March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple Tessa and Joe dreamt of a grand setting for their big day, and boy did they land on their feet when they discovered Samlesbury Hall.
Roaring open fires, historic wood panelling and regal chandeliers all contributed to this atmospheric winter wedding in the North West.
So join us as we cross the threshold of the gorgeous Samlesbury mansion to relive Tess and Joe’s fabulous day.
With images from Rachel Joyce Photography.
tessa says: Joe proposed to me on the 9th September 2014 in our front room. It is a funny story as we had just bought a house and were due to move the very next day. So it was a bit of a chaotic time and I came home expecting to see some progress made on the packing. I walked in the front door and saw that nothing had been done so started to tell him I wasn’t too impressed. I had barely started to speak when I noticed he was down on one knee. He had planned to have Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud playing when he asked but had accidentally muted it so was trying frantically to unmute it to be able to propose. To be honest I was so shocked I hardly noticed. I was so happy, even though he hadn’t packed a thing. Joe jokes that he needed an excuse to get out of packing. We then celebrated with lots of champagne!
We set the date for 7th February 2015. We had originally wanted a summer wedding. Neither of us liked the idea of a long engagement so had approached the venue thinking June/July for it. But they were booked up! So they showed us their dates and we noticed there was late availability for a February wedding. This was perfect for us as it meant a good price on the venue and we could have an open fire going during the wedding breakfast which looked gorgeous.
We got married at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire. Like most people we had dreamed of the grandeur of a castle or the beautiful interior of a church, but obviously a castle isn’t always possible and a religious service was not what we wanted. So we thought we would struggle to get the real idyllic surrounding we wanted. We looked at a couple of venues in the south as that is where I’m from, but nothing seemed right. Joe and I stumbled across Samlesbury and thought we would have a visit and see. Well we fell in love with it straight away. It is a fantastic old Tudor style mansion with wooden beamed ceilings, open fire places, original furniture and an excellent story connected to it. It had the ceremony room (which used to be a chapel), then a parlour space for meet and greet, and then a fantastic great hall for the meal. We were smitten with it.
We didn’t really have a special theme instead we just chose colours we liked to style the day. Because we chose February as the month it meant that we had imagined a more wintery wedding. The building and the open fires added to this and so we went with a navy blue and champagne scheme to complement the venue and time of year.
I chose a traditional ivory wedding dress with a lace top and chiffon bottom. The keyhole back was the best part of the dress as it fit perfectly to my shape. I went dress shopping at Anne Whittaker Bridal Wear in Accrington with some friends who helped choose the dress for me, I remember it was one of the first ones they picked out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the type of dress I wanted but as soon as I tried it on I loved it. Lindsay, from Anne Whittaker’s, was really helpful. Nothing was ever too much and she gave her honest opinion about each dress I tried without being pushy. I was very impressed with her prices and would definitely recommend her to any bride-to-be.
Joe chose a Prince Edward mid-grey suit with a white waistcoat and navy cravat. He also used Ann Whittaker’s as they had great outfits and offered a discount because we got my wedding dress from them.
The bridesmaids wore full-length navy dresses from Very.co.uk. I bought silver pashminas for my bridesmaid and grey for my maids of honour. The groomsmen wore the same as Joe, but had a different flower for the buttonhole.
I travelled in an ivory Morris Minor with navy ribbons to fit with the theme. It’s mine and my dad’s favourite car. He has owned one for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t dream of arriving in anything else. We hired it from Regent Classics. Geraldine was really helpful and thought of all the little details, for example having a ‘Just Married’ sign for photos after the ceremony and even provided a bottle of sparkling wine for us.
We used Rachel Joyce Photography for the wedding photography. We would absolutely recommend Rachel to anyone, we already have recommended her to three other couples. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, not obtrusive and so easy to get on with. Her photos speak for themselves.
I had a bouquet of red Tulips (my favourite flowers) with some leaves and wrapped in ivory voile. They were provided by Garlands Florist. Rachel and Simon from Garlands were absolutely fantastic. They made the day very beautiful and the whole process was easy. I’d definitely recommend them to anyone looking for flowers. Garlands also provided us with candelabras decorated with tulips, leaves and thistles for each table as well as a gorgeous top table flower arrangement and hurricane vases to line the ceremony room, which were just amazing.
We hired Wedding Creations to do the tables and chairs. We chose white and champagne for this to keep it elegant and simple. Jane from Wedding Creations was a dream to work with, she was very attentive and made everything a pleasure. She also provided us with a post box for the wedding gifts and some festoon lighting for the great hall.
A first we couldn’t think what to give as favours but then I thought it would be a cute idea to give everyone a scratch card. We partnered this with some heart shaped chocolate and put it inside a pillow box on everyone’s table space.
My mother-in-law made our wedding cake. She did fruit cake and sponge cake and decorated it with flowers and ribbon topping it off with a bride and groom Dalmatian cake topper (my absolute favourite dog). It was a gorgeous cake for which we were very grateful.
Samlesbury Hall did the catering for the wedding and it was outstanding. We also had canapés and fizz in the parlour room during the photos. For the evening they put on a great spread of chilli con carne or Lancashire hot pot, which our guests absolutely loved.
We had Simon from Garlands playing the piano for our ceremony, he was excellent. Joe, as a lover of jazz music, wanted to have some live jazz playing during the breakfast. So we hired a piano and saxophone duo who were absolutely tremendous. These guys we found through Dream Day Music. Then for the evening we hired Dave Lee to be the DJ. We cannot recommend Dave enough. He not only played the music we wanted, but was an excellent MC for the evening. He had a portal space set up for the months leading up to the wedding where we could select songs that we wanted for the do. It worked perfectly and everyone spent a long time dancing!
Joe contributed several special touches to our day. He’s a Blackburn Rovers fan and as such we had famous Blackburn players as the table names (people like Shearer and Colin Hendry) we also had Blackburn Rovers branded salt and pepper pots (sorry to any brides who now have their other halves asking for the same). From my side I had kept our exit music quiet from everyone in the build-up. We had chosen the Friends theme tune as it is my favourite TV show and holds a lot of good memories for me and my friends. When that came on we all had a giggle.
We would, and have already on a number of occasions, recommended our wedding venue to others. There aren’t many truly hidden gems left any more, but this is one of them. The team at Samlesbury: Beth, Lauren and Angela were amazing. The venue was so pretty and the food was brilliant. Even at the more popular prices of the summer we would have definitely chosen this venue. We will never forget our day at Samlesbury Hall.
We can’t name a favourite part of the day. The ceremony was so intimate and gorgeous. Obviously being walked down the aisle by my father was emotional. We had a moment when walking out of the ceremony room and into the parlour when it was just us two and we had just got married and were holding each other’s hands and a glass of fizz each – it was bliss.
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. We spent seven nights in Sri Lanka where we visited temples, experienced real wildlife in the national parks and rode elephants. The hotel was metres from the beach and the sea. It was stunning and we really indulged in food and cocktails. In the Maldives we stayed at an island resort that measured just 500m x 500m. It was paradise. Here we just relaxed and enjoyed the 30 degree weather with great food, drinks and water activities. If you haven’t thought of visiting Sri Lanka, absolutely do it! You will not be disappointed. I think everyone has wanted to visit the Maldives and our advice is just go, you will have the time of your life.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be just relax about the process. Your day will be perfect as long you are next to your new wife or husband. I always said to my friends I don’t really mind what is around me, what the venue is, the dress or anything else as long as I am married to Joe at the end of it (and of course as long as we are sat on a beach in Sri Lanka a few days later)!
March 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
There is so much pretty in this opening wedding of the week that it’s difficult to know where to look first.
Richard and Andrea’s aim for their big day was to create an ‘end of summer party’ feel, and boy did they hit the nail on the head.
This laidback outdoor wedding has it all – hugely swoon-worthy décor, beautiful bright blooms, live entertainment and even a double decker bus bar!
I strongly suggest grabbing a large notebook for this one ladies, it’s quite literally bursting with inspiration!
With images by Carly Bevan Photography.
andrea says: We’d already been together for almost ten years and knew one day we’d get married there was no huge romantic proposal more a decision to buy a ring and set a date which we did in April 2013.
We decided to have an end of summer wedding on 13th September 2014 in the hope we would have a lovely warm September day and to give us about 18 months to plan from setting the date.
We had our ceremony at our local town hall as neither of us are religious we didn’t want a church wedding and the town hall is a beautiful building which exits onto a large park. We then went on to have our reception in a Sperry Tent from Papakata at White Cottage in Hornsea, which is normally a caravan and camping field but we had exclusive use for the weekend. We knew from the beginning we wanted a laid back, less formal wedding day and we loved the flexibility a marquee would give us. We were originally having teepees then when Papakata introduced the Sperry Tents – we loved the lighter inside and high ceilings and so swapped!
We wanted the day and planning to be as laid back as possible so opted for an end of summer party feel with an outdoor fire, double decker chill out bus bar, bouncy castle and a chill out area with candy buffet and photo booth inside.
We went for mixed light summer shades of blue, lemon, a mid pink, lilac and green to add some colour as we had a plain cream backdrop and so most of the colour was introduced through the flowers.
My dress was from Monsoon. I hadn’t set out particularly to get a high street dress I more stumbled across it whilst browsing bridesmaid dresses and decided it was perfect for the laid back day we were planning. I made my own veil (with lots of help from my now mother-in-law) which seemed like a good idea at the time and I did love the finished item but as all the lace was hand sewn on and very intricate – it must have taken in excess of 30 hours! My shoes were from Irregular Choice.
Richard wore a navy blue three piece suit from Thomas Nash at Debenhams and tan shoes from Rockport.
After a full day shopping with the adult bridesmaids they chose their dresses from BHS. They’re all quite different shapes but the dress suited them all and we also got the matching shoes. Whilst getting the bridesmaid dresses I spotted some lovely navy suits for the groomsmen too so we ended up buying their suits from BHS. The little bridesmaids wore Debenhams dresses and the little boys’ chinos, shirts and waistcoats also came from Debenhams.
My and the bridesmaids’ hair was done by Kate Hickman Freelance Hairdresser. Kate was fantastic and my hair stayed in place all day and night and having a hairdresser visit us at home took away all the chaos in getting ready.
We hired a VW camper van from I do VW Weddings although sadly it was Craig’s last wedding with his campervan due to other commitments.
Our photographer was Carly Bevan. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Carly she was recommended to us and from the minute we met her we knew she was perfect for photographing our day. Carly’s photography style was exactly what we were looking for as we didn’t want too many styled shots and more of a story of the day as it happened. The package Carly provides is perfect – we wanted the full day from getting ready to the first dance, and the engagement shoot we had was more of a bonus as it’s not something we would normally have decided to have. However Carly was absolutely right to include it as it prepares you more for having your photographs taken on the day. Carly is so friendly and made everyone and the children so relaxed we were delighted when we got the photographs back, we absolutely love them.
I had a bouquet by Bohemia Floral Design in Hornsea it was exactly how I imagined with a mix of beautiful colourful flowers. As my mum died a few years before the wedding I had a picture of her tied into my bouquet so in some small way she could be there on our special day. I also had a flower hair comb as did the adult bridesmaids, the children had flower crowns, which they loved!
Richard’s mum grew the plants for the table centre pieces which were in terracotta pots that we painted cream. We then had some jam jars of flowers dotted around the cake table and chill out area arranged by Bohemia Floral Design and with having such a lovely high ceiling we had decided that we would love flowers to be hanging from the ceiling down the centre of the marquee. Abi from Bohemia didn’t disappoint with six hanging hoops of flowers, which all looked stunning.
We made mini bottles of Limoncello for the guests’ favours as we felt it went well with the theme of the day and they were easy to make in advance of the last minute chaos.
We had a three tiered cake with a garden theme round the edges with each tier a different flavour. This was made by Jacqui at A Little Slice of Cake Heaven. We then had a cake topper made by Poppy’s Cake Toppers which we have to keep forever.
We decided to have a hog roast plated with salads and rather than having a starter we decided on mixed mini cakes followed by a huge cheeseboard. The catering was all done by Hot Trotters from Fitling, East Yorkshire. We had Pimms on arrival with bottles of Rioja and Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc on the tables and Prosecco for the toast drink from Majestic Wine Warehouse.
We booked our evening band Helter Skelter immediately as we’d seen them before and loved their music – they had everyone dancing all evening. We also decided we wanted some live music during the day as we both love live music it was one of the more important details for us. We decided on Rock My Reception and they were brilliant. They played while guests entered the ceremony, the arrival music and departure music and then played at the reception until after the meal even playing Postman Pat for one of our younger guests. Both bands were excellent on the day and the run up.
As I own a wedding details shop, And All Things Nice, lots of our special touches were items we stock including the activity books for the children, the various hessian buntings, including the cards one was suspended from an old suitcase to make a wedding post box and the Candy Buffet one, which we used on our own dresser to display the sweets on. I also, with the help of my amazing friends and our relatives, made the napkin rings, table runners, flowered hearts for the chair backs, bunting from my grandma’s old doilies and 1,000 paper cranes for the backdrop in the photo booth that we created.
We used Double Decker Bar for our bar which was a hit with the guests and provided extra chill out seating outside of the marquee. The bouncy castle was from Bouncing Bonanza Bouncy Castle Hire and they also got us our straw bales which we used for outdoor seating. The bouncy castle was well worth the money as the children bounced on it nonstop before the meal.
We would definitely recommend White Cottage to other wedding couples. The field is perfectly cut and flat so there was no marshy areas and it was huge, plenty of space for camping guests and lots of parking, there was even space for the coach we used to transport guests from the ceremony to pull in and turn around. Sharon who runs the venue was also really helpful on the run up to the day. We would also recommend Papakata, their attention to detail and organisation really were excellent we had full confidence in them right through the planning process. They also had an amazing choice in furnishings for the Sperry Tents.
Two special parts of the day stand out in my mind. After the ceremony we had some photographs on the way to the reception. That short 20 to 30 minutes that we spent away from everyone was really relaxing. Then afterwards when we walked into the reception and everyone was outside with the band playing away and drinks flowing and the sun shining and we could finally celebrate with all our friends and family exactly how we pictured it was amazing.
We decided that due to the hands on nature of having a marquee wedding we wanted to be somewhere relaxing without a long flight for our honeymoon and so chose a week at the 5* Epic Sana Spa Hotel in Praia da Falésia, Portugal. We had a lovely relaxing time with a honeymoon upgrade to a Deluxe Studio apartment. We booked the honeymoon through Su Dillon at Travel Counsellors which removed all the stress of planning it as Su organised private transfers and all the details so we just turned up and relaxed!
My tops tips to other Brides Up North would be try to think at the beginning what parts of the day are most important to you so you can allocate your budget accordingly. We both love live music and that made our day for us, a great photographer too as you spend your full day with them and the photographs last long after the day. Also ask friends or family for help with any items you’re making as early as possible, we had some amazing help but we should have asked a bit earlier!
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March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Avid Brides Up North reader Sarah’s wedding to her new husband Ross was a truly gorgeous affair. From her lace Victoria Jane dress (oh, how we love a gown with beautiful back detailing) to the stately setting and vintage transport, everything about the big day is stunning.
We also absolutely adore the theme for this fabulous North West wedding – love is the key.
So join us as we unlock and relive Sarah and Ross’ big day.
sarah says: We got engaged on 14th August 2013. This was the day before my birthday and Ross had surprised me with a night at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley. Whilst he was checking in, they told him there would be a tour of the hotel before dinner. I was more concerned about traipsing around in my heels but Ross managed to persuade me (as he had planned this it was a good job!) The guy showing us round took us all around the hotel, telling us the history which was great. In the grounds of the castle there is a chapel, as we walked in the whole place was filled with candles and looked beautiful. As I was looking around, Ross had gone down on one knee with a beautiful ring. I was so shocked and lost for words he had to ask me three times if it was a yes! We came out to a champagne reception and had the most amazing meal – it was perfect.
We chose to get married on 15th February 2015. It gave us 18 months to plan which we thought would be about right. We looked at having it on Valentine’s Day but we though guests might want to be on their own that day. Also it means that Ross has to buy me a present for Valentine’s and our anniversary now instead of having a combined one!
We got married at Adlington Hall & Gardens. We looked at a few venues, as we were having a civil ceremony, we knew we didn’t just want to get married in any old hotel room and none we saw were quite right. We made an appointment to view Adlington Hall and as soon as we walked into The Great Hall we were absolutely blown away by how stunning it was, it was the one! We loved the fact the whole place was ours for the day and we were truly treated like royalty. We also loved the fact we had two different venues in one. The ceremony in The Great Hall and wedding breakfast at the Hunting Lodge. From the very first meeting we had, the whole team were amazing professionals. This gave us confidence that the day would go smoothly. It was perfect!
We have two children Scarlett, aged eight, and Oscar, aged three, who were our flower girl and page boy at the wedding. Scarlett did a beautiful reading (A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton) at the ceremony which was very special and there were definitely a few tears shed by all. It was lovely to have them involved.
I came across the quote by Oliver Wendel Holmes – ‘love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness’ – and the whole ‘Love is the Key’ theme was born! I wanted something elegant and vintage that would reflect the history of the venue. Also very romantic with lots of candles, beautiful flowers and pearls.
We chose lilac and ivory as our colour scheme. Purple is my favourite colour and this fitted in nicely for the vintage elegance we were trying to achieve.
I knew I wanted a fitted, mermaid style lace dress but I wanted something at the back of the dress that made it different. As soon as I saw the Victoria Jane Ivy dress I knew that ticked all the boxes! I loved the pearl draping at the back and I thought it looked very elegant and vintage, which is exactly what I was looking for. I teamed this with a beautiful pearl headpiece which reflected the draping on the dress. I got this from a shop on Etsy called Gilded Shadows, it came over from the United States and was perfect. I also wore a crystal edged veil which was my ‘something borrowed’ as it was my wonderful sister Rebecca’s wedding veil she let me use. My diamante encrusted shoes came from Next and matched perfectly.
Ross wore a dark blue suit with grey waistcoat by Paul Costelloe. He teamed this with a grey and lilac tie which brought the whole outfit together. He looked very handsome!
My two sisters wore long lilac chiffon dresses with embellished necklines, which they teamed with a pale lilac feather cape from Coast. They also wore a pearl hair comb from Highland Angel which finished the whole outfit beautifully, they looked stunning!
The three (yes three!) best men and our fathers all wore two-piece navy blue suits from Austin Reed. They teamed this with a lilac tie. My son and three nephews as pageboys wore navy suits from BHS with lilac bow ties and lilac trainers – super cute! My daughter’s dress was by Pearce Fionda, I also got a vintage style diamante brooch to put on the waistband which mirrored my dress.
My father, my son and I arrived at the venue in a stunning 1930s Beauford. The rest of the bridal party arrived in a Daimler State Limousine.
Our photographer was James Tracey. I had looked at loads of photographers on the internet and James’ images really stood out. We knew we didn’t want the cheesy poses and wanted natural, documentary style images that really told the story of our day. James did not disappoint at all. We met for a pre-wedding shoot which was fantastic as it really helped us to relax in front of the camera when wedding day nerves set in and gave us confidence that the images would be great on the day. The images we have are stunning and have really captured the best moments of the day. James really talked us through every stage but was so unobtrusive on the day, it was perfect. We were both blown away and would highly recommend him. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the images are too!
I wanted an informal bouquet in lilac and ivory with foliage. I had seen the amnesia rose and knew I wanted them included as they are a beautiful lilac colour and look so vintage. I also included lavender in all the flowers as I love the smell and the colours and style matched perfectly with the day. I also got some vintage style pearl brooches which were put onto mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and really finished them off. The flowers were provided by The Wild Bunch in Macclesfield. They were absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in how they translated my vision for the styling of the day.
The Wild Bunch also provided flowers for the decor. I wanted lots of candles and cluster vases with various flowers that tied in with my bouquet. We had this set up for the ceremony table and also the top table. We used some vases which my sister-in-law had used at her wedding last year which was a special touch. It was stunning and took my breath away when I first walked in. The smell of lavender was amazing. The tables had fish bowl centre pieces with matching flowers. I had sourced lots of mercury glass tea light holders as well as some gorgeous antique lilac coloured ones which had pearl details on. There were lots of holders in various shapes and sizes on every table and around the cake. It created such a romantic feel to the day. There were also scatters of table pearls which completed the look.
We gave our guests bottle openers shaped like a vintage key as favours. They seemed to like the practical gift! For the evening we made some hangover kits. I found some small muslin bags on Etsy and had them personalised and sent over from The States. I filled them with mints, plasters and Alka Seltzer and put them over a bottle of water. A lifesaver for those who were celebrating a bit too hard!
My amazing friend Nova made my cake despite being nearly eight months pregnant! It was a three-tier sponge cake of chocolate, lemon and vanilla – delicious! It was lilac and ivory and had lace effect icing on the top two tiers. There were ivory and amnesia roses, foliage and pearl droplets in between the bottom two tiers. I also had an amazing cake topper custom made from Better off Wed on Etsy which said Love is the Key.
Ross and I are massive foodies so this was a really important part of the day. We had a delicious selection of canapés after the ceremony with champagne and mulled wine, which was perfect for a winter wedding. For our wedding breakfast we wanted food that we love and decided on smoked salmon to start, fillet mignon, which was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked, for main followed by profiteroles with chocolate rum sauce for the gents and raspberry creme brûlée with shortbread biscuit for the ladies with coffee and petit fours to finish. We had a choice of wine and champagne too. For the evening we had bacon, sausage and fish finger sandwiches. Just what was needed! The crepes just about finished us off but I managed to squeeze in a chocolate and Baileys one!
The food was unbelievable, all our guests couldn’t compliment it enough. We also used vintage champagne saucers for the toast. These had been tirelessly scoured for by Ross’ parents and sister Fran and had been used at her wedding last year. It was a lovely finishing touch and was extra special as they were hers.
We used the amazing pianist Guy Porteous, to play from the ceremony right through to the end of the wedding breakfast. He is fantastically talented and was a lovely extra special touch to have him there. In the evening we chose to have a DJ to get the party started. He is the resident DJ at Adlington Hall and did a great job getting everyone dancing with a variety of songs that catered for the varied age range.
In terms of special touches, I had seen the large light up letters people hire for weddings and thought they made such a great focal point. I hired our LOVE sign from Dressed to Impress at Blakemere and it added a real wow factor, perfect for photo poses! We also had a wish tree as an alternative guest book. I found some tags on eBay which guests wrote their ‘key to a happy marriage’ message on and hung them on the tree. This was decorated with fairy lights, crystals and some vintage keys borrowed from Ross’ parents. I spent ages making escort card tags for the guest seating plan. I attached small keys to each tag and hung them from a mirror on ribbons. The guests then took their own key tag to keep. It was something different and the guests loved it. We hired a crepe station as a surprise for our guests in the evening. Original Crepes were fantastic, they provided a huge choice of sweet and savoury crepes and they tasted delicious. It was something the guests weren’t expecting and everyone loved it!
I had a sign made for our son Oscar to carry down the aisle, it said: ‘Daddy here comes Mummy’. He’d been practicing holding it and walking so steadily and was so proud of himself when he got to the end! We also had framed photographs of both sets of parents on their wedding days, as they have both been married for over 40 years this was a good inspiration!
We hired a videographer as we wanted to capture the day and have a great memento of the action. We used Creative Videos, Barry was fantastic and as he had filmed my sister’s wedding previously, we knew the video would be fantastic.
We would absolutely recommend Adlington Hall! From the moment we walked in we were overwhelmed by how stunning it was. The food amazing, the staff so professional and accommodating. Everything was more than we hoped for, my dream wedding venue!
I think my favourite part of the day was when the doors opened to The Great Hall and I was ready to walk down the aisle. On my dad’s arm, looking at all the most important people in our lives all there just for us was totally overwhelming.
We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to utilise the talents of your friends and family. My sisters Rebecca and Jessica did my makeup and hair and my talented friend Nova made our fabulous cake. It was extra special for them to play such an important role. Oh yes, and plenty of waterproof mascara!
From getting engaged Brides up North was my go to for inspiration. I have been an avid reader of the real life weddings and I’m so excited to now be one of them!
adlington hall and gardens, austin reed, better off wed, bhs, brides up north featured supplier, cheshire wedding, coast, creative videos, daniel lloyd, dressed to impress, gilded shadows, guy porteous, highland angel, james tracey photography, original crepes, paul costelloe, pearce fionda, peckforton castle, ronald joyce, the wild bunch, uk wedding blog, victoria jane
March 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a cute engagement story and today’s real wedding starts with a great one. Having been together just short of nine years brave bride Cheryl decided to turn the tables and asked partner John for his hand in marriage during a romantic weekend away to celebrate their anniversary. Huge kudos to Cheryl for ditching tradition – oh, and for also quickly pointing out to John that he owed her a ring to make it official.
To make their big day a real family affair Cheryl and John made their two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie, a big part of the day and it looks like the girls carried out their duties perfectly. Well done girls!
So let’s hear that engagement story…
With images by Brides Up North featured supplier Diamond Photography.
cheryl says: John and I have been together for almost nine years and we have two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie. We had talked about marriage over a number of years but something else always seemed to arise, in regards to work schedules and having two young daughters. Our anniversary was fast approaching and we always make the effort to go for an overnight stay somewhere so I made the decision that this was it – I was going to ask him to marry me! I’d always been adamant I would wait until he proposed but I guess the time just felt right. So, after looking at different hotels and listening to other people’s experiences I decided to book Yorebridge House boutique hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. On 1st November 2012 we set off for our overnight stay, I told John that we wouldn’t bother with gifts this time as we had paid that little bit extra for the hotel stay.
After a glass of wine (for courage) I handed John a gift-wrapped box, which he cautiously opened but seemed pleased when a box of Thorntons chocolates were presented to him. However, he had to do a double-take when he realised what the chocolates spelled out the words ‘will u marry me?’ I was relieved when he smiled and answered ‘Yes!’ Next I presented him with a smaller box containing a jelly Haribo ring and a note stating, ‘you owe me.’ I felt comforted and very excited afterwards as we both began to contact our family and friends to share the news.
I had hoped to book an earlier date, preferably before the football season started but those dates had already been taken, so we agreed finally agreed on our date, Saturday 30th August 2014.
We got married at Rushpool Hall, Saltburn, described as ‘a fairy tale castle set in picturesque surroundings’. We liked that our ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception would be all in the one venue. We chose the blue room with beautiful décor, which overlooks Saltburn Valley with additional sea views. This had been one of the hotels that John and I had previously stayed at and once we began to look at wedding venues we revisited the site and instantly knew this would be where we would say our wedding vows.
Our wedding colour scheme was ivory and pink. The pink element stems from both of our daughters’ love of the colour.
After visiting six different wedding dress retailers, I went back to Exclusively Yours at Wingate, County Durham. I chose a selection of three/four dresses but I kept returning to a particular dress, which I had previously tried on. I soon realised I’d found the one. The dress was Romantica Zeta, a straight A-line dress with crystals on the bodice, which featured a zip fastening on the back with crystal buttons. The dress was ivory in colour.
John wore a suit with a waistcoat and jacket and an ivory cravat from Moss Brothers at Dalton Park.
Our two daughters Millie and Ellie both wore ivory bridesmaid dresses from Next which had an ivory band round the middle and fastened in a bow at the back. Bryan the best man wore the same suit as John from Moss Brothers.
Andrew and Mandy of Diamond Photography were our photographers. I’d arranged to meet with Andrew who showed me different wedding packages and photographs that himself and Mandy offered. Andrew was very easy-going and added no pressure. Across a period of time before I got married I often messaged Andrew who always answered any questions and worries I may have had. On our wedding day they captured amazing moments, I’m not a person who particularly likes to be in the limelight, but Andrew made me feel very comfortable and settled my nerves at begin photographed. Andrew and Mandy were lovely. They had captured particular photos we had requested and more. They were so friendly and created a very professional and well-produced package, without being intrusive. I would definitely recommend future brides to meet Andrew and Mandy – I cannot thank them enough.
My two daughters and I had small hand held bouquets, which consisted of my favourite flowers tulips and roses. My friend Tracy arranged our flowers for us along with the corsages and buttonholes. Our daughters carried a sign each, one saying ‘Here comes Mammy’ and the other saying ‘Last chance to run Daddy’.
Our top table had an ivory ‘Mr & Mrs’ sign, with a small tea light candles in diamond cut glass holders and a bowl with other floating candles. The guest table centre pieces were ivory jewelled candle holders with diamonds scattered across the table. On the fireplaces we also had bowls with floating candles. In the evening we had a wedding wish tree, along with paper lanterns and large pink and ivory balloons.
The favours were lucky sixpences, which were personalised to each guest in a small wallet with ‘John & Cheryl’ written on, alongside our wedding date.
Our cake was pink and ivory with four tiers – the top tier was carrot cake, the second sponge cake and the two bottom tiers were fruit cake. It was delicious! It was made by Michelle who owns Michelle’s Cakes shop, situated in a wedding store called A Bit of a Do in Hartlepool. I often messaged Michelle with different pictures of cakes and constantly asked questions but nothing was ever too much trouble.
For entertainment we had a disco which was provided by Rushpool Hall and the resident DJ, who was very good played all requests – we opted for a lot of 80s music. Our photographer provided a freestanding photo booth, which at the time was part of a special promotion. There were lots of props and guests were provided with a copy of their photo moment! I have to add that Andrew and Mandy were very patient as by this time everyone at the wedding party had, had quite a bit to drink – and shall we say, in very good spirits! We also had a caricaturist during the day to entertain our guests.
Other great suppliers we used included Elaine Butler, who designed our wedding invites along with our guest place cards, table plan, sweet jar labels, and table numbers. Made At Home made our lovely sign, which I placed next to our cake which said ‘& they lived happily ever after’, along with beautiful handmade wishing dandelions for our daughters. Heart Shaped Home made lovely framed verses which we gave to our parents as gifts and also the signs that Millie and Ellie carried. Angela Leonard from Unique Styles in Hartlepool did my hair and Deborah Campbell did my make-up. Deborah and I have been friends since we were young and she offered to do my make-up as she knew I would be panicking about it. When she mentioned eye lashes I was panic stricken, however I was gently persuaded and loved them!
We would certainly recommend our venue to others. Rushpool Hall is a perfect romantic setting, with beautiful grounds and an open staircase along with log fires. The team at Rushpool Hall were fantastic and very friendly, nothing was too much trouble and I must not fail to mention to Kerri who assisted us in the run up to the wedding and on our actual day, thank you.
Our favourite part of the day had to be spending it with our family and friends, most of all our two beautiful daughters Millie and Ellie. I also think remembering those people that couldn’t be there to share our special day, in particular my Granddad Tommy, and John’s Granddad Bobby, was a special moment.
For our honeymoon we went to the Grand Sirenis, Mayan Beach Hotel in Mexico, Riviera Maya. We were lucky enough that our family looked after our daughters for a week while we went away. We had an amazing week, with sunny skies and plenty of strawberry daiquiris. We spent days floating round the lazy river but our most enjoyable moment was swimming with dolphins, something that I had always wanted to do!
My top tips to other Brides Up North is – enjoy every moment and try to make a little time to take it all in! Don’t let the day pass you by and try not to be too nervous.
March 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
In the latest instalment of our wedding alphabet on the blog we wrote about love and urged brides-to-be to remember the real reason they’re tying the knot when in the midst of the planning pressure.
Today’s couple are a great example of how couples can enjoy the tasks that come with organising a wedding whilst also truly reflecting their love for one another, and those closest to them, on the big day itself.
Leigh and Ben (and Leigh’s mum) certainly made the most of the wedding planning with numerous fun days out to piece together their perfect wedding in the Lake District. The celebrations then featured special gifts, personalised vows and surprise readings to make for one incredibly loved-up big day.
Can you feel the love?
With images by Dave Greaves Photography.
leigh says: We got engaged in the Lake District. After a gorgeous walk along Lake Windermere and a picnic Ben pulled out 12 gerbera flowers, each with a brown parcel tag attached and on them was each month we’d been together and a special memory from that month. Of course, by now, the butterflies had started fluttering about in my stomach, wondering what all this effort was for! Ben asked me to go and stand by the lake for a photo, and as we’d been setting the camera up with the tripod all week, I thought nothing of it so went to stand with my toes in the lake – turned around and there he was on one knee with my ring in a beautiful glass box filled with rose petals. Needless to say I cried and Ben got the whole thing on film.
We chose to set the date for 16th August 2014, at 2pm, because it was the exact time and date that Ben proposed the year before. Allowing a year gave us just the right amount of time to plan and organise everything that we wanted without having to wait too long!
Since I was little, the Lake District has always had a special place in my heart and Silverholme was everything we could have wanted and more in a venue. It was our home for the week of the wedding and could not have been more perfect: immaculate and intricate detail and décor, breath-taking views, right on the lake, gorgeous grounds and most of all, enough rooms and space to accommodate all of our family and bridal party members. It allowed us to enjoy the set up over a few days and dine together, and most certainly laugh together! There are some very amusing photos somewhere of my brother pretending to set up the whole wedding singlehandedly!
We wanted a wedding that would be us, and represent us as a couple. With that in mind, we didn’t necessarily go for a theme of sorts, just classic, elegant and natural. There were a few items to tie it to the Lake District running through that were made from maps. My mother and I made 50 gift bags and confetti cones out of old maps, which took what seemed like forever but we just loved the time together!
I’ve always been a pink girl at heart, so we decided on dusky pink and grey as our colour theme. I originally wanted the bridesmaids in the pink, but we just couldn’t find anything in the exact colour we wanted, unless we were going to pay extortionate amounts so in the end we accented everything with the pink, but the bridesmaids wore grey, like the groomsmen. These colours were also reflected in our invites, which Ben and I designed together, and then he and his mother sat for a few hours, meticulously making sure all corners and edges were perpendicular and equal distances from each other as they made them.
My dress was actually my second dress! In my ‘I’m-newly-engaged-and-so-excited-to-be-married-I-want-a-dress-now!’ state, we went to a factory retail store where I could try on loads of dresses. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t need the whole bridal boutique experience, and was just so eager to get a dress, I ended up buying a princess style dress with huge tulle skirt and feathers on the bust. It was lovely but by Christmas I’d decided I hated it! So, my parents, who have the most patience in the world came with me for a whole day of five boutique appointments back to back. Thankfully after trying on every single style imaginable I had an idea of what I wanted. Lots of internet browsing, a few emails later and I walked into Adele Louise Bridal, tried on a sample of the dress I’d tracked down as perfect and wow! It could not have fitted more perfectly, or looked more ‘me’. It was the 8659 design by Justin Alexander. Adele looked after me very well, and I loved the bridal boutique experience so much!
I bought a gorgeous pair of dusky pink diamante shoes from Black Sand by Dune. They glistened every time they caught the light. I didn’t want my jewellery to detract from the dress so I found a simple diamond and pearl drop earring and necklace set in Cupitt jewellers, in Bromsgrove. My parents got me a delicate pearl bracelet for Christmas, to match.
The final piece I bought was my hairpiece. I had seen one similar, but anyone that knows me well will understand why I had a hard time coming to terms with paying more for a giant hair clip than for a pair of KG’s! Luckily for me, a friend of mine, Melonie Jane, is a jewellery maker and made me my own version for a fraction of the price! It was so lovely to know that it was a one off and tied in with the whole outfit so perfectly.
All of the above was classed as my ‘Something New’; my ‘Something Old’ was my Nan’s brooch, which was incorporated into my bouquet to make her a part of the day; my ‘Something Borrowed’ was my other Nan’s brooch, also attached to my bouquet; and my ‘Something Blue’ was my garter.
Ben wears a suit for work every single day, therefore he wanted something different for the wedding that would make him feel special. We had two choices – the country style tweed look, or the top hat and tails get up. Nothing about the tweed went with anything we had set our hearts on, and wasn’t really Ben at all. He had his heart set on tails from the start and, after scouring a few wedding fayres, we found his perfect suit, which he hired from 1860. I safely steered him away from the idea of a top hat. Little did I know though that on the day Ben had chosen to wear a little something else under his suit, which he and the other groomsmen revealed in an excellent photo. Each one of them ripped open their shirts to reveal a superhero T-shirt, then set about different poses that had every guest, and me, in absolute stitches!
The groomsmen all had matching suits from 1860, separating them apart from Ben with the colour of their waistcoats.
My best friend Heather, sister-in-law-to-be Jenna, and sister-in-law-on-the-day Lou, were my gorgeous bridesmaids. We had a really fun day out trying dresses on together, and eventually, after some more online searching, came to the floor length grey designs from House Of Fraser. They looked gorgeous in them. We teamed them with some heels from Dune. On the morning of the wedding I gave them all a gift box to say thank you and inside there was: a Fossil purse (each individualised to their taste), a photo from the hen do in a frame, a pair of grey pearl earrings, a grey pearl necklace that I had made for each of them, a pink pashmina, in case they got cold and a pair of pretty flat sandals too, for when their feet got tired.
Dave Greaves was our amazing photographer. We first met him for our engagement shoot just outside of Lakeside, he put us at ease and produced some beautiful, natural photos of the two of us just being us. Every single bit of contact was responded to swiftly and he was extremely accommodating in capturing the types of shots we asked for. As for the photos of the day itself, they tell the story of the day so perfectly. From the silliness and giddiness of the bridal suite, the tears and laughter of the ceremony, the stunning couple shots and the fun of the first dances. We cannot recommend Dave highly enough.
I’m not a fan of flowers at all. That said, my parents are florists and own Danckert’s Florist (maybe I just grew up around so many flowers that I didn’t learn to appreciate them). So originally I wasn’t going to have flowers at all, but one day, when scrolling through my daily dose of wedding blogs, I fell in love with a very whimsical, unstructured bouquet that had trailing ivory and millet hanging gracefully down that I spotted on Brides Up North. I sent a picture to my Mom, who then mocked up my perfect bouquet, incorporating raspberry roses and gerberas into the mix. Simple, elegant and slightly whimsical – me to a tee! The centrepiece decorations were designed around large, silver candlesticks and matched my bouquet perfectly.
Whenever we visit The Lakes, we always make a trip into Hawkshead to visit Hawkshead Relish. Their jams and chutneys are delicious so we bought mini jams and chutneys as favours and attached a little tag with a poem on it.We put them in the bags that Mom and I had squirrelled away over and attached a photo of each guest as a child in a little frame to the top. When everyone arrived at the meal, there wasn’t a seating plan, just a case of finding their childhood memory and sitting down. So many guests said they loved the idea!Also in the bags were Help For Heroes key rings. Ben’s brother is part of the army and had recently completed a tour in Afghanistan where we all worried about him non-stop, so we thought it fitting to donate the money to a cause close to our hearts.
As neither of us are cake fans, we decided not to have one! Instead, we had a cheese tower that my Mom sourced from Ansteys Cheese. We had layers of Brie, Wensleydale and Cranberry, Cheddar, Stilton, and Garlic Roule, which my mom entwined with roses and ivy, served with some quirky crackers, biscuits and Hawkshead Relish chutneys.
For something sweet I went to Chesters By the River, where Ben had our proposal lunch from, and picked up a selection of their sweet things then chopped them into smaller pieces and set them out on slate platters. Ben’s sister, and my bridesmaid, Lou, who is an amazing baker, also made us a selection of delicious cupcakes.
On our first trip to The Lakes as a couple, we went with my parents to The Brown Horse at Winster, where they’ve been going for food for many years. We decided we wanted to give our nearest and dearest a proper Lake District experience and take them to a traditional pub for our food for the day. At 5pm we all boarded a coach at the top of the drive and had a scenic trip over to Winster, where the staff were absolutely amazing. The food was out of this world amazing. We then made our way back to the coach for the return journey, which was slightly more alcohol fuelled than the first leg.
Rustic Roast Kitchen, my best friend Heather’s company, provided our canapés. She and the ever so helpful bridesmaids helped to prepare it all on the morning; they were absolutely delicious, and there was not a single morsel left in sight! We also put on a free bar, provided by Bar Thirty Two, for all of our guests.
We love a night out at The Jam House, Birmingham. Dino Baptiste plays there regularly, and whips the crowds up into a right frenzy with his eclectic style and well-chosen repertoire of songs. We booked him pretty much straight away. With only having a small room and a small amount of people, we didn’t want a full band, and Dino and his drummer, Matt Tovey, did a sterling job. We were dancing all night long. During the break, my Dad dropped out that we are an acoustic duo and they even let me sing an impromptu song for Ben!
We organised a few special touches and gifts for our nearest and dearest to thank them for their support. As well as the gifts for the bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding I’d laid out matching outfits for the girls and both mothers outside all of their rooms – PJ bottoms, a white vest top and a hoodie with their names in diamantes on the back. I had also hung everyone’s outfits up on their own pretty, personalised hangers that I got from my own company, LoveLeigh Designs. I sent the groomsmen gifts of superhero socks and attached each guy’s favourite alcohol miniature to them.
Ben sent me over a gift – a beautiful pearl earring and necklace set and card. The words had me in floods of tears – good job it was pre-make up! I also sent him a gift – a leather overnight bag that he could keep and use forever. We bought special thank you gifts for our parents too.
I’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. If you want a wedding based around family, where everyone can be together in drop dead gorgeous surroundings, relax in luxury and plan your day your way, then Silverholme is the right choice.
It’s so hard to pinpoint one favourite part of the wedding day! I can tell you that we made the most of every single opportunity to celebrate the occasion – my mom and I had so many days out, lunches, and so on together. The family time the planning created was magical. Ben and I did every ounce of planning together, all decisions were the both of us, and we made some great days out together because of it too – every part of the lead up was exciting and full of fun.
The day after the wedding we met everyone still staying in the area for a ‘dip’ in the lake then went to Go Ape. We finished the night off with a barbecue and opening of our cards and gifts. Perfect end to a perfect week.
We had a one night mini-moon in a gorgeously quirky favourite Lakeland place of mine called Randy Pike where Andy and Chrissy looked after us like family. Our official honeymoon will be in Chicago to go and visit my godparents who couldn’t make it to the wedding – we have yet to organise it!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is enjoy and savour every moment of everything. From the planning to the saying thank you at the end. Do things together and acknowledge each other’s differences in opinion and see how you can combine both ideas to come together with something even better – it all works out in the end. Stay true to ‘your day, your way,’ and it will be.
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