Charlotte Balbier

floral fairytale. a bespoke gown for an elegant wedding at upper house – clare & nick

August 15th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (34)

This celebration feels a bit like a fairytale: a wonderful extended stay at an ancient 14th century farmstead, photographs featuring chandeliers and roof beams, fur throws and flowers galore – and, of course, a picture-perfect princess in a bespoke gown.

Details really mattered for this discerning bride, and what beautiful details they were: a colour palette that echoed the springtime cherry blossom, flowers everywhere, a menu planned to perfection, a fun caravan photobooth and raspberry gin – mmm!

And as well as having a keen eye for elegant decor, Clare is a wise sage on the subject of wedding planning. She advises brides-to-be to make no apologies – “If it’s important to you, that’s all that matters.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Over to Clare to tell us more…

With photography by Hayley Baxter Photography

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

clare says: We got engaged during a surprise weekend away for Valentine’s Day in 2016 to Loch Lomond. After the long drive, Nick suggested that we go for a walk and find a pub for some lunch. As we were walking along the edge of the loch, Nick kept stopping to look at the view and trying to get me close to the water’s edge – but I was more concerned about the mud, utterly clueless as to what he was trying to do! Nick got down on one knee – I was so surprised! Of course, I said yes!

We booked our wedding for 29th April 2017 – it was the Bank Holiday weekend, so ideal with the extra day off work for our guests.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (43)

We got married at St John the Evangelist Church in Charlesworth, Derbyshire. I grew up in Charlesworth and my mum still lives in the village, so it was a perfect choice.

Our reception was at Upper House in Hayfield, about ten minutes away from Charlesworth. We fell in love with the venue the moment we first went to see it – the views over Kinder are incredible and the building itself is beautiful and full of history. The great thing about Upper House was that we had it for the whole weekend, so arrived on the Friday morning and left on the Monday morning – all our family and wedding party stayed with us for the three nights and it was so special to spend the whole weekend with family and friends in such a stunning location.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (23)

We didn’t have a theme as such; as the venue is so beautiful, it didn’t really need it. However, flowers played a large part, from our wedding stationery to the décor in the marquee.

We went for a spring colour palette of blush pinks, sage greens and golds. We chose it because I love cherry blossom and it was in bloom at that time of year.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (29)

I had a bespoke wedding dress. I didn’t initially set out thinking that I wanted to have my dress made for me – I was so excited about going to different shops to find ‘the one’. I made an appointment at Mariée Bridal Boutique in Nantwich, without even considering the bespoke service they offer, but then after trying a few things on the conversation started moving towards creating a design just for me. Kate drew up a sketch and I was sold! The whole process of having a dress created is wonderful: you see it evolve at each appointment and can tweak things right up to the last minute. Kate also made my mum’s outfit and my flower girl’s dress, and they both looked beautiful.

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i dos & pastel hues. laidback vibes for a summer wedding at abbeywood estate – laura & dean

August 14th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Summer Wedding at Abbeywood Estate (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (41)

This afternoon we’re featuring a summer wedding filled to the brim with gorgeousness. It starts with the bride and that bespoke dress, which she twirled to full effect until the early hours. She didn’t stop there, though: her lucky #bridesquad girls were treated to matching morning gowns and the prettiest ASOS floral-print frocks you can imagine. And there’s still more – pastel paper lanterns, a glittering headpiece, an adorable flower girl or two, petals strewn along the aisle…the pretty knows no bounds!

The Glasshouse at Abbeywood Estate was the perfect backdrop to their relaxed celebration, with the windows bringing the outdoors in and the early summer flowers complementing the beauty of their big day.

With images by Mike Plunkett Photography.

A Summer Wedding at Abbeywood Estate (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (53)

laura says: We got engaged five years ago when Dean booked a meal at my favourite restaurant, San Carlo, in Manchester. As a surprise, he’d invited some friends and my parents to the meal. It wasn’t until he got up to thank everyone for coming that I realised what he was doing and he got down on one knee to propose! He had asked for my dad’s permission beforehand but my mum and sister had no idea and were totally shocked. Needless to say, there were a few tears!

A Summer Wedding at Abbeywood Estate (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (51)

We married on 3rd June 2016. In all honesty, we chose a Friday as it was slightly cheaper and we chose June because we hoped for some sun – and we weren’t disappointed!

Our venue was Abbeywood Estate in Delamere. A few years ago, when we first got engaged, we went to a wedding fair at Abbeywood and it was such a simple but beautiful family-run venue that it stayed in our minds. Although we looked at several venues, we kept coming back to Abbeywood. We decided that the Glasshouse would be the perfect place for our ceremony and the gardens would be a great place for our guests to enjoy the day.

A Summer Wedding at Abbeywood Estate (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (64)

The whole style of the wedding was centred around the bridesmaids’ dresses – pastel florals with a laidback feel. This worked really well with the venue and with the weather: it was the hottest day of 2016!

I’m not a huge fan of wedding dresses and, being quite small, I found that any that I liked just drowned me. So when one of my friends mentioned that her friend had decided to go freelance as a wedding dress designer/maker, I jumped at the opportunity. Nina was absolutely fantastic and understood what I wanted from day one. My brief was ‘simple but elegant with a floaty skirt’ and that’s exactly what she did for me. It was great having such a personalised service and bespoke dress and I’d recommend Nina to anyone thinking about having a dress made.

A Summer Wedding at Abbeywood Estate (c) Mike Plunkett Photography (6)

I wanted a headpiece as I knew that I wanted my hair down. I managed to source a bargain Halo & Co sample headpiece. My shoes were Charlotte Mills and so comfy. At first, I didn’t want to spend much on a pair of shoes I would wear for one day but the more I looked, the more I realised that only those shoes would do. I’m going to be wearing them again in August when I’m bridesmaid for my friend – expense justified!

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rich raspberries & rustic reds. an elegant autumn wedding at browsholme hall – katie & josh

August 14th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An Elegant Autumn Wedding at Browsholme Hall (c) Jessica Lang (35)

Katie and Josh’s special day had us gooey from the word go. Their colour choices – rich raspberries, sumptuous burgundies, deep earthy browns and rose gold accents – light up the lens and have us longing for autumn’s open fires (and maybe a glass of red…you know, just to be sociable).

And while Katie and Josh were looking to their future together, they also made sure they didn’t forget the past. The bride’s bouquet was fastened together with her late grandfather’s tie and family photographs and a memorial plaque were dotted around the reception venue. Stylish, poignant, perfect.

So, settle in for a good ‘un; the rustic details from this joyous day are to-die-for, not to mention the bride’s strapless, full-skirted number.

With images by Jessica Lang Photography.

An Elegant Autumn Wedding at Browsholme Hall (c) Jessica Lang (7)

katie says: We got engaged at the Manchester Christmas Markets on 5th December 2015. We were there for the day with some close friends and decided to get a drink in the main chalet. Later, we asked a man if he could take a picture of us with the giant illuminated Santa behind us. He took the picture – but then Josh asked him for another and, at that moment, got down on one knee and proposed in front of all our friends and everyone in the chalet! I was completely gobsmacked and couldn’t say yes quickly enough! Everyone cheered and clapped and we celebrated the rest of the day in Manchester.

An Elegant Autumn Wedding at Browsholme Hall (c) Jessica Lang (39)

Our wedding was booked for 3rd November 2016. We chose the date as we wanted an autumn wedding but we couldn’t afford weekend prices.

We had our ceremony and reception at Browsholme Hall and Tithe Barn, in Clitheroe. It was unlike anything we had seen in the area: very rustic, the scenery was stunning and it was everything we wanted.

An Elegant Autumn Wedding at Browsholme Hall (c) Jessica Lang (34)

We went with a kind of rustic autumn feel. We wanted the day to feel relaxed and not too formal.

We chose a deep raspberry/burgundy colour for the bridesmaids and dark brown for the groomsmen and woman. We chose these colours as we felt that they’d look great with the natural autumnal colours from the scenery and fit in well with the season.

An Elegant Autumn Wedding at Browsholme Hall (c) Jessica Lang (54)

I chose a fitted, strapless, drop-waist bridal gown. It was an ivory colour with ruching around the body and beading for detail. The skirt was rather full and had some appliques for detailing. I wore a plain, simple ivory veil with matching flowers from my bouquet in my hair. I also wore some vintage looking sparkly earrings and champagne heels.

I bought my dress from Wed2B in Bolton, my veil was from a local shop in Walton Le Dale called Foxglove Brides, my earrings were from Next and my shoes were from New Look.

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pretty special. pronovias for a relaxed countryside cheshire wedding – sarah & dan

August 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (40)

Even as we creep closer to Autumn (I know, I know, I’m sorry!), a good old English country garden summer wedding still gives us all the feels. And Sarah and Daniel’s glorious big day at Meols Hall, Tithe Barn, is just the ticket if you’re looking to inject some rustic charm and countryside elegance into your ceremony and reception.

There’s a stunningly simple Pronovias gown, homegrown British garden blooms, a subtle colour palette that Farrow and Ball would be proud of and some seriously classy designer elements – Jenny Packham shoes and a Tiffany bracelet as a wedding morning gift from the groom.

These pictures have a lovely sun-soaked charm, full of intimate joy and relaxed laughter – just the vibe this gorgeous pair were going for, and the perfect end to another beautiful week on the blog.

With images by Bobtale Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (32)

sarah says: For our engagement, Dan surprised me with a trip to the Cotswolds; it’s a place I’d wanted to go for a long time. He booked a cottage called ‘The Old Smithy’ in a village called Kingham. We were celebrating our ten year anniversary together that year.

Whilst I went to freshen up after the long journey, Dan set about preparing the cottage, filling it completely with candles, flowers and champagne on ice. He’d even set up the table with vintage cutlery given to my mum and dad as a wedding present back in the day!

When I walked through I found him with our six-month-old Cockapoo puppy, Waffle, who was dressed to impress in a Harris tweed bow tie!

He’d had a book made with a wax stamp seal on the cover reading “D️+S” and he’d filled it with nine polaroid pictures from each of the years we’d been together – with one missing on the final page. The book also contained the poem ‘I carry your heart’ by EE Cummings and the final verse of the poem was on the last page. Dan got down on one knee and removed the final verse of the poem to reveal a hollowed-out section containing an engagement ring and an empty section to fill with the tenth image! The poem was read at our wedding, which was very special.

We announced it with a picture using vintage lexicon letter cards spelling out ‘She Said Yes’ and Waffle proudly leaning over the table!

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (23)

We were married on Saturday 10th June 2017 – I’d always wanted a June wedding. We had our ceremony and reception at Meols Hall Tithe Barn in Southport.

We’d attended a wedding at Meols Hall around three years previously and, at that moment, knew that would be our chosen venue. It was just our style, and we really wanted it to be ‘us’. It was the most important decision we made.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (37)

Our theme was ‘English country garden’. We chose it to go along with the Cotswolds feel; a sort of relaxed, wildflower, rustic vibe. We also wanted a more informal day so that our guests felt relaxed.

We went for pastel colours, dove greys, blues and blush pinks. We felt the more subtle colours would create the relaxed feel we were going for – we definitely didn’t want to have everything in one colour which we felt could look a little harsh.

A Pretty Wedding at Meols Hall (c) Bobtale Photography (1)

My dress was Pronovias and purchased at Brides of Liverpool. I went to the store and tried on a number of dresses, but it was only when I went back a second time that I saw ‘the one’. It was very fitted and felt it was a more classical look rather than flashy.

My shoes were from Jenny Packham and I wore some Swarovski earrings and a Tiffany & Co infinity bracelet, which was a wedding gift from Dan.

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my greatest adventure. a bright & colourful wedding in little crosby – laura & david

August 9th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Colourful Wedding in Little Crosby (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (48)

Today’s couple, Laura and David, are self-confessed globetrotters, and we just love the fact that they injected this sense of adventure into their special day at Crosby Hall Educational Trust in Little Crosby, back in May.

Paying homage to all the wonderful memories they’ve created together so far, hopping from country to country, their colourful wedding day featured some rather lovely nostalgic touches, including miniature globes and Polaroid pictures aplenty. It comes as no surprise to us to hear that, post-wedding, the newlyweds will also be embarking on a very unique honeymoon experience (more deets on this later).

Swapping the traditional wedding breakfast for an indulgent afternoon tea followed by a hog roast, our couple definitely put their own stamp on the day’s proceedings. A pork pie wedding cake and vintage ice cream camper van are just two of the other scrumptious foodie highlights from their big day. A deliciously different line-up, if we do say so ourselves!

With photos by Hayley Blackledge Photography.

A Colourful Wedding in Little Crosby (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (64)

laura says: We got engaged in January 2016. We had gone out for dinner and David arranged for my sister to decorate the living room while we were out. I came home to a candlelit living room with photographs of us in various places around the world attached to balloons saying, “Will you marry me?”.

A Colourful Wedding in Little Crosby (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (54)

Our wedding took place on 27th May 2017. We originally wanted a summer date but the venue didn’t have any of our preferred dates available. We then considered Easter, but decided on May in the end. I’m a teacher so I wanted to make sure I had some school holidays after the wedding. We liked the fact it was a Bank Holiday weekend too, as we had lots of people travelling to the wedding and it allowed them to make the most of their time with us.

We had the ceremony and reception at Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET) in Little Crosby. The ceremony took place in the old barn. We loved the venue as soon as we saw the space. It ticked all the boxes for us – it was relaxed, pretty, private and allowed us to put our own stamp on things.

A Colourful Wedding in Little Crosby (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (62)

We didn’t have a theme as such but we incorporated lots of travel elements, due to the fact we have spent most of our relationship traveling the world! We used globes as decorations and we named our tables after some of our favourite places. We also decorated the walls of the corridors in the venue with photos of us in various locations.

We wanted the wedding to be bright and colourful, with a touch of sparkle. We used lots of bright colours in the decorations and flowers, with touches of metallic gold and glitter.

A Colourful Wedding in Little Crosby (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (58)

I got my dress from Wed2be in Liverpool. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress and originally, I went along just to get a feel for the style I wanted. I tried on lots of different gowns, but this dress just felt like ‘me’. I’m not a particularly girly girl and didn’t want anything too traditional. I felt the dress suited my personality perfectly and I felt really comfortable in it.

My shoes were from Irregular Choice. I’d had my eye on them for a while. My mum tried to persuade me to get something else but I’m glad I didn’t listen to her! I really want to wear them again!

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sweethearts. justin alexander for a country house wedding in lancashire – gabrielle & dan

August 1st, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Romantic Wedding in Lancashire (c) Jessica Lang Photography (32)

Real bride Gabrielle said that she and beau Dan didn’t really have a theme in mind for their summer wedding at Singleton Lodge: “We just wanted a romantic country-style wedding with beautiful flowers and lots of special touches,” she says. The result is a day that’s effortlessly beautiful, with romance pouring from every stunning image. Bravo, guys!

This gorgeous day captivated us from the Rockerfeller Christmas Tree proposal, had us green with envy at the silver Jimmy Choos and the special touches almost had us on our knees – as an official ‘dog person’, the mention of Spencer the Labrador’s photograph in the order of service along a ‘My Humans Are Getting Married’ message brought me closer to tears than I’d like to admit. All. The. Cuteness.

With images by Jessica Lang Photography.

A Romantic Wedding in Lancashire (c) Jessica Lang Photography (30)

gabrielle says: We got engaged on the 12th December 2014 in New York. I love Christmas and had always wanted to go to NYC in December and see the Rockerfeller Christmas Tree. On the second day of our trip we went on a 12-hour tour seeing all the sites, including the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty. Afterwards, we went to an amazing restaurant and to a sky bar overlooking the Empire State Building. Dan said we should do something Christmassy before heading back to the hotel, so we went to see the legendary Rockerfeller Christmas tree – which is where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We also bought a replica of the Swarovski star which was the perfect memento of the most amazing day.

A Romantic Wedding in Lancashire (c) Jessica Lang Photography (15)

We were married on Friday 1st July 2016. We wanted a summer wedding on a Friday and, luckily, it was the last Friday that our venue had available.

Our ceremony was held at St Nicholas’ Church in Wrea Green, Lancashire, which is in the village where we live. It’s a beautiful church right in the centre of the village and it’s lovely that we walk past it every day with our dog. Our wedding date was the day before the village field day and so there was bunting everywhere which was lovely!

The reception was held at Singleton Lodge Country House. We knew we wanted to get married in a country house style venue with beautiful surroundings and Singleton Lodge was absolutely perfect. From the first glimpse of the driveway, we knew it was going to be the right venue for us. We had exclusive use of the whole lodge, the decor was beautiful and it has a lovely welcoming feel – there’s even a field of alpacas within the grounds, which we absolutely loved!

A Romantic Wedding in Lancashire (c) Jessica Lang Photography (23)

Theme-wise, we didn’t really want anything too elaborate. We just wanted a romantic country-style wedding with beautiful flowers and lots of special touches. We also went for blush pink accents as they suited the romantic theme.

A Romantic Wedding in Lancashire (c) Jessica Lang Photography (9)

My dress was by Justin Alexander and I bought it from The White Gallery in Ramsbottom. It was strapless with a long train and lots of beautiful embellishment. I wore it with a thin diamante belt around the waist, a chapel length veil with lace detailing and silver Jimmy Choo shoes. I absolutely loved my dress from the moment I tried it on – I just wish I could wear it again!

Dan wore a navy suit from Swarbricks with pale grey check waist coat with pale blue running through it. He teamed it with a pale blue tie, matching pocket square and a pocket watch, which I had engraved with the words “Forever & Always, 1st July 2016”. The groomsmen wore matching three-piece navy suits with blush pink ties and pocket squares.

The bridesmaids wore floor-length blush pink dresses from House of Fraser. They had a scoop back and diamante detail at the waist.

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