July 6th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Taking romance to the next level, today’s featured couple flew their destination wedding party out to Italy and exchanged their vows against a stunning backdrop often featured in glamorous Hollywood movies and Vogue-style fashion editorials.
The ceremony between Samantha and Alex took place against a glorious view of gently undulating mountains and boats skittering across the impossibly picturesque Lake Como. Travelling in a stylish, vintage boat across the lake must have been a real wow moment! Samantha and Alex chose white as their principle colour, accented with sprigs and swathes of silvery green ruscus and urns blooming with white roses and delicate greenery, for simple and classic décor.
Samantha’s bespoke gown is exquisite, with an incredibly detailed pearl and Swarovski crystal bodice and elegant illusion sleeves; a dramatic V-neck back and beautiful fishtail skirt add to the glamour. It’s the perfect dress for the setting and, holding a bouquet of white and eucalyptus, Samantha is the epitome of elegance.
The couple chose some great special touches to add personality to the day too. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they went all-out with a buffet-style table offering five delicious Italian desserts for guests to sample. We love the idea of giving out fans at the ceremony to keep guests cool and add to the chic vibe, and Samantha even had personalised flip flops bespoke made for guests to wear as the dancing got underway – the perfect touch for a beach-side wedding we think you’ll agree!
With images by Kristos Kabiotis.
samantha says: We got engaged in October 2015, on Richmond Hill in London. Originally from the north, we have since built a life together in London, and Richmond was the first place we lived together, so is very special to us. Alex made up a story about a business meeting with a client who lives on Richmond Hill and asked if I would come and support him. As we parked up, Alex said the client was running late and suggested we go for a coffee in the café in the gardens. We walked down the steps and I just kept walking, noticing he’d stopped; when I turned, there he was down on one knee. I was in complete shock and there were many tears shed before I said yes!
I was quite emotional as I was due to travel away for a few weeks for work and, as our families both live in the north, we wouldn’t get to celebrate for a while. I tried calling everyone and no one was picking up. Alex said he had booked brunch at High Brasserie Road in Chiswick and, as I walked in, our parents and my brother were all there waiting to celebrate. More tears followed, as you can imagine. We spent the whole weekend celebrating with them (whilst taking advantage of my dad’s DIY skills!).
We got married on 31st August 2017. We chose this date as it was the same date my godparents got married. They couldn’t have children themselves and supported my mum and dad bringing me and my brother up (and now my nephews!), so it was special for them too. Sadly, my godfather passed away whilst I was planning my wedding, so this made it all the more special but also an emotional day for my godmother.
Without a second thought we would recommend these venues to other couples looking to marry overseas. I decided to plan my wedding myself (I must have been mad!) and both venues were fantastic at providing support and help where they could. We didn’t even have chance to visit either venue prior to the wedding (again, people thought we were crazy!) as I travel with work so much, so we put a lot of trust in them. We were not disappointed – they were fantastic and we could tell both venues were absolute professionals at organising weddings and had done it so many times before.
We didn’t have a theme – we let the scenery of the lake be the backdrop and create the style for our wedding. The villa we were married in was a botanical garden, which led a lot of the design and style on my dress, as well as the selection of plain ivory and white flowers that both suited the villa and the simple, chic style of the beach restaurant for the party.
We didn’t have a particular colour scheme either; everything was simple in ivory and whites, from my dress all the way to the wedding invites and menus for the day. I thought the scenery was enough to bring in natural colours and white complemented this for simplicity.
When it came to my bridesmaids, however, I opted for a pale blue dress, not because this was my chosen colour but because when we found the dresses I thought they suited all the girls and thought the colour went so well with the surrounding colours of the lake. They wore a simple, one-shoulder dress, with side floating detail, from a brand on ASOS, along with silver, barely-there high heeled sandals. The two flower girls wore a dress we had made by a seamstress from the same material as the bottom part of my wedding dress.
May 24th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th June 2018 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
In full on holiday mode now, this morning we’re escaping to a 19th-century chateau in beautiful western France for today’s hugely Pin-worthy real wedding!
Vintage enthusiasts Dick and Angel set about restoring Chateau de la Motte Husson to its former glory and more than three years ago, and today’s bride Helena reports that she fell in love with it immediately. Looking at this veritable wonderland of circus memorabilia, fake taxidermy and eclectic additions (think unicorn heads and butterfly-adorned walls and you’re getting there…), it’s immediately obvious why.
For their magical wedding, Northern couple Helena and Owen chose to decorate the venue with meadow grasses and wildflowers and chose sparkly mismatched gowns for the bridesmaids in delicate shades of oyster grey, gold and pistachio. They ‘ate French’ (beef, baguettes, cured meats, local pork pie and wine) and added a touch of whimsy with hand-embroidered napkins as favours.
In short, the overall effect was sublime and, looking at these pictures, we can’t help but wish we’d had an invitation.
With images by Marie Marry Me.
helena says: We got engaged while on holiday with two of our closest friends in September 2016. We’d hired a car for the day and were exploring the volcanic Nature Park when we stumbled across a hidden beach. Owen asked me to walk over the rock pools so that we could get a photo together – our friend Ben volunteered to take it. As we stumbled across the rocks, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Naturally, I said yes!
Our wedding date was 28th May 2017. We chose it as it was a bank holiday weekend and we knew we wanted to have a weekend full of celebrations!
We got married at Chateau de la Motte Husson in the Pays de la Loire, France. We went to visit the venue in November with our parents and fell in love with it straight away. Dick and Angel, the owners, are the most amazingly accommodating couple and we knew straight away that we would have the most perfect celebration here.
There wasn’t a strict colour scheme. In fact, it took longer to find my bridesmaids dresses than my own! I chose a grey/green for the bridesmaids as it was a colour that all four girls felt comfortable in and suited their different complexions.
I had a bespoke, couture gown made for me by Sarah Willard. Sarah is a ridiculously talented designer and dressmaker based in Staffordshire. When I went to view her gowns with my mum and bridesmaids, she was so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. She spent almost three hours asking questions and listening to us describe the wedding and two weeks later she sent the most beautiful sketches and swatches in the post. It was a very easy decision to choose Sarah’s dress.
Owen wore a blue Hugo Boss suit, a white shirt and a red tie gifted to him by my dad. He bought two suits and chose to wear this one on the day as it was slightly less heavy than the other. It was around 27 degrees, so pretty warm for a suit!
February 27th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
As always, we’re setting our compass to ‘up north’, but we’re skipping across the Irish Sea this time to this stunning autumnal wedding in County Wicklow that has all the countryside feels.
Roisin and PJ tied the knot last year at the supremely sophisticated Tinakilly Country House in Ireland, described as a Victorian mansion by the sea. The venue has the most exquisite of backdrops to match its fabulous location. And – perfect for guests flying in from England – the venue is a mere 45-minutes from Dublin.
Unusually for our couple, their colour scheme centred on the groom’s brown tweed suit – a refreshing change from the bridesmaids’ dresses taking the lead! They decided to pair this earthy shade (perfect for their country setting, if we do say so ourselves) with the most gorgeous of purple tones that really pops against the pared back setting.
Tying in with this colour palette, the floral arrangements consisted of beautiful purple blooms and white orchids – and as you’ll see, this created the dreamiest of surroundings for a truly elegant look.
If you’re in the throes of planning your very own country wedding, we think you might be borrowing some of the wonderful details from Roisin and PJ’s special day. Read on for all the inspo!
With images by Photogenick
roisin says: We got engaged on New Year’s Eve while in Sydney, Australia. We were on a rooftop watching the fireworks and then PJ got down on one knee.
We tied the knot on 14th October 2017. It was two weeks after PJ’s birthday and two weeks before mine. It also coordinated well with my work commitments of year-end!
We got married at Tinakilly Country House in County Wicklow, Ireland. It wasn’t too far from where our parents are from. Plus, our English guests could conveniently get to the venue from Dublin airport!
We didn’t have a particular theme or style, although we knew we wanted brown tweed suits and used this as the basis for our brown and purple colour scheme. Purple is our favourite colour and combined with the brown suits – we thought these shades worked well for autumn.
My embellished A-Line dress was purchased from The Bridal Suite in West Bridgford, Nottingham. I chose this particular dress mainly because I wanted a gown with pockets! The bridal shop is run by twin sisters who are so nice and friendly, and they didn’t apply pressure unlike some of the other shops I visited.
The groomsmen wore the same suits but with plain purple ties, also from Slaters. As for my bridesmaids; they wore light gold dresses from Jenny Packham at Debenhams.
December 7th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The official advent countdown to Christmas is on, and we have our chocolate-filled calendars half eaten with our thoughts firmly fixed on the seasonal celebrations to come.
As part of our December plans we always like to squeeze in a festive mini-break, whether it be in the UK or slightly further afield for some alternative Christmas shopping, traditions, food – and, of course, drink!
On our getaway radar this year is France, as it offers a complete change of scenery and is easy, affordable and quick to get to with flights, ferries and trains all travel options.
For you brides-to-be a French festive jaunt could also double-up as an opportunity to scope out the country as a possible location if you’re considering a destination wedding, or it could be an ideal minimoon location to check out if you’re delaying your main honeymoon until later in 2018/19. And as one of the most romantic places in the world, a trip here could be the perfect celebration for the newly-engaged among you, or perfect downtime for those of you that have been caught up in the craze of wedding planning for much of the year.
So, if like us, you’re tempted – what area will you pick, where will you stay and what will you do? Well, as this is a Christmas trip we’d want a grand yet cosy setting where we can envisage ourselves curled up with a glass of something mulled or sparkling, we’d also like it to be peaceful and picturesque though close enough to a city, so we can experience the seasonal culture of the country. One such place that ticks all these boxes is Château Bouffémont – a stunning French chateau, large enough that you could extend the invite to friends or family and have yourself a very merry Christmas at this incredible abode.
For those enchanted by the thought of its perfectly manicured grounds sprinkled with snow and who can almost hear the crackling sound of the lit fireplace from here; this dream chateau is available for a two-night Festive Season Break Package enabling you to enjoy exclusive – yes, exclusive – use of the Château Bouffémont and its grounds, together with an assortment of winter activities for you and your chosen Christmas squad.
You can make yourselves right at home, enjoying drinks by the fire, festive films and games in the lounge and fine food at the dining table. Though the French culinary traditions maybe different to those in the UK, they still like to go all out at this most wonderful time of the year. For example, in France, Christmas Eve is the day when the biggest festive meal is enjoyed in most households, with oysters and/or foie gras on the menu, followed by turkey, often with chestnut stuffing and cheese, and finally dessert of fancy log ice cream or sponge and chocolate.
And when it comes to venturing out, Château Bouffémont is situated just 30 kilometres from the centre of Paris, meaning you can schedule a trip to the ‘city of lights’ into your itinerary – what could be more Christmassy than that?! You can marvel at the jaw-droppingly beautiful illuminations, immerse yourself in the festive markets, admire the stunning festive window displays at the Galeries Lafayette department store during some serious shopping, get your skates on at the ice rink outside the Hotel de Ville, or head to Place de la Concorde for a sight of the spectacular Big Wheel. And if that wasn’t enough, you can find out more about what’s planned for the festive period in Paris at the official website of the French capital’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Sounds even better than a scene from The Holiday right? So, we say dig out the passports, get your nearest and dearest that you’d want to spend a magical mini-break with involved, and get booking. We’ll see you on the other side of the English Channel!
October 18th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Though we’ve had some unseasonably mild days of late, we have to say that our summer holidays are but a distant memory at this point in the year. We’re therefore delighted to be spending this morning basking in the details of Elizabeth and John’s gorgeous Spanish wedding.
Leaving their Cheshire home behind, this sun-loving couple jetted off to Arroyo de la Miel, for a fairy-tale castle style ceremony followed by an open-air golf course reception.
In a nod to the setting, Elizabeth and John’s big day featured an abundance of white blooms, tapas, paellas and, of course, sangria!
So, sit back, relax and bring on the sunshine! Just be warned, viewing this post may result in an irresistible urge to book your next European excursion…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography.
elizabeth says: John proposed while we were on a cruise for his parents 60th birthdays after first getting Paul (my dad) drunk and asking for his permission (he was more than happy for John to take me off his hands!) John’s family were all in on the surprise, concealing the ring and putting petals and champagne in our room. It was a big surprise – so much so that John had to push me into the room to stop me from talking!
We set the date for Saturday 29th July 2017, with the wedding taking place in Spain. I’ve been visiting Benalmadena for summer holidays since I was a baby and John and I have enjoyed several family holidays together in Spain over the years too.
Our ceremony was held at Castillo de Colomares in Arroyo de la Miel Pueblo. We chose this location after talking with Liz Wilkinson, the celebrant who married us. She mentioned the venue and we fell in love with it instantly. All our family and friends said it was like a fairy-tale castle so it seemed the perfect setting.
Our reception was held at the nearby Torrequebrada Golf Club. My dad often plays golf here and had friends who are marshals at the club. The golf club is gorgeous and it seemed the perfect summer venue to have the reception.
We wanted the wedding to be typically Spanish so we had white flowers everywhere, our tables were named after our favourite restaurants and bars in Arroyo de la Miel. We had tapas as our starters for our wedding breakfast, three different paellas for a main course, and Spanish omelette, serrano ham and Manchego cheese for our evening snack. Our welcome drinks were San Miguel beer and sangria.
The wedding theme colours were white and blue. Our bridesmaid dresses were pastel blue and the groom and groomsmen outfits were navy and white. All decorations at the venue were white, including the chair covers and flowers.
The wedding dress I chose was called Snowdrop by designer Amanda Wyatt. I bought my dress from a shop near home, called The Cheshire Wedding House. The lady in the shop suggested this particular dress, I loved it! It held me in all the right places and I actually felt like a beautiful bride.
John decided he didn’t want to go down the traditional three-piece suit option, he knew how hot it gets in Spain in July and decided on a smart short combination. He picked smart Tommy Hilfiger navy shorts for himself, his best man and all his groomsmen. John then ordered seven made-to-measure shirts from a website called iTailor. John was able to pick exactly what style and colour he wanted for the shirts. John and his best man wore matching brogue loafers from John’s favourite shoe shop, Goodwin Smith.
My bridesmaids wore pastel blue Grecian style bridesmaid dresses from YS Dress in Stockport. They also wore matching earrings and necklaces, which were gifts from John and me.
July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
While we’re clearly huge advocates of couples marrying in the north of the UK, we know that some of our lovely bride readers crave sunnier climes for their big day – and as we look out Brides Up North HQ’s windows while writing this on a grey and drizzly July afternoon – we don’t blame ‘em!
But if you’re going overseas and taking your destination wedding squad with you, which hot spot is going to tick those boxes? While we wouldn’t turn down the option of a ceremony on a postcard-perfect white sandy beach in the Caribbean, we think trying the knot a little closer to home has its benefits in that it should require less time and money to travel there. This hopefully means you could afford to get in a few pre-wedding trips prior to the big day to meet with venues, planners and suppliers, and would hopefully ensure most of those on your guest list could afford to make the journey too.
A favourite holiday hot-spot for us sunshine-loving Brides Up North girls is the Algarve (in fact our Editor has just come back!), and given our many visits to this stunning area of Portugal, we can safely say that it would make an incredible destination for an overseas wedding too. Not only do we love its beautiful golden beaches, idyllic white-washed buildings, friendly locals and fabulous food, but until autumn it’s pretty much sunshine central and is less than a three-hour flight away.
So, in case all this talk of a wedding complete with sea, sun and sand has your piqued your interest, we’re handing over the blog to the expert team at The Real Algarve who know a thing or two about celebrations in the southernmost region of Portugal.
As a privately-owned family business, The Real Algarve was established in 1995 by experienced travel specialists Lynne and Simon Bunting, and the company is now also headed up by their two daughters Katie and Vicky. The team specialise in providing luxury villas and apartments to rent in the Algarve, and also have a wedding planner based in the region, meaning they’ve got the inside track on planning dream weddings in the Algarve – and they’re kindly sharing details with us here today…
The Real Algarve team say: Thinking of tying the knot in the Algarve? Famous for its long sandy beaches, delicious food and welcoming locals, why wouldn’t you want to get wed there? The Algarve is less than three hours away, and has beautiful weather almost guaranteed until mid-October. For those tempted, we’ve put together the ins and outs of planning a wedding in the Algarve, with insider knowledge from a local wedding planner from The Real Algarve.
Getting married in Portugal isn’t complicated but there are a couple of important things you need to know before you start booking your flights and accommodation.
Just like in the UK, civil ceremonies and Catholic church weddings are recognised by law and are legally binding. As with any wedding, there is some paperwork that needs to be arranged in advance so allow plenty of time to get your documents in order. Your documents will need to be originals, Apostille stamped (a stamp which authenticates the document) and translated into Portuguese by an agency verified by the Portuguese Consulate.
For a civil ceremony, you’ll need long-form birth certificates and certificates of no impediment, as well as your passports. Catholic church weddings are a bit more complicated, as you’ll need to provide some permission letters from your parish priest and bishop – for the full list of what’s required, contact the Portuguese Embassy.
Even if you’re very familiar with the area and have visited many times before, arranging a wedding in a different country can be a challenge, which is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring someone with some local knowledge to help out. They’ll be on hand to take care of the arrangements before you and your party arrive, leaving you able to enjoy the experience without the stress.
This is where you’ll need to tap into your wedding planner’s knowledge of local suppliers. They will be able to advise you on florists, caterers, makeup artists, hair stylists, and photographers in the local area and give you honest recommendations.
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