February 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Though we’ve manged to avoid the snow fairly well so far during the winter, the north has certainly been battered by a fair few storms, perhaps most notably Storm Desmond, which struck in December.
I remember seeing the heroic lengths wedding suppliers in the North West were going to in order to get to their brides and feeling for those couples that had been well and truly gate-crashed by Desmond.
Today’s bride and groom were one such couple who braved the storm, determined not to let strong winds or flooding stand between them and their big day – for which we applaud them.
With the help of their suppliers and guests, James and Alice still had, in their words, a “perfect day” as they pulled off a ‘Plan B’ wedding, which included a wedding banquet of fish and chips from the local chippy and an impromptu wedding band, proving there really ain’t no river wide enough!
With images by John Hesford.
alice says: We got engaged in June 2015, at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. We were over there with my sister and a friend, visiting some friends. About ten days in, James drove me to Mount Coot-tha for dinner, then to Kangaroo Point where, out on the rocks down by the river, he dropped down on one knee and pulled out a ring, which he’d brought over from England, and had kept in his coat pocket the whole time for safekeeping.
We got married on December 5th 2015. We thought that six months was about right to plan a wedding.
We got married at Rydal Hall in the Lake District. James’ family are based in Rydal and he had lived there for a few years. We wanted to get married somewhere which was significant for us and where we could have all of our guests to stay for the weekend. Rydal Hall and the church on site are beautiful – so we thought that if it did rain or snow then the indoor venues were beautiful enough, even if we couldn’t enjoy the outside! On the day this did end up coming in particularly useful as we got married in the middle of Storm Desmond!
We chose a berry colour scheme because it’s my favourite, and tried to stay clear of a Christmas theme!
December 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
As Christmas will be here quicker than you can say – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen – we thought we would share a little festive wedding inspiration on the blog with you today.
Set at the stunning Heaton House Farm on the borders of Cheshire and Staffordshire, this luxurious styled shoot features everything you’d need for a glittering winter wedding; from festive blooms and opulent décor, to glamourous gowns and faux fur capes.
So snuggle up, grab a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and enjoy, as photographer Stephen McGowan, who captured all the magic, tells us about the shoot’s concept and the other talented suppliers that made it happen!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Stephen McGowan Photography.
Models Daniel James, Maureen Davenport, Gwen Raby.
stephen says: 2015 has all been about the vintage, rustic, and bohemian styled weddings, so for this shoot we wanted to do something a little different to break the trend. We opted for a high class, glamorous, and opulent themed winter wedding.
As our setting we picked the fabulous Heaton House Farm, which is the perfect place to host a winter wedding with its exposed stone walls, wooden beams and intimate atmosphere.
To create the right look for our female models, make-up artist Emma Culbert, came up with styling ideas inspired by 1950’s glamour and The Great Gatsby. Emma opted for dramatic and defined make-up look for Maureen, and a softer, more romantic look for Gwen. Products used included Illamasqua, L’Oréal, RCMA, and Urban Decay. Hair stylist Jeni Mulholland, then brought Emma’s hair ideas to life, giving Maureen a dramatic barrel-curled up-do, and Gwen sleek curls.
November 25th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Earlier this month on the blog we brought you a gorgeous autumnal inspired shoot, and now today we’re moving on a season to bring you this whimsical winter styled shoot, from a rather special set of suppliers.
Organised by And so to Wed, a blog based in Leeds, today’s shoot is a celebration of small Northern wedding businesses, many of which hand make their items. As a blog that highly encourages the use of northern suppliers ourselves (it’s all in the name), we’re absolutely thrilled to help spread the message and share this dreamy set of images.
To introduce you to the talented collective that helped piece this pretty together, we welcome Louise Billingham of And so to Wed, to the blog.
With images by Claire Basiuk Photography.
louise says: We decided to do a winter inspired styled shoot to showcase some of the fantastic work produced by small business based in the north of the UK.
The chosen venue to provide our backdrop was (Brides Up North Featured Supplier) Tanfield House, a new wedding venue in Yorkshire that offers couples a truly unique experience, by giving them the use of the whole house to do with as they wish. Packed full of character, it provided the perfect setting.
and so to wed, bespoke vintage castle, brides up north featured supplier, claire basiuk photography, claire pettibone, extra special touch, lace and co, love on location, loveli, natural favours, Pamella Dunn, poppy pickering, sash and veil, styled shoot, tanfield house, victoria edwards, winter wedding, yorkshire wedding
August 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom were faced with organising their wedding from overseas as they now live in Melbourne but returned Rachael’s family roots for their big day. The distance didn’t appear to cause too many problems though as their winter wedding at Cheshire’s Belle Epoque came together beautifully.
Letting the venue speak for itself, Rachael added a few extra sparkling touches, including glitter and candles, for the twinkling, cosy winter wedding she desired.
Another touch of sparkle was added at the end of the wedding with a sparkler arch in the street, which attracted the attention of local pub goers and the even the police, who were all keen to pass on their congratulations to the happy couple.
Images by Adam Riley Photography.
rachael says: We got engaged on the top of Kilimanjaro in December 2013. It was the start of a three month trip overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. I was really sick from altitude sickness and it took a whole lot of willpower to get to the summit. When we did get to the top, James got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – it was the first smile in 36 hours of non-stop vomiting up the last 1,000m of mountain! He had planned on waiting until Cape Town where we were meeting my parents and asking dad’s permission, but he was so impressed with me getting to the top of the mountain he did it there instead. The other story his three brothers like to tell is that he capitalised on my lack of oxygen to the brain!
Our wedding date was 10th January 2015. We chose it because I was re-training to be a teacher during 2014 and was busy studying full time so didn’t want a UK summer wedding. We were planning on coming back to the UK (we live near Melbourne) for Christmas so we thought it seemed like a good time to get married. Plus James has a very big family – including nine nieces and nephews – so we knew that if there was any chance of them making a UK wedding it would be during Australian summer school holidays. Rather than wait for 18 months so we could have a UK summer wedding I thought I would embrace a twinkly, cosy winter wedding instead.
The wedding was at my mum and dad’s local church in Cotebrook near Tarporley, and the reception was held at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We chose Belle Epoque for several reasons, firstly a lot of the more traditional wedding venues we felt were a bit too over the top and grand for what we wanted, but we wanted something that had character and a heritage feel to it. Secondly we felt that Belle Epoque was ideal for a winter wedding as all the guests were in a relatively small area which made it easier for us to spend time with everyone. Obviously the food was also a big reason to have it there!
Eventually we did have a theme that came about, but it wasn’t something that I struck upon from day dot! I used to cringe when asked what theme we were having! We had a theme in as much as the table names were named after the mountain huts and summit points on Kilimanjaro and we ended up having the most fabulous Kilimanjaro wedding cake (my husband’s genius idea!), plus our first dance was Wimoweh!
Again, the colour scheme just happened, it wasn’t at all planned. My sister Lorna (who has a stationery company called Toots Designs) designed our beautiful wedding stationery and took her cue for colours from the Belle Epoque period so they were a sort of hyacinth blue/purple and silver combination. I chose bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser that I loved that were a very dark navy blue, and we had hyacinths in our bouquets. Then there was a lot of silver sparkle on the tables.
I had planned on picking my dress in the UK while I was back for three weeks last July so that I could have my mum and sister there with me. That didn’t happen quite as planned! I went to check out some bridesmaid dresses in Melbourne that my sister had found but had to wait for an appointment to view them. In the meantime I headed into a few of the other bridal shops and found my dress. I didn’t love it on the rack but once it was on I really loved the way it looked and the detail on the back of it. The wedding dress shop were really difficult about taking photos of it to send to my mum and sister, so I ended up skyping them both a week or so later while trying it on!
James wore a really nice suit from Austin Reed, a grey silk suit and his waistcoat and tie were navy blue with small white squares on. The best man and ushers wore grey suits with a navy blue tie.
Our wedding transport for the day was a beautiful Jaguar hired from Decadence Wedding Carriages.
Adam Riley was our photographer. My mum and dad had met him at a wedding fair in January 2014 and picked up his brochure. I picked him out straight away and mum and dad said he was their choice too but hadn’t wanted to sway me! I followed Adam’s page on Facebook before we got married and was so excited to see how our photos would turn out. I had such high expectations which can be a bit dangerous…but Adam exceeded them with what he captured. All of our guests commented how well the photos captured the fun and atmosphere of the day. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Adam to anyone. On the day I don’t know how he got the shots he did as you barely noticed he was there!
My wedding flowers were a mix of thistles and roses (I’m half Scottish), with some eucalyptus as a nod to the Australian part! The bridesmaids had hyacinths in their bouquets too, which are my favourite smelling flowers. Charlotte at the Little Potting Shed worked wonders on the day too decorating the church. I have no idea how she did it, but she managed to get into the church after our service, untie all of the pew ends and take them across to Belle Epoque and place them around the venue there!
One of the reasons I liked Belle Epoque was that they have quite ornate decorations around the venue anyway and it didn’t need too much decorating. As I was out of the country I wanted to make the wedding venue decorating part as easy as possible. The extra decorations were very simple – I ordered different silver candle holders from Amazon along with table sparkly bits and kept each table quite simple. My sister did all the place cards, table plan and table names and menus which looked fantastic.
Gemma McGrillis at Baked in Bunbury made us the most amazing cake. She spent about half an hour taking a brief on what my dress was like, the colour of the flowers etc and then produced mocked up images of some potential designs. They were all beautiful and we were spoilt for choice. But then James had the idea of having a Kilimanjaro cake, and what Gemma produced was a masterpiece – and delicious too.
I also put together a photobook to go on the cake table of our pictures from the Kilimanjaro climb, lots of people wouldn’t have seen them and many commented how nice it was to look through them.
As entertainment we had a ceilidh provided by Triple Scotch as my dad’s Scottish. All of the weddings I have been to with my Scottish family have had ceilidhs and are great fun. Everyone takes part and joins in which makes it lots of fun. We also had a disco.
Our first dance was Wimoweh (the original ‘In the Jungle’ song) as this was our silly song we played while we were planning our trip to Africa, and kind of became the theme song for the trip. I knew I was going to be quitting my job to go so we jokingly code named the trip project wimbaway in any emails to family and friends just in case my bosses were reading emails! My sister and mum thought we should have it as our first dance as we don’t have a particular song we are both attached to, but I thought it was a bit too silly and was a bit worried about what people might think! But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea, then we had a few dancing lessons to put a routine together for it – although we messed it up on the day because we were laughing too much!
Instead of a guestbook my sister designed the most fabulous poster to sign which is now framed at home. It is a heart shape made out of half British icons and half Australian icons with our names and the date on it. Most of our guests signed this and it’s lovely to be able to display it. My sister is one talented girl and what she did for our stationery I know other people would have paid a lot for, I can’t thank her enough for all of her help and brilliant work.
There were so many brilliant moments during the wedding, but the sparkler arch at the end of the day was amazing. I had seen the idea and thought it was a nice way to end the evening and had it all cleared with the venue that we would do it on the roof terrace. While I was putting my nanna in a taxi to take her home I got chatting to the security man on the door who was lovely – turned out he had climbed Kilimanjaro too and his parents were from Uganda. I told him the plans for the sparkler arch and he said to leave it with him and he would get the road shut off to traffic while we did it! He did just that and we had a sparkler arch down King Street in Knutsford! People from the Rose and Crown came out to watch and I got hugs and congratulations from total strangers. However, the best part was the fact that the first car that had been stopped in the traffic was a police car. He put on his flashing lights and put on his PA system to congratulate us both. It was something that couldn’t have been organised but was such a special and unique way to end a fantastic day.
The best tip I got given that I would pass on to other Brides Up North is to take time together to enjoy the day. It goes so quickly (everyone told me that but I didn’t realise how quickly), so make sure you take the time just to sit back and watch what is happening. Our car ride to the venue after our service was a really nice chance to do that.
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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