September 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Rachel and James’s lovely wedding in the heart of the Northumberland works with the natural landscape around it to create a beautiful day that just fits. A setting that means something, allowed to shine. And a big dash of countryside glam.
It’s a breath of fresh air for a Thursday afternoon.
With images by Jamie Penfold Photography.
Rachel says: James and I met at a mutual friend wedding in Newcastle, but he lived in Bath and I lived in Northumberland. We spent hours on the phone and we quickly arranged a first date weekend in Bath. After collecting me from the early flight down, we went for breakfast at a cafe under Baths beautiful Pultney bridge, and knew at that point that we were both smitten. 8 years later, we both live in Bath and totally unexpectedly, James proposed under this bridge with a surprise audience of friends watching over and with a ring from a jewellers on Pultney bridge! It was an amazing moment.
We got married on June 27th 2014 in my family church in Northumberland, literally just over the hill from my family home. It’s beautiful countryside and a special place for both of us now so there was no question about it. My 94 year old grandfather drove us over the steep hill from church where we stopped for fizz and photos and we had a the reception back in the garden at the farm. It was my dream wedding.
The Northumberland countryside and my family garden already has so much character and natural beauty, I wanted a theme to work with that but I’m artistic at heart, so wanted to do tradition with a rustic/ vintage twist to compliment the old farm and house. The theme just evolved sticking to using props from the farm such as hessian sacks, old doors, an old Singer table, vintage mirrors… I got carried away with rustic vintage but loved the simple and yet effective finish.
The colour scheme was simple muted white and beige of the crisp white cloths and the beige of the hessian, combined with fresh green and white on the groomsmen and flowers. My bridesmaids were dresses in coral and white lace- which worked well with my dress and the soft flowers.
I love my dress! I chose it from Bella B in Berwick where I have shopped for years for other people’s outfits and where they had made bridesmaid dresses to fit me. Their Friday section is fantastic and I chose my dress easily and they made me a bespoke jacket to cover my shoulders and arms. Like a lot of brides, I had a thing about my arms and as a bit of a traditionalist wanted my shoulders covered in church. I had the best of both works to be able to remove the jacket at night. The dress has beautiful lace and diamond detail, a beautiful train and I matched it up with a few sparkles and a veil. The lace trimmed veil was the finishing touch that made me feel fabulously bridal (and hid a few happy tears going into the church!)
Our flowers were done by a friend but professional based in Northumberland, Sandra Dickenson. I wanted simple and light, so I swayed totally to baby’s breath… everything! Except for my bouquet where I included some peonies. Sandra is so talented and went the extra mile to accommodate my weird and wonderful requests.
James wore traditional tails for a traditional wedding. The button holes matched the hessian and baby’s breath of my bouquet and we had the ties made in a green and blue liberty pattern which was a soft but summery finish. He had a massive 10 ushers all dressed the same with a buff waistcoat to work with the hessian. With this amount of ushers it was far cheaper to make ties and to get enough for 10 and in a design to suit. I’d really recommend it.
Our photographer (Jamie Penfold Photography) was fantastic. Before the big day he came down to Bath to shoot us where we got engaged which was a great way to get to know him so that we were relaxed with him and the camera on the day. It also gave him the chance to get to know us as a couple and the type of photography we were hoping for. Not only did we do all this, but we also got some great shots of us in Bath which was an added bonus! We are so pleased with the shots of the big day, he has captured the whole feel of the day perfectly, our emotions, our guests reactions, the scenery and the wedding detail you are proud of. Most of our guests didn’t know we had a photographer- that’s a sign of a good one I think!
Instead of a traditional cake we went for cheese from The Northumberland Cheese Company. They were brilliant to work with: we tasted some amazing cheeses, it was hard to decide what to go for. The cake itself was assembled by the florist and the whole thing was demolished on the night! My theory is that people want savoury more than sweet after a few glasses of fizz and wine… and it appears they certainly did!
In the evening we had a band, Groove All Stars - they were brilliant! Offered a wide range of music playing as a duo for the reception and as a 7 piece in the evening. We pulled together our own dance to Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’. The band learned the music especially for the dance and were very happy about me getting behind the mic to start the song (which was planned I might add!)
They were a lovely bunch of people, very willing to bend over backwards to make you happy. That they definitely did – the dance floor was never empty!
I have two favourite moments from the day… walking into our beautiful little church on my proud dad’s arm and seeing James’s face at the end of the aisle – priceless and a lifelong memory of an amazing emotion.
Then, walking into the reception with my nephew leading us into a tunnel crowd of all our guests cheering. It was at that moment that it dawned on us- they are all here for us, all our most treasured friends and family are all around us and we’ve done it, we’re married and it feels amazing.
We set off tomorrow for Crete – I can’t wait. I’ll let you know on our return if we’d recommend it!
September 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a distinct “Tuesday feeling” for much of this morning (the direct opposite of the Friday feeling, which is far nicer). I’m not sure if it’s a come down from the heady mix of industry and bridal events, high heels and glitter whirlwind that I’ve been spinning around in for the past week or so, but today’s huge to-do list of deathly dull admin left me feeling meh.
That’s until I started putting today’s real wedding feature together.
Stacey & John’s beautiful celebration at North East landmark venue Wynyard Hall reminded me exactly why I love this job and that however many VAT returns I have to chew through, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Get ready to pretty up your Tuesday and get lost in lace, blooms and birdcage veils…
With images by Foster & Foster Photography.
Stacey says: We got engaged in October 2012. I was meant to have some annual leave from work, but had been very busy at work and consequently had cancelled my holidays. Unknown to me, Michael had planned a couple of days away. I phoned him from a work to let him know and when I got home from work, I changed into my pyjamas and began to prepare dinner. He nipped upstairs and reappeared in our sitting room on one knee and proposed.
He said that he did it because now he was uncertain as to when we could go away he couldn’t wait!
We were married on 8 March 2014. We knew we did not want a long engagement and 16 to 18 months felt about right.
I didn’t want a typical summer wedding as I envisaged the bridesmaids wearing fur capes outside. We plumped for early March as it was likely to be past the worst bits of winter (heavy snow) but still chilly.
We chose Wynyard Hall, Teeside as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the North East as this is where most of our friends and family are. We also knew we wanted an old venue as this suits our taste. We visited lots of venues, but when we drove up to Wynyard we were blown away by the building and its grounds. When we went inside and seen the amazing stain glass ceiling with grand piano below, I was sold.
When shown around, we liked that we could use three different rooms through the various stages of the day and have our own bar area. The terrace on the right was exclusively ours and allowed our guests privacy. In addition Wynyard had amazing bedrooms to accommodate our immediate family and friends, whilst being near enough to other hotels for other guests. It is an incredible venue, with lots of places for amazing photographs as well as creating the perfect atmosphere.
The team at Wynyard were very helpful and friendly and we knew we’d be in good hands on the day. Chris, our master of ceremonies, kept everything on track and did an amazing job. Maggie our wedding coordinator was very attentive, answered all my queries well and efficiently and everything went smoothly on the day.
Given the venue, I chose lace and, in hindsight, a vintage theme. The boys’ ties were a soft sage green and the bridesmaids wore nude. The flowers then picked up on these colours with ivories and soft peach. I wanted to go for pale colours and tie everything into the lace that I had chosen for the tables.
I wore a fishtail lace Pronovias dress in an off white colour (Diago). I bought it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. I knew that my preference was for a dress with straps/sleeves and no “bling”. When I tried this dress on, the way it moved made me feel amazing and the lace detail was spectacular. Every dress I tried on after it I kept comparing to this one.
What Katy Did Next made me an amazing bespoke birdcage veil. It had a large ivory flower with pearl centre and jewelled leaves on either side. The small veil was then detachable after the ceremony. Her expertise and skill was second to none, as was her service. She also made me some heart shaped shoe clips in ivory so that my shoes were unique!
Michael and the rest of the bridal party wore a mid grey three piece suit hired from Mia Sposa. We bought white shirts from TM Lewin and bought the ties with matching pocket squares from an online retailer.
I had the bridesmaid dresses made to measure by Eve and Adam in Newcastle. They were nude coloured, sleeveless maxi dresses made to my specification. I chose to do this as I had two adult bridesmaids and two children (13 and 9) so it was difficult to find an off the shelf style to suit all. I also wanted a dress they could easily use again.
I had a bouquet of white lilac, champagne, soft peach and ivory roses and ivory peonies.
Katherine’s Florists in Newcastle provided these and they were amazing. Helen at Katherine’s really understood my vision and worked with me to achieve the look I wanted. She understood that I wanted to use fresh flowers but peonies were out of season at this time so she sourced high quality silk ones which you would not have known were silk when in the arrangement.
The bridesmaids carried very similar bouquets, with more soft peach shades and slightly smaller.
All of the groomsmen had button holes of champagne roses, along with Michael’s grandparents and mum. My mum had a pearl wrist corsage with a champagne rose which was beautiful.
We cannot praise Sarah and Mark enough for the huge part they played in our wedding day. We were recommended to use Foster and Foster Photography by several friends and from the minute we contacted them for a quote the service we received was exceptional!
They met with us prior to the wedding to understand the approach we wanted for our photos, get a feel for our wedding and just get to know us in general. They guided us on the optimal way of getting the crucial group shots we wanted whilst also allowing us to spend time with our guests.
On the day they were very much in the background, but still managed to capture amazing images! They made us feel very relaxed throughout the day. Michael in particular was nervous about being put into staged shots and feeling uncomfortable, but Sarah and Mark really made us feel at ease. They were brilliant at taking the group shots we wanted without being intrusive into the natural flow of the day.
The finished product was beyond our expectations and the follow up service has been exceptional! They sent us a small sample of their shots the day after our wedding which was amazing as we were jetting off on honeymoon. They then quickly produced a slideshow to send to our friends. All of our friends and family adore the images and commented on how well executed the photography was on the day.
We also opted to have an album and they worked with us to include all of our favourite pictures. More importantly they used their expertise to produce a professional finish which flowed well and captured all elements of the day. They also helped us to get some extra shots printed for our family. Small things like arranging specific times to deliver our disk of photos and album (to ensure we would receive them quickly and in perfect condition) really added to the already exceptional service.
I would not think twice about recommending Sarah and Mark as any couple’s wedding photographer. The service was faultless and they are a lovely couple who work incredibly well together. We are very lucky to have such amazing pictures from our special day!
We did not want people to sit on certain sides in the ceremony so had a personalised framed picture made saying “Today two families become one, choose a seat not a side”. I reserved the first two rows of the ceremony room for immediate family, bridesmaids and groomsmen and had names badges made which I used as place names in the ceremony room.
Down the aisle we sprinkled petals and had white lanterns with big candles in them which looked amazing.
In the room where we were married we had to two tall slim vases with large ivory hydrangeas. These were moved to our wedding breakfast room after the ceremony. Each table had a centre piece with tall vases containing a combination of the bouquets flowers with some ivory hydrangeas.
The top table had several small vases and jars dotted along the table with one or two of the bouquet flowers picked out. There were then five circular vases into which my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were dropped before the wedding breakfast. These were all supplied by Katherine’s Florists.
In addition, as part of our wedding package, Wynyard supplied a floral pedestal display and a floral spray for the registrar table in ivory colours.
I made some vintage style ladders for the table plan which were very unique and stood out next to the piano. We also had a table of family wedding photos next to the piano, which was brilliant as some people had passed away and it was a way to recognise them.
I also had made some extra frames with M&S in as well as some Mr and Mrs signs. One of my bridesmaid’s bought us a Mr and Mrs Hall sign for the top table which finished it off perfectly! She gave it to me the night before which made it an extra surprise!
I hired Posh Chair Covers and Bows to do the lace bows and hoods on the chairs as well as lace runners down the tables which fitted perfectly with the theme!
The cake was one of my favourite things! It was off-white to match my dress and covered in flowers in pale green, peach and ivory to match my colour theme. They cascaded down the cake and were more closely gathered near the bottom.
The bottom layer was fruit cake made by Michael’s brother (and the best man) who is a chef. There were then two layers of chocolate cake and one of vanilla. It was made by a family friend, Sue Hall. We also had a huge stack of cupcakes to match the main cake as cupcakes are a favourite of mine!
For the wedding ceremony and drinks reception we had a piano player Mark Deeks of Music Newcastle. We knew we wanted to use the grand piano in the main hallway where guests would be chatting. It was the perfect accompaniment to our ceremony and Mark provided an excellent bespoke service! He took requests on the day which our guests really enjoyed!
On the evening we had a local band, The Fontains. They were better than we could ever have hoped! They performed our first dance song “Read My Mind” by The Killers and the arrangement was fantastic! The atmosphere they created was beyond what we could have hoped for!
My favourite part was walking out of the wedding ceremony to the drinks reception because I was officially married to Michael, everything looked perfect and everyone seemed to be having a brilliant time.
I felt I could relax as everything had come together as planned!
For our honeymoon, we went to Barbados for two weeks. The first week we spent on the west coast near Holtown self catering and the second on the south east coast near St Lawrence Gap.
The weather was perfect for us as it was hot with a breeze. We explored the island in the first week, visiting various places by bus and foot. This included going on a catamaran cruise and Landrover off-road island tour.
The second week was absolute luxury in an all inclusive Sandals resort which was amazing and very relaxing after the hectic wedding build up!
One of the last things we booked was a wedding videographer, Ben at HNE Media. It was one of the best decisions we made as it allowed us to relive the day and listen to the speeches again. Ben was brilliant and the final product was perfect!
As my top tip for other Brides Up North I would definitely recommend splashing out on a videographer.
September 15th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The unique venue for Ben and Amanda’s well-planned wedding is what made their big day really stand out to me. The couple and their guests partied through to the small hours in beautifully decorated tipis pitched next to the picturesque back-drop of Lake Coniston. Stunning, just stunning!
Better yet, they stretched their wedding celebrations across three days (hell yeah!) to take full advantage of the breathtaking location.
The couple’s rustic barn/tea party theme came together perfectly with wonderful décor, individual touches and a mouth-watering menu, which was rounded-off with one heck of a party.
So let’s dive straight into the magic with details of the couple’s engagement.
With images by James Stewart Photograpy.
Amanda says: We got engaged on June 26, 2012. Ben chose this date as it’s his birthday and says it’s the only day of the year that he gets to choose what we do! We were camping in Crantock, Cornwall (which is our favourite holiday location). In the days leading up to the engagement we had walked around the headland looking for a nice birthday picnic spot, little did I know that it would actually be the engagement spot. Ben’s insistence on me choosing the exact spot made sense afterwards! We went surfing in the morning then after a nice hot shower, we headed off with our cream tea inspired picnic, with the obligatory champagne and strawberries!
After setting out our picnic blanket Ben made me close my eyes for a ‘surprise’ and when I opened them, he was knelt down with the ring in his hand. Lots of nice words and champagne followed, and then the second surprise of the day was that he’d booked us into Watergate Bay Hotel for the night, so we could enjoy our engagement night in the a bed rather that a tent!
We set the date for June 28, 2014. We’re both in the RAF and have lots of friends in the RAF too, so we always have to plan very far in advance for everything. We wanted to give everyone at least a year’s notice, so drew-up a plot of availability of my bridesmaid being back from Afghanistan and then the big items we needed to hire: tipi, venue, toilets, transport etc, and just chose the date that would work the best.
When deciding on a venue for the wedding, we were always on the lookout for somewhere we could use exclusively, somewhere that was slightly different from the norm, but ultimately somewhere that we could have a relaxed and intimate wedding, which we could hopefully spread out over more than more day.
We’d seen tipis in a wedding magazine and knew straight away that they provided exactly what we wanted, so we then went on an internet hunt for an amazing location; that’s how we found Bank Ground Farm in the Lake District. It’s a working farm, with cottages, a guesthouse, dog kennels, a tea room, boats for hire and bikes for hire, so it had a lot of what we needed under one roof. We didn’t do the legal bits at Bank Ground but it is where the real celebrations happened. We had a civil ceremony at Belmount Hall first which we chose because of its beautifully rustic interior and its proximity to Bank Ground Farm. The farm offered us the intimacy we wanted, gave us the ability to accommodate a large number of our guests and had a very relaxed feel about it. There are lots of different elements to Bank Ground, from the beautifully manicured lawns at the front of the house, the terrace overlooking Old Man Coniston and the lounge areas and bar inside the guesthouse; we were fortunate to be able to utilise all of them over the course of our three-day celebrations.
We didn’t have a specific theme to begin with, but over the course of the planning, we naturally swayed towards a rustic barn type of style. There were exposed beams in the tipis which we covered in fairy lights, we scattered bales of hay around for seats and displays, we up-cycled bottles and jars for flowers and candles, and brought everything together by using lace and burlap throughout. Relaxation had been the driving factor with choices; we didn’t want anything formal or stuffy, we just wanted people to feel that they could kick off their shoes and swap them for flip-flops or even wellies (weather dependent). The tea party food theme came out of our love for cream tea and the link back to our engagement with the champagne, strawberries, scones and clotted cream.
We wanted to keep the colour theme soft and romantic to tie in with the burlap and lace so all colours used were pale pinks, creams and some light gold.
My wedding dress was couture, and pre-loved. I saw it hiding at the back of a rail and was instantly attracted to its big, floaty skirt. The ripples in the skirt made me think of water and the rough edges of the material was in keeping with the relaxed, vintage effect we were creating. I love my sparkles, so the Swarovski pearls and beads that covered the bodice kept it girly and romantic.
Ben wore a very striking navy tweed three-piece suit from Walker Slater, a bespoke tweed outfitter in Edinburgh, along with a white shirt, pink knitted tie, and tan brogues from Kurt Geiger. The groomsmen all wore different tweed waistcoats, all from Walker Slater, white shirts, pink ties (to match Ben’s) and navy chinos.
The bridesmaids and I have a passion for Irregular Choice shoes, so in keeping with the soft colour scheme, the girls wore beautiful champagne lace dresses, but brought a pop of colour to the outfits with some bright Irregular Choice shoes. We all wore the same style, but in a different colour.
We loved how everyone looked together; it was exactly how we’d imagined, just amazing!
My hairdresser was Vikki Nelson and I have to say she had the patience of a saint! The hair for myself, mum and bridesmaids was the one thing I got my knickers in a twist over, as I really wanted it to be perfect. And despite me changing my ideas slightly, and my handmade hairpiece not quite working out as I’d planned, Vikki remained calm and polite while I had a very minor melt down/moan! All of the hairstyles turned out better than planned, and stayed in place well into the early hours.
My make-up was done by my gorgeous and talented cousin Samantha Hill, who runs her own beauty salon Beau Chic Beauty in Latton, on the edge of the Cotswolds/Cirencester. Everyone commented on how flawless it was, and I didn’t even need to do one single touch-up throughout the whole day – just perfect!
On the big day, we travelled in a classic split screen VW camper. This had been one of our ‘must haves’ from the very beginning as we both love the classic VW’s and dream to actually own one someday! Paul Bradburn of Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars was just amazing. He was extremely friendly and very passionate about his VW – he even supplied us with a nice cold bottle of bubbles for the journey.
My favourite part of the day was stood at the stairs to the civil ceremony room, waiting for my entrance music to start, with my mum doing a little dance to make me laugh and hold back the tears, knowing that in less than a few minutes I’d be saying my vows and my life as I knew it would change forever. Knowing that my best friend was about to become my husband and that our next adventures together would soon begin was a wonderful feeling.
We have the bonus of having James Stewart as Ben’s cousin, so there was never any doubt that we would use him as our photographer. We’ve seen a lot of James’ work over the years, from his sporting shots to capturing many happy family events.
James has a very unobtrusive nature and manages to get the shots that you didn’t even notice. A week after the wedding he sent us a little taster of what was to come in the form of a slideshow set to music; shame he hadn’t prepared me to have the tissues at the ready! I’m not sure how he managed it, but his photos feel like they captured all of the emotions of the day magnificently. Quite a few people have commented on needing the tissues when they watched it. We truly couldn’t recommend him enough; thoroughly professional, amazingly talented and a pleasure to have had him as part of our day.
For our wedding flowers we used The Flower Basket in Coniston village. Anne was extremely helpful and totally understood the concept I was aiming for. We basically told her that we wanted it to be soft and relaxed, using mainly creams and pinks. I’d created a scrapbook of magazines pictures over the year, took it to show her and realised that the running theme in my scrapings were peonies, gypsophila and roses. So we gave her artistic licence to use anything else she thought would look good, and she did an absolutely amazing job and totally transformed the tipis and surrounding chill out areas. I really couldn’t have been happier with the end result and couldn’t recommend her enough. I didn’t carry a bouquet, instead choosing to have a wrist corsage, which had some large pink peonies and white roses.
I made a lot of the decorations myself; pom poms, up-cycled jars and bottles, table plan, and napkin cuffs. I also put Ben and his dad to good use with a chain saw, cutting up tree trunks for table centre, and stands for menus and notices. The final touches of vintage glamour came from suretosurpriseyou.co.uk.
We hired all of the vintage crockery, cake stands and other tableware essentials, but the real eye-catchers were all of the vintage items for decoration. My bridesmaid Amy also lent a hand with the table centre arrangements, using her eye for detail to incorporate my items with hers. She helped to make a unique table centre for each table, and helped create a central focal point out of bales of hay, blankets and vintage items.
For our favours I made individuals wine charms for all the guests, but also made boxes so that they could all add their charms to a box, take them home, and carry on using them for their own future parties.
My bridesmaid Amy is an absolute legend in the baking department, and so there was never any other option than to have her mouth-watering delights as our wedding cake. Sticking with the tea party theme, she made the most magnificent four-tier tea party inspired cake. There were edible teacups, real biscuits, edible bunting and a giant Belgium white chocolate teapot on top. Each layer was a different flavour; chocolate, Victoria sponge, carrot and lemon.
Bank Ground Farm made all of our food, using as many local ingredients as possible, even using produce from their own farm. We had a hog roast on the Friday night with lots of gorgeous breads and salads. We also had a barbecue fit for a king on the Sunday afternoon.
The Saturday wedding food started off with a large selection of canapés on the lawn while enjoying bubbles for the girls, and local ales for the boys. The wedding breakfast was simply ‘high tea’, which included Cumbrian honey roast ham sandwiches, local pink roast beef with horseradish, blue cheese and rocket sandwiches, local cheddar with homemade chutney on onion bread sandwiches, free range egg and watercress sandwiches, Cumberland sausage rolls with smoked bacon and mustard, mini vegetable wellingtons and stilton, bacon and spring onion potato skins. Dessert was homemade scones, homemade jam, local fresh strawberries and lashings of clotted cream. Wines and champagnes were served from the bar stock and we had kegs of Loweswater Gold and Esthwaite ales to keep the guys happy.
Ben is massively into his music, so this was one area that he was in charge of completely. We both believe that live music is the making of any event, so he spent hours trawling the internet, listening to bands, and reading reviews. He finally decided on The Rips, who are a five-piece band from Yorkshire. They play anything from The Beatles or Bryan Adams, to Kings of Leon and Maroon 5, so we knew we’d get a good range to keep all ages entertained. Ben’s research certainly paid off because the dance floor was bouncing all night long!
We would wholeheartedly recommend all of our suppliers to other couples. One thing we really loved about Bank Ground Farm is that it isn’t actually a wedding venue. Jonathon there believes that weddings need and deserve a lot of attention and time, therefore doesn’t allow more than a handful of weddings a year, allowing him to dedicate his time and attention to each one, and help to make it unique. This was a real bonus and Jonathon and his staff were like extensions of the family; unbelievably helpful, happy and eager to help things run smoothly.
Other suppliers we’d have to recommend are Special Event Tipis. Kate and Dave from there were fantastic to work with. They are a married couple, who used tipis for their own wedding, fell in love with them and decided to start their own business. You can really tell they have a passion for their job, as they were extremely enthusiastic, passionate and accommodating with everything. They also use very high quality items, which made my job of decorating much easier, as there was such a great starting point with their tipis and interiors.
A special touch to the wedding was certainly having our eight-month-old English Springer Spaniel, Murphy there to play a part in the weekend celebrations. He’s a huge part of our lives. He even had his own tweed collar and lead to match Ben’s outfit.
We went to Thailand on our honeymoon. We had a few nights in Bangkok where we sampled as many delights as possible; tuk tuk rides, street food, coconut water and street markets. We also had some cultural trips; temples, Bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass and war memorials. We visited the Tiger Temple, which was a dream come true, especially bathing and feeding the baby tigers and we stayed in a glamping site called Hintock River Camp. After these three whirlwind days, we jumped on another flight to Koh Samui, where we checked into a pool villa at Six Senses Samui. This was ultimate luxury; just what we both needed after six months of wedding crafting and preparations. Over the course of the next week we relaxed (a lot), went sightseeing on boats and kayaks, went elephant riding, relaxed some more and ate a lot!
My top tip to other Brides Up North has to be this (even though we still failed to do it) – try, try, try to take ten minutes aside together in the middle of the evening to step back and watch all of your loved ones having a blast. The evening really does just disappear in a heartbeat, and is over before anyone wants it to be!
September 11th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
There’s something about being by the seaside that causes a welcome state of relaxation.
Nicola and Eamonn chose the pretty seaside town of Scarborough for their laid-back big day which they were proud to show-off to their guests via an open-top bus ride and fabulous sea-front reception venue.
What I love about this wedding is that the bride and groom didn’t get swept up in wedding planning mania, but instead really thought about what they wanted and then executed it to perfection.
This fab real wedding oozes style and sophistication and is topped-off with a good glug of fun.
With photos by Photography34.
Nicola says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012 after being together for 11 years. Eamonn surprised me by dropping to one knee in front of our two little girls. It was very romantic as he had written a poem which incorporated all of the favourite places we have travelled to together.
We got married on Saturday 27th July 2013. We chose the 27th as it was Eamonn’s mother Helen’s birthday – she sadly passed in 2010.
Our wedding ceremony was at St Peters RC Church in Scarborough, our girls were baptised here so it was a natural choice. It’s a very beautiful building. I chose for my brother to walk me down the aisle. We celebrated afterwards at the Ambassador Hotel and Spa, which we chose because it’s such a lovely boutique hotel with fab views of Scarborough. The venue was perfect for our requirements. We would have no hesitation in recommending it to future brides and grooms. Kieran there listened to our every request and suggestion and together we made it all work to create our perfect day.
The one thing Eamonn and I discussed at length though at the start of the planning process was how we wanted the day to play out. We wanted everyone who shared the day with us to be there from the beginning until the end – it did limit us to the number of guests for the day (120) but everyone agreed that the day had a great flow to it. From the moment we were married we all travelled together to the reception (the long way around the Marine Drive at Scarborough so we could take in the stunning views on the open-top bus) and while everyone had their Meze starters outside the venue we snuck away with our photographer Tony for a quick photo shoot. We’ve all been to weddings where there is a pause in the day for photos and then another while the evening guests arrive and we didn’t want that. We chose to have the wedding a little later in the afternoon at 3pm which did put us on a tighter timescale than most weddings but we wanted the day to be one continual celebration with a natural flow and relaxed feel. As a result of the thought and planning that we put into the scheduling of the day it all played out really well and all of the guests thought that it had happened by chance.
There was no particular colour theme from the start – it all kind of just pulled itself together. Once we found the taupe bridesmaid dresses it cemented the spectrum of colours we used, from the invitation to the cake and the flowers.
I was quite nervous about shopping for my wedding dress. I was completely out of my comfort zone but with the help of my trusty bridesmaids and the ladies at The Wedding Room in Scarborough we picked out about seven dresses in all sorts of cuts and styles to work out what I might like. The first dress I tried was beautiful – big, full and very princess like (I thought this might be the type I would go for) but when I stepped out in it and looked in the mirror I was overwhelmed with the size of it! I cried and wanted to turn and run. But the ladies at the Wedding Rooms had obviously seen this before and whipped me straight back into the changing rooms to get out of it and encouraged me to try on something not so huge. Gypsy bride it wasn’t, but it just didn’t feel right for me. I tried a couple more on and they were all beautiful but I couldn’t pick between them. Then I tried on the fourth dress – it was a very detailed fishtail dress with lace, sequins, pearls and bugle beads by Justin Alexander. The moment it went over my head and I looked in the mirror I knew it was the one. I just loved the way I felt in it and when I walked out to show my bridesmaids I cried again – this time with happiness – their faces confirmed what I was feeling. It was so disappointing to put on my own clothes after wearing such a fabulous dress.
Eamonn wore a tailored suit from Mullen and Mullen in York. He chose a dark navy blue colour suit with a waistcoat. The suit jacket had a taupe colour lining to complement the bridesmaid dresses and he got our initials and the wedding date 27.07.13 stitched into the lining which was a lovely touch. I always thought Eamonn wore a suit well but have to say seeing him in a tailored suit made him look particularly dashing!
My flowers came from the very talented Kirsty Berridge from Minnie Bee’s Floral Design. I didn’t have a clue about flowers but I used my wedding board on Pinterest to show Kirsty what type of flowers and colours I liked. She was fabulous and brought lots of pictures of previous bouquets she had done to show me. She came up with my fabulous hand-tied bouquet of gypsophila, soft vintage pink hydrangea, dahlias, peonies and English grown roses in soft pinks, peaches and cream. We had two fabulous pedestal arrangements in the church and the tables at the reception venue again featured the same flowers, although we went for a much brighter tone of colours and displayed them in jam jars all supplied by Minnie Bee’s.
The bridesmaids all carried hand-tied bouquets of gypsophila and the flower girls carried small pomander balls of gypsophila and the groomsmen had button holes made of the same. Kirsty also supplied gypsophila on bits of wire to add to the bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ hair.
I had five bridesmaids and two flower girls (my daughters Stella and Grace), plus my mum and my brother to get from the hotel to the church so Ozzy the camper van from Scarborough Kombi Van Hire was the perfect solution. We had a lot of guests from out of town and abroad who we wanted to see the beauty of Scarborough while they were here, plus parking can be quite tricky around the church, so hiring an open top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us all to the reception made perfect sense – and it was great fun!
Our photographer was our good friend Tony Wilson from Photography34 who has documented a number of our special days over the last couple of years, our daughters’ baptism being one of the first. Tony does such a great job of translating the feel of the day into pictures. We will be forever grateful for the precious moments that Tony has captured for us – we will always have them to look back on. He was also a guest at our wedding so he can definitely multitask.
The cake was provided by Gemma Flood at Cotton House Cakes. It was a four-tier chocolate fudge cake topped with Italian meringue butter cream. The colour graduated from light to dark – another spot on Pinterest.
For our wedding meal we decided that we didn’t want something that was going to be too gastro, even though Eamonn is a bit of a foodie. We went for a bit of a Greek theme with the food as we enjoy holidaying there and love the food. We chose to have a Greek meze as an informal starter which was served on arrival. We had these instead a formal starter as we didn’t want to be sat inside for a lengthy three-course meal. The Ambassador did a great job of serving these in a way that were easy to eat with fingers and stood up while relaxing outside. We decided to have the speeches before the main meal once everyone was seated indoors – this just seemed like a natural break to fit in the best man’s and groom’s speeches. We continued with the Greek theme for the main meal opting for a choice of beef stifado or vegetable moussaka. We kept the wedding cake as a dessert and then had a selection of cheeses that were brought to each of the tables so everyone could nibble throughout the evening.
We wanted a relaxed theme so didn’t go heavy on the entertainment. We did want some music for when we arrived at The Ambassador in the open-top bus and while we had the drinks reception and starters. We had discussed various live acts but Eamonn saw a young jazz band busking in town and booked them for the wedding! The Jelly Jolly Jazz Band fronted by a young musician called Laurence Marshall were just great, they played some really uplifting jazz which set everyone off on the right tone for the day. For the evening we opted for Spectrum Discos, who were great! We had a few particulars we wanted playing but were pretty relaxed with the play list. Our first dance was a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel classic You’re All I Need to Get By, which was just perfect!
To keep our young guests entertained, I ordered some small cardboard suitcases and filled them with colouring books and quiet toys. I also asked The Ambassador to add a small pack-up so the children could tuck in as soon as we sat down. They could then run around the dance floor after the speeches had taken place while the adults enjoyed their stifado!
We chose to have circular tables for everyone, so no top table – just to avoid any issues with who might feel they should be sat on it! We had paper pom poms, added by Alex Anderson from Homebird House, hanging from the ceiling above our table just to make it a focal point. They were also hung above the table for wedding cards which we decorated ourselves with an old suitcase, a beach towel, ball, bucket and spade.
Eamonn and I had told all of our guests that we didn’t expect any gifts as many people were already travelling great distances to attend the wedding but any gifts of money we did receive would be used on what we were calling a ‘familymoon’.
We couldn’t choose a favourite part of our wedding – we loved the whole day! We really thought about what we wanted and what was important for us and we made it happen. All of our guests really got that the day was a reflection of us and enjoyed it as much as we did!
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to get sucked into everything that’s on offer. We had a very traditional church wedding but personally picked everything that went around that, including flipping around the proceedings of the day and for us that really worked. Everyone is different but it’s so easy to get pulled into ‘the perfect Pinterest wedding’ which can be daunting and crazy expensive. We decided that we wanted a simple wedding which was about Eamonn and I standing up in front of our loved ones and saying ‘this is us forever’ followed by great food and drink and a kick ass party!
September 8th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
I think I may have mentioned recently that I’m totally obsessed with wedding flowers. Well, Sam and Lisa’s fab big day features the most amazing blooms that I just can’t stop swooning over.
They formed a key part of the chosen theme, which put simply was all things pretty – including a gorgeous coral colour theme, antique lace and elegant glassware.
The crafty couple rolled up their sleeves to add lots of lovely special touches to their big day – and roped in their talented family and friends to help along the way.
This stunning wedding is quite literally bursting at the seams with inspiration so grab your planning scrapbook and prepare to take notes ladies.
With images by Kate Cooper Photography.
Lisa says: We got engaged on Friday November 4th 2011. I had absolutely no idea that Sam was even thinking of proposing. We’d been together for ten happy years having met at university. We’d lived together for a few years with various friends and finally after nine years of being together, we could afford to live on our own in our own home – something we’d wanted to do for so long. I’d just started my first job as a teacher and we were beginning to do up our house. Life as a ‘proper’ grown-up couple in our home was feeling great but I had no idea we were about to get engaged. The next thing I know, Sam was proposing! He proposed at home under a star lit lounge (he’d put fairy lights up round the room) and got down on one knee. It was simple, personal, private and lovely.
Our big day was on Thursday 1st August 2014. Being a teacher, I wanted to get married in the summer holiday. We also love summer weather so we chose an August wedding date. We had our wedding on a Thursday as it was cheaper to get married during the week at our venue.
We chose Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale, Derbyshire, as our wedding venue. We’d looked endlessly for venues – both around the Sheffield area where we live and also down in Sussex where Sam is from. Nothing felt right and we were about to give up when we stumbled across Stancliffe Hall on a different Google search. As soon as we drove down the sweeping driveway lined with rhododendrons we knew we were somewhere special. The butterflies we had in our stomachs as we arrived continued as we looked at round the house. We were stunned at how beautifully the stately home had been renovated from a boarding school into a fabulous home and wedding venue. There is an amazing feel to the place – mixing complete luxury and boutique styling throughout the house, with traditional features too. There are so many beautiful touches around the house and there are lots of different rooms, balconies and nooks and crannies to explore. It’s surrounded by stunning scenery and is completely private. It also had its own beautiful wooden chapel that sits just outside the main house which meant we could get married on site too.
I had never been a girl who had dreamt up or imagined my wedding day so I didn’t really know where to start but I bought a couple of magazines and off I went! I knew I wanted a pretty, natural, floral theme and I was ridiculously excited at choosing the flowers. I started by thinking about the sort of blooms I wanted and one of my favourite flowers is the coral crush peony. My first and easiest decision was the colour scheme. Coral – a pretty, summery colour and one of my favourites! Grey – because Sam wanted to wear grey and it goes really nicely with coral. And yellow – because it complimented the rest! Next came the dress which was a lace gown which then became incorporated into the theme. My grandma gave me her cameo brooch as my something borrowed, and this then became something we incorporated into the theme. So the overall theme was a mix of – pretty, coral, lacey, cameo, homemade and vintage.
For my wedding dress I chose the Rita gown by San Patrick which was not an easy find – a bit of a mission in fact. I had looked at so many dresses online, in magazines, on wedding blogs and in shops. I wanted something pretty and feminine but with an edge to it. I stumbled across a dress online by San Patrick called Risco which made my heart skip a beat every time I looked at it. But it was so difficult to track it down and find somewhere that stocked it. I persisted and eventually I found a bridal shop called Xquisite Bridal in Leighton Buzzard that stocked it. Sabrina, the owner, had one left in stock and I think it had been discontinued – hoorah, I’d found my dress! I made an appointment to try on Risco in the boutique for the next month. By the time I had arrived, it had been sold to another bride! I was devastated. All that effort to find it and a three-hour trip to get there and it had been sold! Really kindly Sabrina let me try on the dress, but after all that excitement and anticipation, it didn’t even suite me! I had a backup dress to try on though – Rita. She was beautiful and my mum and sister both agreed that it was much better on me than Risco. Never someone to rush into a decision, I didn’t have the ‘it’s the one’ moment so I went away to think about it. In the meantime, I tried on some other dresses and confused myself even more. I was torn between Rita and a Benjamin Roberts gown. However, eventually after going back to Xquisite Bridal, I decided that Rita was the one for me. Not only was it a beautiful dress but she shared my late auntie’s name. I decided to have straps added and the skirt taken in at the knees to give it slightly more fishtailed look. I also bought a beautiful sash belt from Pearl and Co. who are based in the Manchester area who also made my garter using my grandma’s lace. I have to say, I did doubt my choice (I’m so bad at making decisions and sticking to them) but on my wedding day I absolutely loved every minute of wearing her!
Sam wore a bespoke tailored suit from King and Allen in Wilmslow. Sam got to choose the material – a lovely lightweight material which wouldn’t be too hot for our summer wedding. He decided on a classic fit so that he can continue to wear it through the years. We also had our names and wedding date embroidered into the jacket which added a really nice touch. His shoes were brown Barker brogues. As a little extra, I bought Sam some Edwardian cameo cufflinks that I found on Etsy to fit with our theme.
I’m so lucky to have such a talented mum who made the bridesmaid dresses and without really even following a pattern. I’d found a dress that I loved, but it didn’t come in coral. In fact, finding anything in coral was almost impossible at the time. So in the end I stumbled across some coral lace on a market stall and I nearly ripped the woman’s arm off for it. My mum is such a perfectionist and worked her magic using just a picture of the dress I liked for reference. After six months of work on them (she’s a retired teacher with time on her hands) they were perfect. The groomsmen all wore light grey suits, similar to Sam’s. The dads wore their own choice of grey suits.
Our photographer was the lovely and talented Kate Cooper. Sam works with her husband which is how we found Kate, and she was just the loveliest person to have around on the day. I couldn’t recommend her enough because she has such a good eye for detail. She really knows how to capture the ‘feel’ of an event and she’s so calm and sweet – she even helped me to get ready and she is so inconspicuous on the day. She just seemed to glide around without being imposing in any way and she made us feel completely at ease.
Flowers formed the main theme of our day so we really went to town on them. All the flowers were put together by Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers incorporating the colours we had picked along with the feel we were trying to create – vintage-inspired, natural and romantic.
My hand-tied bouquet was a posy-style design that was quite open and loose with lots of textural interest but still feminine and pretty. Flowers included were coral David Austin roses, succulents, craspedia, burnt orange leucospermum, brunia, rosemary, peach hypericum, eucalyptus cinerea and a little gypsophila. I also asked Tracey to include a tiny piece of holly from my dog’s grave which I gave to her.
The bridesmaids had vintage-inspired double wrist corsages which were put together on an ivory organza ribbon using two David Austin roses, a sprig of gypsophila and a cameo brooch. Meanwhile the button holes were based on a David Austin rose design using elements from my bouquet. They were constructed on their natural stem and bound and finished with a tie of lace. Coral ribbon was also added to Sam’s button hole.
For the chapel we had collections of random clear glass bottles at different heights and apothecary jars along the edge of the ceremony table which featured a random selection of our chosen blooms. To continue the vintage theme throughout the floral designs Tracey used cream enameled candlesticks topped with beautiful gypsophila topiary balls and finished with floating glass baubles filled with David Austin Juliet roses. Pretty glass baubles, again filled with delicate peach roses, were also hung from the walkway between the house and ceremony room.
When it came to dressing the room for the wedding breakfast, some of the flowers from the ceremony room were transferred and a few new arrangements in tiny cut glass heirloom vases were added. We had bought an antique French chest of drawers which we wanted to use at the venue because it is so beautiful. We used it outside the chapel to place the order of service and confetti cones on. We then transferred the drawers into the house for guests to place cards and gifts in. We had one drawer filled with flowers designed by Tracey to look as if they were tumbling out.
Other decorations we had included photo frames with old family wedding photos in, candles in storm lanterns, olive trees, hanging pearl hearts, homemade lace lanterns, a large free-standing metal heart that I decorated with lace as the table plan, a homemade wish tree with luggage tags for people to write on and hang from the tree and finally we had a floral ‘L’ and ‘S’ made by my mum. She bought cardboard letters for our initials, hollowed them out and painted them green and then filled the inside of them with oasis and flowers. It looked so pretty.
We had homemade jam and liquors as our favours. Glassware was another theme of the wedding which we used to present the flowers in and also for a sweetie table in the evening, so we carried the glassware theme through into the favours using pretty bottles and jars for the jams and liqueurs. The idea was to have translucent pastel colours from the preserves and liqueurs – peaches, yellows and greens to make the tables look lovely. Sam’s parents made the liqueurs for us – Limoncello, Pompelmocello (pink grapefruit Limoncello), and Rhubarbcello (rhubarb). I made the jams and curds: lemon curd, lime curd, pink grapefruit curd, gooseberry jelly and rhubarb jelly (the fruit coming from my grandma’s garden). I made salt dough hearts that I stamped in the same way as I stamped the stationary to give them a texture and colour. We tied them to the bottles and jars and my sister made lovely labels to go on them. We had some lace from the bridesmaid dresses left over so we used this to top the jars. My sister alos made beautiful cake pops for the children.
After getting a few ‘real’ quotes from some amazing cake makers, we decided that we didn’t want to take that amount of money out of the wedding fund, so we had to push the cake down the priority list.
We decided to go with a lady called Val Brown who makes cakes as a hobby and is really good at it. We designed the cake ourselves – taking elements of different cakes that we’d seen and liked. We drew a plan for Val to follow. She did a great job but when mum and her partner Norman picked up the cake it was absolutely enormous! Transporting the Eiffel Tower sized cake on the most humid day of the year, along the windiest road wasn’t exactly favourable. Disaster struck when we arrived at the wedding venue and opened the box. The whole thing was collapsing in front of our eyes. In the end we had to dismantle the cake and we were left with three separate tiers. Chocolate, lemon drizzle and fruit cake. But it wasn’t pretty and we wouldn’t have a cake to cut. To cut the rest of a very long story short, Val remade the top two tiers overnight using polystyrene. We salvaged enough of the pearl beading and icing details to remake the cake. Nobody knew it had happened by the time she had finished, and we were able to serve the cake that we’d saved from toppling off the cake.
We were really lucky with our food. Stancliffe Hall don’t have their own caterers but they had three outside caterers that we could choose from which meant we could be creative with the menu. We had a company called Coghlans do our catering and they were absolutely fantastic. Andrew (the boss) met with us and discussed our favourite foods and what we envisaged for our wedding food and then came up with a bespoke menu. First we had canapés which were an Italian Anti-Pasti theme. For starter we had ravioli of king prawn and scallop topped with a lobster cannelloni and a light caviar butter sauce. Main was fillet of pork wellington with apricots and sage, served with fondant potato and calvados jus lie. And dessert was iced raspberry parfait and raspberry shortbread rounds topped with gold leaf and chocolate disks.
Coghlans were also responsible for the drinks, which again, we were able to be creative with. We did a wine tasting before the wedding where we matched wine with the food. We had Mr and Mrs cocktails. My choice was the Aperol Spritz – the perfect colour and my favourite drink from a trip to Italy with my best friend a few years before. Sam’s was an old fashioned but made with Jacquin’s whiskey which has fruit in the bottle and gives it a peachy colour. We served these as our reception drinks and also in the evening too.
We had a rustic evening buffet with a whole serrano leg of ham that Sam’s parents had bought back from Spain. We served it with breads, olives, cheese, biscuits, pasties and my grandma’s fruit cake, served with the cheese.
We have lots of talented people in our family that do all kinds of things so the wedding ended up being a real family affair. Everyone, including myself and Sam, had a hand in creating things for the wedding to add lots of special touches.
Not only did my mum make the bridesmaid dresses and our beautiful L and S, but she also made our beautiful ring cushion out of little bits of lace that belonged to my grandma and great grandma (some of the lace was over 100 years old). My dad is a classical musician and he composed a song for uscalled The Presence of Love which was such a special thing to have. He had some members of his London choir travel to Derbyshire to sing it on the day as I walked down the aisle.
Sam’s mum spent a long time searching charity shops for glasswarethat we could use for the sweetie table. My uncle made my jewellery, except for my bracelet which was a gift from Sam’s parents. He designed my earrings and necklace to go with the bracelet. He also made my engagement and wedding ring. Lots of people made homemade sweets for the sweetie table including me, my mum and sister and Sam’s parents. We also made our own stationery, handmade confetti and doily cones, embroidered coral place napkins and we hand-dyed coral socks for the groomsmen.
We had a wedding blessing after the civil part of the ceremony as it felt like we were missing something by not having a vicar marry us. In between the ceremony and blessing we had a 15-minute mini concert where my dad’s choir sang some songs and he also played a couple of piano pieces. Our dads both did speeches on the day while our mums put their feelings down in words and presented us with letters.
For both of us the ceremony was our favourite part of the wedding. It is such an amazing experience to say our vows to each other and to have my dad’s choir sing his song for us. To be in such a beautiful place and to be married in front of our closest friends and family was just so special. It was really overwhelming and a bit like an out of body experience, but totally amazing.
Sri Lanka was our honeymoon destination. We spent three weeks there in total. We spent the first week at an incredible resort where we sunbathed on an amazing beech, had spa treatments and did morning yoga. After that we travelled around to lots of other destinations and packed loads in including doing safari, visiting tea plantations and Buddhist temples, rock climbing and eating lots of food.
Our advice to other wedding couples would be to do things that are important to you. If you like crafting, do crafting. If you like food – do foodie things. Some people thought I was mad doing as much ‘making’ as I did but it was one opportunity in my life where I could go to town doing things that I love. Organisation is key and giving yourself plenty of time to get everything done is so important. We had planned everything to be done and dusted with a week to spare so that we could relax in the run up to the wedding. Of course we were running round like headless chickens in the week before and if I could go back I would try to get more done beforehand so that we could have had a day or two to ourselves. I also wish I’d had a few minutes before going into the chapel to soak in what was about to happen. I wanted time with my mum and dad before they gave me away and time with my bridesmaids but my makeup artist messed up the timings so I was the last one to have my makeup done. My advice therefore is to make sure you know exactly what time you’ll have your hair and makeup done so you can plan in some ‘reflection’ time and just be in the moment and soak up the experience before you walk down the aisle.
My sister was a huge support throughout planning the wedding and on the day itself. She was like my personal assistant and did so much for us. If a bride can enrol the support of someone like a sister or a best friend to help with all things wedding, it makes the whole experience even better.
September 5th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Just like the bride in this wonderful wedding I’m a huge fan of pretty pastel shades and bridesmaids wearing different coloured dresses. So as soon as I saw the sweet image of Sarah, flocked by her pretty maids I knew this wedding would have style.
And that it does. From Sarah’s stunning Sharon Bowen gown, to the impressive Peak District venue and the incredibly beautiful blooms, this wedding oozes inspiration.
So sit back, relax and let’s all take a trip to the countryside to relive Sarah and David’s big day.
With images by Jess Petrie.
Sarah says: David proposed over a beautiful breakfast at home on my 30th birthday – he knew I would hate a public proposal.
We set the date for September 28th 2013. We wanted a Saturday wedding and September was the perfect month for us because my parents and best friend married in this month too.
We got married at Holy Trinity Church and Ashford in the Water. It’s such a beautiful church and I was a bridesmaid for my auntie and uncle there when I was very young. Church bells on a wedding day are a must too! Our reception was at Hassop Hall near Bakewell in Derbyshire. It was the only choice for us all along and it was perfect! It’s such a beautiful place and holds many family memories.
We wanted a relaxed, pretty, traditional, countryside wedding. We love living close to the countryside and spend a lot of time there so wanted to incorporate it into our day.
Pretty pastels was our colour theme. I always knew I wanted my bridesmaids in different colours and this went perfectly with the theme.
My dress was from Choola in Sheffield. I wanted something pretty and simple but that was still unusual. The dress I picked was by Sharon Bowen and had the most amazing polka dot effect on the silk organza overlay and gorgeous tiny flower appliqués.
Dave wore a pale grey suit, cream waistcoat and a lilac cravat, all from Debenhams. The groomsmen wore the same.
The bridesmaids wore beautiful floor-length chiffon dresses with iridescent sequin underlays on the bodice. We found them in Mirage Couture near Sheffield and they were absolutely perfect!
Our photographer was Jess Petrie. Jess was absolutely amazing, I knew as soon as I met her that she was the perfect choice. She’s so friendly and relaxed but still very professional.
We travelled in a vintage cream Rolls Royce Phantom III, from American Pie Limos in Sheffield.
I would most definitely recommend Hassop Hall to other wedding couples – it’s perfect in every way. Other suppliers I’ve not mentioned that I would recommend are Adela Rosa in Sheffield who did a fab job of our stationery and Classy Weddings from Mastin Moor, Chesterfield, who supplied our chair covers and post box. Matt and Kath from there were so lovely and really helpful – they also put us in touch with our fantastic pianist who played for most of the day.
Myself and the bridesmaids carried a mixture of roses and freesias in creams, pinks and soft lemons. They were provided by White Petals and Lace who were so fantastic with everything we asked of them. For our reception decorations we had roses, freesias and hydrangeas arranged in huge Martini glasses in the centre of the tables. They looked amazing! The arrangement on the top table looked great too.
We gave our guests favours of heart-shaped mints and pink chocolate hearts, hand-tied in pretty tulle.
Our cake was four-tiers with delicate pearlescent piping from I Love Candy Cakes in Chesterfield. We then had it dressed with fresh flowers. It looked spectacular and tasted so delicious.
For our wedding meal we had quite a traditional menu to follow the theme. We had a choice of peach Bellinis, Kir Royale, and elderflower presse with canapés in the garden on arrival at Hassop Hall. We had a pianist playing in the garden on request which added a lovely touch. We then sat down to smoked chicken and avocado salad followed by vegetable soup. For main we had roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings and dessert was crème brulee with summer berries. We finished with coffee and petit fours.
We had a local band called Junkyard Dog as our entertainment followed by a DJ. My best friend’s husband is the lead singer of the band and they never disappoint. They were great and even learnt one of our favourite songs to perform at the reception, The Walk of Life by Dire Straits.
I was a little sceptical when Dave hired a toast master (Michael Wall) but we were so grateful for him. He really put us at ease and made sure that everyone knew what was happening.
For our honeymoon we jetted off to the Sugar Beach resort in Mauritius for ten days. It was beautiful. We swam with wild dolphins and had candle-lit meals on the beach. We then spent four days in Dubai on the way back, which was also a fantastic experience.
Our top tip for other brides and grooms would be that when looking for people to help with, or provide different aspects of your day, go with your gut! We met so many lovely people through our wedding and have developed genuine friendships. If it feels right, it most probably is!
September 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m feeling good Brides Up North! It’s nearly the weekend, it’s almost our event season (SO excited!) and today’s real wedding is all kinds of epic! Not only did bride Katy totally rock her 50s frock and bespoke headwear, but she and her bridesmaids also hitched a ride on the Metro to the ceremony, then finished things off with one massive street party.
I’m following Katy and Andrew’s lead… it’ll be fish and chips for tea tonight!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Jamie Penfold Photography.
Katy says: Andrew proposed last summer when we were on holiday in New York.
Everyone had been nagging Andrew to propose for months and before we went he gave me ‘the New York talk’ several times – saying very seriously for me not to expect him to propose in New York and that he didn’t want me to ruin the holiday by being all miserable the whole time we were there because he hadn’t proposed.
After the flight to New York I was tired and a bit tetchy and we almost had a row at the airport but something at the back of my mind thinking ‘just be nice, we’re on holiday’. I was glad I was as when we got to our hotel room I spotted an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses and a note in front. I went to investigate (in case it was a freebie) and on the note it read ‘Katy will you marry me’ – I turned round and Andrew was down on one knee.
I’m normally pretty chatty but I was so gobsmacked I wept for about 5 minutes – Andrew actually had to prompt me to say ‘yes’. I’d arranged the holiday and wouldn’t have even thought Andrew would have known where we were staying so was totally blown away that he’d organised such a wonderful surprise.
We were married on 19th June 2014. The ceremony was in the Council Chamber at Newcastle Civic Centre and the reception was in the back lane of the terrace my parents live on!
The reception was first – my parents still live in the house I grew up in. It’s a very social street and ever since a big party to celebrate the millennium they’ve held regular street dos and ‘back lane BBQs’ every summer. It was important to both of us that the whole wedding be as personal as possible, including the venue – so a back lane party was an obvious choice. All the neighbours were fab – when my folks approached them about using the lane not only did they say yes but everyone offered to help, and let us use their back gardens too.
For the ceremony we aren’t religious but still wanted a venue that meant something to us (and was big enough to host over 150 guests). My grandfather was an alderman and Councillor and sat in the (then very new) Council Chamber at the Civic Centre.
As a Geordie away from home I wanted Newcastle to be a big part of the wedding. Other than that it was just all about making it as personal as possible. Dresses, hair and make-up were 50s style.
We chose a teal colour scheme (inspired by the top of the Civic Centre and the Tyne Bridge!)
My shoes were from BHS and I customised them with peacock tail feathers, pearls and buttons.
I took my dress to be altered at a local dress maker as it needed taking in a bit. They totally let me down and after a series of mishaps (not doing the alterations when they said they would, not turning up at the shop when I was due to collect) I finally got my dress back only to discover, with just 10 days to go before the wedding, they’d taken it in way more than they were supposed to. I could just get into it but it was too tight to sit down/eat/breath!
Fortunately Honeypie had one readymade sample of a dress in a different design in my size which they posted straight out. The only downside being that it had a peach skirt which really wouldn’t have gone with all my peacock accessories.
I could get away with outfit number one for the ceremony and then would wear dress number two for the reception. I decided that if I was having to change dress I would brazen it out and go for a full outfit change. I sent Adrienne a photo of the new dress and my wedding hair and asked her to bring any head pieces she thought would go into her shop on the Saturday. When I got there, she said she hadn’t had anything the thought would be just right so had made me a new one from scratch. I loved my silver evening headpiece – she really pulled out all the stops and helped turn a crisis into a positive.
The bridesmaids had dresses with the inverse colour scheme to mine from Honeypie. I made peacock hair clips for them to tie in with my headpiece.
All the boys wore their own suits but had a variety of teal neckwear from Tom Sawyer.
I made button bouquets for me and the grownup bridesmaids (the younger two had button horseshoes). I did buy some buttons but friends, family and colleagues from work all dug out granny’s button boxes and I also wired in fabric flowers from my parents’ wedding cake, various trinkets and grand parents’ and great grandparents’ engagement rings. It was my old, new, borrowed and blue all in one. With my change of outfit for the evening I swapped the bouquet for a Kate Spade Mr&Mrs number plate clutch!
I got the metro to the ceremony – then we’d hired a vintage Routemaster to take the bridal party and groomsmen for photos and back to the reception.
My mum was really dubious about going on the metro but I was adamant about it. I’m so glad we did as it was so much fun and we got some fab photos. The looks on people’s faces as they pulled into Benton metro station and saw us on the platform were an absolute picture.
It was really important to make the wedding as personal as possible, using people we knew wherever possible. This meant there were quite a lot of special touches! But I think it’s important to remember not to let the special touches stress you out.
My godfather is an artist and so I asked him to do a painting for us to use on all of the stationery. It was turquoise to tie in with the colour theme and had a seahorse (to echo the top of the Civic Centre) and peacock (as I’d already decided peacock feathers were going to be part of my outfit).
I sewed 300m of bunting (assisted by mother in law, Andrew and best friend Lucy) and my mum made hundreds of tissue pompoms and fans. They had a pompom fluffing party the week before the wedding with all the neighbours.
We had fish and chips for dinner and so to tie in with the theme I made a newspaper with stories about us and used half pages of it as place mats. There were crosswords and word searches on the back which proved a good ice breaker at the tables.
As we were in the back lane and gardens I’d got some mini gnomes to use for table numbers. I had a feeling these would not make it unscathed through the wedding – by the end of the night we were all swigging port out of them!
It worked out as cheap to buy antique cutlery as it was to hire it so we spent months scouring antique and flea markets for sets. We’ve got some lovely ones to keep and will give the rest to the charity shop.
We’re the Meades and so my mum had some mini bottles of Lindesfarne Mead made up for with our names on the label on the back as a surprise.
As the back lane wasn’t a typical venue we did the table plan on a blown up plan of the street so people knew where everything else was as well as their table. We always play drinking games during the speeches at other people’s wedding so we also did a big sweepstake on the table plan.
The specialist touch of all was all of the neighbours. We hadn’t managed to set everything up on the Friday night so all the neighbours came out at 8am on the Saturday morning to help set out all the tables and chairs. It was a real team effort.
One of the neighbours is in a band and the street always head out en masse to support them when they play gigs locally so they were the obvious choice for music. They played in their garage and we had the dancing out in the lane. They were fab.
We had wedding cheese from The Cheese Board in Harrogate. Complete with knitted mice in miniature versions of our outfits that one of my colleagues made. I hand stitched some mini bunting too.
Our chip supper was by Clems Fish and Chips.
The whole day was amazing – better than I could have ever imagined.
But bar far the best bit – and certainly the most emotional for me was the ceremony itself. Closely followed by just about every other part of the day. Even the pouring rain we had coming out of the ceremony was fun.
For our honeymoon we did a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco via Death Valley, Yosemite and the Pacific Highway.
My top tip for Brides Up North is that the most important bit of the wedding is where the two of you stand at the front and do your ‘I do’s. All the rest is window dressing.
September 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
This wedding is something else. Not only is the walled summer garden setting super special, it was also hand planted by the bride and groom themselves. And if that’s not a labour of true love, I don’t know what is!
Let the love grow… this one’s bloomin’ beautiful!
Images by Graeme Oxby.
Gemma says: In July 2013 Ady planned a surprise overnight stay to Settle. The Yorkshire Dales is my favourite part of the country. It was a lovely hot sunny day when we set off for a walk in the morning. We stopped for lunch on a hill-side with a beautiful view. Ady produced a rolled up pair of gloves from his backpack, which seemed quite an odd thing to be carrying as it was such a hot day, however he pulled out a ring and proposed, we cut the walk short and went into the town to celebrate.
We said I Do at St Hybalds church, Ashby De La Launde, Lincolnshire. The church was very small making the service more intimate. There are beautiful views from the church over adjacent fields and woodlands.
Our reception was in a marquee inside a Walled Garden, in Ashby De La Launde owned by the father of the groom. Ady grew up at the venue and we both decided a long time ago we would have the reception in the walled garden, and have spent most weekends working on it to get it how we wanted. We reinstated the stone paths, rebuilt the old doors which had collapsed, planted new herbaceous borders and built the pergola in the centre of the garden, as a feature for the guests to gather around.
We wanted to be the first couple to use the garden for a wedding reception but in the future we would love to hire out the walled garden to use as a venue for events and weddings. We loved working together to get the venue right, and would enjoy doing the same for others.
We went for an English country garden style due to the nature of the venue. We mainly used items we found around the garden to decorate the marquee: Victorian terracotta pots, old fruit crates and wooden boxes planted up with plants we had grown from seed.
We felt the garden looked so vibrant and colourful that all other colours should be subtle and soft such as the pale lavender coloured bridesmaid dresses, white table linen and lilac and white flowers in the church and marquee.
I wore a Lusan Mandongus long slim fit, vintage lace ivory gown with cap sleeves and puddle train, from Limelight Occasions in Lepton, Huddersfield. It was so comfortable and lightweight when I first tried it on I thought it would be perfect for a garden reception, also the lace roses and floral motifs on the dress echoed the setting of the English country garden. I wore an Ivory and Co floral head piece with freshwater pearls, antique pieces of jewellery that were family heirlooms and other pieces that I found from antiques centres in Lincoln.
Ady wore a dark grey morning suit, with dove grey double-breasted waistcoat and dark grey cravat from Limelight Occasions.
Our bridesmaids wore pale lavender maxi dresses from Coast.
I chose hand tied country style bouquets made by Flowers by Suzanne based in Lincoln. The bouquets contained: peach David Austin roses, white dahlia, white astilby, scabious seed heads, white veronica, abliflora berries, and lavender.
We hired a 1936 Rover P2. from Ivory Vintage Wedding Car Hire, a family run enterprise based in Lincoln. The owner chauffeured the car personally from the Old Palace Hotel in Lincoln where the bridesmaids, my parents and myself got ready.
We used Graeme Oxby as our photographer. Graeme is a great photographer and would definitely recommend him. He produced amazing shots that made us very happy and emotional when we first saw them.
The flowers for table arrangements and church decorations were home grown in the walled garden. My Mum, Sue, made all the flower arrangements the day before the wedding.
The women each received a small home grown Echeveria, in a little terracotta pot which was painted and decorated by the bride. The men received a bottle of ale which was made by a local brewer (Poachers) and a friend, the couple met at university drew the caricature for the label.
Brosters Farm Shop, in Huddersfield, which is near where we live, made us six different sized tiers of pork pie, all different flavours. We then stacked it up using dowel, and decorated it with ribbon, summer fruits and herbs. We wanted to have a summery harvest festival take on the traditional wedding cake look. Also neither of us like wedding cake! The pie was a huge success and we received so many compliments from guests saying it was so good they went back for seconds and even thirds!
Entertainment wise, it was just the good old DJ, and dance floor. We gave the DJ a long list of songs which meant something to us before he arrived, and he added the rest. It was great to keep hearing songs which brought back memories for us, friends and families. We also had large wooden skittles on the lawn, as an afternoon game which we borrowed from the best man’s father.
For a minimoon we went full circle and went back to the Yorkshire Dales to stay in the same hotel where we got engaged. We went on the same walk and stopped for lunch at the same place as where we got engaged a year back. We are looking forward to our honeymoon in October, we are going to Sorrento in Italy for a week.
The best advice I could give other Brides Up North is share as much of the planning and preparation as possible – it was so much fun and really exciting. You feel extra special as a couple when you can look back on your wedding day and know you did it together.
September 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s a small, small World.
In today’s wedding feature, our bride Jude marries a man from the other side of the globe next to the green in the village where she grew up. There’s something kinda special about that, isn’t there?
Now who has the Disney theme to “It’s A Small World” on loop in their head? Yes me too, so sorry about that.
With images by Walker & Walker Photography.
Jude says: We decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and share our happiness with our friends and family. We began planning our wedding in 2013.
We were married on Saturday 7th of June 2014 at 4pm. The ceremony was in Brandesburton Methodist Church. We had wedding photos taken on Brandesburton village green, with the the 12 century stone cross and my family home in the background. The reception was held at The Bell Hotel in nearby Driffield.
I wanted to get married in Brandesburton Methodist Church because I was christened there. It is a 1930′s Art Deco chapel. The Bell Hotel is an 18th century coaching inn and former corn exchange in Driffield, a few miles from Brandesburton. Brad is Australian; there are few buildings in Australia that particularly old, so he loves historic English places. The Bell, with its beautifully restored oak panelled bars and antiques in every corner, ticked that box. It was very good value for money, which was also a consideration.
My dress had a huge satin bow in around the middle which stretched along the length of my train. The pale green colour of the bow was echoed in the bridesmaids dresses, men’s cravats and ribbons on the decorations. The shade was also picked up in the flower arrangements, which featured eucalyptus leaves to remind Brad of the trees back home in Australia.
My dress was bright white: a strapless satin bodice with a tulle skirt. It was entirely plain apart from the long green bow. It was from TKMaxx Online. Brad wore a black tailcoat, grey striped trousers and a silver waistcoat with a pale green cravat. They were hired from an online outfitters, Formally Yours. He topped of the outfit with a traditional top hat.
My Maid of Honour, Helen, wore a pale green dress from BHS with matching bolero. Our little bridesmaid, Madeleine, wore a flower girl dress from an online outlet. The Best Man, Warren, wore a tailcoat that matched Brad’s.
I carried a bouquet of eucalyptus, gypsophila and white roses by Judith Tait Flowers.
During the service, a choir of four friends sang Bernstein’s ‘Make Our Garden Grow’ from the musical Candide, and ‘A Clare Benediction’ by John Rutter. They were accompanied by professional musical director Mark Warman. It was an ethereal sound, giving the ceremony a heavenly feel.
When we came out of the church we saw that some people from the village had come to wish us well, which was very touching. It meant a lot to me that so many of those who had watched me grow up came to watch me get married. This was my favourite part of the day.
Our cake was made by my Auntie Averil. It was three tiers of rich fruit cake with traditional royal icing, finished with ribbon to match the colour scheme and fresh flowers.
The stationery we used was all brown manila; it was easy to match and inexpensive. We used brown luggage tags for the ‘save the dates,’ place names and the seating plan.
For wedding favours, we had M&Ms printed with our names and a little photograph of us. We put them in little heart-shaped boxes.
I lived in Scotland for five years and whilst there I fell in love with ceilidh dancing. Hessle Ceilidh Band had an excellent caller to guide the English and Australian wedding guests through the dances. It encouraged people who didn’t know each other to mix together and the live music added to the party atmosphere.
We had a mini-moon at Redworth Hall Hotel in County Durham. We travelled to Australia to celebrate our marriage with Brad’s family in August, before going on to explore Borneo for two weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to practice mindfulness on your wedding day. It’s a way of focussing your attention on individual moments derived from Buddhism. Your wedding day is a packed 24 hours and passes so quickly – it’s easy for it to fly past in a blur. Every now and again, take a screen shot of your emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring at that moment. For example, I took a mental picture of exactly how I felt as I was stood in my parents’ front room in my wedding dress, about to leave for the church. It’s a memory I’ll treasure forever.
September 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Welcome to the week Brides Up North! Let’s start this one super prettily, as we join Leanne and Tom for their rustically styled wedding day, full of beautiful blooms and soft pastels. Very easy on the eye.
With images by Arusha’s Images.
Leanne says: Tom proposed on the 26th April 2013. We went for a walk on the beach in Morecambe. My 6 year old daughter took her metal detector & her & Tom were hunting for treasure when ‘surprisingly’ they stumbled across a message in a bottle which my daughter read out to me. It said “Leanne, I love you, will you marry me?”. When I turned around to look at Tom and he was on one knee with the most beautiful ring!
Our wedding date was Sunday 29th June 2014. We chose that date as it was one day before I turned 30!
We chose the beautiful Beeston Manor in Hoghton. The location was ideal for both sides of our family to travel to. It was a family run business & we loved the story of its history, being transformed from an old run down ruin of a barn into a stunning wedding venue, by its owners John Bickerstaffe & his father. The grounds & gardens were amazing & each room had a lovely intimate feel to it. It was a blank canvas which I loved as I am quite fussy with decor & a lot of places we looked at had pictures on the walls or carpets that clashed with the wallpaper. We loved all the stone & the wooden beams. It was perfect!
I would not hesitate to recommend Beeston Manor to other couples. It is the most beautiful venue and the staff are fantastic. They will work with you to ensure you have a wedding that is exactly how you want it.
The style of the wedding was quite rustic; hessian bows, bunting, jam jars, etc. We chose this as it worked well with the style of venue & all looked so pretty. The colour scheme was brought out mainly with the flowers. I chose ivory for my dress & also for my flower girls then pastel shades of pink, lilac, lemon, green & ivory for all the flowers & the cupcakes.
I chose an Essense of Australia gown from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster. It was ivory, strapless, with a sweetheart neckline, drop waist and full skirt. The bodice was lace with a full tulle skirt with lace detail between each layer. It was stunning! I chose that dress because it was completely different to anything I had originally wanted & it made me feel like a princess. It was classy and glamorous & after trying on hundreds of different dresses that was the one that I kept thinking about & going back to!
My hand tied bouquet was provided by Abi’s Arrangements in Bare, Morecambe. She used a mix of flowers including spray roses, phlox, lisianthus, peonies, & gypsophila.
Tom wore a tailor made brown tweed suit by Victor Valentine. It was pretty unique.
We didn’t have groomsmen, or big bridesmaids. But the flower girls wore ivory dresses that had a full net skirt with scattered Swarovski crystals and big flowers attached, from BHS. They also had flower crowns by Abi’s Arrangements
Our photographer was Arusha Jenks from Arusha’s Images Photography. She was fantastic & we couldn’t recommend her enough! She arrived early so she could look around the venue and the grounds & find the best spots for our posed photos. She took photos throughout the day and captured all the special moments without intruding or getting in the way. She was so lovely & knew exactly what to do to get the best from us & get smiles from all the children! She has produced beautiful photos that we will treasure for the rest of our lives!
All the flowers for the wedding reception were provided by Abi’s Arrangements. Other decorations included decorated jam jars, hessian place mats and top table runner, bunting, place names cards & seating plan. All these little details were made by my mother in law, Shirley. She worked tirelessly to recreate all my ideas & she did a wonderful job! The chair covers & bows were provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
We had favours on the tables for our guests. These were shortbread biscuits with an iced heart design, they were wrapped in brown paper & tied with string & a “with love T & L” gift tag. These were also provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
We decided to have a BBQ instead of a sit down 3 course meal. We both wanted something informal and it worked so well. We had homemade burgers, sausages & BBQ chicken with floured buns, salad, jacket potatoes and garlic bread. We had so many compliments about the food. It was delicious! In the evening, cones of chips were given out to our guests with all the condiments on the table. It was a great idea & perfect when you’ve had a few beers!
For our wedding cake, we chose vanilla, lemon & white chocolate cupcakes, decorated with iced flowers in pastel colours. They were yummy! These were also provided by Dalton’s Catering of Morecambe.
During the day we had a guy called Brendan McMahon, who sang and played guitar. I had found him busking in Manchester city centre a couple of months before the wedding, and just asked him there and then if he would play. He was fantastic! I knew I wanted the whole day to just feel really laid back and relaxed and he created the atmosphere perfectly!
Later in the evening we had a band called Sold to the Sky. They are very well known locally & were my first choice! They played a mixture of songs from ACDC to Rhianna and had everyone up dancing all night!
We also had a photobooth from The Party Project, which kept everyone laughing. It was a great idea & everyone loved.
I arranged a surprise for Tom. He was in the army for 7 years and was also in the pipe band: The Pipes & Drums 1st Battalion Scots Guards, as a base drummer. It was a huge part of his life which he loved and the other band members are some of his best friends so it seemed fitting to have them play on our wedding day. Along with a highland dancer from the regiment. Tom was so happy! It was the best present I could have given him, and he even got to play his old drum again with the band on our special day! Everyone danced along too!
My favourite part of the day was the look on my husband’s face, firstly when he saw me walking down the aisle towards him then later when he saw the Pipes and Drums play. Priceless memories. Also waiting to walk down the aisle seeing how excited my daughters & my other flower girls were. They all looked so beautiful.
We went on a cruise for our honeymoon. Starting in Barcelona, then moving to Cannes, Genoa, Rome, Montenegro, Croatia & ending in Venice! We had a week of child free, complete relaxation! Lounging by the pool. Afternoon siestas in the hammocks that looked out onto the beautiful views. Hot tubs, massages, great on-board entertainment! The ship was stunning. The food was amazing. I think we came home at least a stone heavier than when we left! It was so romantic. The perfect start to married life!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to invite the people that mean the most to you, even if others may be offended. It’s your special day, surround yourself with all the special people in your life! Think outside the box, most hotels have wedding packages, but it doesn’t mean other options aren’t available! It’s your day, do it the way you want it!! Enjoy every single moment because it really does go so fast!