May 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
The month of May is one of our very favourites here at Brides Up North HQ, not only as it tends to signal the start of warmer weather, but it’s also when our incredible festival wedding fairs take place across the north of the country. These super cool events are like no other as we create outdoor wedding wonderlands with huge sailcloth tents, tipis and yurts filled with wildly creative wedding suppliers, plus street food vendors, pop-up bars, live bands and so much more. The tour starts this Sunday 7th May with our glorious WEDSTOCK’17 at Stockeld Park, Yorkshire, and from there we will be heading to Ormesby Hall in Middlesbrough on Sunday 14th May, and Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire on Sunday 21st May, to give all you brides-to-be a piece of the fabulous festival action.
Another reason we favour May is for its bank holidays (who doesn’t love a bonus day off?!) and so with such a busy time on the horizon, we were sure to make the first long weekend of the month a relaxing one by heading off for an overnight spa break at the stunning Hoar Cross Hall.
Such getaways not only enable us to signpost you in the direction of the very best retreats for pre/post wedding pampering and luxurious hen do locations, but it also gives us chance to discuss exciting ideas for the blog, and boy do we have amazing plans in the pipeline! But more about that to follow soon, for now let us fill you in on our heavenly stay at this Grade II stately home where total relaxation comes as standard!
Situated in breath-takingly beautiful Staffordshire countryside, the chilled-out vibes start on your approach to the Hall and only deepen once over its threshold. Its impressive entrance and bar lounge area combine period style and modern luxury perfectly and make for a very warm welcome. Arriving early evening and keen to start the pampering from the off, we began with a glass of bubbles in the bar before heading to our room to freshen up before dinner.
Each of Hoar Cross Hall’s 96 bedrooms are individually designed in keeping with the stately surrounds and offer comfort and class, which resulted in a very restful night’s sleep for the two of us in our adjoining rooms.
Dinner was served in the Hall’s grand restaurant with calming views over the perfectly manicured gardens. Having selected a bottle of rose (well, it is getting on for summer!) we scanned over the varied choice of dishes and made our selection. We enjoyed starters of salmon two ways and chicken liver parfait before going onto mains of roast chicken and spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Something light to finish we thought, and so opted for the fruit platter and ice cream. The food at Hoar Cross is presented beautifully and tastes as good as it looks, while staff are attentive in making sure everything is to your liking.
With relaxation top of the agenda, we decided on an early night and early start to make the most of the Hall’s fabulous spa facilities.
Following an ample breakfast of granola followed by poached eggs, we took the elevator down to the lower ground where the hugely spacious spa is concealed, much like a well kept secret. And what a gem it is, with numerous tranquil pools and soothing water therapies to explore and experience.
Fellow spa visitors included groups of ladies as well as couples, making a Hoar Cross Hall getaway a perfect option for an indulgent hen do with the girls, some pre-wedding pampering with family or friends, plus a relaxing minimoon retreat to recharge the batteries ahead of jetting off on the main honeymoon.
There are various day and overnight packages to choose from, with meals included, and the option of treatments for head-to-toe relaxation.
The spa boasts two beautiful pools; a saltwater vitality pool, complete with jet massage pools, two luxury whirlpools and a starlit cave, plus a hydrotherapy pool with gentle currents and body massage jets.
There are also a number of heat, ice and massage experiences to detox and revitalise the body by stimulating different senses. These include sensory showers and aqua massage therapies as well as an aspen wood sauna, aroma room and ice temple.
And as if that’s not enough, there are lots of beautifully snug spaces to relax both poolside and within designated relaxation lounges, whether you choose to curl up with a good book or get a little extra shut-eye.
May 3rd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
You have been warned: today’s real wedding is all about the emotion. Talented bridal designer and seamstress Suzi lost her beloved mum to cancer a few months before her planned September wedding. The world shifted on its axis; everything was cancelled.
The following year, with the help of husband-to-be Sam and a close alliance of family and friends, Suzi found a way to plan a vintage wedding that was both a fun and poignant celebration of their love, with plenty of fitting tributes to her mum.
The end result, we think you’ll agree, is a wonderfully joyous, vintage-inspired big day with lots of laidback homespun vibes. Get ready for the goosebumps: this is wedding inspo at its glorious best.
With images by Luke Whiteley and Dean Hammonds.
suzi says: Sam proposed in December 2014 under our first Christmas tree in our own home, with his grandmother’s beautiful sapphire and diamond ring which he‘d concealed in a bauble! A few weeks later, having been such a presence throughout Sam’s life, she passed away. I feel so honoured to have been given her beautiful engagement ring and so happy that she knew he‘d asked me to marry him.
We got married on 30th August 2016. It was actually second time lucky! We had originally booked and planned our wedding for September 21st 2015 – however, due to my mum passing away in May of that year, we decided to postpone it. My sister was really eager to get married (following two previous attempts!) so we put our wedding on the back burner and helped concentrate on giving Jo the brilliant day that she truly deserved despite our mum not being able to be with us all. We chose 30th August as it was the Tuesday after the bank holiday so it allowed our guests to have an extra-long bank holiday weekend.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local Methodist church in Matlock, Derbyshire. Our close friend Rachel did the address which was so personal and lovely and was definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. We asked some close friends to do readings – Polly read one of my mum’s favourite bible readings and Rosie read ‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley.
We chose one of our favourite local pubs, The White Hart, to host our reception. They have a beautiful glass orangery and outside terrace and field. This worked perfectly as it was the most beautiful day! They were really flexible with all our requests, and as I was doing so much myself, I was happy to put my trust in our wedding coordinator, Emily, who accommodated all our requirements brilliantly.
While trying to plan the wedding, I lost one of the most important people in my life. My wonderful mum was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer four years ago. We were adamant she was going to fight it and stood by her as she battled numerous operations, countless stints in hospital, different drugs and chemotherapy, trying to keep smiling and praying that it would soon all be a distant nightmare. However, it wasn’t to be, and in the winter of 2014 we were told that they were going to stop chemotherapy. We planned our wedding for the following September (2015) but sadly mum died in the May of that year. I was 26 and couldn’t believe that she was gone, that she wouldn’t be around for the rest of my life or to watch me marry Sam. It took me a while to get back to thinking about our wedding as I couldn’t imagine a day where Mum wouldn’t be there – it just didn’t feel right. Who was I going to call to discuss dresses and fabrics and all the little details that seem so important at the time? However, after a little time, we felt ready to start thinking about it; we decided to make it a day of fun and laidback celebration, including all of our amazing friends and family who had supported us on our difficult journey.
We didn’t really have any specific ‘theme’ as such; instead, we went for a summery, fresh and contemporary feel. We just wanted to stay true to ourselves and let the day represent us. Mine and Sam’s favourite colour is blue, so we had a loose blue colour theme for the day incorporating lots of white, touches of pink, grey and highlights of silver, too.
After finding the gorgeous fabric for my bridesmaids’ dresses – a blue floral with touches of pink, purples and grey – it became the main inspiration for our colours. I wanted to keep most things white and fresh so the bridesmaid fabric would make a real impact.
April 27th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Thursday evening’s don’t come much better than this! It’s very nearly the beginning of a bank holiday weekend and to top that, we’ve got an uber-gorgeous styled shoot packed with wedding inspiration to share with you. Ladies, it’s time to let down your hair, fill up your glass (with bubbles, we hope) and feast your eyes on this bridal beauty.
Lead by award-winning Sheffield florist Tracey Campbell, of Campbell’s Flowers, this shoot is the work of a talented team of South Yorkshire suppliers who relished in the opulent ‘fine romance’ brief.
True to form, Tracey created some truly breath-taking designs, which were complemented by the stunning choice of bridal attire, hair, makeup and details.
The backdrop of the misty Peak District hills adds to the romantic tale, and we are thrilled to see a little cameo appearance from some rather gorgeous greyhounds.
With images by Shelley Richmond Photography. Models: Jessica Fletcher and Jessica Leatherday.
tracey says: The big idea behind the shoot was to really visually explore the growing trend of floral wedding designs moving away from the meadowy, just-picked look so dominant in recent years, and towards a very opulent, luxe look. It’s an incredibly romantic look, so we worked with the shoot title ‘A Fine Romance’.
To create that style, I used lots of textures when crafting the floral designs, and maximised contrasts, by juxtaposing more traditional blooms, like amaryllis with exotic flora, such as King Protea.
Much of the inspiration came from the wonderful Marilyn gown by Sassi Holford, particularly in terms of the colour palette, which featured silvery grey eucalyptus and pinks in a range of hues from soft, baby blushes through to some magnificently vivid magenta. The stunning gowns for the shoot, including Marilyn, were provided by Sheffield-based bridal boutique, The White Room.
When it came to the shoot location, we decided on Losehill House Hotel and Spa. We’ve long been fans of this superb venue, and as preferred suppliers we adore working with them. For us, its incredible location is hard to beat as the rolling hills of the beautiful Peak District will always hold a very special place in our hearts; constantly inspiring us and drawing us back.
Losehill also perfectly matched our theme, as the whole place is brimming with luxury details and feels very special. We also love to collaborate with other businesses who share our ethos, and Losehill really does, particularly when it comes to insisting on quality and supporting local artisans and suppliers, for example, the lounge and restaurant furniture was all hand crafted to their design by a nearby company.
To create our romantic, high-end look with our flowers for the shoot, we focused on a contemporary classic look that was all refined elegance with a muted, soft and incredibly feminine colour palette, which we then contrasted with vivid colour pops like cerise. We also incorporated rich colours that were reminiscent of oil paintings, such as a deep emerald green as seen in the simple ivy crowns.
April 26th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding is a stunner, with plenty of personal details in the planning. The beautiful bride tried on her dress for the first time in her mum’s bedroom, ordered her bouquet from the florist where she had a Saturday job as a teenager and incorporated lots of wood as a nod to Jay’s work as a carpenter.
Aiming for modern timelessness? Look no further than Rachael’s chiffon beaded Monsoon gown. Love neutrals? This subtle grey and lilac colour scheme is elegant, modern and fresh. Rachael gives us all the pretty details…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Sally Eaves Weddings.
rachael says: We got engaged on 21st June 2012 – I was visiting Jay in London where he was working for the weekend. He’d booked a sunset champagne ride on the London Eye where he planned to pop the question, but somebody else in the pod proposed to his partner and stole Jay’s thunder! He ended up proposing at the Oxo Tower restaurant where we ate later.
We were married on 2nd October 2016. We booked the wedding almost a year to the day beforehand – we sat outside with a glass of wine on an unusually warm day in October 2015, and hoped the weather would repeat itself a year later. It did!
We had our civil ceremony and reception at Peak Edge Hotel at The Red Lion in Derbyshire. I had seen the venue’s lovely website and brochure when we first got engaged, but didn’t go to see it until we got around to planning in 2015. The venue is gorgeous – a country pub meets luxury hotel. It’s modern and fresh, the wedding team and all the staff were lovely and it just felt perfect for us. We were really keen to have the whole day in one place and the venue allowed us to do exactly that.
We didn’t really plan to have a theme, however lots of wood crept into the day. I made our invitations and they featured a woodgrain design and our centrepieces were decorated logs. Jay is a carpenter so that was quite nice, really! We decided to name our tables after superheroes – Jay is a big kid at heart (and my hero!), and I spray-painted little superhero figures to sit on each centrepiece. Jay’s mum, Tina, helped us to turn them into gorgeous features with her creative flair.
The colour-scheme was all a bit grey! Our home is decorated very neutrally and neither of us are fans of bold colours. We chose lavender and lilac as accompanying colours for ties, flowers etc.
I loved my dress! It was a long, chiffon beaded dress and was from the high street – Monsoon, in fact. I went to lots of local boutiques and loved the experience but didn’t find any dresses I really loved. I wanted something that was definitely a wedding dress, but a simple shape, without much of a train. I saw this one online, ordered it and took it round to my mum’s to try on in her bedroom! The shopping experience was a little different (no bucks fizz!), but when I tried it on, I absolutely loved it.
April 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
We’re easing you back into the four day week by featuring the beautiful big day of Danni and Rich, who tied the knot last November after more than six years together.
They exchanged vows in their parish church in Melbourne, Derbyshire, and then celebrated at one of their favourite local venues, Amalfi White – a stunning restaurant and cocktail bar complete with a contemporary ballroom.
We just love the couple’s special touches throughout the day, which included a nod to their love of books, and also lots of glorious sweet treats in the form of a dessert table.
Wih images from Ragdoll Photography
danni says: Rich had a ring, ready to propose for a while, so when we booked a last-minute trip to Rome in June 2015, he decided to pop the question, which was incredible! We’ve been together for over six years (four-and-a-half when he proposed) so we’ve always talked about it, but it still took me by complete surprise. I’d always said please, please do not propose in front of anyone, so he tried a few times in various super romantic locations but every time he was about to get down on one knee (unbeknown to me) a crowd of people would come along. In the end, he proposed in our hotel room at the end of a perfect evening. I was in my pyjamas but immediately after saying yes got dressed and we went out for champagne.
We got married on 25th November 2016, which has always been a special time of the year for us. Our first date was on 22nd November 2010 and Rich’s mum’s birthday, who sadly passed away ten years ago, would have been on 27th November. So, this date was a way to honour Rich’s ,um.
We tied the knot in Melbourne, Derbyshire, which is the village we live in. We got married at Melbourne Parish Church. Angela, the vicar, is amazing (she was extremely patient with me when I sobbed my way through our vows) and we were so glad that it was her who married us.
Our reception was at The Ballroom at Amalfi White. It’s where we celebrated buying our first home and is literally our local as it’s along the road. We wanted a very relaxed day full of lovely food and drinks and our favourite people so it felt perfect to be somewhere we loved and where we would feel comfortable.
We didn’t have a particular theme. Overall, we just wanted it to be relaxed with great lighting so that it felt atmospheric and romantic. The combination of chandeliers on dimmers, light-up ‘love’ letters and candles as table centre pieces looked beautiful together.
We knew we wanted to entwine our love of books into the day and do this in a subtle way. Our table names were Minas Tirith, Hogwarts and The Shire (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter references) and we had quotes from F Scott Fitzgerald (our new surname is Fitzgerald) dotted around.
We’re also Christmas fanatics, so Amalfi White put the Christmas decorations up and we had some of our favourite Christmas songs on our playlist in the evening.
There was no particular colour scheme. I don’t like anything to be ‘matchy matchy’ so all of the bridesmaids wore different dresses in complementing shades and we kept decorations soft and neutral. We used burgundy ribbons in the flowers and burgundy ties and pocket squares to give a bit of depth and winter warmth to the neutral colour palette.
March 31st, 2017 | Rachel Parry
While we Brides Up North girls are big fans of timeless stately home settings, we can’t help falling head over heels for the stripped-back industrial style venues that are coming through strong on the current wedding scene.
Today’s celebration takes place at one such venue, a former cotton spinning mill that has been transformed into a stylish wedding venue, complete with exposed brick, wooden floors and pendant lighting. We love!
Bride and groom Kate and Matt, enhanced the venue further by paying homage to the area’s textile industry roots within their décor and colour scheme choices.
There’s lots of pretty to pore over, from Kate’s stunning beaded dress and Hollywood-worthy makeup, to the beautiful bouquets and suspended floral arrangement!
kate says: We got engaged in Alghero, Sardinia, in August 2015 and set the date for a year later, on Monday 15th August 2016.
We chose to marry on this date as we really wanted our wedding at The West Mill in Derby and, due to its popularity, there were limited dates left and we didn’t want to miss out. Luckily, we both work in a school so a Monday wedding in the summer holidays was not a problem for us.
The venue was right up our street with its industrial chic design and its exclusive use for our big day. The setting is beautiful right on the river Derwrnt and only ten minutes from Derby.
We went with a simple, cotton mill theme for the wedding in honour of the building and because we are both from Rochdale and Oldham, renowned for their part in the textile industry during the industrial revolution.
The colour scheme was made up of rustic tones, with white, cream and peach flowers and navy for the groomsmen’s suits.
I chose to wear a vintage beaded dress by Maggie Sottero from Brides and Gowns, located in Derby city centre. I chose it for its simplicity and style, I wanted to maintain a classic look in keeping with the venue.
Matt wore a navy Venttuno suit with a cream waistcoat and champagne cravat from Moss Bros. The groomsmen wore the same as Matt but with champagne ties instead of cravats.
On the day of the wedding myself, my mum and my bridesmaids travelled to the venue by limousine.
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