September 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m looking forward to joining my friend and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Cat Hepple to host a question and answer session at her Editorial Wedding Workshop this afternoon.
Nerves? Nah, I’m saving those for this.
Whilst I’m off on official duties, I thought I’d leave this especially sweetLeeds based DIY vintage travel themed wedding in my pace for you to enjoy. Jess and Sam styled their big day their way, to beautiful and individual effect. Super cool.
With images by Mark Dolby Photography.
Jess says: Sam proposed after an amazing evening out in Leeds. The story starts with an unfortunate incident of a pair of my tights getting stuck to chewing gum on a seat in a bar – they compensated us by gifting us a bottle of wine and we decided to make a night of it! We went for a few drinks and then some amazing tapas. When we left the restaurant Sam realised he had left his scarf in one of the earlier bars so on the way back we had to cross the Millennium Bridge in Leeds. He got out some photos of us at various places we’d been to since we got together and some pegs out of his pocket and suggested we count the bars on the bridge and peg photos to them. Once we ran out of photos we hit a bar with a padlock on it. The padlock had our initials on it and the lyrics from a Weezer song – “I think I’d be good for you, and you’d be good for me” when I turned to look at Sam he was down on one knee with a ring asking if I’d marry him.
We got married on 16th August 2014 at the iconic Town Hall and had our reception at the beautiful Leeds Club on Albion Place. We chose the Leeds Club because it’s a gorgeous building with amazing features. The Leeds Club also blew us away with their organisational skills. We wanted somewhere with an old soul but could throw a great party and I think we cracked it with the Leeds Club.
Our wedding had a travel theme to it. We chose travel as a theme as it is one of our shared passions in life. In the first 2 months of getting together we flew from Leeds to California to see Weezer play and that set the tone for the rest of our relationship.
All the flowers were made from old maps, this included table flowers, bouquet and buttonholes. The centrepieces were placed on squares made of material with maps on them. All the tables were named after cities we had visited and our table plan was on a map. Our invitations and programmes were designed like airline paper.
We didn’t have a particular colour scheme but because of our travel theme, the maps and the blue and red airline paper did play a part in dictating colours. I decided to use maps for the flowers because they would add pattern and colour to the bloom without being uniform or too prescribed.
My wedding dress was Sia by Coast. I tried on probably around 50 dresses and couldn’t find one that had the right balance of being bridal but practical. Then I found Coast! I was in love with the Sia dress but they didn’t have any more in my size across the country. The personal shopper called every store across England but it wasn’t in stock. But luckily someone was selling one on eBay in my size. With a few alterations to the length, it was perfect!
My shoes were from Irregular Choice. They are my favourite shoe brand and loved seeing them peep out from under my dress as we walked through town!
Sam’s suit was a favourite he has from Marks and Spencer. He bought the matching waistcoat and then chose a snappy shirt from Next. His shirt was a beautiful geometric pattern in red and white with a red tie. Sam had a tan belt and same colour shoes from Berwick’s.
Sam is really keen on ethical purchasing so he gave a lot of his choices a lot of thought and this included his underwear. In the end Sam chose items from ‘Pants To Poverty’. These became quite a talking point at the reception when I mentioned them in my speech!
As explained, I carried a bouquet that I had made from maps. I got designs from various craft blogs online and over a few nights perfected my flower crafting. My bouquet had about 50 flowers in it made from maps. I bought a shoebox of maps from eBay and used about 90% of the contents. The rest of the maps can be useful for our next adventure!
We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen but I did make buttonholes for all the family so they could have them in their hair (for the ladies) or in their suits (for the gents). Sam’s Dad also chose the same shirt and tie combo as Sam. That was a lovely touch.
I travelled from our home in Leeds to the Town Hall with my brother, sister and brother’s girlfriend in Mercedes town car that we booked. It was an E Class and very plush. Then between the Town Hall and the Leeds Club we walked between the venues. We had a few girl ushers (or Gushers, as I nicknamed them) to help guide guests as to the venue.
This was a lot of fun because another wedding had booked a Rolls Royce that was sat outside the Town Hall when we left and everyone expected us to get in. As we walked off everyone was very confused! Eventually as people started to cotton on that it wasn’t our car they then convinced us to go back for photos! So to the couple that paid for that car- if you see any photos of us by the side of your Rolls on your wedding day- I am so sorry!
It was great that we did walk though as luckily on that day Fosters were doing a promotion and giving out cans of beer right between our two venues! All our guests got a freebie on the walk between. People kept thanking us for arranging it!
Our photographer was Mark Dolby and he was incredible. He was so much a part of the day he was like a guest- but he was also doing all the work! He arrived hours before we had booked him so that he could be prepared and stayed much later than we agreed because we over ran! He made us feel so comfortable and happy. He captured loads of amazing natural and reportage style shots, which is exactly what we wanted. We had a few classic group shots but we were sold on his style of ‘in the moment’ photos and they were absolutely amazing. Thank you so much Mark!
He also had around 85 photos ready for us to look through by the meal time so that they could be on a slide show in the bar at the Leeds Club- the guests loved it and kept complementing us on what lovely photos. Plus they felt famous being on the big screen in a gorgeous bar!
I made a centrepiece for each of the tables, which included a table name on a luggage tag that was displayed in an empty bottle of beer. Sam is a beer connoisseur so he chose each beer bottle carefully! There were a lot of samples for that decoration!
Around each table name there were three bottles with my map flowers placed inside and candles. All of this was also placed on a square of map material. We also had maps cut into hearts sprinkled onto each table as table confetti. Each guest had their place name on a luggage tag that I had sewn with some map material.
For our cards and guest book table there were more flowers made of maps and a suitcase for cards. The suitcase came from my friend’s house when they moved in and must be over 50 years old. I also made the cards bunting sign from old maps.
Sam’s Mum gave me some decorations from his Grandmother’s wedding in 1947. They also were used in Sam’s parent’s wedding so I framed them so that they could have a special place in our wedding.
I made most the decorations myself but the Leeds Club put all of them out. They were so helpful! We delivered all the bits on Friday morning with set up instructions and they put them out perfectly!
We are in love with this bakery called That Old Chestnut in Leeds. It is a vegan bakery and they basically work in cake magic. The first time we tried their cake at a fair in Leeds we knew we would have them! The question was what flavour cake! In the end we couldn’t decide so we had 6!
Triple Chocolate, Stem Ginger, Lemon Drizzle, Carrot, Coffee and Walnut and Chocolate Torte.
We were a bit nervous we had gone overboard on the cake so we provided cake-away boxes in case anyone wanted to take some home and by the end of the night there was nothing but some crumbs (which I ate while we were saying “bye” to our last guests!).
We didn’t do favours but we did have a lot of cake and let people take any of the table flowers home with them. There wasn’t any table flowers by the end of the party and lots of guests had worked them into their hair. It was fantastic! That was exactly what we hoped!
We chose a hot fork buffet by the Leeds Club because we like the informal style of choosing from a buffet on the day but knew that a hot meal would be needed! The food was delicious; when we came for a menu tasting we were so excited!! We provided wines through Sam’s Mum and Dad. They introduced us to this brilliant Pinot Noir from Aldi and a Spanish White wine that Sam’s mum loves.
Our DJs were incredible. I know them from my work and they really did us a massive favour by DJing. The speeches over ran so they couldn’t get into the room to set up the equipment until an hour late, but they still started the party on time.
I first met one of the DJs when I hired him for a job in the bar I worked in when he was 18 and a few months old- he is now working on his PhD in Southampton and came back to Leeds just to DJ for us!
Sam and I went out for some last minute portraits before our first dance and when we came back the dance floor was packed- we had to clear a space for the first which was Diana Ross’ “Upside Down”.
After our first dance everyone was back on the floor and didn’t stop until the end. Even then there were chants for “one more tune!” A big thanks to Aarran Shaw and Sam Ryder for accommodating us!
We added lots of special touches to our day, but two stand out in particular.
I did a speech at our wedding. I think it is becoming more common for Bride’s to speak at their wedding and I can see why. It is so great to add your different perspective on the day and what you had thought in the run up. It was also great because I could mention some of the important people who couldn’t be there for various reasons – like our Grandmothers who I know would have loved to see the day.
We chose two readings at the Town Hall, which really helped personalise the ceremony. Our friends Lauren and Susy read an extract from Dr Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and our friend Dave did an acoustic cover of the Magnetic Fields “The Book of Love” – he put lots of energy in to the final chorus and took it up an octave. The crowd went wild!
The people at the Town Hall were absolutely incredible. The lady who prepared and signed the register with us – Nancy, was retiring after our wedding and it felt so special to be her last couple. As she explained the register to us as we signed our names she had a lump in her throat saying the words. It was an incredible moment.
We would strongly recommend the Leeds Club. It is a beautiful, historic location but also incredibly well placed. Very easy for guests to find but also easy for them to find their hotels! The team at the Leeds Club will also bend over backwards for you. They did so much to help us prepare for our big day- a big thank you especially to Karen Hiscoe, Ellie and Laura.
My favourite part of the day was when Sam and I met before we went to the Town Hall in the Leeds Central Library. It was a bit of a risk as they had previously told us we’d need permission for photos there. I was starting to get nervous when I arrived at the Library and fell up the stairs as I walked in (much hilarity ensued for my siblings!). But when Sam and I saw each other, all the nerves disappeared and we were just so happy.
We took some photos and walked across to the Town Hall. It felt so calm and natural to walk in together with all our friends and family there. The emotions came back as we walked down the aisle though. Truly amazing.
For our honeymoon, we went to one of our most favourite places in the world- Barcelona. Viva Espana! We hired a flat in Barceloneta with a view of the sea and spent the week drinking cava, relaxing on the beach and seeing art! Perfecto! Randomly two of our close friends were also in Barcelona at the time so we had them over for dinner at the flat one night and it was great to get their view on the wedding! Our photographer- Mark, had also been to Barcelona the week before so he gave us some great tips on some art to see.
We loved our wedding so much and had an absolute ball! I have probably a hundred top tips for other Brides Up North. Seeing your partner before you walk down the aisle is so special. Just go with the flow on the day. When we planned the day I was nervous about fitting all the bits in- they didn’t fit in, and it didn’t matter! We were late but that was ok!
Make sure you get plenty of water – it’s amazing how dehydrated you can feel from the nerves.
September 8th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
I think I may have mentioned recently that I’m totally obsessed with wedding flowers. Well, Sam and Lisa’s fab big day features the most amazing blooms that I just can’t stop swooning over.
They formed a key part of the chosen theme, which put simply was all things pretty – including a gorgeous coral colour theme, antique lace and elegant glassware.
The crafty couple rolled up their sleeves to add lots of lovely special touches to their big day – and roped in their talented family and friends to help along the way.
This stunning wedding is quite literally bursting at the seams with inspiration so grab your planning scrapbook and prepare to take notes ladies.
With images by Kate Cooper Photography.
Lisa says: We got engaged on Friday November 4th 2011. I had absolutely no idea that Sam was even thinking of proposing. We’d been together for ten happy years having met at university. We’d lived together for a few years with various friends and finally after nine years of being together, we could afford to live on our own in our own home – something we’d wanted to do for so long. I’d just started my first job as a teacher and we were beginning to do up our house. Life as a ‘proper’ grown-up couple in our home was feeling great but I had no idea we were about to get engaged. The next thing I know, Sam was proposing! He proposed at home under a star lit lounge (he’d put fairy lights up round the room) and got down on one knee. It was simple, personal, private and lovely.
Our big day was on Thursday 1st August 2014. Being a teacher, I wanted to get married in the summer holiday. We also love summer weather so we chose an August wedding date. We had our wedding on a Thursday as it was cheaper to get married during the week at our venue.
We chose Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale, Derbyshire, as our wedding venue. We’d looked endlessly for venues – both around the Sheffield area where we live and also down in Sussex where Sam is from. Nothing felt right and we were about to give up when we stumbled across Stancliffe Hall on a different Google search. As soon as we drove down the sweeping driveway lined with rhododendrons we knew we were somewhere special. The butterflies we had in our stomachs as we arrived continued as we looked at round the house. We were stunned at how beautifully the stately home had been renovated from a boarding school into a fabulous home and wedding venue. There is an amazing feel to the place – mixing complete luxury and boutique styling throughout the house, with traditional features too. There are so many beautiful touches around the house and there are lots of different rooms, balconies and nooks and crannies to explore. It’s surrounded by stunning scenery and is completely private. It also had its own beautiful wooden chapel that sits just outside the main house which meant we could get married on site too.
I had never been a girl who had dreamt up or imagined my wedding day so I didn’t really know where to start but I bought a couple of magazines and off I went! I knew I wanted a pretty, natural, floral theme and I was ridiculously excited at choosing the flowers. I started by thinking about the sort of blooms I wanted and one of my favourite flowers is the coral crush peony. My first and easiest decision was the colour scheme. Coral – a pretty, summery colour and one of my favourites! Grey – because Sam wanted to wear grey and it goes really nicely with coral. And yellow – because it complimented the rest! Next came the dress which was a lace gown which then became incorporated into the theme. My grandma gave me her cameo brooch as my something borrowed, and this then became something we incorporated into the theme. So the overall theme was a mix of – pretty, coral, lacey, cameo, homemade and vintage.
For my wedding dress I chose the Rita gown by San Patrick which was not an easy find – a bit of a mission in fact. I had looked at so many dresses online, in magazines, on wedding blogs and in shops. I wanted something pretty and feminine but with an edge to it. I stumbled across a dress online by San Patrick called Risco which made my heart skip a beat every time I looked at it. But it was so difficult to track it down and find somewhere that stocked it. I persisted and eventually I found a bridal shop called Xquisite Bridal in Leighton Buzzard that stocked it. Sabrina, the owner, had one left in stock and I think it had been discontinued – hoorah, I’d found my dress! I made an appointment to try on Risco in the boutique for the next month. By the time I had arrived, it had been sold to another bride! I was devastated. All that effort to find it and a three-hour trip to get there and it had been sold! Really kindly Sabrina let me try on the dress, but after all that excitement and anticipation, it didn’t even suite me! I had a backup dress to try on though – Rita. She was beautiful and my mum and sister both agreed that it was much better on me than Risco. Never someone to rush into a decision, I didn’t have the ‘it’s the one’ moment so I went away to think about it. In the meantime, I tried on some other dresses and confused myself even more. I was torn between Rita and a Benjamin Roberts gown. However, eventually after going back to Xquisite Bridal, I decided that Rita was the one for me. Not only was it a beautiful dress but she shared my late auntie’s name. I decided to have straps added and the skirt taken in at the knees to give it slightly more fishtailed look. I also bought a beautiful sash belt from Pearl and Co. who are based in the Manchester area who also made my garter using my grandma’s lace. I have to say, I did doubt my choice (I’m so bad at making decisions and sticking to them) but on my wedding day I absolutely loved every minute of wearing her!
Sam wore a bespoke tailored suit from King and Allen in Wilmslow. Sam got to choose the material – a lovely lightweight material which wouldn’t be too hot for our summer wedding. He decided on a classic fit so that he can continue to wear it through the years. We also had our names and wedding date embroidered into the jacket which added a really nice touch. His shoes were brown Barker brogues. As a little extra, I bought Sam some Edwardian cameo cufflinks that I found on Etsy to fit with our theme.
I’m so lucky to have such a talented mum who made the bridesmaid dresses and without really even following a pattern. I’d found a dress that I loved, but it didn’t come in coral. In fact, finding anything in coral was almost impossible at the time. So in the end I stumbled across some coral lace on a market stall and I nearly ripped the woman’s arm off for it. My mum is such a perfectionist and worked her magic using just a picture of the dress I liked for reference. After six months of work on them (she’s a retired teacher with time on her hands) they were perfect. The groomsmen all wore light grey suits, similar to Sam’s. The dads wore their own choice of grey suits.
Our photographer was the lovely and talented Kate Cooper. Sam works with her husband which is how we found Kate, and she was just the loveliest person to have around on the day. I couldn’t recommend her enough because she has such a good eye for detail. She really knows how to capture the ‘feel’ of an event and she’s so calm and sweet – she even helped me to get ready and she is so inconspicuous on the day. She just seemed to glide around without being imposing in any way and she made us feel completely at ease.
Flowers formed the main theme of our day so we really went to town on them. All the flowers were put together by Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers incorporating the colours we had picked along with the feel we were trying to create – vintage-inspired, natural and romantic.
My hand-tied bouquet was a posy-style design that was quite open and loose with lots of textural interest but still feminine and pretty. Flowers included were coral David Austin roses, succulents, craspedia, burnt orange leucospermum, brunia, rosemary, peach hypericum, eucalyptus cinerea and a little gypsophila. I also asked Tracey to include a tiny piece of holly from my dog’s grave which I gave to her.
The bridesmaids had vintage-inspired double wrist corsages which were put together on an ivory organza ribbon using two David Austin roses, a sprig of gypsophila and a cameo brooch. Meanwhile the button holes were based on a David Austin rose design using elements from my bouquet. They were constructed on their natural stem and bound and finished with a tie of lace. Coral ribbon was also added to Sam’s button hole.
For the chapel we had collections of random clear glass bottles at different heights and apothecary jars along the edge of the ceremony table which featured a random selection of our chosen blooms. To continue the vintage theme throughout the floral designs Tracey used cream enameled candlesticks topped with beautiful gypsophila topiary balls and finished with floating glass baubles filled with David Austin Juliet roses. Pretty glass baubles, again filled with delicate peach roses, were also hung from the walkway between the house and ceremony room.
When it came to dressing the room for the wedding breakfast, some of the flowers from the ceremony room were transferred and a few new arrangements in tiny cut glass heirloom vases were added. We had bought an antique French chest of drawers which we wanted to use at the venue because it is so beautiful. We used it outside the chapel to place the order of service and confetti cones on. We then transferred the drawers into the house for guests to place cards and gifts in. We had one drawer filled with flowers designed by Tracey to look as if they were tumbling out.
Other decorations we had included photo frames with old family wedding photos in, candles in storm lanterns, olive trees, hanging pearl hearts, homemade lace lanterns, a large free-standing metal heart that I decorated with lace as the table plan, a homemade wish tree with luggage tags for people to write on and hang from the tree and finally we had a floral ‘L’ and ‘S’ made by my mum. She bought cardboard letters for our initials, hollowed them out and painted them green and then filled the inside of them with oasis and flowers. It looked so pretty.
We had homemade jam and liquors as our favours. Glassware was another theme of the wedding which we used to present the flowers in and also for a sweetie table in the evening, so we carried the glassware theme through into the favours using pretty bottles and jars for the jams and liqueurs. The idea was to have translucent pastel colours from the preserves and liqueurs – peaches, yellows and greens to make the tables look lovely. Sam’s parents made the liqueurs for us – Limoncello, Pompelmocello (pink grapefruit Limoncello), and Rhubarbcello (rhubarb). I made the jams and curds: lemon curd, lime curd, pink grapefruit curd, gooseberry jelly and rhubarb jelly (the fruit coming from my grandma’s garden). I made salt dough hearts that I stamped in the same way as I stamped the stationary to give them a texture and colour. We tied them to the bottles and jars and my sister made lovely labels to go on them. We had some lace from the bridesmaid dresses left over so we used this to top the jars. My sister alos made beautiful cake pops for the children.
After getting a few ‘real’ quotes from some amazing cake makers, we decided that we didn’t want to take that amount of money out of the wedding fund, so we had to push the cake down the priority list.
We decided to go with a lady called Val Brown who makes cakes as a hobby and is really good at it. We designed the cake ourselves – taking elements of different cakes that we’d seen and liked. We drew a plan for Val to follow. She did a great job but when mum and her partner Norman picked up the cake it was absolutely enormous! Transporting the Eiffel Tower sized cake on the most humid day of the year, along the windiest road wasn’t exactly favourable. Disaster struck when we arrived at the wedding venue and opened the box. The whole thing was collapsing in front of our eyes. In the end we had to dismantle the cake and we were left with three separate tiers. Chocolate, lemon drizzle and fruit cake. But it wasn’t pretty and we wouldn’t have a cake to cut. To cut the rest of a very long story short, Val remade the top two tiers overnight using polystyrene. We salvaged enough of the pearl beading and icing details to remake the cake. Nobody knew it had happened by the time she had finished, and we were able to serve the cake that we’d saved from toppling off the cake.
We were really lucky with our food. Stancliffe Hall don’t have their own caterers but they had three outside caterers that we could choose from which meant we could be creative with the menu. We had a company called Coghlans do our catering and they were absolutely fantastic. Andrew (the boss) met with us and discussed our favourite foods and what we envisaged for our wedding food and then came up with a bespoke menu. First we had canapés which were an Italian Anti-Pasti theme. For starter we had ravioli of king prawn and scallop topped with a lobster cannelloni and a light caviar butter sauce. Main was fillet of pork wellington with apricots and sage, served with fondant potato and calvados jus lie. And dessert was iced raspberry parfait and raspberry shortbread rounds topped with gold leaf and chocolate disks.
Coghlans were also responsible for the drinks, which again, we were able to be creative with. We did a wine tasting before the wedding where we matched wine with the food. We had Mr and Mrs cocktails. My choice was the Aperol Spritz – the perfect colour and my favourite drink from a trip to Italy with my best friend a few years before. Sam’s was an old fashioned but made with Jacquin’s whiskey which has fruit in the bottle and gives it a peachy colour. We served these as our reception drinks and also in the evening too.
We had a rustic evening buffet with a whole serrano leg of ham that Sam’s parents had bought back from Spain. We served it with breads, olives, cheese, biscuits, pasties and my grandma’s fruit cake, served with the cheese.
We have lots of talented people in our family that do all kinds of things so the wedding ended up being a real family affair. Everyone, including myself and Sam, had a hand in creating things for the wedding to add lots of special touches.
Not only did my mum make the bridesmaid dresses and our beautiful L and S, but she also made our beautiful ring cushion out of little bits of lace that belonged to my grandma and great grandma (some of the lace was over 100 years old). My dad is a classical musician and he composed a song for uscalled The Presence of Love which was such a special thing to have. He had some members of his London choir travel to Derbyshire to sing it on the day as I walked down the aisle.
Sam’s mum spent a long time searching charity shops for glasswarethat we could use for the sweetie table. My uncle made my jewellery, except for my bracelet which was a gift from Sam’s parents. He designed my earrings and necklace to go with the bracelet. He also made my engagement and wedding ring. Lots of people made homemade sweets for the sweetie table including me, my mum and sister and Sam’s parents. We also made our own stationery, handmade confetti and doily cones, embroidered coral place napkins and we hand-dyed coral socks for the groomsmen.
We had a wedding blessing after the civil part of the ceremony as it felt like we were missing something by not having a vicar marry us. In between the ceremony and blessing we had a 15-minute mini concert where my dad’s choir sang some songs and he also played a couple of piano pieces. Our dads both did speeches on the day while our mums put their feelings down in words and presented us with letters.
For both of us the ceremony was our favourite part of the wedding. It is such an amazing experience to say our vows to each other and to have my dad’s choir sing his song for us. To be in such a beautiful place and to be married in front of our closest friends and family was just so special. It was really overwhelming and a bit like an out of body experience, but totally amazing.
Sri Lanka was our honeymoon destination. We spent three weeks there in total. We spent the first week at an incredible resort where we sunbathed on an amazing beech, had spa treatments and did morning yoga. After that we travelled around to lots of other destinations and packed loads in including doing safari, visiting tea plantations and Buddhist temples, rock climbing and eating lots of food.
Our advice to other wedding couples would be to do things that are important to you. If you like crafting, do crafting. If you like food – do foodie things. Some people thought I was mad doing as much ‘making’ as I did but it was one opportunity in my life where I could go to town doing things that I love. Organisation is key and giving yourself plenty of time to get everything done is so important. We had planned everything to be done and dusted with a week to spare so that we could relax in the run up to the wedding. Of course we were running round like headless chickens in the week before and if I could go back I would try to get more done beforehand so that we could have had a day or two to ourselves. I also wish I’d had a few minutes before going into the chapel to soak in what was about to happen. I wanted time with my mum and dad before they gave me away and time with my bridesmaids but my makeup artist messed up the timings so I was the last one to have my makeup done. My advice therefore is to make sure you know exactly what time you’ll have your hair and makeup done so you can plan in some ‘reflection’ time and just be in the moment and soak up the experience before you walk down the aisle.
My sister was a huge support throughout planning the wedding and on the day itself. She was like my personal assistant and did so much for us. If a bride can enrol the support of someone like a sister or a best friend to help with all things wedding, it makes the whole experience even better.
August 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Jen and Jonny’s fun and fresh, 50′s themed, DIY wedding at Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue, the KP Club, is just what the doctor ordered to get us through Tuesday morning. And hey, don’t forget it’s a bank holiday weekend coming up… win,win or what?!
Be bright, be beautiful.
With images by SDS Photography.
Jennifer says: We got engaged on New Years Eve 2010, in Disneyland, Paris! Jonny proposed in one of the few quiet spots in Disney (in the Swiss Family Robinson tree house!) where we had a great view of Cinderella Castle, all lit up.
We were married on 21st June 2014. We chose this date because it was the first day of British summertime, and also the longest day of the year.
We got married in the village church where Jonny grew up (St Catherine’s Church, Barmby Moor, York), which was only a few miles from where I grew up. We both live in the South now, so it was lovely to travel home for a few days to see our friends and family. The vicar who Jonny grew up with had long since retired, but agreed to come back and perform the ceremony for us.
The reception venue was the KP Club, a few miles from the church. It is in the town where we went to secondary school (Pocklington) – which is where we they first met! It has beautiful views over the Yorkshire wolds.
We would definitely recommend the KP Club. At first we were unsure whether we could make the place unique, but we certainly did! It is a (beautiful) blank canvas for you to do whatever you want with, but would also look amazing without decorations! It was very spacious (we had the whole top floor, with two rooms and a bar area) but still felt very intimate. There were huge windows with views over the golf course, and the Yorkshire wolds. The staff were very helpful and pleasant and everything ran so smoothly. There are even lodges on the site where guests could stay over without worrying about travel. We both stayed in a honeymoon suite which had a hot tub!
We orginally planned on a 1950s theme – primarily because we both love Frankie & Bennys! My wedding dress was based on a 1950s, Grace Kelly style and the bridesmaid dresses were also very 50s. We had music playing by ‘The Baseballs’ who are a modern band but their style is very much in that era.
We opted for a colour palette of sea green and pinks. We wanted a colour that wasn’t too girly and was less common in weddings, so we went for the turquiose colour. Pale and hot pinks went with it really well, and after finding the bridesmaid dresses to match, it was perfect!
I am a graphic designer and lovs crafty things, so handmade a lot of the wedding. I made a seating plan out of wooden pegs, which I put each guest’s name on and allowed them to take theirs home at the end of the night.
We are also grateful to have such talented friends and family who helped us out and made sure the wedding was personal. It was also important to us to make them all feel involved in the wedding and had a part to play.
My dress was from Wedding Warehouse, a shop in Leeds which sells ex-wedding fayre dresses. They were a year ahead in terms of style, so my dress will be available to buy in 2015. I tried on a few first that I thought were what I was after (long lace sleeves, high neck) but I felt I looked too old in them all! I went back into the room and there was one hanging up, out of its bag. It was nothing like what I was looking for (very big and princess-like!) but my best friend told me to try it on, so I did. I went home to think it over, and decided I had to back and get it! It was all lace, with little lace cap sleeves and a keyhole back (very beautiful, which is why I decided to have my hair swept to the side to show it off!). It puffed out from just below the waist, with beautiful delicate lace all over the skirt. My full length veil was borrowed from my sister from her wedding, which went perfectly with my dress.
My bridesmaids wore 1950s style rockabilly dresses with a lovely turquoise and pink floral pattern – bought from Amazon from a seller called bluemagik. The bridesmaids were different shapes and sizes but the style looked great on them all. They each wore their own shoes which were different colours – we just wanted them to feel comfortable! One of the bridesmaids Kath, who is also one of my sisters, handmade little pink paper roses – some of which the bridesmaids had in their hair. I also gave each of them a handbag bought from Ebay, personalised with each of their initials on.
The bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets were put together by my bridesmaids. They just had bunches of baby’s breath (gypsophila) tied together with ribbon, and I had baby’s breath with flowers from a family friend’s garden (including pink roses and peonies).
Our photographers were Sarah-Jane & Simon, from SDS Photography. We would hugely recommend them, because they were just perfect. They have the skills to make amazing photos, but also the creativity to try new things and make sure your wedding is truly unique. Their attention to detail is exceptional, and their incredible efficiency meant that the formal group photos were over so quickly (a relief for everybody!) They completely understand that everybody is different. We didn’t want any awkward poses or generic wedding photos, but we didn’t even have to tell them – they just seemed to know what was ‘us’. We wanted a ‘pretty, informal’ style and they nailed it. They captured expressions we didn’t know we’d made and hugs we didn’t know we’d given.
In the church, I put other flowers from the garden in painted bean cans, and in paper cones (made from wallpaper samples) on the end of the pews. A lovely old lady in the village started a flower arrangement for us, which my bridesmaid and I went to finish the day before the wedding, using flowers bought from the market and from friends’ gardens.
After the church ceremony we decided to have afternoon tea. It was lovely because it meant people could have nibbles and refreshments, so they weren’t too hungry waiting for the meal at 5pm! It also meant that people could stay and chat, including the vicar and organist, who don’t usually get to see guests. Family members made all the cakes, including my mum, Jonny’s mum and Jonny’s grandma. We had vintage tea cups and saucers laid out, and big drinks dispensers filled with pink lemonade.
Oringially we wanted a cake of different cheeses, but didn’t want the guests who like traditional wedding cake to be left out – so we had both! My mum made the fruit cakes, and Jonny’s mum made sponge cakes and decorated the whole cake. She handmade peonies made from icing using our wedding colours, and cascaded them down the cake. My best friend Claire made two little birds out of clay to go on the top – it was perfect! We then had a cake of cheeses brought out in the evening (we both love cheese!).
For our favours, we gave out jars of goodies! They were filled with homemade strawberry jam, rhubarb jam, apple chutney and gooseberry chutney which me and my mum made. I made labels for each one and tied fabric around the top. Each guest was given a sticker with their name on, which they were to stick to a jar of their choice.
As a secret wedding present, I bought Jonny a pair of personalised Converse All Stars, which I gave to him on the day. I also got a pair for myself (of course) which matched the wedding colour scheme! We each had their new surname on (Ledger) and we put them on in the evening so we could dance the night away! (very comfy).
We didn’t really want to do a first dance – we love dancing, but not slow dancing (with everybody watching!). However, we both love music, so decided to write a song and perform it to the guests. It was called “When we’re old”, and had funny lyrics about what we’ll still be doing when we’ve been married for many years. As a further surprise, the band we hired for the evening (Move it like Friday) suggested providing backing music for us – which we accepted! They came in with drums and bass in the chorus – it was great!
We used Abbey Sound & Light, based in Selby, to hire our dancefloor and stage for the band. We would highly recommend them – mainly because we booked them very last minute, and they managed to sort us out with something! They’re very reasonably priced and were efficient delivering and collecting the items. The black and white checked dancefloor looked great!
Another thing which made the day very special was the arrival of our first niece, Olivia. My sister gave birth the day before the wedding, but still managed to make it to the ceremony with the baby! We had photographs taken with her, which will be lovely to look back on.
For our honeymoon, we went to Disneyworld, Florida! We both love theme parks (particularly Disney ones!) and having got engaged at Disneyland Paris, we felt it was appropriate We went for two weeks and alternated between the four main parks and waterparks. We were on a dining plan so got loads to eat – too much! Many burgers and chicken nuggets, but it was delicious. We each got a novelty hat – I got white Minnie Mouse ears with a veil attached, and Jonny got a Goofy hat with Micky ears (many people commented on how I had married Goofy!). We went on all our favourite rides, and I even got to meet my favourite character, Baloo!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the planning stage – don’t do too much at once, and don’t leave things to do on the day before or on the day! (like I did – eek!). Do ask friends and family for help – they love to feel involved.
And most of all, enjoy the day. Guests will have a good time no matter what, so just focus on the two of you making memories.
August 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Weddings are all about the people in them and at them, no matter the budget, theme or styling. Amy and Carl wanted an understated celebration surrounded by their nearest and dearest and with a little help from their families, that was exactly what they got.
Fuss free and fabulous.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Fairclough Photography.
Amy says: We first got together in 2009, then split up for a little while. We both went out to the same village pub for New Years Eve 2011 and got back together. When we went out together back to the same village pub for New Year a year later he proposed. We all went outside to do the countdown and he got down on one knee. While everyone else was holding hands and singing we were getting engaged!
We were married on July 14th 2014. We had our ceremony at Patrington Church, also known as the Queen of Holderness. Its our village parish and we have both grown up around it. I sang in the choir there for a short time as a child, and my primary school is a Church of England school so harvest festivals and nativities were held there through growing up, and now our son goes to the same primary school. Friends and family have their christenings and weddings there often which made it even more special for us.
We had our reception at The Gardener’s Country Inn, we wanted some where family friendly where everyone could relax, have fun and enjoy themselves. Gardeners have a lovely little play area where children can go so with having 11 children at our wedding reception it was perfect.
Over the course of planning the wedding our style choices varied so much, the only thing we knew we wanted for sure was a simple, natural and understated look. I’m not an overly fussy person and don’t like anything too over the top.
We opted for a colour scheme of sage green and lemon, with daises. We used large tins covered with hessian, filled with flowers and finished off with lace for the centerpieces. We picked up a couple of hessian buntings, one saying Mr&Mrs for our archway, and one saying “just married” for the top table.
My friend Kathy and her husband and daughter spent hours making and hand cutting and painting various sizes of sugar daisies to scatter on the tables which just helped tie everything in together and the children loved them. They also hand painted and filled miniature glass jars with sparkly confetti and decorated them with daisies. We had to have bubbles on the tables too of course!
Everything was family orientated, planning the wedding made our two families come together and everyone did anything they could to make our day special.
Usually wedding dress shopping is the first thing on a bride to be to do list, but I left my dress shopping a little bit last minute and it ended up being a bit of a panic. When I first went I was a bit overwhelmed by it all (mostly having to get undressed in front of a stranger). My original idea for a wedding dress was for a bohemian style wedding dress, simple and flowy, but after trying on the style it just wasn’t for me.
I went to Samantha’s in Hull and there was my dress. I fell in love with it instantly and although it was out of my budget I had to have it! It was a princess cut gown with an ivory lace illusion neckline with pearl detail and finished off with a silver crystal and pearl waist band. With the wedding only 12 weeks away it had to be put a fast track for delivery and manic dress fittings the week before the wedding but the ladies in the store were really helpful and did their best for me and I was so happy with my dress.
Carl wore a grey Prince Edward cut suit, hired from Greenwoods with an ivory rouche and brogues. It was the only part of the wedding planning I had no say in, but he chose well and looked very handsome.
The bridesmaids wore sage green floor length Coast dresses.
Carl’s Aunty Toni volunteered to do our flowers for us, she is very artistic and creative and we were really happy with the end result. We wanted simple, country style flowers and we had a silk daisy assortment. My bouquet was slightly different holding some yellow and white roses too.
Our friends came up with the idea for our cake and made it for us. Instead of having a tiered cake they made a large daisy. The centre of the daisy was a fruit cake, and the petals around the daisy were alternating chocolate and lemon sponge. They made us a Mr and Mrs Bumble Bee to sit in the center, the Mr had a little top hat and the Mrs had a little veil and bouquet.
We had a singer join us for the ceremony and the reception, she sang as I walked down the aisle and again as we walked back up the aisle together as husband and wife. She then travelled to the reception venue where she played throughout the rest of the daytime, up until the DJ started at 7pm for the party.
We have planned our honeymoon to Fuerteventura during the school holidays so our 5 year old son can come with us. A holiday wouldn’t be the same without him.
The best advice we can give to other Brides Up North is that no matter what your budget, your photographer is one of the most important parts of your wedding day. Do your research, look at their web page see if you like their style of photography. meet with them and make sure you hire someone you can trust and get along with. If you don’t like your wedding photos you can’t have a re-run.
July 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Welcome to Monday, Brides Up North! I’m here to make it all the prettier with this cute and stylish celebration sent to me by real bride Hayley, her new husband Matt and their photographer, Cassandra Lane.
Crafty designer Hayley worked hard to add unique decorative touches to their 1920s inspired Village Hall wedding day, with fabulous results.
Hayley says: We got engaged a little after midnight New Year 2012-2013 in our own home in Nantwich. We had had a nice quiet new year in together and Matt shocked me by saying he had a late Christmas, early birthday present for me. He disappeared upstairs and came back with a box, got down on one knee and proposed! He had bought a cheap costume jewellery ring as he couldn’t choose a real one for me. We picked my real ring together on my 30th birthday (one to remember!) on 3rd January in York where we were visiting for my birthday. It was the best birthday ever!
We got married on April 5th 2014 as it was just a few days over three years since we moved into our first place together. We also didn’t want a very long engagement and actually fifteen months was the perfect time to enjoy being engaged and get organised.
We got married in the local church in town (Nantwich, Cheshire) which is beautiful, and our reception was at a local nearby village hall (Wrenbury Village Hall). We weren’t keen on the very formal, grand hotel reception family wedding affairs we had been to in the last few years and wanted somewhere we could decorate ourselves, do our own thing.
Our theme was handmade, vintage 1920’s art deco style, and lavender. The main colours were lavender purple and vintage gold. The colours just came with the theme really but I love purple and the gold fitted the vintage theme.
We hired a cream Morris Minor (Matt is obsessed!) from Mirabelle Classic Cars.
My bridesmaids travelled in a vintage Rover from the 1930s which belongs to a friend of Matts. He drove it for us as our wedding present.
My dress was Sincerity Bridal 3730. I did a bit of research online before going to any boutiques and fell in love almost instantly! When I tried it on at Brides of Liverpool in Liverpool (my home city) I knew it was the one. No other dress I tried on subsequently lived up to it so the deposit was paid!
I love the dress because it’s quite vintage looking with a modern twist. Very classic looking. It made me feel really elegant. I knew I wanted lace, and the neckline was perfect because I didn’t want bare shoulders. The train was gorgeous and the dress also fitted in perfect with my idea for a 1920s style headband.
I chose gold glittery heels from Kurt Geiger. My flapper style headband was handmade by mum using a 1930s vintage brooch which was a gift from Matt.
My younger sister Charlotte was my matron of honour. She wore a knee length handmade silk dress made by my mum in a lavender colour. My two flower girls (our nieces Phoebe and Eve) wore handmade pale gold silk dresses made by myself and mum. They carried handmade Suffolk puff pomanders.
Matt wore a Prince Edward suit in dark brown from Formally Yours online. He had a pale gold waistcoat and cravat. My dad, his dad and his two brothers (best men) all wore the same. The style of his suit really complemented the vintage style of my dress.
Matt and all the men also wore buttonholes which I made to complement my bouquet.
I made my own bouquet using cream silk, artificial flowers, and vintage brooches (which I sourced on eBay and charity shops/car boot sales). My sisters bouquet was very similar with one key brooch in the centre. I’m a designer, and therefore very creative so was obsessed with doing a lot for my wedding myself. I also wanted to keep my bouquet so a keepsake bouquet was perfect.
Cassandra Lane was our photographer, she was amazing. She made us feel comfortable every time we met (our initial meeting and engagement shoot). On the day she was chilled out, friendly and very well organised. We all squeezed into my tiny terraced house! I fell in love with Cass’s vintage relaxed style from her blog and website when searching for a wedding photographer. I just knew she was what we were after. I’d definitely recommend Cass!
July 11th, 2014 | Julia Braime
A whole lot of heart and soul went into the planning of Aimee and Graham’s wedding day, with the bride to be firmly at the head of operations. Known for her girly ways and pretty styling efforts, this Brides Up North reader certainly wasn’t going to disappoint on the biggest day of her life.
The result? A personal and pretty celebration with lots of delectable DIY details. If you like really pretty things, you’re going to be very inspired. Pinterest fingers at the ready.
With images by Weddings By Luke
Aimee says: We got engaged in London at Christmas time. We were at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which I had been so excited to visit as I absolutely love all things Christmassy! We were at the ice rink which looked so pretty all lit up with fairy lights at night when Graham pulled out the most perfect ring and proposed to me! Afterwards we headed straight to Harvey Nichols champagne bar for a glass of celebratory bubbles.
Our wedding was on 26th April 2014. There was no real special reason behind the particular date other than when we visited Beeston Manor for the first time we absolutely fell in love with it and they were fast running out of Saturday availability! We always wanted a spring wedding so the last Saturday they had left until later in the year was perfect for us. We got in pencilled in there and then.
We got married at All Saints Church on Hesketh Bank. It meant such a lot to us both to get married there as we both grew up visiting that church, all our family weddings and christenings happen there so I really couldn’t imagine it being anywhere else. Ever since I was a little girl imagining my wedding, I always dreamt of it being there. It was so lovely that Reverend Bill knew us and our family to make the service personal and really special. To top it off, it’s a gorgeous little church too!
The theme for our wedding was a vintage style English country garden look with a slight rustic twist, but I am a girly girl so it was kept very pretty with lots of lace everywhere. We chose this style as it is very “me” and really reflected my personality and of the style of our home. Graham always says that it is my job to make everything pretty so he was more than happy to go along with it and helped out with picking everything.
Our wedding colours were ivory, blush pink and mint. We chose these as we felt ivory and pink colours always make for a pretty and classic wedding, I am a bit obsessed with mint at the moment so adding that in just added some extra interest.
I wore an A-line tulle skirted dress from Blue by Enzoani which I bought from Emma Hartley Bridal in Colne. It featured lace appliqués and beading detail on the skirt and the bodice was a ruche waist with lace overlaid with beaded flowers. I tried on 67 dresses trying to find “the one” but I loved this dress as it was so pretty and romantic, with so much beautiful detail, I felt like a princess when I tried it on.
I knew I wanted a full skirted dress but also wanted a covered top so we had it customised with a tulle top with lace appliqués which matched the skirt to create an illusion neckline and V shape back.
In my hair I wore the Autumn headband from Liberty in Love with tulle and silk flowers and beads. I had a two tier waterfall veil with tiny diamantes to catch the light, again from Emma Hartley Bridal.
Our bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses from Coast with petal detail on the bust, they were perfect for the romantic and floral look we were going for and looked beautiful on the girls. We were very fortunate about the fit of the dresses as mid way through planning after we had bought the dresses, two of my bridesmaids found out they were pregnant and luckily the dresses were a perfect shape for a growing baby bump, they looked lovely on the day! We had two flower girls who wore dresses very similar to the bridesmaids but in white and had little cardigans featuring the same petal detail to tie everything together.
The groomsmen wore matching suits to Graham and our page boy had a mini version with a tailcoat, waistcoat and bow tie and which we paired with Converse which looked adorable
Michelle Sisson did my makeup and my bridesmaid’s hair and makeup, she did a fantastic job and we all felt amazing after she had worked her magic, she was so lovely to have around on the wedding morning and made sure we look perfect before we left for church. My friend Emma Shaw Hair did my bridal hair and was again fantastic at achieving a gorgeous do which was exactly as I wanted.
Graham wore a grey three piece slim fit suit, with a blush pink tie and hankie. It is not really his style to wear a full tail coat suit so this was perfect, it created a relaxed but smart look which really suited him and I think he looked really handsome. We hired the suits from Winstanleys at Oswaldtwistle.
My mum and I travelled to church in a vintage Bentley in cream and the bridesmaids followed in a matching Daimler then n the way to the reception me and Graham were in the Bentley and the flower girls had a turn in the “posh car” which they loved! We hired the cars from a local company called Classic Wedding Cars and Jimmy the driver had us laughing the whole journey which helped with nerves!
I carried an amazing white and pink bouquet of peonies and hydrangeas which are my absolute favourite flowers. They were so gorgeous and fluffy; I didn’t want to put them down all day! They were hand tied with matching ribbon and lace, I pinned my best friend’s Grandma’s heart shape brooch onto them as my something old and borrowed. Our flowers were all from Libbi at Flowers by Strawberry Fields and she did such an amazing job, they were better than I ever imagined. As soon as I met Libbi it was clear we had very similar taste and we knew we could completely trust her to make everything super beautiful.
June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University. Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul.
Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission. I was exactly right: Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.
Bravo Mrs Hough!
With images by Andy Gaines.
Vicky says: Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!
Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.
About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect
Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!
We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire.
I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.
I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.
As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.
The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.
The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.
With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.
Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!
The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.
I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.
I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!
It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.
Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.
Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.
Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.
Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!
Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill. Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.
We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.
Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day. 2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.
Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!
Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!
Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.
For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.
The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!
We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.
Congratulations Vicky & Paul!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014
This is not a sponsored post
March 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s over to Cheshire today as we join Brides Up North reader Katie and her new husband Thomas to celebrate their Real Wedding day in lovely, laid back style. Katie and Thomas chose a relaxed, fresh and homespun feel with touches of mint, pink and coral for their simple and pretty celebration.
Not just a crafty bride, textile designer Katie is also the designer behind the beautiful bridal accessories and jewellery range at Eliza Vale (named after her great-grandmother). If you like her style, check out her brand new look book here or visit her website. You are welcome!
Images by Julie Cummins Photography.
Katie says: Thomas asked me to marry him in May 2012 on the lake in Central Park, New York where we had met 10 years previously.
We were married on 31st May 2013 at Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire. We just loved the laid back vibe of the place, the stunning setting and the ease and professionalism of the owner and caterers that we met at the first viewing. We looked around several further venues but had already fallen for Sandhole. Also it meant we could have the ceremony and reception in one place, as well as having 19 rooms and lots of hotels close by.
We wanted a relaxed country wedding with a handmade feel. I planned on making lots of the decorations and not wasting money on things you really wouldn’t notice on the day. The venue needed very little doing to it and it was the beauty of the oak barn and lake setting that gave us the atmosphere we wanted.
We opted for a colour scheme of mint green, pale pink and coral.
I chose an Edwardian style warm cream silk gown with beautiful embroidered lace polka dot silk tulle overlay and silk sash belt from The Vintage Wedding Dress Company. I had seen it in London with my mum and sister but luckily found it in a sample sale half price in Ireland so I was delighted. It was the perfect size and totally undamaged so I really felt it was meant to be!
I had seen my Rachel Simpson shoes on a few blogs and was lucky enough to also pick these up in a sample sale in Ireland.
I wore very simple jewellery as the dress itself was quite detailed. I bought very small pearl studs and my mum lent me a stunning Edwardian necklace that was left to her by her grandmother. I made a simple veil and attached a little of the same lace used in my dress to the top which I embellished.
I made an embellished lace headband for the evening.
We designed individual dresses for each bridesmaid, bought mint green silk crepe and chiffon and I dyed some beaded lace to match for the cap sleeves.
I made hairpieces for the three bridesmaids based on what they liked and matched in with the style of their dresses. They wore their own nude shoes.
I made the flower girl dresses from some cotton broiderie anglaise that I dyed a slightly peachy tone. I bought silk organza and satin to make corsage headbands that matched in with my dress.
The groomsmen wore their own suits. We bought new white shirts and mint green ties and handkerchiefs to match in with the bridesmaids. We also got Tom and the best man Paul vintage gold cufflinks from the 1940’s. I got Tom a tie pin that I had engraved and gave to him the night before the wedding.
I made a headpiece for my mum using some of the lace from my own dress and little netting. She wanted something unfussy but still wanted to look like mother of the bride.
As the whole day was in one place we thought it a waste to get fancy cars. My Dad drove me on my own and played me Bob Dylan’s Forever Young on the way which relaxed me (a bit!)
I printed some family pictures onto fabric and put in embroidery hoops, along with a few embroideries just for a bit of decoration.
A friend of mine, David from Darktown Jubilee played guitar and his friend played the piano as we signed register and walked back up aisle and also whilst reception drinks were served.
February 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
This wedding differs from a lot of the submissions we usually receive here at Brides Up North – because this time its the groom in the driving seat. In fact, he loved the whole process so much that he’s considering a career in the wedding industry. Watch this space.
Rob writes: Out of the two of us, I have loads of artistic flare, and Michelle really isn’t fussed on anything creative! When it came to organizing the wedding, Michelle really hadn’t a clue where to start, and so basically left it up to me. Not to say she wasn’t interested – we made a deal – she would concentrate on the dress and I would sort the venue! We did all main bits together but the actual decorating of the venue was all down to me. She was banned until the big day!
I loved every minute of the build up. I knew what I wanted and made most of the stuff myself. In fact I enjoyed it that much I am hoping to start up in the industry this year.
I think the man’s a natural. So, let’s hear all about his vision… over to you Rob.
Images by Helen Hates Peas Photography.
Rob says: I asked Michelle to marry me at home on Christmas day in 2010 next to the Christmas tree. I hid the ring box at the back of the tree. After we had finished getting ready to go to her parents’ house, I said I had forgotten one last gift. When she opened her eyes I was on one knee!
We were married on 18th August 2013 at Trafford Hall, Mickle Traford, Chester. We wanted somewhere pretty and not overbearing that none of our friends or family had been to before. Somewhere all our guests could stay, somewhere we could have free reign over suppliers and not be dictated to by the venue’s preferred suppliers, and above all, somewhere reasonably priced. We loved the old Georgian house and that the venue is run by a charity who promotes eco values. The guests’ rooms were outdoor stables with wild flower turf roofs which were a brilliant talking point as guests arrived and went into their little hideaways. They try and source most of their food locally and try and grow all the veg onsite.
Our theme was country floral. I have had a passion for flowers since a young boy and eventually studied garden design at Uni. I had an idea of the way I wanted the venue to look, and it involved lots of flowers and greenery. The venue and location were perfect for a country fayre style wedding, which I think is what we achieved.
We didn’t really have a colour scheme, just lots of floral prints. It could have gone horribly wrong, but it worked superbly!
Michelle wore a crystal and sash White One Bridal sweetheart ball gown from the 2012 collection which she bought from Boda Bridal in Chester. Hannah (bridesmaid) made Michelle’s veil as a personal gift. Her shoes were diamanté flip flops from Oasis.
I wanted to stand out from the best men and ushers, so chose a two piece 0suit from Zara in French Navy. I had a bespoke lilac tweed waistcoat made for me by Crichton of Chester. They also made my shirt and sewed in a contrasting floral pattern to the cuffs and collar for when I took my tie off at night. I wore a silk floral hydrangea tie that I bought from G Room in Hoole, Chester.
We both have a favourite jeweller in Chester called Chique based in St Michael’s Precinct. Michelle’s engagement ring is from there as our wedding rings. As a surprise, I met with Adam, the owner, and selected a pair of pearl earrings for Michelle to wear on the day. I asked Hannah to give them to her on the wedding morning. Little did I know that Michelle had also gone in and spoke to Adam and selected a pair of pearl cufflinks as a surprise for me! Without even knowing we had matching earrings and cufflinks!
Michelle carried a mixture of garden flowers including dahlias, anthirrinun, scabious, everlasting sweet peas, daiseys, astrantia, cornflower, amongst others. I didn’t want to be an understated groom, so my button hole was equally as flamboyant. I had the same flowers as Michelle, but with the addition of a sprig of thalictrum – a delicate purple flower.
Michelle walked down the isle to Etta James ‘At last’ and we both walked out to Jackie Wilson ‘I get the Sweetest Feeling’.
December 28th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for what’s set to be the biggest and best year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty.
Usual service will recommence on 2nd January 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings in 2013. Drop in every day for the very, very prettiest wedding inspiration and if you are a Brides Up North bride, to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
Laura and Mark’s Real Wedding, with images by Paul Santos Photography is utterly adorable. Almost entirely handcrafted and painstakingly personal, this beautiful celebration in Newcastle is something really special. The whole lot may have taken Laura months to make, but her efforts and the end result was entirely worth it. Brides Up North, be very, very inspired!
Laura says: We got engaged in Cardiff, after going to see an opera at the (Mark’s then current place of work) Wales Millennium Centre. We were going away on our first holiday in ten years the next day. He asked just as we were going to bed. I think I asked the poor man if he was ‘taking the mick’.
We got married on 11 August 2013 at As You Like It, Jesmond. I would whole-heartedly recommend them. They were so supportive of our needs and… wow….the gravy on the roast dinner… crazy-good.
The venue was welcoming from the outset and was quirky and informal in a good way. We wanted something a bit different looks-wise, and the staff were so lovely which just sealed the deal for us.
Our theme was really just ‘stuff we liked’ but the vague themes were animals (we put pictures of dogs in the tops of the envelopes) and named our tables after cats. Our cake toppers were two cats decoupaged with the words to our first dance. We also had a few buttons here and there too. The theme for the tables were ‘charity shop chic’, a sort of visual amuse bouche.
Our colour scheme was a palette of blues. The bridesmaids were navy and ice blue and the bouquets a mixture of blue, silver and gold.
My dress was highly beaded and decorated in lace. It had a medium-length train and had a keyhole back. II sewed my veil from a very rough cheap version I got online and added detail to its three metre long length. I made the jewellery (and the bridesmaids, too) from beads (mainly Swarovski crystal) purchased from the Crystals and Ice bead shop in Cardiff.
My bridesmaids and I were pampered on the day by LA Makeovers based at Langley Moor but who came to us on the day. They worked wonders and were willing to work with brides like me who don’t really ever wear much make up and who aren’t good with being faffed with. We looked amazing and they were lovely.
I had three bridesmaids, as well as three bridesmen. I have grown up with these men and I wanted them to be a part of our day. They escorted the three bridesmaids. The men wore suits from Slaters in grey with blue neck wear (Mark wore cream). My sister had a wrap around dark navy/ midnight blue bridesmaid dress from BHS and my other bridesmaids had ice blue halter dresses from eBay. I matched the colour of Kate’s dress by giving them a sash. The pageboy (our nephew) wore a teeny suit (taken in by my mum) from John Lewis in navy.
I loved it all but If I had to pick a favourite part of the day it would be the ceremony. I was worried I would bawl through it (we’ve been together nearly 12 years and also my dad had been very ill and we were not sure if he would even been there). We decided we wanted singing in our ceremony (like you would in a church) and chose ‘Bring me Sunshine’ and ‘When I’m 64’. These went down really well – even if Mark’s Best Man and one of my Bridesmen had to carry some of the songs (thanks, guys!). I wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle, which was good as I was at the point of nearly fainting at that point (some of the guest photos of me are hilarious). I loved looking at Mark saying my vows, loved singing and loved our readings (‘The Places We will Go’ by Dr Zeuss and ‘I like this way that this is going’ by The Eels). I loved walking back down with my husband and having our guest chuck all that handmade confetti at us.
We were (and are) eternally grateful for our photographer Paul Santos Photography. His friendliness and amazing photographs will stay with us forever.
Special touches were the things which took the time. I was determined to be on-budget (and I was!) which meant saving money by DIY-ing. Despite it being my first year of teaching, we decided to make most ourselves.
I wanted everyone to have a mini buttonhole for the day, so I made those to be the same as my bouquets. I also wanted (well, truth be told I get bored, see cool stuff on the internet and decide to make it) confetti as AYLI allow it inside the venue. I made (with the help from one of my friends who was over for a conference) mini confetti cones with vintage sheet music from a charity shop in Rochester and then used a 2.5cm heart-shaped stamp cutter to stamp out hearts from a vintage Alice in Wonderland book (again a charity shop in Rochester). I topped these up with lavender that my sister chose for her wedding but didn’t end up using. I loved the link between our weddings.
The thing which went down the best was the hand-stamped vintage silver-plated name place cutlery which I roped my mum and dad into helping with (OK! doing) on their holiday to Kent. Mark designed and made personalised Wrestling dolls for each bridesman and usher. Oh, and he also designed the favour boxes which were caricatures of us.
I’m not good with real flowers and didn’t like the cost of fresh ones so decided years ago (waaaaay before I was engaged) that I would make ones from buttons. It was my ‘old, new etc.’ and I got friends and family to donate, bought a few button collections off the internet and used ones I had. I’d just finished my PGCE and did not yet have my NQT job so had 8 weeks of unemployment ahead of me. I used this time to make my flowers by stacking buttons on wire and wiring the stems together. I made smaller ones for my bridesmaids and matching button holes for the men. I complimented the button stems with handmade paper roses (mainly because the bouquets would be too heavy with only buttons). My nephew, the pageboy, carried a boy-wand which was a felt and button long-stemmed flower which matched the rest of the buttony things.
We had a lovely tiny vintage post box for our cards on the day from The Finishing Touch Company. They delivered it and picked it up with absolutely no fuss for us.
We have rather diverse taste in music and didn’t want our evening to be at the wrath of a DJ who would play current chart music which would not make us want to dance. Mark made the play list on his Mac (we had previously, years again before we were engaged, made a play list of our favourite songs). We spent ages making sure they would all run nicely together, using how-to’s on the internet. We also (for larks, and because of the Wrestling dolls we gave for pressies) decided to have our eating play-list be wrestling intros. We made a pact to buy a drink to the first two people who noticed this. I suppose, then, wrestling was also a mini theme.
Marks favourite part of the day was the very last song at the end, because we didn’t have to worry about anyone else at that point (2am on a Monday morning) and we danced freely with a few other people. The dancing, and the music and the evening party was a favourite part of both of our days.
For our honeymoon we went to Brussels on the Eurostar from London. We are not particularly laze on the beach people and so went to loads of museums, art galleries and places of interest. There are some amazing museums there and our hotel was really central.
If you’d have asked me a week before the wedding I would have said ‘DON’T, whatever you do, do any DIY’. At that point, I was sick. I had been crafting for nigh-on 14 months (and had spent over 100 hours on Mark’s wedding present of a crochet scrabble board in addition to all the other wedding crafts). A month on, however, I would not be quite so negative about the craftery. This is what made our wedding in my eyes. I dread to think how much time I spent making stuff, but so many people were so amazingly complimentary that it was worth it in the end. I made all the jewellery, we made all our gifts, I glitterified the bridesmaids shoes, I made two veils, we designed and made all the envelopes, invites (which were fortune tellers/ cootie catchers), the favour boxes…the list is endless. So my top tip for other Brides Up North is to simply go with your hearts. Try not to be swayed with what is fashionable (I didn’t want to be fashionable but ended up making lots of ‘in’ choices, but went with them as I wanted them). AND, most importantly, trust in yourself. I saved thousands on pounds by making things and just KNOW you can too.
Congratulations Laura & Mark!
This is not a sponsored post