November 7th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
We’re often blown away by the talents of our incredible featured brides; whether it be their ability to style a theme to precision, their skills in the kitchen to create home-baked goods, or their passion for arts and crafts that results in both pretty and personal décor.
The leading lady from today’s featured wedding boasts all such assets, and had such fun styling her big day that she’s since set up a business motivated by her creativity. From an LED sign spelling out her new surname to a jigsaw guestbook and bespoke cake topper, Rebecca went to town with her homemade touches.
We’re also a little bit in love with the idea of designing your own wedding shoes – an assurance that no guest is going to steal your thunder wearing the same pair of designer heels you spent ages deliberating over and a king’s ransom purchasing. Throw this into the mix with a barbecue, ice cream and pizza feast, 500m-worth of bunting made by the bride’s nanna, a band that played all day long, vodka jellies and a cake table that was demolished by the guests in 30 minutes flat, and we reckon you’ve got a wedding to remember!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
rebecca says: Ashley proposed in August 2016, the day before we were due to fly to New York for a holiday. He pretended he had found something in the suitcase that turned out to be the ring!
I was keen not to have a long engagement as we had already been together more than ten years, so we got married on 26th August 2017 at The Out Barn in Bashall Eaves, near Clitheroe. I knew I wanted something in the countryside and we spent a week looking at different venues all over Lancashire, but nothing took our fancy. I was beginning to lose hope of finding somewhere that I liked when my maid of honour sent me a picture of The Out Barn. We had never heard of it before as it is quite a new venue but this one picture sold it to us. The barn has a huge, round main room and the huge windows look out to Pendle Hill.
I decided on a colour scheme of navy, grey and lilac for the flowers and bunting. Initially, I was going to go for bright wedding colours to contrast with the navy but found it hard to get things to coordinate!
My wedding dress was a tea-length design by Ellis with a jacket, belt and veil, all from Amelia’s Brides in Clitheroe. It was exactly like the image I’d always had in my head, so when I saw it I felt like it was fate! It was the first dress I tried on. I went to three dress shops in total and the experience I had at Amelia’s was by far the best. The girls are so lovely and welcoming.
For my shoes, I knew I wanted a chunky heel and closed toe because those are the shoes I am most comfortable in but, unlike with my dress, I couldn’t find what I had in my head, until I found Shoes of Prey! This is an Australian website where you can design your own shoes. I chose the fabric, heel height, shape, etc. and even got my name and wedding date inscribed on the inside. The whole process was a lot of fun and my shoes ended up cheaper than if I had bought them off the shelf – plus nobody has a pair like them! For the reception, I changed into silver sequinned Converse pumps.
Ashley chose to wear a blue suit, also purchased from Amelia’s, with a grey checked waistcoat. His two best men and our dads matched.
I wanted navy bridesmaid dresses from the very beginning. It’s timeless, very flattering and easy to match with other colours, so my bridesmaids wore navy blue dresses with pleated skirts from ASOS. My maid of honour had the same dress with a different neckline, so she stood out a little. Their shoes were from New Look. I felt so guilty about making them wear heels all day that I also got them some white pumps with their names on for the evening.
October 30th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
If a woodland wedding setting is the stuff of your dreams, then you’re in for a real treat, as today’s newlyweds, Zara and Mike, tied the knot in June of this year in the beautiful Lake District.
Their photographer, J.P.R Shah Photography, knew how to capture this breathtaking backdrop just perfectly, with gorgeous shots amidst the leafy trees and – one of our personal favourites – onboard a rowing boat. Could this be any more romantic?
What also sets this wedding apart is its intimate size, with only 25 close family and friends – and this includes the bride and groom. Doing things differently – there were no bridesmaids either. Other special touches that we just love include shots of homemade raspberry liquor for all the guests and Swedish massages for all the ladies on the day. Wedded bliss all-round!
With images by J.P.R Shah Photography.
zara says: We got engaged at home. I had recently given birth to our son and after a very difficult pregnancy and labour, Mike said to me that as he couldn’t take me out for a meal (due to our new baby) that he was going to cook me a three-course meal instead, but I had to get dressed up as though we were going out. He even provided alcohol-free champagne. He made a playlist of all my favourite songs and really did wine and dine me. He waited until my favourite song at the time Kodaline The One came on and at that point he got down on one knee and presented me with the ring box and asked me to marry him.
We got married on 1st June 2017. The start of June tends to have lovely weather, which was ideal as we wanted an outdoor wedding. It was also exactly two years from the day we had first visited our wedding venue of choice.
We tied the knot and held the reception at The Gilpin Lake House, just outside Windermere. Mike and I only ever looked at one wedding venue and we instantly fell in love. Not only was the venue one of the most amazing hotels, but the grounds were beautiful, the scenery was amazing and the lake was simply stunning too. This is even before mentioning the swimming pool, two hot tubs and the sauna that we had exclusive use of for our time there! As a special surprise we treated all the female guests to a full body Swedish massage.
Mike and I both have large families, so we decided that we wanted a very small wedding with immediate friends and family; a grand total of 25 people.
We had exclusive use of the lake house, so we arrived on the Wednesday and tied the knot on the Thursday. All our friends and family left on the Friday, but Mike and I stayed the extra night for a minimoon.
We didn’t have a theme, but we wanted everyone to be as relaxed as possible. Our guests were told to bring swimwear as once the wedding was complete, meals eaten and speeches done, we wanted our guests to enjoy themselves, as though they were on an actual holiday themselves.
I chose a lilac and pink colour scheme. These are my favourite colours and I chose the flowers for my bouquet before I did anything else. I wanted roses as they are my birth flower, along with lavender as it has such a stand out smell. Now every time I smell lavender I am reminded of my wedding day.
October 10th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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 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!
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.
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!
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.
October 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
September 22nd, 2017 | Julia Braime
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…
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.
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!
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?
September 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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