April 30th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Jane and Sam’s sumptuous winter wedding has us all aquiver here at Brides Up North HQ. With more than a touch of decadent luxury – in Jane’s words, they had “candles, roses, crystals, pearls and diamonds… and flowers everywhere!” – these photographs are truly a feast for the eyes.
And a very special mention goes to Sam, who raised the bar for all husbands-to-be by organising a surprise champagne breakfast for Jane and her best girls. Not only that, but he also arranged for personalised present boxes containing pjs, slippers, dressing gowns and perfume to be delivered to their room. Talk about #mangoals!
This one is all about the dazzle, we think you’ll agree.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography.
jane says: We got engaged in London on the 30th October 2016. The trip was a total surprise: I woke up to a packed suitcase and was presented with some train tickets and an outfit to wear for the day. After a first class train ride, we went to Buckingham Palace and walked through the gardens. Sam led me under a huge, ancient oak tree, then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was a total shock – but I immediately said yes! We then went back to our hotel, the Mondrian on Southbank, where there was a bottle of champagne waiting and the bed had been decorated with a large heart-shaped collage of photos from our five years together. To top the day off, Sam revealed he’d named a star after us and had booked a table at The Savoy that evening where we enjoyed an amazing meal and cocktails. We had a magical few days and I felt like the luckiest woman in the world!
Our wedding date was 9th December 2017 – we wanted something different to all the traditional summer weddings.
For our venue, we chose the magnificent Mottram Hall in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Sam had previously booked a surprise weekend stay there after we’d seen it on an episode of The Real Housewives of Cheshire. We got a really good vibe from the venue and staff and were totally blown away by their Christmas trees! Funnily enough, the trees were decorated by a company called Lasting Memories who ended up dressing Mottram Hall for our the day. The whole place was utterly amazing and we thought even at that early stage that it would be the perfect place for us to get married.
Our wedding theme was timeless, romantic chic. We went with soft colours along with lots of candles, roses, crystals, pearls and diamonds. We had fabulous rose arches and drapes from the ceiling to keep things elegant and neutral. Alison at Lasting Memories did an incredible job, creating an absolute masterpiece of a setting for us with flowers everywhere!
I wore a beautiful beaded Jasmine Couture gown with ruffled skirt from Elegance Bridal. I added a fur capelet to keep me warm in the snow and a birdcage veil from Richard Designs. I attached a back necklace to my dress, also from Elegance Bridal, to add a little extra sparkle and another dimension to my dress; everyone commented on how beautiful it was! I also wore crystal drop earrings with a matching choker and bracelet made by Rosie Wilson. I’d kept my dress a secret from everyone and did a grand reveal to my friends and family on the wedding morning; it was such a special moment.
My hair and makeup was my favourite accessory, though; I couldn’t have asked for a more professional, flawless finish. My makeup artist was Amy Yeomans and my hair stylist was Zoe from Trim Hairdressing.
March 26th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We may currently be praying for even the tiniest glimpse of spring, but today on the blog we have some breathtakingly beautiful wintery wedding inspiration, perfect for those of you planning a seasonal celebration.
The festivities were in full swing for today’s couple, Suzanne and Bevan, who invited Christmas into their wedding and threw a jewel-coloured, lively celebration that incorporated guest participation, with each guest asked to sing a line from The 12 Days of Christmas during the wedding breakfast.
Suzanne’s desire for foliage and no flowers to keep the decorations seasonal shows how incredible a bouquet can look without the traditional floral additions. Another show-stopper is the cake – an exquisite naked confection studded with foliage and feathers, which perfectly complements the Tudor theme of the wedding breakfast. With an artfully dressed chandelier presiding over long tables in the great hall, Suzanne’s love of this bygone period is evident in the evocative yet simple styling. If this was history coursework, we’d give her an A-star!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography.
suzanne says: Bevan and I met in Singapore on Tinder, despite both living around the corner from each other in London! One of the first places we headed to as a couple when we were back visiting the UK was Grasmere, where we walked up the Lion and the Lamb. So, when Bevan decided he wanted to propose, he took me back to Grasmere and up to the top of the Lion and the Lamb, where he suggested we take a break. He then pulled from his rucksack what appeared to be a Christmas present (Bevan proposed on 21st December 2016). I opened the gift and it was a book entitled ‘Our Adventures’. Each page was a different picture of our life together so far. When I reached the final page, there was a picture of a jewellery shop with the caption, “I want to ask you to begin another adventure with me” and the next page said, “Will you marry me?” Bevan got down on one knee with a vintage engagement ring – a 1930s blue sapphire with two diamonds either side.
We got married on 22nd December 2017, at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. As we live overseas, we tried to pick a date when our overseas friends would also be back in the UK. We liked the idea of making the day a big Christmas party. The venue is in my home town of Preston and I love history, especially the Tudor period, so a Tudor house seemed ideal. The ceremony was in the old chapel, the drinks reception in the antechamber and the wedding breakfast in the great hall. Some of our guests stayed overnight in the shepherd’s huts, which are located in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall. Angela, who runs the venue, is amazing at making your day run smoothly and the venue is bursting with character.
The wedding was not a religious ceremony. However, the ceremony itself was very personal to us. We used Cate Baines at The Ceremony Company and she was fantastic. She really set the scene with a flamboyant explanation of how we met.
In terms of a theme, I was keen to have a vintage feel to my dress because of my engagement ring but we didn’t really have a specific theme, other than telling everybody it was first and foremost a Christmas party.
For the colour scheme, I went with champagne (because of my dress having that vintage look), dark green, dark red and dark blue. I wanted to keep the colours simple and in tune with Christmas.
My dress was designed for me by an Irish designer based in Singapore called Elizabeth Gregory Couture. It was great working with Elizabeth. She designed my dress around my engagement ring and she also designed and made my fake fur stole, which I finished off with a vintage brooch that belonged to Bevan’s great grandmother. I added a back necklace by Tilly Thomas Lux and matching hairpins. I’d like to give a shout out to Chloe and Sarah for the fantastic hair and makeup – two lovely working mummies!
Bevan wore a suit, also designed and made by Elizabeth. Her suit brand is called Elizabeth Grace. Bevan wore navy with a beautiful grey waistcoat sporting bright red lining.
February 12th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
There’s a larger-than-life, fairy-tale quality to today’s winter wedding styled shoot, which takes place at Wood Lane Countryside Centre, a Grade II listed former farm set on the edge of countryside in north-west Sheffield.
With an owl, a ‘wolf’ and plenty of furry throws and candlelight, a lot of thought has gone into the styling of this enchanting outdoor shoot, organised by skilful Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, the owner and talent behind award-winning Fantail Designer Florist.
Having recently reached the final of The Wedding Industry Awards, Samantha’s fabulous creations turn heads and she knows just how to push those floral design and colour boundaries to produce something truly spectacular – as documented to this spell-bounding shoot.
So, let’s hand over to our good friend Samantha and photographer Stu, to explain how the mystical vision came together…
With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.
samantha says: Wood Lane Countryside Centre (WLCC) approached us to create a winter shoot that could inspire brides and grooms to explore the grounds and see the potential of what it has to offer. Being their recommended supplier for flowers, I relished the opportunity to bring in a handpicked selection of high-quality suppliers to create a shoot like no other and something of which to be really proud.
We wanted to shoot everything outside and in the grounds. The venue has a quaint back garden that’s often overlooked. David Ambler from WLCC had only one request: “to make it inspiring”.
Some people might say that it was a massive risk to organise a shoot completely outside in the middle of winter – and they’d be right – but it was a risk worth taking. The shoot started mid-morning, with clear blue skies and a crisp coating of frost on the grass. I arrived onsite with Wild Wedding Days and worked to create the backdrop for the shoot. Wild Wedding Days took care of all outdoor lighting and commercial props, including the drums and tables.
The dress was provided by Something Special Bridal, a fitted Chantilly lace gown called Grace from their Hollywood Chic 2017 Collection. True to its name, the dress exudes grace and has a modern twist of a top tulle and lace overskirt and corded lace hem, which makes for the amazing waist cape detail.
Our make-up artist Ria Amelia MUA arrived with Ellie, our real-life bride, and set to work with a brief from the photographer, Stu Ganderton, of ‘smoky, hard but natural’.
For hair, we wanted a powerful ‘warrior’ feel but still something that could be emulated by every-day brides. I created a hair piece that could be incorporated into the design. Anna Hibberd from HQ Works Sheffield created a stunning style with tight French plaits to one side and a backcombed fringe to give height and depth.
February 9th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We may be desperately trying to shake off the current cold season and focus on the brighter months ahead, but we’re finishing the week with a truly delectable dose of winter wedding inspiration.
Those of you planning your wedding for such time of year are certainly going to want to have your Pinning-fingers at the ready, as this shoot epitomises an opulent winter wedding at its finest, complete with a warming palette of golds and berry reds, plus plenty of crystal and jewel detailing.
Engineered by a talented group of Yorkshire suppliers, the shoot, captured late last year, took some of its inspiration from festive season and shows how utterly gorgeous an alternative Christmas wedding can be – thankfully there’s not a single candy cane in sight!
Here to tell us more is the award-winning Betty Timbo of Bespoke Vintage Castle, who made the beautiful accessories featured in the shoot – including a rather gorgeous clutch bag that us magpies at Brides Up North just love!
With images by Jane Beadnell Photography.
betty says: The shoot was inspired by all things seasonal and wonderful, full of rich vibrancy, opulent flowers and exciting glittery elements. A jubilant collection of colours, moods and textures were evoked by the Christmas spirit with the shoot taking place late last year. We were also keen to showcase the very best Yorkshire talent and what a wedding could be like when this theme comes together.
The location – The Orangery at Settrington – was perfectly chosen by photographer Jane Beadnell, who wanted to capture a place with bold structure, clean colours and a decadent finish. We loved the venue’s large windows that drew in the cooling winter sun, stunning pillars that shaped the room and the warming glow of the muted colour palette. We were free to roam the grounds and were met with beautiful leafy arches, artistic sculptures and marble structures. The Orangery at Settrington is a beautiful location in all seasons and we really wanted to showcase all its art, beauty and refinement in our finished images.
The decoration was beautifully designed and put together by Laura from Ambience Venue Styling in York. The team worked with a rich, opulent burgundy, gold and red tonal colour palette and there were tables laden with scented candles, extravagant golden cutlery and sequined tablecloths.
The stunning cakes by Zoe’s Fancy Cakes echoed the colour theme and were each hand-adorned with colours and breath-taking artwork.
December 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
The festive season is upon us, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to p-a-r-t-y!!
If you’re anything like us, you will have already purchased your festive threads during a frenzied online clothing splurge prompted by the Black Friday sales. So, with our party attire now sitting pretty in our wardrobes, we thought now a good time to focus on fitting makeup for the Christmas and New Year season.
This is probably the one time of the year when we can muster up the confidence to be more daring with our beauty look and go all-out glam, experimenting with those top beauty blogger trends we’ve been secretly crushing on over the past few months.
Ultra-glam makeup isn’t just for Christmas though…it’s also perfect for winter weddings! And so today on the blog, we’re sharing a few of our favourites that are ideal for brides who wants to inject some festive flair into their big day look.
Who doesn’t love a smoky eye? It’s an uber-flattering beauty trend, whether you go for a pristine finish with plenty of definition or for a much softer ‘I just woke up like this’ smudged look. Instead of black, try charcoal grey, mauve or even taupe for a more natural look. Our top pick? Urban Decay’s Naked Smoky Palette has got all the essentials you need to nail this look in one handy kit, with a sultry mix of gorgeous matte, satin and sparkly shades to choose from.
It’s one trend that never goes out of fashion – the classic winged eyeliner. In the winter months, dare to go bold with your liner and pair your angled flick with copper, plum or teal for all-out drama. For peepers with impact – stick with a classic black hue, or for something more understated, go for grey or brown. Bobbi Brown’s Long-wear Gel Eyeliner hasn’t won countless awards for nothing and comes in a dinky little pot, offering the precision of a liquid liner with the effortlessness of a gel-based formula. Simply draw on with a fine brush for a budge- and smudge-free heavy line.
If getting your sparkle on seems too much like an unwanted throwback to your 18-year-old self, then the high shine and glossy route is a more demure, grown-up approach to your festive makeup. Fresh and dewy – glossy eyelids work beautifully with lashings of black mascara and eyeliner for a tres simple yet sophisticated look. Our go-to product for some glossy action is the YSL Eye Gloss Smudger, which is applied as a top coat over your eyeshadow of choice for a high shine, polished finish.
In the summer, we all like to channel the bronzed goddess look, but come winter, it’s time for our natural skin tones to take centre stage. Pale skin with pops of colourful makeup contrasts beautifully with a dark and wintery backdrop. We say, embrace your inner Snow White and keep your complexion fair, with a subtle flush of colour to your face. Our top pick is Illamasqua’s Cream Blusher in Laid, swept across the apples of your cheeks for a highly pigmented yet natural rosy-pink glow.
December 7th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The official advent countdown to Christmas is on, and we have our chocolate-filled calendars half eaten with our thoughts firmly fixed on the seasonal celebrations to come.
As part of our December plans we always like to squeeze in a festive mini-break, whether it be in the UK or slightly further afield for some alternative Christmas shopping, traditions, food – and, of course, drink!
On our getaway radar this year is France, as it offers a complete change of scenery and is easy, affordable and quick to get to with flights, ferries and trains all travel options.
For you brides-to-be a French festive jaunt could also double-up as an opportunity to scope out the country as a possible location if you’re considering a destination wedding, or it could be an ideal minimoon location to check out if you’re delaying your main honeymoon until later in 2018/19. And as one of the most romantic places in the world, a trip here could be the perfect celebration for the newly-engaged among you, or perfect downtime for those of you that have been caught up in the craze of wedding planning for much of the year.
So, if like us, you’re tempted – what area will you pick, where will you stay and what will you do? Well, as this is a Christmas trip we’d want a grand yet cosy setting where we can envisage ourselves curled up with a glass of something mulled or sparkling, we’d also like it to be peaceful and picturesque though close enough to a city, so we can experience the seasonal culture of the country. One such place that ticks all these boxes is Château Bouffémont – a stunning French chateau, large enough that you could extend the invite to friends or family and have yourself a very merry Christmas at this incredible abode.
For those enchanted by the thought of its perfectly manicured grounds sprinkled with snow and who can almost hear the crackling sound of the lit fireplace from here; this dream chateau is available for a two-night Festive Season Break Package enabling you to enjoy exclusive – yes, exclusive – use of the Château Bouffémont and its grounds, together with an assortment of winter activities for you and your chosen Christmas squad.
You can make yourselves right at home, enjoying drinks by the fire, festive films and games in the lounge and fine food at the dining table. Though the French culinary traditions maybe different to those in the UK, they still like to go all out at this most wonderful time of the year. For example, in France, Christmas Eve is the day when the biggest festive meal is enjoyed in most households, with oysters and/or foie gras on the menu, followed by turkey, often with chestnut stuffing and cheese, and finally dessert of fancy log ice cream or sponge and chocolate.
And when it comes to venturing out, Château Bouffémont is situated just 30 kilometres from the centre of Paris, meaning you can schedule a trip to the ‘city of lights’ into your itinerary – what could be more Christmassy than that?! You can marvel at the jaw-droppingly beautiful illuminations, immerse yourself in the festive markets, admire the stunning festive window displays at the Galeries Lafayette department store during some serious shopping, get your skates on at the ice rink outside the Hotel de Ville, or head to Place de la Concorde for a sight of the spectacular Big Wheel. And if that wasn’t enough, you can find out more about what’s planned for the festive period in Paris at the official website of the French capital’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Sounds even better than a scene from The Holiday right? So, we say dig out the passports, get your nearest and dearest that you’d want to spend a magical mini-break with involved, and get booking. We’ll see you on the other side of the English Channel!
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