September 7th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Friday has finally arrived, and we’re totally pumped for today’s pretty – the gorgeous real wedding of Alex and Alex; which could either make things very confusing or could indeed simplify matters with only one name to remember!
Bride Alex chose a Rime Arodaky gown that screams style and elegance with a playful twist – we love the whisper of lace down the front of the dress that peeps out between the layers of silk and the pretty illusion back. It really comes alive during the energetic first dance!
There’s the most fabulous, lush floral centrepiece that, instead of sitting on the top table, is suspended from the ceiling of the tipi over the table for maximum effect. With greenery and fairy lights wound round the vertical beams to frame the scene, the overall look is English country garden at its finest, just as bride Alex hoped it would be. Further gorgeous details, like the marble-effect cake and the modern bridesmaid dresses, bring an extra cool edge to the styling. Pinning fingers at the ready ladies!!
With images by Rachael Fraser Photography.
alex says: We got engaged whilst on holiday in New York around 18 months ago after four years together. We knew we both wanted to get married but had prioritised buying our home first. I, of course, dropped a lot of hints about the sort of ring I liked, including one we saw and tried on whilst on holiday about two years before the proposal; we both loved it. Turns out he had gone back to buy it and had hidden it all that time.
We got married on Saturday 21st July 2018. We were keen to have a summer wedding. The setting at our venue, Brinkburn in Northumberland, is so beautiful that we really wanted our guests and us to be able to spend as much time as possible outside. We had our ceremony in the White Room and wedding breakfast and reception in the tipis. We were incredibly lucky with the weather on the day, so we were able to have the bar and live music set up in the grounds. The wedding day was also a big birthday for my step-mother but she was very happy to share her day with us; it was all cause for extra celebration.
We would absolutely recommend Brinkburn o other brides and grooms. Both Alex and I are very decisive and, as soon as we walked into Brinkburn, we knew it was for us. It’s such a beautiful setting but also has such a calm feeling to it as soon as you arrive; we knew that’s the feeling we wanted on the day (before the party started). The White Room holds up to 80 people, so it meant we could keep it really intimate. We also loved that we could hire the whole venue for the full weekend. The day goes in such a flash, so we loved the fact we could extend it and make a weekend of it. From the setting and accommodation, to the food and drinks, every little detail is so well thought out. Brinkburn hosts significantly fewer weddings than most other venues in the region, which made it feel all that more special. It also helped that we hadn’t been a guest already at a wedding there ourselves.
In terms of a theme, we didn’t have a specific one – we just wanted it to feel like ‘us’. We were keen to create a romantic, relaxed atmosphere that allowed our guests and us to enjoy the day and the surroundings of the venue. We kept our colour scheme very simple with whites, a little grey/pewter and a lot of greenery. We wanted to keep everything classically beautiful rather than follow particular trends and let the venue do the talking.
My dress was by Parisian designer Rime Arodaky and I bought it from The Mews Bridal in Bristol. I went for four dress appointments in all (including a trip to Madrid) but I fell in love with Rime’s dresses and my dress just felt right. I wanted something different to what I had seen before whilst remaining timeless – I fell in love with the flash of the lace skirt underneath the silk gazar. It was also essential that I was comfortable in the dress so I could enjoy plenty of food and dancing.
Groom Alex wore a custom suit from Jules B in Jesmond. His style is quite smart and classic, so the suit had to be the same. He wears a suit most days to work, so wanted this suit to feel that bit more special. It was also really nice that he was involved in the creation of his suit, choosing each detail. Often the emphasis is on the bride and her dress but it’s important that the groom gets to enjoy that experience as well.
The best man wore the same custom suit as Alex from Jules B, without the waistcoat to define him from the groom.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were by Rewritten. I really wanted the girls to feel beautiful on the day and so looked for something slightly more modern than a traditional bridesmaid dress. We visited their showroom in London with the girls picking from their various styles. They all looked so beautiful, with coordinating fabrics but in the cut that most reflected their own personal style.
Our photographer was Rachael Fraser, who was accompanied by Davison Photography. Rachael photographed my best friend’s (and bridesmaid’s) wedding two years before and produced the most beautiful photographs, so it was an easy choice. Whilst the posed shots were important to us, it’s the incidental, natural shots that we really love and we knew Rachael would be able to capture those moments. I couldn’t recommend her enough. She blended into the wedding in the best possible way, directing us where she needed to but allowing the flow of the wedding to continue without interruption, and produced the most beautiful photos from it. I haven’t stopped looking at them since they arrived!
To video our wedding we chose CTK Media. One of the directors of the company is somebody I went to university with and, when I was planning the wedding, I saw him post one of their wedding videos. I had been looking at a lot of videographers and, whilst very cinematic and beautiful, they all felt a little too moody and wistful for us as a couple and the feel we wanted for our wedding. CTK’s approach was still very romantic but felt more upbeat and showed the bride and groom and their guests really enjoying themselves.
For my flowers, I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses and hydrangeas with eucalyptus. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet, whilst my flower girl carried a posy of gypsophila and wore a matching crown. They were all provided by Lavenders Blue Flowers.
When it came to decorating our venue, it had so much interest to it already that it really needed little else than flowers. I absolutely love flowers, so I knew I wanted a lot of them, and I particularly love English country garden-style flowers, so I wanted that feel throughout. I loved the garlands of flowers and greenery used to dress the ceremony room and tipis and Christine at Lavenders Blue Flowers provided all of the flowers to decorate the venue.
All of our stationery was created personally by Fyfe Anderson. Having worked with Dave and Lynne at Fyfe Anderson through work, I already had a very good relationship with them and was delighted when they said they would produce our stationery. They understood our style for the wedding instantly and produced the most beautiful monogram of our initials to be used throughout all of the stationery. It really tied the whole wedding together, from the save the dates to the day itself.
Instead of giving favours we put extra money behind the bar so guests could have another drink on us.
Our cake was made by Bernadette from Dreamworld Cakes. I absolutely love traditional sponge cakes with fondant icing, so I was certain that was what I wanted rather than a naked cake. We went for a more modern, simple style of cake with a marble effect and silver leaf. It looked beautiful and tasted even better.
The catering for the whole weekend was provided by Wilkins Fine Dining, as they came so highly recommended by Brinkburn, and they certainly delivered. We chose a traditional wedding breakfast with a roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese starter, confit duck for main and the most amazing, giant pavlova for dessert. They also put on pizzas and salad during the evening. Drink-wise, we made sure there was plenty of Malbec, Sauvignon, Prosecco and Coronas to go around.
For entertainment, whilst we stuck with a DJ in the evening, we invited singer and guitarist duo, Millie Eve, to perform during the day. Luke played the guitar beautifully for us during the ceremony and couldn’t have been more accommodating playing songs of personal meaning to us. They both then set up outside to entertain our guests during the drinks reception and the first part of the evening. We love their style and creative working of songs you might not expect at a wedding. They really were a highlight of the day and a number of guests commented on how brilliant they were.
For a special touch on the day, we had collected hand fans on our various travels over the course of our engagement that my niece and flower girl handed out to our guests to cool down in the sun.
When it comes to choosing our favourite part of the day, there are so many to choose from! A particular highlight was the five minutes Alex and I had alone after the ceremony before walking out to see our guests again. Our coordinator, Jan, was there with two glasses of champagne in hand and it was the perfect moment to just take in that we were married. My dad’s speech was also something that stands out as a highlight, with everybody in the room both laughing and crying. I also loved the last 30 minutes of the evening, as almost all of our guests were on the dancefloor with us. I remember stopping and telling Alex to look around and take it all in; all of the people we loved were there with us and having the most amazing time.
For our honeymoon, we did a twin destination trip; I’m a beach lover whilst Alex gets bored with sitting still for more than five minutes. For the first part, we went back to New York – a city we love that obviously has a lot of very happy memories for us. We then went to Barbados for a little relaxation, although we still explored the island and our trip coincided with their carnival.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to enjoy every single part of the planning process. It’s a cliché but the day itself will go by in flash – it may not even go to plan (although we were lucky that ours did) – but the wedding process is so much more. Enjoy your engagement, searching for venues, meeting with suppliers, dress shopping, the hens and stags; it’s all part of it, so enjoy every second.
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…
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