Brides Up North

flowers in her hair. a relaxed wedding at Lumley Castle – kate & mike

October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (27)

Today’s real wedding is something special.  A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.

I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.

Blooming lovely!

With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (1)

Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.

We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (10)

Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.

The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (8)

We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.

There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (11)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (15)

Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.

My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.

Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (16)

The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (18)

We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.

We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (19)

Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (21)

My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.

Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.

My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (23)

We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (29)

The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (31)

We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (35)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (36)

We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.

The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (37)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (42)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (43)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!

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glorious. a cool and colourful real wedding in lancaster – stephanie & mark

October 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (34)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (10)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (8)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (7)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (17)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (19)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (20)

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (23)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (27)

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (31)

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (38)

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (39)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (43)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (41)

We had a pianist to play throughout the evening reception for the guests and a DJ afterwards.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (46)

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.

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (49)

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!

a fresh & colourful wedding at Thornham Hall (c) James Jebson Photography (55)

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simple boho – a Monsoon gown for a wedding at Ringwood Hall – laurie & paddy

October 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (75)

This real wedding is a little bit special to me because I went to school with the bride and one of my best friends Kate *waves* was one of her lovely bridesmaids.

If I had to describe Laurie it would be a warm and laid back person who likes the pretty things in life and enjoys having a flippin good time – to me this wedding is a perfect reflection of that.

I love how personal her and Paddy made their big day. From the engagement and wedding date tied in with the time they met (at Leeds Festival no less) to the great involvement from their family and friends to make the day a truly special affair.

Also, I have to mention that two of Laurie’s bridesmaids and her photographer were pregnant at the time of the wedding so massive kudos to the lovely ladies for completing their duties with a big smiles as well as big bellies!

Right, over to Laurie for those all important details.

Photos by Gabrielle Bower Photography.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (2)

Laurie says: We got engaged on the 23rd of August 2013, which was a year to the day since we met at Leeds Festival. Paddy proposed at home but he needed to get me out the way while he prepared everything which is where my friend Kate came in. It was very personal, he lit lots of candles all around the house and waited patiently for me to come home from being out with Kate. When I arrived he told me I was his best friend, that he loved me and then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

We set the date for the 28th of August 2014, because we met on a Thursday two years previously.

Our chosen wedding venue was Ringwood Hall in Chesterfield. We looked at several small venues as we wanted a more intimate wedding than most. I’d been to a few weddings at Ringwood Hall and knew it was a really beautiful venue so decided to go take a look, even just to rule it out. They showed us their two smaller venue rooms, which Paddy and I immediately fell in love with. The staff at Ringwood Hall were absolutely fantastic too!

We didn’t have a theme as such; instead we just choose things that we loved as we wanted a really relaxed wedding. We both love vintage, retro, boho things so I suppose you could say we went down that road. Navy featured throughout the wedding as it’s mine and Paddy’s favourite colour. The bridesmaids wore navy which looked really flattering and classy and Paddy wore a navy tie.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (5)

I chose a very simple floor-length dress in ivory, it had a slight drape at the back and a small train. I always knew I wanted something simple and when I tried the dress on at the Monsoon store in Manchester I just knew that was the one. To complete my look my cousin Georgina Dobson did my make- up, she’s an incredible make-up artist, and my best friend Kelly Pendleton did my hair. I totally left it down to both of them (no pressure) and they were absolutely fantastic.

Paddy picked a grey three-piece suit, white shirt and navy tie all from Next for his big day attire.

My bridesmaids wore navy dresses that I ordered online from China and a good friend of mine, Sarah Coombes, tailored them all to fit perfectly. I was so pleased with the dresses and so were the bridesmaids. Two of them were eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding, my sister Hayley and my friend Kate, so it was really important the dresses were flattering and that the girls felt comfortable in them.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (34)

Our fab photographer was a very good friend of mine, Gabrielle Bower. Paddy and I would recommend Gabrielle to everyone; she is so talented and super professional. We were absolutely amazed with our photos, in fact I cried when I saw them. Like the rest of our wedding we wanted the photos to be relaxed and Gabs just totally got us and what we wanted straight away. She captured every single moment and more.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (38)

My flowers were done by a lovely lady called Liz at Meadow Sweet in Sheffield. They were wild and natural style flowers, all locally grown. We absolutely loved them and so did all our guests. In addition to floral decorations, my very creative and talented sister-in-law Beck at Little Ghost made our stunning table stationary, invites and table plan.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (44)

We choose a three- tier Victoria sponge with strawberries – or as it’s known a ‘naked cake’ for our wedding day. It was absolutely amazing. A lovely lady at Swoon Bakery made it for us. Yum, yum!

We selected a ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’s’ menu from Ringwood Hall for our meal. For starters there was a choice of tomato bruschetta or pate, mains was either beef with Yorkshire puddings or chicken in a tarragon and mushroom sauce and for deserts there was strawberry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles. Ringwood Hall had a great choice of food and we really enjoyed the taster session. It was so difficult to choose but we went with our favourites.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (53)

I would 110 per cent recommend Ringwood Hall to other wedding couples – and not just for the food. The staff were great and the service was fantastic! They took total control of the whole day so everything ran so smoothly. Their packages are worth every single penny.

To get the party started we had a family member DJ for us in the evening. We had a great time dancing the night away!

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (59)

My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to see my husband-to-be. Other than that we couldn’t possibly pin point another ‘best part’ of the day – it was all truly amazing and more than what we’d ever dreamt of.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (61)

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (60)

For our honeymoon we went to Mexico for two weeks, it was absolutely fantastic. Wish we were then now. We got married on the Thursday, booked it on the Saturday and jetted off the following Saturday. Our honeymoon was all thanks to our generous family and friends who gave us money towards it.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (65)

My top tip to other brides-to-be would be to have what you want and be sure to get your other half involved. Don’t be lured into gimmicks if you’re on a budget, a perfect day doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Enjoy planning it! Our wedding was very personal and we had great family and friends with various talents that kindly offered their expertise to help us create our perfect day for which we are very grateful.

a classy wedding in Chesterfield (c) Gabrielle Bower Photography (74)

Since our big day Hayley has given birth to a gorgeous baby boy named Joshua and Kate has also had a cute little boy called Ollie. Our photographer Gabs shot our wedding whilst pregnant so she is also soon to be a mum!

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pretty eclectic. a marquee wedding at Chirk Castle – gemma & david

October 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (34)

I do love autumn.  Crisp skies, moody mists, golden leaves, better telly.

This is a special season and a special week, in fact, for my family as my husband and I celebrate four happy years of marriage together, and our second anniversary with our little daughter in tow.

If you tie the knot yourself this week, let me tell you, it’s a great one for it – and I hope you are as happy in your future lives as we are.

For the rest of you, let’s kick off another week of wedding inspiration with this pretty marquee castle wedding, sent to Brides Up North by our fabulous Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Gemma.

String out the bunting…

With images by SMH Photography.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (8)

Gemma says: We got engaged on a weekend away in Cardiff.  We saw the perfect ring and knew the time was right.

We set the date for 25 July 2014.  We are both teachers and knew we wanted to marry at the start of the summer holidays.  The venue is lovely on a sunny day and we wanted to maximise our chances of plenty of sun.

We were married at Chirk Castle.  It is one of our favourite places to visit.  We have always found it very romantic and loved the idea of being able to have the ceremony in the Hawk House.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (16)

We decided on a pretty eclectic theme.  There were lots of flowers and pastel colours but we wanted it to feel relaxed and have an informal, thrown together feel. We didn’t have just one main colour.  Lots of floral patterns and colours were important to us so that is what we were aiming for.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (21)

I chose a Maggie Sottero gown.  It was a long dress in light gold with beading.  It had straps and was corseted at the back.  I didn’t want a white dress and after searching for a year found one that I thought was perfect.  I used Aristocrats Of Chester.

David wore a grey Cameron Ross morning suit.  The morning suit seemed to go better with the informal style of the day.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (32)

We used SMH Photography.  They were great and we would highly recommend the services of Sandra and Steve.  They were very professional and worked really hard all day.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (37)

Our flowers were from Fletcher and Foley.  We had a variety of fragrant herb and flowers to link the the garden theme. We had jugs of flowers on the tables that matched the bouquet and buttonholes.

The favours were homemade whiskey marmalade for the men and strawberry jam for the ladies.  David’s parents made them and we bought personalised labels from notonthe highstreet.com.

We choose a ‘Naked Cake’ after seeing something similar in a newspaper.  We had three tiers each filled with cream and decorated with fresh flowers and fruit.  Our colleague, Nerys, has made the cakes for lots of the teachers at our school and did a great job on a very hot day!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (40)

Andrea at Fabulous Day was our wedding planner and we couldn’t have done it without her. We want her to come and live with us now!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (25)

We used Ice Cream Dub ice cream for desserts, including mojito and strawberry champagne flavours. The van looked great.

In the evening we had a curry station served outside as the weather was so great. Rupert Frazer Worden was our fantastic caterer. At the bar we had Wrexham Lager on tap as David’s grandad worked for the company. It was great to have it there.

We also loved the DIY photo booth provided by our marquee company. The guests had loads of fun playing around.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (43)

We used Lucy of Memento Stationary and were very pleased with the results. We’ve even used Lucy for our thank you cards.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (47)

We loved the setting for our wedding and would have chosen it a thousand times over. The place was already special to us and now it’s a special part of our lives. My family members from South Wales loved it so much they’ve been back to visit.

I was apprehensive about the ceremony as I’m a very emotional person but it was just perfect! Very natural and laid back, just as we wanted it!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (48)

I really wanted to go to the Maldives and it was just perfect. We booked through Kuoni and had 10 days in the Maldives and three days in Dubai. It was the perfect end to the whole experience. A perfect setting and great service at a wonderful resort. We want to go back now!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (54)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to hire Andrea, she had so many unique and money saving tips and contacts. Our day would have been completely different without her. Thank you Andrea!

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suit & tie. a stunning classic wedding at Castle Howard – laura & daniel

October 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (17)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (6)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (11)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (12)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (14)

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!

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (18)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (21)

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (22)

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (29)

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (34)

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!

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (37)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (43)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (46)

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (52)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (56)

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.

a classic wedding at Castle Howard (c) Ally Byrom Photography (53)

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.

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funny face. a pretty wedding at victoria baths – vivienne & dave

October 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

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.

Enjoy.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (7)

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.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (9)

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.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (10)

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 bridesmaids wore dresses from BHS and Monsoon.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (12)

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!

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (15)

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.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (17)

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.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (20)

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

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!

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (32)

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (42)

Walking back down the aisle with our daughter Ava was definitely my favourite part of the day.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (46)

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!

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (51)

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.

a pretty wedding at victoria baths (c) James Tracey Photography (52)

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blooms & bunting. a colourful barn wedding in Sheffield – mary & howie

October 7th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (13)

The weather might not have been so kind to today’s real wedding couple but that didn’t dampen a single person’s spirits at this incredibly pure and pretty celebration.

I love that although Howie and Mary have clearly put careful thought into planning their big day the results seem 100 per cent effortless.

Everything fits together perfectly. From the earthy and informal venues, to the naturally beautiful blooms and the rustic homemade cakes – slice of the lemon and lavender for me please!

So let’s head down to the woods today for Howie and Mary’s wonderful wedding.

With images by Kate Cooper Photography.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (2)

Mary says: We got engaged in June 2012, in my home village of Kempley in Gloucestershire. It was the Jubilee weekend and we had gone down to visit my family. Howie suggested going for a walk together on Saturday morning. We went out over the fields across the back of the house. Howie was unusually quiet and eventually, in a carefully chosen field with the least amount of cow pats, he stopped me, got down on one knee and proposed. It was lovely as it was in a place I knew and loved so well and we could go straight home and tell my mum and sister who went berserk!

We set the date for 7th June 2014. We actually chose this date so that it would not clash with any of the World Cup football that was on that summer. Neither of us are particularly into football but didn’t want anyone to be sneakily watching a penalty shoot out at the wedding.

The Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield was our chosen wedding venue. I grew up with woods just up the road and love walking and being in the woods. It had a very natural and informal feel to it which is what we wanted, the staff were lovely and the woods are an incredibly beautiful backdrop for a special gathering. It just felt right. We had our reception in the lambing barn at Whirlow Hall Farm, just up the road. Again it was a place we felt very comfortable in. We also had total freedom to decorate and use the space however we wanted to. Lots of room for children to run about and a farm tour was even available for those that wanted to do it.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (6)

We didn’t have a special theme as such instead we just chose things that we liked and luckily had lots of friends and family who wanted to help out. I suppose you could call it a DIY wedding as we had to come up with everything from scratch.

Similarly we didn’t have a specific colour theme but we knew that we wanted it to be colourful. I wanted my bridesmaids all in different colours, but pastel shades. The bunting and doily decorations in the barn went along with this. For the flowers we used pastel shades again and things like ferns to make it ‘woodlandy’.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (9)

My dress was Beatriz by J Crew. I wanted something quite simple but pretty. I loved the lace and the T-shirt neckline. My seamstress and I also came up with a way of hitching the outer dress up using four buttons at the back, front and sides. This made it easier to dance in and gave it a whole new look. My shoes were just pretty, cream ballet shoes from Accessorize. I ordered a woollen crocheted shawl from Etsy and got my golden flower earrings from a jewellers in Sheffield called Green and Benz.

Howie wore a blue suit from TK Maxx. It was lovely and fitted a treat. It took a half hour shopping trip, unbelievable! My bridesmaids wore different coloured long floaty dresses that were ordered from an online shop on Etsy. The groomsmen meanwhile wore blue suits from various places and matching ties.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (15)

Kate Cooper did our photographs. We were really happy with the results and she was great to work with. Lots of the guests commented on how nice she was during the day.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (16)

My bouquet contained lots of different flowers and foliage including lavender, ferns, senecio, grasses and wheat. The bridesmaids had flowers in their hair and the groom and ushers wore buttonholes. These really suited the venue and were all provided by Campbell’s Flowers. Tracey there was absolutely lovely to work with and very flexible in terms of what we wanted. Campbell’s Flowers also provided our top table arrangement and small bunches of baby’s breath, dotted around the venue. In addition, we placed lavender plants from Yorkshire Lavender on each table, which we invited guests to take home at the end of the evening.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (17)

We had three tiered cakes – carrot, ginger and plain sponge – baked by Howie’s uncle Chris Beaney of Beaney’s Bakery. Our friend Noemie of Noemie’s Kitchen  also made lemon sponge decorated with lavender. Both of these were amazing! We invited friends and family to contribute to a cake table, so we had about 15 other wonderful cakes – there certainly wasn’t a shortage!

The food was provided by Whirlow Hall Farm, most of which was produced on-site. We had canapés after the ceremony, a big barbecue at the reception and a Ploughman’s platter in the evening. We hunted for good deals on wine. The red ended up being from Morrison’s and the white was bought in France. We also found some good Prosecco in Aldi – shop around!

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (21)

We had a Ceilidh band called Rodger the Badger for our entertainment. They were great for getting all the guests dancing after the meal, followed by our own disco into the night.

The barn was big enough to have a kids section cordoned off by hay bales. It was a great space for them to run wild! We provided colouring books, balloons and games. This seemed to work really well for both parents and kids.

We would most certainly recommend our venue to other couples. The barn was simple but loads of fun and the food provided was great. It’s also a charity that does great work for the community, so we felt it was money well spent! We would also recommend our friend Catherine Iles for stationary. She produced some fantastic order of the days and a table plan for us! They were decorated with magical woodland scenes. We loved them!

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (31)

Dancing and drinking into the night was definitely one of the best parts of the day as that’s what we like to do. Also being with all our friends and family – it’s incredible to have almost everyone you know and love together for the day.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (38)

For our honeymoon we went to Iceland. We spent 12 days driving around this amazing country. We enjoyed fantastic landscapes, people and food, incredible scenery, mountains, whale watching, walking, volcanoes, glaciers and lots of hot springs to bob around in. It’s a very romantic and peaceful place, which we would highly recommend.

a colourful diy wedding in sheffield (c) Kate Cooper Photography (41)

Our top tip for other brides and grooms-to-be would be to focus on the important things to you as a couple. For us it was food, drink, music and dancing. Also, don’t forget friends and family are often happy to help you out!

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peony pink. a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall – natalie & anthony

October 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (43)

I really, really don’t want to jinx it, but I honestly think this might be the best Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition season yet.

I’m recharging (and still on a high!) today after my fourth weekend (a double bill in Leeds and Northumberland this time) at the helm of some very lovely, very busy events indeed, and taking a breather having reached the half way point for autumn 2014.

It was another record attendance all round yesterday and I’d really love to see you at our remaining shows this season – we’re back in action this very weekend at both Middleton Lodge and Allerton Castle – so click here for the full line up.

But for now. it’s back to the online gorgeous, as we join Natalie and Anthony for their pretty & pink wedding at Bartle Hall in Preston.

I love my job.

Images by Samantha Broadley Photography

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (1)

Natalie says: We got engaged on my 21st birthday at a meal with all our family. After we had eaten, Anthony got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked and didnt have a clue. All our family knew before the meal and my Mum even helped him pick out the ring.

We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014 at Bartle Hall, Preston.

We went looking around a few venues but eventually choose Bartle Hall. The grounds are beautiful and the staff were very welcoming and helpful. Most importantly the venue had accommodation so our family could stay over, that played a big part in helping us decide.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (3)

I’ve always wanted to use pink for my wedding, which Anthony wasn’t too keen on! I wanted my venue dressing to be all about the flowers and I wanted them to make the room. We used Flower Design from Blackpool who did an amazing job and created the exact look that I wanted, using lots of blousy peonies.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (6)

My dress was by Mori Lee from Dan Kerr, Preston. Although the style of the dress I chose was quite simple, the detail on it was amazing. It was very heavy in lace and had lots of bling!

My bridesmaids had tried lots of different styles of dresses on but I was looking for something that was a little bit different. I wanted them to stand out from the other guests and I found with the typical maxi style dresses they could of easily of been mistaken for guests. I chose a shorter design of dress as the wedding was in a summer months and to show off their shoes. I was really pleased with how the dresses looked on the day and all the girls said they were really comfortable to wear throughout the day, even after a three course meal. They were from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique.

The flower girls’ dresses were from BHS and great value for money.

For the boys, we needed twelve suits in total so we decided to hire them for the day. We went to a few places looking but finally decided on Moss Bros. Their suits looked smart and not worn, unlike others we’d seen previously. They were great at organising fittings for twelve people and made the collection and return process so easy.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (10)

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (17)

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (18)

Our photographer was Samantha Broadley.  Sam made us feel so comfortable throughout the day and half of the time I never knew she was there! After getting the pictures back we are so,so pleased with how they turned out and they really captured the whole day from start to finish. Sam made us a snapshot DVD of images which she set to music of our choice, this was so well done and even brought Anthony to tears. Everyone has commented on how lovely her photos are and my brother-in-law has even booked her for his wedding next year!

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (22)

We had a mixture of high and low table centre pieces for our reception. As the high centre pieces were so big we had to be careful that they didnt overface the room. Flower Design perfectly placed the high centre pieces to create maximum effect when walking into the room. I also had the whole length of my top table draped in flowers, it looked amazing and so effective.

We chose a simple white cake as we used flowers to decorate it. The cake was four tiers with spacers in between for the flowers which gave it extra height. Two layers were chocolate and two sponge, by The Cake Lady, Blackpool.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (28)

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (32)

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (34)

We decided on a last minute honeymoon which we booked after the wedding, and went to the Sensatori Hotel in Crete.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (42)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you both happy and what you want to do, not what pleases other people.

a pretty wedding at Bartle Hall (c) Samantha Broadley Photography (45)

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fiesta, fiesta! a mexican themed wedding at Utopia – abi & rob

September 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (44)

I don’t know about you, but I feel in the mood for a celebration!

We’re about half way through our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition season and it really does feel like I get to throw a fabulous party (sometimes two!) every Sunday.  I adore my job, and love sharing all that inspiration with my readers in real life. Add to that an exciting new industry venture and a host of awards ceremonies – we’ve been nominated for a couple of big blogging gongs this season – to sparkle at this month, and you’ve got one very excited wedding blogger, ready to let her hair down.

I absolutely think a wedding should be a celebration.  A religious or civil union yes, but also a party to say thank you for love, family and friendship.  And if there’s glitter and streamers thrown in, all the better.

This afternoon’s bride and groom, Abi and Rob, agree. Their Mexican themed fiesta wedding is full of bright colours, and you can almost hear the party pounding off these pages.

Pass me the tequila.  I’m in.

With images by Joanne Ingle Photography.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (10)

Abi says: We got engaged in February 2014 on a weekend away in a forest cabin. Rob asked me in the hot tub under the stars. We got married on 23rd August as we didn’t want to wait very long to get married, at Utopia, Broughton Hall. We both loved the venue as soon as we saw it. It’s light, natural and surrounded by beautiful gardens and views over the surrounding hills.

We had a Mexican theme for our wedding as our relationship became serious whilst we were on a bike trip cycling from San Francisco to Mexico City.

The colour scheme was bright and bold to reflect the Mexican theme, we wanted it to be happy and unlike most other weddings.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (12)

I chose a very simple, elegant wedding dress that I had made by a wonderful seamstress Julia Worsnop. I wanted to accessorise with bright shoes and flowers in my hair. I also wanted to dance the night away so needed a dress I was comfortable in.

Rob had a bespoke suit made at Tailor Made London.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (14)

We ordered the flowers wholesale online, my mum made the bouquet and arranged the table flowers and a friend made the buttonholes.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (6)

The flowers were all very bright with lots of gerberas and carnations. We ordered lots of paper fans from Pipii. My mum, Rob, a couple of friends and I hand made 500 pompoms that mum strung together instead of bunting. They looked so cheerful and pretty festooned around the venue.

My dad made a wonderful wedding cake. It was a fruit cake, with homemade almond paste.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (7)

Everyone had a fake moustache at their table setting and we had inflatable guitars for the dance floor.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (21)

Joanne Ingle Photography was our photographer, I would highly recommend her, she was fantastic.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (27)

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (36)

We had a mariachi band from Mariachi Loco for the drinks reception, a photo booth from Picabo Photography and a band called Alvin and the Hip Monks who we booked through Act Sharp.

They were all fantastic and really made the day something special and different.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (38)

We would recommend Utopia to another couple in a heartbeat. It’s the kind of venue that would be great with very little decoration and in any weather. Our celebrant, Barbara stringer was also really wonderful and supportive.

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (41)

We are really looking forward to our honeymoon and are off to New Zealand and Fiji in a couple of months!

a mexican themed wedding at Utopia (c) Joanne Ingle Photography (50)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to get all of the organising and stress out of the way early to make sure you enjoy the day. Realise that there are lots of things that are out of your control, your guests arrive happy and ready to enjoy themselves no matter what.

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let love grow. a boho beach wedding at the alnwick garden – frankie & chris

September 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (24)

The days might officially be getting shorter, but look on the bright side Brides Up North, that just means lots of beautiful summer celebrations to recap on these pretty pages.

This morning we’re starting the week off in beautiful Northumberland, and paying a visit to the Alnwick Treehouse and Alnwick Garden (where Brides Up North is very proud to be hosting our gorgeous Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition on Sunday 5th October 2014, are you coming?).

Frankie and Chris’s colourful, natural, boho inspired wedding is bright and beautiful with authentic personal styling.  Let the love grow indeed…

With images by Wildhearts and Wishes Photography, with second shooter Jacqui Grigg.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (1)
a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (19)

Frankie says: We got engaged on 3 February 2013. The short and romantic version is that, one Sunday night, we went for a walk and Chris proposed along the banks of Thames in the old Naval College in Greenwich, underneath a 19th century lamp post. The longer, more accurate and less romantic story is that Chris proposed one Sunday night whilst wearing sweat pants in the house in the middle of an argument… a quick change into some nicer clothes and a short walk to our favourite location and we made it official against a more romantic setting!

We got married on Saturday 21st June 2014 at St Paul’s RC Catholic Church, Alnwick. The drinks reception and wedding breakfast was then in Alnwick Treehouse, before moving across to Alnwick Gardens for the evening do.

In terms of deciding location we knew we wanted somewhere meaningful to us so we started looking in three locations.  1) Greenwich in London where we have been living for 2 ½ years and where we got engaged, 2). Newcastle where we started living together for the first time, 3). Northumberland where we had both grown up and met.

We only looked round a few venues in London to know that something was missing, and that something was the North East.  When we looked round venues in Newcastle and Northumberland we knew straight away that that was where we should say our vows.

Having limited our choices to the North East, we were then still indecisive so greedily ended up choosing three venues instead of one!  Having both been brought up Roman Catholic, we were always going to get married in a RC Church.  We chose St Paul’s not only because of its location and its beautiful atheistic, but because we really gelled with the priest.  He was so supportive and down to earth; he sealed the deal for us!

We specifically chose Alnwick Gardens and Treehouse, as not only were they wonderfully characterful and beautiful venues in their own right, but because they also afforded us with the freedom and scope to reflect some of ourselves in the day.  Additionally, personalities played a part in helping us make our final venue choices, as the venue managers who showed us round both venues Arthur (at the Gardens) and David and Wendy (at the Treehouse) were both so friendly, accommodating and quirky that we knew they would understand the feel we were trying to create for the day.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (11)

We tried to ensure it was a feminist wedding – my Mum and Dad walked me down the aisle, but neither of them ‘gave me away’; my sister did a speech so that it was not an all male line up; and we changed some of the wording in the wedding ceremony to make it more ‘inclusive’.

Our themes/styles were quite broad; we wanted them to reflect our personalities and shared loves. In terms of style, we wanted to create a relaxed, free spirited (hence the no ties!) and environmentally conscious vibe (hence the tree planting, seed packet favour and recycled white-gold wedding ring).

Theme wise, it was primarily (a) music, to reflect our shared love of music; and (b) floral country garden to reflect our love of rural Northumberland and my love of big floral prints.  So as long as it was bright, colourful and fun, it was in!

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (22)

My dress was ‘Harper’ Rue De Seine.  I fell in love with it because it fitted the feel of both venues as well as my personal tastes; it combined both the bohemian, ethereal feel of the Treehouse with its flowing, loose fitting shape, whilst also encompassing the elegance and beauty of the Gardens through the beautifully detailed 1920’s style embellishments on the capped sleeves and midriff.

Both my mum and the lovely ladies in Luella’s Boudoir in Wimbledon Village must take a lot of credit for helping me choose my dress and I will be forever grateful to them for doing so. My shoes I bought online from Etsy.  They were embellished in an art deco design that matched the style of the dress.

The groom and groomsmen all wore grey, slim fit, limited edition suits from Marks and Spencer with white shirts.  Both Chris and I met whilst working in Marker and Spencer 8 years ago so it seemed fitting that they should be part of day in some way, as without M&S our romance never would have happened!  In keeping with Chris’ laid-back style and personality, the collars were all open necked.

The bridesmaids wore green and blue floral mix and match 1950’s swing style dresses. The dresses were bespoke; designed and made by a local seamstress in my hometown, Morpeth (The Sewing Box).  The material was Liberty of London, Lawn Denise Eva that I found in a fabric shop in London ClothHouse.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (26)

We hired a 28 seater 1940’s gray and white former RAF bus from a local bus enthusiast in Northumberland.   The owner of the bus does not run a business; he just does it for pleasure so we were really lucky to find him.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (31)

Our photographer was Paula Smart from Wildhearts and Wishes Photography.

We would absolutely recommend Paula.  Her photos are beautifully natural, understated and artistic.  We loved her laid-back, genuine style both in her photos and as a personality.  She was so thorough, accommodating and on the day, fitted in entirely with us so that photos were built around the day rather than dictated the day.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (32)

Our florist was Christine from Lavenders Blue in Morpeth.  I have been going to Christine’s shop since I was 3 years old (she even taught my mum floristry) so it was nice to have that personal and local link in the day.

My bouquet was a loose posy of wildflowers, including: blue delphiniums, pink freesia, gypsophlia, blue thistle, pink stock, clematis vine, ivory freesia and green bells, tied with ivory satin ribbon. In my hair I had a garland of flowers made with the vine of green bells with pink stock, pink freesia bud, blue delphinium and gypsophlia.

The bridesmaids had simple bouquets of gysophila to offset the patterns on their dresses.

Christine arranged our flowers for the church and for both venues. In the church we had 2 pedestals containing blue delphinium, hydrangea, lilac stock, green trailing amaranthus, viburnum opulus, thistle and astrantia. On the end of the pews, we had 16 jam jars – which we had hand decorated with craft and manuscript paper and flowers.  These jam jars were then used on the tables at the treehouse.

In the Gardens we used an eclectic selection of containers (vases, tea cups, jugs etc) that belonged to ourselves or members of our families, including family heirlooms such as a jug that was a wedding present to my granny.  These included the same selection of flowers as the jam jars. We also had vintage style buckets and watering cans filled with pink and blue hydrangeas dotted around all the venue which we provided ourselves.

Decorations wise, we had a mix of multicoloured pom poms, floral print lanterns and distressed white wooden lanterns with nightlights.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (34)

In the treehouse, our wedding favours were also our table settings.  We had mini-jam jars filled with raspberry and plum jam that had been made by my Granny.  Each jar had a hand stamped label attached to it with a guests name on one side and ‘Thank you from Frankie and Chris: Spread The Love’ on the other side’.

At the evening do we had seed packets for wedding favours. We planted a tree in the gardens, and had a washing line of string marking out the area, with seed packets on it.  The speed packets were hand stamped with ‘Frankie and Chris: Grow the Love’.

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We chose an ‘All You Need is Love’ Beatles themed cake as part of our music theme, as well as because we loved its vibrant, psychedelic feel.  It was made by A Symphony in Sugar, a fantastic local couple based in Cramlington.

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Chris is a musician so various combinations of his old band and a band that was born out of that provided the music on the day. And of course, Chris was playing too!  The tunes were a combination acoustic soul in the first set and punk rock-fused crowd pleasers in the second set – it went down a treat! Dominic Murphy pulled it all together.  He has fifteen years experience as a musician working all over the North East in original, covers and function bands. It was great to have our friends involved in the day like this – it produced a very personal connection.

The music theme started as early as in the church, so we walked in and out to two of our favourite songs: ‘Sweet Disposition’ by the Temper Trap on the way in and ‘You Make my Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oats on the way out.  This really made the service come to life and be very personal to us.  Plus it really got the party started early when we walked out to Hall & Oats with the congregation waving wedding wands with bells on!

In the Treehouse, we had a little room called the Roost, which we renamed ‘the sound track to our story.’  In this room we had all the key songs that had formed part of our story growing up and then together as a couple.  As this music was playing there was also a slide show of photos of both of us over the years chronicling our stories to the present day, which my mum had put together.

The handmade seating plan was also part of the music theme, with every table being named after one of out favourite songs.  The table names were displayed on vinyl CDs that were hung from an old 1930’s suitcase that belonged to my Great Grandpa.

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We used etsy quite a bit, particularly for thank you presents for the wedding party and wedding stationary.  If you have an idea, however quirky, etsy will have it.  There are some amazingly individual suppliers.

Wendy from Just Perfect in Cramlington was particularly helpful.  She stocks a range of products from lots of local suppliers as well as hires accessories.

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To tempt people out into the garden to begin with we planted a tree.  As die hard romantics (and a historian) we loved the concept that however fleeting the day was; there would always be a part of our wedding in Alnwick Garden and that future generations of our family can visit our tree long after we are gone.  We also felt that we were so lucky to be celebrating such a wonderful day with our friends and family that by planting a tree we were in some way putting something back into the environment.

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My favourite moment was after the ceremony, Chris and I went to the beach for a few photographs.  The beach was quite secluded and despite being a public place and us being quite conspicuously dressed it felt like it was just the two of us.  It was a lovely personal time, in what was a brilliant but busy day, with a beautiful setting.

Also, I would have to say Chris’s fabulous speech was a highlight.  As was seeing him coming alive by being reunited with his old band mates and seeing how much he enjoyed performing with them and how much people enjoyed his performance.

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For our honeymoon we went to Montenegro.  We wanted something that offered a bit of everything (history, culture, café culture, beaches and outdoor activities) and had been meaning to go Eastern Europe for a while. Montenegro offers so much variety within a fairly small area. Two days in Kotor with its café culture and beautiful, 15th century preserved surroundings, two days in Petrovac on the coast for some beach time and a week in rural and unspoiled Virpazar on an adventure holiday through Undiscovered Montenegro – hiking, kayaking, wine tasting and bike rides.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t be afraid to deviate from what is considered tradition and the standard wedding format.  Make sure the day reflects you; don’t conform to something that doesn’t mean anything to you on the one day that is solely about you both. You get out what you put in!

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