Charlotte Balbier

seashells & champagne. a beach wedding at st mary’s lighthouse – amanda & beth

November 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Beach Wedding at St Mary's Lighthouse (c) JPRShah Photography (53)

Buckets and spades at the ready guys, as this morning we’re heading to the North East coastline to relive Amanda and Beth’s beach wedding big day!

Picking a fabulous setting for their chilled-out ceremony – a lighthouse, no less – Amanda and Beth pulled together their seaside scheme with ease using the likes of seashells, rope and net for decor.

We loved the ultra-relaxed vibe to their wedding day and adore how their photographer has captured their personalities and love for one another perfectly.

With images by JPRShah Photography.

A Beach Wedding at St Mary's Lighthouse (c) JPRShah Photography (39)

amanda says: We got engaged on 26th July 2014, in Australia. We were out there for almost 3three months over summer whilst Beth was on placement but managed to travel quite a lot. Beth had already got the ‘okay’ from my mam before we jetted off; mam was so excited and happy for us but kept it secret from me.

A Beach Wedding at St Mary's Lighthouse (c) JPRShah Photography (27)

Beth and I had always wanted to visit Whitsunday Islands, the beaches there are among the best in the world so we thought it would be absolute bliss to visit. Beth had booked a hotel on Hamilton Island, and it was bliss. One morning we got up to watch sunrise. Beth drove us (in our hired golf-buggy, the only way to get around on the island) up to a view point called ‘One Tree Hill’ (which is also a fav TV show of mine too). She insisted we got out and sat on the grass but it looked too dewy for my liking so I said I’d stay in the golf buggy. To my absolute surprise she got down on one knee (on the gravely ground) and asked me to marry her…over the moon was an under-statement.

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magical mint. mori lee for a wedding in the tree tops at the alnwick garden – wendy & david

November 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Magical Mint Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (60)

This morning’s real wedding couple decided to make to plan a wedding that was pretty and personal rather than shaping it around one set theme.

The result is a very natural and romantic big day that’s brimming with beautiful elements; from the fairy tale style venue to the gorgeous blooms and delicate decor, this one has it all!

With images by Brides Up North favourite, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.

A Magical Mint Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (43)

wendy says: We got engaged on the banks of Loch Lomond in February 2013. I’m from Helensburgh, near Loch Lomond and I love boats so Dave arranged for us to go on a boat tour for my birthday. After a beautiful, if slightly chilly, trip around the loch and a whisky to calm the nerves, Dave got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

A Magical Mint Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (57)

Our wedding date was Saturday 6th June 2015. As we were getting married outside we wanted to choose date where we might have slightly less chance of getting rain.

We got married and had our reception at The Treehouse in Alnwick Gardens. We looked at a number of venues in and around my hometown and felt they were far too formal. I then started looking online for unusual wedding venues and came across the Treehouse. As soon as we walked up its walkway we knew we had found the right place; it’s so naturally beautiful, the perfect size and adorned with fairy lights!

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lets go, 2016! (whoop!)

November 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime


Ok, ok, we know there’s the matter of the festive season to contend with first… but here at wedding blog HQ, we are already busy squirreling away, making the perfect plans for an absolutely sensational year of Brides Up North bridal events.

For those Brides Up North readers who are new around these parts, we have a loyal and local following both on these pretty pages and off, and have hosted over 60 gorgeous wedding exhibitions and soirees since 2012!  We’ve amassed a fair bit a ridiculous amount of experience in this time, and are always tweaking our events and offering (every single event at every single one of our beautiful partner venues is completely bespoke and meticulously planned from scratch each season, we’re fussy like that).

We generally hate blowing our own trumpet (modest? us? noooo!) but we really do think that our shows are the very best in the business, and pride ourselves on delivering an amazing and inspiring experience to both our visiting brides and exhibitors alike.

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2016 is by far our busiest and most exciting year yet (the team have like, one Sunday off each out of 52) and we’d love to help you get your wedding inspo on and see you at one of our very special wedding shows. We are proud to be working with some stunning new partner venues this season – watch out for dates at Capesthorne Hall, Adlington Hall, The Belle Epoque, Hornington Manor, Newby Hall, Denton Hall and Worsley Park Marriott, to name a few – as well as some well established Brides Up North favourites, like Middleton Lodge, Ramside Hall, Hardwick Hall, The Bowdon Rooms, Hilltop Country House, Allerton Castle, The Alnwick Garden, Nostell Priory, Wentworth Woodhouse, The Mansion… the list goes on…

We’ve also freshened things up for 2016 by adding some exciting new concepts to the mix as we host the UK’s first dedicated large scale festival wedding exhibitions in 2016, in collaboration with Stockeld Park and Capesthorne Hall. These outdoor venues will be transformed into a boho wedding wonderland! There’ll be huge sail cloth tents, chill out areas, tipi villages, vintage Pimm’s tents, street food vendors, live bands and 60+ luxury wedding suppliers at each to make all your festival themed wedding planning ideas a reality. Bring your bridesmaids, designate a driver, wear flowers in your hair and make a day of it… these are set to be events to remember. Watch this space for more news and “line-up” announcements, coming soon!

If you follow us over on Instagram, you’ll also know that the news doesn’t stop there, we’ve teamed up with Unveiled Magazine (the glossy bridal title that I am very proud to edit) to bring all you luxury lovers something sensational in early 2017.  The countdown is on and the venue and dates will be announced just six short days from now. Watch out for the hashtag #bridesUNVEILED or register at for more news.

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So, there’s just a bit going on backstage right now, and we can’t wait to share all the fun with you lovely lot. Whilst we sweat over staging and floor management, why don’t you take a moment to have a browse of our jam packed schedule and start blocking out a few Sundays… things are about to get very, very pretty.

See you in 2016?

bride to be?

To pre-register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack (stuffed with treats and glossy mags) and FREE ENTRY to our events, fill in your details below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack upon entry to the Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Select the event that you wish to attend (required)

Number of people attending the event (including yourself) (required)

are you a wedding industry professional?

We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2016. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions.

Click here to view the full schedule.

Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Since their inception in spring 2012, all exhibitions have been sell outs on exhibitor space with a record attendance for every venue. Consequently, we expect demand to be very high. Get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee your place.

exhibitor enquiry

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone No

Your Website (begin web address with http://www.)

What sort of wedding business are you enquiring on behalf of? e.g. Bridal Boutique/ Photographer etc

Select the event that you are interested in (required)

If you wish to attend more than one event, please list all here - discounts are available for block bookings

Alternatively, please email ASAP for exhibitor booking and pricing information listing the events or area that you are interested in.

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this sunday… tiaras at the ready!

October 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Allerton Castle Autumn 2015
We are nearing the end of an absolutely fantastic season of Brides Up North events (*waves* to all our visitors, suppliers and new readers!) but we’ve one last sensational Luxury Wedding Exhibition for you to enjoy before bidding you adieu till next spring.

If you haven’t made it to one of our pretty events this season – or if you have and would like to do it all again (each of our events is completely bespoke and entirely different from the rest) then you need to put this last-chance-date in your diaries.  Because these shows are special…

We’ll be quick stepping it to Allerton Castle this Sunday 25th October 2015, to bring more Brides Up North readers a huge final dose of wedding pretty.

Who wants to play at princesses?!

allerton castle

Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition

Allerton Castle, Allerton Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG5 0SE

Sunday 25th October 2015

11am till 3pm


Come and see this spectacular venue dressed to the nines: meet the Dine wedding planners and their award winning catering teams, have a good look around, be amazed by our towering floral displays, sample our artisan cake creations, pose in our photo booths, hear some of the best live music in the County, play dress up with gorgeous gowns and accessories and tick off all those last essential details.

One of my very favourite events in our entire calendar, the Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Allerton Castle really is that – pure luxury.  Even if you’ve already booked your wedding venue, come along to meet and seek inspiration from the region’s very finest wedding industry suppliers.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

bride to be?

We’re giving away up to 200 free Bride To Be media packs, filled with glossy magazines and little treats from Brides Up North.  As demand is high, to pick up your VIP media pack all you need to do is pre-register using the form below. While stocks last.



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dream venue: lumley castle

October 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Lumley Castle (2)

This afternoon on the blog we’re excited to introduce you to another dream venue in the north (aren’t we fortunate to have such fabulous choice up here in the top half of the UK!)

Today it’s the turn of Lumley Castle – a unique fairytale setting located in the North East, County Durham to be precise.

Brimming with character and charm, the 14th century castle is the perfect choice for those who plan to be a real princess on their big day, as well as those who simply crave a more unusual ‘something old’.

So let’s find out from the venue what lies within its thick stone walls…

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Where is Lumley Castle Hotel located?

Lumley Castle stands proud within nine acres of grounds and has dominated the County Durham landscape for more than six centuries. Surrounded by beautiful parklands, the castle provides a truly stunning backdrop for couples’ big days.

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

The 14th century castle has a fascinating history which began when it was inherited by Sir Ralph Lumley in 1389. Then a relatively modest manor house, Sir Lumley set about remodelling the building into the impressive castle that stands today.

Unfortunately, Sir Ralph barely had time to enjoy his castle before he and his son Thomas, were imprisoned for their part in a plot to overthrow Henry IV and replace him with Richard II. In 1400, they were stripped of their titles and then executed.

From that point the castle’s occupancy was unsettled as it changed hands on several occasions, being governed by various Earls and courageous soldiers, before being returned to and remaining with its original owners, the Lumley family, for 400 years.

Now part of the No Ordinary Hotels Group, the exquisite building has become a popular wedding venue. Though developed and extended over the centuries, Lumley Castle has never lost its unique charm and today offers brides and grooms the perfect blend of ancient history and modern luxury.

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Lumley Castle (6)

What facilities does it have? 

The castle houses 73 bedrooms and a choice of stunning function rooms. Meanwhile outdoors, its nine acres of grounds provide the perfect setting for welcome drinks, fireworks and photographs. All wedding catering is handled by the castle’s team of talented chefs at its renowned Black Knight Restaurant.

Does Lumley Castle cater for weddings?

Yes, it is one of the best loved wedding venues in the North East with a range of exquisite function rooms. These include the Garter Suite, a light, airy and elegant room, accommodating up to 180 evening guests and the Barons Hall, which features wood panelling and a minstrels’ gallery, and can also cater for up to 180 evening guests.

For more intimate weddings there is the Scarbrough Suite, a romantic, ivory painted room with deep blue damask curtains; the Northumbria Suite, with feature fireplace, ornate ceiling and tall windows; The Gilt, a small but beautifully formed room at the heart of the castle and the Sceptre another equally gorgeous space for smaller wedding parties.

There is also the option for smaller, less formal celebrations to take place in the castle’s Black Knight Restaurant – famous throughout the North East for its superb food served in the most intimate and welcoming setting.

Is Lumley Castle licensed for civil ceremonies?

Yes. Ceremonies can be held in either the Scarbrough Room – one of the largest state rooms overlooking the grounds with a maximum capacity of 80 ceremony guests – or in the Garter Room, which boasts exquisite Georgian plasterwork and can hold up to 132 guests.

What makes Lumley Castle a special wedding venue and sets you apart from others?

With its enchanting turrets and towers, Lumley Castle could have stepped straight from the pages of a story book. In reflection of its long history, its opulent interior reflects the styles of several centuries – from the medieval grandeur of its Barons Hall, to the exquisite elegance of its Georgian Garter Suite. Its stone flagged floors and log fires make for wonderfully atmospheric winter weddings, while its light and airy, high ceilinged and chandeliered State Rooms, overlooking the grounds, are ideal for spring and summer celebrations.

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What sort of bride would be a Lumley Castle bride?

Lumley Castle appeals to all sorts of brides for all sorts of reasons. Some fall in love with its Gothic grandeur while others see it as the perfect storybook setting for their own particular fairytale. Lumley Castle is, and can be, all things to all people – and that is what makes it so special.

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

Couples will be provided with their own personal wedding coordinator who is their point of contact from the moment of booking up until the wedding day. On the big day itself, our dedicated operations wedding coordinator will make sure proceedings run smoothly, taking the stress away from the couple so that they can enjoy themselves.

Lumley Castle also works with some of the North East’s best wedding suppliers, who are familiar with both the castle and the staff, and therefore help to ensure the very best for our brides and grooms.

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Can guests stay over at your venue? 

Yes. We have 53 bedrooms in the castle itself and located in the converted stables in the courtyard.

Tell us about your catering services? 

Our award winning head chef has worked hard to create a variety of wedding menus. A lot of the produce is locally bought and seasonal. At Lumley Castle we can accommodate for all dietary requirements. Our duty manager has a wealth of experience and has created a superb wine list to complement our menus.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price or let us know about any special packages available?

As Lumley Castle Hotel is a fairytale wedding venue, we have created a fitting ‘Fairytale Wedding Package’ at a magical price of just £2,500 for up to 40 guests.

Lumley Castle (10)

Any really memorable weddings at the venue? 

We have recently had a Snow White themed wedding. The groom, a gallant prince, arrived by his trusty steed (a white helicopter) to his awaiting guests who were sipping on Verve Cliquet champagne. The bride had stayed in our King James Suite the night before and wore a Alfred Angelo wedding dress.

The ceremony took place in the beautiful Garter Suite and the bride walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing.

Cherry blossom was the choice of flowers and the guests enjoyed a three course meal of duck and pancetta taurine, a fillet of local beef wellington with dauphinoise potato and a dessert of baked chocolate tart and Horlicks and Malteaser ice cream. Throughout the wedding breakfast famous Disney songs played, which really amused the wedding guests.

The evening entertainment kicked off with fireworks display set to music and our resident DJ playing a variety of oldie and modern day songs. The bride and groom’s first dance was to a Tale as Old as Time from Beauty and the Beast.

Do you have any bridal events or open days coming up shortly that our readers should know about?

We have wedding a Wedding Showcase on 10th January 2016 and a Wedding Fayre on 13th March 2016.

Where can readers get more information or contact the venue?

To find out more about weddings at Lumley Castle call 0191 3891111 or visit

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understated elegance. sophia tolli for a vintage wedding at whitworth hall – paul & marie

October 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (34)

We just love the simplicity of today’s real wedding.

It’s not always about the most extravagant decor, the biggest cake or the most flamboyant flowers (though we do adore details) but simply about the love the bride and groom have for one another.

Paul and Marie’s big day was brimming with elegance but without being OTT thanks to a stunning choice of venue, attractive attire and a pretty colour palette.

We are also totally crushing on all the natural outdoor shots, especially the ones with the deer! Super classy!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (4)

paul says: I proposed to Marie on her birthday while we were staying in a cottage in the Lake District. I gave her a bunch of silly presents and a wax jacket that she really wanted and I’d put an envelope inside the pocket containing a card asking her to marry me. When she opened it the envelope fell out and she didn’t notice it so I had to grab the card quickly and hand it to her once she’d sat down again. She opened the card and I got on one knee.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (10)

Our wedding was on 20th June, 2015. We booked this date as it seemed far enough away at time of booking to be able to get everything done and we thought the weather should be ok at this time of year.

Both our ceremony and reception were held at Whitworth Hall, Spennymoor. We chose the venue for its location, grounds and layout. Also due to the feeling we got when we visited it.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (13)

We didn’t have a cast iron ‘theme’ but we were working from the vintage end of things, not in a way which restricted us, but that merely gave the appearance of wedding continuity. Examples of this could be seen in our table names and seating plan as they used the same text fonts and floral illustrations as on all of our other stationery, but to add a little personal touch we named the tables after locations from the Lord of the Ring books, which we love. We also went for a vintage mute colour scheme. So overall, vintage meets middle earth subtly.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (20)

Marie wore the Leigh dress designed by Sophia Tolli, which she bought from Elizabeth George in Middlesbrough. On the wedding day her hair was done by her sister Stacy and her makeup was done by her sister Dawn. Marie looked beautiful so I think it would be fair to say we would recommend her sisters.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (32)

I wore a conventionally cut grey suit with a white shirt and silver tie. These were hired from Troughear Suit Hire, Durham. The night before the wedding I had a hot towel shave at Guappo Hair Design in Shotton. It was fantastic and helped to relax me – I’d definitely recommend this to other grooms.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were all from Debenhams.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (33)

As a photographer myself, I was very picky as to who I would pick to capture our day. After some time researching, we chose Paul Liddement because of his style and the obvious quality of his work but mostly because of his approach and the fact that we felt comfortable with him.

On the wedding day Paul was relaxed, focused and very well prepared. He managed to take lots of photographs that we were completely unaware of and seemed very good at catching that moment when you are more yourself. He also fitted in with the guests and spent time getting them at ease with him. We were blown away by our wedding images when we received them. We had high expectations based on the quality of our engagement shoot but the wedding photos far exceeded our expectations and managed to put an extra shine on an already magical day.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (35)

Marie arrived at Whitworth Hall buy classic car, along with her maid of honour and bridesmaids who travelled in a separate car, both of which were hired form Classic Wedding Cars, Durham.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (40)

We designed and made all of the wedding stationery ourselves. A time consuming process as we wanted to get it just right and put a lot of thought into it, but it was the right thing to do as we ended up with exactly what we wanted and it made the wedding more personal. We are immensely proud of the results.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (46)

In terms of flowers, Marie and her bridesmaids had vintage style bouquets and we had corsages for the mothers, female grandparents and the guests who did readings. The groom, best man, ushers, fathers, grandfather and all the male partners of the bridal party then had matching button holes. All were supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham.

For decoration, we had another small arrangement of flowers on the top table also supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham. We also had a miniature handmade birdcage made from pages of a book, which was positioned in the middle of the top table. This was made by a friend of ours, Gillian.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (68)

All the other tables at the reception had a vintage bird cage on them, which were put together by Marie and her sister Dawn (although myself and my brother-in-law Jona did put one together each and I think these were the best!) We purchased the materials from a variety of sources including Country Baskets, Home Bargains and eBay.

We handmade all of our favours; historically accurate 13th Century medieval coins for the men and angel charms for the ladies.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (71)

Our wedding cake was a three tiered spice cake. It had a very subtle vintage rose colour icing, with a lace like pattern piped down one side (as if a doily had been draped down on side). There was also an arrangement of icing sugar flowers on the third tier. The cake was made locally by a lady called Vicky who makes them more as a hobby than a business.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (73)

As a special treat we also had a sweetie table, which we put together ourselves. The sweets were bought at B&M and Home Bargains, which is where we also got the giant martini/wine glasses and other glass bowls from that held the sweets.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (54)

To fill the lull period after the meal (while the venue staff rearranged the room for the evening do) we arranged for the medieval re-enactment group The Dawn of Chivalry, of which I’m a member, to put on a combat display for our guests in the venue’s grounds. We chose this as it was something a bit different & again made the wedding more personal to us. For the evening do we had the venue supplied disco, during which my brother-in-law managed to take on a guest DJ spot much to everyone’s (apart from the actual DJ’s) amusement.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (63)

Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Whitworth Hall to others. The venue was brilliant, they were very accommodating and great on the day! The venue has plenty of space for people to mill around and relax and it is possible to find a quiet corner if you need some space providing you are not either the bride or groom, in which case you won’t have time to catch your thoughts! It lends itself very well to weddings as the ceremony room is very tasteful and has plenty of scope for some lovely photo locations without ever having to go too far from your guests.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (77)

Looking back, my favourite part of the day was the moment I first saw my wife-to-be in her dress. I fell in love all over again and then couldn’t see anyone but her.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (79)

We have not yet been on our honeymoon yet as we are planning to go to New Zealand (see Lord of the Rings sneaking in again) and it is currently winter there.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (83)

Our top tip for other Brides (and grooms) Up North would be to set a realistic budget then be honest with yourself and really set an actually realistic budget. Look at what you can actually afford and what you really feel is absolutely important. This will help you strip away a lot of the gimmicky, frivolous I wants.

We paid for the majority of the wedding ourselves by saving up and doing over time at work, but we also had some very generous gifts from family members. All in all it’s a party, so look at it as such – people are there for you and not what is on the tables or festooned around the room.

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