November 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Our second helping of real wedding inspiration today comes in the form of Gill and Craig’s colourful summer wedding that took place at West Tower in Aughton.
Cue outdoor ‘I dos’, bright bridesmaid dresses and origami bouquets!
With images by Suzy Wimbourne Photography.
craig says: We got engaged on 12th May 2014, at our favourite restaurant in Costa Teguise Lanzarote. Some of my family were on holiday there as well as two of our friends. I arranged for the rest of the gang to follow down to the restaurant half-an-hour later than Gill and I got there. I got down on one knee in the terrace area, then the rest of our group arrived at the restaurant where we had a celebratory meal. It was the most nerve wracking day of my life!
jill says: Our wedding day was on 4th September 2015. We knew we wanted a Friday wedding in September so when we contacted the venue and the 4th was available, we jumped at it.
We got married at West Tower in Aughton, Lancashire, which is the village I grew up in. West Tower was the second venue that we viewed and we both knew as soon as we saw it that our search was over due to its stunning grounds and intimate feel.
We didn’t have a theme but decided we wanted the wedding to be light and summery and so chose to incorporate pastel colours, which worked well with the venue. After a lot of Pinterest research we settled on mint green and coral.
November 18th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom are perhaps among the cutest we’ve had on the blog. From their sweet proposal to their personal wedding ‘promises’ and their love of dancing together, it’s clear these too are totally smitten!
Having had her dream ring placed on her finger, Sara worked with Josh to come up with a wedding day that was true reflection of them as a couple, leading to a music theme for their big day.
Get ready for moving song choices, record décor, a guitar guest book and, of course, dancing!
With images by Sophie Kerr Photography.
sara says: Our engagement came about quite suddenly and was a modern joint decision, we’d been speaking about marriage and it was always as a certain ‘when’ not an ‘if’. One Saturday shopping in Manchester Josh suggested going into a jewellers and he then started looking at rings. He kept telling me to not getting excited it was simply just for future. After a few rings being tried on he went and paid for the ring that in his words, ‘made my eyes light up’. As soon as I saw the bag I got so excited but he kept saying that I needed to put it out of my mind. We followed up our day with a trip to the Cloud 23 bar at the Hilton to raise a glass to a very exciting future. Later I was happily gazing out the window at the sunny view when I turned back to face Josh and I realised he was on one knee. Suddenly everything else disappeared – the only thing I remember him saying was, “I don’t want to be engaged to you – but I want to marry you”. To add to this a lovely couple from Bermuda had been watching, they apparently sensed something as about to happen and started taking pictures and later approached us to get our details to share them. It’s thanks to them that we now have beautiful natural pictures of one of the most important moments in our lives.
We got married on 18th April 2015. We chose this date as we both agreed that we preferred the change of seasons the most and spring 2015 fitted nicely allowing us a comfortable 18 months to plan.
We quickly decided we wanted to get married in a venue that would be exclusive to us and our guests as we wanted it to be a personal and intimate day. We found a few places that fitted in budget and with our preferences. Styal Lodge was actually the first place we went to visit and from the minute we arrived there we fell completely in love, it was perfect. We loved how neutral it was meaning we could truly make it our own and how much light and nature still felt so close due to the big windows. Above all though the reason we chose the venue is due to the people who run it. Styal Lodge’s whole focus is weddings and so everyone is so passionate and dedicated to making your day wonderful.
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November 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom built their wedding around the things most important to them: close friends and family, the bride’s home town of Beverley – and food!
This resulted in an intimate wedding party of just 19 guests who were treated to little tour around Beverley before settling at the town’s Whites Restaurant for an impressive nine course meal (that’s right, nine courses!)
We love the relaxed vibe to Laura and Ranj’s big day as well as their pretty green colour scheme which all started with Laura’s vision for her wedding shoes.
With images by Jemma King Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in London, January 2015. We went from engagement to wedding in under seven months! We were just so ready to be married and didn’t want to spend too long in the planning stages.
We went to London for my birthday and saw Philip Pullman’s Grimm Fairy Tales at the Oxo Tower. I love theatre and it was an amazing night. As we walked along the Thames, to find somewhere to eat after the theatre, Ranj said, “Doesn’t St Pauls look amazing. Let’s sit and look at it for a bit”. I refused to sit down because I was hungry and cold and apparently totally spoilt Ranj’s first attempt at proposing to me. Whoops! He’d carried the ring around all night!
The next morning we were all cuddled up in the hotel room and Ranj pulled the ring out from under his pillow and proposed there instead. Although I felt bad when I realised that I’d spoilt his first attempt I preferred the hotel room proposal. It set the tone for how we eventually designed our wedding; intimate, personal, just us.
We got married on Tuesday 11th August 2015. We wanted to marry in the summer so that we could go on a mega honeymoon. I’m a self-employed drama teacher, so get time off during school holidays.
Although we’re both currently living and moving around the southeast, while Ranj finishes his training as an orthopaedics and trauma registrar, I’m a Beverley girl at heart. I was born and bred there, my family live there, as well as the majority of my friends. It was really important to me that we got married in my hometown.
We only had 19 guests at our wedding, so chose venues that would suit the intimate, personal style we were going for. We had the ceremony at Beverley registry office and worked really hard with the registrar to make the service really personal. We wrote our own vows and had some brilliant readings.
November 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We just adore the styling of today’s real wedding; bright, classy and elegant!
Building on their chosen theme of rustic romance, Sarah and Daniel used beautiful blooms and log centre pieces to help set the scene before adding pretty vintage touches in dainty china and luxurious lace for an air of elegance.
The couple’s beautiful burnt orange and sage green colour scheme then pulled everything together perfectly, providing subtle pops of colour.
With images by Jessica O’Shaughnessy Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged on Halloween 2010! We were both in university at the time, and I was living about an hour away from Dan. He was visiting me for the weekend and after we got home from a night out with friends, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. We both knew it would be a long engagement, and it was some of the best years of our lives as we moved in together and started saving and planning for our big day.
We got married Saturday 29th August 2015. There was no special meaning behind the date, we just wanted a summer wedding and the bank holiday weekend was perfect to give guests an extra day to recover!
We got married at Trafford Hall, on the outskirts of Chester. We looked at so many venues at the beginning, and they all seemed very similar and nothing stood out for us. We then stumbled across Trafford Hall, not a lot of people had heard of it and that made it more appealing to us. When we went to visit, we fell in love with it. The building itself is so grand and elegant, with so many period features it doesn’t need much dressing for an occasion! The grounds were breath-taking; acres of woodland and gorgeous sunken gardens, it was the perfect backdrop for a wedding. As a whole, it was everything we were looking for!
October 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
No matter what the weather outside, Joy and Mike’s pretty yellow wedding is guaranteed to brighten up your day.
Keeping things local, Joy and Mike chose to tie the knot in their local church followed by a quaint village hall wedding reception complete with reams of bunting!
Overall the décor and styling choices make for a bright and beautiful big day!
With images by Jemma King Photography.
joy says: We got engaged 26th August 2013 near Bridlington in front of our six-month-old son. We had a day out together that was almost identical to our first date then just before home time Mike popped the question!
We got married 26th April 2014. We wanted to get married ASAP but also wanted a spring wedding. Thinking back I was probably nuts as it was my son’s first birthday and my 30th birthday all in that month! It was a very busy few weeks!
We got married at Skirlaugh church, East Ridings, which is in the village we have lived in for the last five years. We even used the village hall for our reception – so it was a proper local affair!
As we were doing everything ourselves at the venue, we kept the theme pretty rustic with a sense of village hall charm. We had a tea urn in the small room, bunting and pompoms all around but then somethings I wanted to keep pretty traditional, like candelabras – so the theme was quite loose really.
I love the colour yellow so much and had seen yellow and grey wedding before and had admired it. I knew we would use it at our wedding. I had a themed Pinterest board for about two years before we were even engaged!
I bought my dress from Elite in Hull. It was the only thing we didn’t scrimp on! It wasn’t one I wanted to try on but my bridesmaid made me and we both fell in love with it and cried! It came home with me the very same day!
I feel so bad saying this but Mike’s suit was a wool suit from H&M – my dress cost 20 times more than it! The groomsman wore same suit as Mike.
The church and hall were just round the corner from each other so for transport we borrowed our friend’s vintage MG called ‘Gatsby’ for our wedding car and Mike drove it out of the village for our photos in the countryside.
Jemma King (who is a superstar) was our photographer! We had met a few times before as our young boys are born within days of each other. Jemma is so professional but also just so easy to get on with and on a day as important as your wedding day it really made a difference that we were comfortable with her. I would recommend Jemma to anyone, her photos are beautiful snapshots of moments rather than stuffy staged shots.
My bouquet was from Daisy Chain, based in Skirlaugh. I was quite specific in the flowers I wanted and the colours and the florist there did exactly what I wanted.
I did the other flowers myself. As it was April I bought about 30 bunches of daffodils from Tesco! The only issue was timing it just right as they took a few days to open so I practised for a few weeks before making sure I went and bought then on the right day so they would be fully open for the Saturday of the wedding. The bridesmaids carried daffodils too, which I tied with lovely ribbon and pearl topped pins. I also made around 80 Pompoms for the venue and borrowed 100 meters of bunting from a friend. Lots of the decor was begged and borrowed or made!
My amazing friend and bridesmaid Bridie, made our wedding cake for us! Superstar! We had three different tiers: vanilla, chocolate and lemon.
For our wedding breakfast we had a hog roast and then a hot buffet on the evening. We didn’t want a formal sit down dinner. To drink – prosecco of course, my favourite!
We didn’t have a budget for entertainment so instead we had a Spotify playlist collaborated by our guests in the months leading up to the wedding. My friend lent us all the sound equipment. We also had a photo booth, which proved a great hit!
The village hall was fantastic and so we would definitely recommend it to other couples! A huge blank canvas of space but you have to be prepared to work hard to put it together.
My favourite part of the wedding was getting to spend the day with all my favourite people in the world – it was just amazing!
As we have a young son we just went for a few days to the Lake District on honeymoon following the wedding. We got upgraded to an amazing suite and it was bliss!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and enjoy the day itself! All the planning and work that goes into it, and then it goes in a blink of an eye!
July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom are currently living outside of the UK due to spouse visa restrictions which have caused them and their families a lot of heartache. Their wedding was bittersweet as their friends realised that they had to leave the country because they were getting married, which made it all the more important that their celebration was extra special.
Hilary and Mike proved that your big day doesn’t have to cost the earth in order to have the time of your lives. Full of original styling touches, hand made elements and bursts of bright colour, Hilary & Mike’s perfectly personal quirky wedding day reflects their individuality beautifully.
Images by Eleanor Woodruff Photography.
hilary says: Our engagement story is absolutely hilarious and, according to our friends, no one could botch it quite like we did. We were on holiday in Cap Ferret, France in June 2013, and Mike had been secretly planning this for ages… he’d organised the barbecue, the beach, and even the sunset, but when it came to the critical moment he realised he’d forgotten to buy a ring or phrase the question! So looking rather ill (“food poisoning”), he steered the conversation towards “What the Bible says about marriage…”, much to my bewilderment. He finally managed to ask, “So… how ’bout it then?” To be fair, I didn’t get the answering part right either – I laughed and thought he was joking, then sobered up and said yes, then cried and said no, then walked down to the other end of the beach to think about it, and finally came back half an hour later with a definite yes.
We got married on Saturday 12th July 2014. We chose Left Bank Leeds for our venue, ultimately for the price and the DIY aspect of the space – which meant that we could rent the building for the day and move furniture around in between the ceremony and the reception, saving us paying for two venues and worrying about transport in between! We had an incredible team of friends resetting the hall for us while guests had drinks and photos taken outside. That Left Bank is a beautiful old church building which was another plus point for us as Christians.
We didn’t really have a theme, unless you count “a tight budget” as one! When planning the wedding we were a little daunted by the perfect, fairytale weddings we were seeing everywhere – we’re the least “bridal” couple we know, and as you might have guessed from our engagement story, far from perfect. In the end we just went with what reflected our personality best and made us feel most comfortable, which meant lots of origami flowers in recycled wine bottles, tea lights in jam jars we’d collected all year, and haphazard splashes of bright colour everywhere. This actually made it the perfect wedding for us because it represented our crazy and pragmatic sides so much better.
We used royal blue as a backdrop to hold all the splashes of brighter colour together, and also because everyone in the bridal party looked good in it – a bigger consideration than you might think in mixed race marriages!
My dress was from BHS and tailored to size by the lovely Sophie Davies Tailoring. Being 4’11” dress shopping is difficult at the best of times, and I’d got to the point where I was trying on First Communion dresses when I found this one, in the most unlikely of places! It was everything I wanted – a beautiful muted colour from the creamy lace material and champagne lining, not wider than I am tall and with straps to alleviate my fears of a wardrobe malfunction. Sophie did some magic and made the dress fit like a glove, also shortening it (by about a foot) from the waist to save the lace hem – something that a different tailor I had originally gone to wouldn’t do. She is incredibly talented and I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.
My shoes were from New Look and specifically chosen to narrow the foot and a half in height difference between me and Mike! It meant that I had some difficulty walking downhill but it was a small price to pay.
Mike is 6’4″ and has different problems altogether when buying clothes. He swears by Marks and Spencer‘s suits, and would do no different for his wedding day. He wore a slim extra-long suit in charcoal grey, a blue-and-white dogtooth bowtie with matching pocket square and, to my chagrin, a pair of Arsenal cufflinks.
We were fortunate to find dresses for the bridesmaids in a style quite similar to my dress in New Look! I definitely wanted dresses that they could wear again, and this fit the bill perfectly, also surprisingly in a shape and colour that suits them all. The dresses originally came with brown belts but the girls swapped these out for white ribbons. They wore their own shoes and I loved how this added to all the colour on the day.
Mike had two best men – his brother Andrew and his best friend Mike. Andrew has an amazing waistcoat and bowtie with multi-coloured frogs on a hot pink background which we absolutely wanted him to wear, and we brightened Mike’s wardrobe up with a colourful polka-dotted bowtie. Our ushers (unfortunately not photographed as they were moving furniture) wore royal blue ties with elephants. The blokes that did make the photos were my “Ugly Bridesmaids”, my housemates without whom a lot of the wedding would not be possible. They could wear whatever they wanted.
We didn’t hire any transport, we were each driven to the venue by our friends/family. Mike’s driver made a detour for petrol on the way to the venue!
Our wedding was photographed by the amazing Eleanor Woodruff Photography. Ellie had photographed another wedding at which Mike was best man, and we were drawn by the amount of personality she captured in those photos and how genuine she made the day look. Ellie took the time to meet up before the big day to find out more about us, scout out the venue, and go over a list of family photos. Being far more experienced with weddings than we were she also had many handy organisational tips for the day! The photos of our day are full of character and absolutely perfect, we cannot thank her enough for what a great job she’s done.
My bridal bouquet was made by my friend Liv, whose origami skills know no bounds. She’d layered so many papers, textures, and beads – it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
We didn’t have any real flowers on the day because I was paranoid about hayfever and sneezing my way down the aisle (I opted to trip down it in my 6-inch heels instead). I had the idea to do origami flowers and folded some of them to begin with, but the vast majority of it was down to an amazing team of friends and family who folded away for several hours the day before the wedding. We also had plenty of balloons and colourful bunting for a fun touch, home-made confetti and fairy lights around the hall. The table settings were my favourite – each table had a white tablecloth, a royal blue runner, multi-coloured napkins, candles and a wine bottle-full of colourful origami flowers.
Mike’s Uncle Keith made the cake based on a picture that we’d shown him on Google. Everyone agreed that he needed a career change from train driving! The cake had three tiers covered in white icing, each made by a different family member and iced by Uncle Keith. He also stuck on individual pieces of edible confetti to form a cascading effect down the side and tied royal blue ribbons around each tier – if anything it looked better than the original that inspired us! The cake was topped by a champagne glass filled with more edible confetti, and engraved with our names and the date of our wedding.
Following our DIY-origami theme, we had DIY spring rolls for our first course, a great conversation starter for our guests who didn’t know each other! We also had bring-and-share salad and desserts, which turned out to be a great idea as there was an incredible variety of food to choose from. Our main was a hog roast provided by Boss Hog Yorkshire. There was SO MUCH food and everyone was well and truly stuffed.
Left Bank Leeds provided the drinks: beers and soft drinks from Samuel Smiths Brewery, a local company, and a selection of Fairtrade wines.
It made no sense to us to hire a band when several of our friends are musicians, so we organised an open mic for entertainment during the meal. Our friends absolutely did not disappoint and we had such a good evening, with everything from classical violin to 5-piece band. After the meal we pushed the tables aside for a ceilidh, with music from Ermine Street Band. Everyone loves a good ceilidh, and there was plenty of screaming, shouting and laughing.
Our vast height difference does not lend itself well to dancing, so we opted to do a “first duet” instead. We sang the song “Without You” by AJ Rafael, a song which I sang to Mike on Skype while we were long-distance, and made him cry. Mike was on guitar and I played piano.
For our honeymoon we went on a cooking holiday in the Loire Valley in France. This was a real treat for us as we’re nuts about French food. We were the only guests at the B&B as we went mid-week, and Lesley went out of her way to make things especially lovely for us! We enjoyed every moment of it and would totally recommend it to anyone else looking for a more hands-on holiday.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that a spectacular wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth – we managed to source most of our decorations from eBay and Amazon, or supermarkets and discount shops like Home Bargains. High street stores also turned up some pretty surprising and budget-friendly clothing finds for the wedding party! Putting a bit of elbow grease and creativity into the preparations also helped cut costs, and we’re grateful for all the incredible friends we had around to lend us a DIY-hand. Finally, don’t worry too much about having to put on a spectacular show to impress the guests – they turned up to celebrate “us” in all our quirkiness and loved how much the wedding reflected our wacky personalities!
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