Charlotte Balbier

handmade hurrah. a bespoke dress for a country wedding in derbyshire – myroslava & callum

October 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (28)

We often get asked as bloggers in the industry if we attend many weddings and the answer is that unfortunately live reporting on the proceedings doesn’t fall into our remits. However, if we were to become professional wedding crashers today’s celebrations would have certainly been high up on our list of events to attend.

Taking inspiration from bride’s roots, Myroslava and Callum planned a crazy ukrainian wedding with a huge focus on food, drink and family. To make the day all the more memorable, Myroslava also decided to make the wedding as ‘homemade’ as possible, pulling in her friends and relatives to help achieve her vision.

Cue vodka, delicious Ukrainian cuisine, live music, dancing, more vodka, more dancing and – you guessed it – even more vodka!

With images by Shot by Amy.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (1)

myroslava says: We got engaged on 20th September 2014 at the Greyhound pub in Coventry. On New Year’s Eve 2014 Callum told me this was the year he would propose so I was on tenterhooks for most of it! We’d been for a cosy lunch in one of our favourite pubs, just the two of us, when he got down on one knee and popped the question. It took me completely by surprise and it was us down to a tee!

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (15)

We got married on 19th September 2015, almost a year to the day we got engaged. We’re both autumn people but we wanted it to be nice enough to get married outside so September was the perfect time.

We got married at Tarasivka (affectionately known as the Field of Dreams) which is a piece of land owned by the Ukrainian Youth Association of GB in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside. I’ve been going every year for summer camp since I was tiny – I practically grew up in that field with all my friends and Callum has been coming to work at the summer camps with me the past few years. There’s a lot of history there, it’s a beautiful location and we love that it is half way between our hometowns of Coventry and Manchester. We had a Ukrainian Catholic ceremony in the outdoor chapel at Tarasivka.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (20)

Our theme was a crazy Ukrainian wedding in the beautiful English countryside! Signposts and alcohol played a big part (our centrepieces were signposts to our favourite pubs and vodka is a massive part of every Ukrainian party) but a handmade, homemade and rustic feel was also central to our day.

We had a rose gold colour palette of pinks, creams and metallics, which was inspired by my beautiful rose gold and pink topaz engagement ring which Callum had custom made for me. The bridesmaids wore pink and gold, and the groomsmen wore grey and sky blue for Coventry City. Everything was finished off with metallic touches.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (22)

My dress was custom made by Erica Stacey Bridalwear – I like to be unique so I knew I couldn’t have something off the rail! The dress was a pale shell pink topped with white lace. It was fitted to mid-thigh when it flowed out into a long train, and sat off the shoulder with delicate lace wing sleeves. The dress was finished off with beaded embellishments and Swarovski crystal buttons down the back for a bit of sparkle. I wore it with bejewelled shoes, a custom made flower crown from Gypsy Rose Vintage and a blush tulle veil dotted with crystals.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (33)

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (26)

Callum wore a light grey suit handmade for him in Coventry. It was slim fitting with a scooped waistcoat under the jacket. He wore it with a Liberty print tie and pocket square in shades of blue.

Our bridesmaids wore pink and gold dresses by Chi Chi London, which everyone loved. The pink of their bodices matched the material of my dress, and they finished the outfit with some fresh gypsophila in their hair for a little country feel.

The groomsmen wore grey suits from The Suit Lounge in Coventry and sky blue ties to complement Callum’s Liberty print tie.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (27)

Our photographer was the super talented Amy of Shot by Amy, based in Manchester. I’ve known her since her street photography days and I am so proud to have her, not only as our wedding photographer, but as our friend. She adapted to the crazy Ukrainian wedding style like a duck to water and listened to exactly what we wanted from the day. She has such an eye for those special candid moments which are so easy to miss – we are beyond in love with the photographs she took.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (30)

I love flowers so finding the perfect florist was really important to me. We used the fabulous Ivy Florist based in Leeds. Sofia there just understood exactly what I wanted. I had a bouquet of roses, dahlias and lots of beautiful greenery as well as wheat and poppy heads for a Ukrainian touch and forget-me-nots, which remind me of my Baba (my grandma). My bridesmaids had smaller versions, and the groomsmen had roses, greenery and wheat sheaves.

Our decorations were all completely homemade and probably my favourite part of our wedding aesthetics. For months our family and friends collected glass jars and spirit bottles – we had over 200 on the day, spray painted, hand illustrated, polka-dotted, wrapped in lace and tied with twine, all completely unique and made by me and my friends. They were filled with hydrangeas, roses, snapdragons, gypsophila and daisies, from the local flower market.

The centrepieces were wooden signs made by Callum and painted by my maid of honour with the names of all our favourite pubs that have played a part in our relationship – they were set in bell jars with moss, petals, gravel and fairy lights, like a little garden. My mum sewed the gold sequin table runners, and along with my best friend’s mum she cut, sewed and dyed more than 500 meters of homemade bunting from Baba’s net curtains which we hung in the trees. The table plan was made with my granddad’s old suitcase and the confetti was made with hydrangea petals from my Baba’s garden. I hand wrote everyone’s names on paper doilies instead of place cards, and made activity packs for the children. I also created hand-illustrated signs for the menu and welcome drinks, which we displayed in antique-looking frames sprayed gold.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (32)

I’m an illustrator by day so I wanted to put my own special stamp on our wedding and so I hand-drew the design for our stationery myself, hand-illustrated everyone’s favours and wrote our favourite romantic quotes on glass jars as part of the décor. My favourite bit was probably designing our wedding guide. There are loads of traditions involved in a Ukrainian wedding so I hand-drew a ‘survival guide’ to get our guests through the day. I was inspired by the style of the Daily Prophet newspaper from Harry Potter and I put a lot of love into the detail – it was so nice to see people really getting into it!

Our wedding stationery was really important to me and as an illustrator I wanted my drawings to look as good as possible so we used Precious Design, who are a family run business that create bespoke wedding stationery, to produce our paper goods and we loved the results. They really listened when I explained my crazy ideas and they kept us in the loop for every part of the process. Everyone loved our stationery and it really set the tone for our big day.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (6)

Our favours were shot glasses which I hand-illustrated with every guest’s name, our initials and our wedding date. A key part of a Ukrainian ceremony is Perepiy – the receiving line when every single guest has a shot with the bride and groom – so it was nice that the guests had something practical! For the kids we painted wooden egg cups with their names.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (7)

Our cake was made by the talented Laura from Yolk – she is based in Hackney but it was well worth the journey for that baking! The bottom layer was Victoria sponge, the middle layer was lemon and lavender with homemade lemon curd and the top was chocolate. It was all iced with pale yellow vanilla buttercream and finished with wreaths of beautiful fresh flowers inspired by the Ukrainian floral headdress, complete with rainbow ribbons. We wanted everyone to really enjoy the cake so we had it for breakfast with our guests and a case of champagne the next morning!

As mentioned, there is a lot of drinking involved in a Ukrainian wedding so the key is to keep eating! For our wedding breakfast our guests enjoyed a hog roast and paella from a giant pan, something I’ve loved since I lived in Valencia, followed by all kinds of cakes and sweets. Polish sausage called ‘kobasa’, Ukrainian rye bread and gherkins were laid out for guests to pick on throughout the day to keep everyone going. In the evening, we served curry which is one of our favourites and had been homemade by our friends’ parents the day before. We also served traditional Ukrainian dumplings known as ‘varenyky’ which are filled with cheese and potato and served with hot onions and butter – these were all handmade months before by ladies from the Manchester Ukrainian community and frozen for the big day. They made more than 1,500 and it was a perfect chance for everyone to try a bit of Ukrainian cuisine.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (38)

We love brass bands so we were over the moon when we found Twisted Tubes, a modern brass band who play pop covers, to provide the entertainment at our wedding. They went down an absolute storm but my highlight of their set (and one of my highlights of the entire wedding) was when the musicians came onto the dancefloor with their instruments and played Spice Up Your Life around us – it was one of those once in a lifetime moments! We were also treated to a cabaret by my Ukrainian dance group, Podilya. I got to perform my own dance with some of my bridesmaids and a guest appearance by my new husband, and then all my dancer friends performed Hopak, which is the most famous Ukrainian dance. The atmosphere in the hall was electric and after they danced they got all our wedding guests up to try some moves for themselves.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (36)

We loved having our wedding at Tarasivka – the brilliant thing about it, is that it’s a blank canvas! The hall is a big space so we used a company to have it draped like a marquee which made it a lot more intimate, even though there were more than 300 people in there. It was amazing to get married in the great outdoors and I loved being able to put my own unique stamp on the venue.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (9)

People are right when they say a wedding is a magical day! There were so many amazing moments – seeing Callum for the first time, the amazing speeches by our best men, bridesmaids and our parents, dancing with all our friends to trumpets playing the Spice Girls – but one of my absolute favourites happened as soon as our ceremony ended. We turned around to walk back down the aisle and I my Baba was sat there; she’s in a care home at the moment and we didn’t think she’d be able to make the journey but my family surprised me by bringing her along! Everyone got quite emotional, especially me. We had all our favourite people there and her being a part of it was the cherry on the cake.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (41)

Autumn is a busy time for us and we wanted to enjoy every little bit of our first Christmas together so we decided to delay our honeymoon until January! We’re off to Goa for two weeks and we can’t wait for sandy beaches, beautiful seafood and fourteen days of pure chill out time together.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (39)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to live in the moment! I was really calm in the run up to the wedding but a few things stressed me out on the morning of the big day. Having a minute to myself with my new husband flipped a switch inside me that said we only get one day in our lives like this and after that I loved every minute. The little things that go wrong – and they will – will be the funny parts of your story in years to come.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (47)

Also, for our wedding we tried to use and support small businesses and I would encourage other couples to do the same. We communicated in person with all our vendors and they went above and beyond to turn our visions into a reality. Almost everything was transported from other parts of the UK but it was well worth it to say we knew exactly who made our cake, exactly who arranged our flowers, exactly who handmade our outfits – all in all it complemented our homemade wedding and made everything that bit more personal.

A Fun & Fabulous Ukranian Wedding in Derbyshire (c) Shot By Amy (45)

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simply splendid. a bespoke gown for a country wedding at calke abbey – jane & lee

October 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (69)

Today’s real wedding couple chose their venue because it provided something that little different – and looking at their images, we can see why it ticked boxes.

Rustic and minimalist, with a modern edge, the white wash brick structure with beautiful exposed beams, does a lot of the talking for itself. Its natural charm was further enhanced by Lee and Jane with the use of lots of twinkling fairy lights, which draped elegantly across the ceiling.

Opting to keep things simple, they then just added a few simple decorative touches here and there in white gypsophila and rustic bird cages to complete their dream setting. It certainly gets the thumbs up from us.

Images by James Tracey Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (8)

jane says: We got engaged on 3rd July in the New Forest at a beautiful hotel called The Pig. It a beautiful sunny evening and the night before my 40th birthday, needless to say lots of champagne was consumed!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (12)

We set the date for Friday 19th June as we’d always wanted an early summer wedding. Dates at our chosen venue, The Ridings School at Calke Abbey, Derby, were quite limited so rather than change the timing of it, we opted for a Friday.

We chose The Ridings School as it was a little different from your run-of-the-mill wedding venue and was something that we could put our own stamp on.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

Overall we just wanted a relaxed wedding day with a country/rustic feel to it. We also wanted to involve as many friends as possible in the planning to make it more personal.

We decided to stick to a very simple colour scheme of green and white to complement the theme.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (26)

I chose to have a fairly traditional dress, which was made Charlotte Thompson Bridal. I picked elements of different dresses which I loved and she made me a bespoke gown which I absolutely loved!

On the wedding day Claire Elizabeth did my makeup. She used an airbrush technique, which meant it stayed on all day. My hair was done brilliantly by a good friend of mine.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (32)

Lee wore a suit from Ted Baker and the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Moss Bros. Our bridesmaids completed the wedding party in pretty dresses from Coast.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

James Tracey was our fabulous photographer. We already knew him through friends and so we had seen his excellent work.  We booked him early on to make sure he was available on our day.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (49)

All the wedding flowers were sourced and arranged by my best friend and chief bridesmaid, Claudia. We had a mixture of simple gypsophila and green roses to fit the colour scheme.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

We loved the giant ‘love’ letters that we had seen about so decided to hire some for the wedding, which looked great in the photos. We also had lots of fairy lights and some decorative bits and pieces on the table.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (58)

As favours we gave our guests personalised paper bags filled with heart-shaped sweets.

We had a beautiful wedding cake which was made by my mum and multi-talented friend, Claudia. Mum made the huge bottom tier and top tier, which were fruit cake, and Claudia made the middle tiers and iced it all. I loved it!

The rest of the food on the wedding day was taken care of by Black Peppermint and was absolutely delicious.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (63)

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (68)

To provide the entertainment we hired The Serious Hat Band. I had heard them before when I went to a party on the Isle of Wight. They were brilliant and kept the dance floor full all night long.

We also made our own photo booth by hiring a large frame so guests could have their photos taking whilst posing in it using a Polaroid camera. They were then asked to stick a photo in our guest book to provide memories of the day.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (74)

We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. It’s a lot different to other venues and the staff there are brilliant. It has a great feel to it!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (80)

Looking back we couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day as we loved all of it! We didn’t stop smiling!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (85)

For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and then stopped off at Dubai on the way home to see some friends. It was the perfect combination of destinations and we would recommend them to other couples in search of honeymoon ideas.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (98)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early on and then you can really enjoy the run up to the wedding. Also, take some time out on the wedding day to spend with your new husband.

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sweet on you. a pretty wedding at the ashes – lisa & james

September 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (26)

Today’s real wedding captivated us as soon as it landed in the Brides Up North inbox. Not only because it’s up there with the prettiest weddings we’ve seen, but also because so much thought and love has been poured into all the different elements of the day to ensure it is both personal & pretty!

When submitting her wedding, bride Lisa said some very kind words about our blog, which she used as the main source of guidance and inspiration for planning her own big day. We are blown away with the results and are so pleased that what we post on our pretty pages is of such use to our creative and stylish brides.

Prepare to swoon (a lot)…

With images by Helen Russell Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (11)

lisa says: We got engaged all the way back in July 2013. We used to date in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, and James proposed where we used to frequent on the cliff top ‘Lover’s Walk’ overlooking the town, on one knee with an amazing vintage inspired engagement ring! It was how I’d always imagined us getting engaged, and luckily he’d had the same idea without us ever speaking about it!

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (6)

We chose July 31st as our wedding date as we wanted a weekday summer wedding and knew for family with children the summer holidays would be best. We chose to wait two years to give us enough time to save up and have the wedding we wanted without rushing things or compromising on what we wanted, which really took the pressure off! The date is also one day after my grandparents’ wedding anniversary date, so tied that in beautifully.

We came across The Ashes venue whilst searching Derbyshire wedding venues. I’m from Derby, and the place has always been special to us, as well as the Peak District and the North of England generally being stunning anyway! As soon as we walked into the ceremony barn at The Ashes for our first viewing we knew it was where we were meant to be married, and didn’t look anywhere else, it just felt right! We wanted somewhere beautiful but with a laid back and rustic feel at the same time, and The Ashes had all of that and more.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (14)

The theme naturally evolved into an English rose/country theme the more we chose! My dress started that as it’s covered in lace and chiffon roses, and the flowers followed suit. I’m so pale I’ve always been called an English Rose anyway! James works on a farm and as a tree surgeon, so lots of the country elements were inspired by him and his job, such as incorporating lots of wood (he cut all the centrepiece tree logs himself), the wheat in the boutonnieres, and the peonies, which he grows. The venue really helped complement our choice of theme. We’re quite laid back people, so things like just having the rolled up shirts and braces and mismatched bridesmaids dresses just worked for us.

We chose pale pinks and mint greens as the colour scheme to keep things natural but pretty. The venue was a great blank canvas, with lots of natural earthy wooden and stone colours, so pinks and greens stood out as soft and summery without being too over the top and distracting.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (18)

My dress was Justin Alexander style 8711, a lace ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and cathedral length train in ivory, with lace and chiffon laser cut roses. I went into Courtyard Bridal Boutique in Kettering near where we now live to try a different Justin Alexander dress, but that one just wasn’t quite ‘the one’. I chose this to try on too while we were waiting as I loved the quirkiness of the roses, and once I tried it on and came out of the dressing room I was convinced – everyone gasped and there were a few tears! The dress was the perfect combination of fairy tale wedding with a fun quirky twist that suited us well. For the evening I switched to a Chi Chi London lace midi dress from ASOS, as I knew I couldn’t run about and dance all night in my daytime one!

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (21)

James wore a pair of grey/brown tweed trousers, with a white shirt rolled up at the sleeves, brown leather braces and brown leather shoes. All the groomsmen were similar but with different braces. This was to keep with the laid back style and just to suit us. James also wanted to show off his amazing half sleeve tattoo, which had elements inspired by our engagement, and we had hoped it was going to be a hot day (we were right!) so opted to have no jackets.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (23)

The bridesmaids were all in pale pink, but all the dresses were completely different. I wanted them all to feel comfortable on the day, and we didn’t want the uniformed look of all girls being the same. This way they all got to pick a dress they felt suited them and their body types. The dresses were from Debenhams, BHS, and ASOS. The flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon, and she looked like an angelic little fairy princess!

Jenn Edwards hair and makeup team were on hand to help me and my bridesmaids complete our looks. Jenn and the team really put us at ease on the morning of the wedding. They were so professional and got to work right away making everyone look fabulous and were a great girly addition to the wedding morning, which should be a fun and girly part of the day. I would highly recommend!

On the morning of the wedding the girls and I got ready on site in the lovely Old Dairy cottage, which meant we didn’t require transport. For James, as a surprise a hired a DeLorean! This wasn’t in keeping with the theme of the day at all, but I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the day was as much about him and his loves as much as it was mine, and he does love that car! It collected him from where he was staying the night before and he was in total shock! It was great fun to have in the pictures too, and a once in a lifetime experience for him.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (25)

Our photographer was Helen Russell Photography. Choosing a photographer was one of the most, if not the most important element for us, as once the day is over the photos are what you have left to treasure. We wanted a photographer that had a slightly more artistic and soft almost vintage style, without being too over processed and cheesy, and after lots of Googling we found Helen! We had an amazing engagement shoot with her, and she was a joy to work with, so professional and creative. On the day she was like a wedding ninja, appearing everywhere at the right place at the right time to get some amazing shots. She captured some really great moments for us, and the images feel soft and romantic.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (31)

The flowers were all provided by Campbell’s Flowers in Sheffield. After finding them online and meeting the owner, Tracy, we knew they were the florist for us. They really care about creating the right flowers for your day, and have a wonderful fresh, handpicked feel to their arrangements. The bouquet was mostly roses, with hydrangeas, dahlias and peonies, and was a great mix of soft pastel colours. They also provided the flowers for my hair, which was perhaps one of my favourite elements of the day! The most beautiful big pale pink rose, with smaller foliage and tea roses – they just finished off my outfit and looked stunning.

The flowers used for decoration were also from Campbell’s. We had an assortment of vases for the centrepieces on the tables and windows to add to the relaxed feel, and Campbell’s filled them with gypsophila, roses and dahlias. It all just looked so fresh picked and colourful. They even filled our teapot and teacups on the top table which suits our love of tea so well! We had rose petals to decorate the aisle, and hydrangea petals for confetti.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (35)

Most of the decorations were handmade, and my good friend Angela really helped craft some of the more amazing decorations, such as our welcome sign, Mr & Mrs light up letters, and our amazing wreath for our ceremony. We had more than 70 meters of bunting in the reception barn, and lots of lovely handmade lace bunting in the ceremony barn too. We wanted little personal handmade touches everywhere to bring our personalities and love of crafts into the day, so we had handmade confetti cones and programme fans too.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (38)

We decided not to do favours on people’s places, as so often they seem to get left behind, so we opted to do napkins with personalised luggage tags and engraved wooden cookies with wheat and lavender for the tables, and had a separate table with homemade jams, honey, teabags and wild flower seeds for people to collect after the meal. That way guests could choose what they wanted to take home and nothing was wasted or left behind.

Our cake was from Pretty Fancy Cakes in Derbyshire. Faye at PFC was brilliant in listening to us describe our day and create a cake around that. It was four tiers of white icing, with the same lace piped on that was on my dress, icing peonies and petals, and our tattoo emblem (we have a matching LJ logo tattoo on both our wrists!). I also, as another surprise for James, had a Lego cake made with little Lego toppers – I know he loves Lego, and again wanted him to have special touches on the day that I knew would represent him and his hobbies.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (41)

The wedding breakfast food was a quite traditional, an English three course meal with ratatouille tart or salmon for starters, and a choice of chicken with a duck farce, beef with a Tio Pepe reduction, or butternut squash and pecorino crumble for mains. The dessert was a selection of three mini desserts so everyone could enjoy a bit of a variety. The food was so well presented at The Ashes – Jenkinsons were the caterers. For the drinks reception we kept it laid back and fun with Pimms with fresh fruit and fruity Old Mout ciders for the summer’s day.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (43)

As entertainment, we chose to have Dan and Jess from Replay Acoustic Duo sing throughout the day. They were a fantastic touch, as they played a great variety of non-cheesy songs from all genres with their own lovely laid back acoustic feel. Jess’ voice was angelic, and it again added to that laid back summer fun vibe.

We also had Polly’s Parlour vintage ice-cream van for an alternative to traditional canapés for the drinks reception post-ceremony. We’re big Volkswagen fans (all our tables were named after VW cars!) and Florence is such as fun and beautiful campervan. All the guests commented on how tasty and refreshing the ice-cream was, and it looked amazing in the photos, so colourful and cute.

We also chose to put on some lawn games on the grassy area and hired some huge light up ‘love’ letters for the dance floor. These were a great focal point for the day and the evening, especially as we opted to have an iPod disco rather than a DJ. Our first dance, which was a waltz (as we ballroom dance anyway) looked lovely against the sparkle of the letters.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (44)

We would definitely recommend The Ashes venue to other couples. First of all the location is stunning, the views are breath-taking and it’s immaculate inside and out! With its stone walls and wooden beams it’s a great blank canvas, no crazy carpets or curtains to try and work around, it’s just yours to play with! The other brilliant thing is that they set everything up and pack everything away for you – I can’t tell you how much of a help that was, you can just sit back and enjoy arriving on the day to everything being decorated, and at the end of the night can leave without a worry!

My favourite part of the day was our first look shoot. We knew it was something we wanted to do for a while, and we were so right to do it. It was probably the only part of the day that we got to experience just for us. No crowds of people watching. We got to keep the moment of seeing each other for the first time for ourselves, and weren’t at either ends of an aisle. We got to hug, kiss and high five and say how we felt before all the madness began! It really helped calm our nerves pre-ceremony, and made us feel like we went into the ceremony already united. We also got some lovely photo and video moments from it. I’d recommend a first look shoot to anyone considering it, as it really is a special moment to share.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (50)

We chose to visit Sri Lanka for our honeymoon. We wanted somewhere that was paradise with beauty and beaches, but also plenty to see and do, as we can’t sit still for long! This worked really well, as we spent some days lazing on the beach and by the pool with a good book and a cocktail, and some days seeing Sri Lanka, riding elephants, visiting tea and spice gardens, seeing the wildlife on boat tours, and taking in the culture. The weather and surroundings were incredible, and the people so friendly. We really got chance to unwind.

A Pretty Wedding at The Ashes (c) Helen Russell Photography (48)

My top tip for other Brides Up North, apart from the first look shoot, would be to really enjoy the planning and the lead up to the wedding. The wedding day is just a few hours and goes so quick, so try to really stop and enjoy the time choosing lovely things with your suppliers, crafting those special details, trying on that dress, and having the family and friends time. There won’t be another time in your life like it, and it’s important to enjoy the wedding as a journey and an experience, not just for the day.

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outdoor elegance. mori Lee for a bright & modern wedding at ringwood hall – natalie & joe

August 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (37)

Today’s bride and groom didn’t let Britain’s unpredictable weather put them off taking their September wedding outdoors.

Natalie and Joe chose to say their ‘I dos’ in the stunning grounds of Ringwood Hall before enjoying their reception in a marquee within the gardens.

Thankfully blue skies appeared on the big day, which was beautifully styled in a chic & simple way using a base palette of white and then pops of vibrant pinks and orange. Just stunning!

Image by One Wedding Photography.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (1)

natalie says: We got engaged on 30th June 2012. We had been travelling together the year previous for six months and then came back and moved into our first home together. Joe proposed in our apartment. I had been out with my best friend for some food and a few drinks and got home about 11.30pm. I opened the door to a hallway full of candles and Train’s Marry Me playing. Joe was waiting in the living room with roses and champagne and the ring! Joe chose our apartment to propose as it was a special place for us.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (9)

Our wedding date was 12th September 2014. September always seems to be a lovely month weather wise and we first got together in September so it naturally seemed the best month for us.

We picked Ringwood Hall in Derbyshire, as our venue and decided on a modern, bright travelling theme. We wanted a relaxed but intimate wedding and therefore had an outdoor ceremony in the gardens of Ringwood Hall followed by a reception in the garden marquee. We felt that the whole day was relaxed and as the majority of the celebrations took place outside, it just had a lovely informal feel about it.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (19)

Our colour scheme was pretty varied. All our table/chair covers were white while our flowers were a mixture of coral, pinks and oranges with green succulents with pink tips. The groom and ushers/father of the brides were in navy suits and the bridesmaids were in pale taupe dresses.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (20)

My dress was a Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner design. I found it difficult finding a dress as I had an image in my head of what I wanted, but even when I found ‘that’ dress it didn’t feel like it was ‘the one’. I wanted something fitted but as I’m not that tall most fishtail dresses made my legs look really small so I loved how the dress I picked kicked out mid-thigh to make me look a little taller. I also loved the neckline and the fact that my niece’s dress, who was my flower girl, actually mirrored my dress.

We got Joe and the groomsmen’s’ suits from Debenhams suit hire. The bridesmaid dresses were by Dessy.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (23)

As we wanted a relaxed and informal wedding we were looking for photographers who could capture this feel on the day. Tom and Mike from One Wedding Photography did just that, they are chilled out but very professional and the photos they produced were excellent. All our guests made comments that a great thing about our wedding was that lots of time wasn’t taken up with photos and this is due to One Wedding being so subtle and capturing relaxed and natural shots. In addition, whenever we needed to ask One Wedding a question, they were always on the other end of the phone/email, nothing was ever too much trouble for them. We were over the moon with our photos when we received them and they brought back all the memories of our special day. One Wedding are two fantastic and very talented guys.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (26)

All our flowers were done by Fantail Designer Florist and Lydia at Sweet Additions in Sheffield, created our wedding cake.

We made the name tags ourselves to look like old fashioned travel tickets with a penny attached to the front and a scratch card favour inside. We also made our table names; these were a photo of us both in a place we visited during our travels and the table name was of the country where the photo was taken. For the kids we made goodie bags filled with sticker books, sweets and bubbles.

Strides provided our ceremony and marquee dressings and did a fantastic job. Both the outside pavilion, where we had our ceremony, and the marquee, where we held our wedding breakfast and celebrations, looked stunning.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (27)

We chose a ladies and gents’ menu for the wedding breakfast and in the evening we had a hog roast with all the trimmings. We also made our own sweetie table and served up part of our cake for guests. As entertainment we had Tropicana DJ, supplied through Ringwood Hall.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (36)

Without a doubt we would recommend Ringwood Hall to others, mainly due to its beautiful grounds and the staff went over and above what we would have expected from them. They made sure that the day ran so smoothly, nothing was an issue.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (45)

Seeing all our friends and family happy and having a great time together on the day was definitely our favourite part of the wedding.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (31)

For our honeymoon we went to Crete straight after the wedding as were really needed a rest and a couple of weeks to relax. We stayed in a beautiful hotel near to Elounda. We have now just returned from Italy which was where we originally wanted to go for our honeymoon but as we wanted to do a bit of travelling we knew it wouldn’t be a complete chilled out holiday which is what we needed straight after the wedding. We spent four nights in Rome then 11 nights travelling up the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (54)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be try not to get stressed about the planning, the day is a fantastic day regardless. We tried to stay relaxed throughout the whole planning process and didn’t worry too much about little details on the day. We just enjoyed and had the best time.

The only thing we regret is not having a video done of the wedding. At the time we were thinking of budget but in the grand scheme of things we should have just gone for it.

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dream venue: chatsworth house, derbyshire

July 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (3)

This morning on the blog we’re thrilled to introduce you to dream venue Chatsworth House, which is located in the heart of the Peak District.

The perfect setting for a wedding (as well as a period drama) the stately house has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. Keen not to keep its beauty all to themselves, the family opened the venue up to the public and has since become known as one of the UK’s favourite country houses.

Brides and grooms have been able to say their ‘I dos’ at Chatsworth for the past six years in the stable courtyard area, though only recently has the Painted Hall in the main house been licensed for civil ceremonies, which we are most excited about!

Outside the house is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and parkland while on the inside it’s brimming with character, history and unique treasures, making for truly stunning backdrop to couples’ big days. Oh and if the house looks familiar that might be because a number of scenes for the Pride and Prejudice movie starring Kiera Knightly were filmed here. Impressive!

So let’s hear more about weddings at this stunning house and have a nosey at that fabulous Painted Hall.

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

Model wears Charlotte Balbier, available at Emily Bridalwear.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (12)

Tell Brides Up North about the venue, what is its history?

Chatsworth House is steeped in history, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire it has been handed down 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It is a family home, a working farm and a living landscape that is stunning inside and out.

How does Chatsworth House cater for weddings?

We host small intimate weddings and large lavish ones too! Numbers vary from just four to 150! With three licensed spaces to hold civil ceremonies and civil partnerships, a beautiful church very close by, small private dining rooms and the majestic carriage house restaurant there really is something for everyone. Chatsworth weddings are planned and created by our warm and welcoming team, our catering is created by our award-winning chefs fresh on the day of the wedding and the event is delivered by expert operators. We have an amazing team!

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (26)

The Painted Hall at Chatsworth has recently become licensed for civil ceremonies, why did you want to open up the venue to brides and grooms?

Although we have been licensed to hold weddings in the stables courtyard area for six years, we were not able to offer couples anything in the house. Every time I visited the Painted Hall I could imagine a bride and groom on the Great Stairs delivering their vows, it really is something very special.

What makes Chatsworth House a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

The house is known as the Palace of the Peaks and it certainly lives up to this title! The gardens, and surrounding parkland, make the most amazing backdrops for photographs but if I’m honest, I think it’s the team that sets the venue apart from others. The dedication and commitment to every single wedding, large or small, from every member of the team is simply astonishing.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (25)

What sort of bride would be a Chatsworth House bride?

Anyone that has a passion for history and heritage. Lots of our brides have loved Chatsworth since they were small children and have dreamed of getting married here. We’re thrilled that we can make such wishes come true.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (31)

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

We work closely with the brides on all aspects of the wedding day and can offer our help and advice from the experience we have gathered over the years. We do work with trusted suppliers but we do not enforce them on to our couples and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting wedding partners.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (28)

Can guests stay over at your venue?

We have lots of good quality hotels within five to ten minutes of Chatsworth and we also have wonderful holiday cottages spread across the estate which can accommodate guests.

Tell us about your catering services and what makes them special? 

Our catering is delivered by our award winning in house team of expert chefs and bakers who are always happy to discuss menu requirements with our couples. We can offer help and advice when picking wines to complement the chosen wedding breakfast. Laurent Perrier is our pouring champagne adding a touch of class to our welcoming receptions and toasts.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (32)

Can you give Bride Up North an idea on price?

Weddings start from £800 up to around £15,000 in the stables courtyard areas. Weddings in Chatsworth House start at around £50,000 depending on numbers and requirements, as do our marquee weddings.

We often add special packages to our website incorporating some of our other events. The concert-wedding package is always very popular. If we have any late availability dates we can sometimes offer all-inclusive packages enabling couples to pick up an amazing value for money wedding.

Chatsworth House by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (58)

Do you have any open days coming up that our readers might be interested in?

We will be hosting an open day on Saturday 8th August in the stables courtyard area. Chatsworth House is such a special venue that makes wonderful memories, we would love couples to come and experience it for themselves.

To find out more about Chatsworth House and its facilities contact 01246 565366 and speak to Kay or Laine. Alternatively visit the Chatsworth House website. 

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up, up, up & away. bright colours & balloons for a fun wedding at peak edge hotel – sarah & mike

July 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (31)

Rather than deciding on one set theme and colour palette, today’s real wedding couple put together a mishmash of colours, passions and likes to create a big day that was both stylish & personal.

We love the bright colours mixed in with glittery gold touches, including Mike and Sarah’s fabulous looking cake! We are also fans of Sarah’s idea to switch her bridesmaids’ bouquets for balloons in a nod to her and Mike’s favourite film Up, because you don’t always have to abide by the wedding ‘rules’.

All in all a fun and elegant big day, just as the bride and groom wanted!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (5)

sarah says: Mike proposed while we were on holiday in Las Vegas in September 2013. He’d asked for my parents’ blessing before the trip. On the 12th September we drove out from Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam and onto the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the south rim of the canyon and began to walk along the track. At sunset we sat down and took in the sight. Whilst sat Mike asked me if I was enjoying the trip, I said “yes it’s perfect”. To which he asked me if anything could make it more perfect and my response was “no”. I then turned round to see Mike sat with a small box with a love heart sweet ring saying ‘Marry Me’ written on it. My heart melted and I said yes! Mike let me choose my own engagement ring once we were home – he knows me so well!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (6)

We were married at Peak Edge Hotel near Chesterfield. The thing that clinched it with Peak Edge was that the venue had the rustic feel in part of the venue in the Red Lion bar and bistro (a former 17th century coaching inn) yet it also had a modern element as the hotel was built in 2011. It was just perfect and ticked all our boxes for us to have a civil service and for me to be able to get ready at the venue. Plus the ‘Perfection Package’ included so many elements we wouldn’t then need to arrange ourselves but it still gave us the chance to customise areas to our taste e.g. chair sashes, place cards, seating chart etc. The venue was spacious with our civil ceremony taking place in the Orangery with beautiful glass skylight and chandeliers. The orangery and adjoining Harewood suite were then transformed for wedding breakfast and we also had the Ashover suite for the disco in the evening. We also needed somewhere that could accommodate my bridal party of 17. Carly was our dedicated planner at the venue, and worked with us to ensure she shared our vision for the day and that every detail was perfect.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (9)

Our theme was understated rustic with modern pops of colour and fun! We didn’t want one colour to cover everything and it all to be very ‘matchy matchy’. Instead we created a classic elegant style using more neutral tones with bright elements and added a bit of bling with gold glitter. One of our favourite films is Up and so we knew we wanted to incorporate balloons into our day too. We both love the vintage rustic style weddings but felt that we wanted our own twist on this and so we incorporated rustic elements where we wanted but with bursts of bling and colour.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (10)

When it came to the dress I was pretty open to everything as I had no preconceived idea of what I thought it would look like, although I thought I didn’t want strapless nor satin. I went to several bridal shops and found I started to pick out the same designer – Mori Lee by Madelaine Gardner. I eventually bought my dress from Blushes Bridal on London Road in Sheffield. I tried on a Mori Lee dress I had tried on several months previously and I knew it had to be that one. It was just perfect – tulle skirt with subtle lace detail round the hem, a touch of sparkle on the waistband with a brooch detail and a fitted bodice top with delicate lace detail over laying and button up back with a long train.

Helen, Zoe and the rest of the staff at Blushes were just amazing – they managed to get my dress in slightly earlier so I could go and try it on a few times. Alterations weren’t a problem either as I was a perfect fit in my dress, it was as if it had been made for me. I borrowed a veil from my friend and finished my outfit with the most amazing pair of Louboutins which my husband bought me from Harrods.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (14)

Mike’s outfit was top to toe Hugo Boss. He went to the Hugo Boss store in Nottingham where assistant manager Lee Honey helped him pick and tailored his amazing three piece suit to him. The service in-store was sensational.

The groomsmen and fathers all wore suits from Next and the bridesmaid’s navy dresses were from Our flower girls and pageboy outfits were from John Rocha at Debenhams.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (16)

Lee of Lee Brown Photography was our photographer. Lee had done wedding photos for two of my work colleagues and I had met Lee at their weddings. I loved his style of natural photos and that it felt as if he very much blended into the day rather than having all posed photos. Michael also loved his work and his amazing all-inclusive package was the right deal for us. We had a wonderful pre-wedding shoot with Lee in the gardens at Chatsworth in January and these pictures were displayed at the wedding as a signing board and postcards. Lee arrived at the venue early in the morning to take some photos of us all getting ready and the boys arriving and stayed into late into the evening. The pictures really do show what an amazing day we had.

We also had our wedding filmed by Mike at Satin Pictures to give us lasting memories of the day. Mike often works with our photographer Lee and we loved his work. The video was a late addition to our wedding and we were very lucky to secure Mike. We have an amazing highlights film for our day which captured the fun and are excited to see our full video very soon!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (20)

Our flowers were provided by JJ’s Flowers in Chesterfield. Jess at JJ’s is an amazing florist! Flowers weren’t to be a main element of our day and I didn’t want us to spend a lot of our budget on them. I knew as soon as we met Jess I wanted her to do our flowers as she totally got where I was coming from and despite it being a relatively small order in comparison to other weddings she does, she was still very committed to getting it just right for me. I couldn’t have been happier with the results!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (22)

Liz at Mad Philomena provided our wedding invites and was amazing. When coming up with the design we met Liz at a pub one evening to discuss how she could help us create some invites that reflected us as a couple. We worked together on several iterations of the invite to make it perfect. From our meeting Liz wrote a beautiful piece in the centre of the invite about us as a couple; how we met, where the proposal happened and what we love about one another. We also hired some of Liz’s giant gold letters for display throughout the wedding day and a ribbon backdrop customised to our colours.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (28)

The balloons for bridesmaids and decorations came from Dottie & Love. I came across Jayne at Dottie & Love through a recommendation. Originally we were just having balloons for decoration in the Ashover suite for our evening reception and two of the large white balloons with ribbon tails for decoration and use in the photos. However I worked with Jayne and decided I also wanted the bridesmaids to have balloons rather than flowers to walk in with. This worked really well and looked beautiful on the photos, plus was a much more friendly choice to the budget. Jayne was fabulous and we would highly recommend her.

I made or bought the rest of the decorations including tissues for tears of love, joy, laughter and happily ever after, ring box and signs.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (36)

As favours we gave all our guests a wooden egg cup printed with our fingerprints from our ring fingers, our names plus and date of the wedding. There was a Cadburys Creme Egg in each one as it was Easter.

Our wedding cake was from Atherley’s Bakery in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire. My friend and bridesmaid Jo runs this family business with her husband James and they make the most amazing cakes! We had a three tier cake with lemon, red velvet and chocolate sponges with a rustic buttercream coating and gold dusting detail. We then had vanilla sponge cupcakes for my ‘pimp your cupcake’ stand during the evening reception where guests could add their choice of icing and a variety of toppings to a cake.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (40)

James Clark provided the entertainment at our drinks reception. We had seen James play many times before as he regularly hosts an acoustic night at our friend’s pub in Mansfield. His laid back style and music options were perfect. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our guests about James since.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (45)

Further entertainment was provided by a photo booth in the evening. When I met Kay who runs the Nottingham franchise for at a local wedding fayre, I knew we had to have it at our venue. The booth has the capability to take single photos or four onto one photo and the backgrounds can be changed. The booth also allowed guests to do some karaoke and merged the videos at the end of the day.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (48)

We would recommend our wedding venue to others without a shadow of a doubt. Nothing was too much trouble for the venue. The staff are so accommodating and cannot do enough to help. Several friends are now considering the venue for their weddings and we are attending a friend’s wedding at the same venue in August.

Looking back I would say the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. We had readings and an impromptu sing song. It was just perfect!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (65)

For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We flew into Melbourne and spent five nights there fitting in lots of attractions before moving onto Ayres Rock where we watched the sunrise, completed the base walk all the way round Uluru, went to the ‘Sound of Silence’ dinner, and had a go at boomerang and spear throwing.  Next we went to Cairns for a week where we snorkled at the Great Barrier Reef. We finished up in Sydney where we completed the Bridge Climb, visited Taronga Zoo, Manly and Bondi beaches, and had a tour of the opera house.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (68)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to shop around! I managed to save lots of money by not getting drawn into hiring or buying the first things I saw.

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