November 16th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
Yes, we have a dress crush. Today’s bride Arlene wanted to look like a Bond girl on her big day and we reckon she absolutely nailed it in a gorgeous, backless Rosa Clará number with a graceful silhouette and divine vintage detailing on the shoulders and down the back. We also have garden envy, because the grounds at today’s venue, Arley Hall, would give any National Trust property a run for its money: deep borders bursting with colour and texture are juxtaposed with crisp topiary and rich red brickwork. The photographs offer up a visual feast.
In a colour scheme of navy and dusky pink, Arlene and Simon went for an elegant, regal feel with a touch of femininity to complement the glorious Elizabethan-style Victorian country house. With its opulent interiors, who could fail to feel a little bit Bond-esque?
With images by Cris Matthews Photography.
arlene says: Simon proposed to me at home on August bank holiday in 2015, after more than six years together with bubbles, Bob Marley playing and a display of photographs of us on our fabulous holidays. We then went to Gaucho in Manchester for steak dinner and he had organised a surprise party with our close friends at Epernay. The next day I was whisked off to Moddershall Oaks for an overnight spa break.
We got married on Saturday 29th July 2017. We wanted a summer day and a weekend, as we have a lot of teacher friends. My dad flew over from Panama to walk me down the aisle and the date also worked well for my 11-year-old stepsister and her school holidays in Panama.
Our chosen venue was Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire. We had our ceremony in the drawing room, the wedding breakfast in the gallery and the reception at Olympia Barn on site. I visited the venue one afternoon with some friends, as it’s open to visitors. I fell in love instantly – butterflies! Simon loved it as much as I did. Arlene driving up Arley Road to marry at Arley Hall – it was meant to be!
We also liked the venue as it was local and had a good mix of rooms to use and stunning gardens. Plus, I liked the idea of having a more informal area for the evening guests to party.
I wanted a fairly simple, elegant, classy style for the day. The venue is so opulent that I didn’t want to take away from/spoil its beauty. We would definitely recommend the venue: as well as it being utterly gorgeous, the staff were professional and friendly and we felt reassured the day would run smoothly.
My gown was from Knutsford Wedding Gallery. I am quite particular with my style and wanted a unique dress. After searching bridal websites and magazines, I decided I liked Rosa Clará gowns and booked an appointment as I knew they were stocked there. I was very keen on a backless, slinky dress. My spec was I wanted to look and feel like a Bond girl! When I tried it on first I knew it was the one, but that didn’t stop me from trying on 29 more dresses. Milking the moment!
My hair and makeup artist was Make-up By Sophie, based in Oldham. She followed my Bond girl spec –my bridesmaids and I felt very glam.
November 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on Brides Up North, we’re in tipi heaven, as we escape to the wild and wonderful backdrop of High Barn, near Penrith, for a beautiful outdoors wedding weekend. Yes, that’s right – our couple, Emma and Chris, turned their nuptials back in September into a fabulous three-day affair, complete with quiz, fish and chip van, games and Sunday brunch!
There are so many talking points; we don’t know where to start! There’s everything from camper vans and specially made Egyptian jam favours, to a rather tasty selection of pies and pizza, not to mention plenty of bunting, fairy lights and – something a little bit different – dried flowers. And then there’s the picture-perfect rainbow, beautifully captured by their photographer.
Here, we invite Emma to reminisce about all the wonderful details…
With images by Johnny Dent Photography.
emma says: We got engaged on the top of Pendle Hill on New Year’s Eve 2016. I think it’s a really special place but on this particular day the wind was so strong I was worried we’d be swept off the top! I kept asking if we should turn back, but Chris was determined to get to the top. Once we had eventually made it, we had to hunker down on the side of the hill, as the wind would have knocked us off our feet! We were with our little dog, Barney and he did not like it. He was whimpering and wouldn’t stay still, so Chris quickly pulled out a bottle of champagne and asked me if I’d ‘wash some pots with him!’. I said “yes” and we finally cracked the champagne open once we were off the top!
We decided on the 9th September 2017 for the wedding. I love autumn and we figured that for the past few years the summer has been a bit of a washout, and it has seemed to improve in September. We were right! We had a wedding weekend, starting with drinks and a quiz on the Friday and ending with brunch on the Sunday.
We got married at St Cuthbert’s Church, Edenhall, and then had the reception a mile away at High Barn, Edenhall Estate, near Penrith. We had looked round a few places but once we saw High Barn there was no question; it was exactly what we wanted. High Barn is surrounded by the Lakes, the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales, in the middle of a field, next to a wood and nothing else. We knew we wanted to do everything ourselves and we were able to do that, a real DIY wedding.
For the main event, we hired two giant tipis from Special Event Tipis. They were fabulous! There is such a special atmosphere inside those amazing structures, and we had lots of fairy lights, bunting, lots and lots of candles and a fire pit to make it even more special. They were a bit of an extravagance, but I’m so glad we got them. They really make an event very special.
As we made a weekend of it, accommodation was a must. There are some cottages on the estate and there is a hotel in the nearby village, but for people who were staying on site, we arranged the Belle Hotel to come up. This is a mobile hotel room, guests book online and when they arrive, there is a beautiful belle tent waiting for them, futons, rugs and bunting too! They look really cool too and people couldn’t stop taking photos of them.
We didn’t have a set wedding theme in mind initially, but as we started to plan, things came together. I suppose you could call it rustic. Our stationery was brown card with twine, we had table decorations of gin bottles full of flowers and candles everywhere; we had teacups, bunting and dried flowers. We didn’t think about it too much and in the end everything seemed to go together just fine.
There wasn’t really a colour scheme either. The boys wore blue jackets, the bridesmaids wore a mink colour and the flowers were a mixture. We just went with what we liked. It worked!
November 14th, 2017 | Julia Braime
As Lewis Carol fans ourselves here at Brides Up North HQ, we quickly fell head over heels (and down the rabbit hole) when viewing images from Roxanne and Shane’s beautiful big day, inspired by the author’s most notable novel.
Brining in lots of “eat me” and “drink me” elements, plus Wonderland style décor and a beautifully on-theme cake, we’d say the couple did an excellent job of incorporating nods to Alice, while still making their celebrations both romantic and personal.
The fine backdrop of Iscoyd Park, elegant attire and pretty blooms complete the fairy tale feel and have us grinning Cheshire-cat style.
With images by Elsie Love Photography.
roxanne says: We got engaged on the beach in Cuba. It was the second night of our first holiday together.
We got married on 22nd October 2016. We picked this date as it meant we would have the same anniversary as Shane’s parents.
Our chosen venue was Iscoyd Park in Wrexham, North Wales. It meant a lot to Shane as this is the area where he had grown up and, so he always wanted to marry in the area too. We had 80 guests for the day and 130 for the night. We chose Iscoyd Park as we both fell in love with the beautiful Georgian house and its exclusivity. It also had 5-star reviews.
Inspiration for the theme was taken from Lewis Carol’s Through the Looking Glass – I’ve loved Lewis Carol since I was little, and Alice in Wonderland is my happy place!
We picked green for the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour and we felt that it was complement the theme too.
I ordered my wedding dress online – it was the closest I could find to the style I liked.
My bridesmaids wore green floor-length dresses, which I also found online.
Shane and the groomsmen wore dark blue suits from Groom in Chester.
November 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re Monday morning caffeine hit hasn’t managed to fully wake you up, we’re pretty sure this stunning real wedding will open your eyes – and possibly cause them to pop out of your head – as this is an outdoor celebration with a difference! We’re talking chandeliers, sofas, mirrors and all kinds of opulent details that you wouldn’t expect in this woodland setting.
Opting for Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings on the outskirts of Leeds, this backdrop was everything they could wish for, giving them free rein over the décor, entertainment and catering for their special day. The transparent marquee offering stunning views of the tree canopies above sounds positively dreamy, and as for the cocktail shack – this is the kind of bar we’d just love to stumble upon in the forest!
Here, Rosie tells us more about how they brought their original and boldly imaginative theme – The Ritz in the Woodland – to life…
With images by A Little Picture.
rosie says: We got engaged on 10th of December 2015, in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Every year we go away for a short break during the festive period and we had decided on Lake Bled for its fairytale, picturesque landscape. On our first day, whilst we were walking round the lake, I stopped to take a photo to send to friends, when I turned around Ben was on one knee! We continued the walk together knowing it was only the two of us who knew, and stopped for lunch and champagne to celebrate!
We got married on 19th August 2017. We didn’t choose the date for any particular reason. We knew we didn’t want a traditional reception venue, such as a manor house, and I came across Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings. They had only done one wedding before and we knew we could make it our own. They had two dates left for 2017 – so the 19th August it was!
We held our service at St Mary’s Church, Mirfield, which is our local church and happens to be stunning, and then the reception at Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings on the outskirts of Leeds. We knew we wanted a traditional church service and a different reception venue. We have been to a lot of weddings and though each was beautiful, we wanted something different. At Applewood you can do whatever you want (within reason), so we could pick the decoration, food, music, drinks, entertainment, cake – everything!
The theme for our wedding was ‘The Ritz in the Woodland’. We wanted to create a complete juxtaposition between what people would traditionally expect of a woodland wedding (bunting, wellies, burlap, hay bales) and instead create drama with chandeliers in the trees, plush sofas, mirrors, texture, all white flowers and minimal greenery.
We had a three-course meal, including steak and wine on white table linen with champagne velvet table runners. We had a transparent marquee so people could sit in luxury and see the trees, and walk through the woodland and see elegance and opulence every step of the way.
Our colour scheme was simply ink blue and white. We wanted to keep it classy and elegant.
White flowers with a focus on peonies, roses and hydrangea stood out from the dramatic woodland background – the concept was to use flowers that you wouldn’t find in a woodland setting. We had white table linen and white flowers on mirrored centrepieces.
November 9th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
There’s something very romantic about the first glimpse of Yorkshire wedding venue Wood Hall Hotel, as you round the bend and dip down into the valley – tucked into a sweeping, gloriously green countryside vista, it’s no surprise Briony and Adam chose this spectacular setting for their big day.
After garnering lots of inspiration from our very own Brides Up North blog, Briony pulled together a very pretty, pastel-hued wedding day with plenty of sweet little details that brought a personal touch to the day. We love the fact that Briony incorporated her late grandmother’s lace into her bouquet and table decorations – a divine detail that meant she carried her nan with her all day.
From the matching bridesmaids’ dressing gowns in the morning, to the wishes jar for guests to share their personal messages, to the pretty little boxes containing mini eggs for each guest as a nod to the Easter weekend, Briony and Adam took time to get the details right. Briony made all the wedding signs herself by writing in white pen on the glass of white photo frames, and the couple chose laser-cut place name signs that each guest could take home with them. Right through to the pop of evening sunshine that facilitated some lovely photographs and gave the couple a few minutes to soak up the atmosphere together, Briony and Adam enjoyed a very pretty, personalised day.
With images by Arabella Smith.
briony says: We got engaged on 14th August 2014. I was making tea when Adam called me into the front room. Jack, our little boy, was sitting on the floor holding a ring box and then Adam got down on one knee. I was completely shocked! I had no idea he was planning to propose. Obviously, the tea ended up in the fridge and we went out to celebrate!
We wanted a spring wedding and Easter bank holiday seemed perfect, with having the Friday and Monday off work, so we chose 15th April 2017 – Easter Saturday. It meant we had more time to prepare and then celebrate afterwards!
Wood Hall Hotel and Spa was the first venue we went to look at: I fell in love with it as soon as we drove down the driveway. Nothing else compared: it was perfect. The coordinator, Rachel, was fantastic in the run up and Nathan and all of the team on the day were brilliant. It’s no wonder they’ve just won Best Large Venue of the Year (Yorkshire) in the North of England Wedding Awards.
I didn’t really choose a theme for our wedding; I just wanted everything to look pretty and romantic. A mixture of lace, white, pastel colours, candles and fairy lights just about sums it up. For something not so traditional, we used two VW campervans as our wedding cars, which we hired from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company. They were a big hit with the guests. I wanted to try and have some personal touches for the day, so I hand-wrote all the calligraphy signs and the seating plan.
With it being a spring wedding, I wanted pastel colours. My wedding dress was by Mori Lee and had a slight blush colour to it. I bought it from The Abbey Wedding Warehouse, in Kirkstall, Leeds. I felt like a princess in it. It was actually the second dress I bought but I’m so glad I changed my mind, as I panic-bought my first dress. To follow the colour scheme, my six bridesmaids were in multiway dresses from Debenhams: two in pale pink, two in pale blue and two in pale grey. I had two flower girls in pale pink dresses, also from Debenhams. Adam wore a traditional grey morning suit and he and our two little boys wore an ivory waistcoat with an ivory rouche. We hired the suits from Slaters in Leeds. The groomsmen wore grey morning suits, ivory waistcoats and a pale pink rouche.
Lauren Rippin did my makeup and made a fantastic job. Lisa Jobson and Danae Miller from Gray’s Salon did all the hair in the morning. Lisa has done my hair for a very long time and is a close friend of mine. The only other person I would trust to do my bridesmaids’ hair is Danae. We have all been friends for a long time and I wouldn’t have had anyone else there with me on the morning. I knew they would make everyone look incredible – and they did!
November 7th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
We’re often blown away by the talents of our incredible featured brides; whether it be their ability to style a theme to precision, their skills in the kitchen to create home-baked goods, or their passion for arts and crafts that results in both pretty and personal décor.
The leading lady from today’s featured wedding boasts all such assets, and had such fun styling her big day that she’s since set up a business motivated by her creativity. From an LED sign spelling out her new surname to a jigsaw guestbook and bespoke cake topper, Rebecca went to town with her homemade touches.
We’re also a little bit in love with the idea of designing your own wedding shoes – an assurance that no guest is going to steal your thunder wearing the same pair of designer heels you spent ages deliberating over and a king’s ransom purchasing. Throw this into the mix with a barbecue, ice cream and pizza feast, 500m-worth of bunting made by the bride’s nanna, a band that played all day long, vodka jellies and a cake table that was demolished by the guests in 30 minutes flat, and we reckon you’ve got a wedding to remember!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
rebecca says: Ashley proposed in August 2016, the day before we were due to fly to New York for a holiday. He pretended he had found something in the suitcase that turned out to be the ring!
I was keen not to have a long engagement as we had already been together more than ten years, so we got married on 26th August 2017 at The Out Barn in Bashall Eaves, near Clitheroe. I knew I wanted something in the countryside and we spent a week looking at different venues all over Lancashire, but nothing took our fancy. I was beginning to lose hope of finding somewhere that I liked when my maid of honour sent me a picture of The Out Barn. We had never heard of it before as it is quite a new venue but this one picture sold it to us. The barn has a huge, round main room and the huge windows look out to Pendle Hill.
I decided on a colour scheme of navy, grey and lilac for the flowers and bunting. Initially, I was going to go for bright wedding colours to contrast with the navy but found it hard to get things to coordinate!
My wedding dress was a tea-length design by Ellis with a jacket, belt and veil, all from Amelia’s Brides in Clitheroe. It was exactly like the image I’d always had in my head, so when I saw it I felt like it was fate! It was the first dress I tried on. I went to three dress shops in total and the experience I had at Amelia’s was by far the best. The girls are so lovely and welcoming.
For my shoes, I knew I wanted a chunky heel and closed toe because those are the shoes I am most comfortable in but, unlike with my dress, I couldn’t find what I had in my head, until I found Shoes of Prey! This is an Australian website where you can design your own shoes. I chose the fabric, heel height, shape, etc. and even got my name and wedding date inscribed on the inside. The whole process was a lot of fun and my shoes ended up cheaper than if I had bought them off the shelf – plus nobody has a pair like them! For the reception, I changed into silver sequinned Converse pumps.
Ashley chose to wear a blue suit, also purchased from Amelia’s, with a grey checked waistcoat. His two best men and our dads matched.
I wanted navy bridesmaid dresses from the very beginning. It’s timeless, very flattering and easy to match with other colours, so my bridesmaids wore navy blue dresses with pleated skirts from ASOS. My maid of honour had the same dress with a different neckline, so she stood out a little. Their shoes were from New Look. I felt so guilty about making them wear heels all day that I also got them some white pumps with their names on for the evening.
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