June 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This morning on the wedding blog we tackle that age old wedding planning conundrum – when is the best time of year to tie the knot? A spring/summer soirée or autumn/winter shindig?
rachel says: autumn/winter
While we can’t guarantee sunshine during the spring/summer season in Britain, one thing we can be sure of is cold weather come autumn/winter. So instantly, if for nothing else but to avoid weather woes, I’m drawn to the chillier months of the year in which to tie the knot.
But there’s more to it than that. Weddings out of peak season can often come at a cheaper price, saving you a buck or two, and a celebrations at this time of year gives guests something exciting to look forward to when their summer holidays are long gone, the days are darker and the temperatures cooler. It also gives brides and grooms the opportunity to piggyback on festive occasions such as Christmas and New Year when people are in full-on party mode.
Personally I find wintry weddings can be incredibly atmospheric. As the days are shorter in terms of light couples tend to look to cosier settings with open fires and candle light to provide a sensational seasonal backdrop to their celebrations. And thanks to the introduction of Scandinavian style tepees, complete with festoon lighting, faux fur throws and fire pits, a winter wedding doesn’t have to take place within four walls.
In terms of décor the cooler months lend themselves to a wide variety of colour palettes, including warm, welcoming hues such as burnt orange as well as pale icy pastels, sparkling metallics and deep elegant shades of emerald green and sapphire blue. Twinkling decorations such as fairy lights, tea light holders and lanterns add to the atmosphere and blooms become more edgy with the addition of berries, thistles and holly.
Then there’s the food. Seriously pass me a bowl of hearty sausage and mash any day over a light salad. As a foodie I find menu choices at weddings one of the most important elements and think couples can have much more fun with comforting winter dishes and tipples, such as steak pie, sticky toffee pudding, mulled wine and prosecco with a dash of crème de cassis, compared more obvious summer options. I’m rather tempted to leave the Eggnog in the 70s though.
image source, photography by Jennifer Eileen
julia says: spring/summer
Two words: peonies and Pimms.
For me, the dream English wedding scenario involves these two P’s; hazy sunshine in a cloudless blue sky; wide, green lawns dotted with daisies; a heaving bower of blooms atop a church gate; tiny bridesmaids dressed as fairies; a dazzling marquee and long, summer nights.
A spring or summer wedding will always be a winner. Why? Because everyone so badly wants it to work. Your guests are ready to mingle after a seemingly endless winter, the ladies are aching to don their summer brights and the boys are keen for some competitive garden games. If it’s a bit of a damp squib on the day, no one really cares – there’s always fake tan and a free bar to keep everyone happy. And if you luck out and the sun has got his hat on, well, hip hip hip hooray indeed!
Spring/ summer just fits with weddings. Traditionally ‘wedding season’ for a reason, it’s a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. The best flowers are in season, picking a honeymoon destination isn’t a game of weather roulette and you can wear a sleeveless wedding gown without worrying about goose bumps.
All that said, I actually got married in October.
Why? Because for me, my dream May wedding day would have had to involve another P – Piriton. I can generally just about cope with the red rimmed eyes and fuzzy head that my annual bout of hayfever brings – but not on my wedding day. So I shelved my flower plans and opted for an autumn celebration instead, sticking to a classic colour palette of blush pink and charcoal grey to offset and complement the colours of the season.
Just so happened, summer 2010 was nothing to write home about, but October of that year? A scorcher. So I got my blue skies after all.
Who am I kidding – you can’t plan for the English weather… so get hitched whenever you ruddy well feel like it! I hope the sun shines for you, whatever month you choose to say ‘I do’.
what you said on facebook:
Carla: “We chose to have a summer wedding and have our fingers crossed for sunshine!”
Jane: “Our February wedding will all be indoors anyway, so it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. Anyway, I think a winter wedding is cosier and more romantic.”
Rachael: “We are incorporating decorations from the venue into our Christmas wedding, so we have a ready made theme that isn’t costing anything.”
Peta: “I love the idea of a traditional English summer wedding – with bunting and croquet!”
image source, photography by Tessa Barton Photography
What’s your opinion – we’d love to hear your thoughts?
June 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning their wedding, today’s couple say they very much wanted the occasion to revolve around the most important things in their lives – family, friends and love.
Taking just one look at the images below, it’s clear to see that they achieved their aim perfectly, making the day both loving and personable.
We adore Emma’s classic Ian Stuart gown and her maids’ pretty sparkling dresses, all of which tie beautifully with the elegant décor and dreamy hotel setting.
Regardless of what the weather is doing outside today, this wonderful winter wedding is guaranteed to make you feel all warm inside.
emma says: Andy proposed to me at home. It was the 20th October 2012 and I was getting ready to go out on one of our ‘date nights’. As I walked into a candle-lit living room with champagne filled glasses out on the table, my heart started racing. Andy got down on knee and then went on to tell me why he wanted to marry me before popping the question. As you can imagine, I was a blubbering wreck by the end, and of course I blurted out ‘yes’!
We booked our wedding for Saturday 31st January as we both wanted a romantic winter wedding and we thought it was the perfect time of year to hold it. Funnily enough, it was only afterwards that we realised it was exactly four years to the day that we actually met. It was obviously fate and we were meant to book that date.
We held our wedding at the stunning Merewood Country House Hotel in the Lake District. We both love the lakes and have spent a lot of time there so it seemed only natural – being one of the most romantic places in England, we knew it was the place for us to get married. We chose the Merewood as we really wanted our family and friends to feel like they were coming to somewhere homely, rather than a hotel, which was helped with us having exclusivity of the venue. As soon as you walk in it has such a cosy and warm feel to it with the open fires greeting you in the reception. It’s grand but still intimate at the same time.
I asked my two best friends and my sister to be bridesmaids and my beautiful little niece and they were all just amazing. I also asked four of my closest friends to walk down the aisle in front of me as sadly my beloved Dad passed away from cancer in September 2012. It was lovely to have all my closest girlfriends there with me right before I walked down as they have all been a great support to me over the years and it was definitely the right choice as I felt secure in the fact that if I did have a wobble, they were there. Luckily I walked in and saw everyone’s beaming faces and then I caught my future husband’s eye and he just gave me a reassuring look that he wasn’t far away – I just took a deep breath and I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked towards him.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but there were parts of the day that hinted at our styles and influences. For example my late Granddad, my Dad’s father, was a film buff and the manager of a cinema when it was all on film. I just loved to watch all of the old movies with him so Andy and I did our wedding invites like an old Hollywood cinema ticket (which our guests tore off and then sent back as an rsvp).
There is something so romantic about a winter wedding, so for my colour scheme I wanted to keep it very simple, classic and beautiful with elegance to it. I just adore whites, creams, greys and soft colours together, and it was fabulous that all the bridal party coordinated their outfits around that palette too. I wanted it to look magical, with a touch of glamour and sparkle!
The dress I chose was an Ian Stuart couture gown from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, Yorkshire. I knew I had found the one, as it not only exuded glamour with an edge to it, but it was also timeless and feminine. I found inspiration from Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress that she wore when she married JFK in 1953. I just adored the neckline and I found something similar with my gown which gave it that Hollywood Glamour feel to it and I just fell in love instantly.
Andy wore a slim fit dark blue three-piece suit that he bought from Slaters in Leeds with a white shirt and a white tie and he also wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues. He had tried on Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and viewed many other suits, but Slater’s had a huge variety and the fits were perfect – not to mention the price!
For my beautiful bridesmaids I chose dresses from a website called Virgos Lounge. I loved that they were a bit different and very glamorous and with it being winter the soft light grey and the iridescent leaf shaped embellishment on the dresses looked stunning.
The best man, usher and the father of the groom all wore suits also bought from Slaters in Leeds. We went for something slightly different from Andy’s suit, so we picked out a very similar one for the men but in a dark grey with light blue/grey spotted white ties, which really complemented all the girls’ dresses. The boys also all wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues.
When it came to the wedding photos we sought advice from our wedding co-ordinator and chose a local award-winning photographer known very well by the venue. Steven Taylor was superb from our first meeting to the end of our wedding day. He listened to our thoughts and did the most amazing job on the day with his son Josh and after receiving the proofs back recently, we understand why they are award-winning – they captured the whole day perfectly. We also had Silver Sixpence Films to capture the day on video for us.
On the day I carried a beautiful, opulent massed posy bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthus and gypsophila bound with ivory satin ribbon. They were provided by Kevin from Brackens of Bowness.
With us deciding on a romantic ivory and cream wedding, we opted to have tall vases for the reception centrepieces, filled with acorns with tall willow branches and hanging glass tea-light holders. On the other tables we had round shallow glass bowls filled with acorns and twisted ivory willow with a cluster of candles in the centre. Down the staircase we had willow and foliage wound down the banister with fairy lights intertwined. Kevin from Brackens of Bowness again supplied these stunning arrangements. He was amazing and listened to everything that I wanted to achieve. With Kevin’s talent and creativity he helped make the venue look like the fairy-tale wedding I had always dreamed of.
We didn’t do favours at the wedding breakfast. Instead we had personalised chocolate bars created for our family and friends who were staying at the hotel and placed them in their rooms for their arrival.
We opted for a four-course wedding breakfast. It took us a little while to decide on the menu as all of the food is so delicious and it is also locally sourced. In the evening, we had mini fish and chips served in traditional newspaper cones. It was all absolutely delicious!
We both enjoy music, so it featured heavily throughout the day. The thinking was to have very much beautiful and relaxing music, building as the day went on so we had a string quartet to entertain people before and after the ceremony. Andy recorded a live DJ mix for the wedding breakfast containing music from our favourite films interlaced with famous quotes from cinema.
To get the evening started, Andy had also prepared some warm up before a fantastic rock band called Blue Star Tattoo from West Yorkshire performed on the night with classics by AC/DC, ZZ Top and The Who, through to more current hits by The Killers, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. We chose this band as a nod to my Dad Geoff (and Andy’s Dad John) who both love rock and roll.
In the library we displayed family photos of our nearest and dearest to give a homely feel and also in remembrance to special people who could not be there with us that weekend. With candles lit and love quotes added around the fireplaces, it added to the romantic and relaxing ambience of the venue.
We used Purple Swan for the hire of our chair covers, which were white with crystal vintage brooches on ivory lace sashes and bows. The company were fabulous and made everything so easy and stress free by dressing the room the night before and they were so professional. I bought the lanterns and candles from the shop The Range in Leeds to add a touch of romance down the aisle as well.
We would most definitely recommend our venue to others. Everything about it is fabulous, from the views to the food, and the first class service. The venue has so much character, it still has many of the original features, which include magnificent fireplaces and gorgeous stained glass windows. We felt at home as soon as we walked in. No matter how many times you visit, when it’s time to go home, you just don’t want to leave.
My favourite part of the day was sitting down to eat the amazing food at the wedding breakfast next to my new husband and looking around at all of our favourite people in the world, all sat together and there just for us was simply the best feeling in the whole world.
We are planning to go on honeymoon to Santorini this summer to catch some sun and some amazing scenery, and as Andy is obsessed with sunsets (apparently they have some of the best in the world), we couldn’t think of anywhere more romantic to go.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to make sure you enjoy the lead up to your wedding day, enjoy being engaged. The day itself goes so fast, I know it sounds cliché but it does so take time out with your new groom/bride for a few moments during the day and evening as you are both in demand and so busy. It’s lovely to have a few moments now and again to both look around and think – ‘This is our wedding day, how amazing is this?’
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June 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ, it’s just dawned on us that there’s only 6 months till Christmas! Since we haven’t really seen a sniff of summer yet, that still feels like a pretty long time away to us, but if you’re planning a winter wedding, we bet time is just racing by.
Today’s real wedding couple followed up their festive engagement with a vintage Christmas themed wedding at a luxury Cheshire hotel, so we hope their lovely celebration leaves you feeling inspired and looking ahead!
Keeping things classic yet classy Kylie and Graeme ditched a traditional red or white winter wedding colour scheme in favour of an elegant navy and pink theme, complete with hints of sparkle. Subtle Christmas touches were then blended with pretty vintage décor for a stylish setting.
We love Kylie’s lace fishtail dress (that was clearly meant to be) as well as the bridesmaids’ elegant bespoke dresses and the guys looked very handsome in their fitted suits too!
With images by Emma Hillier Photography.
kylie says: I was studying my first degree in Liverpool and Gray (Graeme) use to visit all the time. We had been together three years when he proposed. It was Christmas Eve and I returned to find tea lights and rose petals everywhere. I opened my gifts and in the last present was a box with a diamond in it. Gray then got down on one knee and proposed. Looking back I am so glad there was no massive ‘out in public’ proposal, the way Gray proposed was so intimate and perfect. Just us.
We decided to tie the knot on 23rd December 2014. Gray is a massive Christmas fan! We both are actually, particularly because between 2010 and 2014 I studied my second degree and I was away from our home a lot, and Christmas was the only time we really got to spend quality time together.
Our wedding was not only a celebration of our love but it was a way of remembering all our lovely Christmas times together and celebrating that I was finally home for good.
We got married at the Grosvenor Pulford in Cheshire. We absolutely adore this venue. On our first visit the wedding co-ordinator was really attentive and nothing was too much trouble, even with all our ideas! The venue also looks so lovely at Christmas time, the in-house decorations are stunning. The venue is big enough to invite everyone you want but small enough so you don’t feel lost in the venue. I loved that we were the only wedding that day too.
It was a vintage Christmas wedding. I wanted lots of subtle winter touches but without it feeling like your typical Christmas wedding. We also wanted a vintage feel, so we had birdcages decorating the venue and a vintage style wedding cake with lots of sparkle thrown in!
The colour scheme was navy and pink. The bridesmaids were in navy and there were subtle hints of pink dotted around. Navy looks fantastic during winter and I’m a sucker for pink!
My wedding dress was a lace fishtail dress – I adored it! I saw the dress on a wedding blog and I just loved it as soon as I saw it so I rang round lots of bridal shops in the area to see if they stocked this particular dress and none of them did. It looked like I was going to have to pay to have it shipped to a bridal shop to try it on, which I was reluctant to do in case I didn’t like it. Then a week later, one of the bridal shops I called had received the sample dress on error in my size, they were going to send it back that day to the designer so they said if I wanted to try it on I needed to come right away. I raced to the bridal shop and I was so glad I did, as soon as I tried it on I loved it!
Gray bought a suit from Reiss. He originally was going to wear a navy suit and grey tie like the groomsmen but we went into Reiss to get some suit inspiration and Gray took a liking to his suit straight away. So on the day Gray wore a grey suit and navy knitted tie and the groomsmen wore navy wool suits from Burton with grey ties from Topman.
I had the bridesmaid dresses designed and made by the fabulous fashion designer Klue by KellyAnn. I cannot tell you how much I love the bridesmaid dresses. I loved that each one was made to measure and my bridesmaids could tweak any aspect of the dress that they wanted to. Some of my bridesmaids had midi pencil dresses and one of my bridesmaids was able to a have a dress that she could spin around all day in at her hearts content!
Emma Hillier Photography was our chosen photographer. Emma is the most amazing photographer I have ever met. I may be biased but that’s not only because I have the most amazing wedding photographs but we have some amazing engagement shoot pictures and boudoir pictures too. Emma is such a lovely person, she puts me completely at ease and my wedding day would not have been the same if she wasn’t there. She was so calming on my wedding morning and my family loved her.
The first time I saw her pictures from another wedding Gray and I both knew she was going to be our wedding photographer. She captured the wedding day so perfectly and nothing was too much trouble for her or no idea was too wacky! We love you Emma!
Vivid Floral Design provided our flowers – this was a very important aspect to me. I explained to Mandy at Vivid Floral Design exactly what I wanted and she delivered my vision perfectly. I loved my bouquet with the added glitter and sparkle and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were exactly what I envisioned in my mind. I also picked the groom’s and groomsmen’s button holes and asked Mandy to add the twine to them last minute as a surprise to my future husband. He loved it!
Vivid floral design also supplied our table arrangements which were fantastic with the roses and dangling tea lights. Our table plan was created by Deannamic Designs.
As favours we gave our guests ‘Grylie’ (a combination of Graeme and Kylie) strawberry jam which was made by both of us over a weekend. It was something fun for us both to do together and our guests loved it with many since asking for a second batch!
We chose a three tier sponge wedding cake. Each tier was a different flavour: Victoria sponge, lemon and coconut. We didn’t want royal icing on the outside and asked for buttercream instead. It was amazing!
We had Rock Revolution as our evening band and one of the members of the band also played the piano during the wedding breakfast. The band were amazing and everyone said how much fun they had dancing away to them. They even got me and my bridesmaids up to help with the backing vocals of one song!
Special moments on the day included my brother walking me down the aisle as my dad is no longer with us, which was a really emotional moment for us both. Two of the bridesmaids also did readings, which were really touching. One was heartfelt and the other more humorous. It was nice to get a mixture of emotions during the ceremony and made the ceremony personal to us.
Other suppliers that we used on the day that we would recommend are Love Umbrellas who provided our umbrellas, The Glass Slipper Company where I got my shoes from, Crown and Glory which is where we got the bridesmaids’ hair pieces from and Nicola Joyce who did hair and makeup. Also, our invitations and stationary were done by Artwork by Angie. We had completely bespoke stationery made and the outcome was more than I expected. Angie is so amazing to work with!
My favourite parts of the day included getting ready with all my favourite girls. It was nice having that time with them. I also loved seeing Gray’s face as I walked down the aisle. It was just amazing having all our nearest and dearest under one roof and sharing the day with them.
Gray says the best part of the day for him was seeing me walking down the aisle, he says I looked absolutely stunning. Gray is usually quite a calm person, he didn’t get flustered about doing his speech or saying his vows in front of people but recalls the anticipation just before I arrived and the emotion he felt when he saw me… feelings he says he’s never felt before!
We went on a minimoon over New Year in Scotland. It was a secluded lodge with a hot tub called ‘the hideaway experience’ and was simply amazing. Each night we would be in the hot tub and we would chat and just admire the stars. We will be having a honeymoon this summer and plan to visit Halkidiki in Greece.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be do what makes you happy, listen to advice from friends and family but ultimately do what you want to do. Also, pick your battles; don’t waste energy getting stressed on the lead up to the big day. You want to look back on the build-up in a positive way.
Finally, don’t worry about people not turning up to the evening; people might not be able to attend even if they had the best intentions to. The friends and family that are there will still make sure you have an amazing day!
artwork by angie, burton, cheshire wedding, christmas wedding, crown and glory, deannamic designs, emma hillier photography, grosvenor pulford, klu by kelly ann, love umbrellas, nicola joyce, real wedding, reiss, rock revolution, the glass slipper company, topman, uk wedding blog, vivid floral design, winter wedding
May 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
We may be supposed to be heading into high summer right now (although as I’m writing this there is hail beating on the window outside) but here at Brides Up North HQ just the very sight of a winter wedding makes us dream of mulled wine and mince pies, getting us excited about the chillier months to come.
If you’re in the middle of planning your Christmas wedding, Rachel and Gareth’s seasonal celebration has it all – stunning wreaths complete with red berries and mistletoe, warm comforting food and a classic red colour scheme.
So forget about the (lack of) sunshine – an easy ask for us northerners – wrap up warm and let’s head to the stunning Peak District to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.
With images by Richmond Pictures.
rachel says: We got engaged in London. We had given a voucher for a meal for two in the Apex Hotel at Tower Bridge as a Christmas present. We booked the meal for 8th February 2014 and decided to make a night of it by booking a room there too. Gareth proposed in the hotel room as we were getting ready to go down to dinner. It was a bit of a shock but I couldn’t have been happier!
We got married on 13th December 2014. We both really wanted a winter wedding, there’s something romantic about that time of the year and the run up to Christmas. The crisp, frosty days and (hopefully) blue skies outside while we cosy up inside, perfect!
We got married at Fulwood Old Chapel in Sheffield. We picked this as we wanted to get married somewhere close to where I was brought up. The chapel is small and intimate so it was perfect for our numbers and we felt it would be nice to have our family and friends fill the whole place and really feel like a part of the ceremony.
Our reception was held at The Maynard in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We went to a wedding fair there and knew straight away it was the perfect venue for us. There are stunning views from the rooms looking out across the Peak District.
As it was coming up to Christmas we played a little on that and had a snowflake theme. We had snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours, the cake was decorated with snowflakes and our stationery and table confetti was snowflake themed too.
We picked red and silver for our colours. Again because of the time of the year. The bridesmaids had red dresses which looked stunning and vibrant in the winter light.
I chose a dress by Ronald Joyce from Brides by Losners in Stamford Hill, London. I picked this one because my mum and my bridesmaid cried when I put it on – so I was pretty sure this was the dress for me! It was the complete opposite of what I’d imagined for myself as it was quite fitted, but I loved it from the first time I tried it on.
On the wedding day my makeup was done by Lisa Kirby in Sheffield and my hair was styled by Kirstine Allott of Kutz in Dore, Sheffield, both of whom I would recommend.
I travelled from my parents’ house with my dad in a vintage Jaguar while my bridesmaids travelled to the chapel in another vintage jaguar. These were provided by a family friend.
Karina and Tom Lax of Richmond Pictures were our photographers. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. They were so professional but also fun and friendly and made us feel totally at ease throughout the whole day. Karina and Tom really did their homework before our big day and found an amazing place for us to have some pictures taken after the ceremony; it was like something out of Wuthering Heights! We are absolutely over the moon with our photos, a perfect reminder of our special day for us to look back on.
Our flowers were provided by Vikki Baxter at Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield. I had a bouquet of red roses, mistletoe, red berries and Christmas tree twigs.
Vikki also provided the flowers for the chapel and reception. We had a heart shaped wreath above the door at the Chapel and arrangements around the inside with the same flowers and foliage as the bridal bouquet and also cinnamon sticks, orange slices and nuts to make it really Christmassy. We also had Christmas wreath style table centre pieces around hurricane lamps, lots of tea lights and a twinkle curtain as a back drop behind the top table, which were provided by Weddings by Dragonfly.
My mum, my bridesmaid and I made snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours using snowflake wire form beads and ribbon. These also doubled as place names as we threaded name tags on the ribbon with our guests’ names on one side and our names and the date on the reverse.
We chose a three tiered cake iced in white and decorated with snowflakes. Each layer was different flavour – vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake. The fruit cake was made by my mum and the rest by a family friend.
For our wedding menu we picked winter warming food – chicken with bubble and squeak and a sticky toffee pudding dessert. We had champagne for our toasts so we could celebrate in style!
We really wanted our guests to have a great time and leave thinking ‘wow’ so we hired a magician for the drinks reception and a photo booth for the evening reception, provided by Rhythm of Your Choice. My parents also booked some singing waiters who performed during the meal. This was a complete to surprise to the both of us and also to all our guests. One of the waitresses dropped a whole tray of cutlery which got everyone’s attention, and then started singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen as she got up from the floor! It was such a shock but soon everyone was joining in, dancing and waving napkins in the air! We had a band in the evening called Banzai and a DJ provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.
We would recommend both the chapel and The Maynard to other couples. Janet and Peter at the chapel were so friendly and helpful from the minute we booked our ceremony with them. It’s perfect for smaller weddings. I would recommend The Maynard for its setting. There are so many beautiful places for photos and stunning views from the venue. The food, drink and service on the day were all excellent.
The ceremony itself was our favourite part of the day. Having all our family and friends in one place at the same time who were all there to support us and celebrate with us was so touching.
We went to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives for our two week honeymoon. We had a month between our wedding and honeymoon so we could enjoy Christmas at home with our families. The resort was fantastic and just what we wanted. White sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, excellent food and drink, and stunning sea life on the house reef where we went snorkelling every day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the day! Look around and see all your friends and family who are there for you.
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May 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I have to agree with today’s real wedding couple in that I can find New Year’s Eve somewhat of an anti-climax. Keen to give their friends and family something to get really excitedabout, Mike and Melissa set their wedding for 31st December.
I love the wintry touches in this wedding, from the hessian table runners to the twinkly fairy lights, rustic pine cone name places and that gorgeous cake – top marks to Melissa’s mum!
It looks like this pair certainly celebrated 2015 in style!
With images by Kate Cooper Photography.
melissa says: Michael proposed to me at Ragdale Hall the day before New Year’s Eve 2012. We arrived and I remember Mike acting very strangely. We were then shown into a small lounge area and somebody brought us a bottle of champagne. Michael got down on one knee and popped the question. A great start to a wonderful day at Ragdale Hall!
We chose to get married on 31st December 2014. We chose New Year’s Eve as we felt that this is a time of year which is never as good as the build up to it, so to have a wedding on that day would be a great way to spend it! We didn’t want the pressure of the weather too as summer weddings don’t always turn out to be glorious! At least at NYE we knew that the weather was not going to be great – we just had the snow to worry about!
We got married at The Maynard in Grindleford. It was a superb venue. We were able to hold the both the ceremony and reception there so guests would not have to fight with the elements going from A to B. When we met the wedding coordinator for the first time she was friendly, listened to what we wanted and genuinely seemed interested in our day! The whole feel of the hotel was just perfect with the large oak panelled room contrasting with the contemporary decor of the main hotel.
We didn’t have a theme as such we just wanted the wedding to be simple and classic with a feeling of wintry charm. I don’t like too much ‘frill’!
I love the classic whites and greens of the ferns at Christmas so used this as a base for our colour scheme and then added a touch of grey/ pink in with the flowers. My older bridesmaid’s dress was navy so Catherine (our florist) brought an element of this in with the flowers.
I wanted my dress to be lace so that’s how I started my search. I knew I didn’t want a big dress but apart from that I wasn’t going to restrict myself. Emily at Emily Bridal in Sheffield brought a few to try on and when I put my dress on I knew straight away it was the one. It was Augusta Jones SkylerI – I just loved the way the lace sat on the shoulders and the low back. It was simple and elegant and it didn’t need any fuss to show it off. I had a short veil which had lace around the edge to match the dress. Emily was brilliant. If something didn’t suit me, she was honest and she ensured that I found my dream dress and didn’t settle for second best!
I had a hairdresser and makeup artist on the day who did the families hair and makeup. Julia Jeckell was great! During the trial she spent the time to find out what type of makeup and hair I wanted, I showed her photos of hair and she also asked what I didn’t want! She talked me through what she was doing and gave me choices of different products. This meant that on the day I could just leave it to her. The result was exactly what I wanted. My hair was fabulous and stayed put throughout the day and the makeup was perfect. She also let me have details of powder and lipstick she was using so I could purchase them and touch up on the day, although I didn’t need to!
Mike wore navy tails from Austin Reed with an ivory waistcoat and navy ruche. The best men wore the same as Mike and the ushers wore a navy suit with a short suit jacket, ivory waistcoat and navy ruche.
Our photographer was Kate Cooper – she was amazing! She spent a lot of time with us before the day ensuring she knew exactly what we wanted. On the day she was absolutely brilliant too.
Our florist Catherine at Petalis, was fabulous. She chose the flowers for me as I don’t really have any idea when it comes to flowers, especially in the winter. The flowers for the bouquets and buttonholes included pink/grey roses, eucalyptus and foliage. Catherine also provided the decorative floral arrangements which were amazing and she knew the venue so knew exactly what would look good.
My friend Katie made the bunting which was draped around the venue and we added fairy lights and white baubles around the room and in the entrance to the room. Rebecca (the wedding coordinator at The Maynard) arranged these for us and displayed our table plan and photo booth.
We had hessian tied around the chairs and table runners to match which were provided by Dragonfly in Chesterfield. They sorted all this the day before the wedding.
I made all the favours for our guests. We ordered little jars and filled these with white tissue paper and bonbons. I then covered the top of the jar with hessian and twine and added a thank you tag to each.
My mum made our cake. Each layer was a different type of cake: fruit, ginger (my favourite) and lemon drizzle (Mike’s favourite). She then decorated with royal icing, hessian and winter foliage and berries and instead of using a cake stand we had a log which we had cut especially for it.
Rhythm of Your Choice provided the evening entertainment. We had a DJ and a disco. We wanted a Photo Booth too but felt it was out of our budget to get an organised one, so we did it ourselves. We bought a Polaroid camera and collected a few fancy dress fashion accessories. Guests got themselves dressed up and took a Polaroid selfie which then was stuck into a book and messages were added next to the photo. It worked brilliantly and not only have we got lovely messages but great picture memories too!
Having two children we decided to get a babysitter for the evening of the wedding. Dawn from TLC Mobile Childcare was fantastic, she looked after the children in one of the hotel rooms and the children went up when they wereready. She ensured they were safe, well looked after and with one of our children being only six-months-old at the time, she sorted the evening feeds out for her.
We would definitely recommend The Maynard to other couples. The venue was so perfect for what we wanted but the staff really made it. They were amazing. Nothing was ever too much and every one of them was so friendly and supportive throughout the day.
It’s hard to choose a favourite part of the wedding as the whole day was fabulous! I did really enjoy the time after the ceremony catching up with everybody and spending time with close family and friends though.
Mike kept our honeymoon a secret until the day. We couldn’t go for long as we have two young children. We were chauffer driven to London and stayed at the Shangri-La in the Shard for two nights. It was absolutely amazing and we had a lovely couple of days, chilling out, visiting places and going to see Billy Elliot. It was a fantastic, relaxing time away after such a hectic build up to the wedding and staying in such an amazing place really made it.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute of the day. I cannot believe how fast it went and would love to relive it.
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