August 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The guest list for today’s wedding at The Samling doesn’t even reach double figures as Mia and Pete decided on a small and intimate wedding featuring spectacular views and first class food surrounded by just their very nearest and dearest.
Showing that size doesn’t mean everything, the day is brimming with class, elegance and smiles as all involved enjoy the relaxed and magical atmosphere by the side of Lake Windermere.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
mia says: We got engaged in January 2014 in the Lake District. Pete surprised me with a weekend away to Aphrodite’s near Bowness to celebrate our third year anniversary. We had just finished relaxing in the hot tub with a glass of champagne and I went into the bathroom to get changed. I came back out to Pete down on one knee holding out a ring! It was a complete surprise and I kept asking him over and over again whether he was being serious! In the end he said “So what do you think, then?” and of course, I said “yes”.
Our wedding was 20th June 2015. We chose that date as we wanted a summer wedding, the day before the longest day of the year being ideal. It also gave us enough time to save up for it!
We chose The Samling in the Lake District as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the Lake District as it was where we had spent our first weekend together as a couple and it was also where Pete proposed so the location had a lot of meaning. The Lake District also has absolutely stunning scenery making it a perfect setting for a wedding. As we were having a very small intimate wedding (just eight people including ourselves!) we wanted a venue that would complement this which The Samling did, given the exclusivity of the venue. We were also attracted to the Samling for its Michelin star menu, Pete and I being very much into our food. We went to visit The Samling and knew straight away it was where we wanted our wedding – it was the first and last place we visited when looking for a venue. After seeing the panoramic views of Lake Windermere, we knew we were making the right choice!
We didn’t have a theme for our wedding but wanted an intimate, understated affair which was very special at the same time. The venue where we had the wedding matched our styles and tastes exactly in that it is not stuffy and overly fussy but had luxurious and special features to it. The style of wedding we had allowed us to think of different ideas as went along while planning the wedding.
While we had a very small wedding, we’re also having a party later in the year to celebrate with all our friends and family.
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such but chose a lot of white and yellow as they both complement each other and are lovely, summery colours.
My dress was a gown by Sophia Tolli purchased from The Bridal Path in Altrincham. It was a fitted lace dress which was ivory and champagne coloured. It had a plunging v neckline and crystal beading scattered across the dress. It also had a sheer back bodice with crystal buttons cascading down the back and a long train. I felt the dress was very elegant and classic. I knew it was the right dress for me as soon as I tried it on!
On the wedding day I wore my dress with peep toe silver shoes by Jimmy Choo. I chose these shoes as they really fitted the style of my dress and I can wear them again. On my head I wore a Swarovski crystal encrusted head piece by Halo & Co, purchased from Liberty in Love. Rebecca Forshaw, a hair and makeup artist based in the North West, did my hair and makeup on the day. She did a fantastic job and I never imagined I could look so glamourous!
Pete wore a blue-grey, light woollen three piece suit. The cloth came from Scabal, and was ordered and tailored by Richard Smith Bespoke in Manchester city centre, who also provided the tie and pocket square. The pale blue, super slim-fitting stretch shirt came from Thomas Pink in Manchester, and the brown shoes were from Jeffrey West, also in Manchester.
For my flowers, I had a beautiful but simple shower bouquet made up of white orchids, with green foliage which was provided by Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal. Kerry also provided all our flowers for the day. We had had a mixture of white orchids, yellow flowers and green foliage to decorate the wedding reception. We had a large vase of flowers in the centre of the dinner table with smaller vases of flowers at the side of this. Kerry was fantastic and created everything we asked for.
Our wedding cake was a two tiered fruit cake with white icing which was decorated with pink flowers. It was from Marks & Spencer.
For the wedding breakfast we had a Michelin star taster menu created by Ian Swainson, head chef at the Samling. It was an absolutely unbelievable gastronomic experience! We had a wine pairing with each course as recommended by their sommelier.
We chose Maxine Molin, a harpist, to play during the ceremony and our champagne reception due to her excellent reputation. Also the harp sounds beautiful and fitted in with the understated and relaxed theme of our wedding.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue. Not only was it spectacular and exclusive, the service we were provided with was second to none. All the staff ensured our whole day went seamlessly and they made us feel very relaxed. They were very open to what we required and went out of their way to provide it.
It really was the best day of my life so it’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the day! I would say one of the highlights however was relaxing in the outdoor hot tub in the evening after our meal overlooking the whole of Lake Windermere!
We aren’t going on honeymoon until October. We are going to South Africa and then on to Mauritius and we cannot wait! We’re spending a few nights in Cape Town, then on to the wine regions for plenty of wine tasting! We’re then ending the trip in Mauritius which will be completely relaxing.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t be scared of breaking with tradition. We had traditional but many untraditional elements to our wedding, for example, I walked into the wedding ceremony to the harpist playing Metallica! Tradition and convention also advocate a large, lavish wedding. Although these events can be fantastic, if an intimate event suits you then you should go for it as it is so personal and rewarding. Whatever you choose, make the most of all the attention being lavished on you for one day!
brides up north featured supplier, halo and co, james tracey photography, jeffrey west, jimmy choo, lake district wedding, liberty in love, marks and spencer, maxine molin, real wedding, rebecca forshaw, richard smith bespoke, scabal, Sophia Tolli, the bridal path, the floristry, the samling, thomas pink, uk wedding blog
August 11th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
The Lake District is without a doubt a popular destination for weddings, with lots of Brides Up North couples falling for its stunning surroundings and breath-taking views for their big day.
This afternoon’s wedding takes place at a venue in The Lakes that we know well – the gorgeous Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, which Julia had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year, which means we can easily see why Nic and Chris picked it for their wedding.
Dream venue taken care off, Nic used her creative skills to pull together the décor and styling for their small but perfectly formed wedding.
Highlights for us include Nic’s Maggie Sottero dress (that back detail is to die for) and the interlude during the day for the bride, groom and their guests to enjoy a traditional boat cruise around the lake. What a fab idea!
With images by Alexandra Holt Photography.
nic says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2014 at home in the morning after opening presents with our two children. Chris took our two-year-old son Noah, up stairs and they came down with Noah wearing a T-shirt that said had a marriage proposal printed on it. Chris sat down next to me with the ring. I’ll cherish the T-shirt forever and the photos of Noah wearing it with selection box chocolate all over his face. Only Chris and my parents knew so it was a lovely surprise. No one knew Chris could be so romantic!
We set the date for 12th June 2015 as we wanted to get married within the year and summer was the preferred time, and ideally before I returned back to work after maternity leave.
Our chosen venue was the Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, in Windermere. We looked at venues closer to home but they didn’t feel special and some also had set numbers which needed to be met, which put us off. We had a small wedding of just 21, including myself and Chris.
We decided on The Lakes and I spent a couple of days looking at possible venues on websites and blogs. We narrowed it down to three venues and went to see them. The Belsfield was the last one of the day and my heart was set on it as we pulled in to the car park. The location, views and setting were perfect. Georgina and Dea there made the planning and the day itself run seamlessly. We can’t thank them and their team enough.
I’m a creative and visual person as an art and textiles teacher, so Chris left all that side to me. I showed him things and asked for his opinion. Chris doesn’t like fuss so we had a very simple set of criteria when making any decisions.
We didn’t have a theme as such but lace was included on my dress, the invitations, favours and cake. We went for things we liked and didn’t over think things too much, which helped with our short timescale. I made the invitations, favours and some bunting with our initials on for the ceremony table.
Our colour scheme was ivory/white, grey and duck egg blue. I love duck egg blue and grey, and white was included after choosing how I wanted my bouquet.
One of the things that was most important to me was to have a ‘proper’ wedding dress. I wanted to feel and look like a bride. I went shopping for my dress with my mum and daughter, Pippa, who was four and half months at the time. After looking in magazines I fell in love with the designer Maggie Sottero, and wrote a short list of dresses that I loved from their site and hunted down suppliers.
The dress I picked was called Carmen in ivory with pewter detail, which I got from Brides Gallery in Heskin. It wasn’t on my list as it was shown in a different colour on the site. It was everything I wanted in a dress. Lace and a full back were most important to me. I felt naked and on show in the strapless styles. I also didn’t want a big dress but the tulle overlay gave some volume and shape of a traditional wedding dress. My mum and I used to look at pictures of the dress daily on the run up to the day, and I still do now. I absolutely love it!
Christina Louise Rothwell did my makeup on the wedding day and Jessica Rothwell did my hair.
Before my trial I had only had my makeup done once before so I was really nervous but Christina was amazing. She listened to what I wanted as the finished look but also made suggestions to improve it. I was really happy after my trial and what she did on the day was perfect. Jessica was recommended to me by a friend and I now couldn’t recommend her enough. I changed my style between the trial and the wedding and Jess completely got what I wanted and I was so pleased with the final look.
We didn’t want traditional wedding suits, but obviously Chris wanted to look smart and special for our day. We went to Slaters in Manchester with the intention of a grey suit but left with a blue one. We went for a grey tie to match the colour scheme. It’s the first suit Chris has owned. His job as a joiner doesn’t call for one and he prefers to dress casually, unless forced into a shirt and trousers.
As we were only a small wedding of myself, Chris and our family we didn’t have the extra roles as you would at a traditional wedding. Instead Noah, our son was ‘best man’ and wore a little suit from Marks & Spencer. Our 11-year-old niece Erin was our flowergirl/bridesmaid and her lace dress was from John Lewis. Our daughter was also a little flower girl, dressed in a lace and tulle dress from Debenhams.
Photography was almost as important as the dress to me. Something I will treasure forever. We picked Alexandra Holt Photography to capture the day. Alex is a friend who I have known since college, I said long before getting engaged that if I was to get married she had to do our photos. She’s amazing. I love her style and ability to capture the main things you obviously want to remember as well as the small things you can easily forget. We had regular ‘work chats’, I gave her a list of photographs I really wanted but left the rest in her capable hands.
The results are amazing. I’m so proud of them, I’ve never been happy with pictures of myself before, until these. I can’t stop looking at them. Alex is so professional but not too formal. She was fantastic especially with the children. I will be forever thankful for her gorgeous work. As a friend she provided constant advice and support which helped keep me sane and make the planning so much easier.
On the day I carried a hand tied bouquet of peony, hydrangea, lisianthus and roses in pure white. I had a powder blue ribbon as my something blue. My niece had a smaller version and Chris, Noah and my dad had button holes. Made in Flowers supplied them. Katie was great, we discussed them over emails and phone calls and didn’t actually meet until the day itself.
The hotel made us some gorgeous macaroons as favours but I also made up my own.
As we had a few children at the wedding I included love heart sweets, some chocolate hearts and a Macmillan charity wrist band. I made a donation in memory of my auntie Gill who passed away October 2014 after illness. I was obsessed with weddings and princesses as a young child and for a birthday she made me a wedding dress. I lived in it. And tried to force everyone and anyone to play weddings with me. It upsets me that she never got to see me as a real bride but I wanted to include her in some way. The wristbands caused a few tears on the day but it was nice to have my auntie thought about at my wedding.
I found our supplier Charlotte at Sugar Ruffles in Windermere on a blog and after stalking her cakes on the internet I knew I didn’t need to look any further. We wanted a single layer cake with light grey lace detail and sugar flowers to match my bouquet. I really didn’t want to cut into it. It looked beautiful.
The cake itself was a frequent discussion. Chocolate lover Chris lost out to my vanilla bean sponge choice! We had it as dessert in the evening.
Good food was really important to us. Chris and I love food! But we’ve also been to weddings as guests where the food was disappointing and wanted to avoid this. One of the benefits of having a smaller wedding meant we could have a higher standard on the things we chose. Pimms and canapés were served after the ceremony on the terrace. We wanted a sit down meal for the wedding breakfast and Chris chose roast beef and Yorkshire pudding as the main and I chose mushroom and leek crumble for the vegetarians. We had tomato soup to start and a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
In the evening we had sausage and chip barms, with the cake as dessert. The food was brilliant. Everyone enjoyed it.
After the wedding breakfast we went on an hour cruise on a traditional boat around the lake. We hoped to keep it as a surprise until the day but the weather forecast meant we had to warn people to bring a coat or possibly a waterproof, but the weather ended up being perfect. We got some great photos walking down to the lake and back up to the hotel as well as on the boat.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend the hotel to other couples. The venue speaks for itself – it’s beautiful. The building was perfect and the setting can’t even be described. We were the only wedding that day at the hotel which was lovely and we were made to feel so special. The staff went above and beyond on the day and during the planning, nothing was too much trouble. And what girl doesn’t love a bit of Laura Ashley?
The ceremony was a favourite part of the day but I loved every part, from getting ready to having the photos taken of just us two. Having my hair and makeup done was a real treat, I felt the best I’ve ever felt. The boat trip in the early evening was lovely, the weather was perfect for it. The children are still talking about that bit now! I really enjoyed just being together with everyone. Having the people we love the most all together celebrating with us.
For our honeymoon we went to a very hot Disneyland Paris two weeks after our wedding with our two young children, Noah and Pippa. It was only short, three nights but we had a fantastic time. Not very romantic but wouldn’t have had it any other way.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be selfish. Choose what you two want. Don’t try and please anyone but yourselves. As long as you’re both happy that’s all that matters. Also don’t get caught up in the small things, even though you want a perfect day the days that follow the wedding are the important ones.
I get quite jealous of people planning now. I want to do it all again. The day flies by and seems a lifetime ago.
August 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom turned their May wedding around in just five months following a romantic Christmas Day proposal. Impressive, hey?
Early on Laura had a few key suppliers in mind who she quickly secured and found her perfect venue in the form of a place she used to work, The Plough in Lupton.
With the help of their loving family, Laura and Edward, then pulled together the finishing touches for the beautiful blue wedding day, including handmade décor, floral arrangements and musical entertainment.
With images by Jess Reeve Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on Christmas day 2014. We like to make each other a Christmas stocking with small gifts in each and we open these together first thing on Christmas morning. My stocking last year was full of stranger presents than ever before – I had some cheap biros, a chocolate orange (actually an empty box as Ed had already eaten it!) and then a mystery box in the toe of the stocking. I unwrapped it and there was Ed asking me to marry him!
We got married on the 23rd May 2015. We chose the date primarily because I’m a teacher and we needed a date in school holidays. This date fell at the beginning of summer half term so we would be able to have a week off together afterwards. We didn’t want to wait until the summer as, unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with cancer at New Year and, with an uncertain prognosis, we wanted to ensure he was with us to enjoy our special day.
We got married at All Saints church in Burton-in-Lonsdale. Edward grew up in Burton and attended primary school next to the church. Ed’s mother also volunteers her time to help with the church and so it was the perfect place for us to marry in. The reception venue was The Plough at Lupton. Before my teacher training I worked in hospitality and I was assistant manager at The Plough between 2010 (when it reopened after a total refurbishment) until 2012. My father also worked there until January of this year, and we knew the staff would make it a perfect day for us.
We didn’t have a theme but we did have a colour scheme of navy/royal blue. I chose blue because I’ve always liked it as a colour and because it would link to my engagement ring, which is a diamond with two tear drop sapphires either side.
From looking at different styles of dress online and in magazines, I knew I didn’t want a dress without some form of straps. Although I wanted something special, I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress that I would wear for one day. Someone recommended I look at Wed2B in Bolton as a starting place. As I’d been on a strict diet since January, I wanted to leave it as late as I dared to get my dress! My mum and I went to Wed2B at the beginning of April as I’d seen the dress I wanted on the website and they had one in stock – it was in my size! I tried on four dresses and the one I had seen online was the one I fell in love with. It was perfect!
As a special touch on the wedding day I decided that I would have my grandma’s engagement ring as my ‘something old’. Her rings were passed to me when she died a few years ago. My grandma always said she wanted to make it to my wedding day, so this was a good way to remember her as I married Edward.
My partner wore a navy tailcoat with pinstripe trousers and ivory ruche from Greenwoods. He wore his own navy waistcoat that he ordered tailor-made so that he would be able to wear it again and remember the wedding.
The bridesmaids wore the dress Katie in navy by Eloise’s Secret Closet. I chose them because I loved the detail around the top – it complemented my dress so well, and the colour was perfect.
The best man wore the same as the groom except with a navy ruche and a grey waistcoat. My father wore the same as the best man, and Ed’s father and the ushers wore their own suits.
My mum’s fiancé offered to get us a wedding car as our wedding present, as long as he could keep the car a surprise! That was a bit scary – but I knew it would be special. Steve hired us a beautiful wedding car from Heysham Limos. It was perfect! After the ceremony, when Edward and I were ready to go to the reception venue, the chauffeur had put the top down as it was such a beautiful day, and had a bottle of champagne on ice for us to share on the way back to the reception. He even took a detour through Kirkby Lonsdale so we could have a ride round the town in the car!
Our photographer was Jessica Reeve. As soon as Edward proposed I knew I wanted Jessica to be our photographer. I used to work with Jessica when she had just graduated university, and I knew her photographs were the best, and her style and shots were just what I wanted.
Even though I knew Jess already, from start to finish she was a real professional. We had a meeting to discuss what I wanted from the photographs and arranged an engagement shoot around Edward’s parent’s house in the woods where he grew up playing, and where we walk the dogs. She really put us at ease and getting to work with her before the wedding was really good. On the day Jessica was fantastic with everyone – she was unobtrusive throughout the day and the shots she got were perfect. I didn’t even know she was there in the church or during the speeches! I would (and do!) recommend Jess to everyone who is having a special occasion and wants a photographer!
As I was working up until two days before the wedding, and was on a budget, I didn’t want to be sorting out flowers the day before the wedding and florists seemed so expensive. As a result, my mother and I looked at some foam flowers to make my Botany Bay bridesmaids’ bouquets. Some of the ones we found weren’t very realistic. However, while at one day for lunch, we found some small foam roses which were £1.95 for eight and just what I wanted! We bought 16 per bridesmaid and 32 for my bouquet – that’s £15.60 for the main bouquet flowers! We found some artificial gypsophila as well and arranged them into bouquets, tied round with the navy ribbon. I then used small diamantes in the centre of each rose for some added sparkle, and when my dress was shortened there were some small beads left over, which I put on wires and added into the bouquets.
Edward’s mum Cathy often helps decorate the church for special occasions and is a fantastic flower arranger – she even made the button holes for the bridal party to wear! For the day, Cathy and her sisters made pew ends with gorgeous flowers, and found some wonderful blue flowering plants to decorate the back of the church.
At the venue I used decorations that I collected from all over. My mum is the hero really as she sat and made 40 paper flowers in different shades of blue. Each flower had six petals and each petal had to be made individually – it took her weeks! But, they were perfect. We put them on the tables in glass jars we had found in antique shops, alternated on the long tables with hexagonal jam jars with tea lights in. All the jars we wrapped in the navy ribbon with diamantes on.
At The Plough there are lovely wooden beams throughout, and we used these to hang navy and white pom pom balls from, along with various wicker hearts and lights. In alcoves and on the fireplaces we had a variety of lights from pearl fairy lights, heart lights and even flower lights in glass bowls. On the tables I had white table cloths with navy organza runner down the middle, which matched the navy chair ties. I had my family all decorating the tables and reception the morning of the wedding after breakfast!
As Edward and I both love cheese, and we had planned on having wheels of cheese tiered in the evening, we decided we would have miniature bottles of vintage port as our favours. My mum’s boss provided us with lots of organza favour bags which we put the bottles in. For the children we had small hexagonal jars of Haribo love heart sweeties.
We were going to have a Marks & Spencer cake with a tier of fruit and two tiers of sponge. However, at Christmas we had a fair at school and one of the mum’s ran a cake stall and her items were to die for! It turned out that she does occasion cakes too (Lucia’s Continental Cakes) so we ordered a three tier cake – fruit on the bottom, chocolate in the middle, and sponge on the top. It was all beautiful!
Having run weddings from a catering perspective myself, I decided I would keep the menu choices simple, so we had a choice of two items for each of three courses. We had melon and red berry coulis or chicken liver parfait with red onion chutney to start, roast chicken, red wine jus, fondant potato and seasonal veg or Butternut squash and roasted red pepper risotto for mains, and vanilla crème brulee with homemade shortbread or sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce, and thunder and lightning ice cream for dessert.
For the reception we chose to have tiered ‘wedding cakes’ made of wheels of cheese and also of different pies. The cheese was supplied by John at Churchmouse Cheeses. We also had tiered pork pie ‘cake’ baked in different size heart shapes! This was made especially for us by award winning butcher Mark at Dales Butchers. The bottom tier was traditional pork pie, the middle was port and chilli jam, and the top tier was pork and haggis. We also had sweet treats provided by Madam Chocolat, Morecambe. Our guests were certainly well fed!
To entertain the guests as they arrived at the church, and also during the signing of the register, we asked Ed’s mum Catherine to play the harp. Catherine plays the harp regularly and we were so lucky that she agreed to play at our wedding, and our guests really enjoyed the music in the church.
For the reception, we decided didn’t want a huge party or band, as we wanted a small and intimate wedding, perfect for The Plough. We wanted to spend the day with our friends and family and so we chose just to have a simple music system in the bar area with space for people to dance if they wished. Luckily, my father has some lights and DJ equipment as he sometimes does discos so he set this up for us in the bar and it was perfect. It also meant my dad was in charge of the music, which he was happy with!
We would 100% recommend our venue – it’s perfect for weddings. The layout of The Plough is perfect for special occasions and the garden area is extra special for photographs. The staff also deserve a special mention as, from start to finish, they were amazing. They managed it so professionally and everything was perfect.
Our favourite part of the day (besides becoming husband and wife) was seeing our guests enjoying themselves and celebrating with us. Having all the people who mean the most to us in the world all together was fantastic, and we couldn’t have hoped for anything more than that.
We are waiting to go on honeymoon until later in the year as Edward works away at sea in the Merchant Navy as an engineer, which means he is away for up to four months at a time. We did, however, manage a getaway to Centre Parcs at Penrith as a minimoon.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t worry about every little detail on the day. Make sure your wedding party have details of everything so if something goes wrong, they can deal with it for you. Also, make sure you take time to step back and watch your guests enjoying themselves – it makes all the hard planning worth it. Finally, make sure you take time to be with your new husband/wife – everyone will be grabbing your attention all day – don’t forget about the most important reason you’re all there!
August 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s story starts off with a proposal by the bride! That’s right, brave Christina seized a leap year as the perfect opportunity to pop the question to her partner Ross after five happy years together.
Upon receiving a ‘yes’, Christina quickly got to work planning her dream day in The Lake District which featured two of her favourite things; birds and shabby chic wedding styling.
The result is an, oh so pretty big day, complete with elegant colour theme, stunning lace dress and a cute barn owl ring bearer. This one certainly sweeps us off our feet!
With images by Paul Swift Photography.
christina says: Ross is in the RAF and he had been posted near Cambridge in 2010, I’d decided to continue living with my parents in the north. After being together for more than five years in 2012 and having a long distance relationship, I decided it was time for us to get married. I found a venue that was perfect for us and in leap year tradition, I proposed to Ross.
Our wedding date was 13th July 2013. We always wanted a summer wedding and I had always dreamed of being married in the sunshine, outdoors and surrounded by nature.
We were married at the Broadoaks Country Hotel and initially booked the venue because of its location in Windermere, bridging the gaps between my husband’s family in Cumbria and my own family coming from Yorkshire and Lancashire. As the wedding planning began we realised there were many other qualities to the hotel which made us feel like it was made for us. The hotel itself is in a quiet area above Windermere, surrounded by trees and a babbling brook, which enabled our Labradors to be part of our wedding day too (they were a big part of the day and even wore their own doggy tuxedos).
Our ceremony took place in the pergola on the helipad surrounded by nature in 30 degree heat, everything I wanted. We paid for our guests to stay from Friday to Sunday. Friday night was Mexican night followed by drinks and dancing. Saturday morning was a full Cumbrian breakfast followed by clay pigeon shooting and cream tea and cakes for the bridal party.
I was 15 minutes late to my own wedding and got a telling off by the registrar but as I explained to her, trying to get a tiered dress and corset on in 30 degree heat is a very sticky job. It took ten minutes in an ice cold shower and then all three of my bridesmaids to help pull up and arrange my under skirts!
We had a shabby chic, bird theme, complete with lots of bird cages, salt and pepper bird favours, china tea sets and a sweetie table. I have always loved birds and rather than having my wedding look like I was an avid ‘twitcher’, the shabby chic look made it elegant and was definitely more me.
To complement the theme, our colour scheme was baby pinks, cream, turquoise and peach – pastel summer colours.
I wore Jessie by Augusta Jones with the Mantilla veil. An all lace, sweetheart neckline, slim dress. The pictures of the dress on the website do not do it justice. It wasn’t until I put it on that I knew this was the dress I wanted to wear for me and for my husband. I found a waist belt on Etsy decorated with crystals and pearls that I added to the dress. I had never felt more beautiful than I did on my wedding day and when I saw the look on my husband’s face as I walked down aisle, I knew it was the perfect choice.
Harriet Dickens of JGs, Northallerton, did my hair and makeup on the wedding day and then at the last minute managed to do almost everyone else’s makeup and hair too! She was amazing and made sure I’d started my beauty prep the week before sending me reminders of what I need to do when and how hot it was going to be so I would remember I was wearing a strapless dress and didn’t want any strap marks!
Ross wore the Help for Heroes kilt from Cameron Ross and so did the groomsmen. Being in the RAF, he chose this tartan so that a percentage of the hire price would go to the Help for Heroes charity.
All our bridesmaid and flower girl dresses were pink and were purchased from lightinthebox.com.
Paul Swift was our photographer on the wedding day. To those currently planning a wedding I would say if you’re going to pay for a professional photographer don’t skimp on the research. Look at what they have done before and remember that just because you’ve met them it doesn’t mean that you’re obliged to choose them. Go with your instinct and any photographer that cannot cater for your needs or that tries to pressurise you to choose them for your big day probably isn’t right for you.
Paul was the best and even catered for the doggies and just proves that if you’re passionate about what you do for your work it will always show in the end result. My photos are amazing and truly show the fun and excitement of the day. Everyone loves them and I have photographs that will forever be a reminder of my amazing day.
My flower bouquets and arrangements were all done by Valerie Ann’s Florist in Windermere. I wanted flowers and herbs that were highly scented so that I would have those scents as a memory of the day. I chose rosemary, lavender, dianthus, peonies, roses and carnations, wrapped in a ribbon with my late nana’s St. Christopher medallion attached (my something borrowed/blue). My bridesmaids had three large peonies and my three flowers girls had mini rose spheres.
I used birdcages, old tea sets, cake stands, loads of candles, hanging hearts, bunting, wreaths and cream rococo frames as décor.
For my sweetie table I had my favourite jelly belly beans with recipe cards. I had raided old charity shops for glass Bon Bon dishes, bowls and vases. I had my own pink striped paper sweetie bags with mini scoops and filled every container with as many different sweets as I could find.
As favours we gave out mini porcelain salt and pepper birds and chocolate hearts. For our gluten free guests we had macaroons.
I chose a white chocolate cake from Robineaus in Darlington. It was a three tiered cake with white chocolate roses. The top was a traditional fruit cake, the middle was lemon sponge (my favourite) and the bottom was dark chocolate cake.
The evening entertainment was a disco, put on by friends of ours.
As a special touch to our big day (and in keeping with the bird theme), we had an owl ring bearer called Olly the Barn Owl. It was an amazing experience and everyone got to hold him and have pictures.
Our guests also enjoyed clay pigeon shooting, croquet and golf on the lawn and paddling in the little brook in the grounds.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others, it’s a magical, beautiful place perfect if you want a quiet family/friend orientated wedding. You book out the whole hotel so that you have every room and you don’t have anyone disturbing your celebrations for the whole weekend. The bridal suite is divine and the hotel is spacious enough so that if you want a break from it all there are plenty of hidden places you can regroup in. Every room has a different decoration theme, decorated to the highest standard with four poster beds and full amenities. During your planning stages the staff are there on hand and offer discounted rates if you are living further afield and need to stay over whilst arranging other services.
My favourite part of the wedding day has to be walking down the aisle with my dad and then as he handed me over to my husband he could barely whisper and then suddenly got his act together and stated to my husband ‘she’s yours now’.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon just yet but we have some exotic plans for when we do.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy it! Everyone told me it would be over in a flash- they were right! Enjoy every minute don’t worry about anyone else. The whole day is just for you two, don’t ponder whether everyone is enjoying themselves, they are there to watch you, laugh and cry your way through the day so cherish every minute and do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it! Also, become a delegation queen, you don’t have to do everything as people will be more than happy to do some things for you.
I’m forever grateful to all my guests as everyone did a little something either in preparation for or on the big day! I love my husband so much for giving me everything that I wanted.
August 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I realise we’re still in the middle of summer but I’m already super excited about Christmas! I love it all – the food, the drink, the presents and generally the fact that everyone is in such a good mood. I therefore easily understand why couples choose to tie the knot at this special time of year, giving their friends and family yet another reason to smile.
Getting the festivities underway nice and early (I’m all for extending that holiday feeling), today’s couple Karen and Mark, set the date of their Christmas themed wedding for late November, which allowed them time to fit in a honeymoon with their young daughter before Santa would come a calling.
Cue the fairy lights, Christmas trees and baubles!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor David Lawson Photography.
karen says: Mark and I got engaged when we were on holiday in Mexico. We had an amazing hotel with balcony and a hot tub overlooking the ocean. We’d got ready to go out for dinner and sat on the balcony with a drink to watch the sun set. He asked me to put on my favourite music then went into the suitcase and produced a large box. Even then I didn’t think it was a ring because the box was too big! However, it was and I said yes straight away. We celebrated with a lovely meal in one of the hotel’s restaurants and I couldn’t take my eyes of the ring! Everyone bought us drinks all night – it was amazing.
We decided to get married on 28th Nov 2014 as we wanted a Christmas wedding – we both love the festive season!
Our chosen location was the Lake District because we both love it there and spent many happy weekends walking and camping in the area and so thought it would be perfect to invite all our loved ones to our favourite place! We decided on Armathwaite Hall, Keswick, as the venue due to its beautiful setting and the mix of modern and traditional.
The colour theme was set around deep and bright red roses, in keeping with the Christmas theme.
I tried several styles of dress but kind of knew I wanted a fishtail type design. I worked hard to lose my baby fat after giving birth to our precious bundle Orla, just under 12 months before, so I could have this style of dress! Three sessions a week of ‘Fit to Push’ (a local mums’ fitness group) certainly helped! I bought my dress from Wedding Belles & Beaus in York. It was a lovely Sophia Tolli dress called Stephanie.
Mark wore a hired suit from a bridal rental shop in York and the groomsmen wore the same, but with a different coloured tie.
My bridesmaids wore a Dessy dress from New York bought in Stokesley. I decided on black dresses as I thought they were timeless and the girls could wear them again.
David Lawson was our photographer on the day and I would certainly recommend him to others! He looks the part made us and our guests feel very comfortable. He takes a pretty good photo too!
Our flowers were provided by Floral Boutique in Cockermouth. I carried a mix of red roses, spray roses, berries, foliage and cones, which created a Christmassy feel.
For our centrepieces, our best man Jo kindly made tree trunk bases which we then stood lanterns on and filled them with a covering of black sand with an ivory candle inside. Around the wooden top the florist laid a spray of flowers the same as mine – they looked fab!
As favours we gave Grasmere gingerbread. Our cake lovely cake was made by a friend of a friend.
We both love music and so decided to have a live band for the reception. We hired The Sonics, who were fantastic. We also wanted some entertainment when we were having our photos taken so we booked an acoustic singer to perform as guests were welcomed to the arrival drinks.
We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to other brides and grooms. The setting is amazing and the staff are great, ensuring the day runs smoothly.
Looking back I find it difficult to pick just one favourite part of the day as several moments were particularly special. Mark sent me some beautiful jewellery on the morning of the wedding that I’d seen weeks before but didn’t realise he knew about it! The sunrise on the morning was beautiful – Mark went for a run and sent me a picture from the top of a mountain and told me he loved me! I felt it was just me and him when I got that. Seeing our beautiful daughter in her little ivory dress and shoes and another lovely moment and Mark’s speech was beautiful. I knew he was so nervous, as was my dad but I’ve never felt more proud of both of them. I’ve also never cried so much!
Following the wedding we went to Prague for a cosy festive week’s honeymoon with our daughter. We chilled out, went for lovely walks around the Christmas markets all wrapped up, drank Vin Chaud and ate lovely food. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel called The Mark. The staff were amazing and the finishing touches, just perfect!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to treasure every minute and try to have just ten minutes as a couple on the day away from everyone to savour the moment together.
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