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.
April 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We don’t know about you but here at Brides Up North HQ we just couldn’t take our eyes of Ted and Amy’s wonderful winter wedding when it arrived in our inbox. This stylish couple tied the knot between Christmas and New Year giving their friends and family an extra reason to be in high spirits over the festive season.
They wanted a relaxed and informal do in a charming rural setting and that’s exactly what they delivered.
I absolutely adore the flowers in this wedding – that bouquet! Oh and of course there’s a bunch of mistletoe too…pucker up!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Fairclough Photography.
amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Day. We were at my parents’ house with my sister and auntie and uncle. We had just finished opening the presents and then Ted said, “I’ve just got one more present, but you’ll have to stand up for this one Bob (my nickname)”. I stood up, turned around and he was on one knee. I don’t remember much of what happened after that – only that I said “YES”.
We didn’t have a date in mind when we started looking at venues but after finding the right place, we sat down to look at diaries and found out they had space around Christmas. We both love Christmas and as we got engaged on Christmas Day, it seemed like a good idea to do it around that time. We went for the Saturday between Christmas and New Year, 27th December.
We got married at Bashall Barn, a few miles out of our hometown of Clitheroe, Lancashire. We wanted to get married in the Ribble Valley and knew that we wanted a relaxed and informal setting. The Barn was perfect for us, spacious yet cosy and with plenty or rustic, rural charm.
We didn’t have a theme as such but did stick with traditional Christmas colours of red and green. We wanted to create the sense of happiness and magic that Christmas evokes in us for all of our guests.
My dress was from Dessy’s After Six range. I went to Orchid Designs bridal shop in Clitheroe to try on some dresses to get a feel for what I wanted. It wasn’t the kind of dress I thought I wanted but as soon as I put it on, it just felt so ‘me’ and I didn’t want to take it off. It was the third dress I’d tried on and I just knew it was the one.
Ted wanted a three piece tweed suit but we’d left it quite late and they are harder to come by than we thought. About four weeks before the wedding we went out looking and found the perfect suit in Next, it fit perfectly and he looked gorgeous in it.
I purchased the two bridesmaids dresses online. I knew I wanted dark green but I found it really difficult to find any in the shops so had a look online and managed to find a company who had just what I was looking for. The dresses were then altered to suit each bridesmaid.
The groomsmen each wore their own suits but they all had matching red ties which were purchased from the Saville Row Company.
I travelled to the wedding in my dad’s car. I didn’t see the point in hiring a car and driver for the ten minute journey. As it was, it was lovely, my auntie had decorated it with ribbon and flowers and my uncle chauffeured us – it was perfect.
Our photographers were husband and wife duo, the Faircloughs from Fairclough Photography. They were recommended to me by another photographer. I sent the initial email to them to see if they were free on the day that we’d chosen and received a phone call less than five minutes later from Katie. The service was as efficient as that throughout and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They have some great ideas and are keen to try out cutting edge techniques. We didn’t want the posed formal shots and so were happy for them to do their own thing. We were completely overwhelmed with the pictures! They really capture the spirit of us and of the day and that’s just what we wanted. I would highly recommend them.
I didn’t want really fussy flower decorations. I had a look on Pinterest for rustic winter wedding flowers and found a bouquet with thistle, berries and roses in. My mum had been recommended to try Fusspots in Whalley. I took the picture of the bouquet along with me and told the owner Theresa, what I was thinking. I cried when she delivered the flowers on the morning of the wedding – they were absolutely perfect!
The venue was already decorated for Christmas and so I didn’t want to go overboard with decorations. I had a large bouquet of mistletoe where the ceremony took place and candles everywhere – I love candles! On each of the tables, I had a cluster of flower decorations from Fusspots and a large lantern, along with favour bags and decorative table number plaques which were designed by a close friend.
I wanted simple homemade favours. I bought 150 small brown paper bags, miniature bottles and miniature jam jars online. My best friend’s mum made some homemade chutney to fill the jars with and I filled each of the bottles with port. There was also a small chocolate in each. I tied each bag with a piece of butcher’s string and attached a brown gift tag with the guest’s names on so that the favours were also the name places.
We had a cheese wedding cake for the evening, which was provided by the Barn. I wasn’t going to have a sweet wedding cake but my mum panicked a few days before and so we did end up getting a few plain iced sponge cake tiers from a supermarket but we didn’t even cut into it in the end!
The venue we chose has been voted to have the best on site restaurant in the UK, as foodies this was a massive plus for us. We didn’t get married until 4:30pm and our evening guests were due from 7:30pm onwards and so we were a bit limited for time. We chose to have canapés to start whilst guests were having their reception drinks, for mains we had a braised blade of beef with creamed mash and veg and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding. It was lovely!
We had a band called Duncan Disorderly to provide our entertainment. We first saw them at Knutsford Wine Bar and fell in love with them. They play covers but put their own funk style on each track. They’ve got tonnes of energy and are perfect for a good dance!
We wanted our guests to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible – this was at the forefront of our minds when we planned the day. We had a little snack table with savoury and sweet nibbles and little bowls for people to help themselves throughout the evening, to ensure nobody went hungry. We also put toiletries in each of the bathrooms for guests to freshen up.
I would highly recommend the Barn, especially to couples who want a little bit more flexibility when planning their day. Henk, the coordinator, was a great help in the planning and was very accommodating to our ideas.
I loved the whole day – it just went too quick! I particularly loved walking down the aisle and seeing my Ted for the first time – I got a rush of excitement like I have never experienced before!
We hadn’t booked a honeymoon initially but had booked a fortnight off work at the end of January. A few days after the wedding, we went to the travel agents in Clitheroe and booked a ten-day break to Mauritius, to begin two weeks later. It was so nice having something to look forward to when we both went back to work after New Year. Mauritius was idyllic! We stayed at Le Victoria in the north of the island and everything was perfect – the weather, food, people – we didn’t want to come back! We still miss the time we lived in Mauritius – even if it was just for ten days!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy the experience! It is so easy to get carried away with what you should/shouldn’t do but at the end of the day, it should be about you, the bride and groom! You only get one day to show everybody who you both are and how much you love each other – don’t lose sight of that in the planning.
February 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
A fine stately home was the setting for Caroline and James’ big day in the North East. The couple incorporated a rich colour palette of champagne gold and ivory into their celebrations resulting in one very stylish affair.
Extra sparkles were added in the bridesmaids dresses and decor while bride Caroline dazzled in her fabulous Mori Lee fishtail dress, complete with Jimmy Choo heels.
Images by Focal Point Photography.
caroline says: James romantically proposed to me on 31st August 2013 at Slayley Hall in Northumberland. He hired a private function room with champagne afternoon tea, after the proposal we had a romantic walk along the grounds and returned back to my parents’ house for further celebrations.
Saturday 20th December 2014 was our chosen wedding date. We both agreed that there is something about winter weddings that bring a fairy tale touch to the day’s celebrations. We also loved the early evenings that come with the winter season – this meant that there was more celebration time, lots of candles and glitter. Although the evening was darker earlier, it allowed us to create our own light with a soft, romantic and inviting mood for our guests.It also enabled us to have our dream honeymoon in the Maldives in their peak season of January.
We chose Ellingham Hall in Northumberland as our wedding venue. We stumbled across the location of Chathill during a countryside drive one weekend and when I later researched that it was in fact a wedding venue, there was no need to look anywhere else. The thought of taking over our very own grand, stately home within secluded grounds for our December wedding wasn’t going to be just a dream… our dreams were about to come true with just over a year to plan.
Ellingham Hall offered us the entire hall for a three-night stay, this included three reception rooms with cosy log burning fires, eighteen bedrooms, along with twelve estate cottages within the grounds.
The cottages proved to be so efficient for our family travelling from far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and New York, as well as offering a private space for James and his groomsmen to prepare for the big day ahead.
Our theme throughout was champagne gold and ivory. We felt this was appropriate for a winter wedding and it definitely worked on the day.
I chose a stunning, elegant Mori Lee all over tulle fishtail wedding dress in ivory. The dress was purchased from a bridal shop in Morpeth, Kathryn Trueman Bridal. As the dress was so simple and elegant, it allowed me to customise the dress to my exact wishes. The customised service at the bridal shop made the winter theme that extra bit special by adding a Swarovski crystal sash as a belt and also some detailed lace sleeves. The Jimmy Choo ivory silk satin peep toe pumps with crystal detail were the icing of outfit.
James wore a bespoke navy blue three-piece suit, a white crisp shirt, a sevenfold champagne gold silk tie and lace-up brown brogue shoes. James is fortunate to have an uncle who owns a well-established suit hire company in Durham city, Troughear Suit Hire.
For my six stunning bridesmaids, we found the perfect sequined gold maxi dress from Little Mistress. The two flower girls wore the matching dresses and fur shawls. On the wedding day each bridesmaid had personalised dress hangers, dressing gowns and we also presented them with Tiffany bracelets during the speeches.
The majority of the bridal party stayed within the hall, or within the grounds, from the Friday until the Monday so the only transport needed was our wedding car to take us on the short two minute journey to St Maurice Church in Ellingham. For this journey we were fortunate to be gifted the use of James’ Director’s Bentley Arnage.
Photography is such an important aspect of your wedding day and those photos are lifetime memories to cherish, so with this in mind I chose a photography company which I had previously dealt with at my brother’s wedding a few years ago. Focal Point Photography were so professional and both David and Paul worked incredibly well together. With a winter wedding and the poor visibility, they still made the photographs just perfect – we both can’t recommend them enough!
I am fortunate enough to have my own floristry business – Poplar Tree Florist, with a team of florists at hand to make the flowers perfect. With it being so close to Christmas, we themed the church flowers with Christmas red and golds and the hall itself was very gold and ivory. The florists decorated the hall and church with Christmas trees, garlands and candelabras galore! My wedding bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers were Vera Wang and consisted of cream avalanche roses and ranunculus flowers, with the two adorable flower girls carrying little gypsophila pomanders.
We chose simple gold candelabras for the table arrangements with an array of white avalanche roses and hydrangeas situated below the candles. Again these were provided by Poplar Tree Florist. For our chair covers we used Flawless Weddings and Events in Morpeth and also used Crosby Hire for the white limewash chiavari chairs. I would highly recommend these suppliers.
With my family connection in landscaping and garden centres we chose to incorporate this and our theme of a winter wedding all in one for the favours. We chose mini Christmas tree seedlings wrapped in hessian with personalised name tags for each of the men and for the ladies we had gold chocolate Ferrero Rochers – as they are James’ favourite chocolates.
We had an elegant, four-tiered ivory iced wedding cake with our initials displayed on the top tier.
Each tier consisted of a deliciously different flavour, including red velvet, chocolate and spice and Victoria sponge. This was made by the lovely Amy at Pretty Sweet.
For our wedding meal we chose a traditional menu of peppered tomato soup, Northumberland beef roast dinner, followed by orange chocolate cake. To accompany the meal we selected three of our favourite wines for each table – a red, white and rose, kindly gifted to us as our wedding gift off our good family friends at Lanchester Wines.
We had Anna Reay as a wedding singer during our church ceremony. We then chose Marty Scott as a wedding singer for the duration of the day. Marty provided us with the perfect background music during our wedding breakfast, followed by more live singing afterwards.
We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.
For our honeymoon we visited the Maldives for just over two weeks in January – it was a dream come true and we hope to revisit the island again in the near future.
My top tips for other brides up north would be to enjoy every single moment without any stress. When you walk down the aisle, try to look at each of your guests and take it all in slowly. Also try to take you and your husband away from your guests for just five to ten minutes in a quiet room to chat about how your day is going – this is important because you both struggle to find time to be together during the day as you’re so occupied chatting to your guests.
February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
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