Charlotte Balbier

home on the farm. a rustic outdoor wedding in the north west – sarah & jonny

October 10th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Sarah & Jonny's Wedding

Our lovely featured bride Sarah achieved her dream of a marquee wedding at home on her family’s farm complete with beautiful rustic touches and a fairy tale horse-drawn carriage.

Inspired by farming home life and pretty Pinterest pics, Sarah and her team of helpers, decorated the plain marquee with beautiful blooms, bunting, log slices, milk churns and creamery jugs to make her vision a reality.

The entertainment was on form too with a live band, DJ, ice cream van and white bouncy castle no less.

So, join us as we head down to the farm for this fun and fabulous big day…

Images by David Millington Wedding Photography.

Sarah & Jonny's Wedding

sarah says: We got engaged on Christmas day evening. We had already opened presents but Jonny said I had missed one hidden in the Christmas tree. I think at this point Jonny had run off into the next room, when he reappeared he had tears in his eyes. I think he popped the question, but I may have already said “yes” by that point!

Sarah & Jonny's Wedding

Our wedding date was 17th June 2017. We had our ceremony at the beautiful St Michael’s Church in Cockerham. We chose the church because it’s just five minutes from my family’s farm and a marquee wedding reception was my dream.

I decided to go for a farming theme – living on the farm gave me lots of ideas. I opted for plain flooring, a pallet fronted bar, and made metre after metre of hessian flag bunting whilst I was on maternity leave. I collected creamery jugs, borrowed milk churns from my mother-in-law and the log slice table centres were sourced and cut by my brother. Straw bales for decoration and seats were from another local farmer. We browsed charity shops and collected jars to decorate. I found Pinterest really helpful for ideas.

I was advised not to get too hooked on a particularly colour scheme and so chose to keep everything quite neutral. My bridesmaids’ dresses were not the same colour as the groomsmen’s cravats, we just had pinks, lilacs and creams, which fitted perfectly.

Sarah & Jonny's Wedding

Finding my dress was a bit of a challenge. I’d looked around some local wedding shops but nothing wowed me. We then went to Amelia’s Bridal at Clitheroe, the whole shop and team are amazing. The girls really know how to make you feel individual and special. It’s really relaxed, but the boutique is stunning! I knew as soon as I found my dress it was the one.

Jonny wore a grey suit with an ivory waistcoat, which we hired.

The bridesmaid dresses were sourced online (massive risk I know, but it paid off!). The only thing that was altered was the length, my girls said they fitted well and they all looked beautiful!

Sarah & Jonny's Wedding

Elegant Carriages supplied our wedding transport – a stunning new Landau Carriage pulled by two grey horses, Stella and Rose. It really did feel like a fairy tale, it’s an experience we will never forget.

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written in the stars. a relaxed & fun wedding in the lake district – sharon & chris

October 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Boho Wedding (c) Bethany Clarke Photography (115)

If today’s real bride would have got things her way, she and beau Chris would have eloped to marry but we’re sure glad that Sharon was swayed by a larger-scale celebration in the Lake District – as we get to share all the pretty details of their big day with you today!

Surrounded by their family and friends, Sharon and Chris combined a pretty pastel colour scheme with a fun theme that gave nods to both of their passions (films and cats, need we say more!)

We love the relaxed vibes as guests have fun in the sun, entertained by garden games and live music. Other standouts for us include the super-cool choice of wedding transport and Sharon’s beautiful Nottingham lace dress and flower-crown combo for boho bride perfection!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Clarke.

A Pretty Boho Wedding (c) Bethany Clarke Photography (8)

sharon says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary, on August bank holiday weekend in Dolgellau, Snowdonia.

We had spent the day wandering around Portmeirion, which is a little fantasy village perched on a cliff, filled dreamy Italianate architecture and with lovely views over the bay. It’s a beautiful but surreal place, which is why it was chosen as the setting for the 1960s TV show The Prisoner. Later that night we went out for dinner and Chris insisted on driving. He is a keen photographer and so he decided we would drive out somewhere after dinner so he could take photos of the stars.

I had been trying to talk him out of it all night as it was actually very cloudy and there was not a star in the sky, but he was insistent. We drove out for about half an hour, trying to get the best vantage point at the top of the hill, and eventually Chris pulled over into a layby and got his tripod out. I was in the car, playing on my phone and wondering how long he was going to be as I really needed to pee, when he came back to the car and asked me to take a look at his photos. I looked at the screen on his camera and he had taken a beautiful photo… of the clouds. “Aw hon… it’s a bit cloudy, isn’t it?” I said. “Yeah,” he sighed, disheartened. Then suddenly he pulled out a box. “Anyway, I have a present for you… I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind marrying me?”

It turned out he had been hoping to get a shot of the stars on the night we got engaged. I think I had previously said that my worst nightmare would be to get engaged in a public place with loads of people around. He’d decided to find the most isolated and private place he could find; under the moon, with just the stars over us and no one else around.

In the box was a ring with an amethyst stone (my birthstone). He had been trying for about two years to figure out my ring size, but as I don’t normally wear rings he’d failed at every turn. He had tried getting friends to ask if I knew my ring size (I don’t) and had tried measuring my finger with a piece of string as I slept – all with no luck. Rather than guess, he decided to let me pick out the kind of ring wanted and get his friend, a jewellery designer in Birmingham, to make it just for me.

A Pretty Boho Wedding (c) Bethany Clarke Photography (117)

We got married on 17th June, 2017. I really wanted to get married in the summer as I desperately wanted some sunshine on the day and we didn’t want to wait until 2018. Unfortunately, this left us with less than ten months to plan a wedding in the Lake District in peak season, so the date was very much down to whether we could get the venue and the registrar. We also renovated and moved into our house this year, so it was a busy time for us.

I spent about two months trying to convince Chris to elope to Iceland or Vegas. I hate being the centre of attention and the stress and expense of a big wedding felt like a terrible way to start married life. Somehow Chris talked me round – he said we deserved to have a day with all our friends and family making fuss of us.

Having been convinced to go the whole hog, we agreed to get married to in the Lake District, where I grew up. We got married at Belmount Hall, between Ambleside and Hawkshead. The building is part of Beatrix Potter’s estate, but the main reason we chose it was for the incredible setting with views of Esthwaite Water and Gummers How in the distance. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were blown away by the surroundings. Belmount was the blank canvas we were looking for; small enough that we could have the whole site to ourselves but with vast and beautiful grounds in which to enjoy the sunshine (I was adamant that there would be sunshine).

A Pretty Boho Wedding (c) Bethany Clarke Photography (113)

Once we had the venue, we knew it was going to be a ‘Pinterest wedding’; rustic and a bit bohemian with lots of little touches that would make people say, “That is so Chris and Sharon”. We’re both big film fans and cat lovers (Chris is a film and TV lecturer and I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady), so our tables were named after feline film puns. The Big Meowski, The Great Catsby, Furris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. An extremely talented young artist called Amy Lewis took our silly ideas and transformed them into some adorable cartoons for each table and I designed the table plan myself.

I don’t like matchy matchy colour schemes so I went for a pastel rainbow of dusty pink, light blue, dove grey and soft peach.

A Pretty Boho Wedding (c) Bethany Clarke Photography (109)

As a big girl with big boobs, wedding dress shopping was a nightmare experience and I hated every minute. I had been dreaming of a 1920s-style beaded dress, in the style of Jenny Packham or Eliza Jane Howell, but whenever I managed to track one down the samples were all size 10 or 12.

I had almost given up hope when I walked past Kula Tsurdiu’s studio in Nottingham. Kula is a Greek designer, but her base is in the historic lace market of Nottingham, where she sources a lot of her materials. I made an appointment with Kula’s manager Laura Summerson and she was one of the few people to really listen to what I wanted. She didn’t try to force me into a stiff, ruffled, strapless A-line monstrosity, like almost every other store I tried. The dress I eventually settled on was all-over Nottingham lace with a natural waist, long sleeves with tiny sparkly sequins sewn into the fabric. Knowing that the dress would be made to my exact measurements was a relief and Laura managed to make the whole process as stress-free as it could be.

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new venue alert: charlton hall

September 22nd, 2017 | Julia Braime

Charlton Hall (8)

If you’re in search of a brand-new venue that’s as cool as it is unique, then you just might be about to love us forever. As this afternoon, we have details of an a-maz-ing (!!) North East venue, set to open its doors to couples in April 2018, offering stylish celebrations like no other!

Set on a 150-acre estate in the heart of Northumberland coastal countryside, Charlton Hall is currently undergoing a huge renovation that will see elements of its heritage mixed with quirky and contemporary touches, resulting in a grand entertaining space made up of show-stopping function rooms, fabulous entertaining areas and incredible bedrooms.

Brought to you by the same people as those behind popular venue Doxford Barns, couples marrying at Charlton can be sure of first-class service, food and drink as standard.

Keen to remain up-to-the-minute with its progress, we’ve invited the team from Charlton Hall to take over the blog with the latest details of seriously stylish venue…

Charlton Hall (4)

Where is Charlton Hall located?

charlton hall say: Charlton Hall is based just off the A1 at Chathill, eight miles north of Alnwick and is set within a private 150-acre estate overlooking the coast towards Beadnell Bay.

Can you tell us about its history?

Charlton Hall is a Grade II listed Georgian hall by William Newton and formerly the family home of the late Reginald William Tudor Thorp, MBE of Alnwick – Alnwick’s oldest solicitor before he died in 2003.

Charlton Hall was acquired by Richard Shell in May 2017 and included in the sale were many original artefacts from the Hall, including auction notices from 1878, newspaper articles from 1935 and turn of the century antiques (desks, grandfather clocks, chairs) as well as other delightful memoirs, including a school sports trophy dating back to 1890!

We intend to incorporate as many of these artefacts into our upgrade of Charlton Hall to mix tradition with modern twists and eccentric interior design.

Charlton Hall (15)

What is the building currently like and how will it be transformed?

The building itself is currently under renovation as we upgrade the Hall whilst preserving its heritage and original Georgian features. To balance tradition with modernity, our lead designer Josephine Aynsley is introducing an eclectic mix of bold furniture, fabrics, tapestries and accessories to add even more character to the venue.

The renovation plans include enchanting function and entertaining rooms, a large formal drawing room with marble fireplace and dining room with floor-to-ceiling sash windows that look out towards the coast; our vision here is intended to make the venue ideal for intimate wedding breakfasts.

On the lower ground floor, Charlton Hall has a rare and unique assortment of intimate underground lounges and our plans here are to use the space for a dedicated whisky bar with booths for the after-party.

The menagerie of furniture included with the sale of Charlton Hall has heavily influenced our design team’s interior scheme, by re-claiming many of those pieces to create an authentic yet eclectic interior. Mixed with re-production pieces, the finished look aims to excite and inspire with our indulgent, luxurious and downright decadent taste!

Charlton Hall (10)

What type of feel will Charlton Hall have and what will its interior styling be like?

At every turn, the unique vision of Charlton Hall is a masterclass in interior design. The decor is adorned with soft furnishings, fabrics and accessories that are intriguingly mismatched, along with vibrant-coloured walls, antique pieces, playful artefacts, a mix of art and decorative lighting fixtures and yesteryear pictures that offer anatomical insights.

As you enter the grounds of Charlton Hall, its long private driveway is enshrouded by luscious English orchards and secret walled gardens to reveal the traditional exterior of Charlton Hall’s Georgian building. Inside, guests are greeted and led to the vibrant inner sanctum of either the drawing room or library, constructed around the central staircase.

Once inside, be prepared for bold interiors, decadent features and daring design as Charlton Hall’s tongue-in-cheek personality takes over with is provocative interiors and flamboyant colour scheme, heavily influenced by creatives – Tim Walker, Tom Dixon, Andrew Martin, Matthew Williamson, House of Hackney and Emma Shipley.

Light installations will cover the hallway including Tom Dixon Pendants, neon signs and flying cherubs levitating down the grand staircase to the hallway. Wallpapers by Pierre Frey and Harlequin feature prominently here.

The Breakfast Room takes inspiration from photographer Tim Walker with its accumulation of shadows and detail. Here the design team brings Harlequin Sumi wallpaper to life by cascading from the ceiling and down to the base of the original hand-painted floor boards. Andrew Martin’s sheers drape the windows to drench the room with sunlight that reflects off the opposing wall of mirrors.

The Library shies away from the “standard” library look by following the Hall’s level of opulence with bespoke accessories, large-scale chandeliers and bright colours. Our love for House of Hackney starts in the Study and climbs the staircase through fabrics, wallpapers and accessories. Having followed the inspirational artist Emma J Shipley for a number of years, we have also included many of her exquisite cushion designs throughout Charlton Hall to complement Josephine Aynsley’s bespoke cushions to suit each room.

At some point throughout your jaunt of the Hall, you will visit our toilets. Eyebrow-raising urinals combined with bespoke designed graffiti from our amazing artist Lynsey Jean Henderson juxtapose with the Pink Powder room for Foxy Ladies.

Throughout Charlton Hall our bespoke crafted bars will be backlit with changeable coloured LEDs and Tom Dixon fade pendants featuring prominently in our function and designated bar rooms.

Taking our handmade and specially hand dyed grand staircase runner upstairs, guests can indulge in the decadence of oversized mirrors that reflect our shimmering chandeliers, sit delicately on our leather conversation sofas in a little hideaway decorated with House of Hackney’s naughty monkey wallpaper, complete with specially designed rugs.

Delving downstairs into our underground vaults, you will find Charlton Hall’s after-hours playground of debauchery, cigars, drinking and where cards are dealt. Our in-house speakeasy plays host to this whisky and card room or if you fancy a dance, you’ll have to mind your head in our den that even Gatsby couldn’t imagine. Rich with silks, velvets, leather and laced with a decadent choice of beverages – who wouldn’t want to finish the night in such style?

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fifty shades of green. maggie sottero for a modern wedding at the lowry – lorna & chris

September 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An Emerald Wedding at The Lowry (c) Mike Plunkett (44)

Don’t get us wrong – we love lace, blush and sherbet shades as much as the next wedding blog, but if you’re not a lover of pastel colours and vintage vibes? Well, apparently the online wedding world can be a bit of a lonely place, or so today’s real wedding bride Lorna tells us.

Thankfully, the Brides Up North team was there, donning our sequinned superhero capes and championing weddings of all sizes, budgets, trends and types to inspire Lorna-the-Pastel-Phobic-Bride. Fast forward to April 2017 and the perfectly modern emerald-themed wedding of Lorna and her beau Chris unfolded at Salford Quays in Manchester, and fast forward again to September 2017 and Mike Plunkett’s fabulous photography once again graces our pages to stimulate the imaginations of yet more brides. It’s like one of those diagrams of the water cycle you had to draw in Year 8 Geography, or the Circle of Life (the Ciiiiiircle of Liiiiiiife….) that Elton John told us about in The Lion King…

Ahem. Anyway. Back to the Brides Up North mission statement: to showcase statement northern wedding styling at its very best. Lorna and Chris’ big day does that and so much more, giving us a reception venue that looks like “a really glam Jurassic Park”, some split pants on the dancefloor and dessert before dinner – because if you can’t do it on your wedding day, when can you?

Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, Tuesday.

With images by Mike Plunkett.

An Emerald Wedding at The Lowry (c) Mike Plunkett (43)

lorna says: Chris proposed to me on the morning of his 28th Birthday. We were in bed recovering from his party the night before when he said he had a present for me. He turned to his bedside table and when he turned back he was holding an emerald ring! He asked me to marry him…and I asked him if he was taking the…! When I realised he was serious, I accepted with lots of kisses and happy tears. It was perfect, just the two of us and our dog, Bear.

An Emerald Wedding at The Lowry (c) Mike Plunkett (40)

We were married on 29th April 2017. We wanted a spring wedding, but also needed time to save pennies to pay for it all! So our engagement lasted just over 2 years, marrying a month after Chris’ 30th birthday. We also loved that it was a bank holiday weekend, giving everyone an extra day to recover before heading back to work.

We had the ceremony and reception at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays. The ceremony was held in the Pier 8 room, which was a new park built in 2015/2016. We were originally going to use the Hexagon Room, but we fell in love with the Pier 8 room before the big day. It was simple and modern, with lots of light.

The reception was held in the Compass Room, which just blew us away; it was the main reason we chose the venue. It’s a large circular self-contained room, with almost 360 degree views of the Quays. It also has its own balcony, smokers’ area, bar and bathrooms.

As my dad has a ‘dodgy knee’ due to severe arthritis, he struggles to walk long distances and uses a mobility scooter to get around anywhere larger than a house. The Lowry set-up is perfect for people with disabilities as everything is so close together and they were so accommodating of my dad’s scooter – which got a few outings from tipsy friends and family later on once he was settled at a table!

An Emerald Wedding at The Lowry (c) Mike Plunkett (48)

We didn’t really have a theme as such, but we knew we wanted dark greens as our wedding colours. Green is my favourite colour, and my engagement ring was a pale emerald.

We also knew we wanted nods to our favourite things, so Lego for our cake topper and Disney music during the drinks reception – we’ve been to The Magic Kingdom twice in three years! We wanted film and TV themes from our favourites: I walked down the aisle to Kissing You from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, our recessional music was the Jurassic Park theme and we had a selection of John Williams’ work as we signed the register. Our guest book was the “Be Our Guest” book from Illustries. Our placecard holders were origami cranes, which I folded over the space of about a month (I didn’t start early enough!) to represent Chris’ love of animals.

As we’re fond of a drink, our tables were all named after our favourite tipples: Sailor Jerry Rum, Grey Goose Vodka and Aperol Liquor. The table plan was an (empty) bottle of each of the spirits with a label around the neck for the names, and our friend Mark illustrated the bottles for each table so people had to match the bottle on the table plan to the drawing on the table.

An Emerald Wedding at The Lowry (c) Mike Plunkett (26)

While planning the wedding, I found it hard to find inspiration for non-pastel/vintage themed weddings. Brides up North was an absolute godsend in that it showcased a wide range of weddings. The internet became my best friend!

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lemon & lace. a family wedding in crosby – kimberley & andrew

September 4th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Lemon & Lace Wedding in Crosby (c) Marcia's Wedding Photography (50)

Andrew and Kimberley’s wedding was destined to be a relaxed family affair from the very beginning, with the couple determined to pay tribute to loved ones and their two children playing a prominent role throughout the day.

Their grey and lemon colour scheme is light and fresh – perfect for a wedding in the height of summer – and everything from the bride’s bouquet to the table details ties together in perfect cohesive harmony. And those beachfront photographs – err, stunning much?

Their wedding, Kimberley happily reports, was the perfect combination of intimacy and ‘partyyy!’, with vodka Skittle shots, a packed dancefloor and too many joyful memories to choose just one. A+ for positive vibes, guys.

With images by Marcia’s Photography.

A Lemon & Lace Wedding in Crosby (c) Marcia's Wedding Photography (26)

kimberley says: Andy and I had booked a last-minute holiday to Turkey; we had recently suffered a miscarriage with our first baby and had recently found out we were pregnant with our son, Dylan, so we decided to have a last holiday together as ‘just us two’. One evening, Andy arranged a meal on the beach right next to the sea – we literally had sand between our toes! Afterwards, we went for a walk in the moonlight when Andy said, “Guess what?” “What?” I replied, and he produced a ring and got down on one knee. Andy has a reputation for saying, “Guess what?” and following it up with some silly remark or taking the micky, so I was completely shocked when he actually asked me.

A Lemon & Lace Wedding in Crosby (c) Marcia's Wedding Photography (24)

Our wedding date was 1st July 2017, which we booked two years in advance. The reason was simply so that my sister and family were able to fly over from South Africa to make the wedding.

We were married at St Luke’s Church in Crosby where our children had been baptised. We chose our venue because we loved the idea of watching the sun go down on the lake and how beautiful the location was on the beach front.

A Lemon & Lace Wedding in Crosby (c) Marcia's Wedding Photography (45)

We didn’t really have a theme; we just wanted the day to be as relaxed and as natural as possible. However, our chosen colour was lemon, which we picked because we wanted a nice light colour for a summer wedding.

A Lemon & Lace Wedding in Crosby (c) Marcia's Wedding Photography (62)

My dress was from ASAP Bride, which is an outlet in the heart of Liverpool. I‘d tried on a few different dresses but none of them made me not want to take it off. As soon as I put mine on though, the idea of taking it off made me want to cry!

Andy wore a light grey suit from Slaters with an ivory cravat and pocket square. I picked it, of course!

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happiness, laughter & love: say hello to jenny maden photography

August 30th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Jenny Maden Photography (22)

This morning on the blog, we’re delighted to be catching up with one of our fabulous Sponsor photographers, Yorkshire-based Jenny Maden.

A self-confessed “softie”, Jenny loves capturing every element of a big day; from the thought-out details and styling, to the true emotions and expressions of those involved.

Summing up her style as natural and relaxed, Jenny prides herself on making couples feel totally at ease so they barely even notice her capturing their day.

Here to tell us more about her passion for photography (and romance) is the lady herself…

Jenny Maden Photography (28)

When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?

jenny says: I’ve been photographing weddings on a full-time basis since 2014. I love photographing people and wedding days are so full of opportunities to capture expression and emotion.

How would you describe your style of photography?

My style is very relaxed. When I’m working with my couples, they are generally chatting and laughing throughout, either with me or with each other. So much so that many couples tell me that they almost forget I’m photographing them. As a result, I achieve images that capture ‘you’.

I also constantly watch the light, the image composition and the angle in which I’m shooting, to ensure that the final images are polished and flattering – as well as natural.

Jenny Maden Photography (16)

What is it that you love most about your job?

There are so many things I love about being a wedding photographer!

I love getting to know my couples before the big day; getting a feel for their personalities, how they like to spend their time, what they have planned for the big day etc. I’ve stayed in contact with many of my couples, long after their weddings, often meeting them again to photograph their growing families.

I just love weddings! The dress, the flowers, the jewellery, the shoes, the table décor, the cake, the food and drink, the venue, bunting, games on the lawn, musicians…you name it. Sometimes couples incorporate quirky and unique touches into their wedding day, which I’ve perhaps not photographed before, which is a real treat for me.

Lastly, and I think perhaps my upmost favourtite thing, about being a wedding photographer, is capturing the emotion of the day; happiness, laughter and love. The feelings between the bride and groom are so evident, but the love between them and their parents, siblings and friends, is so clear to see too. I get to witness this close-hand and document it. Being a hopeless softie with a passion for photographs, this is an absolute pleasure!

Jenny Maden Photography (30)

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

I strongly suggest you review their portfolio of work, to ensure that their style of work is to your taste. I also think it’s useful to meet as it’s really important that you feel at ease with your chosen photographer.

What is the feedback like from your couples?

I’ve had some lovely feedback, which I hugely value. Instead of me paraphrasing, take a peek for yourselves here.

Jenny Maden Photography (8)

Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

I genuinely love the whole day. The bridal prep, the ‘first look’, the ceremony itself, the speeches, the first dance, but I also really love those quiet moments when I take the bride and groom off for a few pictures away from the guests. It’s often the only part of the day that they are alone together, and it’s a really special time that I get to capture.

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