November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Karin and Rob’s beautiful wedding day is chic, stylish and filled with the sort of opulent details that we love here at wedding blog HQ. Lace, crystals, blousy blooms and one stunning setting make this a celebration fit for the pages of Vogue magazine. Lucky for you, we snapped it up first.
Let’s raise the bar a little.
It’s getting haute in here…
With images by fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, Fyzal Photography.
karin says: Unbeknown to me, when the idea of a ski holiday with friends popped up, Rob pushed for the 3 valleys, France and in particular, Meribel for one reason only….it was his ideal setting for a proposal!
When we first got together (November 2008 and after 7 months of Rob trying,) it left us just a month before Rob flew to France for a 5 month ski season. I joined Rob for a weeks holiday in the January and we both knew then our relationship was to last. Meribel was also where Rob told me that he loved me.
January 2012 was eagerly anticipated by Rob, eventually settling for his SLR camera case to hide the ring through airport security. He got it through and I was none the wiser as to what would happen a few days later. Rob planned to pop the question on a particular piste in the next valley, Courcheval. But due to an avalanche, it wasn’t until the last ski day that it was cleared to ski to.
It was called “Les Piste Indiens” where a purpose built Indian village appeared around a corner. We stopped and Rob knelt next to a plastic fox for a rare photo opportunity. It turned out to be very rare as photos later proved, Rob had the ring out trying to propose while I was trying to take his photo.
We tied the knot on 14 June 2014. I (not superstitious at all!) didn’t want to be married in 2013!
We met whilst both working at Jesmond Dene House and when the decision was to be made as to where we were to be married, it had so much history to it and along with our own history there, the decision was simple.
Our wedding was always going to be straight ahead. I still work there as private dining manager and so have a strong relationship with wedding coordinators Abi and Christina, C & B manager Lukasz and everyone else to be involved on the day. Knowing everyone made us feel secure that the day was to perfect.
We chose a romantic shabby chic theme. Apple crates, coffee bean sacks, old leather suitcases, plenty of candles and wicker hearts all suited the Jesmond Dene setting. Since I oversee weddings day in, day out, I knew what would make our day different to others.
Everything was based around pastel lilac and ivory themes. It worked so well with the grandeur of the dark oak of the hotel’s Great Hall. We also tied in the green of Jesmond Dene into all floral arrangements.
I stayed in the hotel the night before with my mother and the bridesmaids, setting up the decorations until 2am while best man and Rob had a beer and a cheeky Chinese takeaway in the room of the best man!
When choosing my dress, I spent hours online looking for local bridal shops and looked at each designer stocked in each shop until I found my dress. When I came across Ronald Joyce ‘Babetta’, I knew no matter what else I saw, I’d be back for the Babetta.
I spent only a short amount of time in Wild Brides at Heart, Durham after a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I was out in no time after placing the deposit looking forward to my first fitting. The detail in the lace, the open back, and its long train was exactly what I was looking for and nothing else would match it.
I chose not to wear a veil, instead a headpiece, slightly different to the norm. Flown from Canada, it was jewelled, but not over the top. Sarah Walsh was my makeup artist and hair stylist. Highly recommended!
My look was complete after Rob had a few gifts sent up to me with breakfast on the morning of the wedding. I had pointed out a beautiful Swarovski tennis bracelet a few months before and luckily he took the hint! It matched so well with the Swarovski pearl earrings he had also bought me.
I carried lilac and ivory roses with hydrangea. Helen from Bels Flowers provided all floral arrangements. Hats off to Helen, who did a fantastic job and came as a late replacement for florist after we had been let down by another months before the wedding!
My bridesmaids wore “Debut” Grecian lilac dresses from Debenhams and my maid of honour wore an ivory and lilac floral print dress from BHS. I bought all the girls a brooch to wear as a gift to personalise the dresses.
I would highly recommend Fyzal Photography to anyone!
Both Fyzal and his wife Dawn went above and beyond to capture our day how we wanted it with the eye and finesse you would not get from any other photographer! He took us for an “e:shoot” on the beach where we got to know how it all worked. It also helped Rob relax as he’s not big on having his photo taken.
On the day itself, everything was done with military precision after we agreed an itinerary days before. They both made us feel at ease for the entire day knowing we were constantly having photos taken without even realising they were there.
Even months after the day, Fyzal stays in contact and helps to decide the final images for our album.
Our cake was a chocolate croque-em-bouche produced by our friend, Kristian Branch, head pastry chef at the hotel.
We had Jessica Avison, a local acoustic singer/guitarist play during our reception and then The Paul James Band – known for years through Jesmond Dene house performances, started the evening entertainment. We hired a DJ through One Voice Productions for our “after party” and a Snaparazzi photo booth for use as guest book. Ross, Snaparazzi’s director is a friend via the hotel.
We’re biased but we’d definitely recommend Jesmond Dene House, even if we weren’t! Every member of staff gets involved and consumed in every event that they work at. The hotel as a whole puts 100% into each event to put the hotel on the map in the region and to make a name for itself.
My favourite moment of the day was our first dance, choreographed with help of Caroline of Bela Dance School. I wanted a proper first dance, no swaying as most couples do. We had over 20 lessons to perfect the Viennese Waltz to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.
We pre-wedding honeymooned in January to Australia due to work commitments after the wedding. We flew via Hong kong where we spent a few hours walking the streets then onto Melbourne. After a few nights in Melbourne we drove the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide via the Grampians (narrowly missing the bush fires) to fly across to Sydney, going into the blue mountains as well as the obligatory Harbour Bridge climb! We then flew to Noosa to spend 10 days with best man and bridesmaid who lived there. Surfing, chilling out and getting stung across the face by a jellyfish! Ouch!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to spend money on the photographer, namely Fyzal, as most of the day is a blur. Only one person can capture it all for you to remember forever, so choose wisely!
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November 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides. Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing. I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.
After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.
We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.
I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband
Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.
Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.
My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.
The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.
My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.
The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.
We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.
During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.
Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.
We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.
For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.
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November 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today I’m really proud to make your acquaintance with one of our lovely Brides Up North sponsors, Fairclough Photography. Katie and James, the awesome husband and wife team behind these amazing images: fabulous photographers and all round lovely souls.
Get them booked for your big day, and your wedding pictures could look as good as this little lot.
Katie and James are also offering a free 20” x 14” museum quality canvas print if you quote ‘Brides Up North Is The Best Wedding Blog!’ when making your booking. Can’t argue with that!
All images by Fairclough Photography.
How did you get into wedding photography?
We are both self-taught photographers; Katie’s passion for photography developed through a side project on her graphic design degree course, and after developing her street photography in New York as a student, discovered that people and emotional storytelling were her passion and inspiration to voice through photography. James fell in love with the photography of National Geographic, and after a lot of wet, muddy outings and ruined 35mm film, started applying some of his theatre experience and techno-geekery to the creative lighting we are constantly developing to use with our couples.
Why wedding photography specifically?
Since getting married ourselves in March 2013, we have both been obsessed with weddings! We are fascinated by the whole process, from planning up until the ‘i do’ (and the shenanigans that come after that of course!) and the amazing people you get to meet. We just didn’t want it to end. So to combine both of our passions for photography with another love of ours is the dream.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
There are so many things! If we had to choose one though, it would be sharing our Bride and Groom’s special day, it always feels like such a privilege to be chosen to share in such an momentous occasion. It always brings back lovely memories from our day too!
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
Having been recently married ourselves, we know how the nerves and emotions feel on the morning of the wedding – we don’t go in shooting away straight away, we just become part of the day right from the beginning, which let’s us all be comfortable and relaxed for the rest of the day.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
Definitely come and have a pre wedding/engagement shoot – it’s very important to get to know your photographers, and once you’re used to the camera being around, when it comes to the wedding day you’ll be a natural, and it won’t be such a shock to have a photographer around.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
Any good make up artist will be able to work with you to create the look you want on your day – it can also influence the types of pictures you want to make on your day too – for example, if you create a film noir look with high contrasts, that’s really going to shine through in the pictures.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
Using too much fake tan can sometimes create an awkward contrast between skin and the white of the wedding dress – also under tungsten lighting in reception venues, it tends to naturally bring out the orange tone, which isn’t desirable for a natural look.
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter’s! We’re both huge lovers of their work and just imagine the type of wedding they’d have with both of their styles and imaginations fused together!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
One of the most memorable was a really intimate, small outdoor wedding in cambridge, perfectly elegant, with the bride and groom walking down the aisle together. We love an elaborate wedding, but when it’s simply driven by the emotion of a tight group of close family and friends, there seems to be a certain magic we can’t get enough of.
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
YES! We said ‘I do’ in Ashton Memorial on 19th March 2013, a beautiful but freezing cold afternoon at the top of Lancaster. We chose the folly as we wanted a grand yet intimate building for our small party of 45, and after a beautiful and emotion-charged ceremony and portraits around Williamson Park, we retired to The Grand Hotel in our home town of St Anne’s for the reception. With a purple, black and white colour scheme, Katie pulled off a stunningly elegant look, with flowers by Flower Design throughout. We had a superb string quartet and a 5 piece jazz band for the evening entertainment, and then headed out to the seafront to let off Chinese lanterns to round off the evening.
Any funny stories to share?
We were recently doing an engagement shoot with a lovely Bride and Groom to be in a little village called Downham in Clitheroe. James was stood in the river photographing (as you do) and Katie is at the side. A ‘lady’ pulls up in her car just beside Katie, gets out and very indiscreetly lets one off! James instantly (and very loudly) blames Katie! How very rude?! Luckilly the couple heard none of this, obliviously schmoozing on the bridge over the river.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
As a husband and wife team, we can be in two places at once on a wedding day, capturing twice the emotion and little moments which make the day special. Katie follows the bridal party from first prep all the way to the ceremony, while James hangs around with the groom and checks out the venue. We can then get two angles on the ceremony, and create more complex and elaborate lighting setups between us to really add some sparkle.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
We like to be as unobtrusive as possible on the big day and the fact that we’re a husband and wife team helps us to achieve this; neither of us has a set thing to photograph, we just lurk like photographic ninjas, capturing the fun and emotion in a spontaneous fashion. In the morning, Katie is hanging out with the Bridal party capturing the goings-on, whilst James checks out the venue and photographs the groomsmen’s antics. We then come together to shoot the ceremony. Whilst James is at the front with the Groom nervously waiting, Katie is capturing the emotional last moments before the Bride walks down the aisle. After the happy couple are declared Mr & Mrs, we love to take them away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding party for a portrait session that gives them time to reflect on ‘wow, we are married!’ Even though we’re there, our couples always seem oblivious to that fact and they tell us how magical those moments of alone time are – we always find we make the most natural beautiful pictures this way too. The rest of the day is usually party time, where we continue stalking the guests, photographing the laughter and fun up until the first dance as husband and wife.
What is included in your “package”?
Our most popular package is the Full Day Package and included in that is the following:
*A face-to-face chat about your wedding day and what we could do for you and then two consultations leading up to your wedding so we all know what we’re doing!
*Two photographers (Mr & Mrs Fairclough!) to capture each and every special moment of your big day (up to 12 hours coverage);
*Pre-wedding portrait shoot in a location of your choice – a fun way to build up to the big day and get to know us;
*Professional editing of your images;
*A private password protected gallery for you to view, share and download your images after the wedding;
*Large print quality images on a USB stick presented to you in a stunning presentation box (see the image below
*A CD with a slideshow of the best images from your big day.
Can you give us an idea on price?
Our Full Day Package is £1,350
Any special favours for Brides Up North readers?
Of course! If you quote ‘Brides Up North Is The Best Wedding Blog!’ we would give a free 20” x 14” museum quality canvas print.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
Anything else we should know?
We also offer a package that includes an amazing quality 10” x 10” photo album; these are gorgeous hand-made, leather or hessian bound, chunky, lay flat coffee table style books priced at £1,700. There’s nothing quite like a printed photo album, we think it’s such a shame to just get your USB stick, watch the slideshow and then it gets shoved in a draw and hardly thought about!
November 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m putting my feet up (or running around after my 19 month old) today after closing our Brides Up North season of luxury wedding exhibitions with a busy and very, very beautiful event in Altrincham yesterday. Massive thanks to everyone who supported us during this – our very best yet – season, whether as some of our talented suppliers or fabulous visiting brides and grooms. I’m so proud of each and every event that we’ve hosted this autumn, and hope that we brought the pages of this wedding blog alive for you.
First things first though, I’m having a day off, and leaving you in the hands of Brides Up North Sponsor James Jebson Photography, and his gorgeous girls, Carla and Sarah, who designed their vintage inspired wedding day their own way. Be inspired!
Carla says: We got engaged in June 2013 in Lytham, the place of our first date, and were married on 31st August 2014 at The Villa, Wrea Green.
We opted for a dusky pink, ivory and grey colour scheme. We chose a vintage travel theme with an English country garden look for the flowers. We sourced vintage black and white postcard for places we had traveled together and used them as our centrepieces, writing the postcards out to our guests, explaining why that place is special to us.
We both wore dresses. We did not discuss what style we were going to wear, we just agreed on ivory as the colour. Sarah wore a vintage lace style dress with buttoned back from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique. I wore a simpler dress with straps and a v neckline, with buttoned back and pearl detail, from The Dressing Room, Winmarleigh.
We both carried bouquets by Flower Design, which were the same yet opposites of each other. One had more pinks and the other had more ivory colours. They included English roses, hydrangea, gypsophila, carnations (these were the flowers that my Dad used to buy my Mum), foliage and rosemary as this is a flower associated with lost loved ones.
I also had a locket attached to my bouquet, which Sarah had bought me, with a picture of my Dad inside. It was so nice to have that with me as my Mum walked me down the aisle. These little touches made it feel as though he was close to us throughout the day.
The moment we walked in to the ceremony we both felt was so special. We each made our own entrance to the same song, ‘How Long Will I Love You’, by Ellie Goulding. We both agreed it was extremely emotional and hard to keep the tears back! We also wrote our own vows, which made the entire ceremony even more special and personal. The whole day was incredible, the first dance, the speeches, seeing all our guests… too many amazing moments to mention!
We hired ‘Barney’ a VW camper van through Little Limos. We wanted all our bridal party to travel to the venue on the day, so we had 4 trips, the ushers and page boys traveling first. After the ceremony they gave us a personalised bottle of champagne with our names and date of our wedding to enjoy on our first anniversary, which was a lovely touch.
We opted for a four tier cake, each tier a different flavoured sponge. We designed each tier differently, including indented hearts, vintage lace and edible lace. We also had iced hearts made and dusted with the pink to match our colour scheme. We kept the top tier for ourselves for the following day!
We did a lot of things homemade, including our favours which were leather luggage tags with a personalised travel quote inside.
We included a memory table and decided to have an extra button hole placed here in memory of my Dad.
We chose to use James Jebson Photography. James is such a genuine and charismatic guy who will capture all the moments you don’t get to see in the day. He worked tirelessly from the moment he arrived to last thing at night. He is extremely talented and captured our day perfectly. The quality of his photos was incredible and he has made memories we will look back on for years to come.
James met up with us on a number of occasions before the big day which helped us all get to know one another. He helped us a lot with our timings and used his expertise to help us plan out our day. By the wedding day, it felt like James had become a friend not just a service and it certainly made us feel relaxed which I feel contributed towards our wonderful images. On the day he was always there if we needed him, whether it be photography related or anything else to do with our day. He played such a huge role and we can’t thank him enough!
We selected our DJ as having a full dance floor was so important to us! Our DJ allowed us to specifically request the genre of music we thought our guests would enjoy the most.
We also thought a photo booth (we used The Mighty Boof!) would be lots of fun for our guests and it brought everyone together as the evening went on. The photo book we received the following day was fantastic, with everyone’s photos and messages! We have recieved so many compliments since the wedding on how much our friends and family enjoyed the booth! A great little extra to your evening.
We also decided to have a sparkler send off towards the end of the night as we thought this would be an amazing photo opportunity. We provided sparklers for all our guests and our photographer orchestrated and captured the moment perfectly.
For our honeymoon we spent 3 weeks in America and Mexico, visiting Florida, Cancun and Las Vegas.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to start planning early. Take the time to make homemade things. Not only will it save you money but the sense of satisfaction is definitely worth the hard work!
Don’t have any regrets… you only do this day once so do everything the way you want to. We went slightly over budget but were so pleased with the results in the day it was certainyg worth spending that little bit extra.
Finally, it is YOUR day. People will try to influence you but make sure you stay true to yourselves and what YOU and your partner want.
October 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m trying to embrace the season – hollowing pumpkins, fur lined boots, fireworks parties and thoughts drifting to Christmas lists… and then a wedding like this drops into my inbox.
Vicky and Matthew, what are you trying to do to me? Let’s soak up some sun, as we join this lucky Manchester based couple for their stunning destination wedding on the white isle.
No hard feelings. Not many, at least.
Images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vicky says: Matt proposed to me on a random Wednesday evening in August 2013. Matt took me by surprise and decided he would take me out for tea and an overnight stay in Manchester, this immediately roused suspicions but I continued pretending I had no idea. After dining at Australasia, Matt took a me back to the Great John Street Hotel – At this point I believed the proposal was not going to happen, but on arriving back to the room I found rose petals scattered on the bed and a bottle of champagne and strawberries awaiting me arrival. Needless to say tears of joy flowed and more alcohol was consumed.
We were married on Wednesday 27th August 2014 at Elixir Shore Club in Cala Codolar, Ibiza. After doing a 3 day long recce of our favourite Island (somewhere we frequent regularly) we settled on our final appointment ‘Elixir’. Not only were we blown away by the views (tears flowed again) but Vickki who was both the owner and in charge of running the venue, was the most welcoming, friendly person we had encountered so far.
We wanted our wedding to be relaxed and informal to suit the Ibizan vibe. After losing my father in 2013, I decided I would prefer a very informal affair where friends and family could come together and celebrate the event without it being a stifling ‘traditional English’ wedding.
We opted for bright colours so they would stand out against the Ibiza beach backdrop.
I decided to wear something light and comfortable, particularly with the time of year and the obvious heat expected in Ibiza. As it happened, our wedding day apparently reached temperatures of 43 degrees.
I purchased my dress from Bride by Swarbricks in Middleton. The dress is named the Pronovias ‘Pelicano’. The lady who looked after me also holidays in Ibiza every year so we had a lot to talk about during the fitting stages.
Matthew wore a powder blue cotton suit from Next, ideal for warm temperatures. The best man and ushers wore the same suit in a different colour.
James Tracey was our photographer as recommended by friends. We were blown away by his images of our friend’s wedding, particularly the contemporary edginess and just knew we had to book him.
All flowers were silk and created by Nicola Knight in York. All our guests brought a bunch of flowers with them, along with copper sprayed Kilner jars for the flowers to sit in on the tables. We gave away the flowers at the end for guests to keep as a memory.
All the decoration on the day was completed by family and friends, Molly, Phil and Amanda Newton, Rosie and some serious ribbon tying from Steven Grainger.
Our favours were created by Echo Designs and consisted of handmade hanging hearts with printed maps of Ibiza on them.
We opted for a very laid back cake, a favourite of ours, a Victoria Sponge made by my sister in law Molly in a villa microwave oven – it took a few attempts but tasted delicious!
We chose the luxury wedding BBQ as arranged by Elixir and we can honestly say it’s the best food we have ever tasted and many of our guests agreed. The BBQ was served as a buffet style again taking on a more relaxed feel to the day.
My mum pre-recorded her own performance of ‘All of Me’ by John Legend which was played as we walked back up the aisle. We prepared all other music ourselves and had a DJ, Steve later in the evening who was recommended by Elixir.
We used Kids in Ibiza to look after children who cared for the children perfectly. One of the guests was stunned to see her daughter being pushed around in her push chair by the babysitter so she was able to eat her evening meal. A close friend Heidi Heywood, prepared children’s party bags for the kids which they loved!
Una, who manages the weddings at Elixir, paid perfect attention to every single detail and everything ran so smoothly we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. We would 100% recommend our venue to anyone looking to enjoy a wedding on the White Isle.
We have just returned from a two week honeymoon, which consisted of one week touring Sri Lanka and one week in the Maldives on the island of Kuramathi. We had a cultured week in Sri Lanka then a week where we truly relaxed in the Maldives where we had the opportunity to snorkel with tropical fish and sharks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t sweat the small stuff (or big stuff) and enjoy every minute.
October 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
New around here? Take some time to visit and explore our brand new directory. It should be the very first stop for any bride planning her wedding in the better half of the country.
I love introducing my readers to the suppliers and Brides Up North Sponsors who make this pretty place tick, and today I’m proud to welcome Rachel Joyce Photography to the pages of the wedding blog. I’ve a stunning wedding by Rachel coming up in our schedule later this week – so watch this space – but in the meantime, let’s meet the lady behind the lens.
How did you get into wedding photography?
Rachel says: I had absolutely no intention of becoming a wedding photographer – zero! When I started my business I wholeheartedly planned to concentrate on newborn and family photography with the odd christening here and there. Within a month of going pro I was I was asked to cover two weddings, one which had been organised on a very short timescale and one where the couple had been let down by their photographer at the last minute. I absolutely loved every minute of it and more importantly the couples loved their images. From that point on I decided to focus all of my efforts on wedding photography and I’m so glad I did. I’ve met some wonderful couples, visited some amazing venue and developed my photography further than I ever imagined I could.
What is your favourite part of being a wedding photographer?
There’s so much to choose from. I genuinely love chatting weddings. Things like flower choices and table settings excite me more than they perhaps should! I also love being a part of the hustle and bustle and excitement on the day. Being around people when they are at their happiest is probably the best working environment you could ever ask for. Then I get to come home and relive it all whilst I edit their beautiful images.
How do you get people to relax on the day?
I personally am not a great fan of having my own picture taken so I fully understand that for most people it isn’t their favourite thing. My approach to any wedding is to keep the formal shots to a minimum so the couple can spend the most amount of time possible with their friends and family. I find that couples who book our full day package which includes bridal and groom preparation are the most relaxed by the time it comes to their formal pictures. They are used to having us around by that point and have almost forgotten we are there to take pictures. I also try to crack a joke and then quickly capture the natural laughs, rather than the posed smiles. They generally turn out the best images.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear?
Being the proud owner of a tube of tinted moisturiser and mascara I’m certainly no expect in the makeup department. I do think that it’s important for people to look like themselves. If you don’t normally wear heavy makeup, your wedding day might not be the time to start. Booking a reputable make up artist and having a couple of trials before the big day will ensure that you are happy with the final outcome.
Anything to avoid that might look bad in wedding pictures?
First thing first – think about your venue. It might have the most beautiful outdoor space you’ve ever seen but what if the weather is terrible? Where are we going to do that must have group shot of all your family? If you have decided to have full day coverage it’s also worth thinking about where you are getting ready. If it’s in the hotel then check if you can have a larger room, if you are getting ready at home it’s worth having a bit of a tidy up the day before and putting some clutter away if you’d rather not have it in the pictures. That said I’m not adverse to moving the odd pair of knickers off the floor if they are in my shot!
Any really memorable weddings you have worked on that you’d like to share?
I recently covered the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Saiorse. There’s a group of us from school that have remained friends and although everyone is now scattered across different parts of the country, we still keep in touch with a group email and meet up a few times of year. It was extra special to be able to play a role in her day although it does make it harder to take pictures with tears in your eyes! The wedding was an absolute cracker and reflected their personalities perfectly.
Are you married?
YES! Im super lucky to be married to my first love, Tim. We met when I was just 16, bought a house together at 19 and got married at 21. Nine years later we have two beautiful children, Tom and Hattie. At the time we got married I was slightly obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (who are we kidding – I still am) so I went for simple elegance. We had a black and white theme with the bridemaids in lovely elegant long black dresses and the men in black morning suits. The sun shone, the day went perfectly and we had so much fun.
What sets you apart from other photographers?
I’m know for being pretty unflappable. I come from a background in event management and customer services which are both really useful when it comes to being involved in the wedding industry. If something’s going wrong and I can help I will! I’ve been known to ring florists to chase deliveries, sew up broken zips on bridesmaid dresses and step into the role of wedding coordinator temporarily to help get a day back on track. There’s very little that can go wrong on the day that will actually ruin it unless you let it. Lots of my customers comment on how relaxed I made them feel or how I helped the day run a little more smoothly.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
I work predominantly in a documentary style so for the most of the day I will be in the background capturing all the important moments of your day without intruding upon it at all. Before the wedding we will have discussed in detail the formal shots you require. We will get through the group shots as quickly and painlessly as possible so you and your guests can go back to enjoying the day. I will normally whisk the bride and groom away for about 20 minutes to get some lovely images of just the two of you.
Can you give us an idea on price?
I offer three basic packages depending on how much coverage is wanted. Our most popular package is The Complete Collection. This includes two photographers covering from bride and groom prep in the morning right through until the first dance at the evening reception. This package is £950
If you quote brides up north when you get in touch I will include a complimentary engagement shoot with any booking.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?
I’d be delighted to come and meet with you and chat all things wedding.
October 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m all about the flowers in today’s stunning real wedding, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor James Jebson Photography and newlyweds Mark and Stephanie.
What a way to start the weekend with all things bright and beautiful, a very beautiful bride, a dapper groom, some super cool styling and an abundance of pretty blooms.
Be inspired… and it’s over to the groom to talk you through it!
With images by James Jebson Photography.
Mark says: We were married in Lancaster on 24th August 2014.
We chose our venues because we felt they complimented each other in their own special way and we are both fond of old grand buildings. We loved the grandeur of The Ashton Memorial overlooking The Lake District with its striking appearance. The boldness of the dome on the horizon for us sold it as it would be something we will always see and think about.
Thurnham Hall was picked as the reception because of its history and the intimate feel it had, alongside this was the huge fact that it looked like a castle and so went well with The Ashton Memorial.
Our theme was based around a show/play where each part of the day on the program was put together like a set of acts with a synopsis for each part. The programs were designed like you would receive at a show on arrival. The tables were set with each one being a scene from a London market and using the guests on the table we wrote a funny introduction to each scene including them in it. Our invites were designed and printed like an invite to a play based around the old Empire posters where it was heavily typographic with an old ‘admit one’ ticket in each tube for the guests.
The colours were a mixed bunch taking the lead from the bridesmaids dresses and ties and pocket squares to pick out the flower colours. There were bright pastel colours used in the flowers and more subtle tones used in the bridal party’s outfits.
Stephanie’s dress was a princess style dress from Enchanted Brides, Lostock Hall. The gown had a pale pink lace bodice and ivory at the bottom with a band around the waist.
My outfit was bought from Ben Sherman and it was a pale blue suit with a white shirt. The vintage waistcoat and brown braces with it were bought from a vintage fashion shop on Brick Lane.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from two places; the younger three dresses came from an online retailer called Vertbaudet, the older two bridesmaids wore dresses from Dorothy Perkins. The groomsmen got suits from Slaters in Preston and the ties came from Ben Sherman for each groomsman. The pocket squares were handmade from fabric bought from Abakhan.
Stephanie carried a bouquet with various vibrant flowers in it from Flower Design St Annes. There were blooms of different shades with a full poppy head.
I had a wooden bowtie and two ceramic scrabble pieces on each side of the cuff link with L(left) and R(right). Each groomsman had a personalised scrabble piece for their first initial inside the button holes.
Our photographer was James Jebson Photography.
James understands creativity and understands people. Even on the first meeting with James I instantly felt comfortable with him. He has a great personality and he makes you feel in control throughout the day but adds his creative direction to it. He is such a lovely bloke too and has great banter which makes it even nicer. I would actually say he is someone we would like to see more often as I think we formed a bond with him on the day.
When we first saw our images we were absolutely stunned, they were amazing. They brought tears to my eyes when I saw them for the first time.
Our stationery was by Ditto Press, Dalston.
All table furnishings and props were sourced by us from vintage tins to old books as you will see in the photographs. We had a sack for all the wedding notes, the wedding notes were hand letterpressed postcards that people could write on.
We chose to use cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes in Lancaster. 7 tiers were used, the top cake was a fruitcake and the other 6 tiers were various assorted cakes with different flavours.
We had a pianist to play throughout the evening reception for the guests and a DJ afterwards.
We went to Windermere for a minimoon. We stayed at a place called The Rum Doodle, a boutique hotel. Our main honeymoon is in New Zealand next year.
Designing the theme or idea is the trickiest part, so my top tip for Brides Up North would be have a really rough concept from the start, brainstorm ideas together and build a really rough storyboard of what you want in moodboards, Pinterest or drawings, whatever you can. What you will find is that when you start building up the people you are using you will gather ideas and create more ideas with them when meeting them. Its not a bad thing that you have a rough guide. We started the ball rolling with our invitations and this gave us a great design base/concept with look and feel, typography, colours and that reflected in the flowers we wanted and how they were created by our florist.
And drink lots after the wedding watershed. The wedding watershed is around 9:30pm!
October 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding at the amazing Castle Howard near York is all kinds of beautiful. Elegant and classic, with unexpected touches and an overarching feeling of full on luxury, this is my kind of a wedding day.
Twinkling candles, layers of scent, stunning blooms and a black tie theme. Sensational.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Ally Byrom Photography.
Laura says: We got engaged in Barbados two years ago. We were on holiday and Daniel suggested we went to the Sandy Lane beach for the day, a beautiful pristine beach attached to the well known hotel. We were walking along the shore when Daniel got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
We got married on 21st June 2014. We knew we wanted an early summer wedding.
We got married at Castle Howard. If you have ever been there you will know how stunning it is. We had also been there the previous year to race in a triathlon. The views during the drinks reception and on arrival at Castle Howard are lovely.
We had black tie dress code but we didn’t have any special theme. I don’t think you really need to add anything else to Castle Howard, otherwise it might detract from the beautiful venue. We had matte silver colour scheme. We went through endless bridesmaid dress colour swatches before we settled on matte silver! We think it looked chic and elegant on my gorgeous bridesmaids.
I had an Enzoani dress. It had an elegant racer back with some delicate thin lace detail on the neck line and back, fitted to just below my hips and then straight down with a train; and in white of course!
My hairdresser was incredible. Carrie at Urban Hair in Boroughbridge managed to create the exact style I wanted and was so nice and relaxed on the day. I highly recommend her.
My hair accessories were from Flo and Percy, they had a great selection and made each accessory to order. I also got miniature versions of my headpiece for my bridesmaids to wear.
My shoes were from Harriet Wilde, she had a sophisticated, elegant selection of styles. I am quite fussy on shoes but Harriet came to meet me at her London shop to help me choose the right ones.
Daniel wore a Moss Bros dinner suit with a white waistcoat and white cravat.
The bridesmaids wore JLM Couture dresses in matte silver with each of the five bridesmaids in different style dresses. They each chose their own style from a shortlist I gave to them. All the dresses were floor length and fitted with a black beaded waist belt and beige court shoes.
Ally Byrom was my photographer. She did an amazing job! We were very relaxed having our couples shots and she captured the moment perfectly without other guests even realising they were being snapped! I would highly recommend Ally!
Kymm Queen was our florist, I carried some beautifully scented, white peonies and white roses with freesia and lavender hidden around the base (because I love the smell of lavender but didn’t want the colour on display!).
We had white peonies, white roses, lilac freesias and lavender in the centre of the candelabras. We had dried rose petals scattered on the wedding breakfast tables too.
Kirsty Guest at Piece of Cake Harrogate made our impressive four tier (Baileys, Limoncello, Fruit and Chocolate and Guinness) cake with intricate lace design (to match my dress) and little bikes around the base (to keep the husband happy). We also had real flowers between two of the layers.
We had Sloe Gin miniature bottles with personalised ‘Laura and Dan’ stamped labels that we made ourselves. We also filled the miniature bottles ourselves, which was a messy job, but we had plenty of volunteers to help us!
We supplied our own individual types of beers from the countries we had visited together over the last 8 years and had fun little additions with a pick and mix table and giant chocolate letters that spelt out our names.
Our singer Tommy Ludgate (contact through www.michaelhallmusic.co.uk) was sensational and made our ceremony the highlight of the day with acoustic renditions of modern songs which we chose. We really can’t recommend her enough.
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony, but we hadn’t expected it to be. We were looking forward to drinks reception so we could relax but it was just so incredibly special, it was easily the most memorable part of the day. The atmosphere in the great hall at Castle Howard was perfect.
For our honeymoon we visited Lake Como, Tuscany and Sicily. We took our bikes and explored the lakes and Tuscany on them. We enjoyed some wine tasting and amazing meals.
We took a private helicopter trip over Mount Etna for a close up look into the crater.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t get hung up on minor details, they aren’t that important, as long as you have the main things in place you will have the best day.
October 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding feature comes a little later than planned. I’ve been in London attending the Cosmopolitan Wedding Blog Awards alongside fellow leaders in our industry, and travelling back Up North today, East Coast Wifi’s upload speed just ain’t up to scratch for blog business.
This little corner of the internet was proud to be nominated for Best Wedding Blog in last night’s ceremony, and whilst we didn’t take the gong – robbed! – it was great to be recognised for our hard work, and celebrate it in a whirl of Cosmos (what else?), glitter and cupcakes.
A huge thank you to all our readers and supporters who voted for us.
It’s straight back into the pretty here on these pages this evening, as we join reader Vivienne and her new husband Dave for their lovely day at the gorgeously vintage Victoria Baths in Manchester.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vivienne says: I was 8 months pregnant and Dave surprised me with a mini break to Loch Lomond. The proposal came as a total surprise as we had been together for 9 years so had given up dropping hints…. he was very romantic though, we walked to a private beach where he got down on one knee.
We were married on Saturday 12th April 2014. We chose this date because, being a teacher, I needed to fit it in with school holidays. I also love that time of year as it’s when all the fresh flowers start to bloom and sunshine comes out after winter.
We only looked at a few venues, and when we walked into the Victoria Baths, we knew straight away that it was the venue for us. We wanted a venue we could put our own stamp on and make all our own decisions on the details of our day.
We had a vintage fete theme, mostly because we could make all our own decorations and I felt that the colours would suit an April wedding. We tried to use the colours blue and green in order to complement the colours of our venue. However, we really weren’t too prescriptive as I didn’t want to be dashing round shops colour matching in the run up to our day.
We used my grandma’s old table cloths to decorate tables such as where we signed the register. Looking back at photos, they are even more special because of these personal touches.
We used Hipswing Entertainments to hire our beautiful lanterns over the dance floor. They were fantastic and really special when it got darker for our first dance.
As little girls, myself and my sister got bridesmaid dresses from a shop in Edinburgh called Pretty Women. Since that day we have said we will get our own wedding dresses from there and every time we visit family in Edinburgh look forward to seeing what’s new in the window.
I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn and felt inspired by the wedding dress she wears in Funny Face. After trying on a range of dresses, I knew it was the one for me as couldn’t resist spinning round and watching the skirt float round!7
Dave wore a navy 3 piece suit from a brand called Tiger of Sweden.
Our photographer was James Tracey, we saw his photo’s of another wedding at our venue and loved them. We loved how he incorporated the venue into his photographs and caught every emotion during the day.
I would definitely recommend him, in fact a lot of our wedding guests asked if he was a friend we had used as he is so personable and easy to get on with!
As the venue we used was so big, we ordered our flowers directly from a wholesaler. We used Triangle Nursery, I told them the theme of our wedding and they suggested suitable options for us. We then filled paper covered tin cans for the tables and to decorate the venue.
I intended to use the flowers we ordered for my bouquet, however a couple I days before the wedding I walked into Marks and and Spencer and saw the most beautiful bunch of pink tulips. With help from my mum we used these with some gypsophila to create my bouquet.
We had quite strong ideas about the foods we wanted, so chose Thyme Out Deli, Didsbury to do our catering. They took our ideas and made the most delicious foods for us.
We spent weekends cleaning slate so that we could serve local cheeses and ham as a ploughman’s starter board to share. For main we had steak and Manchester ale pie, Thyme Out even painstakingly cut out our initials to put on the top of every pie. We spent further weekends scouring charity shops and making our own vintage cake stands to serve our desserts of macaroons, lemon tarts and brownies on.
My kind and talented friend Hannah Bayliss made our cake. I told her I wanted it to be sage green and was using vintage lace in the wedding, she created the most perfect cake for us!
Our wedding was the weekend before Easter so we gave Lindt bunnies as favours.
My best friend Joanna Łabiak did my make up on the day. I was so pleased to have her with me during an anxious morning and loved the pretty colours of the make up she used on me. Once my make up was complete, Joanna also dashed to our venue to set up and play”Blowers daughter” by Damien Rice on the piano while I walked down the aisle. This is the song we both remember when we first met and it’s been special to us ever since.
We chose a Sheffield band called The Bootleggers, one of our friends had seen them at a wedding and said they were brilliant and everyone was up on the dance floor. They definitely didn’t disappoint!
Walking back down the aisle with our daughter Ava was definitely my favourite part of the day.
Our guests kindly contributed to our honeymoon in Las Vegas. When looking for a honeymoon destination, we realised that this would be the last opportunity for a child free holiday so felt Las Vegas was perfect! We had an amazing week, some days spent simply lying by the pool, recuperating from all the wedding chaos!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t become too fixated on thing such as colour schemes. Go with what you like and it will all come together on the day and be personal to you. Make sure you use family and friends to help out too as this will make the day even more special.
October 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Despite the driest September since records began, it definitely feels like the season is changing. Dewy grass, crunching leaves underfoot and clear night skies can only mean that October, and with it autumn (my favourite season of all) has arrived.
I celebrate my fourth wedding anniversary in a fortnight’s time – a very busy fortnight, there’s a lot to get done between now and then – and I’m looking forward to taking some time with my husband to reflect on a very special time of year for the two of us.
For now though, let’s celebrate the fall with this beautiful styled bridal shoot, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsors JB Creatives and Bolton Castle, and their fabulous team of talented industry experts.
There’s definitely something in the air…
With images by JB Creatives.
The team say: We set out to create some romantic, fairy tale castle wedding images that would compliment the venue and inspire couples that are considering getting married at Bolton Castle. Bolton Castle is a stunning venue. A wedding here would be an authentic Castle experience. It has great big fireplaces, turrets with circular stairs, stone floor, terraces with amazing view of the incredible Dales countryside around. We wanted to create an outside space that used the stunning views of the Dales and showcased the location of this fairy tale wedding venue and captured a set of beautiful images.
Amy of The Greenhouse Florist created an outside dining area for the bride and groom with the Dales as their backdrop, such a romantic and unique setting. We used a chaise longue in the field for some intermate photographs. We wanted to add props into the scenery that wouldn’t usually be in that situation. The chaise longue really made a beautiful contrast to the endless views of the green fields and dry stone walls and brought opulence and luxury to the historic setting. Simple yet effective.
Amy created beautiful flowers of soft creams, vanillas, pinks and apricots, punctuated with pops of zingy orange and flashes of blue. She used lots of different textures in amongst luscious greenery. The warm tones complimented to tones of the castle walls, and were highlighted against the grassy fields. She also made a jasmine and rose circlet, fragrant and beautiful with warm apricot tones complimenting the colours of Libby’s complexion.
Jane of JB Creatives made beautiful place names and menus for the bride and groom’s intermate dining experience. Her stationery designs are bespoke, beautiful and made to the high quality that will undoubtable exceed your expectations.
Jane photographed the couple in and around the castle using the gorgeous scenery and all the venues little quirky details to capture a set of beautiful images that tell a gorgeous love story. Jane’s fine art style is very much capturing the story of a wedding day as it unfolds with all the beautiful details and emotions that come with it.
Deborah and Kelly from Love Hair and Beauty Boutique Ripon did Libby’s hair and makeup to enhance that romantic, soft and warm tone we wanted for the shoot. The ladies are highly experienced and specialists in the wedding industry with a reputation for their creative skills and professionalism.
Kellie from Wedding Belles of Otley supplied the beautiful gowns, veils and accessories for the shoot. The dresses used in the shoot were Aubrey by Nicola Anne and Emily by White Rose.
All the props and furniture featured are available to hire from The Greenhouse Florist.
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