Charlotte Balbier

pastels & roses. ronald joyce for astley bank wedding with a vintage twist – jodi & jack

October 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (37)

When planning their big day, today’s couple initially decided on a 1940s theme inspired by their chosen transport – a vintage bus. However worried that she might get carried away with just one set theme, bride Jodi chose to keep the remainder of the wedding modern and simple with elegant pastel pops in the bridesmaids’ dresses, décor and flowers.

The result is a pretty and up-to-date big day with just a touch of vintage.

With images by Paul Swift Photography.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (4)

jodi says: We got engaged on the 2nd August 2013. We had gone for a few days away in Grasmere, Cumbria. After a fantastic day boating on Lake Coniston we went back to the guest house to get changed and go into Grasmere for something nice to eat and a few drinks. On the way back from the restaurant was a wishing well, which we stopped at for a while. Jack told me to throw a penny in and make a wish, I did. He did the same, he asked me what id wished for and I told him I wished we could be this happy forever. I asked him what he wished for, he said he wished for his dream to come true, and for me to be his wife, as he pulled a beautiful diamond engagement ring out of his pocket. I didn’t really quite understand what was going on until he actually asked me to marry him. It was the biggest shock of my life! I was so happy I cried for the rest of the holiday!

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (11)

We decided to marry on the 1st August 2015 as we wanted two year’s planning and saving time, a summer wedding and the nearest date to our engagement date.

We got married at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the village where we live. I have lived in Rishton all of my life, as have most of my family. My parents, grandparents and great grandparents married at the same church and ever since being a little girl I dreamed of walking down the aisle there.

We had the reception and evening celebrations at Astley Bank in Darwen, Lancashire. It’s absolutely beautiful and the food is amazing! A friend of mine had had her wedding there in 2008 and from that day I loved it. I’m from quite a big family and didn’t want a venue that a family wedding had been held at before, I also wanted somewhere not too close to home but a close enough distance for people to be able to travel to easily, so it was perfect. I took Jack to see it before we had even talked about it properly and on entering the grounds he pretty much made his mind up there and then that it was the place for us.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (13)

I thought I wanted a modern wedding until Jack came home from work saying someone he knew had hired a wedding bus. I’ll be honest, I thought it sounded awful! However, I had a look online and saw a bus that we had seen before during a charity walk, I loved it so much! It was a navy and cream 1947 Leyland double decker. I loved the idea that it could take everyone from the church to the venue. I then started to plan a theme around the bus, especially as I love the style of the 40s, but as I did more research I decided I didn’t want to be stuck to one particular style/era. I’m a little OCD with fine detail, if we had gone for a 40s theme literally everything would have had to have been 40s! So we decided that we would go for a modern wedding with a slight vintage twist, which is a good job as the bus I’d based my planning on was involved in an accident two days before the wedding!

We chose a colour scheme of pastel green with peach/coral and ivory. I wanted light, bright, fresh colours that I hadn’t seen at other weddings. I had seven bridesmaids and two flower girls. Choosing the bridesmaids colour was the hardest decision of them all and I wanted to be clear about that before planning anything else. My maids couldn’t be any different from each other with skin tone, hair colour etc. and although I knew I wanted a summery colour I needed something that suited all of them, it was a tough decision! And I’m not convinced they all loved it, but they looked incredible!

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (16)

On the wedding day I wore the third wedding dress I had bought! The first was from eBay and was an absolute disaster! I hated it so much I cried when I unpacked it. The photos were beautiful but the real thing was such a disappointment!. The second I think I panic bought! The neckline was same as the bridesmaids’ dresses so I think that’s what made me get it. I loved it but then the more I looked at myself in it the more I realised that it really wasn’t me! By this time Lindsey at Anne Whittakers Bridal Wear in Accrington had got to know me a little and agreed it wasn’t right for me. I tried on what felt like a million other dresses but had kept looking at the gorgeous one on the model in the middle of the shop. I tried that on last. I loved it! So much so I nearly cried! It was a beautiful lace Ronald Joyce dress with a low button up back and gorgeous lace train. I’m not a girly girl at all! I don’t do bling or sparkle but it had just the right amount of detail around the middle to make it a beautiful dress without being too much. Lindsey swapped the dress no problem, I really can’t thank her enough! She and the seamstress Shareen were both amazing! My wedding makeup was done by Rebecca Brown and my hair stylist was Gemma Brown.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (21)

Jack wore a three piece grey suit from Amelia’s menswear in Clitheroe. By the time it came to choosing the suits I’d become a wedding geek! I’d noticed that most of the suits I had looked at hadn’t changed much over the last 20 years and I wanted something more traditional looking yet with a modern cut. Amelia’s was definitely the best choice, I had seen a photo on their website and knew straight away that it was perfect. The ties were a lovely floral print silk and they had them in the exact green I had chosen for the bridesmaids for the ushers and groomsmen, a peach for my dad that matched the flowers, and ivory to match my dress for the groom. Jack chose to wear a tailcoat as he wanted to be a little different from the rest of the men. The staff at Amelia’s need medals! They put up with the husbands fussing and flapping and his entourage of 11!

The bridesmaids wore pastel green dresses with frilled alter necks that flowed from under the bust to the floor. I chose dresses that would flatter all the different figure types they have, which was a good job as two became pregnant during the planning! I ordered the dresses to be made to measure from a company abroad. The groomsmen wore three piece suits from Amelia’s with standard length jackets and ties in green to match the bridesmaids. Jack’s twin boys wore the same but without the jackets, and their sleeves rolled up a little with Converse shoes to give a more casual look but still in keeping with the older men.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (32)

For the wedding transport we ended up having to have an alternative bus as the one I’d set my heart on had been damaged in an accident. Classic Buses sent us a vintage red double decker London bus after working hard to juggle their already full schedule. The driver was a lovely lady who made it even more special. We arrived at church on the bus and after the ceremony it brought our entire wedding party back to Astley Bank. Nobody had to worry about driving or parking or not being able to drink, it was definitely a great idea and everyone loved it!

We chose Paul Swift as our photographer, which was the easiest and quickest decision we made! I’ve known Paul and his wife Sarah since school days and have followed his photography blogs since he started out. Since the day we asked him he helped us to plan our big day and gave us so much advice and knowledge. Neither me nor jack are comfortable in front of the camera so he suggested a pre wedding shoot. This made such a massive difference to us! Paul made us very comfortable and we had such good fun and a real laugh. On the big day his presence was very calming, we both felt like we were in the best hands and he did so much more for us than just take photographs. Jack said he was really nervous when he arrived at church until Paul turned up and started organising everyone, we honestly can’t recommend him highly enough. A true professional! He was very calm and patient and the 800+ photos he took are all beautiful and the perfect reminder of our wedding day.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (31)

Rachel at Garlands Florist made my hand tied bouquet using coral miss piggy roses, white hydrangea schneeball, thistles, veronica and rosemary, tied with ivory lace ribbon. Rachel incorporated a bangle into my bouquet which belonged to my mum who passed away in 2008 aged just 49. I wanted to carry something of hers with me on my big day, this also became my something old. She also made the most adorable little gypsophila head dresses for the flower girls, too cute!

Rachel then used glassware I had collected as top table decorations with fresh flowers in keeping with those of my bouquet. I’ve worked in science since 1999 so I wanted to use some scientific glassware to incorporate my love of chemistry into our day. Wedding Creations of Oswaldtwistle dressed the venue with seat covers with peach and lace sashes, huge candelabras with hanging pearls and diamantes. There were also little vintage bottles, pots with flowers and hessian and scatterings of pearls, peach roses petals and diamantes on the tables. Our table names were the dates of our parents and grandparents weddings and each had a photograph from their wedding day. The guests loved this personal touch! The top table had our wedding date and a photo from our pre wedding shoot. I made these myself along with the place name cards and seating plan in the same style as I’d made the invitations and orders of service.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (28)

Our favours were bath salts for the ladies and heart shaped mints for the men in corked test tubes tied with brown twine for a ‘sciencey’ vintage feel.

Our cake was made by my sister-in-law Charlotte as a wedding present – it looked and tasted amazing. We has three tiers of ivory iced chocolate and vanilla sponge and a clever clear Perspex tier filled with vintage buttons and pearls to match our theme. It was decorated with a row of threaded buttons and topped with the flowers I had used to make the bridesmaids bouquets. So simple and so beautiful.

The wedding breakfast was absolutely fantastic! We chose from the set menu and tried to pick food that would suit everyone. Everything was cooked to perfection and all the guests complimented it.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (33)

To provide entertainment, we had the DJ who was hired by the hotel as part of our wedding package and we also hired a photo booth from Style My Event. This went down a treat with all of the guests!

As a special touch at the reception we had a beautiful handmade guest book made for us by one of my roller derby team mates Johannes. He made a hinged drop top guest book with ‘branch slices’ cut from recycled wood for guests to write their messages on. The design of it means that it can stand freely like a book displaying our messages or hang on the wall like a picture. We currently have it standing on the sideboard but plan to hang it on the wall in the future.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (34)

Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Astley Bank to others. The venue is beautiful, the staff are brilliant (so warm and caring), the food was outstanding and the grounds are incredible. I can’t fault a single thing, absolutely perfect!

Our favourite part of the day would have to be the church and ceremony, though we all loved it! The vicar Michael Woods and the vergers, especially Mrs Schaefer, were so caring and welcoming. The service was beautiful, flowers were gorgeous and everything went exactly to plan. My daughter Elisse did a reading by Dr Seuss, we had the church bells rung by a team of incredible bell ringers one of whom is a friend, another friend sings in the choir so she came along to provide some much needed tone! The street outside was lined with well-wishers. It was perfect, a real fairy tale wedding.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (38)

After the wedding we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. We started in Mallorca and visited places such as the south of France, Monaco, Italy, Corsica, Spain before returning to Mallorca. The highlight for us was travelling to Barcelona, such a beautiful city with so much culture, we will definitely be going back.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to plan, plan and plan some more! Research everything and be sure you know what you want! This is your big day!

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dream venue: acklam hall

October 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (3)

Today’s dream venue might be new to the wedding scene but the building itself has been around for many, many years!

Yet to open its doors, acklam hall, Middlesbrough’s only Grade I listed building, is currently undergoing renovation work to restore the historic building back to its original grandeur, retaining its incredible original features from the late seventeenth century along the way.

Once open, the impressive hall will offer bespoke weddings, events, celebrations and corporate events, whilst also inviting diners to experience its two restaurants.

Keen to learn more about what Acklam Hall has to offer brides and grooms-to-be, we’ve spoken to wedding and events manager Kelly Mennear, who has given us all the details on what’s to come whilst also sharing some fabulous shots from a special bridal photo shoot which has taken place at the hall during its transformation.

Images by Gary Walsh Photography.

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (5)

Tell Brides Up North about Acklam Hall, what is its history?

kelly says: From late 2015 Acklam Hall, the only Grade 1 listed building in Middlesbrough, will provide a beautiful venue for weddings, events, fine dining, serviced office accommodation and conference facilities. A new beginning for a building with a long and interesting history.

For almost two hundred years Acklam Hall was the home of the Hustler family, and since 1935 has, in various guises, been a place of learning. The hall retains many of the original architectural features created when it was first built in the late seventeenth century as well as features added just over 100 years ago by one of the finest architects of the early twentieth century, Walter Brierley.

What facilities does it have? 

The hall has two restaurant settings The Dining Room for fine dining, and The Salon, which serves a brasserie style menu including afternoon teas, lunch, dinner, cake and coffee. There are three splendid function/private dining rooms which are licensed for civil ceremonies:  The Boudoir, The Parlour and The Drawing Room. There is also a bridal dressing room with ensuite facilities for pre-wedding preparations and beautiful gardens and grounds, which provide stunning photo opportunities.

When will Acklam Hall open its doors for weddings and what types of weddings will it be able to cater for?

Weddings will officially take place from 1st April 2016, although we hope to have the hall open at the end of 2015.  We can cater for small, intimate weddings or larger celebrations of up to 120 guests within the hall’s wedding function rooms. The Boudoir is the smallest of the rooms and can hold up to 20 ceremony guests while the The Parlour can accommodate up 60 ceremony guests. The spacious Drawing Room is deal for larger wedding parties.

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (1)

Will Acklam Hall be licensed for civil ceremonies?

Yes, we will have a number of fabulous rooms for civil ceremonies. We also have St Mary’s Church located just behind the hall which is a beautiful setting for a religious ceremony.  If the couple are getting married elsewhere we can of course welcome the bride and groom and their party to the hall to host their wedding reception only.

What makes Acklam Hall a special wedding venue?

Acklam Hall is one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the North East of England, and as the only Grade I listed building in the Tees Valley, it provides a unique and stunning backdrop for a wedding.

Special features such as a beautiful bridal dressing room with all the facilities a bride and her bridal party will need to prepare for the big day, specially designed manicured grounds and gardens which will provide many fabulous locations for wedding photographs, and plans to resurrect a pathway through the grounds to St Mary’s Church, which will provide a picturesque and convenient way for the bride and groom and their guests to make their way to and from the ceremony.  This pathway was originally used by Sir William Hustler and his family, now the bride and groom will play the role of the nobility on their wedding day and use this historical setting plus the wedding pictures will be incredible!

What sort of bride would be an Acklam Hall bride?

An Acklam Hall bride would be anyone who is looking for a truly spectacular and unique location for the wedding of her dreams. The building itself is a magnificent backdrop for a bride’s big day and the surrounding grounds offer countless opportunities for those all-important photographs. The beautiful avenue of trees and the picturesque ornamental pond are among the pretty features within the grounds. I imagine Acklam Hall brides will be attracted by the passionate and dedicated service that they will receive from the team here throughout their whole experience.  We will pride ourselves on delivering a truly joyful and memorable day for every bride.

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (6)

How will your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

Our dedicated team at Acklam Hall will provide bride and grooms with unparalleled service and attention to detail, everything to make their big day special.  There will be an emphasis on exceptional customer service and presentation for all staff working at Acklam Hall.

We will also ensure that the team helping the couple to plan their big day prior to the wedding will be the team present on the day of the wedding to ensure everything goes to plan.

We are also planning to work with some fantastic wedding suppliers who we have a good relationship with and are trusted to provide a brilliant service.

Can guests stay over at your venue?  

We do not have accommodation on site at Acklam Hall but we do recommend some fantastic hotels close by.  We have made sure that the bride and her bridal party have the facilities to get ready at the hall creating a beautiful bridal dressing room complete with ensuite facilities and a salon hair wash unit for those all-important preparations!

Tell us about what catering services you will offer? 

The bride and groom and their guests will dine on sumptuous dishes prepared by the very experienced Acklam Hall chefs, using the finest fresh local produce.  We are happy to discuss any special requirements with the couple to make their wedding day as individual and special as they envisage.

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (4)

Will you offer a choice of wedding packages?

We do not operate wedding packages but instead offer a bespoke service with flexibility on the food and beverage elements to a wedding and how the hall can be used.  This should allow for more tailored and individual weddings, letting couples be as creative as they like.

How is the transformation of Acklam Hall going so far?

The refurbishment and restoration of the hall is going very well, there are often challenges along the way due to the nature of the work that is taking place, some structural, but the hall is really starting to take shape and once the rooms have been painted, carpets fitted and furniture installed it will really come back to life again.  We are really looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming guests to experience what a special place Acklam Hall is.

Acklam Hall (c) Gary Walsh Photography (2)

How can our readers find out more about the venue?

Visit our website for the many ways to contact the Acklam Hall team. Viewings are currently being taken giving couples a behind the scenes look at the hall during the refurbishment.

Do you have any other news for us?

We are hoping to hold a Wedding Open Day at the venue in January and more details will be released on our website and social media soon. Also do keep an eye on our social media accounts where we will post the most up to date images and progress as it happens.

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home is where the heart is. stella york for a relaxed wedding in east yorkshire – lisa & tim

October 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (60)

When it came to this morning’s wedding couple’s venue search it was a case of there’s no place like home as they opted for a traditional church ceremony followed by a marquee reception in the garden of the bride’s mum and stepdad’s home.

Keen to make the occasion fun for their guests, Lisa and Tim put on garden games, live entertainment and an informal afternoon tea, all in keeping with their garden party themed relaxed wedding.

We very much enjoyed that Lisa switched things up a bit when it came to her and her maids’ attire by choosing a blush pink dress for herself and cute ivory dresses for her leading ladies.

With images by Jemma King Photography.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (3)

lisa says: We got engaged outside a restaurant after Tim had taken me for a meal to celebrate my 30th birthday in August 2014. He had wanted to propose inside, but it was tight space wise for getting down on one knee and he didn’t fancy being practically sat on the couple next to us knee! After a lovely evening he proposed outside overlooking a football pitch which was very fitting as football is Tim’s other love. He did however get a soaking wet knee as the grass was wet!

Our wedding date was 27th June 2015. It turned out on enquiring with the church that it was also the weekend of the village garden festival and so the church would be already decorated, which was a lovely and lucky coincidence.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (2)

We had our ceremony in our parish church, St Helens in Welton, East Yorkshire. The church and setting are beautiful and on attending some services we, and our two children, were made to feel very welcome. Our reception was held in a marquee (hired from All Occasions Marquees and Events in Hull) in the meadow at my mum and step dad’s home. They moved there the year previous and we instantly knew it was the perfect setting for us with a pair of old railway cottages stood in the garden and the countryside views – it was personal and unique. We are very lucky that we had this option and that my parents were so willing to open up their home and do so much work to prepare the garden and install a couple of toilets in their outbuildings and cottages so we had proper loo’s to use!

As we held our wedding in my parent’s garden we aimed for a relaxed garden party feel incorporating some vintage glamour. We opted for substantial canapés and afternoon tea with a hog roast in the evening. With having two children ourselves (aged 11 and two) and plenty of other children attending we wanted a vibe which allowed everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. We borrowed some giant garden games from the school my sister teaches at and set up a homemade photo booth with props, which the kids ended up using mainly as a dressing up box! We were also gifted some amazing children’s activity packs from my friend Joanne at Angelic Angels which kept the children entertained through the speeches and beyond.

Our colour scheme was based around my blush pink dress! We were not too precious over colours but once I had fallen in love with the dress I did subtly steer things in a more pink direction. I had also fallen completely in love with some rose gold sequin table cloths so between them and my dress I created our vintage blush scheme.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (11)

My dress was Stella York’s 5923 design in moscato. I actually spotted it as soon as I walked into the shop and only tried it on as I thought something so beautiful would look ridiculous on me…but it was too beautiful not to try on. The colour was so much more flattering on my skin tone than ivory and white, but it wasn’t until I returned to the shop to try that and another dress on again that I realised I couldn’t get it out of my head. I chose a full length veil in blush which made me feel like the bride I’d always imagined, and a hairband with sparkle and lace detailing which coordinated beautifully.

My shoes were from Red or Dead with a chunky heel for height and comfort.

I bought my dress, veil and hairband from Cheryl Chambers Bridal Boutique in Sutton, Hull. The ladies there are so helpful and provide a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and the shop is full of sparkly little treasures, I really enjoyed every visit.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (24)

Tim chose a grey tailcoat suit with matching waistcoat and a pink tie. They were hired from Slaters Menswear. Tim’s best man and ushers, along with both our step dads, wore the same as Tim, including our 11-year-old son. My dad wore his own kilt in our family tartan and our two-year-old was more relaxed but traditional in a buster suit from and white T-bar shoes from Babyshoes.

The bridesmaids wore ivory lace dresses from BHS that were actually short wedding dresses but as I was wearing blush pink with ivory lace, their dresses coordinated lovely with mine.

As a little extra, I bought all the men pink socks with their role in the wedding printed on them and gave them as a surprise. We also gave the men cufflinks shaped into their initials as a thank you gift, and I gave my bridesmaids silver knot earrings as a thank you for helping us ‘tie the knot’.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (29)

We hired a beautiful Humber car from Marshalls Wedding Cars to take us to the church, it was only a five minute journey between where each of us were staying and the church so we used the same car which did four trips in total to get us all there. The car we used was actually Tim’s mum and step dad’s wedding car, which was a lovely touch. The owner of the cars has a huge collection and provided a great service, I would highly recommend brides contact him to go and view the cars.

To solve the issue of lack of parking space at my mum’s, our guests and us travelled from the church to reception in a vintage bus and coach hired from East Yorkshire Coaches. It was certainly a novelty and everyone travelling together kept a lovely social atmosphere. We travelled on the small coach with close family and the bridal party and it was really lovely to have that journey all together after the church.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (35)

Our photographer was Jemma King. She really understood our vision for the day and we felt very comfortable around her. The first time we met, our toddler had her on the floor playing! It was like having a friend there, but one who could get people organised! We had loads of compliments on the day of how good she was with people and are thrilled with our finished photos. I would, and already have, recommended her.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (62)

We didn’t have any fresh flowers on the day other than what was already in church for the garden festival. I made my own brooch and bead bouquet as it was something I had always wanted to try since I fell in love with one I saw online years before. The men had dried flower buttonholes which I won on eBay! And I bought dried flower bouquets to coordinate from for my two bridesmaids. That way we could buy everything in advance and they could be kept and displayed afterwards. Plus the dried flowers with lavender smelt amazing!

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (65)

As décor for the reception we hired some stunning rose gold sequin table cloths from Belle Bijoux Events, and I decorated Hobbycraft white twig trees with paper flowers to create centrepieces that doubled up as a guest book. We left tags on each table for guests to leave us a message and hang on the trees. They looked great once they were filled with lovely messages from our family and friends.

Dragonfly Print made us some fabulous personalised signs for our photo booth, our homemade date jar, and a ‘rules of the dancefloor’ amongst others.

At my hen weekend all my hens set aside time to help me assemble and stick sparkles on my order of service booklet, wrap pens in ribbon and paint our Hobbycraft post box. It was a real team effort!

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (64)

We displayed our table plan, which I handwrote onto card bunting, on a borrowed vintage step ladder and decorated it with jars and bottles filled with fake flowers bought from Hobbycraft and Dunelm. My mum filled wicker baskets full of essentials such as a mini sewing kit, paracetamol, baby wipes etc. and left one in each bathroom. She even bought bride and groom printed loo paper!

Our cake was a four tier Cath Kidston inspired creation. It was made by the lovely Cakes By Leni, in Hull. We chose a Baileys sponge, a chocolate Malteaser layer and a lemon sponge layer. The smallest top layer was a dummy cake. It was almost too beautiful to cut, but tasted yummy!

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (74)

Tim’s brothers are both chefs and organised a catering team for us. We opted for substantial canapés such as mini fish and chips, followed by an afternoon tea type sandwiches and cakes during the speeches. We didn’t want people to have to wait around or spend a long time sat at a table, and wanted to create a relaxed, informal vibe. To continue this feel, we chose a hog roast for our evening food which was very popular! Tim’s parents provided champagne and a couple of glasses of wine per person, however there was more wine than we anticipated! Which nobody seemed too unhappy about. We also hired Escapade Bars who brought a fully stocked bar and we chose five cocktails that they could also offer throughout the night.

In terms of entertainment, my step dad sings in a barbershop quartet who kindly sang for us on arriving at the reception and whilst we disappeared for photographs. They even personalised one song with our names, which was a lovely surprise. For the evening do we hired The Mike Brown Band, who really got the party started and were absolutely fantastic. They did a split of live sets and DJ’ed in between. We didn’t think we would be able to afford a live band, however their prices were comparable to a decent DJ, but the atmosphere they created in our opinion was worth so much more.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (44)

Following our wedding I would certainly recommend that if couples can use a family home or garden for their big day that they consider it. It is lovely visiting my mum’s house and remembering our special day. It also creates something true to the couple and very unique.

My favourite part of the day was the church ceremony. We kept things very traditional in the church and I really enjoyed singing the hymns and all our music choices and reading choices really brought it together giving me goose bumps. I was so nervous walking in, but couldn’t stop smiling and even did a little cheer when we were pronounced as husband and wife.

Stella York for a relaxed wedding in East Yorkshire (c) Jemma King (80)

With having two children, including one at school, we haven’t gone on an official honeymoon. Instead my dad gifted us a weekend in Centre Parcs with our boys the week after the wedding. We all enjoyed our mini family moon just relaxing and spending quality time all together in one of our favourite holiday destinations.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember that whatever happens in the run up to the day, it will all be ok. I had to have a tooth extracted two days beforehand, our first choice of vintage bus broke the day before our wedding amongst many other perceived disasters, but honestly on the day none of it mattered! It’s only one day, and it goes so quickly, just breathe and take it all in. I want to do it all again!

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reel love. 2 little ducks wedding videography

October 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

2 Little Ducks

This afternoon I am proud to introduce one super talented couple (and the cutest newlyweds like, ever), Becki and James of 2 little ducksWedding Videography.  They’re here to show off some of their short films, tell you why you should book a videographer for their big day (full disclosure: I didn’t think we needed a wedding video but now fully regret not having someone to capture our day on film), why it should be them and to offer Brides Up North readers a sneaky little discount while they’re at it!

Just quotes BridesUpNorth10 when you book to receive a 10% discount on all of their packages.

How did you get into wedding videography? 

In 2006 James bought a HD video-camera in Japan to shoot a little ninja film and when he returned he used it to film his sister’s wedding. Many films done as favours followed with lots of comments about how good the films were. This new love affair with filming resulted in James returning to University to complete his degree in Media, Technology and Production. It was at this time that we met, sharing a passion for film and photography we soon became a strong team and I quickly became James’ camera assistant and booking agent! 2 Little Ducks Wedding Videography was the result.

Why should a couple have a wedding video

Lots of reasons! Firstly, the day will go by so quickly, and you can’t possibly be everywhere at once. You are going to miss parts of your day unless a videographer is there to capture it. Secondly, a photographer will capture most of the sights but none of the sounds of your day. A wedding video allows you to replay your vows, the speeches, the cheers as you enter the room and the laughter of you, your friends and your family. Also a wedding video is a time capsule, you can pass it on to your children and grandchildren and show them all the family members who they sadly may not have been able to meet.

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding videographer?

Everyone is at their best on a wedding day. Everyone looks fabulous, has come together in a celebration of love, togetherness and hope for the future and this makes them happy smiley people (the food, drink and dancing helps with that too!). The best thing about being a wedding videographer is capturing the little moments which the bride and groom have missed and knowing that you will put that in the video and they will love it! It is a privilege to be part of the most special day of people’s lives.

How do you get couples to relax on the day?

Mostly that is about the preparation time beforehand, lots of people are nervous around cameras so meeting us beforehand reassures them that they are not going to have the camera up close in their face, that we are discreet and relaxed whilst being completely professional. They are relaxed about us on the day as they know that we will do a great job! In our experience though all the nerves come before the big day. Once the wedding day begins most couples just go with it and enjoy it, many couples tell us that they barely noticed us there as they are just concentrating on enjoying their day, guests, however, do have to be encouraged not to “duck” underneath the camera as this looks worse on film than if they just walked in front!

Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?

Last year we filmed a lovely couple Terry and Maureen, they had been together for over 30 years but had never got around to tying the knot, sadly Maureen had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and this was the impetus for them to finally have their special day. We were filming their first dance, Terry with his arms tight around Maureen and captured their eldest son, looking on and wiping a tear from his eye. Even thinking about it now makes me emotional. Our experience with Terry and Maureen has led us to our support of a fantastic charity “Gift of a Wedding” which asks for donations from wedding suppliers to ensure that other couples who don’t have long together are able to have a perfect day.

What sets you apart from other wedding videographers?

2 Little Ducks are about capturing your day not about getting you to perform, we have seen loads of wedding videos which we know as professionals must have taken ages to set up, cutting into the couple’s enjoyment of the day. We tell couples we will film whatever you want us to film but try and just relax and enjoy your day without feeling you have to create something “different”, in years to come this will look dated.

The other thing that sets us apart is we actually have video cameras! Many videographers actually use DSLR cameras with a record button, the quality is nowhere near the video cameras we have and reliability can often be an issue leading to important parts of your wedding being missed. We promise every couple a highlight reel of their day within 2-3 weeks whilst we continue to edit the full video. This gives you reassurance that we did capture your wedding and also allows you to replay the day for yourselves, your friends and family and for others who could not be there on the day.

We have an aerial camera which can capture footage from high in the air, this is great for outdoor weddings or those at stately homes / country houses where you want to capture full scale and grandeur of the location. We recently used this to film a firework display, the results are stunning, though we were a little scared that the camera be blown out of the sky!

What can a couple who book you expect on the day?

They can expect that we will be there early, ready to go, that we will be smart, professional and polite, we will work well with other suppliers and often meet or talk to for example the photographer beforehand to ensure a smooth running day. We will capture everything you want capturing but won’t get in your way.

Tell us about some your most recent collaborations and styled shoots with other industry professionals?

We recently collaborated with Minihaha Garande of Brachetto Weddings on a styled shoot in Skipton. This was our first experience of a styled shoot and it was great fun as well as an opportunity to meet some fabulous local wedding suppliers, Medici Macarons, Photography by Kathryn, Minnie Bee’s Floral Design and Cakes for Show. We have also just completed a promotional video for Peak Tipis who have a great team of people behind an amazing product. Those Tipi’s are huge, awe-inspiring and magical inside!

What projects do you have coming up ?

We have such exciting weddings booked for this season, I am looking forward to a Yurt wedding at Bolton Abbey, a Bollywood dancing vs Ceilidh dance off in North Yorkshire, a big band at Victoria Hall and lots of fun and garden games at Sutton Park. Everyone has such different and fun ideas for their wedding!

You are newly-weds yourselves – tell us about your own big day?

We got married in August last year at St Stephens Church in Skipton and had our reception at The Priests House in Barden Tower. We wanted our wedding to be intimate and only had 40 close friends and family members there with a few more on the evening, it was a very relaxed and fun day, I laughed so much my face hurt! We asked two friends of ours who are both trained camera operators to help in capturing the day though of course James could not stop himself setting up shots and doing some of the filming once we were at the reception. He edited a beautiful highlight reel for us which I can’t stop showing people!

What is included in your package? 

We have three main “packages” though we are happy to work with couples to create something bespoke. Our Silver package is for couples who just want to have the ceremony capturing so we would cover the arrival of bride and groom, ceremony and register signing then leaving the ceremony, this package costs £400 and offers couples the opportunity to have a record of the day without breaking the bank! Our Gold package is priced at £600 and will cover everything from the silver package plus the arrival at reception (if in a different location) and the wedding breakfast, though not close ups of people eating! Also the speeches and the cutting of the cake. Some couples feel that they after this point they just want to let their hair down, get a few drinks and don’t necessarily want what happens afterwards recording on film so we can leave before it gets messy! Our Platinum package basically ensures that we are there all day and for as long you want us into the night. It will cover everything from the 2 previous packages but also the first dance evening reception and entertainment and we include bridal prep filming in this if the bride wants it. Our cameras are excellent at filming in low light and will easily be able to record at night including any evening entertainment such as fireworks.

All our packages include the 3 minute highlight film. There are also a range of extras such a photo slideshow on the DVD using photos supplied by the bride and groom or our screen-grabs from the day. We can make a very funky graphic novel using screenshots too, a funky alternative to your traditional framed wedding photo.

We are also happy to film proposals, engagement parties, hen and stag parties and a lovely idea we think is to record “secret” video messages from the bride to groom and vice versa that can be watched on the morning of the wedding as the couple get ready. James wrote me a lovely letter which I fortunately read before my makeup went on and it was so lovely just to hear from him at that point. We wished we had thought to do little films ourselves!

Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

We are happy to offer Brides Up North readers a discount of 10% on all of our packages. Just quotes BridesUpNorth10 when you book!

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?

We have a fab website which James designed himself which has more info on including FAQ’s, examples of our work and a contact form, or you can email us at, call on 07817 664605, tweet @2DucksWeddings or visit our Facebook page.

Anything else we should know?

We are a very friendly bunch and never put people under pressure to book. We are passionate believers that every couple should have their wedding filmed as we know so many people who have regretted not doing it but if you get in touch we are happy to just give you the information you ask for and leave it up to you!

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magic & sparkle. mori lee for a woodland wedding at the alnwick garden – danielle & christopher

October 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (19)

It might be Monday morning but we’ve got a gorgeous real wedding that will provide a little escapism from your 9 ‘till 5!

Danielle and Christopher’s picture perfect woodland wedding took place at the stunning tree house within Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland. Embracing the rustic setting the couple settled on a natural theme adding complementary touches in their cake and décor choices.

This pair are certainly up there with the most stylish brides and grooms we’ve seen grace our pages, with Christopher opting for a blue tweed suit and Danielle picking a stunning Mori Lee fishtail gown – definite dress crush!

With images by Sarah Thew Photography.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (3)

danielle says: We got engaged on holiday, it was in Murcia. We hired a car and decided to visit the town Cartagena, it was mid-July so a scorching hot day. We arrived and walked around the town, making our way towards the port. Christopher insisted we walked all the way to the end of the pier; I wasn’t so pleased about this in the baking heat! However we did, as we got to the end of the pier, it was beautiful. Out of nowhere he pulled a box out from his shorts and got down on one knee (for a split second, may I add). I was so shocked and over-whelmed. It was the best day!

Our wedding date was 1st August 2015. Christopher proposed to me on the same day in 2013. So we thought this would be memorable – and he would never forget our anniversary!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (7)

We got married at the beautiful tree house in Alnwick Gardens. I originally discovered this watching Don’t Tell The Bride and loved it. We did visit a few other venues closer to home but decided to put this one off no longer. As soon as we arrived that was it for us both, the tree house itself, its grounds and inside was just magical. We both knew it was the right place for us.

We kind of decided to go with the woodland theme taken from the venue itself, with a slightly relaxed feel too. Because the venue is so beautiful it didn’t need much else added to it. It speaks for itself really.

Our colour scheme was a very relaxed pastel shade. The bridesmaid dress was a mocha colour and my flowers were cream roses with sweet peas. I wanted to keep it simple and not too formal really.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (5)

My dress was a fishtail style, it was Mori Lee from the bridal boutique Y.A.P in the heart of Newcastle. I had always wanted this style of wedding gown and soon as I tried it on for the first time it was the one. Because the dress itself was very ‘statement’ I felt I didn’t need much else, deciding on not to wear a veil meant it wasn’t too over-powering.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (12)

Christopher wore a blue tweed suit with yellow pocket square. He also wore a gorgeous stag pin which was a gift from Not On The High Street and a Rotary pocket watch (wedding gift from myself).

Both and his groomsmen’s’ outfits were from a suit hire venue called Most Suitable in Newcastle. The groomsmen wore green tweed with mocha pocket square which linked in well with the colour of the bridesmaid dress.

My bridesmaid had her dress made for her. It was from a bridal boutique in Newcastle called Laura Lea Boutique.

I arrived at the wedding venue in a vintage Rolls Royce. The company which provided this service was called Alnwick Wedding Cars. They did an amazing job; they also took Christopher and his best man before me.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (13)

Sarah Thew was our photographer and I must say she was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer being part of our big day. She made us both feeling at ease and relaxed from start to end. She also went away while we had our wedding breakfast and later returned to take images of the night time, which I was so grateful for. We got some fabulous shots.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (28)

My wedding flowers consisted of cream roses, spray roses, double lisianthus, gyp, sweet peas, and foliage in a hand held posy. The button holes and corsages were a cream rose and greenery. To decorate the ten tables at the reception we had milk bottles with gyp and spray roses. For the aisle we used jam jars and milk bottles with a mixture of gyp and spray roses in with some greenery. I also used a plain white bunting for around the turret which was an area before we arrived up to the treehouse. All the flowers were provided by Simply Flowers in Alnwick.
A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (31)

Our favours for the ladies were a brown hessian bag with a printed heart on the front. Inside there was a small wooden engraved hearts saying ‘Mr & Mrs Burke’ and the date of our wedding. A small pack of love hearts and bubbles. The men had a small green shot glass and poem attached on a vintage post tag.

The wedding cake was a vanilla sponge made by Baked With Love By Laura. I had discovered a dew design I liked and asked Laura to come up with something similar, it was perfect. I purchased the cake toppers from Not On The High Street and used a slice of tree trunk for the base of the cake – this finished it off perfectly

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (34)

We decided on the Aaron Bayley Band for our night time entertainment. They were a five piece band and played live music for all genres, which meant all guests could really enjoy it. They played right through until mid-night, which was a bonus! Lucy Bewley was my pianist who played me up the aisle during the ceremony. The song she played was Kissing You by Des’ree. It was beautiful.

As a special touch we provided guests with a guest book and ‘signature tree’ – they printed their thumb print onto the tree and signed next to it. This worked perfectly for the tree house setting and was a great piece to frame and keep.

We also hired some love letters from New Image Signs, which were placed just outside the venue. These worked great when it began to get dark. New Image Signs did an amazing job and the service was outstanding! The love letters really made the whole venue light up and we managed to get some shots sitting inside the letters which was amazing! Would fully recommend this company for any special occasion.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (41)

I’d also highly recommend Alnwick Gardens. The venue is so special and the staff are brilliant, especially the wedding planner Wendy who helped me plan and make my ideas become real! She was amazing leading up to the day but also on the day itself! I couldn’t have asked for a better venue, it was perfect in every way; both the food and drinks were fabulous too!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (50)

My favourite part of the wedding had to be walking up the aisle – it was beautiful, and seeing Christopher and all my family and friends made it so special. Saying our vows was slightly nerve-racking however we were just us and laughed our way through it!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (18)

We delayed our honeymoon until later in the year. We will be jetting off to Dubai on Boxing Day! We wanted to drag our celebration out even longer and have something special to look forward to at the end of our best year!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every second! It really does fly by, even though everyone says it! End the night on the dance floor with your new husband and best friends! That’s what made it special for me.

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