He was the first supplier we emailed to make sure he was free. We loved his stunning landscape shots, so decided to go to the top of Pendle Hill on the way to our reception venue. It was absolutely freezing and so windy, but we braved it for about ten minutes and got some beautiful shots. I love how his style is almost editorial, and our guests have since said that our pictures are very Wuthering Heights, which is definitely the look I was going for! We would 100% recommend Jon and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the photographs. Friends who’d got married before me said they’d regretted not hiring a more experienced photographer to save expense – for the sake of a bit more money it’s so worth it to have pictures you go back to again and again that transport you back to the day.
Roland’s florist did all our flowers including the table flowers. I wanted seasonal, natural blooms with lots of dark green, white and red, and I wanted a trailing-style bouquet. I left it all to Maureen as our family have been customers for years, so I knew I was in good hands – in fact, I didn’t even see a single flower before the day itself! My bouquet was made up of red roses, eucalyptus, pine, berries and white wax flowers and looked gorgeously festive. The bridesmaids all wore flower crowns made of foliage and carried miniature versions of my bouquet, and the buttonholes and corsages were white roses and berries.
We didn’t have access to the venue until the morning of the wedding, and I didn’t want to decorate it myself (or ask anyone to do it for me), so Maureen at Roland’s went to decorate the tables. We had long, banqueting-style tables and I wanted garlands of dark green foliage – pine, eucalyptus and pinecones – and candles down the middle. My only brief was “winter feast”, and it did look magical on the day, with the light fading and the candles lit and the scent of pine everywhere.
Instead of a table plan we had escort cards, so guests found their named envelope on a table and inside it told them which table to go to. My friend Sophie created all these for us with beautiful dark green card, as well as the table numbers and place names.
My friend Rachel made our beautiful three-tier cake – it was Victoria sponge with buttercream icing. I told her what flowers we were having and she decorated it too.
The cheese pie at Bowland Brewery is probably my favourite meal in the world, so it was a no-brainer to serve pies, peas and chips with plenty of red cabbage and gravy as our wedding breakfast. Guests chose from cheese or steak pie, and we only served the one course for the sit-down dinner. We served canapés when the guests arrived, which were delicious – beer-battered king prawns, Lancashire cheese and chilli bobbins, sausage rolls and mini shepherd’s pies. We offered guests a choice of prosecco or Hen Harrier on arrival. Later on we did bacon and sausage butties with more chips – when in Lancashire! We went with house wine for the tables.
Joel Turner (AKA DJ Low Rider) is a family friend and DJ – and also happens to DJ for the Stone Roses, so the wedding entertainment was an easy decision! My family is massively into Northern Soul so we had lots of that on the playlist, as well as northern indie (Arctic Monkeys, Oasis) and ‘90s house, Hacienda-style. So there was a definitely northern theme to the music – our first dance was Wanna Be Yours by the Arctic Monkeys. We created a wedding website where guests could request songs too.
We would absolutely recommend our venue – the team at Holmes Mill (Ellie, Jess and Stacey) were a dream to work with and made everything super easy. It was exactly what we wanted – nothing too fancy or formal, but a gorgeous venue with loads of history and character – and we still go there whenever we’re home, which is lovely. Our guests commented on how amazing the staff were. Nothing was too much for them, whether it was ordering coffees for those who were flagging post-pie, or making sure we had everything we needed at the end of the night when everyone was a bit worse for wear!
One of my favourite moments of our day was getting ready in the morning. My mum, dad and I all got ready together. I was so calm and relaxed because it felt like a normal day, with mum and me in our dressing gowns eating bagels and my dad watching football. It was exactly the environment I wanted before our friends and family and bridesmaids arrived and it became a madhouse! My other favourite part of the day (and any wedding) was the speeches. I made a speech and I’m so glad I did, even though I was more emotional than I expected to be. Standing in front of a sea of people you love who are all smiling up at you, being able to thank your parents for everything they’ve done, and telling everyone why you love the man you’ve just married, was one of the best moments of my life.
Andy’s favourite moments were coming out of the church after the ceremony to all the cheers and confetti and seeing everyone we love right in front of us. And just after the speeches, when all our parents and brothers gathered around, and everyone was crying and laughing and hugging.
We didn’t fancy a big honeymoon as a wedding is so much to plan in itself, so we did a road trip around the north coast of Ireland. We fancied lots of blustery walks, and Guinness, and hearty food, and roaring fires, and good pubs with live music, and that’s exactly what we got.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to do a speech! Even if it’s a couple of minutes, you won’t regret it. Andy’s tip for grooms, is to arrive at the church with plenty of time to greet guests and get in the right headspace. The morning is so manic and seems to last minutes not hours, so you don’t want to feel flustered. Our joint tip is be as present as possible, because everyone says this, but the day goes so quickly – take stock every now and again just to look around and take it all in.
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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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