Charlotte Balbier

sequins and tulle. mori lee for an opulent winter wedding at ellingham hall, northumberland – caroline & james

February 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (51)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (14)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (18)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (9)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (11)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (24)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (27)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (29)

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!

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (34)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (36)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (43)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (55)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (70)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (72)

We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (74)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (86)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (90)

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happy & hygge. a warm winter wedding at newton hall, northumberland – emma & rachel

February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (20)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (10)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (4)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (1)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (13)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (23)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (24)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (27)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (29)

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 hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (35)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (33)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (40)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (39)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (46)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (50)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (49)

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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twinkle twinkle. a warm winter wedding at the belle epoque – amy & adam

February 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (47)

Hey, it’s Tuesday and baby it’s cold outside.

Let’s have another warming winter wedding, shall we?

Amy and Adam’s twinkling celebration mixes classically elegant styling with a good dose of merry and bright for their Boxing Day big day. And as you know, at Brides Up North, we love a bit of sparkle

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (1)

amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2013. The ring was on my pillow in the bedroom when I came in from my shift at the hospital. I pretended I hadn’t seen it so I could shower and change out of my uniform first and Adam played along! Adam had a speech prepared but didn’t get very far through it as he was so emotional. We opened the champagne and my parents and brother came round that evening for dinner and we told them the exciting news. Cue more champagne!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (2)

We got married on Boxing Day 2014. Christmas is a very important time of year for me and my family and we wanted to make it even more special by adding a wedding into the mix. It meant that the usual Boxing Day tradition of staying in pajamas all day had to be jettisoned but nobody seemed to mind.

We chose The Belle Epoque, Knutsford as our venue.

We wanted exclusive use of an intimate, romantic venue and the Belle Epoque was definitely the right fit. It’s lovely all year round, but particularly cosy in the winter with real fires and beautiful decorations. I have a love of all things French and the Art Nouveau feel to the venue made it even more perfect. It’s also got a great reputation for food – we’re big foodies so it was particularly important to give our guests the most delicious wedding breakfast.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (12)

We gave a nod to the 1920s, Great Gatsby style that you can particularly see in the shoes worn by Adam, the best man Andy and my dad, as well as in elements of my dress.

Since Adam and I have been together, he’s introduced me into the world of beer (I was very much a wine and cocktail girl before), especially Belgian beers which we tried plenty of in Bruges – Adam took me there for my 30th - so the tables were names of Belgian beers. Each one had an empty bottle of the beer in on the table with a candle in the middle and a coaster attached using ribbon we had made that said ‘Amy & Adam 26th December 2014’.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (17)

The venue comes already dressed – and beautifully so – so we didn’t want to do too much to it. We added in some candles, cream silk rose petals scattered up the aisle and silver snowflakes and crystal decorations.

My bridesmaid wore cobalt blue and our flower girl wore silver and cobalt blue – we wanted an accent colour to stand out.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (18)

I bought my dress from Timeless Bride, Poynton, a local bridal shop to where my parents live. It was made by Paloma Blanca.

The dress was one of the first I tried on, but not one I initially chose. Janine, the owner of Timeless Bride, suggested I try it on and it was perfect. It was the only dress that made my mum cry when she saw me and I felt beautiful and elegant in it straight away. I didn’t want white, the colour of the dress is champagne and I think this was more flattering for my complexion.

It is a strapless dress, but the dress came with a cape in the same lace that was on the dress. We had a halter neck strap made during alterations out of this. The strap was detachable and the plan was to take it off in the evening, but I loved it so I wore it all day. The seamstress also made a bustle on the dress so I could dance more easily in the evening.

We also added a diamante belt to the dress to accentuate my waist and add some more glamour.

Gemma Hallowell did my hair and make up.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (28)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (30)

Adam wore tails and a silver cravat from Freedmans in Stockport. He wore two toned shoes from Ebay which looked amazing.

My bridemaid’s dress was from Coast. My mum made the flower girl’s dress.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (33)

Our flowers were from The Flower Lounge, Didsbury.

Sian is a school friend of Adam’s and she was really helpful in the early stages of our wedding planning, suggesting a make-up artist for me, as well as helping us to find our photographer and venue, so when it came to the flowers it had to be The Flower Lounge.

I’ve ordered flowers previously from Sian and have always been really impressed. I had only a very vague idea of what I wanted: a structured bouquet with white flowers only, particularly roses, hand-tied with ribbons and pearls. We trusted Sian completely and she didn’t disappoint. I had a smaller bouquet made for my bridesmaid and button holes for the men.

The Flower Lounge won the region’s Wedding Florist of the Year 2014,

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (35)

We used Andrew Keher.Photography.

I have already recommended Andrew and he is photographing my friend’s wedding in May!

Andy did our engagement shoot earlier in the year and got some stunning images of us, which are on our lounge wall. We were so impressed with them that we had a signature book made using only Andy’s images.

Andy went the extra mile throughout the process, driving to meet us at the venue when we had our menu tasting so he could weigh up best places for photos and get an idea what the venue was like. The ceremony room is candle-lit and very intimate and the whole venue is dimly lit, so it is known as being a difficult place to get excellent wedding photos – we were really touched that Andy came to see it beforehand and feel that this is partly why we got such fantastic shots on the day. He had agreed to stay until the first dance, but ended up staying much later, continuing to work hard to capture some beautiful moments.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (40)

Our wedding stationery (invitations, table plan, menus and name cards) came from Wedding Paraphernalia. A very personalised and excellent place which I’d highly recommend. As the tables were Belgian-beer themed, we sent the coasters for the beers to Jo at Wedding Paraphernalia and she put the table plan together for us.

My mum found little Christmas tree bauble table decorations and had ribbon made that said ‘Amy & Adam, 26th December 2014. These acted both as favours for people to hang on their tree in the years to come and as place cards. Wedding Paraphernalia made name cards for each person which we attached to the bauble with tiny silver pegs (my mum had to hand paint these silver as she couldn’t find silver ones!).The children had finger puppets which went down really well.

We used silver snowflakes and table crystals as well as tealights and tealight holders too. We had Mr and Mrs cushions on our chairs as well as a wooden Mr and Mrs sign on the top table. We also had little chocolates that had wedding quiz question on the wrapper in little silver gauze bags.

My mum took great pleasure finding all of the little extras and organising these for us, for which I’m really grateful as I don’t have a particularly good eye for the little details, nor the patience!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (42)

Before the tasting at the venue we had a good idea what we wanted, but were blown away by other options when we tasted them and changed the menu completely!

My dad makes the most amazing Christmas cake each year, so we asked him to make one for the wedding. He made it double the depth and it was delicious.

My Aunty Iris made a fantastic Victoria Sponge (my favourite cake) and a beautiful mocha cake which made up the other layers… although that’s not entirely true – the bottom tier of the cake was real, the top two were faux.

My mum decorated all of the tiers. We wanted all aspects of the wedding to be personal to us and were very lucky to have such generous and talented family members who offered to make the cake for us. The time and effort they put into it was incredible and we are truly grateful.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (13)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (7)

I lived in Quebec for a year, memories from which I hold dear – I wanted some music from there playing, so created playlist of songs for during the drinks reception.

Afterwards, we had an acoustic singer and a DJ.

We heard the singer, Danny Clarke, perform in a local pub and were really impressed with him so booked him pretty much there and then. He played a mixture of indie and well known classics which suited us perfectly. He played 2 x 45 minute sets during the evening.

Our DJ was Nick Campbell, a regular at the venue. He managed to find some pretty obscure songs requested on the night and he was very professional, making none of the typically cheesy wedding DJ announcements.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (52)

We bought my parents a present each to thank them for their generosity, time and patience in the run up and during the day – my dad wore his cufflinks proudly. We bought my mum and engagement ring charm for her charm bracelet.

For our own jewellery, we used The Ring Workshop, Oswestry. We had been into several high street shops and found them most unhelpful, focussing on the sale rather than finding wedding bands we liked and that sat well with my engagement ring. Mark at The Ring Workshop provided a personal service, talking us through available options and helped us decide on the most suitable rings.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (45)

We were really impressed with The Belle Epoque. It is the perfect venue if you want an intimate and romantic setting.

They did all they could to make the day run smoothly and be so memorable, including being flexible in amending running orders, menu options, and sourcing additional beers of our choice for behind the bar.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (46)

I was most looking forward to walking down the aisle with my Dad, to see Adam waiting for me and looking so happy, surrounding by our closest family and friends. This definitely lived up to expectations and we were all very emotional.

The icing on the cake, and something we couldn’t have planned if we tried, was that it began to snow whilst we were eating our meal! Under Andy’s direction, we braved the cold to get one of our favourite shots of the day. Apparently snow at a wedding is good luck too!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (53)

We went to Mexico for our honeymoon.  The first week we stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres in a beach front bungalow, and the second week at Excellence Playa Mujeres where we were upgraded to a two storey suite with plunge pool upstairs on the roof terrace. Both resorts were 5 star adults only all inclusive, service was impeccable throughout, pampering us and making sure we were well fed and topped up with cocktails. Our favourites were the iceburg (beer topped with frozen margarita), and the guava and tamarind margaritas.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early and don’t be afraid to relinquish control of the smaller things to family and friends. Decide which things are most important to you and then be willing to compromise on others.

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an autumn affair. a stylish winter wedding at priory cottages – jude & colin

January 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (38)

Priory Cottages near to my adopted home town of Wetherby in North Yorkshire is one of my favourite local venues, and I always get a warm welcome from their team when I pop in to pay a visit.  I’m used to seeing the venue dressed for spring and summer celebrations (not least the fabulous wedding of one of my best girls, Charlotte – you can see her big day here), but it’s lovely to see how special and sparkly this place looks on a late autumn day.

Jude and Colin’s wedding brought all the brightest colours of nature inside for a stylish, cosy and heart warming day, filled with fun. My absolute favourite kind of celebration that there can be.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, and all round lovely lady, Helen Russell Photography.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (5)

jude says: We got engaged on 25th August 2013.  Col had originally planned on doing it on my birthday earlier in the month but the ring wasn’t ready, so plan B was when we were visiting my best friend in Derby. Little did I know but they were all in on it. He proposed in Matlock in a cable car on our way up to the Heights of Abraham. Our friends Manda, Chris and their little boy Vinnie were there too so we got some great pictures of the proposal. I had just found out that I was pregnant so the champagne picnic was enjoyed by everyone else!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (9)

We were married on Friday 7th November 2014. We both love the autumn and the vibrant colours associated with the season are beautiful.  We were hoping for a crisp cold sunny day! We got the rain instead!

We tied the knot at All Saints church in Wighill.  It was small and cosy but beautiful. We attended the church in the year prior to the wedding and all the locals were so friendly. The reception was at The Priory Barn and Cottages, Nr Wetherby. We fell in love with The Priory as soon as we visited it. The barn has been restored and the old architecture of some of the buildings is beautiful. Serena the owner was fabulous from start to finish, we immediately knew that she would be on hand to help, which she was. We wanted a venue that was different, we had been to nine weddings in the past 14 months and didn’t want to marry somewhere our friends had done so.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (13)

We chose an autumnal/rustic style. I’m an outdoorsy girl and love nature and a natural feel to things. The table centre pieces were slices of logs we had gathered with skeleton leaves and Chinese lanterns. We used mini pumpkins were as table numbers.  We had kilner jars with candles standing on upturned logs dotted around the venue and some old driftwood was used. We used a lot of hessian and lace and candlelight.

Our colour palette was purples and oranges – gorgeous vibrant autumnal colours that complement each other

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (19)

My dress was from the Bridal Rogue Gallery in York. It was a Pronovias dress, ‘Leonde’, a tulle mermaid style made from Chantilly and Guipure lace. It had crystal, pearl and gemstone embroidery below the bust.  I fell in love with the dress immediately. I wanted something classic and vintage and loved the lace and open back. I wore it with a borrowed vintage fur and Diane Hassall lace shoes. My mum bought me some beautiful diamond earrings which I hope my daughter Ava may wear one day.

I used Lisa Jones Hair and Makeup. Lisa is fantastic at what she does, I’ve had my hair and makeup done several times by her and it always looks immaculate. She is fun to be around and after a long sleepless night with a teething 10 month old she worked miracles!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (23)

Col wore a navy blue three piece suit from Ted Baker. He bought a pocket watch which finished the suit off beautifully.

My bridesmaids Manda and Sarah wore a rich 50’s style purple dress, with a jewelled cuff and a-line skirt from House of Fraser designed by Eliza J. They wore bright burnt orange heels from Next.

The flowergirls Ava and Olivia wore ivory dresses with purple petals sewn into the hems and our page boy wore a three piece suit from BHS with a pair of white Converse pumps.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (26)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (29)

We wanted something different from a traditional wedding car so opted for a 1967 ivory VW campervan called “Summer”. This was hired from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (34)

Helen Russell was our photographer. We would definitely recommend her. I was introduced to her at a friend’s wedding and immediately warmed to her, she has an amazing ability to make you feel at ease in front of the camera. We loved her vintage style, she has a great passion for her job and you really get the feeling that she wants to give you the best images she can.  She managed to capture the romantic yet fun mood of our day. We had a pre wedding shoot with her and took our daughter Ava and Col’s son Elliott along… she was great with the children.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (35)

Wendy at Paperwhite Flowers provided our flowers. She is such a professional and so passionate about her job.  She knew exactly what I wanted and goes above and beyond.  My bouquet was a wild hand tie with lace and a decorative vintage key.  It had creamy white vendella roses and superbubbles, spray roses and buds, large dolcetto roses, purple and plum foliage, orange rosehip, fountain grass, purple lisianthus, rosemary, astrontia million stars, birch and willow twig and was wrapped in fine green ivy.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (45)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (44)

Paperwhite provided all the flowers, dressed the top table and provided a large pumpkin filled with beautiful flowers and asparagus grass. I wanted a messy looking arrangement rather than something too structured. It was perfect.

They provided two beautiful pew ends with wild flowers for the church which we used at the barn afterwards and  chrome lanterns which we used in the church then back in the courtyard and barn.They also dressed upturned logs with kilner jars and candles wrapped with ivy trails and Chinese lanterns and placed them around the barn.

AV Matrix dressed the barn in fairy lights. This was done before we even got there on the Thursday to get ready.

We had lots of purple and cream paper lanterns to hang from the marquee roof, Col and my bridesmaids Manda and Sarah spent most of the afternoon hanging them!

My mum made 120 hanging love hearts to hang on the backs of all the chairs. Our guests took these home and it’s so lovely to see them hanging in our friends’ homes. She also dressed our chairs in hessian and lace, they looked so pretty.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (52)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (56)

We had Cancer Research pin badges as favours as this is a charity close to our hearts. The men had blue ones and the ladies had the Elizabeth Stuart silver leaf pins.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (62)

Taste Cuisine provided the food and we went for a real ‘winter warming’ menu for the wedding breakfast. At the evening reception we had a hog roast served with cheese and homemade pickles and chutneys from my parents.

A very close friend of mine, Ronni made our cake. We had fruit cake (to compliment the cheeses at the evening reception) and chocolate cake.  It was decorated with sugar blackberries, maple and oak leaves and wrapped in a fine hessian.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (64)

We lit a memory candle at the church which we took back to The Priory and had on a table with photos of our grandparents and those that are sadly longer with us.

I had some daisies incorporated into the flowers and my bouquet in memory of my Auntie Daisy who died of leukemia.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (72)

We used Dave Spink Videography, the girls who worked at the wedding were very friendly and professional, I didn’t even know they were around at times, we can’t wait to see the finished DVD.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (76)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (74)

Without the help of my parents the day that we had wouldn’t have been possible.  They have spent so much time making things and helped to get the venue ready and looking as beautiful as it did.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (86)

Howard Wing was our wedding singer- what a legend and absolute gent with an amazing voice and talent to entertain! I came across him on a wedding blog and after speaking with him immediately knew we had to book him. We certainly weren’t disappointed, he had the whole place bouncing before the starters had even finished… I’ve never been at a wedding where people are singing and dancing on the chairs before dinner ends! Brilliant! So many people said ‘best wedding we’ve ever been too!’

We had dance floor rules and flip flops for the ladies, these went down very well…the following morning we found several pairs of shoes left in the marquee!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (89)

It’s hard to choose a favourite part of the day. I was so happy that my dad walked me down the aisle as only a week previously he had suffered a heart attack and we were unsure whether he would be able to make the wedding. I bought my dad a hanky and had it embroidered and gave it to him before we left for the church. It said ‘I may have found my prince but you will always be king, thank you for walking with me today’.

Col’s face when I walked down the aisle was priceless, he looked so emotional.

My favourite part of the reception most definitely has to be when Howard had us all doing the Love Train around the marquee before we had even had dessert, even the waitresses got dragged into it… it was fantastic fun.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (95)

We chose to go to New York for our honeymoon, having a 10 month old going away for two weeks just wasn’t an option, but thanks to grandparents and aunties and uncles we were lucky enough to have 5 nights away.

We have both always wanted to go, so it was the perfect choice. We loved it. We managed to do almost everything we wanted. We would love to go back one day and check out all the lovely restaurants, bars and of course do some shopping!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (101)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is that the day goes so quickly so take some time together, and take a step back (easier said than done) and watch your guests having fun.

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’tis the season – a christmassy wedding at Crewe Hall – rebecca & callum

November 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (23)

I don’t think I can resist it any longer.  So let’s bring on some christmas cheer!  Grab yourself a (first?) mince pie of the season, make mine a gingerbread latte and let’s get this festive season started with a little help from a lady who loves herself a little seasonal styling.

Rebecca and Callum’s big day was festive and fabulous, designed to leave their Antipodean relatives in no doubt that us Brits know how to celebrate.

With sleigh bells on top!

Images by Chapter Photography.

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rebecca says: Callum and I met in Australia in 2009 and I moved over to live in Melbourne for 18 months. My parents came to visit in April 2011 and Callum asked my dad’s permission when out at a beer factory together. Dad kept it quiet from everyone and we all thought we were just going to Melbourne Zoo so that they could feed some Kangaroos. Turns out I was going to meet the Giant Tortoise! My favourite animal. Dad had Mum filming and there was a photographer present. Callum got down on one knee in front of a massive crowd and presented me with the cutest little box. We had professional photos with the tortoise and went off to celebrate with everyone. Mum was crying!

We got married on 30th November 2013. We chose this date because we wanted to tie it in with Callum turning 30 and so that all his Australian family could celebrate with us and make a big weekend of celebrations!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (1)

We got married at my church in my home village of Thelwall and the Reverend was fantastic! He had asked me if I wanted serious, religious or funny and I said ‘Just be yourself’. He was amazing – everyone was laughing along with him.

We went on to Crewe Hall which was just stunning. We chose this venue as it was the only one that made my Dad smile when he walked inside. Plus the original Crewe Hall was built before Australia was founded! Australians love a bit of history and it was important for me to show them a spectacular venue.

The staff at Crewe Hall are passionate about what they do and giving you the best day. The drive way is full of trees and when you see Crewe Hall for the first time it takes your breath away. Inside the wood carvings and the stair case made it the closest thing to being at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

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We chose to have a Christmas theme because most of our Australian guests were returning home around the 15th December. So we wanted them to experience a real English Christmas time. We had a few complaints in the run up to the wedding about the cold and there being nothing to see so I wanted to prove them wrong that actually it’s the best time of year to visit.

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I wanted a fish tail dress and couldn’t find one anywhere that I liked. I wanted something unusual as I’m a size 14/16. If you can’t on your wedding day when can you? When I was shopping with my Auntie in Melbourne we saw a little dress covered in feathers, she wanted me to try it on and it was about $5,000. So when I got home I decided I wanted white Christmas feathers to trail behind me as I walked. So my mum Janet got going and we made it together. It had 14 rows of feathers at just under 21 metres and a lace jacket.

Phoebe, my make up artist at Flossy & Leigh was so amazing and didn’t let anybody stress and I love her to bits!

Callum wore the Scottish National Tartan and looked amazing! He hired it from Groom in Warrington and it came with the shoes and accessories. Jennie his mum, was so desperate for him to wear it. We told her he was wearing the traditional morning suit and she was so disappointed. She didn’t know until the groomsmen parted at the door to reveal Callum in full Scots regalia. It was caught on our wedding video the moment and it was brilliant she screamed and cried and hugged. A memory that will last a lifetime.

My bridesmaids wore a dark green so we decided to go with red as the contrasting colour. My teacher always told me ‘red & green should never be seen, except at Christmas time’. So I followed his advice.

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (38)

Callum is a bit of a geek so I gave him his own Robin cloak and t-shirt to go under his shirt. Obviously I am Batman and he’s my Robin!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (12)

We hired a vintage red bus from Warrington Borough Transport which took the guests staying at Crewe Hall the night before and all the bridal party back to Thelwall.

My dad Anthony, hired a beautiful cream Rolls Royce. The Rolls reminded me of the Beatles and I knew Callum’s dad David would love it! Again it was all really about impressing the Australians with our Englishness!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (14)

We had an amazing photographer called Evie who works with her husband at Chapter Photography. Not only was she brilliant at family wrangling (as Callum’s dad calls it) she had become a really good friend and we keep in contact still. She had come from Ireland and nearly didn’t make it getting stuck out at sea for 12 hours before docking! I had no idea as she didn’t want to worry me. So even with no sleep she was amazing!

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All my flowers were silk as I didn’t want any real ones. My flowers were put together at Bents Garden Centre. My bridesmaids’ bouquets and boutonnieres all came from KateSaidYes who sells the most amazing silk real touch flowers on her Etsy store. I couldn’t recommend her enough.

The wedding reception was decorated by Precious Things and it looked stunning. We provided our own hearts which we had collected from little shops and boutiques. They used holly & Ivy to tie them all together and placed it on top of the tartan swags. Crewe Hall also had their own trees up and decorated the main entrance which was lovely.

We had a little presents for all our guests with their names on a tag. This was a favour as well as a place setting.

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We had a fruit and Madeira cake that was baked and decorated by myself and my Mum. Each tier was covered in cut out snowflakes and reindeers and in-between we added pearls. The top tier had Kangaroos and Koalas and we wrote the words ‘Callum & Becca’ on one tier and ‘You are the Robin to my Batman’ on the other. We topped the cake with two little robins we bought at Bents Garden Centre.

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (46)

For our entertainment we decided to use the in house DJ and she was brilliant! She kept everyone up dancing all night! Earlier on we had arrived to a bagpiper who played Flower of Scotland and Waltzing Matilda when Callum got off the bus. Everyone thought he was fantastic.

On leaving the church we dedicated a song to Callum.  He had no idea what it was until it started playing. It was the original theme tune to Neighbours! Everyone in the church started laughing and singing along. Some of the Australians didn’t know what it was!

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Reel Weddings provided us with the most magical wedding video. I said it was my own personal Love Actually. Everyone who has seen it has cried and laughed and the music choices were perfect. They edited the day together perfectly that we had our own little movie. We will forever have those memories on DVD and I would hire Reel Weddings again and again. Aaron is so funny and I loved spending time with him and our photographer who made the time fly.

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We decided not to go on honeymoon but spend time with the Australians instead. In February we are going to Vegas for our real honeymoon and we are going to see Britney Spears!

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Everything was perfect for us and the Australians loved all the little touches that were for them. My family and friends partied the night away and by 10pm I had my slippers on under my dress!

My top tip for other Brides Up North is that if you want to see all the bits that went by whilst you were being photographed or hitching you dress up to go to the toilet – a videographer is a fantastic thing to have. I love being able to watch all my family and friends enjoying themselves. It was the best present we got and it was from Callum’s parents.

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