September 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m feeling good Brides Up North! It’s nearly the weekend, it’s almost our event season (SO excited!) and today’s real wedding is all kinds of epic! Not only did bride Katy totally rock her 50s frock and bespoke headwear, but she and her bridesmaids also hitched a ride on the Metro to the ceremony, then finished things off with one massive street party.
I’m following Katy and Andrew’s lead… it’ll be fish and chips for tea tonight!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Jamie Penfold Photography.
Katy says: Andrew proposed last summer when we were on holiday in New York.
Everyone had been nagging Andrew to propose for months and before we went he gave me ‘the New York talk’ several times – saying very seriously for me not to expect him to propose in New York and that he didn’t want me to ruin the holiday by being all miserable the whole time we were there because he hadn’t proposed.
After the flight to New York I was tired and a bit tetchy and we almost had a row at the airport but something at the back of my mind thinking ‘just be nice, we’re on holiday’. I was glad I was as when we got to our hotel room I spotted an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses and a note in front. I went to investigate (in case it was a freebie) and on the note it read ‘Katy will you marry me’ – I turned round and Andrew was down on one knee.
I’m normally pretty chatty but I was so gobsmacked I wept for about 5 minutes – Andrew actually had to prompt me to say ‘yes’. I’d arranged the holiday and wouldn’t have even thought Andrew would have known where we were staying so was totally blown away that he’d organised such a wonderful surprise.
We were married on 19th June 2014. The ceremony was in the Council Chamber at Newcastle Civic Centre and the reception was in the back lane of the terrace my parents live on!
The reception was first – my parents still live in the house I grew up in. It’s a very social street and ever since a big party to celebrate the millennium they’ve held regular street dos and ‘back lane BBQs’ every summer. It was important to both of us that the whole wedding be as personal as possible, including the venue – so a back lane party was an obvious choice. All the neighbours were fab – when my folks approached them about using the lane not only did they say yes but everyone offered to help, and let us use their back gardens too.
For the ceremony we aren’t religious but still wanted a venue that meant something to us (and was big enough to host over 150 guests). My grandfather was an alderman and Councillor and sat in the (then very new) Council Chamber at the Civic Centre.
As a Geordie away from home I wanted Newcastle to be a big part of the wedding. Other than that it was just all about making it as personal as possible. Dresses, hair and make-up were 50s style.
We chose a teal colour scheme (inspired by the top of the Civic Centre and the Tyne Bridge!)
My shoes were from BHS and I customised them with peacock tail feathers, pearls and buttons.
I took my dress to be altered at a local dress maker as it needed taking in a bit. They totally let me down and after a series of mishaps (not doing the alterations when they said they would, not turning up at the shop when I was due to collect) I finally got my dress back only to discover, with just 10 days to go before the wedding, they’d taken it in way more than they were supposed to. I could just get into it but it was too tight to sit down/eat/breath!
Fortunately Honeypie had one readymade sample of a dress in a different design in my size which they posted straight out. The only downside being that it had a peach skirt which really wouldn’t have gone with all my peacock accessories.
I could get away with outfit number one for the ceremony and then would wear dress number two for the reception. I decided that if I was having to change dress I would brazen it out and go for a full outfit change. I sent Adrienne a photo of the new dress and my wedding hair and asked her to bring any head pieces she thought would go into her shop on the Saturday. When I got there, she said she hadn’t had anything the thought would be just right so had made me a new one from scratch. I loved my silver evening headpiece – she really pulled out all the stops and helped turn a crisis into a positive.
The bridesmaids had dresses with the inverse colour scheme to mine from Honeypie. I made peacock hair clips for them to tie in with my headpiece.
All the boys wore their own suits but had a variety of teal neckwear from Tom Sawyer.
I made button bouquets for me and the grownup bridesmaids (the younger two had button horseshoes). I did buy some buttons but friends, family and colleagues from work all dug out granny’s button boxes and I also wired in fabric flowers from my parents’ wedding cake, various trinkets and grand parents’ and great grandparents’ engagement rings. It was my old, new, borrowed and blue all in one. With my change of outfit for the evening I swapped the bouquet for a Kate Spade Mr&Mrs number plate clutch!
I got the metro to the ceremony – then we’d hired a vintage Routemaster to take the bridal party and groomsmen for photos and back to the reception.
My mum was really dubious about going on the metro but I was adamant about it. I’m so glad we did as it was so much fun and we got some fab photos. The looks on people’s faces as they pulled into Benton metro station and saw us on the platform were an absolute picture.
It was really important to make the wedding as personal as possible, using people we knew wherever possible. This meant there were quite a lot of special touches! But I think it’s important to remember not to let the special touches stress you out.
My godfather is an artist and so I asked him to do a painting for us to use on all of the stationery. It was turquoise to tie in with the colour theme and had a seahorse (to echo the top of the Civic Centre) and peacock (as I’d already decided peacock feathers were going to be part of my outfit).
I sewed 300m of bunting (assisted by mother in law, Andrew and best friend Lucy) and my mum made hundreds of tissue pompoms and fans. They had a pompom fluffing party the week before the wedding with all the neighbours.
We had fish and chips for dinner and so to tie in with the theme I made a newspaper with stories about us and used half pages of it as place mats. There were crosswords and word searches on the back which proved a good ice breaker at the tables.
As we were in the back lane and gardens I’d got some mini gnomes to use for table numbers. I had a feeling these would not make it unscathed through the wedding – by the end of the night we were all swigging port out of them!
It worked out as cheap to buy antique cutlery as it was to hire it so we spent months scouring antique and flea markets for sets. We’ve got some lovely ones to keep and will give the rest to the charity shop.
We’re the Meades and so my mum had some mini bottles of Lindesfarne Mead made up for with our names on the label on the back as a surprise.
As the back lane wasn’t a typical venue we did the table plan on a blown up plan of the street so people knew where everything else was as well as their table. We always play drinking games during the speeches at other people’s wedding so we also did a big sweepstake on the table plan.
The specialist touch of all was all of the neighbours. We hadn’t managed to set everything up on the Friday night so all the neighbours came out at 8am on the Saturday morning to help set out all the tables and chairs. It was a real team effort.
One of the neighbours is in a band and the street always head out en masse to support them when they play gigs locally so they were the obvious choice for music. They played in their garage and we had the dancing out in the lane. They were fab.
We had wedding cheese from The Cheese Board in Harrogate. Complete with knitted mice in miniature versions of our outfits that one of my colleagues made. I hand stitched some mini bunting too.
Our chip supper was by Clems Fish and Chips.
The whole day was amazing – better than I could have ever imagined.
But bar far the best bit – and certainly the most emotional for me was the ceremony itself. Closely followed by just about every other part of the day. Even the pouring rain we had coming out of the ceremony was fun.
For our honeymoon we did a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco via Death Valley, Yosemite and the Pacific Highway.
My top tip for Brides Up North is that the most important bit of the wedding is where the two of you stand at the front and do your ‘I do’s. All the rest is window dressing.
August 28th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wow – just wow! This wedding knocked my socks off the moment I received the images of Amy and Andy’s big day set in good old Yorkshire.
The beautiful colour palette of coral, yellow, creams and gold sets the prettiness level sky high and Amy makes one of the most stunning brides I’ve ever seen in her customised Maggie Sottero dress and ethereal twisted-twig flower crown.
There are lots of cute personal touches in this wedding that made for a memorable, stylish and super enjoyable day.
So let’s go back to the start – the proposal. Be warned ladies, it’s a tear jerker (excellent work Andy)!
With photography by Kate Cooper.
Amy says: Andy proposed on February 16th 2013. He had taken me out for an Italian and when we got home he asked me to stay in the car for a minute and, although confused, I did as I was told. After about five minutes, and almost freezing to death, he came out to get me. When I walked into the house he’d covered the living room in candles and our favourite song, A Real Human by College and Electric Youth, was playing. It was beautiful. As I walked further into the house he’d lit candles up the stairs and alongside the candles were little notes tied to a long ribbon. As I went up the stairs the notes went through all of the best moments we’d had so far including moving in together, our first holiday and bringing home our miniature schnauzer, Enzo.
The ribbon went up the stairs and into the bedroom where it stopped on the bed. The card on the bed told me to turn around and he was down on one knee behind me. We both cried, I said yes and then cried some more down the phone to anyone who’d answer my calls! I loved my proposal and he’d put so much thought into everything. It was such a perfect evening and it made it more special that it was just us two at home.
We set the date for Saturday May 31st 2014. Our plan was to get married later on in the year but my grandparents fell ill and so the most important thing was that they shared our day with us. Unfortunately, two of my grandparents passed away during our engagement but we know they were looking down on us and we tried to make them proud.
We chose the Whiston Manorial Barn in Rotherham as our wedding venue. We had always loved the idea of having a barn wedding but found it difficult to find exactly what we wanted. When we finally looked around the Manorial Barn we instantly knew it was where we’d marry. It is such a breath-taking place and it was exactly what we’d spent so long looking for. We would definitely recommend this venue to other couples. The women who co-ordinate the weddings at the barn, Claire and Karen, were so helpful and were always at the other end of an email or phone call whenever we needed advice or help.
We didn’t necessarily have a theme for our wedding, but just wanted it to be a fun atmosphere full of colour. We were very unsure about the colour scheme at first but as it was a summer wedding we decided to go for something bright. My favourite colours are coral and yellow and so we wanted to incorporate these and we tied them with creams and gold. We wanted the flowers to be the main focus of the decorations as they added so much colour so we kept everything else quite neutral and it seemed to work well.
We hired a cream Daimler V4 1/2 to transport the bridal party to the venue. As the company were based only 15 minutes away we decided to have just one car to do two trips so my bridesmaids and mum went first and then it came back to collect me and my dad. I remember the wait feeling like forever when really it was only half-an-hour. The service we used was called American Pie Limos, based in Wales, South Yorkshire. We would highly recommend them as they were perfectly on time and free Champagne is always a winner!
I’m quite into textiles and sewing and so my initial plan was to make my own wedding dress. I had help from my grandma as she used to be a seamstress and we bought a few Vogue patterns to use and modify. Unfortunately around August last year my granddad was diagnosed with cancer and so everything was put on hold. As it was such a stressful time for the family, I decided to visit a bridal shop called Blushes in Sheffield. The shop assistant Zoe, took down my details and potential styles I liked. After describing my ideal dress she pulled one out and it was perfect – well almost. The dress was Dalton by Maggie Sottero but I had it altered quite a lot to fit the design that me and my grandma were initially going to make ourselves. It was supposed to have a zip right up the back which was made into a ‘V’ back and we shortened the sleeves. We also added netting underneath to make it kick out more.
Andy wore a three-piece Hugo Boss suit in steel grey which fitted him perfectly! He had a white shirt with ivory wool tie. He’d also bought a pair of dark brown brogues. He looked so dapper!
We didn’t really have set rules on what our bridesmaids/groomsmen would wear. This was mainly because we wanted them to be able to wear their outfits again and so it was important that they really liked them. The adult bridesmaids, Katherine, Laura and Beth, wore art-deco style taupe gowns embellished with steel beads by Adrianna Papell from House of Fraser. The dresses were gorgeous and the girls looked absolutely stunning! Our nieces and flower girls, Lily and Josie, wore dresses from Monsoon and looked so adorable.
The groomsmen all wore different suits and whatever they felt comfortable in. We just wanted everyone to feel relaxed – and they really brushed up well!
When it came to our wedding flowers, I carried a bouquet made up of Garden Roses, Peonies, Scabia seed heads, Eucalyptus, Freesia, Craspedia, Panicum Fountain Grasses, Larkspur and Nigella. As mentioned, we wanted the flowers to be the focus of our wedding and they were the main decoration for the barn. The coral, orange and yellow colours tied together beautifully and the florist did such a great job at putting them all together. I also wore a flower crown with just a few flowers on one front side of the band. This was made from twisted stems/twigs and I loved it!
My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet but the colours were a bit more subtle. Lily had an even smaller bouquet and Josie had a single peony wrapped in ribbon. It was all put together by the very talented Kath who owns Of The Wild in Broomhill, Sheffield. She got everything absolutely spot-on and I actually cried when I saw our flowers because they were so stunning and were exactly what we had asked for. Kath is very highly recommended if you’re after something a little different and more detailed than your average bouquet.
Our photographer on the day was the amazing Kate Cooper. We arranged an engagement shoot with her beforehand just because Andy and I aren’t the most graceful people in front of a camera. She made us feel so comfortable and laughed along with us when it was a little awkward – it was fun overall and we soon loosened up. We did get some lovely photos and it definitely set us up for the main event.
We had always liked the idea of our photos being natural and we wanted someone to capture people in naturally happy settings and record the general mood of the day. We did have a few staged photos of family but the rest we left completely to Kate. We put a great amount of trust in her (sorry Kate) but we knew she’d do an amazing job. We are going to recommend her to anyone in need of a photographer because she is honestly one of the nicest people we have ever met and worked with. We are so thankful that she was there, not only to capture our day, but to help us celebrate. Knowing that Kate was around meant that we could enjoy our day so much more without the worry that the atmosphere wouldn’t be captured and that things would get missed. Kate covered absolutely everything from table settings, venue details, to our terrible first dance and we were speechless when we received our photos. They were simply incredible.
Our floral decorations added an amazing boost of colour to our tables and brought a summery feel to the venue. To add to the decor, I made a trip to Ikea where I bought polka dot lace fabric and made table runners. We had yellow and orange candles scattered around and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law made some lovely bunting for us to tie from the beams. Andy is very artistic and he did a great job of designing all of our table names, seating plan and stationery himself. We had our chair covers done by a lady named Paula from Cover in Style and she also put up some fairy lights for us which looked gorgeous at night when the main lights were dimmed.
Andy’s mum, Margaret, is the best at baking so there was never any question about who would make our wedding cake. We had a few designs in mind but wanted to keep it quite simple. We finally decided on a deep two-tier cake with little icing beads at the bases and a large pink peony on top. One tier was Victoria sponge and the other chocolate and we decorated the cake board with gold glitter to tie it all together. It was so delicious! Margaret also made us our wedding favours which were little heart shaped shortbread biscuits topped with white icing and gold glitter sprinkles – yum!
Our wedding menu consisted of pate for starters, ‘Chicken Manorial Barn’ for main, which was chicken in puff pastry served with vegetables, and then Andy’s favourite for dessert – treacle sponge. The food was provided by the staff at the Manorial Barn and it was well presented and gorgeous! For the reception we also hired Emily’s Ice Cream Bike who provided our guests with yummy ice cream in all sorts of flavours. If anyone hires them they’d be a fool not to choose Jaffa Cake ice cream, it was so good!
We wanted to keep things simple at the reception and just enjoy ourselves in a relaxed environment so we simply had a DJ provided by the barn as our entertainment. He was great and we were able to put together our own playlist before the night. We incorporated this into our wedding invites and asked guests to suggest a song to dance to. The responses were somewhat interesting but it just made it that bit more personal for the guests and everyone really enjoyed it. We had dance-offs, dirty dancing lifts (ending with collapsed tables and red wine on white shirts) and general sassiness, especially from the boys!
There were several special touches on the day which helped to make it all the more personal and memorable. We both wrote our own vows for the ceremony as we found the standard vows very basic and not very personal. We decided not to show each other until we read them in front of each other on the day which made it that much more exciting! They were both very different but it is something we will both remember and we kept the books we wrote them in so we can look back at them from time to time.
My nan also lent me her wedding pearls for the ceremony which I thought was very touching. The pearls had been worn by my nan, my mum and my auntie on their wedding days so it was an honour to be able to wear them. I had decided to put the necklace on just before leaving my parents house but as I put it on one of the strings snapped and it was then a mad rush to fix it. Luckily my matron of honour, Katherine, whipped out a sewing kit and gave it to me all brand new when I arrived at the barn. My other nan had always kept a bottle cork with a penny stuck through the middle of it. I was told this was supposed to be good luck but with my bouquet I was unable to carry it, so it got stuck in my bra – classy!
Andy’s dancing also added a certain special touch to the day. It’s not possible to describe this – it has to be seen to be believed, trust me!
I have so many favourite moments but if I had to choose just one, it would have to be the ceremony. I loved that we were able to say our own vows and that it was so personal to us. It was made more perfect that all of our family and friends were together in one space and the moment we became husband and wife was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Secondary to that would have to be the moment Andy threw himself at his best man, James, when Time of Our Lives (Dirty Dancing) came on. They both flew backwards, into a table and ended up covered in red wine. Andy got up the next morning and said “where did all of this wine come from?” He was mortified when I told him!
Andy surprised me with a trip to America for our honeymoon. We flew to Washington and once on the plane Andy told me what we would be doing. I cried when he started telling me that we would be transferring from Washington to San Francisco then renting an RV to drive around California and back up the coast. Andy arranged everything perfectly and I’m so grateful to him!
Our advice to other couples would be don’t dwell too much on the materialistic things. Sometimes things don’t work out how you imagine them to and it’s not the end of the world. Of course there are bound to be problems along the way, but for us it all came down to family. All we wanted was to be surrounded by the ones we love the most and to make sure that everyone had as much of a good time as we did. Planning our wedding has taught us to think about the bigger picture and to try not to get carried away with things that really don’t matter that much in hindsight. Our parents and families helped us every step of the way during our wedding planning and we are still completely overwhelmed with how amazing these people are. We will never forget their generosity and kindness.
July 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Wednesday afternoons always warrant a trip to the chocolate machine, don’t they? Save your calories – here’s a double dose of sweetness instead. Real childhood sweethearts and newlyweds Charlotte and Danny are here to share their love story, along with some bright and beautiful images from friend of the wedding blog Sarah of Folega Photography.
Charlotte says: Danny planned a surprise proposal in Hathersage atop of Mam Tor, the exact place he asked me to be his girlfriend on a school trip 10 years ago when we were just 12 and 13 years old!
Danny says: It was a surprise for Charlotte, but everyone else – her mum, sister, my mum and dad, my brothers and a few of my best friends were in on it.
We tied the knot at 3.30pm on Sunday 28th June 2014 at Ringwood Hall Hotel in Chesterfield.
The first time we properly met was our first day of secondary school as we were in the same class. With us being only 12 years old at the time, our first date was probably at McDonalds!
I don’t think we realised then how long we would be together, it was the norm really to swap and change your boyfriend or girlfriend each week in the school yard!
Personally I love the fact that because we grew up together, supported each other, shared sad and happy times together and experienced all our “first times” with each other – he is my best friend, we are completely open and natural with each other, nothing has to be forced with us, we genuinely enjoy spending as much time together as we can and I cannot wait to marry him.
June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University. Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul.
Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission. I was exactly right: Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.
Bravo Mrs Hough!
With images by Andy Gaines.
Vicky says: Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!
Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.
About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect
Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!
We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire.
I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.
I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.
As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.
The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.
The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.
With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.
Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!
The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.
I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.
I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!
It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.
Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.
Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.
Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.
Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!
Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill. Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.
We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.
Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day. 2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.
Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!
Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!
Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.
For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.
The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!
We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.
Congratulations Vicky & Paul!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014
This is not a sponsored post
May 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Gemma and Ivan started out with an all white theme. That didn’t last long.
Instead, this fun couple opted for bold brights, glam detail, fabulous florals and lots of entertaining extras.
Images by Phil Nunez Photography.
Gemma says: Ivan asked me to marry him at T3, London Heathrow just prior to boarding on holiday to Mauritius! We actually met at T2 four years earlier after meeting on the internet. I was refusing to meet him and he knew I was flying out on business so just turned up, really glad he did now!
We said I do at Newton Hall, Newton-by-the-Sea on 15th March 2014.
Northumberland has been a second home to me since a child as we have a family holiday home in Alnwick, so when we stumbled across Newton Hall whilst supping cocktails in Mauritius shortly after getting engaged it seemed fate.
We had to wait a few months before we could make the 300 mile journey up north to see the real thing so anticipation was high on the day.
We looked at other venues but for us nothing else came close to ticking the boxes – the location, the quirky style, the superior service & attention to detail, it felt completely right.
Our theme developed over the months, but from the offset we wanted something a bit different. We didn’t want pretty: we wanted full on, bold, fun, glam, quirky & wow. We wanted a wedding that reflected our taste and likes.
We found a Liberty print fabric that we fell in love with – we used this as basis for our colours scheme and the fabric itself for custom made ties & handkerchiefs. We also used the stag silhouette from Newton Hall as the stationery theme.
We started out with an all white colour palette and decided to turn it all on its head as the theme developed using bold colours: pinks, blues, purples mixed with neutral colours and textures.
We really loved the idea of having a fun & colourful glam theme, especially at the weather in March was likely to be dull.
I chose a BIG dress – which was a complete shock. I set out thinking slinky & plain and landed up very fitted with a massive flamenco like bottom with a huge train.
I used Mariposa, a small bridal boutique close to home. They encouraged me to try different styles which was really helpful. Being a size 14 I felt nervous that everything would look awful but they were really good at choosing flattering styles.
In the end I wanted to wear something I would never had dreamt of, or have occasion to wear again.
My bridesmaid wore an aubergine dress from House of Fraser’s own collection. Again we didn’t want a traditional dress, we wanted glam: it had a beautiful metal collar and a thigh high split with towering LK Bennett heels. Having just a single bridesmaid made the choices super easy.
We hired navy tails for the groom’s party and teamed them with duck egg linen waistcoats. Ivan wore the Liberty print tie, and the rest of the party ruches with Liberty print handkerchiefs. They looked super smart but edgy.
Amy from Rose & Bird did our make-up and totally nailed what I wanted from the start. Kara from Kara Scott Hair catered for our hair needs. I didn’t have any specific ideas on hair so she worked through lots of ideas with me which was great. Both Amy & Kara we brilliant company on the day putting everyone at ease…and the make-up & hair lasted all day despite the crazy winds on the beach!
Phil Nunez was our photographer and such an important part of the day. We wanted natural pictures, no posed formal shots – this was really important for us. Phil’s work is incredible, he gets the most beautiful of shots in the most simple of surroundings, such a talent. When we saw the results of the pre-wedding shoot we knew we’d hit gold.
I carried a hand tied bouquet of mainly deep and hot pink David Austin roses with elements of flowers being used in the table centres such as a splash sensation, lisisanthus, freesia & thistles to link to the buttonholes.
My favourite part of the day has to be walking back down the aisle as Mrs Scott under the raining confetti, to the whooping & cheering of friends & family – unforgettable.
I had requested that the ladies go for fantastical headwear, keeping in line with the bold & glam theme. Newton Hall installed a hat line which we hung messages from – I loved this idea.
The Finishing Touch Company catered for all our flower and decorative needs. From the start Charlotte was great – lots of ideas and patience! Her work really did make our day. I actually cried when I saw our wedding I saw the rooms. I’m so glad we went for it with the flowers.
We gave our guests a tea towel as a favour. A designer friend helped us create the design and then we had them printed on natural calico
Our table flowers were huge displays of roses in pinks of different shades, thistles, pink lisianthus, pink freesia, splash sensation, muscari, veronica, ranunculus, pink anemone and bouvardia – they looked spectacular!
We hired in a photo booth from Snaparazzi and this really made the evening. The guests loved it and the pictures are a fantastic memory.
We also hired in big illuminated letters from Coco Luminaire which we used around the venue – such a cool backdrop.
For our evening entertainment wee hired in Func on the Rocks – we chose them by blind listening and they stood out a mile. They were fabulous on the night and totally played to the audience. We had so many compliments on the band.
One of my closest friends Jojo made our wedding cake – inspiration came from a wedding show we visited. She decided to create the wedding cake as our wedding gift and she certainly delivered. Jojo can barely cook an evening meal so this was a massive challenge and she delivered 1000%… even if she did leave half of it accidentally on the train to Edinburgh, only just getting it back in the nick of time!
After the wedding we headed out to Marrakech for a mini-moon and are booked for two weeks in Bangkok & Phuket in the Autumn.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have the day you want, don’t worry about what you think your guests expect. It’s such a monumental occasion, so make sure you research your photographer – their work will be your lasting physical memory for decades to come.
Congratulations Gemma & Ivan!
This is not a sponsored post
February 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
On Monday I featured an ethereal and romantic styled shoot showing off the gorgeous designs of Claire Pettibone at The Alnwick Garden (want to see? Click here to catch up). Now it seems that the team involved are so skilled that they had time to turn the day on it’s head and produce a second shoot – something completely different – to show off Brides Up North Featured Supplier Emma Bunting’s skills (she makes beautiful bunting, like her name suggests)!
Bright, bold, a little whimsical and a lot of colourful. I talk about talent all the time here at Brides Up North, but it just goes to show that whatever your style, these wedding professionals have it covered.
Let’s infuse this Friday morning with rainbows!
Emma says: I was given permission to use The Alnwick Garden whilst it was closed to the public to shoot Emma Bunting’s new Rainbow range. I wanted a fun and slightly offbeat look for a relaxed bride and groom – I think we achieved that with the look of our models and the quirky style.
I hope you like our colourful creations and pick up some bright and beautiful ideas for your own big day.
Emma Bunting and her team will be exhibiting at The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden on Sunday 18th May 2014. A beautiful, excusive event in an extraordinary setting. Closing our spring season for 2014, it’s set to be a magical day. Be inspired! Click here to register for FREE ENTRY and your VIP Bride To Be Goody Bag.
January 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Let’s brighten things up around this Tuesday with this colour popping celebration sent to me by real bride Kate and wedding photographer Tori Deslauriers. Kate and Phil opted for a fresh look alongside traditional details, personal touches and lots of bright colour. Today’s Real Wedding is all things bright and beautiful. Enjoy.
Kate says: Phil asked me to marry him on 2nd August 2011. We were in the planning process of building a new house, Phil told me we had an appointment to see the architect so I got the afternoon off work. When he picked me up, he told me we weren’t going to the architect we were going to choose an engagement ring. I was given a ring box with a washer in it! I had always said I’d want to pick my own ring, just to make sure…
We were married on Sat 7th September 2013 (ten and a half years after we got together)! The ceremony was at St Peters Church in Humbleton, East Yorkshire and the reception was in a marquee at the Walled Gardens of Burton Constable Stately Home.
The Church is our local parish church, which is a quaint country church and was only 5 minutes from home, so was an obvious choice.
We knew we both wanted a marquee reception – something we could make our own. We had previously been to a wedding at Burton Constable and commented on how beautiful and private the gardens were, it was only 10 minutes from the church so it was perfect. We didn’t even look at any other venues.
We wanted the wedding day to be modern and stylish, so went for a black and white theme with a hint of colour.
December 23rd, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for what’s set to be the biggest and best year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty.
Usual service will recommence on 2nd January 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings in 2013. Drop in every day for the very, very prettiest wedding inspiration and if you are a Brides Up North bride, to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
What better way to kick off the week than with one super stylish and perfectly pretty Real Wedding recap, courtesy of Brides Up North Featured Supplier Chris Milner Photography and real bride Jessica.
Combining a few of my favourite things – wildflowers, sequins and summertime – this was always going to be a good one!
Jessica says: We got engaged in the summer of 2011 whilst on holiday with friends in Cornwall. After a heavy night in Newquay we spent the next day lazing on the beautiful beach at Polzealth. Chris asked me if I’d like to take a walk up on the cliff tops, and because of the gorgeous sunshine and plentiful tanning opportunities I needed convincing to leave my comfy beach-towelled spot! But we headed up to a lovely grassy area overlooking the ocean and he got down on one knee to my squeals of surprise and delight!
We were married on Saturday 3rd August 2013. The ceremony was at St. Peter’s Church in Anlaby, a stones-throw from my parents home and where I grew up. The reception took place at West Carlton Country Guest House in Aldborough.
I spied our one-of-a-kind venue after trawling the internet for wedding venues in the area. Tim and Caroline who own the house, were so welcoming and just our sort of people right from our first meeting with them at their wedding fair. The beauty of West Carlton is that each wedding is different. It meant we had the freedom to choose our own entertainment, caterers, marquee company, everything. And the rural location meant that no neighbours protested when the partying went on until well past 4am in the morning!
The next main thing was the marquee which proved to be one of the toughest decisions of the whole process! After numerous site visits and exchanges of emails and quotes, something just didn’t feel right about the arrangements until we found Black Cherry Events. Although not local to East Yorkshire, they were excited to provide our marquee and offered excellent service. The little extras they included, such as the lighting options (the twinkle light ceiling really made the marquee amazing as the sun went down!) the choice of flat drapes, and the chill-out furniture, was something that we’d just not been presented with by anyone else – I am thrilled that we found them.
We chose an English Country Garden theme. We wanted a relaxed, outdoorsy wedding that was fresh, informal and free from stuffy etiquette.
My dress was from The White Room in Sheffield. I had lusted after Jenny Packham’s bridal collection from the beginnings of my research. Joy was the last of five beautiful dresses I tried and I knew it was the one. I matched the dress with a Jenny Packham headpiece.
After visiting Harrogate Vintage Wedding Fair I met Julie from From This Day Forward in Bradford. She was showcasing her original dresses in a variety of styles and colours. I wanted a Cath Kidston-like cotton dress that would be girly and summery and fit my bridesmaids perfectly and that’s exactly what I got!
Sarah at the Floral Lounge created an unstructured bouquet featuring mini yellow sunflowers craspedia, bluperum, purple Veronica, lilac, sweetpeas, stox in bright purple colours and September aster flower. The bouquet was bound by extra material from the alterations of my wedding dress, as were the flowers the bridesmaids carried.
For me my favourite part of the day was actually the part I was dreading beforehand! I imagined walking into the church for Chris and everyone to see me for the first time would be really nerve-wracking, but I loved seeing everybody’s smiling faces and enjoyed every moment of the service. A close second place goes to dancing the night away with the band and friends, amazing memories.
My dad has a 1968 MGB Roadster in primrose yellow that I always wanted to be my wedding car. For the short journey from my parents’ house to the church it was just me and him, with the top down (driving very slowly to save my hair!) and then for the thirty minute journey from the church to Aldborough Chris drove us both with our photographer in hot pursuit! This half an hour was one of my favourite parts of the day as it gave us the chance to catch up on the events of the morning (and the night before)!
We wanted a home-made, rustic feel to the marquee and decorations, but unfortunately neither me nor Chris are particularly crafty so it came to my mum to step up! She made ninety-two metres of bunting, raspberry jam favours for the girls and apple chutney favours for the boys! She even googled ‘How to make tissue paper-pom-poms’ and painstakingly folded and cut fifty pom-poms.
We didn’t really have a colour scheme, other than fresh, summery, floral shades that would fit in well with the countryside setting. The bunting was a mixture of ditzy florals, polka dots and gingham, whereas the pom-poms were in bright fuchsia pinks, blues and creams.
Not to be left out of the crafting, my dad, a sign-writer by trade, made signs for the campers and a banner for the car. My brother got in on the act too, and spent time researching vintage super-8 cameras to capture some images of the day. A videographer was one supplier too many and the budget just couldn’t stretch, so we began to think about ways of doing it ourselves. He bought me a 1976 Cannon 310 XL super-8 camera and two rolls of film. We had a play around with the camera and made sure it worked beforehand, and then on the day passed it around family and friends to capture moments from the day. Since the wedding we have had the films developed and digitised and I am really happy with the results. The nostalgic flickers of familiar, smiling faces help to remind us of what a perfect day we had. You can see it here.
My mum and her friend went on a baking mission a week before the wedding! Our main cake (which didn’t get eaten…details to follow!) was a rich fruit cake iced with marzipan and royal icing topped with mini bunting. Surrounding that on the cake table we had a smorgasbord of loaf cakes, cupcakes and buns which included lemon drizzle muffins, fruit scones, coffee, blueberry, lemon and chocolate cupcakes and sticky orange marmalade cake. On the day itself, we actually forgot to cut the cake! Then, in the wee small hours when the hard-working bar staff had gone home, our illustrious best man proved that in the contest between wedding cake and forehead, the dense fruit cake was the victor!
We met The Ordinary Men covers band at a wedding fair and they promised us a night to remember and they did not disappoint! They did an acoustic set which included Oasis, Razorlight and Paolo Nuttini before cranking it up for the full set later on. Everybody commented on the band and how the live music made the night extra special
We didn’t book a honeymoon in advance and instead decided to wait to see how we felt after the day. Luckily, thanks to the amazing generosity of our friends and family we were able to book a last minute short stay in Rome. We flew out a few days after the wedding and spent time sightseeing and eating our way around the eternal city.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to worry about anything and enjoy each part of the day in little sections, that way it doesn’t go too fast!
Congratulations Jessica & Chris!
Chris Milner Photography will be exhibiting at The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition THIS SUNDAY 17th November 2013 at National Railway Museum, York. The event is FREE ENTRY and open from 10:30am till 5pm. Click here for more details and to pre-register as a VIP Bride To Be.
Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier
October 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime
This morning we join Brides Up North reader (and Canadian bride) Chelsey and her other half Andy for their gloriously colourful countryside Real Wedding in Yorkshire. The best bit? All the beautiful blooms are picked right from the garden. It’s just one of the special details that makes this pretty celebration stand out. Be inspired!
With images by Andy Gaines Creative.
Chelsey says: Andy proposed in 2011 during our annual “Orphan’s Christmas” that we host every year for friends in our ski resort community who are away from home, sometimes for the first time. I was so surprised and it was so fun to celebrate our brand new engagement with so many friends!
We were married on 30th August 2013. Our ceremony was at All Hallows Church in Sutton-on-the-Forest and our reception followed at the Stone Trough Inn in Kirkham Abbey.
We chose our venue because the manager, Tim was so helpful and the location was like a picture postcard – even on a foggy October afternoon when we first saw it. The food was incredible and they did it up just beautifully for us on the day.
Our theme was vintage English countryside. Andy grew up in a small village in Yorkshire and the surrounding area is so beautiful with amazing views and beautiful landscapes.
Our colours were based on the bright colours of wildflowers – cornflowers, marigolds and meadowsweet, with splashes of poppy and violet. The main colour was bright yellow because it is such a happy colour!
I wore a Manuel Mota for Pronovias lace and chiffon gown. I bought it on a sort of whim very early on in our engagement from Viva Bridal, in my town of Kamloops, BC. I fell in love with it from the first moment I tried it on, and it made my mum tear up right away so we knew we had a winner! It was exactly what I had always imagined I’d wear. My veil came from Sibo Designs on Etsy.
Judy Wright of The Plantsmiths supplied all of our flowers right from her very own garden, which I loved. The bouquets were lovely and full hand-tied bunches with lots of bright colours, wrapped in hessian and ribbon.
My bridesmaids wore yellow sun dresses from ModCloth with nude suede pumps. Andy and his best man wore grey suits from Moores in Kamloops. His other two groomsmen wore their own suits and they all looked so sharp! All of the groomsmen accessorized with yellow seersucker ties and pocket squares. Our little ring-bearer had grey suit from Next and a yellow seersucker bow-tie as well.
We chose a 3 tiered cake with two tiers of chocolate and one of lemon, with a delicious buttercream icing, decorated with silk wildflowers from Cakes Unlimited of Yorkshire. We were so busy visiting that the only piece we had was when we cut the cake! Everyone said it was delicious though.
We had plenty of flowers on the tables, with lots of candles too.
Each table had a photo of a wedding from our families — each of our parents and grandparents. I also made yards and yards of bunting which was hung from the rafters.
We also had a lovely guest book alternative which was a thumb print tree from an Etsy shop called Spotted Nest. She even incorporated our cat, Dominic on it!
Love Invited did our beautiful custom stationery suite. They were wonderful to work with and we got exactly what we were after. I hand made the escort cards with tea-soaked shipping tags and vintage buttons.
My favourite little extras were the cuff links I bought Andy, which were little bits of maps with our birth cities on them, as well as the bird cake toppers, both custom made from Etsy shops Paper Arcadia and Cinnamon Birds, respectively. I love Etsy and went a bit mad with wedding purchases there.
We worked with amazing local vendors. Andy Gaines Creative did our photos and they turned out better than we ever could have hoped. He captured so many special moments of the day and in such a beautiful, artistic way. He was so enthusiastic and we had a great time having him there.
If I had to choose one favourite moment it would be when we had our photos done in the field across from the Stone Trough Inn. It had just been harvested and we got my favourite pictures of the day there and had so much fun while we were at it.
We had the most amazing DJ that we met while clubbing in Manchester, named Melanie Carter. We asked her if she’d like to make a trip out to Yorkshire for our big day and luckily she agreed. She had everyone dancing all night; the music was really one of the highlights!
We honeymooned on the Amalfi Coast and Rome in Italy. We had such an incredible time, and absolutely stuffed ourselves full of pasta, pizza, gelato and wine. It was an unforgettable two weeks. We finished our honeymoon with a quick visit in Manchester with Andy’s family before we flew home to Canada.
My top tips for other Brides Up North are to take in every moment as best you can because the day really does fly by. Try and get a good night’s sleep the night before and don’t fret if something goes wrong; no one will notice (really!). Tell your parents you love them and wear lash extensions instead of mascara, you won’t regret it once the speeches begin.
Congratulations Chelsey & Andy!
This is not a sponsored post
September 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Jo and Neil’s big day is bright, beautiful and full of brilliant little personal details. Basically, a wedding blogger’s dream. Here’s hoping that their bespoke celebration in Northumberland inspires the day of your dreams too.
With images by Kate of Petals & Peonies.
Jo says: We got engaged on Friday 21st December 2012, our last day of work before Christmas. Neil had taken me out for a meal, at a local Italian restaurant in our village, and we’d walked home in the rain! When we got home, I changed out of my lovely dress into my old comfy pyjamas, and we decided to have a cup of coffee under the Christmas tree.
On top of my presents under the tree was a small box shaped like a snail, and when I opened its shell, there was a beautiful diamond ring inside. Neil was on one knee, and I just about managed to say ‘yes’ before I burst into tears!
The thing I remember most (apart from how happy I felt) is saying how I couldn’t believe I’d been proposed to in my old pyjamas that had shrunk in the wash, and with my hair scraped back in a bobble!
We were married on Monday 12th August 2013 at St James’ Church, Riding Mill, Northumberland and the reception was at Wheelbirks Parlour, Stocksfield, Northumberland.
We love visiting the Riding Mill area, and the church is beautiful inside. We wanted to marry in a tucked-away area of Northumberland, and somewhere where we would love to visit years later. Despite not living in the village, the whole community were so welcoming and friendly, and several of the congregation came to the ceremony.
Wheelbirks Parlour was always the place we said we would hold our wedding reception. Way before we got engaged, we would visit on weekends for lunch and ice cream or just to relax out in the orchard. We love the atmosphere, the outdoor space and the friendly staff, and knew it would be a perfect venue.
Lucinda and Sarah were fantastic wedding planners! Sarah in particular met with us as often as we wanted (and was great at handling my last-minute 100 emails!) and made organising everything so easy!
On the day, it was wonderful to see our vision turn into reality, as the Wheelbirks staff had turned the parlour into exactly what we had imagined and more. It’s been lovely to visit since the big day and get little bursts of happiness when we remember the reception.
We only knew we wanted the day to be really informal and relaxed. The only ‘theme’ that came through was our desire to do as much ‘handmade’ as possible, and use natural materials like the hessian table runners and recycled milk bottles for centrepieces.
We purposefully wanted to avoid a specific ‘colour’, as we wanted a really relaxed, informal wedding, so instead we chose all colours! We asked our guests to dress as bright and summery as they could, and I made multi-coloured tissue paper pom-poms for pew ends in the church.
Our table centrepieces were all the colours of my bouquet, and we had multi-coloured bunting strung from the rafters in the parlour.
I travelled with my Dad to the ceremony in a 1920’s-style Regent Landaulette, in navy and cream. It was fantastic travelling to the ceremony, with everyone watching us and waving, and even better after the ceremony when the driver pulled the hood down and Neil and I travelled to the reception in the summer sun!
We booked our car through Brooklands Wedding Cars in Lanchester, and the driver was so friendly and laid-back! He turned up super-early to collect me and was happy to wait as long as necessary throughout the whole day. At the end of the evening, when he took us to Slaley Hall, he drove around the car park until we found our car, and helped ferry all our bags back and forth!
My dress was from Rosina Brown Bridal in Stocksfield, and was the first one I tried on! It was also the first thing I bought for the wedding, way before we’d even booked the church! I booked an appointment to have a look round, and went on my own one afternoon, thinking it would take me months to find the right dress. Rosina was great, and pulled out the perfect dress – a lace bodice with tiny pearls and beads sewn in and a long taffeta ruffle skirt with lace straps. I wore a veil with pearls sewn in and had gypsophila flowers woven through my hair on the day,
Neil wore a blue suit from Next with a turquoise tie, a white shirt with tiny blue dragonflies and claret bees and brown leather brogues. He looked so handsome, and different from all our other guests – we didn’t go down the traditional ‘groomsmen’ route, so everyone wore different colours and styles of outfit.
My maid of honour wore a long emerald-colour gown from Hobbs and my younger bridesmaid wore a bright flowered dress from Monsoon. We didn’t want them to look too formal, or to match, because we wanted everything to be really bright! The most important thing was that they felt comfortable, and were happy with their outfits on the day.
Our bus was booked through Dreadnought Coaches in Alnwick – we wanted our guests to be able to relax and not have to worry about travelling or parking on the day. I’m told the atmosphere on the bus was great, with everyone chatting and getting excited together, and it was lovely for Neil to arrive at the ceremony surrounded by all our family and friends.
My brother designs and makes professional signs, and I asked him to make us some direction signs saying ‘Neil and Jo’s Wedding’ in the brown and white ‘heritage’ style you see on road signs. They made for some lovely photos and we have them hung around the house now!
We chose Petals & Peonies photography for our wedding photos, and it’s one of the best decisions we made. Kate was so professional and relaxed – it was just like having a good friend through the whole process. She came up with lots of quirky ideas for photos, and made us feel so special on the day. The photos she’s captured are amazing too, and are such a lovely thing to keep and look through. Her style matched our vision for the day perfectly, and we’ve got some fantastic shots on tractors and hay bales!
I chose Simone Whitehead for my bridal hair, and she was brilliant – she completely understood the sort of style I wanted, and on the day stayed with me right until I was ready to go. I was a little worried that my hair wouldn’t stay in, because it was all loose curls and plaits, but I needn’t have worried – Simone made sure it stayed put and even withstood a Wheelbirks cow having a chew on the gypsophila in my plaits!
After the service, we had different flavours of Fentimans drinks on a table outside with striped paper straws which was great – everyone chatted in the sunshine before getting on the bus to the reception, and it meant we got some fantastic photos.
The cake was one of our proudest achievements! I love to bake, and we really wanted to make the cake ourselves together. We designed a three-tiered round fruit cake, and baked it over a weekend (it got a tiny bit stressful when the oven broke half-way through baking the middle tier, but luckily that was the only hiccup!)
Neil took responsibility for ‘feeding’ the cake with brandy over the months as it matured – we baked it in February! – and a friend from work taught me how to make the sugar flowers for decoration. I made roses, chrysanthemums, poppies, peonies, daffodils, tulips and fantasy flowers for the spray on the top of the cake, and then scattered heaps of flowers around each tier and the board. I also spent hours making sugar daisies and blue forget-me-nots, and studded them everywhere too.
Finally, we commissioned a local felt-maker to create some felt birds to sit on the cake. The ‘female’ bird was white with little blush cheeks and the ‘male’ bird was the same blue as Neil’s wedding tie, was wearing glasses and carrying a little flower in its mouth.
The cake must have taken more than 30 hours in total to create, but it was worth every minute! I could have cried when it was finished – it was an exhausting task but an amazing achievement and a real talking point on the day, and it tasted DELICIOUS!
One of the best features of Wheelbirks Parlour is their delicious homemade ice-cream, made on site with milk from their Jersey cows. We got to choose our own signature ice-cream to be served on the day, and went for ‘Prosecco and Peach’, calling it ‘Love is Peachy’.
At the reception, we had our seating plan on vintage luggage tags hanging with ribbons from a huge contorted hazel branch cut from Wheelbirks Farm. The favours were homemade ginger heart-shaped biscuits with mini luggage tags, serving as place cards. Our centrepieces were glass milk bottles which we had decorated with buttons and twine, filled with the same flowers in the bouquet, on log centres cut from the nature reserve where I work.
We painstakingly cut lengths of hessian for table runners, and had several metres of bunting made which was strung along the rafters.
We also had a fingerprint tree, which is now hanging on our living-room wall – guests used their fingerprints to make leaves on the tree in different coloured inks.
When we were thinking about the flowers we wanted, we both decided we had no idea what we were talking about! We picked Vicky from Floral Quarter, Gosforth on a recommendation from a friend.
We went to meet her armed with a couple of photos of bouquets we liked, but decided we wanted Vicky to choose the flowers, colours and style. All we knew was that we wanted a ‘country garden’ style, very natural with lots of different colours.
I know it seems unusual to hand over entire control of such an important part of the day, but we trusted Vicky completely. On the morning of the wedding, when the flowers arrived, I was completely overwhelmed with how amazing they looked! My bouquet was full of beautiful garden flowers: dahlias, stocks, craspedia, tanacetum daisies, veronica, scabious, hydrangea, solidago and ammi. Even better, every buttonhole was completely different, so our guests got to choose the one they liked best.
The flowers were such a talking point during the day, and feature in so many of our wedding photos – I know when we look back over them years down the line, we’ll still love them. Better still, having Vicky ‘surprise’ us with the design of the flowers was a little wedding gift in itself!
We’ve both been to weddings where we’ve been bored stiff, so we were adamant our guests would have lots to do. That’s part of the reason we love Wheelbirks so much – the orchard is great, with lots of space to run around, a fantastic swing, a tractor to climb on, and a playroom inside for our youngest guests. We put together some ‘goodie bags’ too (which ended up proving just as popular with the adults!), with packs of modelling clay, foam glider planes, old-fashioned games like marbles and tiddlywinks, and my Grandad wood-turned us some wooden spinning tops.
Our friend Peter is a fantastic classical acoustic guitarist, and played some beautiful music whilst we were signing the register in church.
Our lovely friend Katy welcomed everyone to the reception playing the Northumbrian Pipes, and then after our meal we had Jamie from North East DJ playing our favourite songs, starting with our first dance, which was to ‘Rhythm of Love’ by the Plain White T’s. He was really laid-back, and happy to let us have a huge playlist with all our favourite songs. On the evening he was great at getting everyone to lose their inhibitions and have a good boogie!
It’s so difficult to pinpoint a specific ‘favourite’ part of the day – from start to finish we both felt so blissfully happy and emotional.
One of the most wonderful parts was walking down the aisle towards Neil. I barely noticed everyone in the pews, and I couldn’t wait to be stood next to him. When it came to saying our vows, Neil was so keen that he said ‘I will’ even before our vicar, Alison, had finished doing the ‘love her, comfort her…’ part. Everyone started laughing, and it really broke the tension and settled our nerves – I remember at that moment just looking at Neil and feeling so amazed that this person was about to become my husband.
Neil’s favourite part of the day was our first dance together as husband and wife. We chose one of our favourite songs, and it was so relaxed and special – we had a few ‘moves’ to liven it up a bit, and it was like we were the only two people there.
After a night at Slaley Hall, we travelled to the Yorkshire Dales, staying a night at boutique hotel The Wensleydale Heifer (staying in the ‘Chocolate Room’, which was fab!), three nights in log cabin called the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ hobbit hut, and a final night in a bed & breakfast in Aysgarth.
My top tips for Brides Up North is that it’s definitely worth planning all the little details in the wedding, and all the quirky extra touches you want to be there. Even though it all takes time and effort, they’re the bits people will remember and will be what really make your day special.
Even though it sounds so cliché, and it’s what everyone says, the day really does fly past! We wanted to take it all in and enjoy every minute, but it’s difficult to keep track of what’s happening when – the easiest thing to do is just let the day flow and don’t worry. It’s the one day that’s just about the two of you, and your guests won’t mind if you don’t get to have an hour-long chat, or don’t notice their new handbag!
Finally, keep a diary! My maid of honour bought us a lovely fabric-covered notebook when we started planning the wedding, and we used it to document everything over the months. Looking back over it now brings back all the emotion and build-up to the wedding; it’s packed full of ‘to-do lists’, prices for different things and extracts from the weeks leading up to the wedding day. It’s something we’ll keep and cherish forever – a sometimes rushed, sometimes silly but completely heartfelt account of our journey this year.
Congratulations Jo & Neil!
This is not a sponsored post