January 24th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
We love it when a wedding offers up something alternative and today’s couple certainly hosted a day to remember – complete with guests of the furry variety!
Ruth and Marc exchanged vows in the magnificent St Elphin’s Church in Warrington before hosting their wedding at Chester Zoo. Guests then enjoyed a private safari with the zookeepers, with other highlights including a trip on a London Routemaster bus, afternoon tea and a special performance from the choir that first brought the couple together.
Opting for a pretty pastel palette, this wedding combines classic touches with the unconventional. Here are all the dreamy details…
With images by Jack Knight.
ruth says: We got engaged on Monday 14 December 2015 on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We were on holiday in Disneyland at the time and had gone to Paris for the day. After soaking up the culture in the Louvre, visiting the Christmas markets and enjoying some lovely food, we went up the Tower that evening to enjoy the spectacular view of Paris at night. I can remember looking at Marc on the way up and thinking he looked really nervous – which was odd because he isn’t particularly scared of heights. As we were looking out at the beautiful twinkling lights I heard Marc saying my name behind me. I turned around and there he was on one knee! It was all very romantic!
We got married on Tuesday 30th August 2016. We wanted a date that was in the summer holidays as I am a teacher and so are lots of my friends.
We tied the knot at St Elphin’s Church in Warrington, which is a truly spectacular church. I lived just round the corner when I was growing up and used to love listening to the bells. I always hoped I’d get married there!
Our reception took place at Oakfield Manor at Chester Zoo. As soon as we began looking for a venue we knew this was the one for us – we didn’t even look anywhere else! There are so many reasons why we loved this venue: it is a beautiful building with beautiful surroundings, it was budget friendly and incredibly flexible, and it’s something a bit different. We loved that we were able to have a private safari once the zoo closed, and our guests loved it, too. And even better, all the money went back into the charity so we were helping the zoo’s conservation efforts too whilst having the most amazing day!
We didn’t have a them, but just put together a day which reflected us. I made a lot of things myself, and some friends and family made things for us too, so the whole wedding had a slightly handmade, rustic feel.
We chose pastels for our colour scheme because neither one of us wanted to choose one specific colour. I loved this choice because it gave me more freedom; provided everything was a pastel shade – it was ok! No stressing about finding things that matched an exact shade.
I chose a White Rose dress from Wife to Be in Warrington. The staff there are amazing and so lovely. I went along with my mum expecting to just have a look and try a few styles but ended up finding ‘the one’. It was just perfect for me. I knew I had to have it when my mum started crying, which then made me cry – the shop assistant gave us all a group hug as she got caught up in the emotion too! When I went for my first fitting, the dress fit absolutely perfectly – not a single alteration was needed. It was definitely MY dress!
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September 1st, 2016 | Julia Braime
There are several elements to today’s real wedding that evoke the word “wow”.
The fabulously planned surprise proposal for one (excellent work Courtney), not to mention the a-maz-ing reception venue, and then the fact that the couple managed to get one of their favourite bands to travel all the way from California to play at their wedding. Impressed? Us too!
Now let’s start by hearing that proposal story…
With images by Yolande De Vries Photography.
courtney says: I proposed to Vicky at Cottage Road Cinema in Leeds on 4th May 2014. Cottage Rd Cinema was one of the places we went to on our first dates and is only a two minute walk from our house.
On the day of the proposal Vicky had planned to meet a group of friends in Headingley for lunch and a few drinks as a belated birthday celebration. I had suggested the two of us go to a student short film festival at Cottage Road Cinema before lunch and told her I had pre booked tickets. When we got to the cinema we were given a glass of prosecco each (we were told it was complimentary with ticket as part of the student film festival). When we got in the previews were already on and we stumbled to a few seats in the back.
When the first “short film” came on it was set to the song Skinnybones by Sea of Bees, which always reminds us of when we first got together. So instantly Vicky knew I was up to something but had no idea it was more than just a film. Part way through the very short film (it was probably only about 20 seconds of footage) text appeared that said, Victoria Hayhurst I adore you. Let’s be together forever? I then pulled out the ring I had designed as a cork popped from a bottle of bubbly, the lights went up and all our friends jumped up and yelled surprise! Vicky burst into tears, when she saw everyone and then again when she saw the ring and realised what was going on. We all had more prosecco, chatted and then walked to the restaurant we were all booked into for lunch and had a lovely day.
Exactly a year later Vicky surprised me on a walk through the woods by giving me my engagement ring at a spot that means a lot to us.
We got married on 27th June 2015, at Leeds Town Hall because I love the building and Leeds is where we met. The reception was held at Left Bank Leeds which is an amazing Grade II* listed former church building near to where Vicky lived as a student and where I rented when I first moved to Leeds. Before we found the venue I had wanted a grand but dilapidated building, with prosecco and exquisite canapés being served and a jazz band playing. Left Bank Leeds wasn’t dilapidated but still had the sense of grandeur I desired.
Our colour scheme was black, white, grey and navy with accents of copper. I chose these because they’re my favourite colours (I don’t really do colour!). I didn’t set a dress code but asked that everyone wore black, white, grey or navy. Everyone looks good in those colours and copper was a colour of the moment and added a bit of contrast for an extra pop.
In terms of my wedding attire, I made my own skirt and drafted the pattern myself. It was a full length, high waited skirt with wide waste band, concealed back zip and side pockets (for my phone) in a French navy silk from Joel & Son Fabrics in London. I chose the fabric with my best friends Vicky, Franny and Alexa. I wore the skirt with a customised white sleeveless top that I bought at Cos when I was in Berlin with Franny and Alexa.
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November 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The majority of styled shoots that we share on our pretty pages are to showcase bridal looks that our readers can replicate for their own big day. However, every now and then a set of styled images come along that aren’t obviously bridal, though by pushing the creative boundaries they have more depth and meaning behind them.
Today that is certainly the case, as we share this adorable Lancashire styled bridal shoot with you that switches veils and headpieces for hair nets & rollers.
To explain how the unusual concept came about we’ll hand you over to Charlotte of Legend Bridal Design, who supplied the dreamy dresses for the shoot.
With images by Zoie Carter-Ingham Photography.
charlotte says: We’ve known Zoie, of Zoie Carter-Ingham Photography, for a while and whenever we’re together we always talk about organising a shoot. We’ve had several ideas, all very creative, yet time and availability have always kept our plans on the back burner. This summer however, when Zoie mentioned her idea for a very Lancashire shoot with a nod to the textile industry our towns are built on, we knew we had to run with it.
Being a bespoke dressmaking service, our business is built on a wealth of history and tradition. Our craftsmanship is based on time honoured techniques. Each dress is drafted from our own sketches, hand cut, created and finished by hand. Sewing has always been in our family. In fact, certain tools we still use have been passed down through the generations, so Zoie’s idea of acknowledging our history in this way through the shoot made it a total no-brainer.
The shoot was set in a back street in Rishton; a row of terraces on one side and the empty shell of an old mill on the other. Zoie chose this street as it is reminiscent of so many mill towns in the area. The idea was to create a vintage feel. Not the manicured, glossy and pretty vintage we’re all so familiar with, but a more down to earth, almost gritty vintage. One without airs and graces and more of a focus on the history our lives are built on.
November 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This morning’s real wedding couple decided to make to plan a wedding that was pretty and personal rather than shaping it around one set theme.
The result is a very natural and romantic big day that’s brimming with beautiful elements; from the fairy tale style venue to the gorgeous blooms and delicate decor, this one has it all!
With images by Brides Up North favourite, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.
wendy says: We got engaged on the banks of Loch Lomond in February 2013. I’m from Helensburgh, near Loch Lomond and I love boats so Dave arranged for us to go on a boat tour for my birthday. After a beautiful, if slightly chilly, trip around the loch and a whisky to calm the nerves, Dave got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Our wedding date was Saturday 6th June 2015. As we were getting married outside we wanted to choose date where we might have slightly less chance of getting rain.
We got married and had our reception at The Treehouse in Alnwick Gardens. We looked at a number of venues in and around my hometown and felt they were far too formal. I then started looking online for unusual wedding venues and came across the Treehouse. As soon as we walked up its walkway we knew we had found the right place; it’s so naturally beautiful, the perfect size and adorned with fairy lights!
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September 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
The styling of today’s real wedding was inspired not by the season or the venue, but by the groom’s favourite film – back to the future. Though a cult classic of the 1980s, David and Lisa chose to style their wedding on the era Marty and Doc Brown were thrown back to, the 1950s, which made for a colourful and upbeat big day.
We love both the bride and groom’s choice of fitting attire, especially Lisa’s pretty tea length dress, finished off perfectly with a pair of cute Charlotte Mills heels.
And what better way for David to travel than in his very own DeLorean time machine car? We think this one might make a few grooms rather jealous!
So join us as we travel back in time to relive David and Lisa’s big day.
With images by Ragdoll Photography.
david says: We got engaged on the 1st September 2014. We were on a visit to Canada to see my Uncle Neville. We had an amazing holiday visiting Niagara Falls, Forest in Sarnia, and Windsor Ontario. We spent our last few days in Toronto, and I thought there would be no better time and place than to propose on the glass floor of the CN Tower, with a beautiful Tiffany ring. I knew she wouldn’t be able to say no, and I was delighted that Lisa accepted to spend the rest of her life with me.
lisa says: We chose the 4th July 2015 as our wedding date because Dave is a big Back To The Future film fan, and this date marked the 30th anniversary of the film’s release date.
We were welcomed so warmly into the community at our local Methodist church in Sale, Cheshire, that we wanted to take our vows there, and were really pleased that Rev Richard Mottershead agreed to marry us.
We both agreed we wanted a really relaxed and informal day that our friends and family could let their hair down and enjoy, so where better than our home for the reception? We hired a marquee from Marquee Hire 4 You, which we dressed beautifully with 50s style bunting, cut glass vases, summer bright flowers and candles. It was a great bonus that our house was only a short walk from the church. We were also blessed that our wedding day fell on one of the best summer days in July. The days leading up to the wedding and immediately after were wash outs, but on our day the sun just kept on shinning down on us.
We loved the idea of having a fun theme to a make our day that little bit different, so we continued with the Back To The Future theme and travelled back in time to the 1950s. Lots of our guests got into the spirit of the era, wearing swing dresses, trilbies and 50s hairstyles.
In terms of the colour scheme we just wanted things to be vibrant and bright, so we gave the florist free reign to use their creative flair. We were very happy with their fantastic choices of summer flowers, which added lots of colour.
On the wedding day I wore a lace 50s style tea length dress by Justin Alexander, which I chose from Puure Bride in Lymm, Cheshire. The ladies in the shop were fantastic, and the seamstress altered it to fit me perfectly. I wore fresh orchids in my hair, which was pinned up beautifully by Michelle from House of Finesse in Altrincham. My shoes were by Charlotte Mills, with a silver six pence sewn inside for luck.
Dave wore a lovely bright electric blue suite, off the peg, from Marks & Spencer, along with a grey Christys’ trilby hat, a yellow cotton tie, and brown brogues. He finished the outfit off with some DeLorean Time Machine cuff links, which I bought for him.
My flower girl Natalie, wore a dress similar to mine, which I bought from Debenhams. Our sons Sam and Josh wore matching blue check slim fitting suits from Next and Trilby’s from M&S. They really looked the part.
My good friends Rajiv and Shalini, drove me from the hotel to the church in their gorgeous silver Jaguar car. David, meanwhile, arrived in his DeLorean time machine car, hired from Tom Reddaway of DeLorean Timemachine, Devon. After the service the Reverend put on a pair of shades, jumped in the DeLorean and myself, Dave and all of our guests followed as it drove to the house for the celebrations to continue.
Our photographer for the day was Rosie from Ragdoll Photography. I met Rosie at the Brides Up North Bowden Rooms bridal fair and as soon as I started to explain what our theme was and what we wanted, her face lit up and I knew she was going to be great. We can’t praise Rosie enough. She was amazing with a very natural and relaxed style. It was like having a friend/guest at your wedding that just happened to have a camera. We are so pleased with the photos and the video slideshow she produced.
My bouquet and all our flowers were from Living Colour Floral Design, Warrington. I asked Amy there to use whatever bright and beautiful summer colours were available, and the results were just stunning. For decorations, we had pew ends and flowers on the altar in the church. They also filled the large vases for the marquee tables with a vibrant splash of colourful flowers, each unique. Everybody loved and commented on the flowers
Our reception was in our garden, so we thought that forget-me-not seeds tied with a pretty ribbon would make nice favours (David definitely banned sugared almonds!)
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake or cutting of a cake, so we decided instead to have a selection of beautiful cakes from Slattery’s Bakers, Whitefield. There was something for everyone’s taste. They looked great and tasted delicious. We also had a selection of handmade chocolate decorated strawberries from McAuley’s Coffee Shop in Swinton.
For the wedding meal we decided to stick with our Back to The Future theme, and so chose Ollie from Pizza Loco, which is a quirky traditional wood fired pizza oven inside a steam train, to provide the food. They cooked a choice of perfectly crisp pizzas at a rate of one every ninety seconds for our 200 plus guests. We also had two chefs, Colin and James from Hewitt’s Hog Roast, cooking tasty American style BBQ food. We provided a well-stocked bar with everything our guest could want, and had Pimms on arrival and a champagne toast.
As an extra treat (and because I love sweets), I turned our little summerhouse at the bottom of the garden into a sweet shop, which the children and adults all loved. Dave illuminated it with a varied selection of LED lighting and bunting, giving it a 50s old sweet shop feel.
When it came to the entertainment, we searched for a 50s style band, and booked Rockin’ Robin & Honky-Tonk Hoods (aka The Ginger Nuts) from Nottingham, through DG Music online. James and the band were just awesome. They did two main sets, and all the DJ’ing. We asked if they could perform our first dance, which they learnt, and played for the first time at our wedding. It was Earth Angel, by Marvin Berry, from the Back to The Future film. Their version was wonderful, and just what we wanted. The dance floor was never empty during their sets.
Following our wedding day, we would highly recommend others consider having a wedding at home. To us it allows a much more personal touch than any other venue.
Our favourite part of the day was dancing out of the church, much to the surprise and delight of our guests. Everybody was laughing and clapping as we exited to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love.
Following our wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Sorrento, Italy. It was both romantic and beautiful.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t get swayed by other people’s ideas of what your wedding should be, and what you should have. Keep focussed on what you really want and not what other people expect. Nothing says you have to conform, so just be yourselves and most importantly enjoy every moment of the occasion.
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September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Bride Jenny’s top tip to other brides-to-be is quite simply ‘do it your own way’, and that’s exactly what she and groom Owen did when it came to their big day.
Keen to ditch tradition, the couple chose an unusual venue and opted for a dark colour scheme with pops of colour here and there, though bridal white was strictly off limits.
On the day Jenny and Owen enjoyed an intimate ceremony with just 24 guests, before partying hard in the evening with 240 family and friends, showing you really can have it all your own way (well on your wedding day anyway).
With images by David Walters Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2014. We were sitting on the sofa watching Die Hard (good job it’s one of my favourite films). Owen hadn’t picked a ring, so after popping the question, we went together to pick one.
We set the date for 2nd April 2015. We liked the idea of an evening wedding and didn’t see the need to wait long.
Our venue was the Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse in Liverpool. We loved the look of the hotel on the website so decided to go and see it. We didn’t look anywhere else! It was amazing. Exactly what we wanted and we could tailor everything to fit in with us. It wasn’t a traditional wedding and unlike lot of places it didn’t specify that we had to have certain things, like a sit down meal, which we didn’t want.
The Titanic was fabulous, dramatic, unique, and we were the first wedding ceremony and reception to be held there, which made it extra special. We loved the industrial feel of the hotel and that a darker colour scheme would fit perfectly there. They could also accommodate all of our reception guests, which a lot of places couldn’t. A lot of people stayed over at the hotel and it was brilliant for everyone to come through to the Rum Bar after the reception and then to have breakfast with everyone the next day. The presidential suite was fabulous, we made the most of it and stayed for three nights! The staff were amazing and bent over backwards to give us an amazing day, the little touches and attention to detail were incredible. The derelict warehouse opposite made for an incredibly dramatic backdrop to the whole thing too.
Our wedding theme was simple – no white! We loved the venue’s replica of the Titanic staircase and chose to have our ceremony at the bottom of it. The venue is quite dark – lots of grey, black and wood – which we loved, so I decided on a silver dress, then the other colours we added were mainly grey and black with a little navy and a splash of coral. There were a few art deco touches too, which fitted well with the feel of the venue.
I had picked a pale grey dress from Coast as I didn’t want to wear white or ivory, but then I changed my mind a couple of months before the wedding. I knew I still wanted a non-traditional colour so rang a few shops to see if they had any silver or grey dresses in stock (I didn’t have time to order one). Only one shop did and they only had two – I bought one of them on the spot! I loved the soft silver colour and the delicate lace with tiny pearls and crystals on. The dress was from Copplestones Bridal, Liverpool, where I received brilliant service and the wonderful seamstress Maxine, completely redesigned the dress for me.
On the wedding day I wore it with a white birdcage veil, an art deco style hair slide and nude Louboutin shoes. I also had coral nails, a coral and white flower and a coral wrap, which added a bit of colour. Peaches and Cream did a fab job with my hair and makeup, also my mum’s makeup and my bridesmaids’ hair.
Owen wore a navy Reiss suit, grey waistcoat and white shirt. His tan shoes were from Jones and he had a dark grey tie and pocket square handmade by Sasha – our lovely wedding coordinator.
My bridesmaids wore navy Coast Lori Lee knee length dresses and thee groomsmen wore their own suits.
David Walters was our photographer on the day and he was brilliant! He specialises in candid, documentary style photography, which was exactly what we wanted, with a few formal ones thrown in too. We would highly recommend him.
I wasn’t going to have any flowers as I don’t think they would have fitted with the industrial feel of the venue but again, I changed my mind last minute and had some huge paper flowers made for me and my bridesmaids! They chose pink and I had an ombre coral to white effect. They looked brilliant and I had loads of comments about them.
Big Entertainments provided our decorations; hurricane lanterns on the staircase and huge candelabras for the ceremony, which were then moved to the tables for the reception. The venue doesn’t need a lot of decoration as it is so stunning. Big Entertainments also provided lots of blue uplighters to add to the effect, as well as black chair covers with silver hoods for the ceremony.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and so instead, the venue made lemon and poppy seed cupcakes for us.
For the food, we chose pink prosecco and canapés for immediately after the ceremony, then pink prosecco and bottles of beer as welcome drinks, served on salvaged croupier tables. For the meal we had fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, then cupcakes and rum cocktails (which we gave as favours) to finish off. Plus a popcorn and candyfloss cart!
To keep guests entertained, we had a live band called The Clink, they were brilliant and played a range of music to suit everyone. We also had casino tables from Big Entertainments, which helped to keep everyone occupied.
As special touches on the day, we had a wooden drop top guestbook, which required guests to sign wooden hearts and the drop them inside. Also the hotel projected our names and the date on the wall of the venue, which we thought was brilliant.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend the venue to others. It’s unique and you can tailor the day exactly how you want it. Sasha the wedding coordinator is worth her weight in gold!
On reflection I’d say the reception was my favourite part of the day – looking around and seeing 240 people who have all made the effort for your day was amazing. Our intimate ceremony with 24 people was also amazing though. Our dads doing surprise speeches on the staircase was brilliant, as was Owen taking the stage before the food and giving a speech too. Lots of favourite parts!
After the wedding we had a minimoon in the UK. We went to Warwick Castle, The Harry Potter Tour and York (where we bought my engagement ring from). We are planning to go to Canada for a proper honeymoon this month.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – do it your way! Our non-traditional wedding made people dubious about how the day would work at first but everyone has said how much they enjoyed it and that it will be a hard wedding to top
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