August 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The guest list for today’s wedding at The Samling doesn’t even reach double figures as Mia and Pete decided on a small and intimate wedding featuring spectacular views and first class food surrounded by just their very nearest and dearest.
Showing that size doesn’t mean everything, the day is brimming with class, elegance and smiles as all involved enjoy the relaxed and magical atmosphere by the side of Lake Windermere.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
mia says: We got engaged in January 2014 in the Lake District. Pete surprised me with a weekend away to Aphrodite’s near Bowness to celebrate our third year anniversary. We had just finished relaxing in the hot tub with a glass of champagne and I went into the bathroom to get changed. I came back out to Pete down on one knee holding out a ring! It was a complete surprise and I kept asking him over and over again whether he was being serious! In the end he said “So what do you think, then?” and of course, I said “yes”.
Our wedding was 20th June 2015. We chose that date as we wanted a summer wedding, the day before the longest day of the year being ideal. It also gave us enough time to save up for it!
We chose The Samling in the Lake District as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the Lake District as it was where we had spent our first weekend together as a couple and it was also where Pete proposed so the location had a lot of meaning. The Lake District also has absolutely stunning scenery making it a perfect setting for a wedding. As we were having a very small intimate wedding (just eight people including ourselves!) we wanted a venue that would complement this which The Samling did, given the exclusivity of the venue. We were also attracted to the Samling for its Michelin star menu, Pete and I being very much into our food. We went to visit The Samling and knew straight away it was where we wanted our wedding – it was the first and last place we visited when looking for a venue. After seeing the panoramic views of Lake Windermere, we knew we were making the right choice!
We didn’t have a theme for our wedding but wanted an intimate, understated affair which was very special at the same time. The venue where we had the wedding matched our styles and tastes exactly in that it is not stuffy and overly fussy but had luxurious and special features to it. The style of wedding we had allowed us to think of different ideas as went along while planning the wedding.
While we had a very small wedding, we’re also having a party later in the year to celebrate with all our friends and family.
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such but chose a lot of white and yellow as they both complement each other and are lovely, summery colours.
My dress was a gown by Sophia Tolli purchased from The Bridal Path in Altrincham. It was a fitted lace dress which was ivory and champagne coloured. It had a plunging v neckline and crystal beading scattered across the dress. It also had a sheer back bodice with crystal buttons cascading down the back and a long train. I felt the dress was very elegant and classic. I knew it was the right dress for me as soon as I tried it on!
On the wedding day I wore my dress with peep toe silver shoes by Jimmy Choo. I chose these shoes as they really fitted the style of my dress and I can wear them again. On my head I wore a Swarovski crystal encrusted head piece by Halo & Co, purchased from Liberty in Love. Rebecca Forshaw, a hair and makeup artist based in the North West, did my hair and makeup on the day. She did a fantastic job and I never imagined I could look so glamourous!
Pete wore a blue-grey, light woollen three piece suit. The cloth came from Scabal, and was ordered and tailored by Richard Smith Bespoke in Manchester city centre, who also provided the tie and pocket square. The pale blue, super slim-fitting stretch shirt came from Thomas Pink in Manchester, and the brown shoes were from Jeffrey West, also in Manchester.
For my flowers, I had a beautiful but simple shower bouquet made up of white orchids, with green foliage which was provided by Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal. Kerry also provided all our flowers for the day. We had had a mixture of white orchids, yellow flowers and green foliage to decorate the wedding reception. We had a large vase of flowers in the centre of the dinner table with smaller vases of flowers at the side of this. Kerry was fantastic and created everything we asked for.
Our wedding cake was a two tiered fruit cake with white icing which was decorated with pink flowers. It was from Marks & Spencer.
For the wedding breakfast we had a Michelin star taster menu created by Ian Swainson, head chef at the Samling. It was an absolutely unbelievable gastronomic experience! We had a wine pairing with each course as recommended by their sommelier.
We chose Maxine Molin, a harpist, to play during the ceremony and our champagne reception due to her excellent reputation. Also the harp sounds beautiful and fitted in with the understated and relaxed theme of our wedding.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue. Not only was it spectacular and exclusive, the service we were provided with was second to none. All the staff ensured our whole day went seamlessly and they made us feel very relaxed. They were very open to what we required and went out of their way to provide it.
It really was the best day of my life so it’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the day! I would say one of the highlights however was relaxing in the outdoor hot tub in the evening after our meal overlooking the whole of Lake Windermere!
We aren’t going on honeymoon until October. We are going to South Africa and then on to Mauritius and we cannot wait! We’re spending a few nights in Cape Town, then on to the wine regions for plenty of wine tasting! We’re then ending the trip in Mauritius which will be completely relaxing.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t be scared of breaking with tradition. We had traditional but many untraditional elements to our wedding, for example, I walked into the wedding ceremony to the harpist playing Metallica! Tradition and convention also advocate a large, lavish wedding. Although these events can be fantastic, if an intimate event suits you then you should go for it as it is so personal and rewarding. Whatever you choose, make the most of all the attention being lavished on you for one day!
brides up north featured supplier, halo and co, james tracey photography, jeffrey west, jimmy choo, lake district wedding, liberty in love, marks and spencer, maxine molin, real wedding, rebecca forshaw, richard smith bespoke, scabal, Sophia Tolli, the bridal path, the floristry, the samling, thomas pink, uk wedding blog
August 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning a wedding, couples are free to draw inspiration from anything they like, from the setting to the season, as well as their loves and passions.
With that in mind, today’s brides and groom, Christina and John, decided on a magical outdoor woodland wedding followed by an evening reception that was a nod to Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings, a novel they’re both big fans of. And why not?
The result is a very personal, fun and captivating big day that’s brimming with beautiful handmade décor, natural blooms and individual touches.
So get those reading glasses on and feast your eyes on this enchanting celebration.
With images by Jonathan Stockton Photography.
christina says: We got engaged in spring 2014 while we were travelling around Scotland in our campervan which John converted himself. We have a strong emotional connection to Scotland, it being the place we met and where many of our friends still live, so we had been on a two week campervan trip the year previously already. At that time John had recently discovered his passion for photography and so I had been left feeling a bit like a ‘photography widow’, with John spending more time with his camera than with me.
So when we went this time, John made a particular effort to put the camera down and really be with me. But he couldn’t resist incorporating photography in the proposal. The first time the sun came out, he set up the tripod for a selfie of us in front of a waterfall, but then at the last moment dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. So our proposal is captured on camera too, though we both look a little bedraggled.
We married on the 13th June 2015. The 13th may be unlucky for some, but we decided that it would be our lucky date, marrying on the 13th day and in our 13th year of being together.
The Garden Station in Langley, Northumberland, as our chosen venue. By that point we had our hearts set on a ceremony in a natural setting, so when we visited the Garden Station we fell in love with the quirky, pretty English country garden of the station itself, and the potential for a woodland ceremony and night-time do just put a stamp on it.
For the ceremony we envisioned a magical, natural woodland theme that would reflect our love of the woods and of nature, with birds singing all around us. To complement the venue our reception was a vintage afternoon tea party.
For the evening we were inspired by Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings. We both love the books and films and we wanted our wedding to reflect that element of us, without going down the route of an actual ‘themed’ wedding with fancy dress etc. And who could throw a better party than hobbits, with their love of good food and drink and music and all things merry.
There were nods to our love of geeky fantasy running all through our wedding. I gave John a leaf of lothlorien brooch to wear as a kilt pin as a wedding gift and his best man wore the Hand of the King pin from Game of Thrones on his lapel. One of the readers in our ceremony even wished that the Force be with us.
There was no real colour scheme, as there was always going to be multi-coloured flowers all around and the station itself is full of beautiful pastel colours.
I wore a custom designed dress in ivory silk and lace from the amazing Leigh Hetherington of Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. She was fantastic and couldn’t do enough to create the perfect dress for me. I loved that it was custom made for me, so no other bride in the world will have the same dress, and to know that it was handmade here, locally, rather than in some factory on the other side of the world is great. When it got cold in the evening I wore a beautiful handmade silk and cashmere capelet by Lizzy Lemon.
On the wedding day my hair was done by our friend Douglas, of Rainbow Room International in Stirling, assisted by Jill. It was lovely to have my friends come do my hair as it was a great way to stay relaxed in the morning. Jill also made the lucky horseshoe for us, which actually came from her own horse, Trooper, making it all the more special.
John wore full highland dress with a kilt in Modern Robertson Hunting tartan, as his grandfather was a Reid. We were going to hire his outfit but he ended up loving his kilt so much we had it made for him by Hector Russell in Edinburgh. John’s sgian dubh was a stunning piece of craftsmanship from Comrie Crafts, Pitlochrie, in bog oak and silver which I had engraved with our surname in Farsi script, bringing together his celtic and his Persian heritage. Slaters supplied the best man’s highland wear and our dads’ tailcoats.
My sister, who was our bridesmaid, wore a Dessy gown in Amethyst, which we customised with lace sleeves and a lace belt.
On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in Max, our campervan all decked out in flowers and ribbons. My sister’s partner acted as chauffeur and the whole family piled in. It was lovely, like a throwback to going on family holidays when we were children.
As John is a wedding photographer himself, but was forbidden to touch a camera on the day, finding the right photographer was really important and quite a challenge. We were so happy when we found the awesome Jonathan Stockton to do our photography on the day. His style was perfect for us, with his mixture of relaxed reportage and more polished images.
We already loved his photography, but after we met him it was his personality and his enthusiasm for our wedding that really meant there was no question. It’s so important that you get on with your photographer, so you can relax and be yourself in front of the camera and with Jonathan we knew we’d found someone we could consider a friend and a wedding guest, not just our photographer. We couldn’t have made a better choice as can be seen by the beautiful dreamy pictures he produced. He managed to even make the rain look beautiful.
I’ve always loved flowers and secretly wish I was a florist so I decided to do my own flowers. It was a bit of a gamble as I’d never done wedding flowers before. I think I did alright with my beautiful handtied bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthis, hyacinths and hydrangeas with delphiniums and marguerite daisies from our own garden. I also made my sister’s bouquets and the buttonnieres and corsages for the wedding party.
Our wedding was very much DIY, virtually nothing except the guys’ clothes escaped some kind of customisation.
We had yards of gorgeous bunting sewn by me and all the ladies in our two families and jam jars, which I decorated with hessian, jute and lace with flowers and tea lights in and around the ‘hobbit’ tent. Our stationary, including our invites, our ‘time-capsule’ guestbook and the design on the chalkboards was designed and provided by Lizzy Lemon, who also happens to be my very talented sister!
As favours we potted up little baby succulent plants and also gave mini bottles of mead, as apparently the word ‘honeymoon’ comes from the ancient Nordic tradition of making newlyweds drink mead for a month after the wedding. John also made some little bags of tasty beef jerky.
My lovely friend Roseann is a superstar baker and cake decorator and made our stunning four tiered wedding cake. It was two tiers carrot cake and two tiers fruitcake which we served with cheese. The cake was decorated with beautiful sugar roses and pink toadstools, in keeping with the garden and woodland theme, and topped with a frog couple made from Fimo by me.
For our wedding breakfast had afternoon tea with scones cakes and sandwiches and big jars of Pimms, served in vintage china teacups. In the evening we kept it rustic with a hog roast, veggie chilli and lamb tagine.
To provide the entertainment we booked a fantastic local ceilidh band from Northumberland called, Real to Reel. Recommended by friends of my parents we contacted them and outlined our wedding plans, including our inspiration being Bilbo’s Birthday party. It turns out the band leader actually played at the after party of the Hobbit premiere in London, which was just an amazing coincidence. They even learned to play the tune from the film for us, which was so great.
They were absolutely amazing, with a really good sound and celidh caller and they took everything in their stride, even carrying on playing when the lights went out due to a generator failure which led to a lovely moment where everyone was dancing just by the light of mobile phone torches.
As John is half Iranian, his brother organised a belly dancer to dance as well, which created a really great fusion of cultures.
A really special part of the day was our humanist ceremony in the woods, conducted by Anna Foster who is a registered celebrant with the British Humanist Association. She was fantastic! She worked with the two of us to create a really unique and personal ceremony, that included some beautiful elements like a celtic handfasting and jumping the broom, as well as a tasting of honey, which is an ancient Persian wedding tradition representing the sweetness we bring to each other’s lives. We’ve had so many great comments about the ceremony and how personal it was.
Other special touches on the day included hanging pictures of our grandparents, who have sadly passed away, in the branches of the trees in the ceremony space as a way of remembering them. We also incorporated a table with a variety of symbolic items in the ceremony space as a nod to the ‘sofreh aghd’, an Iranian wedding tradition.
In the evening we put up a separate tent a little into the woods, which was decked out with Persian rugs, cushions and lanterns, where people could go, chill out, and enjoy a shisha pipe.
The Garden Station is a beautiful setting for a wedding and is really something special and unusual. We really had a fantastic wedding day there. It’s easy to fall in love with it and for its beauty it is second to none. That said, we would perhaps, only recommend it to couples who are sure that they want to put in a lot of work themselves.
The ceremony itself was without a doubt the highlight of the day. It’s the most important part, when we actually became husband and wife and our ceremony was so personal, it was perfect. The evening party tent was everything we could have dreamed of and I remember standing together in the dark, looking into the brightly lit tent, ceilidh music drifting through the night air and watching people dancing and laughing and thinking that this had been the best day ever!
For our honeymoon, of course, we went to Scotland in Max our campervan. We had three weeks and used it to circumnavigate Scotland, travelling up the east coast to John o’Groats, along the north and down the west coast, hopping across to Lewis and Harris, Uist and Skye and ending our honeymoon where we met, in Stirling. Given John’s photography ban at our wedding we took my dress and his kilt with us, so our honeymoon turned into a bit of a Rock the Dress tour of Scotland.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to try and enjoy the planning as much as possible. Yes, it’s stressful and it can take over your life, but it’s also amazing and part of the excitement and the only time you’re going to get to do it. More importantly, on the day, really try to stop regularly to look around you, catch each other’s eye if you can and take everything in. This is what you’ve been planning all this time, it’s one of the best days of your life – you’re celebrating how much you love each other and everyone is there because they love you, it’s just so humbling and amazing!
anna foster, bilbo baggins wedding, comrie crafts, dessy, hector russell, jonathan stockton photography, leigh hetherington, lizzy lemon, lord of the rings wedding, northumberland wedding, rainbow room international, real to reel, real wedding, the garden station, the hobbit wedding, uk wedding blog
July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.
Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.
Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.
But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.
With images by Yana Photography.
sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.
We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.
We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.
The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.
My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.
Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.
I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.
My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.
Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!
Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.
All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.
Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.
To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!
For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.
As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.
Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.
Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.
July 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Hey Brides Up North? It’s Fridaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
To celebrate, and maybe (just maybe) get you in the mood for letting your hair down a little, we’re featuring this fun styled wedding shoot which was directed and shot by Kristin and Mark Williamson, from events and photography company, Mr and Mrs W. By blinding you with lights, neon, glitter and confetti their team are here to remind you just how much fun weddings can be!
kristin says: We took inspiration from 90’s rave to 70’s disco and set it within the warehouse venue B’Eat Street Manchester.
The sensational gowns and hair creations were supplied by Manchester based wonder team Jean Jackson Couture (a Brides Up North Sponsor no less); the UV hair styles were created by Claire at Harry Jon MUA and the ‘glittertastic’ make up was applied by Jody Ann Yates at Lynette Page Makeup Artistry.
The neon backdrops with powerful flower statements were made by Manchester’s own Springbank Flowers; the marquee letters with a twist were supplied by The Word is Love and theundoubtedly amazing lighting, complete with glitter balls and confetti, was provided by Lightech Sound and Light.
Our inspiration for this shoot was to show that a wedding should be a fun, rather than stressful event, with the bride and groom plus all their friends and family have a raging good time. Our DJ, Flic made sure we did this on the day by playing us some great music to get us all into the disco vibe.
As a team we are really excited that the industrial look is coming to the wedding industry as it can be so diverse. We hope we have given everyone a real insight into this style and whilst we know that most weddings aren’t going to look like this, couples can take elements from the images and really turn their wedding party into something really memorable.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting the music on and having a really good dance!
July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom are currently living outside of the UK due to spouse visa restrictions which have caused them and their families a lot of heartache. Their wedding was bittersweet as their friends realised that they had to leave the country because they were getting married, which made it all the more important that their celebration was extra special.
Hilary and Mike proved that your big day doesn’t have to cost the earth in order to have the time of your lives. Full of original styling touches, hand made elements and bursts of bright colour, Hilary & Mike’s perfectly personal quirky wedding day reflects their individuality beautifully.
Images by Eleanor Woodruff Photography.
hilary says: Our engagement story is absolutely hilarious and, according to our friends, no one could botch it quite like we did. We were on holiday in Cap Ferret, France in June 2013, and Mike had been secretly planning this for ages… he’d organised the barbecue, the beach, and even the sunset, but when it came to the critical moment he realised he’d forgotten to buy a ring or phrase the question! So looking rather ill (“food poisoning”), he steered the conversation towards “What the Bible says about marriage…”, much to my bewilderment. He finally managed to ask, “So… how ’bout it then?” To be fair, I didn’t get the answering part right either – I laughed and thought he was joking, then sobered up and said yes, then cried and said no, then walked down to the other end of the beach to think about it, and finally came back half an hour later with a definite yes.
We got married on Saturday 12th July 2014. We chose Left Bank Leeds for our venue, ultimately for the price and the DIY aspect of the space – which meant that we could rent the building for the day and move furniture around in between the ceremony and the reception, saving us paying for two venues and worrying about transport in between! We had an incredible team of friends resetting the hall for us while guests had drinks and photos taken outside. That Left Bank is a beautiful old church building which was another plus point for us as Christians.
We didn’t really have a theme, unless you count “a tight budget” as one! When planning the wedding we were a little daunted by the perfect, fairytale weddings we were seeing everywhere – we’re the least “bridal” couple we know, and as you might have guessed from our engagement story, far from perfect. In the end we just went with what reflected our personality best and made us feel most comfortable, which meant lots of origami flowers in recycled wine bottles, tea lights in jam jars we’d collected all year, and haphazard splashes of bright colour everywhere. This actually made it the perfect wedding for us because it represented our crazy and pragmatic sides so much better.
We used royal blue as a backdrop to hold all the splashes of brighter colour together, and also because everyone in the bridal party looked good in it – a bigger consideration than you might think in mixed race marriages!
My dress was from BHS and tailored to size by the lovely Sophie Davies Tailoring. Being 4’11” dress shopping is difficult at the best of times, and I’d got to the point where I was trying on First Communion dresses when I found this one, in the most unlikely of places! It was everything I wanted – a beautiful muted colour from the creamy lace material and champagne lining, not wider than I am tall and with straps to alleviate my fears of a wardrobe malfunction. Sophie did some magic and made the dress fit like a glove, also shortening it (by about a foot) from the waist to save the lace hem – something that a different tailor I had originally gone to wouldn’t do. She is incredibly talented and I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.
My shoes were from New Look and specifically chosen to narrow the foot and a half in height difference between me and Mike! It meant that I had some difficulty walking downhill but it was a small price to pay.
Mike is 6’4″ and has different problems altogether when buying clothes. He swears by Marks and Spencer‘s suits, and would do no different for his wedding day. He wore a slim extra-long suit in charcoal grey, a blue-and-white dogtooth bowtie with matching pocket square and, to my chagrin, a pair of Arsenal cufflinks.
We were fortunate to find dresses for the bridesmaids in a style quite similar to my dress in New Look! I definitely wanted dresses that they could wear again, and this fit the bill perfectly, also surprisingly in a shape and colour that suits them all. The dresses originally came with brown belts but the girls swapped these out for white ribbons. They wore their own shoes and I loved how this added to all the colour on the day.
Mike had two best men – his brother Andrew and his best friend Mike. Andrew has an amazing waistcoat and bowtie with multi-coloured frogs on a hot pink background which we absolutely wanted him to wear, and we brightened Mike’s wardrobe up with a colourful polka-dotted bowtie. Our ushers (unfortunately not photographed as they were moving furniture) wore royal blue ties with elephants. The blokes that did make the photos were my “Ugly Bridesmaids”, my housemates without whom a lot of the wedding would not be possible. They could wear whatever they wanted.
We didn’t hire any transport, we were each driven to the venue by our friends/family. Mike’s driver made a detour for petrol on the way to the venue!
Our wedding was photographed by the amazing Eleanor Woodruff Photography. Ellie had photographed another wedding at which Mike was best man, and we were drawn by the amount of personality she captured in those photos and how genuine she made the day look. Ellie took the time to meet up before the big day to find out more about us, scout out the venue, and go over a list of family photos. Being far more experienced with weddings than we were she also had many handy organisational tips for the day! The photos of our day are full of character and absolutely perfect, we cannot thank her enough for what a great job she’s done.
My bridal bouquet was made by my friend Liv, whose origami skills know no bounds. She’d layered so many papers, textures, and beads – it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
We didn’t have any real flowers on the day because I was paranoid about hayfever and sneezing my way down the aisle (I opted to trip down it in my 6-inch heels instead). I had the idea to do origami flowers and folded some of them to begin with, but the vast majority of it was down to an amazing team of friends and family who folded away for several hours the day before the wedding. We also had plenty of balloons and colourful bunting for a fun touch, home-made confetti and fairy lights around the hall. The table settings were my favourite – each table had a white tablecloth, a royal blue runner, multi-coloured napkins, candles and a wine bottle-full of colourful origami flowers.
Mike’s Uncle Keith made the cake based on a picture that we’d shown him on Google. Everyone agreed that he needed a career change from train driving! The cake had three tiers covered in white icing, each made by a different family member and iced by Uncle Keith. He also stuck on individual pieces of edible confetti to form a cascading effect down the side and tied royal blue ribbons around each tier – if anything it looked better than the original that inspired us! The cake was topped by a champagne glass filled with more edible confetti, and engraved with our names and the date of our wedding.
Following our DIY-origami theme, we had DIY spring rolls for our first course, a great conversation starter for our guests who didn’t know each other! We also had bring-and-share salad and desserts, which turned out to be a great idea as there was an incredible variety of food to choose from. Our main was a hog roast provided by Boss Hog Yorkshire. There was SO MUCH food and everyone was well and truly stuffed.
Left Bank Leeds provided the drinks: beers and soft drinks from Samuel Smiths Brewery, a local company, and a selection of Fairtrade wines.
It made no sense to us to hire a band when several of our friends are musicians, so we organised an open mic for entertainment during the meal. Our friends absolutely did not disappoint and we had such a good evening, with everything from classical violin to 5-piece band. After the meal we pushed the tables aside for a ceilidh, with music from Ermine Street Band. Everyone loves a good ceilidh, and there was plenty of screaming, shouting and laughing.
Our vast height difference does not lend itself well to dancing, so we opted to do a “first duet” instead. We sang the song “Without You” by AJ Rafael, a song which I sang to Mike on Skype while we were long-distance, and made him cry. Mike was on guitar and I played piano.
For our honeymoon we went on a cooking holiday in the Loire Valley in France. This was a real treat for us as we’re nuts about French food. We were the only guests at the B&B as we went mid-week, and Lesley went out of her way to make things especially lovely for us! We enjoyed every moment of it and would totally recommend it to anyone else looking for a more hands-on holiday.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that a spectacular wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth – we managed to source most of our decorations from eBay and Amazon, or supermarkets and discount shops like Home Bargains. High street stores also turned up some pretty surprising and budget-friendly clothing finds for the wedding party! Putting a bit of elbow grease and creativity into the preparations also helped cut costs, and we’re grateful for all the incredible friends we had around to lend us a DIY-hand. Finally, don’t worry too much about having to put on a spectacular show to impress the guests – they turned up to celebrate “us” in all our quirkiness and loved how much the wedding reflected our wacky personalities!
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