April 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning a wedding many couples to and fro about what time of the year to set the date for due to the
unpredicatable British weather, knowing that even if they do pick the height of summer, rain is still likely.
To avoid this conundrum some brides and grooms pack their bags and head overseas to warmer climes for their big day – usually choosing a location that doesn’t only guarantee sunshine, but also that’s special to them.
This is true of today’s wedding couple Jack and Kim who wanted to continue their love affair with the Italian culture by saying their ‘I dos’ in the beautiful city of Venice.
Clearly we’re partial to weddings hosted in the north of the UK, but looking at these fabulous photos we can forgive Jack and Kim for jetting off abroad. Just stunning!
With images by Lee Brown Photography.
kim says: We got engaged on 30th September 2012. Jack created a fake story of us going to London to visit his friend for her birthday however when we got there and arrived at a five star hotel I realised this might not be true. Later that evening after going to watch The Taming of the Shrew at the globe theatre, Jack got down on one knee on the banks of the Thames. However his plans were nearly ruined by thousands of women doing a charity run for Cancer Research right on the spot where he planned to pop the question.
We set the date for 23rd May 2014. We chose May as we had decided to get married abroad and felt the weather would be perfect at that time of year, it was also bank holiday weekend which was more convenient for our guests. Jack’s mum later pointed out that our date contained the numbers 1,2,3,4,5 which is apparently lucky in numerology.
After visiting Venice a couple of times for holidays during our relationship, it was a definite and obvious choice for us. We love the Italian culture that focuses on family, love and food. Venice is a beautiful, romantic destination surrounded by history, we love the idea that Venice will not be around forever making it such a unique and fascinating city.
We have a big passion for our home city Manchester particularly in love with the music, football and sense of humour of the city. We wanted to bring a piece of Manchester to Venice by our music choices and colour themes. So we got married to Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and had our first dance to Noel Gallagher If I had a Gun.
Our bridesmaids were dressed in blue reflecting our love of Manchester City but we also felt it was a colour that would look good in the sun and the reflections of the water in Venice. The groom, best men and family members wore blue ties matching the bridesmaids’ colours.
I chose a fitted fishtail lace dress from Cheadle Bride in Stockport. This was the dress I always pictured myself wearing and felt the vintage look would suit the historical atmosphere of Venice.
Jack wore a bluey/grey three piece skinny fit suit from Next – he wanted to feel comfortable and relaxed in a smart suit.
We had four bridesmaids and two flower girls. Our bridesmaids wore navy blue twist and wrap dresses from BHS which could be worn in many different styles to suit the shape of each bridesmaid. Our two flower girls wore white dresses, again from BHS, which contained petals in the skirt underlay and a ribbon around the waist which matched the colour of the bridesmaid dresses. The groomsmen all wore matching suits to Jack.
I travelled to the venue with my dad, bridesmaids and flower girls in a vintage speed boat which moored right outside the wedding venue.
Lee Brown was our wedding photographer and we would highly recommend him. We felt nervous about using wedding photographers abroad as we felt it may be difficult to communicate exactly what style we wanted. We met with Lee several times before our wedding and Lee showed such interest and enthusiasm in being our photographer from getting details of the wedding party and what shots we wanted to even route planning our day. Lee arrived in Venice early to work out the best locations for pictures and managed to make us feel relaxed and comfortable with a pre wedding shoot. Lee managed to capture all the shots we wanted and much, much more!
We carried sun flowers provided by our wedding planner in Venice. The sunflowers looked bright and beautiful complementing the blues of the bridesmaid dresses.
We held our wedding reception in a beautiful restaurant which didn’t needed much decorating. We used lots of candles, rose petals and traditional Italian sweet decorations.
For wedding favours we gave our sun flower seeds in a vintage brown packet with the slogan ‘all things grow with love’. We felt our guests planting the sunflowers in their gardens would be a perfect reminder every year of what a beautiful day it was.
We chose not to have a traditional wedding cake in Venice as the restaurant provided so many different pastries and desserts. However, we celebrated our wedding in the UK with friends and family who couldn’t join us in Venice a few weeks after we returned. At this reception we had a lace style cake matching my wedding dress with a blue ribbon and our initials on it which was baked by our good friend and one of our bridesmaids, Chloe Prescott.
We went with traditional Italian food and Venetian specialities for the wedding meal, which meant numerous delicious courses.
Following our wedding ceremony we walked with our guests through the streets of Venice and boarded a private boat where we had an hour-long tour of the lagoons of Venice with champagne cocktails. In the evening we created our own entertainment with music and dancing!
We saw a lot of Venice on our wedding day walking through the streets, visiting St Mark’s square and the bridge of sighs. This was a nice surprise for our guests who had just arrived and got to do a bit of sightseeing on the day. It also meant we attracted a lot of attention with people constantly stopping us to congratulate us and take pictures. It made our day extra special feeling like we were celebrities.
We used a wedding planner from Europe Wedding called Lucia Masserini who was amazing in organising all the details of our day and putting up with our endless questions!
I would recommend our destination to any couple wanting a unique experience. It was amazing to be in a beautiful place with all our friends and family and enjoy that experience with them.
My favourite part of the day was coming off the boat and being surrounded by a group of Japanese tourists taking our picture and wishing us good luck. It was something that wouldn’t of happened if we had of got married in the UK and it was amazing that so many people were happy for us. It was a unique experience which our guests still talk, and laugh about!
We left Venice the day after our wedding setting sail on a cruise ship for a week. We returned to Venice for one day after the cruise before returning home which was a very surreal and somewhat sad experience that it was all over and our friends and family had gone home.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute of the day and take time to spend a few moments away from the crowds with your partner to soak up the atmosphere and occasion.
April 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I am really proud to introduce our readers to the sensational work of Brides Up North sponsor, amanda balmain. I think you’ll agree that Amanda’s work is just dreamy!
In this feature interview, we find out all about the lady behind the lens… and it turns out she’s a bit of a romantic.
So she’s definitely in the right line of work then…
With images by Amanda Balmain,
How did you get into wedding photography?
I have an A level in photography but for a long time photography was a hobby for me. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I started taking portraits more seriously and then joined some friends on a wedding photography course up at Aspire Photography Training in Cumbria. That was when I realised that wedding photography had changed quite a bit since the days of film. No longer limited by how much film you can carry, wedding photography had got way more creative and exciting.
Why wedding photography specifically?
I love wedding photography because for me its so exciting. You have to think on your feet all day long to manage creative shots with constantly changing light and locations. There is nothing like that feeling when you know you’ve captured something amazing that you know your couple are going to swoon over.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
I love the romance. Sometimes on a wedding morning I haven’t quite figured out the couple but I love how as the day unfolds it becomes obvious how they fit together. I try to tell that story in pictures.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
I like to photograph natural reactions and expressions and so I always ask questions and get brides and grooms talking to each other. It is much easier to relax when you are thinking about something else other than the camera pointing at you. Often my couples have had a pre-wedding shoot and so they will know exactly what to expect ahead of time.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
Choose a photographer who you are comfortable with and have a pre-wedding shoot. Usually its much better than you expect. Also choose a photographer whose style is more documentary if posing makes you uncomfortable. I shoot a mix of both styles but my posed shots are definitely more relaxed and natural than fashion model.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
I think a makeup artist for your wedding day is important. It allows you to relax in the morning and your makeup will last longer. A natural look with a good matte finish always looks great in pictures.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
Tan lines with a strapless dress spring to mind!
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield because I think they would be really funny and cute but only if they got married on a beach somewhere and kept it intimate. Or maybe Prince Harry and Emma Watson with a Harry Potter theme!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
I cry at every wedding so they are all moving to me! I shot a wedding at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London which is beautiful and very stylish. I have another one there this summer so I’m looking forward to that.
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
I’ve been married for almost 15 years. We got married at the small village church where my husband was christened and my in-laws got married in Dorset. We then had a marquee on his parents lawn for the reception. We had the ceremony at 4pm so we could carry straight on into the evening. It was July so there was plenty of light for photographs. My photographer was the amazing Kevin Wilson. My favourite memories are eating fish and chips at the hairdressers in the morning, the grin on my husbands face that lasted all day long and drinking champagne at midnight with some random strangers that we met at our hotel.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
The most important thing to me is that you enjoy your day. I make sure I know beforehand what the wedding day plan is and when we are going to get the shots that you want but on the day I am very flexible. I keep things calm and relaxed and never put my couples under pressure.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
For most of the day I am unobtrusive and try to stay in the background. There are a few key moments when I will get some posed shots. For instance a portrait of the bride once she is ready, group portraits of the bridal party and a killer shot of the bride and groom at the reception venue. Otherwise I go with the flow and photograph the day as it happens with minimal interference. I usually arrive around 2 hours before the ceremony at the brides house and leave an hour or so after the first dance once everyone is in full party mode.
What is included in your “package”?
My top package includes a pre-wedding shoot, full day coverage, edited digital files, a slideshow of images from your wedding day and a 30 page Bellissimo album. My digital only package is the same without the album.
Can you give us an idea on price?
My top package is £1250. I am happy to quote for smaller weddings and half days.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
April 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I love the simple elegance of today’s real wedding set within the grandeur of Eaves Hall in the North West.
The fabulous venue won over bride-to-be Melissa in seconds, and looking at the images below it’s easy to see why. Keen to keep things fresh and classy, Melissa worked with talented suppliers to accomplish her vision with pale pretty blooms, ornate candelabras and twinkling fairy lights.
In addition to the setting, the couple themselves looked stunning with Melissa opting for a gorgeous fishtail gown while her hubby-to-be (and his merry men) donned kilts for the occasion. We do hope it wasn’t a blustery day!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Karli Harrison Photography.
melissa says: We got engaged in York, in April 2013. We had been out for a lovely meal and when we got back to our hotel Stuart got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I wasn’t totally surprised as Stuart knows how fussy I am, so had asked me to pick out a ring a couple of weeks before!
We got married on 13th September 2014. The reason for picking this particular date was that we had originally planned to get married in 2015, so when we started looking at venues they were quite booked up for 2014 dates. I went to go and look at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and completely fell in love with it, and they had a date in September free so with a little persuasion I convinced Stuart to bring the date forward.
I had been browsing venues online but hadn’t come across anywhere with the ‘wow’ factor. Eaves Hall was the first venue we looked at and it ticked every box, it was slightly further away from home than we had planned but everything else more than compensated for it. The venue is absolutely beautiful. I would highly recommend it.
We didn’t go for a theme as such, I just wanted everything to be fresh and classy. Stuart is Scottish so he wanted the groomsmen to wear kilts but other than that we just went with what we liked. The venue is a theme within itself so we just added in extra touches to make it personal to ourselves.
I chose sage green for the bridesmaids dresses but didn’t choose to use this colour scheme throughout the wedding. For everything I chose to use ivory with pearl accents.
I chose a fishtail dress by Enzoani from Dreamcatcher Designer Bridal Wear in Kirkham. I had tried on a dress that was a lot fuller but didn’t feel comfortable in it. As I am quite tall I chose the more fitted dress that puffed out at the bottom, which still made it feel like a ‘wedding dress’ but was more flattering to my shape. My veil had a scalloped lace edge and I also wore a diamanté belt to enhance the shape of the dress.
As I mentioned, Stuart is originally from Scotland so it was important to him to have the men in kilts. At first I was dubious but when I saw them on the day they all looked fab. We chose to hire the kilts from Slaters menswear. Stuart chose to wear a black shirt with an ivory tie so that he was different to the groomsmen that wore black kilts with white shirts and sage ties.
My bridesmaids wore Grecian style dresses in sage green, also from Dreamcatcher. It was purely by chance that all the dresses were set out in each style but only shown in certain colours. My bridesmaid Natalie pulled this particular one off the rail and the style and colour was perfect – that pretty much set the tone for the style of the rest of the wedding. I then picked nude shoes and diamante drop earrings. My hair was done by Becky at Kre8 Hair and Beauty, and makeup by Olivia Naylor. They are both perfectionists and made everyone look gorgeous.
Karli Harrison was the photographer we chose. I had researched quite a few before we decided on Karli. A friend of my mum had used her for her daughter’s wedding and she highly recommended her. We looked at her pictures and knew straight away that Karli’s style was perfect for our big day.
We also used Abbey Videos to video the whole day. I’m so glad we captured the day on film as there is so much that you miss and don’t take in.
I carried a bouquet of hydrangeas, white roses, lily of the valley and various other white flowers. These were supplied by Jane at Flower Design in Blackpool, who I also can’t recommend highly enough. I originally wanted a bouquet with just white roses but when Jane made me up a sample and said she thought I would prefer this – she wasn’t wrong. She also recommended perfume and moisturiser to compliment the scent of the flowers.
We used the same flowers in my bouquet but a smaller version for the bridesmaids and flower girl. My bouquet and the bridesmaids also doubled up as top table flower display whilst we had our wedding breakfast. It looked so different yet classy which I was really impressed with. Jane also provided two trees either side of the main entrance with white roses entwined into them and candelabras for the table displays which were decorated with the same flowers used in my bouquet. Jane picked up on the Scottish heritage and incorporated thistle in the button holes for Stuart’s side of the family and the groomsmen. She also took into account what people were wearing and designed them individual button holes which I thought was a really nice touch.
I was particularly anxious about the venue being dressed enough and so used Add a Little Sparkle to help with this. I explained to them the theme I liked and they showed me pictures of previous weddings they had done at Eaves Hall that were similar to my theme. I chose the fairy light curtain and they also provided chair covers, swag for the top table and lanterns down the aisle. Between the team at Flower Design and ‘Mr and Mrs Sparkle’ every last detail was accounted for, down to a rose petals arranged in a heart shape at the end of the aisle.
We provided a free bar for all the guests, day and night, so we decided that we weren’t going to do anything too extravagant for the favours as we were sure our guests would be more than happy with the drinks flowing! So as a little touch we got everybody a scratch card. I got some beautiful cards made that just simply said ‘good luck’ on the front then inside a little message to say ‘thank you for sharing our day love Mr and Mrs Naismith’. For the children I got some personalised colouring books to keep them entertained, which I got off eBay. They came in various colours and designs, the one I picked matched our theme perfectly.
A lady that I work with makes the most delicious chocolate cakes, she really is wasted working in an office! So when it came to the cake I knew it was going to have to be one of Lesley’s cakes. We had four tiers, the bottom was chocolate and then alternated between that and lemon. She decorate it perfectly for us, it was a shame we had to cut it!
The thing I liked about the food at Eaves Hall was that you could give your guests a choice of meals. We went to a tasting event in the April before the wedding which was really good. They set out the room as it would be when you have your wedding breakfast and they brought out one of each meal for your group to try, I was stuffed when we left! It was also good to mingle with other people that were getting married there to swap ideas and experiences. After much deliberation (because it was all so good) we opted for either Cajun salmon starter or chicken and pancetta Caesar salad, then the choice of either roast chicken or roast lamb, then for dessert lemon tart or chocolate torte. Everything was delicious and well received!
Choosing the entertainment was a really big thing for me as I felt like it could make or break the day. I actually booked a couple of people then changed my mind. After hearing a local singer called James Edgar performing, I knew I had to have him at the wedding. He sings with just a guitar and puts his own twist on modern and classic hits, which he performed during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. In between the ceremony and wedding breakfast, the Northern String Quartet played whilst the guests had drinks and canapés. We were so lucky with the weather, so they were able to play outside. For me I think that was one of the highlights of the day,
Then for the evening reception we had the Ian Hooper Band. They were absolutely brilliant! Everybody was dancing the night away. To get everyone in the swing of things they came into the bar with their guitars and got the guests stood on their chairs singing and dancing. They even finished the night off with a Queen sing-song round the grand piano which everyone absolutely loved. We also had a photo booth for the guests which was good fun and we got all the pictures on a memory stick, which was hilarious to look at the next day.
I can’t take credit for this as it was my mum’s idea but we had fire eaters to greet the evening guests. Everyone said how different the idea was and we also got some really good pictures of it!
I would definitely recommend our venue, not just for how it looks, but for the whole experience. Hayley oversaw the day and she made us both feel so at ease, nothing was too much trouble for her.
It’s hard to pick an exact favourite part of the day as I loved every minute of it – I have different favourite parts for different reasons! But everyone singing round the piano was such fun and everyone was talking about it for weeks after.
We went for a short break to Mallorca the week after the wedding. It was lovely to just chill after a year of planning! We said we were going to go on a proper honeymoon this year but we are expecting a baby in May so have decided to go to New York in December and treat that as our honeymoon.
A top tip to other Brides Up North is don’t stress about the small details too much! I spent so much time worrying about various things that I didn’t really need to worry about as everything falls into place on the day, but my main tip would be to get the day filmed.
add a little sparkle, brides up north featured supplier, classic wedding, dreamcatcher designer bridal wear, eaves hall, ebay, Enzoani, flower design, ian hooper band, james edgar, karli harrison photography, kre8 hair and beauty, real wedding, scottish wedding, simple wedding, slaters, the northern string quartet, uk wedding blog, wedding photographer eaves hall
April 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We don’t know about you but here at Brides Up North HQ we just couldn’t take our eyes of Ted and Amy’s wonderful winter wedding when it arrived in our inbox. This stylish couple tied the knot between Christmas and New Year giving their friends and family an extra reason to be in high spirits over the festive season.
They wanted a relaxed and informal do in a charming rural setting and that’s exactly what they delivered.
I absolutely adore the flowers in this wedding – that bouquet! Oh and of course there’s a bunch of mistletoe too…pucker up!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Fairclough Photography.
amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Day. We were at my parents’ house with my sister and auntie and uncle. We had just finished opening the presents and then Ted said, “I’ve just got one more present, but you’ll have to stand up for this one Bob (my nickname)”. I stood up, turned around and he was on one knee. I don’t remember much of what happened after that – only that I said “YES”.
We didn’t have a date in mind when we started looking at venues but after finding the right place, we sat down to look at diaries and found out they had space around Christmas. We both love Christmas and as we got engaged on Christmas Day, it seemed like a good idea to do it around that time. We went for the Saturday between Christmas and New Year, 27th December.
We got married at Bashall Barn, a few miles out of our hometown of Clitheroe, Lancashire. We wanted to get married in the Ribble Valley and knew that we wanted a relaxed and informal setting. The Barn was perfect for us, spacious yet cosy and with plenty or rustic, rural charm.
We didn’t have a theme as such but did stick with traditional Christmas colours of red and green. We wanted to create the sense of happiness and magic that Christmas evokes in us for all of our guests.
My dress was from Dessy’s After Six range. I went to Orchid Designs bridal shop in Clitheroe to try on some dresses to get a feel for what I wanted. It wasn’t the kind of dress I thought I wanted but as soon as I put it on, it just felt so ‘me’ and I didn’t want to take it off. It was the third dress I’d tried on and I just knew it was the one.
Ted wanted a three piece tweed suit but we’d left it quite late and they are harder to come by than we thought. About four weeks before the wedding we went out looking and found the perfect suit in Next, it fit perfectly and he looked gorgeous in it.
I purchased the two bridesmaids dresses online. I knew I wanted dark green but I found it really difficult to find any in the shops so had a look online and managed to find a company who had just what I was looking for. The dresses were then altered to suit each bridesmaid.
The groomsmen each wore their own suits but they all had matching red ties which were purchased from the Saville Row Company.
I travelled to the wedding in my dad’s car. I didn’t see the point in hiring a car and driver for the ten minute journey. As it was, it was lovely, my auntie had decorated it with ribbon and flowers and my uncle chauffeured us – it was perfect.
Our photographers were husband and wife duo, the Faircloughs from Fairclough Photography. They were recommended to me by another photographer. I sent the initial email to them to see if they were free on the day that we’d chosen and received a phone call less than five minutes later from Katie. The service was as efficient as that throughout and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They have some great ideas and are keen to try out cutting edge techniques. We didn’t want the posed formal shots and so were happy for them to do their own thing. We were completely overwhelmed with the pictures! They really capture the spirit of us and of the day and that’s just what we wanted. I would highly recommend them.
I didn’t want really fussy flower decorations. I had a look on Pinterest for rustic winter wedding flowers and found a bouquet with thistle, berries and roses in. My mum had been recommended to try Fusspots in Whalley. I took the picture of the bouquet along with me and told the owner Theresa, what I was thinking. I cried when she delivered the flowers on the morning of the wedding – they were absolutely perfect!
The venue was already decorated for Christmas and so I didn’t want to go overboard with decorations. I had a large bouquet of mistletoe where the ceremony took place and candles everywhere – I love candles! On each of the tables, I had a cluster of flower decorations from Fusspots and a large lantern, along with favour bags and decorative table number plaques which were designed by a close friend.
I wanted simple homemade favours. I bought 150 small brown paper bags, miniature bottles and miniature jam jars online. My best friend’s mum made some homemade chutney to fill the jars with and I filled each of the bottles with port. There was also a small chocolate in each. I tied each bag with a piece of butcher’s string and attached a brown gift tag with the guest’s names on so that the favours were also the name places.
We had a cheese wedding cake for the evening, which was provided by the Barn. I wasn’t going to have a sweet wedding cake but my mum panicked a few days before and so we did end up getting a few plain iced sponge cake tiers from a supermarket but we didn’t even cut into it in the end!
The venue we chose has been voted to have the best on site restaurant in the UK, as foodies this was a massive plus for us. We didn’t get married until 4:30pm and our evening guests were due from 7:30pm onwards and so we were a bit limited for time. We chose to have canapés to start whilst guests were having their reception drinks, for mains we had a braised blade of beef with creamed mash and veg and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding. It was lovely!
We had a band called Duncan Disorderly to provide our entertainment. We first saw them at Knutsford Wine Bar and fell in love with them. They play covers but put their own funk style on each track. They’ve got tonnes of energy and are perfect for a good dance!
We wanted our guests to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible – this was at the forefront of our minds when we planned the day. We had a little snack table with savoury and sweet nibbles and little bowls for people to help themselves throughout the evening, to ensure nobody went hungry. We also put toiletries in each of the bathrooms for guests to freshen up.
I would highly recommend the Barn, especially to couples who want a little bit more flexibility when planning their day. Henk, the coordinator, was a great help in the planning and was very accommodating to our ideas.
I loved the whole day – it just went too quick! I particularly loved walking down the aisle and seeing my Ted for the first time – I got a rush of excitement like I have never experienced before!
We hadn’t booked a honeymoon initially but had booked a fortnight off work at the end of January. A few days after the wedding, we went to the travel agents in Clitheroe and booked a ten-day break to Mauritius, to begin two weeks later. It was so nice having something to look forward to when we both went back to work after New Year. Mauritius was idyllic! We stayed at Le Victoria in the north of the island and everything was perfect – the weather, food, people – we didn’t want to come back! We still miss the time we lived in Mauritius – even if it was just for ten days!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy the experience! It is so easy to get carried away with what you should/shouldn’t do but at the end of the day, it should be about you, the bride and groom! You only get one day to show everybody who you both are and how much you love each other – don’t lose sight of that in the planning.
March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple Tessa and Joe dreamt of a grand setting for their big day, and boy did they land on their feet when they discovered Samlesbury Hall.
Roaring open fires, historic wood panelling and regal chandeliers all contributed to this atmospheric winter wedding in the North West.
So join us as we cross the threshold of the gorgeous Samlesbury mansion to relive Tess and Joe’s fabulous day.
With images from Rachel Joyce Photography.
tessa says: Joe proposed to me on the 9th September 2014 in our front room. It is a funny story as we had just bought a house and were due to move the very next day. So it was a bit of a chaotic time and I came home expecting to see some progress made on the packing. I walked in the front door and saw that nothing had been done so started to tell him I wasn’t too impressed. I had barely started to speak when I noticed he was down on one knee. He had planned to have Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud playing when he asked but had accidentally muted it so was trying frantically to unmute it to be able to propose. To be honest I was so shocked I hardly noticed. I was so happy, even though he hadn’t packed a thing. Joe jokes that he needed an excuse to get out of packing. We then celebrated with lots of champagne!
We set the date for 7th February 2015. We had originally wanted a summer wedding. Neither of us liked the idea of a long engagement so had approached the venue thinking June/July for it. But they were booked up! So they showed us their dates and we noticed there was late availability for a February wedding. This was perfect for us as it meant a good price on the venue and we could have an open fire going during the wedding breakfast which looked gorgeous.
We got married at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire. Like most people we had dreamed of the grandeur of a castle or the beautiful interior of a church, but obviously a castle isn’t always possible and a religious service was not what we wanted. So we thought we would struggle to get the real idyllic surrounding we wanted. We looked at a couple of venues in the south as that is where I’m from, but nothing seemed right. Joe and I stumbled across Samlesbury and thought we would have a visit and see. Well we fell in love with it straight away. It is a fantastic old Tudor style mansion with wooden beamed ceilings, open fire places, original furniture and an excellent story connected to it. It had the ceremony room (which used to be a chapel), then a parlour space for meet and greet, and then a fantastic great hall for the meal. We were smitten with it.
We didn’t really have a special theme instead we just chose colours we liked to style the day. Because we chose February as the month it meant that we had imagined a more wintery wedding. The building and the open fires added to this and so we went with a navy blue and champagne scheme to complement the venue and time of year.
I chose a traditional ivory wedding dress with a lace top and chiffon bottom. The keyhole back was the best part of the dress as it fit perfectly to my shape. I went dress shopping at Anne Whittaker Bridal Wear in Accrington with some friends who helped choose the dress for me, I remember it was one of the first ones they picked out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the type of dress I wanted but as soon as I tried it on I loved it. Lindsay, from Anne Whittaker’s, was really helpful. Nothing was ever too much and she gave her honest opinion about each dress I tried without being pushy. I was very impressed with her prices and would definitely recommend her to any bride-to-be.
Joe chose a Prince Edward mid-grey suit with a white waistcoat and navy cravat. He also used Ann Whittaker’s as they had great outfits and offered a discount because we got my wedding dress from them.
The bridesmaids wore full-length navy dresses from Very.co.uk. I bought silver pashminas for my bridesmaid and grey for my maids of honour. The groomsmen wore the same as Joe, but had a different flower for the buttonhole.
I travelled in an ivory Morris Minor with navy ribbons to fit with the theme. It’s mine and my dad’s favourite car. He has owned one for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t dream of arriving in anything else. We hired it from Regent Classics. Geraldine was really helpful and thought of all the little details, for example having a ‘Just Married’ sign for photos after the ceremony and even provided a bottle of sparkling wine for us.
We used Rachel Joyce Photography for the wedding photography. We would absolutely recommend Rachel to anyone, we already have recommended her to three other couples. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, not obtrusive and so easy to get on with. Her photos speak for themselves.
I had a bouquet of red Tulips (my favourite flowers) with some leaves and wrapped in ivory voile. They were provided by Garlands Florist. Rachel and Simon from Garlands were absolutely fantastic. They made the day very beautiful and the whole process was easy. I’d definitely recommend them to anyone looking for flowers. Garlands also provided us with candelabras decorated with tulips, leaves and thistles for each table as well as a gorgeous top table flower arrangement and hurricane vases to line the ceremony room, which were just amazing.
We hired Wedding Creations to do the tables and chairs. We chose white and champagne for this to keep it elegant and simple. Jane from Wedding Creations was a dream to work with, she was very attentive and made everything a pleasure. She also provided us with a post box for the wedding gifts and some festoon lighting for the great hall.
A first we couldn’t think what to give as favours but then I thought it would be a cute idea to give everyone a scratch card. We partnered this with some heart shaped chocolate and put it inside a pillow box on everyone’s table space.
My mother-in-law made our wedding cake. She did fruit cake and sponge cake and decorated it with flowers and ribbon topping it off with a bride and groom Dalmatian cake topper (my absolute favourite dog). It was a gorgeous cake for which we were very grateful.
Samlesbury Hall did the catering for the wedding and it was outstanding. We also had canapés and fizz in the parlour room during the photos. For the evening they put on a great spread of chilli con carne or Lancashire hot pot, which our guests absolutely loved.
We had Simon from Garlands playing the piano for our ceremony, he was excellent. Joe, as a lover of jazz music, wanted to have some live jazz playing during the breakfast. So we hired a piano and saxophone duo who were absolutely tremendous. These guys we found through Dream Day Music. Then for the evening we hired Dave Lee to be the DJ. We cannot recommend Dave enough. He not only played the music we wanted, but was an excellent MC for the evening. He had a portal space set up for the months leading up to the wedding where we could select songs that we wanted for the do. It worked perfectly and everyone spent a long time dancing!
Joe contributed several special touches to our day. He’s a Blackburn Rovers fan and as such we had famous Blackburn players as the table names (people like Shearer and Colin Hendry) we also had Blackburn Rovers branded salt and pepper pots (sorry to any brides who now have their other halves asking for the same). From my side I had kept our exit music quiet from everyone in the build-up. We had chosen the Friends theme tune as it is my favourite TV show and holds a lot of good memories for me and my friends. When that came on we all had a giggle.
We would, and have already on a number of occasions, recommended our wedding venue to others. There aren’t many truly hidden gems left any more, but this is one of them. The team at Samlesbury: Beth, Lauren and Angela were amazing. The venue was so pretty and the food was brilliant. Even at the more popular prices of the summer we would have definitely chosen this venue. We will never forget our day at Samlesbury Hall.
We can’t name a favourite part of the day. The ceremony was so intimate and gorgeous. Obviously being walked down the aisle by my father was emotional. We had a moment when walking out of the ceremony room and into the parlour when it was just us two and we had just got married and were holding each other’s hands and a glass of fizz each – it was bliss.
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. We spent seven nights in Sri Lanka where we visited temples, experienced real wildlife in the national parks and rode elephants. The hotel was metres from the beach and the sea. It was stunning and we really indulged in food and cocktails. In the Maldives we stayed at an island resort that measured just 500m x 500m. It was paradise. Here we just relaxed and enjoyed the 30 degree weather with great food, drinks and water activities. If you haven’t thought of visiting Sri Lanka, absolutely do it! You will not be disappointed. I think everyone has wanted to visit the Maldives and our advice is just go, you will have the time of your life.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be just relax about the process. Your day will be perfect as long you are next to your new wife or husband. I always said to my friends I don’t really mind what is around me, what the venue is, the dress or anything else as long as I am married to Joe at the end of it (and of course as long as we are sat on a beach in Sri Lanka a few days later)!
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