Charlotte Balbier

eastertime frolics. a chic wedding at styal lodge, cheshire – liz & jon

November 29th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today, we bring you Liz and Jon’s special day, set in the beautiful National Trust village of Styal in Cheshire.

Pretty paper lanterns, candles and fairy lights create a charming backdrop to their nuptials, but for us, it’s the couple’s Great Wedding Bake Off that steals the show – with so much cake to tuck in to, what’s not to like?

As a lovely touch, Liz even enlisted the help of her Year One class and the couple made a donation to two charities close to their hearts.

So, sit back and relax as Liz shares all the dreamy highlights.

With images by Jonny Draper Photography

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liz says: We got engaged in April 2015, in New York. I had wanted to find an Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park that I had heard about and when we got there Jon insisted that I sit on one of the toadstools for a photo. As I turned around to refuse him, he was down on one knee! I was blown away – it was all caught on camera too as Jon had arranged for a photographer to capture the moment!

We got married on 25th March 2016. It was Good Friday and the perfect opportunity for us and our guests to enjoy a lovely long Bank Holiday weekend. As a teacher, I wanted to get married close to a holiday so we could have a honeymoon straight after the wedding.

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We tied the knot at Styal Lodge in Cheshire; it was the only venue we viewed. As soon as we arrived we knew it was the place for us, it was perfect – relaxed, spacious but still intimate.

Our invitations and table names featured a New York skyline but apart from that we kept everything quite simple with a relaxed but elegant feel, complete with lots of beautiful fairy lights everywhere.

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Our colour scheme leaned towards white, green and grey, from the bridesmaids’ dresses to the flowers.

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My dress was from Felicity Cooper Bridal in Knutsford. I knew it was the dress for me as soon as I saw it; something drew me to the dress even though it was everything I hadn’t set out to have! I loved the dress as soon as I put on; it felt like ‘me’ and was light and comfortable, too. Fiona, who designed my dress, couldn’t have been more wonderful and encouraged me to have the dress exactly as I wanted.

Jon wore a grey suit from Next and a tie from Reiss. My very talented mum made the four bridesmaid dresses, and for the best men and groomsmen we hired navy suits from L&J Formal Hire near Middlewich. Colin, who owns the company, couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful and accommodating.

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glorious food: introducing belle epoque bespoke

November 23rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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As couples become more creative with their big day plans, the wedding menu is one element of the proceedings which is being given somewhat of a shake-up, with options beyond the traditional sit-down meal growing in popularity. So whether you want a menu to reflect the theme or season of your wedding, or you simply want to serve up your very favourite dishes, you’re going to need some experts who can produce food that tastes as good as it looks.

Fortunately, we have news of a new catering service in the North West, that can do just that…

For the first time in its 43-year history, Knutsford’s The Belle Époque, is to offer fine dining outside of its historic walls, providing event catering to external functions and events in the form of “Belle Époque Bespoke”. As one of the North West’s leading culinary beacons and wedding venues, The Belle Époque has attracted discerning diners, sporting stars and celebrity guests for more than four decades, securing its place within the top 5% of UK restaurants. Having just sampled this foodie gem’s delicious cuisine (and plenty of bubbly!) last night at a North West wedding industry dinner, we can certainly see why (we’re still dreaming of the dessert now).

Whether for events at home, in a marquee or in an external venue, and whether for 20 or 500 guests, The Belle Époque fine dining team will be bringing the same attention-to-detail that has helped maintain its place within the Michelin Guide for a staggering 38 consecutive years.

So for all you foodies out there, we’ll hand over the blogging reins to Kelly Angus, wedding and events manager at The Belle Époque, to give us more details about the delicious new venture.

Images by Jonny Draper.

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Why has The Belle Époque decided to extend its services to outside catering via Belle Époque Bespoke?

kelly says: After providing award-winning food and dining in-house for more than 40 years, we now feel the time is right to extend our offering to people in their own setting. We have a highly experienced outside catering team who can offer exceptional food, service and planning, so it really is the perfect time for us to expand what we do.

What types of dining will Belle Époque Bespoke offer for weddings?

We can offer formal dining, canapes parties, sharing platers, barbecues, afternoon teas, and in fact, we pride ourselves on offering a totally bespoke service, so if you have a wild and wonderful idea we would love the challenge of creating it to our very high standards for you.

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Can you tell us a little about the Belle Époque Bespoke team and their experience?

Our team of fine dining chefs is headed up by Paul Wright. As a former protégée of Simon Radley, Paul trained at the Michelin-starred Chester Grosvenor restaurant. He’s cooked for members of the royal family, along with many of the North West’s most discerning diners. Paul is incredibly excited about The Belle Époque’s expansion into outside catering, and has set his sights on creating one of the finest catering businesses in the North West. Paul and his team have crafted outstanding event and wedding menus for you to choose from.

What would you advise brides and grooms to look for in a catering company for their big day?

Flexibility to create the menu you want, quick response times to your queries and a willingness to take time to understand what you want with a clear plan on each stage of the planning until the day arrives.

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What sets Belle Époque Bespoke apart from other wedding catering companies?

At The Belle Époque, we hold our outside catering services to the same high standards as our fine dining restaurant. We’re proud to have been awarded two AA rosettes, placing us amongst the top 5% of restaurants in the UK. Our numerous awards and accolades give you the assurance that your event management is in good hands.

Beyond the food what other services does Belle Époque Bespoke offer?

As a popular wedding venue, we know how to make sure that events run smoothly. Event management is what we do, so we’ll ensure the process is as easy and stress-free for you as possible. We want you to enjoy your big day, not be worrying about the canapes.

Whether you’re planning your wedding, or event managing a team away day, you want to know that you can trust your caterers to deliver outstanding food for each and every guest. We’re a family business and are proud of our reputation for excellent, friendly customer service. Over the last forty years, we’ve built up a solid reputation for fine dining and event management and have been recognised by the Michelin Guide for more than 35 years in a row.

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berta & blush. a stylish wedding at styal lodge – louise & glen

November 21st, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding made everyone here at Brides Up North go weak at the knees. First, there was the romantic New York proposal story. Then we got a glimpse of the stunning blush, gold and ivory detailing. And then we saw the photographs of Louise’s backless fishtail Berta Bridal gown.

So. Insanely. Beautiful.

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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louise says: Glen and I got engaged in New York in December 2013. We’d just enjoyed a horse and cart ride around Central Park before we were due to go for a meal at the Rockerfeller Centre. After the horse and cart ride had finished Glen got down on one knee and proposed. I think it’s safe to say that neither of us will forget that day!

Our wedding date was Sunday 29th May 2016. We chose the date as it was the bank holiday weekend and May is usually a really sunny month – and fortunately for us, it was!

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Our venue was Styal Lodge in Cheshire. We chose our venue as it was local, but it’s also one of the most beautiful venues in Cheshire. Lucky us!

There was no theme to the wedding as such, but we did choose to name our tables after our favourite Manchester United and Liverpool players. Glen is from Liverpool and I’m from Manchester and it added a fun touch to the day.

We chose blush, ivory and gold for our colour scheme. We thought it looked simple, but beautiful and elegant.

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My wedding dress was the real star of the show. It was by designer Berta Bridal and purchased from The Wedding Club in Knightsbridge, London. It was a backless, fishtail style with lace detail. It was truly exquisite. It even sparkled in the sunlight!

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Glen wore a navy blue and black tuxedo with black velvet bow tie from Moss Bros.

The bridesmaids wore long, dusky pink dresses by Kelsey Rose to tie in with our colour scheme and the best men and groomsmen all wore blue dinner suits and black bow ties by Ted Baker from Moss Bros.

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love & laughter. mori lee for a blush pink wedding at ashfield house – debbie & darran

November 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today’s wedding is a stunning example of how a wedding can be both lavish and relaxed.

Working around an elegant blush pink and dove grey colour scheme, Debbie and Darran went all out with the wedding styling choosing striking floral decorations and an abundance of candles to enhance their already stunning venue.

The wedding party looked extra glam too, with the bridesmaids in shimmering grey dresses and Debbie in a stunning fish-tail style gown.

Keen not to overdo the formalities though, the bride and groom opted for relaxed bowl-food style dining, lots of sweet treats and enjoyable live entertainment. A winning combination we say!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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debbie says: Our love story began on 25th February 2012. Darran and I had known each other for over ten years, our youngest children went through school together. We had both become single and Darran took the opportunity to ask me to go for a drink with him. Little did I know that 1,527 days later he would become my husband.

We officially got engaged on Sunday 22nd February 2015, Darran got down on one knee on the Sunday morning not long after we had woken up, and he was wearing just his undies! So romantic.  The following day we had a surprise 40th lunch to attend. After we left the lunch I suggested we take a drive over to Ashfield House, unbeknown to him I had secretly popped in their six months previously to pick up a brochure. We rocked up unannounced on the off chance that we could get a proper look around. Fortunately for us Katie Street was more than accommodating. From the moment I walked through Ashfield’s front door I knew that this was where I wanted to get married.

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To get the ball rolling we made an appointment for the following Saturday to visit Prestons of Bolton to pick out my engagement ring. We had an amazing experience at Preston’s of Bolton, being served with Veuve Clicquot champagne whilst we looked at various diamonds. I had pretty much made up my mind beforehand that I would like a pear cut solitaire, as Darran had bought me pear cut earrings a few years previously.

We set the date of the wedding for Sunday 1st May 2016. We knew that by picking a bank holiday weekend that it would give our travelling guests the opportunity to make a full weekend of it.

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Ashfield House was such a perfect venue for the wedding. The building, in our opinion, is stunning with so much character and history. We loved the bright airy feel to the recently revamped Langtree Suite, which is where our ceremony took place.

The grounds at Ashfield House are simply stunning too. Unfortunately for us the weather was wet and temperamental, and although we did manage to get outside to get some fantastic shots, the fact that there are so many places inside for your photographer to shoot some cool original shots is a massive bonus. We also loved the fact that Ashfield House is an exclusive wedding venue Monday to Saturday. On a Sunday they do serve Sunday lunch. This didn’t cause us any problems though as we knew that the lunchtime guests would have left by the time our ceremony took place.

The icing on the cake was that Ashfield House has 15 ensuite rooms with a handful of suites that are competitively priced. This meant that our travelling guests had the beauty of staying over at the wedding venue too.

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woodland wonderment. stewart parvin for a luxurious winter wedding at colshaw hall – luisa & peter

November 9th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding is just perfect for the snow flurries that we are seeing up and down the country today.  We hope you are all safe and cosy with a steaming cup of something chocolately on your desk or on your knee!

Luisa and Peter pulled off the impressive feat of a Christmas wedding without a can of snow spray or a gilded pine cone in sight. Instead, their big day at Colshaw Hall in Cheshire, was led by an organic woodland theme, full of warm earthy tones and plenty of grown-up black-tie glamour.

The food and the playlist were particular focal points for this Manchester music-loving pair, and the following day saw the festivities extended with an aprés-ski extravaganza. So get comfortable, perhaps with a glass of Malbec or a mulled wine – go on, Luisa would definitely approve!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography

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luisa says: Peter and I got engaged in Barbados. One night we went down for dinner and, instead of heading for our usual table in the restaurant, we were led down a path lined with candles that took us to a private beach and a table for two. When we sat down and opened the menus, I saw all of my favourite foods and champagne. Then a steel band appeared playing Elvis Presley’s I Cant Help Falling In Love With You. When I looked around, Peter was down on one knee; it was a truly magical moment. He made a beautiful speech and, of course, I said yes. We spent the rest of the week celebrating and relaxing; it was just so perfect!

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We chose to get married on 19th December 2015 because it was the closest Saturday to the Winter Solstice – a date important to me and my mum. We wanted a winter wedding as we felt that there were lots more options to explore in terms of the decorations and the vibe that we could create.

For the venue, we chose Colshaw Hall in Cheshire. We wanted to make sure that the event was totally private and this was the huge bonus of Colshaw: the venue and all of its grounds are hired exclusively so we wouldn’t be sharing our special day with anyone else. Secondly, as Peter’s family are based in Suffolk, we wanted to make sure that there was accommodation onsite to ensure that the wedding weekend was as easy as possible for those travelling. Having looked at quite a few venues in the area, Colshaw’s accommodation was, we felt, the most beautiful. Each room has its own stunning theme and beautiful view over the grounds. Colshaw’s Peel Suite also offered a beautiful blank canvas; no wedding looks the same there. We had hired the main house for the drinks and canapés straight after the service and this offered a unique, cosy, Christmas drinks party atmosphere.

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Theme-wise, we wanted to create a natural and organic winter forest. Peter and I love walking our dog Digby up on the Edge and we wanted to recreate that same earthy, woodland environment. I wanted my wedding to be just that little bit ‘out there’, and having the trees as the centrepiece certainly achieved that goal. As our wedding was the weekend before Christmas, I think people expected us to go down the more conventional festive route and it was truly lovely seeing their reactions to the chapel and the main room. We’d focused on lots of earthy tones, such as dark greens and ambers, making sure that everything was lit by candles to create warmth.

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I had chosen quite a traditional and simple gown designed by Stewart Parvin with the lace detail as a nod to my Italian heritage. My dress was bought and styled by the incredible ladies at LOVE Bridal in Cheshire. They helped accessorise my gown with a Stewart Parvin veil, lace jacket and honey-toned belt which contemporised it perfectly. My shoes were Hangisis by Manolo Blahnik; I just loved their quirkiness. In the evening, I removed the lace jacket and added a thin sparkly belt to liven it up for the dancing. I visited several bridal stores and LOVE Bridal’s service surpassed all the London boutiques. From the beautiful little cakes they serve to the ‘grand reveal’, the wonderful Emma and Clare have it covered.

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sunshine, showers & champagne. an elegant wedding in the north west – melissa & chris

October 31st, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding is brimming with timeless details to inspire all of those brides-to-be hankering after an elegant, traditional affair.

Melissa and Chris tied the knot at a beautiful local church with a family connection and held their reception at the stunning Deanwater Hotel in Wilmslow. And they didn’t let it rain on their parade – despite the inclement weather, we think these breath-taking photographs radiate pure joy.

So sit back and enjoy Melissa’s account of a day full of sunshine in spite of the showers…

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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melissa says: We got engaged in January 2013. Chris didn’t want to be predictable and ask over Christmas; he wanted to catch me completely off guard. He proposed at home, one of our favourite places, on a very ordinary Saturday morning. He presented me with a photo book which contained memories of our holidays, adventures and fun times we‘d had over the ten years we’d been together and on the last page I read the all-important four words. The next thing I knew, Chris was down on one knee and holding out the most beautiful ring he had designed with the help of jeweller Simon Washbrook.

Our wedding date was 14th August 2015, exactly 12 years after we got together. My wedding ring also contained 14 diamonds to represent the date of our anniversary.

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The wedding ceremony was held at Christ Church, Woodford. It’s a meaningful place for us as my parents were married there 33 years ago and I was christened there. And the tradition will continue: my sister is planning her wedding there for December 2016, too!

The reception was held in the Gold Suite at the Deanwater Hotel in Wilmslow. The newly-refurbished suite was a perfect venue for us as we wanted a small wedding which was close by for friends and family.

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In terms of our wedding style, we went for a very traditional a gold, pearl and champagne colour scheme. I wanted something simple and elegant which would stand the test of time.

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