Charlotte Balbier

chic-onomics. augusta Jones for an elegant wedding at lartington hall – jessica & chris

September 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

If you were too busy playing out this Bank Holiday to catch up on all  things Brides Up North, make sure you click here to catch up on yesterday’s news… the new season and Unveiled Magazine, Issue #04 has landed! No rest for us wicked ones though, we’re getting busy with the pretty right away today… today’s bride and groom don’t like things too over the top and so decided to keep their big day simple and elegant, with both modern and traditional touches.

Following a church ceremony Jessica, Chris and their guests carried on the proceedings at the stunning Lartington Hall, which (having visited ourselves) we can say is a splendid choice of venue.

We love how chic this wedding is. With pretty pastel blooms, classic wedding transport and a dreamy satin wedding gown (in which Jessica looks gorgeous) it might be simple, but it sure is stylish!

With images by Joe Stenson.

jessica says: Chris attempted to propose on two different occasions. The first time was a surprise trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately there was an issue with the ring he had chosen so he didn’t have one and choose not to propose (but we did get to see the lights!).

The second was a surprise weekend to Paris but it was the week in 2014 when we had terrible storms and we got stuck in Dover for nine hours as the port was closed so we ended up missing the restaurant booking and arrived at 1am! Again he chose not to propose.

Third time lucky was an impromptu picnic in the New Forrest (we live in Surrey although I’m from County Durham) with our little dog Frank. Chris was acting very strangely, pacing up and down and eventually got down on one knee and popped the question. It couldn’t have been more perfect – beautiful scenery, wellies on and dog by our side!

We set the date for 25th April 2015. We originally wanted a winter wedding but as Chris proposed in March, I was worried there wasn’t enough time to organise a wedding for that winter. I love spring so this was our next option.

We got married at St. Romald’s Church, Romaldkirk, Teesdale, but we had our wedding weekend, including the reception at Lartington Hall.

My family have connections to the area and St. Romald’s is a beautiful church. We also fell in love with Lartington Hall and the two are only a few miles apart so it worked really well when transporting our guests. We chose Lartington Hall because it was exactly what we had dreamed of for a reception venue. It has all the English countryside charm of a stately home, but is stylish and elegant with a modern twist but doesn’t lose its fabulous history and appeal. John and the team at Lartington Hall are also just fantastic and put us at ease that we had chosen the right venue on our first meeting.

Simple elegance was our theme. We aren’t a fussy couple, we don’t really like lots of bling or making a big statement so we wanted the day to reflect our personalities. It was all about having a traditional, English country wedding with everyone we love around us having a relaxed day and loads of fun.

I’d always wanted my bridesmaids to wear navy dresses, however when we decided on a spring wedding we were worried they might look a little wintery. Rather than change the colour of their dresses, we decided to lighten the colour palette by having beautiful spring flowers in shades of light pinks, purples and blues. The stationary, cake and groomsmen’s accessories all followed the lighter spring colour theme.

A Chic Wedding at Lartington Hall (c) Joe Stenson (1)

I wanted a simple, classic and elegant dress. After trying on loads, I finally found my one at Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique in Beaconsfield. My dress was Anna by Augusta Jones. It is a structured ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, waist defining sash, and a full skirt, made in cream coloured Satin de Chine. I chose an organza overlay skirt also by Augusta Jones which I wore for the church service with a satin edge cathedral veil. For the evening I changed my sash and wore an Austrian crystal sash called Virginia from Ivory & Co. to give me a different look. My shoes were by Emmy London and were customised with mother of pearl T-bar.

Chris and all of the groomsmen wore traditional navy tails from Moss Bros. Chris wore an ivory waistcoat and cravat, while the groomsmen wore silver waistcoats and Creswell pink cravats. Our nephews (aged seven and ten) had top hats to match their suits.

The bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses in ‘midnight’ which we purchased from Poppy Bridal in Darlington. They matched these with silver sandals and were each given a silver bracelet to wear on the day.

On the wedding day Sally Ward from La Belle Vous, did hair and makeup for me and my three bridesmaids. She did a fantastic job and was lovely to have around on what could have been a very stressful morning! Everyone looked gorgeous but most importantly felt really good after she had worked her magic.

We hired traditional cars from Brooklands Wedding Cars in Durham, to transport all of the wedding party. My mum and I travelled in a 1930s Beauford convertible in navy and cream. The bridesmaids travelled in a 1920s Regent Landaulette in navy and cream, and the groom and family travelled in a cream Daimler State Limousine.

As we met in Nottingham and moved to the south and with Chris’ family being from Hampshire, the vast majority of our guests had to travel to our wedding. Because of this we wanted to put on a coach transfer from the hotels they were staying to the wedding and back again. We organised this through Enterprise Travel, based in Darlington.

When it came to booking a photographer, we contacted Joe Stenson who was based in Leeds and he travelled to meet us for an initial chat. We instantly knew we had picked the right photographer. He is hugely talented with a very laidback approach and was an absolute pleasure to have as part of our big day. We can’t stop looking at our photos – they are just fantastic and really capture what a happy, fun day it was. We would highly recommend Joe, and his colleague George, who also photographed our day.

Kirsty and Katy from Darling & Green, created all of our flower arrangements for church and venue and our bouquets and button holes, Hydrangea were our main theme for the flowers and these were arranged along with a selection of ranunculus, tulips, astrantia, allium sphaerocephalon and hellebores, following our spring colour palette of light dusky pink, soft shades of pink and purple with touches of very light blue and soft foliage.

Darling & Green arranged all of the venue flowers as well in the same theme as above. We had hurricane vases with candles and flowers and tall goblet vases with flowers on alternate tables. We also had mantelpiece arrangements of flowers and candles in the main ball room as well as vintage bottles containing hydrangea heads dotted around the different rooms of Lartington Hall. At the church we had the archway into the church decorated with willow and our chosen flowers, pew ends of hydrangeas and pedestal arrangements containing flowers and candles.

Jill Ellis who owns Hope You Can Make It, in Middlesbrough, designed all of our stationary in shades of the pinks and purples of the hydrangeas so the theme was continued through to the table plan, table names, menus and place settings.

We created a table plan using an antique picture frame, antique keys and old luggage tags. Guests were invited to ‘find the key to their seat’ from the keys hung on the table plan and on each individuals key was the name of their table. We also purchased a drop top guest book where guests could write messages on wooden hearts and post them in the top of an oak frame to create a keepsake of the day.

A Chic Wedding at Lartington Hall (c) Joe Stenson (9)

On our recent trip to Paris we fell in love with traditional Parisian macaroons and so decided to give these as favours to our guests. Chris Burnett at Burnetts 4 Cakes, created traditional macaroons in blush pink and each guest had two macaroons presented in a gift bag at their place setting.

Chris also created our cake. We wanted a simple, elegant, statement cake with oversized tiers and squared edges. Chris took our ideas and created a stunning cake. Each tier was a different flavour: fruit, carrot, chocolate orange and red velvet. The tiers were very plain with ivory icing, except for the bottom tier which was covered in intricate blush pink iced frills. My only regret was I didn’t get any! But we have saved the fruit tier so there is still hope!

Following canapés served during the drinks reception, we had a wedding breakfast of Smoked Salmon to start, Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings for mains and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. In the evening we had hog roast sandwiches served on the dance floor in large baskets – not to interrupt proceedings!

To provide entertainment during the church service we booked Dr Robin Harrison, who is a fantastically talented organ player, and his choir The Bobby Dazzlers. They performed while we were signing the register and were very popular among the guests. We then hired Purple Supper Band for the entertainment back at Lartington Hall and they played jazz piano during our drinks reception, followed by two very lively sets by the band and the DJ finished the night off. The dance floor was full from start to finish!

To make the wedding all the more special, we invited our immediate wedding party to stay with us for the weekend at Lartington Hall, which has 12 beautiful bedrooms. We had a lovely rehearsal dinner on the Friday prior to the wedding and the Saturday preparations were very relaxed as everyone was in the same place.

We would absolutely recommend Lartintgon Hall to all. It is a truly stunning venue, but also the team are so friendly and accommodating – nothing is too much trouble. They make the weekend an extremely relaxing one so the wedding couple can concentrate on enjoying their special day. We could not have asked for more from them.

The wedding service was obviously very special to us, but I think our favourite part of the day was walking into the ball room at Lartington Hall to greet our guests for dinner and seeing everyone together for us – we also got a huge cheer which was fantastic!

Neither I nor Chris had been to Asia or the Far East so we wanted to visit this part of the world for our honeymoon. We chose Vietnam with a one-night stopover in Singapore on the way home. We were away for three weeks and had a fabulous time visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Halong Bay with a ten day stay on a private cove at the fabulous Six Senses Resort Nimh Van Bay. The best things we did were a Vietnamese cookery course, conducted in a tropical garden and a private dining experience in a cave for my birthday. Singapore was a fabulous end to the trip as it was a total contrast to the cities of Vietnam with its modern infrastructure, sky scraper buildings and super clean streets.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – lists, lists and more lists! I make lists in my sleep so this was the way I organised myself during the planning stages. On the day itself, I would say make sure everything is done by the day before so you can really relax and enjoy every little second of the day – it is over so fast. Also, take a step back and observe just for a few seconds at different stages of the day. It is such a blur when it’s all over you will be pleased you took mental pictures of everything that is going on around you.

I can honestly say it was the best day of our lives!

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london calling. justin alexander for an elegant wedding at heaton house farm – lucy & andy

August 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (41)

Though they didn’t marry in the capital, opting for a northern venue instead (yay!), today’s couple still gave a nod to the place bride Lucy is from by hiring some iconic transport.

A black cab and red double decker bus carried the bride, groom and their guests between venues providing as great talking point and turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of the day.

So it’s all aboard to Cheshire as we relive Lucy and Andy’s wonderful wedding.

With images from Brides Up North Featured Suppliers, James Tracey Photography and Daniel Lloyd Photography.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (1)

lucy says: We got engaged in November 2013 in Mauritius. Andy informed me that he wasn’t feeling well while we were sat on the beach at night looking at the view so we sat down. Next minute he was down on one knee proposing.

Our wedding date was 29th May 2015. It was the closest we could get to the date that we first met – we met years before we got together but it took Andy a while to ask me out on a date.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (12)

We got married at Heaton House Farm in Cheshire. I’m from London and wanted something totally different to all the venues that I had seen down south. Heaton House Farm is in such a stunning location and the views are spectacular, whatever the weather!

We had a loose London theme for the day. We had a red London bus from Routemaster Buses to transport our guests from the church to the reception venue and Andy and I arrived in a black cab.

Navy, white and yellow was our chosen colour scheme. I originally wanted navy and white for pure elegance but someone pointed out to me that it might look a bit clinical and so we added in a vibrant yellow.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (17)

My dress was a Justin Alexander design from 7th Heaven in Congleton. I wanted something simple, elegant and very bridal. I loved that whenever I put it on I never wanted to take it off.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

Andy’s outfit came from Whitfield and Ward. He wanted a waistcoat and to incorporate tweed and some navy. Craig at the shop helped him choose a great suit to complement. The groomsmen’s attire was also from Whitfield and Ward.

My bridesmaids wore Vivian Diamond dresses from the Dessy collection, which we got from 7th Heaven.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (20)

James Tracey was our photographer on the day and Daniel Lloyd was a second shooter. Booking the photographer was one of the first things we did after booking the church and the venue. James has the perfect personality; bubbly, relaxed and super organised. We would highly recommend him.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (21)

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (22)

For my flowers I carried a rustic, tied bouquet and my bridesmaids carried identical arrangements. Laura from Green Earth Flowers seemed to really understand my vision and put it into practise when creating the bouquets.

Venue Perfections helped with the reception décor. We had personalised bunting hanging from the beams in the barn, navy taffeta bows on the chairs and yellow and navy ribbons wrapped around the napkins. To decorate, we also had sliced lemons in mini jars with assorted flowers as well as long stemmed flowers in the scheme colours in tall, elegant vases.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (25)

I had seen lots vintage letters lit with old bulbs in varying wedding magazines at shows and I decided we must have them at our wedding and that Heaton House Farm would be a great place to showcase them. We hired ‘Love’ letters from The Word is Love. They were hugely popular and lots of our guests commented on them.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

Our favours were by Gemma at Pat-a-Bakes. We had white, navy and yellow decorated gingerbread love hearts wrapped up and tied with a bow.

Linda at Buttercup Cakes, Whaley Bridge, made our wedding cake. It was a four tiered design with sparkling sugar crystals and had navy ribbon tied around with a diamante broach clasp. It was lemon flavoured with vanilla filling – yummy!

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (42)

DJ Krissy B provided the entertainment on the day. I love 80s and 90s music and had seen Krissy B play before. He appeared perfect for the wedding and he was!

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (49)

We would definitely recommend Heaton House Farm to other couples. The entire events team are extremely organised and nothing is too much trouble. You are allocated a wedding coordinator and they ease any stress that you might be feeling. The venue also has stunning views, inside and out.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (58)

My favourite part of the day was being on the London bus on the way from the venue to Heaton House Farm. Sitting next to Andy, surrounded by friends and family travelling through all the little villages and taking it all in was priceless and a very precious moment for both of us.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (72)

Following the wedding we had a minimoon to Lake Garda. It was simply stunning. The weather and views were glorious. It was a very romantic area with lots of amazing activities on the lake. A perfect setting for our first week as Mr and Mrs. We sailed, rode bikes, went kayaking and sunbathed.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (71)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is to breath (remain calm) and be as well prepared as possible. That way the day should run smoothly. Be aware of your ‘countdown’ days in the run up to the wedding and allocate certain jobs to be done in certain months so that you feel a sense of achievement.

A London Inspired Wedding in the North (c) James Tracey Photography (79)

We would also suggest couples delay their big honeymoon until later in the year. Aware we might well feel deflated after our big day we took a minimoon following the wedding and have planned a ‘megamoon’ for October to extend the wedding feeling.

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our love story. amanei & erik

August 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (1)

This afternoon we meet husband and wife-to-be Amanei and Erik, as they share with us their love story and the results of their stunning engagement shoot. The Alnwick Garden provides a beautiful backdrop for the shoot and will also be the setting for Amanei and Erik’s impending big day.

So let’s join them on a stroll around the grounds as we find out the all-important how, when and where’s.

With images by Julie Barron Photography.

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (6)

amanei says: Erik proposed just before midnight on 25th October 2014. We were at the Oblix Restaurant at The Shard, during an amazing weekend away in London. As a surprise he’d also arranged for some of my family to be there the following day for a meal together to celebrate before travelling home. It was all a surprise, however as he’d had the ring since August, I knew it was on the cards!

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (4)

We chose to set the date for 22nd November 2015 as we really wanted a winter wedding, but didn’t want it to be too close to Christmas (no Santa at our reception please).

Our ceremony is to be held at our local and gorgeous parish church and after a lot of searching we found the perfect winter reception venue, The Alnwick Garden.

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (7)

We first met in the office at work. Erik was my (not so secret) Santa shortly after he moved to the same department I was working in (he bought me knitted slipper socks that were three sizes too big!) He is insistent however that for the first months after meeting him, I completely ignored him! After a number of ‘espresso coffee’ dates at work, our first official date was at the intimate Dacantus restaurant in Newcastle in spring last year. We still sometimes go in for a sneaky glass of wine when we’re passing Grey Street and reminisce about how perfect it was!

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (20)

I suppose it’s true what they say, that when you meet ‘the one’ you know instantly, because that’s definitely what happened in our case – the choice is I suppose, made for you! Erik is my absolute rock and that’s why I love him so much. I know that he will support me, and our relationship, through thick and thin and whatever married life may throw at us. He’ll be an amazing husband.

Erik says that he knew from the beginning, when we first used to go for coffee together that I was that ‘one’ special person. He proposed very quickly but says that’s because he doesn’t have any doubts about us.

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (15)

We both have our little downfalls though. No matter how often I tell Erik not to, he always feeds our Chihuahua Miles, some of his dinner, and Erik says I can be a bit of a control freak – he wishes I would just relax a little bit more.

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (19)

Our biggest wish for married life is to have a solid, stable, supportive home and to make each other happy, that’s all we can ever wish for – anything else is a bonus!

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (11)

Our wedding photographer Julie was recommended to us by a friend and as we had never worked with her before we took her up on the offer of an engagement shoot. We want very natural, unobtrusive and relaxed photography to capture our day and were confident that Julie was the right choice, but the engagement shoot concreted that for us. Phew!

We were definitely nervous beforehand, however Julie really put us at ease and we really enjoyed the session, but most importantly we now know that on the day we’ll feel comfortable while Julie is photographing us – which is so important.

The timing of the engagement shoot was also perfect as we’ve just moved into our beautiful new house, so we’re planning on framing some of the stunning pictures to make it feel like more of a home – it’s just a little difficult to decide on those select few, as we love so many!

An engagement shoot at The Alnwick Garden (c) Julie Barron Photography  (17)

I love Brides Up North because I find the amount of local contacts, suppliers and events featured are really useful in preparing all of those little details for the day! For us being able to contact suppliers who are local enough to meet up with and discuss ideas face to face is really important. We hope to return to share our big day on the blog.

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fancy fantasy. a natural woodland wedding inspired by lord of the rings – christina & john

August 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (33)

When planning a wedding, couples are free to draw inspiration from anything they like, from the setting to the season, as well as their loves and passions.

With that in mind, today’s brides and groom, Christina and John, decided on a magical outdoor woodland wedding followed by an evening reception that was a nod to Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings, a novel they’re both big fans of. And why not?

The result is a very personal, fun and captivating big day that’s brimming with beautiful handmade décor, natural blooms and individual touches.

So get those reading glasses on and feast your eyes on this enchanting celebration.

With images by Jonathan Stockton Photography.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (2)

christina says: We got engaged in spring 2014 while we were travelling around Scotland in our campervan which John converted himself. We have a strong emotional connection to Scotland, it being the place we met and where many of our friends still live, so we had been on a two week campervan trip the year previously already. At that time John had recently discovered his passion for photography and so I had been left feeling a bit like a ‘photography widow’, with John spending more time with his camera than with me.

So when we went this time, John made a particular effort to put the camera down and really be with me. But he couldn’t resist incorporating photography in the proposal. The first time the sun came out, he set up the tripod for a selfie of us in front of a waterfall, but then at the last moment dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. So our proposal is captured on camera too, though we both look a little bedraggled.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (6)

We married on the 13th June 2015. The 13th may be unlucky for some, but we decided that it would be our lucky date, marrying on the 13th day and in our 13th year of being together.

The Garden Station in Langley, Northumberland, as our chosen venue. By that point we had our hearts set on a ceremony in a natural setting, so when we visited the Garden Station we fell in love with the quirky, pretty English country garden of the station itself, and the potential for a woodland ceremony and night-time do just put a stamp on it.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (7)

For the ceremony we envisioned a magical, natural woodland theme that would reflect our love of the woods and of nature, with birds singing all around us. To complement the venue our reception was a vintage afternoon tea party.

For the evening we were inspired by Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings. We both love the books and films and we wanted our wedding to reflect that element of us, without going down the route of an actual ‘themed’ wedding with fancy dress etc. And who could throw a better party than hobbits, with their love of good food and drink and music and all things merry.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (41)

There were nods to our love of geeky fantasy running all through our wedding. I gave John a leaf of lothlorien brooch to wear as a kilt pin as a wedding gift and his best man wore the Hand of the King pin from Game of Thrones on his lapel. One of the readers in our ceremony even wished that the Force be with us.

There was no real colour scheme, as there was always going to be multi-coloured flowers all around and the station itself is full of beautiful pastel colours.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (8)

I wore a custom designed dress in ivory silk and lace from the amazing Leigh Hetherington of Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. She was fantastic and couldn’t do enough to create the perfect dress for me. I loved that it was custom made for me, so no other bride in the world will have the same dress, and to know that it was handmade here, locally, rather than in some factory on the other side of the world is great. When it got cold in the evening I wore a beautiful handmade silk and cashmere capelet by Lizzy Lemon.

On the wedding day my hair was done by our friend Douglas, of Rainbow Room International in Stirling, assisted by Jill. It was lovely to have my friends come do my hair as it was a great way to stay relaxed in the morning. Jill also made the lucky horseshoe for us, which actually came from her own horse, Trooper, making it all the more special.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (10)

John wore full highland dress with a kilt in Modern Robertson Hunting tartan, as his grandfather was a Reid. We were going to hire his outfit but he ended up loving his kilt so much we had it made for him by Hector Russell in Edinburgh. John’s sgian dubh was a stunning piece of craftsmanship from Comrie Crafts, Pitlochrie, in bog oak and silver which I had engraved with our surname in Farsi script, bringing together his celtic and his Persian heritage. Slaters supplied the best man’s highland wear and our dads’ tailcoats.

My sister, who was our bridesmaid, wore a Dessy gown in Amethyst, which we customised with lace sleeves and a lace belt.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (14)

On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in Max, our campervan all decked out in flowers and ribbons. My sister’s partner acted as chauffeur and the whole family piled in. It was lovely, like a throwback to going on family holidays when we were children.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (15)

As John is a wedding photographer himself, but was forbidden to touch a camera on the day, finding the right photographer was really important and quite a challenge. We were so happy when we found the awesome Jonathan Stockton to do our photography on the day. His style was perfect for us, with his mixture of relaxed reportage and more polished images.

We already loved his photography, but after we met him it was his personality and his enthusiasm for our wedding that really meant there was no question. It’s so important that you get on with your photographer, so you can relax and be yourself in front of the camera and with Jonathan we knew we’d found someone we could consider a friend and a wedding guest, not just our photographer. We couldn’t have made a better choice as can be seen by the beautiful dreamy pictures he produced. He managed to even make the rain look beautiful.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (17)

I’ve always loved flowers and secretly wish I was a florist so I decided to do my own flowers. It was a bit of a gamble as I’d never done wedding flowers before. I think I did alright with my beautiful handtied bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthis, hyacinths and hydrangeas with delphiniums and marguerite daisies from our own garden. I also made my sister’s bouquets and the buttonnieres and corsages for the wedding party.

Our wedding was very much DIY, virtually nothing except the guys’ clothes escaped some kind of customisation.

We had yards of gorgeous bunting sewn by me and all the ladies in our two families and jam jars, which I decorated with hessian, jute and lace with flowers and tea lights in and around the ‘hobbit’ tent. Our stationary, including our invites, our ‘time-capsule’ guestbook and the design on the chalkboards was designed and provided by Lizzy Lemon, who also happens to be my very talented sister!

As favours we potted up little baby succulent plants and also gave mini bottles of mead, as apparently the word ‘honeymoon’ comes from the ancient Nordic tradition of making newlyweds drink mead for a month after the wedding. John also made some little bags of tasty beef jerky.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (20)

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (21)

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (19)

My lovely friend Roseann is a superstar baker and cake decorator and made our stunning four tiered wedding cake. It was two tiers carrot cake and two tiers fruitcake which we served with cheese. The cake was decorated with beautiful sugar roses and pink toadstools, in keeping with the garden and woodland theme, and topped with a frog couple made from Fimo by me.

For our wedding breakfast had afternoon tea with scones cakes and sandwiches and big jars of Pimms, served in vintage china teacups. In the evening we kept it rustic with a hog roast, veggie chilli and lamb tagine.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (29)

To provide the entertainment we booked a fantastic local ceilidh band from Northumberland called, Real to Reel. Recommended by friends of my parents we contacted them and outlined our wedding plans, including our inspiration being Bilbo’s Birthday party. It turns out the band leader actually played at the after party of the Hobbit premiere in London, which was just an amazing coincidence. They even learned to play the tune from the film for us, which was so great.

They were absolutely amazing, with a really good sound and celidh caller and they took everything in their stride, even carrying on playing when the lights went out due to a generator failure which led to a lovely moment where everyone was dancing just by the light of mobile phone torches.

As John is half Iranian, his brother organised a belly dancer to dance as well, which created a really great fusion of cultures.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (32)

A really special part of the day was our humanist ceremony in the woods, conducted by Anna Foster who is a registered celebrant with the British Humanist Association. She was fantastic! She worked with the two of us to create a really unique and personal ceremony, that included some beautiful elements like a celtic handfasting and jumping the broom, as well as a tasting of honey, which is an ancient Persian wedding tradition representing the sweetness we bring to each other’s lives. We’ve had so many great comments about the ceremony and how personal it was.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (35)

Other special touches on the day included hanging pictures of our grandparents, who have sadly passed away, in the branches of the trees in the ceremony space as a way of remembering them. We also incorporated a table with a variety of symbolic items in the ceremony space as a nod to the ‘sofreh aghd’, an Iranian wedding tradition.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (49)

In the evening we put up a separate tent a little into the woods, which was decked out with Persian rugs, cushions and lanterns, where people could go, chill out, and enjoy a shisha pipe.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (40)

The Garden Station is a beautiful setting for a wedding and is really something special and unusual. We really had a fantastic wedding day there. It’s easy to fall in love with it and for its beauty it is second to none. That said, we would perhaps, only recommend it to couples who are sure that they want to put in a lot of work themselves.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (47)

The ceremony itself was without a doubt the highlight of the day. It’s the most important part, when we actually became husband and wife and our ceremony was so personal, it was perfect. The evening party tent was everything we could have dreamed of and I remember standing together in the dark, looking into the brightly lit tent, ceilidh music drifting through the night air and watching people dancing and laughing and thinking that this had been the best day ever!

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (51)

For our honeymoon, of course, we went to Scotland in Max our campervan. We had three weeks and used it to circumnavigate Scotland, travelling up the east coast to John o’Groats, along the north and down the west coast, hopping across to Lewis and Harris, Uist and Skye and ending our honeymoon where we met, in Stirling. Given John’s photography ban at our wedding we took my dress and his kilt with us, so our honeymoon turned into a bit of a Rock the Dress tour of Scotland.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (50)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is to try and enjoy the planning as much as possible. Yes, it’s stressful and it can take over your life, but it’s also amazing and part of the excitement and the only time you’re going to get to do it. More importantly, on the day, really try to stop regularly to look around you, catch each other’s eye if you can and take everything in. This is what you’ve been planning all this time, it’s one of the best days of your life – you’re celebrating how much you love each other and everyone is there because they love you, it’s just so humbling and amazing!

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you are invited to the bridal party!

August 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Bridal Party

As regular readers of these pages will know, Brides Up North are renowned for hosting the very best wedding exhibitions and bridal events that the regions have to offer.  We’re the absolute experts at getting all the pretty in one place – the most fabulous suppliers at the very best venues to inspire, delight (and organise!) our bride to be visitors.

Our shows are stunning, spacious and sophisticated. But this season, it’s set to get even more special.

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We’re celebrating five happy years of Brides Up North here at the HQ this autumn and to celebrate, we are hosting two huge parties (cunningly disguised as Grand Wedding Exhibitions)!

We are shaking things up, with all new “Brides Up North Edit” designer catwalk shows, swanky champagne bars, bespoke afternoon teas, beauty zones, wedding planning advice sessions & demos, glossy media packs for each visiting bride and special installations.  The team from the brand new (sensational!) Spa at Ramside will also be on hand with tips and treats for every visitor.

As ever, we don’t do things by halves here at Brides Up North. For both events, we are filling the whole of each hotel – and it’s going to be spectacular!  We don’t just squash in any old exhibitors either! Whether you are shopping for the final details or have no idea where to start, we can promise you the very best choice of the best bridal experts in the region.  Everything you can think of for planning your big day will be represented.

The fun doesn’t stop there either. We’ll be following up the day to each registered bride with an interactive show newsletter packed full of exhibitor discounts and links, meaning that the inspiration – and savings – continue after the main event.

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So, let us cordially extend the most lovely of invitations to;

the bridal party

Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf Club & Spa, Durham

Sunday 20th September 2015

11am till 3pm

Free Entry

a bridal ballroom

Hardwick Hall Hotel, Durham 

Sunday 4th October 2015

11am till 3pm 

Free Entry

Each event is different, so make sure to get both of them in your wedding planning diaries today!

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bride to be? you’re in the right place!

We’re giving away up to 250 free Bride To Be media packs at each event, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North and exclusive offers.  As a VIP you’ll also get speedy entry to the event. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Select the event that you wish to attend (required)

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

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wedding industry supplier? join the party!

We would love to welcome new exhibitors and old friends to the Brides Up North family in 2015/16. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our award winning luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions.

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 for pricing, exhibitor info and to guarantee your place.

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

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Images by Cat Hepple Photography.

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