Charlotte Balbier

one pretty party. caroline castigliano for a navy & copper wedding at middleton lodge – laura & andrew

December 8th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s real wedding comes courtesy of Brides Up North reader Laura, and oh boy, is it a good one!

From the choice of venue through to the stylish colour scheme, fabulous blooms and Laura’s incredible dress, we adore everything about this wedding, which was planned in just four months. Yep, you read right, four months!

We’re also thrilled to see lots of our fabulous Sponsor suppliers contributing to this gorgeous celebration (if you’re on the hunt for talented professionals to make your day perfect, be sure to take a look at our ‘Suppliers We Love’ online directory).

Laura and Andrew wanted a relaxed and informal big day with a rockin’ party atmosphere, and by the looks of things, that’s exactly what they got!

With images by York Place Studios.

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laura says: We got engaged at home, in September 2015. It was a total surprise – we have been together for ten years, after meeting at Uni. We’d recently moved into our new home and Andrew got up early to do some painting, when I got up he’d written “will you marry me” on the wall!

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We booked the wedding for 12th March 2016, as we fell in love with our venue – Middleton Lodge in North Yorkshire – as soon as we saw it and they had an opening for this date. It meant that we had just four months from viewing the venue to the wedding day!

Middleton Lodge had everything we were looking for – character yet it still felt relaxed. We wanted the wedding to be a whole weekend party without people having to worry about taxis and getting home. At Middleton Lodge everyone could stay and the house was exclusively ours for the weekend. We also immediately loved the cellar bar as it was totally different from the house and knew we’d completely change the dynamic of the day when we went down there in the evening.

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We didn’t have a wedding theme as such, things were just relaxed and informal, though we wanted it to have a real party atmosphere.

Our colour scheme was navy and copper. We loved the colours as we’d seen them a lot in home interiors but we’d not seen them being used for weddings.

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My wedding dress was a 50’s inspired Caroline Castigliano dress, called Hepburn, from The Bridal Collection in Harrogate. It had a very full skirt but other than that was very plain and simple. The dress was the one thing I didn’t want to compromise on if we’re going to organise the whole wedding in four months so I chose this before we committed to the venue and date. My shoes were Jimmy Choos.

On the day of the wedding my hair was styled by Bows Hair, and my makeup was done by Anna Mason of Cordelia & Co – both were great and I’d definitely recommend them.

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truly timeless. a black tie wedding at rudding park, harrogate – thais & james

December 5th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Carrying on the glamour from earlier today, this afternoon’s real wedding is a seriously classy affair. Thais and James opted for a black-tie dress code, an all-white colour scheme and a frothy dream of a dress.

After a long-distance relationship across the Atlantic and a romantic airport proposal, they were finally married in the stunning 19th Century chapel at Harrogate’s Rudding Park.

This gorgeous couple simply exude elegance, sophistication and more than a dash of movie star glamour.

With images by Barber Photography

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thais says: We were engaged in December 2013. So much of our lives were spent in airports with our relationship being long-distance between the UK and USA, so it made sense for James to propose in one. We were actually on the same flight coming back from NY to Myrtle Beach, with James’ mum. However, James had planned ahead of time and, with a little help, was waiting, ring in hand, balloons spelling ‘marry me?’ and For the First Time by The Script playing in the background as I came down the escalators. Someone captured the whole thing on video (see here – you can also see a shortened version on our wedding website!)

We decided to get married on 10th October 2015, exactly five years after the day we went on our first date (coincidentally all the 10s – 10/10/10!)

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Our venue was Rudding Park in Harrogate. Aside from the fact that it’s an absolutely stunning venue, the staff were amazing throughout the whole process and it was only 30 minutes from James’ hometown. They also had a chapel in the grounds, which we wanted to avoid extra travel for our guests who were travelling and to preserve the fluidity of the day.

Theme-wise, we went for a black tie, formal dress code. We wanted the day to be classic, timeless and elegant. For the decor, we went all-white. Again, we wanted a chic and elegant look.

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My dress was from Gown Boutique of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. I had no idea what kind of dress I wanted, but when I tried it on I just knew it was the one.

James wore a classic Calvin Klein black tuxedo – again, timeless!

My bridesmaids all wore long, black dresses from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The groomsmen donned black tuxedos from a store in Leeds.

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Our photographers were Phil and Lou Barber of Barber Photography. They’re a fantastic husband and wife team and we’d recommend them highly. They were so professional and made us feel very comfortable, both for the engagement shoot and the day of the wedding. The end products were also amazing. All their products were beyond our expectations!

Our flowers were incredible and put together by the fabulous Leafy Couture. I carried a bouquet of red roses, which was absolutely stunning. We would highly recommend our florist, Sarah Richardson, and the ‘Leafy girls’. They truly made our wedding come to life.

At the venue, Leafy Couture set up everything in terms of floral decorations. We had a mixture of all white flowers, which included roses, calla lilies, orchids, stocks, dahlias, carnations and hydrangeas. The table arrangements were so beautiful.

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glitz & glamour. a sophisticated new year’s eve wedding at the faversham, leeds – toni & james

December 5th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

www.joestenson.co.uk

After tying the knot across the pond in Las Vegas, Toni and James decided that it was time to celebrate with family and friends back in the UK. And, boy, did they do it in style.

Their big day was all about the party vibes, combining their wedding not only with New Year’s Eve celebrations, but James’ birthday too.

Their plush black, white and gold theme was an inspired choice, complete with a nod, or three, to their new life in America. And as Toni reveals, the couple really did turn a few bridal traditions right on their head.

With images by Joe Stenson

www.joestenson.co.uk

toni says: After two years together James moved to San Diego in California. When he was offered a permanent job, we had to decide whether to leave our family and friends and start a new life together in the US, and that meant taking the plunge and getting married quicker than anticipated. So we did! It all happened within the space of three months; engagement, and a wedding in Vegas with just three friends.

James proposed when I was visiting him in Huntington Beach, Orange County, on 18th February 2013. We hired a little boat to cruise around Balboa Island in Newport Beach and then returned to Huntington Beach to watch the sunset. He encouraged me to go for a walk on the beach and we ended up sitting on the Number 1 Lifeguard Tower Stand. My 30th birthday was only a couple of weeks away and so he started telling me that he wanted to get me something I would love, keep and wear all the time. And then he held out my ring!

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Our original wedding was on 5th April 2013 in Las Vegas,  but that’s not how I imagined my wedding would be. So two years on we started planning a wedding celebration that we could share with our family and friends in the UK.

We wanted the emphasis to be on throwing an amazing party, and that’s why we chose New Year’s Eve, 2015. Not only did we think that NYE would add an extra element of excitement for our guests, but it’s also James’ birthday! I also liked the thought of having a winter wedding, which meant we weren’t relying on the weather.

www.joestenson.co.uk

It was tricky finding a venue in Leeds that would be available on NYE, serve past midnight and hold 150 guests. After researching several venues, I had a dream that featured The Faversham, Leeds – I woke up and knew it would be the perfect venue. The great thing about The Faversham is that it’s not only a beautiful building set in the grounds of Leeds University, but you have exclusive use of the venue too.

We wanted our wedding to be unique, with quirky touches that were personal to us. We wanted a glam yet simple style with a party vibe. The theme was centered on NYE/time, with an element of USA v UK.

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autumn amour. maggie sottero for a chic urban wedding in leeds – rachel & robin

December 2nd, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s chic city real wedding simply exudes elegance. There’s a stunning Maggie Sottero dress, a gorgeous autumnal colour palette and an organic, woodland theme.

There was also plenty of personality to this stylish wedding too, with nods to the groom’s love of owls, Cockney rhyming slang table names and a real ale special brew called ‘Old Legover’!

With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography

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rachel says: Robin’s proposal centred around an owl theme. He has a particular passion for owls – since he was a child he collected all things owl. It has turned into a running joke that owls are literally taking over our house, so it was no surprise that they featured quite heavily in Robin’s proposal. Robin went to great lengths to set out an owl-themed treasure hunt, which went on for a few weeks (!) and, led by a number of clues, I found Robin under the ‘Owl of Justice’ – a carved owl that can be found at the back of the Civic Hall in Leeds, where Robin proposed and we later got married.

Our wedding date was the 9th September 2016. We both love autumn and wanted a natural earthy wedding. The weather also always seems to be lovely in Leeds in September, so we were lucky to secure the date when we did.

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We got married in the Banqueting Hall in the Civic Hall in Leeds city centre. We chose the venue for obvious reasons (hello gold owls!) but we were both so stunned at how beautiful the hall is once you get inside. We even decided to have a drinks reception after the ceremony to make the most of our time there. We really wanted to have our reception somewhere close to where we got married and settled on the Devonshire Hall in Headingley, to have our party; an amazingly grand hall of residence, which forms part of the University of Leeds. We loved the blank canvas of the dining hall and the design of the building is so lovely with the cloisters and outside space. We both got a great feel from the place when we visited so it was an easy decision.

In terms of theme, we’re big lovers of the great outdoors and our vision was for a woodland/autumnal/natural style of wedding. If we’d been brave enough (and my mum had allowed us!) we’d have had our reception in the woods, so this was a good compromise.

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Our colour scheme was navy and gold and, fitting with the autumnal theme, the groomsmen wore navy suits with a variety of dark gold and burnt orange accessories. My sister is a personal stylist so she helped choose the bridesmaid dresses, and navy is a gorgeous universal colour that looks great on everyone. I’m also a big fan of a bit of sparkle so gold shoes were a must!

If I’m honest, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the wedding dress shopping – I had no idea what I wanted and felt a bit nervous about it all. When I walked into the first bridal shop (the wonderful Bridal Boutique in Baildon) I knew that the first dress that I saw would be the one I’d wear. I tried on all sorts of different styles anyway – and was surprised by how much I loved the huge princess dresses! But I settled for the first dress: Vidonia by Maggie Sottero. Such gorgeous detailing and I felt so comfortable in it, I knew it had to be the one. I cancelled my next booking!

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Robin and the groomsmen wore three-piece navy Ted Baker suits, which we hired from Moss Bros. We got the bowties and ties, made from knitted English silk, from the website Swagger & Swoon.

The bridesmaids wore A-line navy dresses from Coast and they each chose their own gold shoes. As a thank you for being my best women, I got them all engraved bangles made by the fab Libby Jubb Jewellery. They had a little birdy charm on them which matched the turtle doves I wore in my hair. Hannah De Ath and Annabel Bailey also did a fantastic job with hair and make-up and made my mum, bridesmaids and me feel like a million dollars.

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laughter & limoncello. justin alexander for a timeless wedding at denton hall – sarah & chris.

December 1st, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Sarah and Chris’s elegant Yorkshire wedding is a tale of two halves. First, there was the poignant ceremony in the village church where Sarah grew up, with precious memories woven into the smallest of details.

Then there was a good old-fashioned party, with plenty of laughter, live music, Limoncello and even an Elvis wig!

Sarah’s Justin Alexander gown is a jaw-dropper with just a touch of sparkle and lace, and the couple’s romantic moors photographs are some of the most stunning shots incorporating landscape that we’ve seen here at Brides Up North.

So what are you waiting for? The pretty beckons….

Photography by Neil Jackson Photographic

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sarah says: We got engaged at Robin Hood’s Bay almost exactly two years before we got married. We’ve been together for a long time and we’d talked about getting engaged, but I left the where and when up to Chris. I was fooled into thinking that I’d planned a weekend trip to the seaside to visit one of my favourite childhood places, but Chris had other ideas! So we went to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Saturday as planned and went for a stroll out along the scars prior for a picnic lunch. It was the first weekend of nice weather that summer so the beach was busier than expected. Instead of popping the question over lunch, he chose a spot where we were alone on the edge of the scars looking out to sea and asked me there. The seaweed prevented him from getting down on one knee!

Our wedding date was 28th May 2016. May is one of our favourite times of year and it also meant that we would be getting married almost 15 years to the day of us getting together (yes, I’m very patient!) I love late spring/early summer: everything is so fresh and colourful and you can also get some pretty decent weather.

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We got married at St Mary’s Church, Burley-in-Wharfedale and had the reception at Denton Hall, Ilkley.

The church was important to me as it‘s the church I went to as a child and my parents still live in the village. I’m lucky enough to know lots of people still living in Burley-in-Wharfedale, too, and they were all so kind and supportive of our marriage.

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Denton hadn’t initially been on our radar because of budget but we went along just to see and we fell in love with it immediately. They were so welcoming and have such a wonderful, personalised set up. It was the only venue to offer exclusivity without us having to pay ridiculous amounts. Plus, Box Tree is their caterer, so in the end it was a no-brainer!

We didn’t really have a wedding theme as such. We’re very proud Yorkshire folk so that helped us come up with a few ideas. Our wedding was like coming home for us, and we wanted to share our Yorkshire home with family and friends from all over.

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I’m also a sentimental old fool. My grandparents, who were a big part of our lives, had sadly all passed before our wedding and we wanted to stress their importance to us. My grandad was a very talented watercolour artist, so we used one of our favourite paintings of his for our invites and table place names. We also displayed the original painting on the day. Although we created our own invites, we had the help of The Cherry Orchard printers in Belper, who reproduced the painting and helped me realise my ideas.

The colour scheme for the wedding developed from my grandad’s painting too. I didn’t want to restrict myself colour-wise and it was more about having access to a range of colours that went together. The bridesmaid dresses captured the purple and lilac from the painting and then I wanted the flowers to pop out against these with some brighter, yet still elegant, pink roses. We then chose things to go with a floral garden-type colour scheme, which was pretty flexible!

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express yourself: introducing debbie gillespie cake design

November 30th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Image by Photography By Kathryn

We have something pretty tasty in store for you this afternoon, as we welcome new Brides Up North Sponsor, Debbie Gillespie Cake Design, to the blog.

Based in Yorkshire, Debbie loves nothing more than the challenge of creating a cake that tells a story and is a big advocate of couples expressing their personalities and interests through their big day design.

From beautiful hand-painted creations to rustic sensations and fun novelty designs, Debbie has the skills to do it all!

So, let’s take a look at some of her show-stoppers while hearing a little more from the lovely lady herself.

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Can you tell us a little bit about Debbie Gillespie Cake Design and how it came to fruition?

debbie says: My first wedding cake was my own in 2005. Although it was a very simple design, I found the process renewed the love of art and creativity that I had had as a child, whilst at the same time producing something beautiful and tasty for someone else to enjoy. The arrival of two children meant that cakes became more elaborate and soon I was being approached by family and friends to make cakes for them.

I am largely self-taught but draw on a love of watercolour painting, gardening and my kids’ creative input to inspire my designs.

What is it about your job that you love?

I love sitting down with customers over tea and stickies and hearing their stories e.g. proposals, common interests, nicknames, and then designing their cake together. Many of my customers have become friends and I have continued to watch their lives unfold, even getting the opportunity to make cakes for their children. The wedding is only the beginning!

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Where do you get your inspiration from for your cake designs?

I have very much a split design personality; enjoying bold and fabulous florals as much as fun and funky personal designs. I love the hand-painted and floral designs of Emily Hankins and Amy Swann, but would say that my biggest cake hero is Duff Goldman (of Ace of Cakes fame), as I love his ‘anything goes’ philosophy. Ultimately, my main inspiration are the couple and their life together and feel that their wedding cake should be a reflection of this, however bold and crazy it may be!

What should couples look for when searching for a supplier to make their wedding cake?

With any wedding supplier, there should be an ease so always find someone you feel comfortable with. Check out their portfolio to ensure that they can provide the style you want and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With cakes, always ensure that they are EHA-registered with good hygiene practices, have adequate public liability insurance and ultimately that they serve a tasty cake. You don’t want any nasty or unpalatable surprises!

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What is the process if couples book you to make their wedding cake?

All my wedding couples are invited for a no-obligation consultation, where they are provided with a sample selection of our most popular flavours. We then chat over the design and I will provide a detailed quotation and sketch (if required). Their date is then secured with a 25% non-returnable deposit.  Alternatively, as I will only have limited capacity per week, a wedding date can be secured with a £50 deposit and the design process completed nearer the date.

What styles and flavours of cake do you tend to create?

I do believe that the cake should taste as wonderful as it looks and for that reason, I prefer to stick to a smaller selection of popular and traditional flavours, e.g. lemon drizzle, red velvet, rich fruit etc. that I know are exceptional.  However, I have just introduced a courgette and lime cake, which is proving very popular.

As for styles, I love to incorporate bold floral displays with hand-painting to produce a modern but rustic look. However, I am also partial to a little novelty and one of my biggest trends for 2017/18 are the reveal cakes – traditional at the front, party at the back!

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