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
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!
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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!
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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.
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