November 24th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
There are those people that think they know how to throw a party and then there are those people that know how to absolutely nail a party. Today’s real wedding couple falls into the latter, no questions asked.
Self confessed laid-back couple Tom and Chloe wanted a chilled-out celebration but one that would be incredibly good fun – and that’s exactly what they delivered.
Musician Tom and his talented mates kept the marquee rocking late into the night with incredible live music. One performer in particular may well look familiar as a certain Arctic Monkey attended the do.
Ready, set, rock!
With images by PH Weddings.
chloe says: Our engagement story isn’t the most romantic but because we’ve been going out for 12 years now, we just both knew what we wanted. It was April 2013 when it happened. We were out down Kelham Island in Sheffield having a few drinks and we just decided there and then to get engaged. We are a very laid back couple and were both not into the whole attention knee thing, so it was perfect for us both, just between us two.
We set the date for September 20th 2014.
We got married at my local church, Sacred Heart Church in Hillsborough. I was christened and baptised there and I used to be an altar girl there when I was little, plus I went to school next door, so me and Tom agreed that would be the best place for us to get married. We had the reception at Foxholes Farm, Bradfield. We chose that venue because we love the area it’s in and we wanted a marquee in a field – it was the perfect location for it.
As a very laid back and relaxed couple don’t particularly like the traditional wedding side of things, we wanted a party for everyone to enjoy and celebrate with us – and that’s exactly what it was!
We both like the colour navy so we both decided that would be a good start and would work well with the time of year.
My dress was from Lulu Mae in Oughtibridge, Sheffield. I knew I wanted straps and my back showing and this dress offered both and had a romantic vintage look to it, I love it!
Tom and his best man both wore navy suits from Reiss, they both looked very dapper. The bridesmaids wore a navy one-strap dress from Debenhams, they both looked gorgeous. I had my niece as my flower girl and she wore a dress from Accessorize in a dusky pink, as she loves anything pink and I had my two nephews as pageboys and they both wore navy trousers with a white granddad shirt with piano printed braces, they looked very grownup and handsome.
PH Weddings were our photographers. The people behind the business are Helen and her husband Paul, they were fantastic, exactly what we wanted and I would definitely recommend them. They just did exactly what we asked and the photos look great and in a good way we hardly knew they were there because that’s what kind of photos we wanted – a more natural, unposed look and they captured the day perfectly, everyone just looks so happy!
I travelled with my bridesmaids and my dad in a VW camper van, which was lent to us by some friends, and my dad drove us to the church, which was funny. The rest of the party went in an old fashioned double-decker bus, which we hired from the Sheffield Transport Museum.
When it came to flowers I didn’t have a clue. I left it to my friend Catherine, who owns a florist called Petalis, to choose the flowers. I trusted her and she did exactly that and more – the flowers were amazing, they looked beautiful and perfect. She did all the flowers for the venue, including a display outside which looked perfect in the surroundings. The tables looked beautiful also; they had a main centre piece of flowers and then lots of little vases dotted around the tables and on the head table, Catherine had just left a vase for me to put my bouquet in, so that I could enjoy looking at it for the whole day.
I had some wooden confetti hearts made with our name and wedding date on, and some music paper shaped hearts confetti scattered around the tables which matched perfectly with the flowers. My niece and nephews made the table names and table plan, because I thought it was nice for them to get involved with the day and it was a nice homely touch. Our favours were a bag of mixed sweets that I that I had chosen. I think they went down well as most of them were eaten before the meal.
We had PJ Taste do our catering, they were fantastic, and the food was gorgeous. We had nibbles for when we got back from the church, like mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and then pie and mash for our main meal and then a hog roast for later on. Everyone said the food was fantastic and that the pies were the best they had ever had.
My mum made our wedding cake, she is a great baker so there was no doubt that she would make it! It was a two-tier very chocolaty cake, it was immense! She also made a few other cakes, as did my sister, aunty and mother-in-law, there was no shortage of cake that was for sure!
Tom is a musician and most of our friends are so as always when one of us gets married they get together and play. They had chosen what to play, they kept it a secret from me, but they were great. It was so good and such a laugh, they had chosen songs that Tom and I loved and everyone just had a good old dance and sing-along. We also hired a bouncy castle to keep the little ones entertained.
Our favourite part of the day was seeing everyone enjoying it and looking happy, it was exactly what we wanted, just a great party with all our friends and family there.
We’ve not had a honeymoon as yet. We had a mini-moon to Castleton in Derbyshire for a few nights the weekend after because we love it there, but we’re hoping to go to America next year.
Our tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the day and take it all in. Try not to worry about other people enjoying it, you two just enjoy it and relax.
November 11th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This morning we join Gemma and Jim for their simple yet stunning wedding in the Yorkshire countryside. Our homecoming couple kept things plain yet interesting with delicate, handmade touches and a pretty pale colour palette for their celebration under canvas at the heart of village life.
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
Gemma says: When Jim proposed it was totally unexpected! He had insisted on taking me out for a slap up evening meal as a Christmas treat. We live in London and it had snowed all day, I was wet, cold and just wanted to make sure we could get home! The odds were against him – my mood wasn’t the warmest, and little did I know, he had called my Mum to ask her permission – to be promptly told to call back later as she was ‘in the middle of dishing up tea’! Poor fella! He took me to the Oxo Tower Restaurant on the Southbank – at which point I insisted this was far too lavish and I would prefer to have a Chinese take away and save the money! He pressed on..! During the meal he started to look a little ‘off colour’ which I later realised was because he desperately needed the toilet but couldn’t risk standing up and me seeing a square bulge in the pocket of his skinny jeans! He proposed with the most romantic words of love for me and with a standing ovation from the other dinners when I said ‘yes’ (in floods!).
We married in a small village called Hackness, North Yorkshire on 6th September 2014 – close to where our families live. Hackness has a beautiful church and wonderful countryside surroundings. It was quite tricky choosing the location as, living in London, there was a bit of a North, South divide! As luck would have it, we found a wedding blog showing a great wedding in the same village, with a Tipi reception at the village hall. We had been to our friends Tipi wedding and loved the idea of putting our own personal touches on the day. Plus we are outdoorsy people and go camping all year round – so this really suited us. It all started to fall into place!
We wanted to make everything ourselves to give our day a real personal touch – and save money of course! Romantic, rustic and simple was the theme! We didn’t want to over decorate the tipis as we thought they looked wonderful with simple sparkly lights. We tied in parts of our London life – our table plan was based on the tube map and we used Oxo Cubes (engaged in the Oxo Tower) to hold each name plate. My Mum made meters and meters of hessian table runners with a lace centre, and we had lots of glass jars and sundae dishes with candles in them, with sand from Scarborough Beach to hold them in place.
The initial colour scheme was duck egg, but the actual colour of duck egg blue is a very serious debate within our family and friends now! So we’ll just say ‘light bluey’!
My dress was from London Designer Bridal Room just off Oxford Street. I am very simple in what I wear day to day so I knew a large dress wasn’t for me…(I did have fun trying one or two on though!). I went for a simple, slinky dress which made me feel very elegant, womanly and, most of all, me!
Jim showed me quite a few pictures of David Gandy in suits…so I knew he wanted something quite fitted and trendy! We went to some amazing tailors but in the end the slim-fit style we found (as luck and budget would have it) in Red Herring at Debenhams was the one. It had a matching scoop neck waistcoat which looked perfect with his skinny French Connection tie. His shoes were from Linea at House of Fraser and shirt was a white slim fit dress shirt from TM Lewin.
The Bridesmaids and I had to do a lot of virtual shopping as they both live miles away. I came across the dresses on one of my many web searches and they both loved it! The dresses had a subtle sequin hem which tied in perfectly with my dress – from Kalico at John Lewis. The Bestman and Usher wore the same suit and tie as Jim. They were a little concerned with the ‘slim fit’ description but they both looked amazing!
For our centre pieces we ordered 100 stems of loose gypsophila from our florist, to put into the vases we had decorated for the table centres. My Mother-in-Law has done a bit of floristry so she made sure each stem was cut nice and level. We also had (my favourite) white hydrangea heads in jam jars.
Our florist at Blooms of Scarborough was so clever, I wanted a simple gypsophila bouquet but she suggested tying in a hydrangea centre to match our centre pieces. I was so pleased with the final result which was all tied together with hessian.
Our photographer was the wonderful Hayley Baxter. I have fallen in love a bit with Hayley… she is just a little genius and the nicest person to boot! We could not believe the wonderful intimate shots she managed – most of the time we had no idea she was there! Our edited pictures arrived very quickly – but we got a little sneak peek the day after via Facebook – which was such a lovely touch!
We made all the favours ourselves. I made pretty dangly earrings for all the ladies and Jim made a ‘mix tape’ of all sorts of music (some meaningful, some just fun!) for the gents. We spent many a Sunday afternoon cutting and sticking and creating. I think I loved this part a bit more than Jim… but he is a dab hand with the heart shaped hole punch now!
On each table setting we added a question card from the Logo board game, which we thought would be a nice ice breaker.
Having a tipi wedding limits your food choices to a degree but we managed to work it – I think! Well… no one went hungry! Malton Relish made all our gorgeous canapes and the vegetarian options of ‘Wild Mushroom Loaf’ and ‘Italian Vegetable Frittata’ they delivered them on the day so we didn’t have to worry about chilling them. Stepney Hill Farm provided the main meal of a Hog Roast with stuffing and apple sauce. Jim’s step father is a dab hand in the kitchen so he lovingly prepared some amazing salad accompaniments. We had lots of cheese and biscuits, wedding cake and my friend made delicious chocolate brownies for dessert. Late evening we had Pickering Fish and Chips arrive with their mobile van – which went down an absolute treat! We ran a free bar so shopped for the alcohol during various promotions in the supermarkets. Aldi was an absolute winner for spirits! We also had a hand pull real ale from Scarborough Brewery which people went crazy for!
Jim’s Mum is a wonderful baker and so she kindly baked our cake – traditional fruit on the bottom tier and lemon sponge with lemon curd and butter cream on the top tier. Her super clever friend did all the icing. We have the figurines set now and sitting on our book case – a wonderful keepsake!
We were so pleased with The Big Party Band, a 5 piece band based in Keighley. We had seen them perform at a rare public gig and knew they were good! The music was a mix of modern and dance floor classics. The real wow factor comes when the band get on the dance floor with their wireless guitars – so much fun! We paid extra to hire their kit all day to allow us to have music during the day and a PA system for the speeches. We gave them two options for our first dance and they surprised us on the day having learnt them both – so gave us a first and last dance!
We put a confetti balloon in the centre of the dance floor which was popped during our first dance – the actually popping caused lots of laughs as it just wouldn’t go!
We had these huge LOVE letters which I scrounged from Debenhams on Oxford Street – it was one of their valentines displays that they were throwing away. We underestimated how large they were which made for a bit of hilarity when trying to get them home on the tube!
Boutipi were our Tipi suppliers and they are just the best!! They are a family run business which really shows, nothing is too much trouble and they really care about giving you the best day possible! They even gave us a crash course in the Waltz the day before!
Crystal Penguin Events did our on the day coordination along with two waitresses my mum knows. I would recommend to anyone having a Tipi wedding to have someone there on the day to worry about timings etc. Steph made everything run like clock work, she also brought along some of her family to help run the bar and wash up!
Abbey Sound and Light hired our generator, we had no idea what size we would need but they worked this all out for us and plugged it all in – a real weight off our mind.
Our wedding day was truly the best day of our lives. It’s impossible to say what our one favourite moment was – but saying our vows to each other was wonderful, we were finally becoming man and wife! I messed up my lines and cried all the way through…but people said they loved that it was sincere and not polished. The three days prior to our wedding was wonderful, everyone turning up to help decorate and lift and shift… just made your heart melt. We felt so lucky to have such hard working family and friends!
We had a couple of days away after our wedding in Bruges – which was wonderful! Such a pretty and romantic place, perfect for relaxing and mooching about! We are planning our honeymoon for later next year.
I have so many tips for other Brides Up North! These types of blogs are so handy for reading about the experience of others. Having now been there, done that, I would have explored the second hand dress market a bit more, it is such a huge part of your budget and after all, most second hand dresses have only been worn once!
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October 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I do love autumn. Crisp skies, moody mists, golden leaves, better telly.
This is a special season and a special week, in fact, for my family as my husband and I celebrate four happy years of marriage together, and our second anniversary with our little daughter in tow.
If you tie the knot yourself this week, let me tell you, it’s a great one for it – and I hope you are as happy in your future lives as we are.
For the rest of you, let’s kick off another week of wedding inspiration with this pretty marquee castle wedding, sent to Brides Up North by our fabulous Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Gemma.
String out the bunting…
With images by SMH Photography.
Gemma says: We got engaged on a weekend away in Cardiff. We saw the perfect ring and knew the time was right.
We set the date for 25 July 2014. We are both teachers and knew we wanted to marry at the start of the summer holidays. The venue is lovely on a sunny day and we wanted to maximise our chances of plenty of sun.
We were married at Chirk Castle. It is one of our favourite places to visit. We have always found it very romantic and loved the idea of being able to have the ceremony in the Hawk House.
We decided on a pretty eclectic theme. There were lots of flowers and pastel colours but we wanted it to feel relaxed and have an informal, thrown together feel. We didn’t have just one main colour. Lots of floral patterns and colours were important to us so that is what we were aiming for.
I chose a Maggie Sottero gown. It was a long dress in light gold with beading. It had straps and was corseted at the back. I didn’t want a white dress and after searching for a year found one that I thought was perfect. I used Aristocrats Of Chester.
David wore a grey Cameron Ross morning suit. The morning suit seemed to go better with the informal style of the day.
We used SMH Photography. They were great and we would highly recommend the services of Sandra and Steve. They were very professional and worked really hard all day.
Our flowers were from Fletcher and Foley. We had a variety of fragrant herb and flowers to link the the garden theme. We had jugs of flowers on the tables that matched the bouquet and buttonholes.
The favours were homemade whiskey marmalade for the men and strawberry jam for the ladies. David’s parents made them and we bought personalised labels from notonthe highstreet.com.
We choose a ‘Naked Cake’ after seeing something similar in a newspaper. We had three tiers each filled with cream and decorated with fresh flowers and fruit. Our colleague, Nerys, has made the cakes for lots of the teachers at our school and did a great job on a very hot day!
Andrea at Fabulous Day was our wedding planner and we couldn’t have done it without her. We want her to come and live with us now!
We used Ice Cream Dub ice cream for desserts, including mojito and strawberry champagne flavours. The van looked great.
In the evening we had a curry station served outside as the weather was so great. Rupert Frazer Worden was our fantastic caterer. At the bar we had Wrexham Lager on tap as David’s grandad worked for the company. It was great to have it there.
We also loved the DIY photo booth provided by our marquee company. The guests had loads of fun playing around.
We used Lucy of Memento Stationary and were very pleased with the results. We’ve even used Lucy for our thank you cards.
We loved the setting for our wedding and would have chosen it a thousand times over. The place was already special to us and now it’s a special part of our lives. My family members from South Wales loved it so much they’ve been back to visit.
I was apprehensive about the ceremony as I’m a very emotional person but it was just perfect! Very natural and laid back, just as we wanted it!
I really wanted to go to the Maldives and it was just perfect. We booked through Kuoni and had 10 days in the Maldives and three days in Dubai. It was the perfect end to the whole experience. A perfect setting and great service at a wonderful resort. We want to go back now!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to hire Andrea, she had so many unique and money saving tips and contacts. Our day would have been completely different without her. Thank you Andrea!
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September 15th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The unique venue for Ben and Amanda’s well-planned wedding is what made their big day really stand out to me. The couple and their guests partied through to the small hours in beautifully decorated tipis pitched next to the picturesque back-drop of Lake Coniston. Stunning, just stunning!
Better yet, they stretched their wedding celebrations across three days (hell yeah!) to take full advantage of the breathtaking location.
The couple’s rustic barn/tea party theme came together perfectly with wonderful décor, individual touches and a mouth-watering menu, which was rounded-off with one heck of a party.
So let’s dive straight into the magic with details of the couple’s engagement.
With images by James Stewart Photograpy.
Amanda says: We got engaged on June 26, 2012. Ben chose this date as it’s his birthday and says it’s the only day of the year that he gets to choose what we do! We were camping in Crantock, Cornwall (which is our favourite holiday location). In the days leading up to the engagement we had walked around the headland looking for a nice birthday picnic spot, little did I know that it would actually be the engagement spot. Ben’s insistence on me choosing the exact spot made sense afterwards! We went surfing in the morning then after a nice hot shower, we headed off with our cream tea inspired picnic, with the obligatory champagne and strawberries!
After setting out our picnic blanket Ben made me close my eyes for a ‘surprise’ and when I opened them, he was knelt down with the ring in his hand. Lots of nice words and champagne followed, and then the second surprise of the day was that he’d booked us into Watergate Bay Hotel for the night, so we could enjoy our engagement night in the a bed rather that a tent!
We set the date for June 28, 2014. We’re both in the RAF and have lots of friends in the RAF too, so we always have to plan very far in advance for everything. We wanted to give everyone at least a year’s notice, so drew-up a plot of availability of my bridesmaid being back from Afghanistan and then the big items we needed to hire: tipi, venue, toilets, transport etc, and just chose the date that would work the best.
When deciding on a venue for the wedding, we were always on the lookout for somewhere we could use exclusively, somewhere that was slightly different from the norm, but ultimately somewhere that we could have a relaxed and intimate wedding, which we could hopefully spread out over more than more day.
We’d seen tipis in a wedding magazine and knew straight away that they provided exactly what we wanted, so we then went on an internet hunt for an amazing location; that’s how we found Bank Ground Farm in the Lake District. It’s a working farm, with cottages, a guesthouse, dog kennels, a tea room, boats for hire and bikes for hire, so it had a lot of what we needed under one roof. We didn’t do the legal bits at Bank Ground but it is where the real celebrations happened. We had a civil ceremony at Belmount Hall first which we chose because of its beautifully rustic interior and its proximity to Bank Ground Farm. The farm offered us the intimacy we wanted, gave us the ability to accommodate a large number of our guests and had a very relaxed feel about it. There are lots of different elements to Bank Ground, from the beautifully manicured lawns at the front of the house, the terrace overlooking Old Man Coniston and the lounge areas and bar inside the guesthouse; we were fortunate to be able to utilise all of them over the course of our three-day celebrations.
We didn’t have a specific theme to begin with, but over the course of the planning, we naturally swayed towards a rustic barn type of style. There were exposed beams in the tipis which we covered in fairy lights, we scattered bales of hay around for seats and displays, we up-cycled bottles and jars for flowers and candles, and brought everything together by using lace and burlap throughout. Relaxation had been the driving factor with choices; we didn’t want anything formal or stuffy, we just wanted people to feel that they could kick off their shoes and swap them for flip-flops or even wellies (weather dependent). The tea party food theme came out of our love for cream tea and the link back to our engagement with the champagne, strawberries, scones and clotted cream.
We wanted to keep the colour theme soft and romantic to tie in with the burlap and lace so all colours used were pale pinks, creams and some light gold.
My wedding dress was couture, and pre-loved. I saw it hiding at the back of a rail and was instantly attracted to its big, floaty skirt. The ripples in the skirt made me think of water and the rough edges of the material was in keeping with the relaxed, vintage effect we were creating. I love my sparkles, so the Swarovski pearls and beads that covered the bodice kept it girly and romantic.
Ben wore a very striking navy tweed three-piece suit from Walker Slater, a bespoke tweed outfitter in Edinburgh, along with a white shirt, pink knitted tie, and tan brogues from Kurt Geiger. The groomsmen all wore different tweed waistcoats, all from Walker Slater, white shirts, pink ties (to match Ben’s) and navy chinos.
The bridesmaids and I have a passion for Irregular Choice shoes, so in keeping with the soft colour scheme, the girls wore beautiful champagne lace dresses, but brought a pop of colour to the outfits with some bright Irregular Choice shoes. We all wore the same style, but in a different colour.
We loved how everyone looked together; it was exactly how we’d imagined, just amazing!
My hairdresser was Vikki Nelson and I have to say she had the patience of a saint! The hair for myself, mum and bridesmaids was the one thing I got my knickers in a twist over, as I really wanted it to be perfect. And despite me changing my ideas slightly, and my handmade hairpiece not quite working out as I’d planned, Vikki remained calm and polite while I had a very minor melt down/moan! All of the hairstyles turned out better than planned, and stayed in place well into the early hours.
My make-up was done by my gorgeous and talented cousin Samantha Hill, who runs her own beauty salon Beau Chic Beauty in Latton, on the edge of the Cotswolds/Cirencester. Everyone commented on how flawless it was, and I didn’t even need to do one single touch-up throughout the whole day – just perfect!
On the big day, we travelled in a classic split screen VW camper. This had been one of our ‘must haves’ from the very beginning as we both love the classic VW’s and dream to actually own one someday! Paul Bradburn of Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars was just amazing. He was extremely friendly and very passionate about his VW – he even supplied us with a nice cold bottle of bubbles for the journey.
My favourite part of the day was stood at the stairs to the civil ceremony room, waiting for my entrance music to start, with my mum doing a little dance to make me laugh and hold back the tears, knowing that in less than a few minutes I’d be saying my vows and my life as I knew it would change forever. Knowing that my best friend was about to become my husband and that our next adventures together would soon begin was a wonderful feeling.
We have the bonus of having James Stewart as Ben’s cousin, so there was never any doubt that we would use him as our photographer. We’ve seen a lot of James’ work over the years, from his sporting shots to capturing many happy family events.
James has a very unobtrusive nature and manages to get the shots that you didn’t even notice. A week after the wedding he sent us a little taster of what was to come in the form of a slideshow set to music; shame he hadn’t prepared me to have the tissues at the ready! I’m not sure how he managed it, but his photos feel like they captured all of the emotions of the day magnificently. Quite a few people have commented on needing the tissues when they watched it. We truly couldn’t recommend him enough; thoroughly professional, amazingly talented and a pleasure to have had him as part of our day.
For our wedding flowers we used The Flower Basket in Coniston village. Anne was extremely helpful and totally understood the concept I was aiming for. We basically told her that we wanted it to be soft and relaxed, using mainly creams and pinks. I’d created a scrapbook of magazines pictures over the year, took it to show her and realised that the running theme in my scrapings were peonies, gypsophila and roses. So we gave her artistic licence to use anything else she thought would look good, and she did an absolutely amazing job and totally transformed the tipis and surrounding chill out areas. I really couldn’t have been happier with the end result and couldn’t recommend her enough. I didn’t carry a bouquet, instead choosing to have a wrist corsage, which had some large pink peonies and white roses.
I made a lot of the decorations myself; pom poms, up-cycled jars and bottles, table plan, and napkin cuffs. I also put Ben and his dad to good use with a chain saw, cutting up tree trunks for table centre, and stands for menus and notices. The final touches of vintage glamour came from suretosurpriseyou.co.uk.
We hired all of the vintage crockery, cake stands and other tableware essentials, but the real eye-catchers were all of the vintage items for decoration. My bridesmaid Amy also lent a hand with the table centre arrangements, using her eye for detail to incorporate my items with hers. She helped to make a unique table centre for each table, and helped create a central focal point out of bales of hay, blankets and vintage items.
For our favours I made individuals wine charms for all the guests, but also made boxes so that they could all add their charms to a box, take them home, and carry on using them for their own future parties.
My bridesmaid Amy is an absolute legend in the baking department, and so there was never any other option than to have her mouth-watering delights as our wedding cake. Sticking with the tea party theme, she made the most magnificent four-tier tea party inspired cake. There were edible teacups, real biscuits, edible bunting and a giant Belgium white chocolate teapot on top. Each layer was a different flavour; chocolate, Victoria sponge, carrot and lemon.
Bank Ground Farm made all of our food, using as many local ingredients as possible, even using produce from their own farm. We had a hog roast on the Friday night with lots of gorgeous breads and salads. We also had a barbecue fit for a king on the Sunday afternoon.
The Saturday wedding food started off with a large selection of canapés on the lawn while enjoying bubbles for the girls, and local ales for the boys. The wedding breakfast was simply ‘high tea’, which included Cumbrian honey roast ham sandwiches, local pink roast beef with horseradish, blue cheese and rocket sandwiches, local cheddar with homemade chutney on onion bread sandwiches, free range egg and watercress sandwiches, Cumberland sausage rolls with smoked bacon and mustard, mini vegetable wellingtons and stilton, bacon and spring onion potato skins. Dessert was homemade scones, homemade jam, local fresh strawberries and lashings of clotted cream. Wines and champagnes were served from the bar stock and we had kegs of Loweswater Gold and Esthwaite ales to keep the guys happy.
Ben is massively into his music, so this was one area that he was in charge of completely. We both believe that live music is the making of any event, so he spent hours trawling the internet, listening to bands, and reading reviews. He finally decided on The Rips, who are a five-piece band from Yorkshire. They play anything from The Beatles or Bryan Adams, to Kings of Leon and Maroon 5, so we knew we’d get a good range to keep all ages entertained. Ben’s research certainly paid off because the dance floor was bouncing all night long!
We would wholeheartedly recommend all of our suppliers to other couples. One thing we really loved about Bank Ground Farm is that it isn’t actually a wedding venue. Jonathon there believes that weddings need and deserve a lot of attention and time, therefore doesn’t allow more than a handful of weddings a year, allowing him to dedicate his time and attention to each one, and help to make it unique. This was a real bonus and Jonathon and his staff were like extensions of the family; unbelievably helpful, happy and eager to help things run smoothly.
Other suppliers we’d have to recommend are Special Event Tipis. Kate and Dave from there were fantastic to work with. They are a married couple, who used tipis for their own wedding, fell in love with them and decided to start their own business. You can really tell they have a passion for their job, as they were extremely enthusiastic, passionate and accommodating with everything. They also use very high quality items, which made my job of decorating much easier, as there was such a great starting point with their tipis and interiors.
A special touch to the wedding was certainly having our eight-month-old English Springer Spaniel, Murphy there to play a part in the weekend celebrations. He’s a huge part of our lives. He even had his own tweed collar and lead to match Ben’s outfit.
We went to Thailand on our honeymoon. We had a few nights in Bangkok where we sampled as many delights as possible; tuk tuk rides, street food, coconut water and street markets. We also had some cultural trips; temples, Bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass and war memorials. We visited the Tiger Temple, which was a dream come true, especially bathing and feeding the baby tigers and we stayed in a glamping site called Hintock River Camp. After these three whirlwind days, we jumped on another flight to Koh Samui, where we checked into a pool villa at Six Senses Samui. This was ultimate luxury; just what we both needed after six months of wedding crafting and preparations. Over the course of the next week we relaxed (a lot), went sightseeing on boats and kayaks, went elephant riding, relaxed some more and ate a lot!
My top tip to other Brides Up North has to be this (even though we still failed to do it) – try, try, try to take ten minutes aside together in the middle of the evening to step back and watch all of your loved ones having a blast. The evening really does just disappear in a heartbeat, and is over before anyone wants it to be!
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September 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
And so, it starts (yippee!)…
Luxury Wedding Exhibition
Hilltop Country House
Flash Lane, Prestbury, Cheshire, SK10 4ED
Sunday 14th September 2014
12pm till 4pm
As well as all that inspiration – completely FREE – we are also giving away up to 150 FREE Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, on the day discounts, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our amazing sponsors like John Lewis, Clarins and Cheshire Bride. Just because we love you. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP pack all you need to do is pre-register using the form below. While stocks last only.
To register for for speedy entry and a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be goody bag fill in your details below. Only the bride need register for larger groups.
September 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
This wedding is something else. Not only is the walled summer garden setting super special, it was also hand planted by the bride and groom themselves. And if that’s not a labour of true love, I don’t know what is!
Let the love grow… this one’s bloomin’ beautiful!
Images by Graeme Oxby.
Gemma says: In July 2013 Ady planned a surprise overnight stay to Settle. The Yorkshire Dales is my favourite part of the country. It was a lovely hot sunny day when we set off for a walk in the morning. We stopped for lunch on a hill-side with a beautiful view. Ady produced a rolled up pair of gloves from his backpack, which seemed quite an odd thing to be carrying as it was such a hot day, however he pulled out a ring and proposed, we cut the walk short and went into the town to celebrate.
We said I Do at St Hybalds church, Ashby De La Launde, Lincolnshire. The church was very small making the service more intimate. There are beautiful views from the church over adjacent fields and woodlands.
Our reception was in a marquee inside a Walled Garden, in Ashby De La Launde owned by the father of the groom. Ady grew up at the venue and we both decided a long time ago we would have the reception in the walled garden, and have spent most weekends working on it to get it how we wanted. We reinstated the stone paths, rebuilt the old doors which had collapsed, planted new herbaceous borders and built the pergola in the centre of the garden, as a feature for the guests to gather around.
We wanted to be the first couple to use the garden for a wedding reception but in the future we would love to hire out the walled garden to use as a venue for events and weddings. We loved working together to get the venue right, and would enjoy doing the same for others.
We went for an English country garden style due to the nature of the venue. We mainly used items we found around the garden to decorate the marquee: Victorian terracotta pots, old fruit crates and wooden boxes planted up with plants we had grown from seed.
We felt the garden looked so vibrant and colourful that all other colours should be subtle and soft such as the pale lavender coloured bridesmaid dresses, white table linen and lilac and white flowers in the church and marquee.
I wore a Lusan Mandongus long slim fit, vintage lace ivory gown with cap sleeves and puddle train, from Limelight Occasions in Lepton, Huddersfield. It was so comfortable and lightweight when I first tried it on I thought it would be perfect for a garden reception, also the lace roses and floral motifs on the dress echoed the setting of the English country garden. I wore an Ivory and Co floral head piece with freshwater pearls, antique pieces of jewellery that were family heirlooms and other pieces that I found from antiques centres in Lincoln.
Ady wore a dark grey morning suit, with dove grey double-breasted waistcoat and dark grey cravat from Limelight Occasions.
Our bridesmaids wore pale lavender maxi dresses from Coast.
I chose hand tied country style bouquets made by Flowers by Suzanne based in Lincoln. The bouquets contained: peach David Austin roses, white dahlia, white astilby, scabious seed heads, white veronica, abliflora berries, and lavender.
We hired a 1936 Rover P2. from Ivory Vintage Wedding Car Hire, a family run enterprise based in Lincoln. The owner chauffeured the car personally from the Old Palace Hotel in Lincoln where the bridesmaids, my parents and myself got ready.
We used Graeme Oxby as our photographer. Graeme is a great photographer and would definitely recommend him. He produced amazing shots that made us very happy and emotional when we first saw them.
The flowers for table arrangements and church decorations were home grown in the walled garden. My Mum, Sue, made all the flower arrangements the day before the wedding.
The women each received a small home grown Echeveria, in a little terracotta pot which was painted and decorated by the bride. The men received a bottle of ale which was made by a local brewer (Poachers) and a friend, the couple met at university drew the caricature for the label.
Brosters Farm Shop, in Huddersfield, which is near where we live, made us six different sized tiers of pork pie, all different flavours. We then stacked it up using dowel, and decorated it with ribbon, summer fruits and herbs. We wanted to have a summery harvest festival take on the traditional wedding cake look. Also neither of us like wedding cake! The pie was a huge success and we received so many compliments from guests saying it was so good they went back for seconds and even thirds!
Entertainment wise, it was just the good old DJ, and dance floor. We gave the DJ a long list of songs which meant something to us before he arrived, and he added the rest. It was great to keep hearing songs which brought back memories for us, friends and families. We also had large wooden skittles on the lawn, as an afternoon game which we borrowed from the best man’s father.
For a minimoon we went full circle and went back to the Yorkshire Dales to stay in the same hotel where we got engaged. We went on the same walk and stopped for lunch at the same place as where we got engaged a year back. We are looking forward to our honeymoon in October, we are going to Sorrento in Italy for a week.
The best advice I could give other Brides Up North is share as much of the planning and preparation as possible – it was so much fun and really exciting. You feel extra special as a couple when you can look back on your wedding day and know you did it together.
August 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Let’s get stuck into some beautiful.
Jenny and Alex’s pretty country garden wedding is full of blooms, dappled sunshine and pretty touches. If you’ve spent the long weekend wondering where British summertime has disappeared to, it’s right here on these pages.
With images by Jessica Reeve Photography.
Jenny says:We got engaged on my birthday last year; Alex was very romantic and I cried a lot when he asked me to marry him! He had spent the previous 6 months trying to ‘throw me off the scent’, so it was a big shock!
Our wedding date was the 21st of June. We wanted a summer wedding and this worked for my little sister who is doing AS levels – and it was midsummer’s day, so we hoped it would give us the best chance of sunshine, as well as being romantic!
We decided to get married in the church I grew up attending. We wanted to have the ceremony somewhere that had a link to us, so as well as being a beautiful church, St Mary of the Angels in Bolton le Sands fitted the bill. For the reception, it was important to us that our reception would be private – we didn’t want a location where non-guests would be wandering around, so we decided to bite the bullet and have a marquee on the lawn at my parents’ house. We are very fortunate that my parents have a lovely house and they worked incredibly hard over our engagement to make sure the gardens were looking beautiful on the day.
Our marquee was provided by Ashfell Marquees, who are based in Cumbria. They did a fantastic job, the marquee looked stunning and they made the assembly look easy!
We were undecided on the exact theme or style of the wedding for a while. We knew we wanted it to be fairly classic and understated, but were unsure about the rest. However, as soon as I tried on my dress, I felt as if everything fell into place. The dress has lace roses on, and is quite a classic style. The wedding theme became clear – The theme was roses, with a style of a country house garden party. As soon as I had the dress on I could imagine walking around the marquee, across the lawn, I could imagine how I wanted the bridesmaids to fit, how I wanted it all to feel! It was a slightly surreal moment.
I picked the colour scheme based partly on what would fit with the church. I wanted something fairly traditional and elegant, so we opted for dusky pink, ivory, gold and sage green.
My dress was from The White Dress Boutique in Leamington Spa, the town where Alex and I live. I had tried on a few dresses but when I tried on Boadicea by Charlotte Balbier all the others went out of the window! It had beautiful rose lace back and a high neck, and an absolutely gorgeous satin skirt and train. It was simple but beautiful, and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one. I was comfortable in it, and I could then imagine the rest of the wedding!
For the ceremony I wore a full length single tier veil – after all, you don’t often get the chance to wear a one! I had a small hair piece from Debenhams. I went for simple shoes – which I needed up taking off for the dancing like most of our guests!
I carried a hand tied bouquet which was a mix of roses, pink astilbe, lisiansthus, scabious and some beautiful variegated foliage. The colours matched the scheme and were cream, dusky pink and sage green. They were provided by Dalton Square Florists, who did a fantastic job. I also put a small sprig of blue flowers in from the garden for my ‘something blue’!
Alex wore a traditional three piece morning suit with grey trousers and a black jacket. He had a grey double breasted waistcoat and a pale blue tie. The suits were hired from Moss Bros and the tie was from House of Fraser.
I wanted maxi dresses for the bridesmaids, and found a beautiful, pale green maxi dress from Phase Eight which matched the colour scheme so perfectly. It was actually the first dress they tried on – it suited them all beautifully and fitted with the whole elegant but relaxed look I wanted. They had jewellery and head pieces from Accessorize.
For the reception we didn’t have a huge amount of cut flowers – there were plenty growing in the garden so we didn’t need many more! We went for low gold vases as our centrepieces, filled with roses, astilbe and hydrangeas. The florist did an amazing job of working out exactly what we wanted and the end result was beautiful!. We also had a couple of pedestal displays in a similar style. Our lovely church flowers were provided by Sentiment Flowers, who are based in Bolton Le Sands.
We didn’t do favours, and instead decided to donate money to charity. We picked charities that meant something to us.
Our caterer was Karen Rhodes. She does the catering for weddings at a local country house, so we used this as a good idea she would be reliable! And she did a fantastic job, and looked after everything. The wedding went so smoothly on the day and a lot of this was down to her! She also ran the bar and the drinks reception, with a team of excellent staff.
I actually made my own wedding cake – I really enjoy baking and took it as a bit of a challenge! I kept it simple – a light fruit cake on the bottom tier and chocolate fudge for the top two tiers. I then decorated with plain ivory icing, a gold ribbon and fresh roses from my mum’s garden.
Our photographer was Jessica Reeve, and we could not recommend her highly enough. Her photos are stunning (which was why we got in touch with her in the first place) but she was also lovely to have around on our wedding day as well. She was relaxed and fun and got some fantastic photos. The photos really capture the atmosphere of our day and tell the story perfectly.
In the evening we had a ceilidh band, called Northern Lights. Our criteria for our entertainment was something that would get everyone on the dance floor. A ceilidh is a traditional Scottish dance, and everyone got into the spirit and gave it a go – it was lots of fun!! After they finished we used their sound system and plugged in an ipod for the rest of the evening –the dancing was still going at 2am, so we were pleased!
The other special touches were mainly the result of hard work from friends and family! My sister in law, Helen, created a beautiful board for a Polaroid booth – lending us her camera and all her booth props! Its something she’s going into business with – so watch out for Treacle Town Designs! She also ran a sweet table for us, which was a huge hit! Another friend of mine created a gorgeous bird cage as a guest book. We also hired a caricaturist (Robert Grenville Evans) for before and after the meal – he did some fantastic pictures and kept the guests entertained!
The day before the wedding the close family decorated the garden – we had bunting on the fences and on the wooded footpath up from the church. I also bought led lights and hung them in the trees and on the outdoor tables so they came on as soon as it got dark – the garden looked magical, especially after the heat of the day!
I think my favourite part was the ceremony. It felt so special, and perhaps more moving than I expected it to be. It felt very intimate and private – Once we were saying our vows I forgot about the guests, it felt like it was just Alex and I (and the priest). It was lovely as well to see our church so full of friends and family – having everyone together in the same place meant a lot.
We went to Italy for our honeymoon – we both love the food, the wine, the culture and the weather! We had a relaxing few nights in Sardinia and then went to Verona, which was beautiful and a great base to explore other parts of Italy (such as Venice and Lake Garda). We had a fantastic two weeks which gave us chance to spend some quality time together and go over the whole wedding weekend again and again!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to try to enjoy the run up to the wedding as possible. Go with suppliers you can trust – on the day everything went so smoothly and that was down to our professional team who between them must have run hundreds of weddings!
August 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s not every day that a wedding blogger’s best friend gets married. So, in theory, Vicky might have been feeling the pressure on her big day. But there was no need to worry. There’s a reason why the brand new Mrs Bollands is my best mate: she has great taste. Naturally.
Super pretty, loads of fun and practically perfect in every way, that’s our Vic. And her and Paul’s wedding day wasn’t far behind.
One for the history books.
With images by Sean Elliott Photography.
Victoria says: Paul surprised me by proposing to me at my parent’s home on Christmas morning 2012. We spent the day celebrating with our families and family friends.
We got married on 21st September 2013. We were really lucky with the weather as it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We said I Do at the chapel at Durham School. It is a lovely chapel situated on the top of a hill with fabulous views of Durham City. I have lovely memories of my time at the school and it was the perfect venue for our wedding ceremony.
The reception was in a marquee in the garden at my parent’s house, which was also special as it is the home I grew up in and we both have lots of happy memories of family times there.
The styling of the day was classic and neutral with lots of white and cream and the occasional hint of blush and twinkling fairy lights.
There were also a few modern twists such as Louis Ghost Chairs at the tables, a white sparkly dance floor and an upside down wine glass chandelier above the bar.
Our table decorations comprised of crystal candelabra’s with a combination of white and pink roses. Each guest’s place name was a heart shaped wine glass charm with their name engraved onto it.
My best friend and one of my bridesmaids Julia (hello!) recommended Dine for the catering and we were amazed by the food that they prepared. The menu included a starter of Filo Tart Fine of Somerset Brie with micro salad & apple chutney and Mini Homemade Loaves. The Main course was Fillet of Aged Yorkshire Beef, Boeuf Bourguignon Pudding, A copper pan of Baby Vegetables, Fondant Potato, Caramelised Button Onions & Red Wine Jus. Dessert was a Trio of Desserts; Mini Sticky Toffee Pudding, Mini Apple & Blackberry Crumble, Individual Cheesecake. On each plate was a small personalised glass filled with desert wine for each guest to take home. Dine’s Craig Squelch did an excellent job of being Master of Ceremonies on the day.
The cake was a five tiered cake in ivory, with a vintage lace design. We chose a variety of fillings; spice, chocolate and white chocolate. The cake was made by Love Lily Cakes of Sunderland.
I wore a Phillipa Lepley backless princess line gown in slipper satin with sweat pea lace overlay and buttercup lace scallops appliqued at the hem and neckline. I also wore a long silk tulle veil. My heels were gold and by Christian Louboutin.
Paul and his groomsmen wore traditional morning wear with ivory waistcoats and cravats.
I carried a bouquet of white roses, provided by Claire de Lune Florist and Events in Durham. Our bridesmaids carried coordinating bouquets of white and pink roses.
Entertainment was a really important part of the day for us. We really wanted to create a party atmosphere and for everyone to have a really fun time.
During our wedding ceremony the fabulous Felling Male Voice Choir performed a number of songs including a rendition of The Beatles ‘It Must be Love’. It was great fun as all of our guests joined in singing.
Starting with the drinks reception, we went for a contemporary ‘take’ on the jazz band. An Ibiza-bar-style sax and DJ gave a chill-out feel. During the wedding breakfast, we had a Bublé-style male singer with a few ‘un-plugged’ modern tunes. In between courses he sang some more up-beat songs and I loved that our guests felt relaxed enough to get up and dance in between each course. After the meal we had a Big Band with male and female vocals, guitar and trumpet.
Chris Hilton’s Little Big Band and The Event Music Company provided all of the entertainment and were really excellent.
Our photographer was Sean Elliott of Sean Elliott Photography. We also had a videographer, Scott Coulter of DS Media. We would highly recommend both as the photographs and video are exceptional and we will treasure them forever.
We used Yorkshire Marquees Ltd for our marquee and we were so impressed with their professionalism and also Teresa Vorster’s vision and styling. The marquee exceeded our expectations and we walked in it felt as if we were walking into a magical fairyland. I would highly recommend Yorkshire Marquees Ltd.
We loved our venue as it was so sentimental to us and we just knew it was the perfect place for us to get married.
It’s hard to choose a favourite part as I absolutely loved every single second of our day.What was important to us was sharing it with all of our friends and family and having everyone there to celebrate with us made the day extra special for us.
We went to Australia for our honeymoon. We visited Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. On our way home we spent a few days in Hong Kong.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would just be to enjoy it. I enjoyed absolutely every second of the planning process and would not have changed anything. Our wedding day was so perfect and we will both re-live it for the rest of our lives.
November 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime
The people in the above photograph just happen to have been responsible for some of the worst hangovers in my whole life (the last on Friday morning, thanks to a flying visit and some Beaujolais Nouveau). They are my great friends Claire and Ben and I’m thrilled to share their Real Wedding at the beautiful Hilltop Country House – one of our fabulous new wedding exhibition venues for 2014 – on the blog this morning and kick starting the week.
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Lee Brown Photography, Ben and Claire’s wedding – at which I was honoured to be a guest – was oh so pretty, personal and lots of fun (from what I can remember of it)! I hope the sun shines on their marriage as it did on their wedding day, bright and beautiful. I know it will.
Claire says: Ben asked me to marry him in November 2011 at the Feversham Arms Spa Hotel in North Yorkshire and we were married on Saturday 8th June 2013 at the beautiful Pott Shrigley Church followed by our reception at Hilltop Country House, Prestbury.
We wanted a summer themed party and Hilltop had fantastic tiered gardens, a great marquee set-up and excellent hosts who we knew would do a really good job for us on the day.
We both (shamelessly) like our holidays and we wanted an almost Caribbean theme, so we organised mojitos and a steel band for the drinks reception. Luckily, the sun was shining all day too! The colour palette was pastels and we had a pale mint green with lace details.
My dress was from La Sposa and Ben wore a morning suit from the vintage collection at Austin Reed. The bridesmaids wore mint lace dresses from Marks and Spencer. The groomsmen wore classic morning suits from Austin Reed vintage with mint ties and a grey waistcoats.
All the flowers were from Zu Zu’s Petals and my bouquet was perfect for the colour theme.
We had two open top Victorian cars. Ben reminds me that I wouldn’t let him have the roof down though so it didn’t spoil my hair!
As well as the steel band during the drinks we had garden games such as croquet, boules and giant Jenga on the lawns.
We had some great quality food at the wedding breakfast and then cheese, crackers, chutney and port later in the evening. Our wines and champagne were from Villa St Simon in Bordeaux.
Our cake was a tiered design from a shop called Choccywoccydodah. One tier was lemon, the next was chocolate, the top was coffee. The outside of the cake was covered in white chocolate icing with mint stripes to match our colour theme.
As a surprise to us, we had a TV screen on loop throughout the day in the marquee playing a montage of shots of both of us as babies and toddlers.
We loved every bit of it but, if we had to choose, my favourite part was the service and Ben’s was either arriving at the venue and seeing how great it looked, or, oddly for him (!) even the first dance.
We had a band called A Few Good Men after dinner and we finished with a DJ. The speeches were also good entertainment too!
For our honeymoon we went to the USA – New York, Las Vegas , San Francisco and then we drove down Route One to LA and San Diego. We were away for just under the weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to try and get all the last minute “small” details sorted at least a couple of days before the big day – then take some time to relax in those last few days beforehand.
Congratulations Claire & Ben!
Lee Brown Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post
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November 18th, 2013 | Julia Braime
And that’s a wrap!
I’ve just called time on our seventeenth luxury wedding exhibition of the year at the National Railway Museum in York, and our last of the autumn/ winter season 2013. It’s been epic, and I have you lovely lot to thank for that. I have the best readers and wedding industry supporters (but then we always knew that, didn’t we?)!
My legs are killing me and I’m cream crackered, but my head is all of a buzz with big ideas, new plans and daring dreams of how to take this Northern Revolution to the next level in this our 4th year and into 2014. Whilst I have a cheeky lie in (come on, I deserve it!) and attempt to decompress a little – a plan built on hyperactivity is no plan at all after all – I’m leaving you with something pure and pretty to greet you this Monday morning.
After the full on, high octane activity and inspiration of this weekend, blogging Charlotte and Lee’s stunning yet simple Real Wedding was an absolute joy. Their images, by Kirsty Mattsson, capture a calm and sincere celebration, that’s a little different and a lot beautiful. Bliss.
Charlotte says: We got engaged in October 2010 at Oktoberfest in Munich (whilst in a beer hall!) and were married on 7th September 2013 atHensall Church for our ceremony and Womersley Park for our reception.
Hensall is the village where I grew up so the church has a long family history; I was the 4th generation to marry in this church on my mum’s side so it was important that we got married here. Womersley Park is a beautiful venue not far from the church
I chose an ice blue 1950’s vintage dress. It was from a wonderful shop in York called Glory Days Vintage.
My flowers were a mixture of country flowers, with lavender and gypsophila by Lisa’s Flowers in Selby.
The owner of Womersley Park drove us back to the venue in his vintage Bentley convertible.
Our colour scheme was quite mix and match, but with lots of pastels and blue. A lot of things were made by me, my family and friends which gave the day a personal touch. We made the invitations, favours, seating plan (which was a suitcase to show off our honeymoon), macaroons and wishing tree.
Our wedding cake was a vanilla sponge with beautiful cream and blue icing.
In the evening we had a fantastic band called Alex Graham and the Concords who I can’t recommend enough! They got everyone on their feet and really started off the evening with a bang! We also used a great DJ called Craig Halligan who created a great atmosphere and played the songs we wanted, again I would wholly recommend him.
The whole day was amazing. The ceremony was lovely and the band really transformed the day.
For our honeymoon, we have booked a self-drive tour of the American deep south, from Nashville to new Orleans in May 2014. We can’t wait!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to create the day that you want, find suppliers that you trust and add lots of personal touches!
Congratulations Charlotte & Lee!
This is not a sponsored post
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