September 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m looking forward to joining my friend and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Cat Hepple to host a question and answer session at her Editorial Wedding Workshop this afternoon.
Nerves? Nah, I’m saving those for this.
Whilst I’m off on official duties, I thought I’d leave this especially sweetLeeds based DIY vintage travel themed wedding in my pace for you to enjoy. Jess and Sam styled their big day their way, to beautiful and individual effect. Super cool.
With images by Mark Dolby Photography.
Jess says: Sam proposed after an amazing evening out in Leeds. The story starts with an unfortunate incident of a pair of my tights getting stuck to chewing gum on a seat in a bar – they compensated us by gifting us a bottle of wine and we decided to make a night of it! We went for a few drinks and then some amazing tapas. When we left the restaurant Sam realised he had left his scarf in one of the earlier bars so on the way back we had to cross the Millennium Bridge in Leeds. He got out some photos of us at various places we’d been to since we got together and some pegs out of his pocket and suggested we count the bars on the bridge and peg photos to them. Once we ran out of photos we hit a bar with a padlock on it. The padlock had our initials on it and the lyrics from a Weezer song – “I think I’d be good for you, and you’d be good for me” when I turned to look at Sam he was down on one knee with a ring asking if I’d marry him.
We got married on 16th August 2014 at the iconic Town Hall and had our reception at the beautiful Leeds Club on Albion Place. We chose the Leeds Club because it’s a gorgeous building with amazing features. The Leeds Club also blew us away with their organisational skills. We wanted somewhere with an old soul but could throw a great party and I think we cracked it with the Leeds Club.
Our wedding had a travel theme to it. We chose travel as a theme as it is one of our shared passions in life. In the first 2 months of getting together we flew from Leeds to California to see Weezer play and that set the tone for the rest of our relationship.
All the flowers were made from old maps, this included table flowers, bouquet and buttonholes. The centrepieces were placed on squares made of material with maps on them. All the tables were named after cities we had visited and our table plan was on a map. Our invitations and programmes were designed like airline paper.
We didn’t have a particular colour scheme but because of our travel theme, the maps and the blue and red airline paper did play a part in dictating colours. I decided to use maps for the flowers because they would add pattern and colour to the bloom without being uniform or too prescribed.
My wedding dress was Sia by Coast. I tried on probably around 50 dresses and couldn’t find one that had the right balance of being bridal but practical. Then I found Coast! I was in love with the Sia dress but they didn’t have any more in my size across the country. The personal shopper called every store across England but it wasn’t in stock. But luckily someone was selling one on eBay in my size. With a few alterations to the length, it was perfect!
My shoes were from Irregular Choice. They are my favourite shoe brand and loved seeing them peep out from under my dress as we walked through town!
Sam’s suit was a favourite he has from Marks and Spencer. He bought the matching waistcoat and then chose a snappy shirt from Next. His shirt was a beautiful geometric pattern in red and white with a red tie. Sam had a tan belt and same colour shoes from Berwick’s.
Sam is really keen on ethical purchasing so he gave a lot of his choices a lot of thought and this included his underwear. In the end Sam chose items from ‘Pants To Poverty’. These became quite a talking point at the reception when I mentioned them in my speech!
As explained, I carried a bouquet that I had made from maps. I got designs from various craft blogs online and over a few nights perfected my flower crafting. My bouquet had about 50 flowers in it made from maps. I bought a shoebox of maps from eBay and used about 90% of the contents. The rest of the maps can be useful for our next adventure!
We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen but I did make buttonholes for all the family so they could have them in their hair (for the ladies) or in their suits (for the gents). Sam’s Dad also chose the same shirt and tie combo as Sam. That was a lovely touch.
I travelled from our home in Leeds to the Town Hall with my brother, sister and brother’s girlfriend in Mercedes town car that we booked. It was an E Class and very plush. Then between the Town Hall and the Leeds Club we walked between the venues. We had a few girl ushers (or Gushers, as I nicknamed them) to help guide guests as to the venue.
This was a lot of fun because another wedding had booked a Rolls Royce that was sat outside the Town Hall when we left and everyone expected us to get in. As we walked off everyone was very confused! Eventually as people started to cotton on that it wasn’t our car they then convinced us to go back for photos! So to the couple that paid for that car- if you see any photos of us by the side of your Rolls on your wedding day- I am so sorry!
It was great that we did walk though as luckily on that day Fosters were doing a promotion and giving out cans of beer right between our two venues! All our guests got a freebie on the walk between. People kept thanking us for arranging it!
Our photographer was Mark Dolby and he was incredible. He was so much a part of the day he was like a guest- but he was also doing all the work! He arrived hours before we had booked him so that he could be prepared and stayed much later than we agreed because we over ran! He made us feel so comfortable and happy. He captured loads of amazing natural and reportage style shots, which is exactly what we wanted. We had a few classic group shots but we were sold on his style of ‘in the moment’ photos and they were absolutely amazing. Thank you so much Mark!
He also had around 85 photos ready for us to look through by the meal time so that they could be on a slide show in the bar at the Leeds Club- the guests loved it and kept complementing us on what lovely photos. Plus they felt famous being on the big screen in a gorgeous bar!
I made a centrepiece for each of the tables, which included a table name on a luggage tag that was displayed in an empty bottle of beer. Sam is a beer connoisseur so he chose each beer bottle carefully! There were a lot of samples for that decoration!
Around each table name there were three bottles with my map flowers placed inside and candles. All of this was also placed on a square of map material. We also had maps cut into hearts sprinkled onto each table as table confetti. Each guest had their place name on a luggage tag that I had sewn with some map material.
For our cards and guest book table there were more flowers made of maps and a suitcase for cards. The suitcase came from my friend’s house when they moved in and must be over 50 years old. I also made the cards bunting sign from old maps.
Sam’s Mum gave me some decorations from his Grandmother’s wedding in 1947. They also were used in Sam’s parent’s wedding so I framed them so that they could have a special place in our wedding.
I made most the decorations myself but the Leeds Club put all of them out. They were so helpful! We delivered all the bits on Friday morning with set up instructions and they put them out perfectly!
We are in love with this bakery called That Old Chestnut in Leeds. It is a vegan bakery and they basically work in cake magic. The first time we tried their cake at a fair in Leeds we knew we would have them! The question was what flavour cake! In the end we couldn’t decide so we had 6!
Triple Chocolate, Stem Ginger, Lemon Drizzle, Carrot, Coffee and Walnut and Chocolate Torte.
We were a bit nervous we had gone overboard on the cake so we provided cake-away boxes in case anyone wanted to take some home and by the end of the night there was nothing but some crumbs (which I ate while we were saying “bye” to our last guests!).
We didn’t do favours but we did have a lot of cake and let people take any of the table flowers home with them. There wasn’t any table flowers by the end of the party and lots of guests had worked them into their hair. It was fantastic! That was exactly what we hoped!
We chose a hot fork buffet by the Leeds Club because we like the informal style of choosing from a buffet on the day but knew that a hot meal would be needed! The food was delicious; when we came for a menu tasting we were so excited!! We provided wines through Sam’s Mum and Dad. They introduced us to this brilliant Pinot Noir from Aldi and a Spanish White wine that Sam’s mum loves.
Our DJs were incredible. I know them from my work and they really did us a massive favour by DJing. The speeches over ran so they couldn’t get into the room to set up the equipment until an hour late, but they still started the party on time.
I first met one of the DJs when I hired him for a job in the bar I worked in when he was 18 and a few months old- he is now working on his PhD in Southampton and came back to Leeds just to DJ for us!
Sam and I went out for some last minute portraits before our first dance and when we came back the dance floor was packed- we had to clear a space for the first which was Diana Ross’ “Upside Down”.
After our first dance everyone was back on the floor and didn’t stop until the end. Even then there were chants for “one more tune!” A big thanks to Aarran Shaw and Sam Ryder for accommodating us!
We added lots of special touches to our day, but two stand out in particular.
I did a speech at our wedding. I think it is becoming more common for Bride’s to speak at their wedding and I can see why. It is so great to add your different perspective on the day and what you had thought in the run up. It was also great because I could mention some of the important people who couldn’t be there for various reasons – like our Grandmothers who I know would have loved to see the day.
We chose two readings at the Town Hall, which really helped personalise the ceremony. Our friends Lauren and Susy read an extract from Dr Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and our friend Dave did an acoustic cover of the Magnetic Fields “The Book of Love” – he put lots of energy in to the final chorus and took it up an octave. The crowd went wild!
The people at the Town Hall were absolutely incredible. The lady who prepared and signed the register with us – Nancy, was retiring after our wedding and it felt so special to be her last couple. As she explained the register to us as we signed our names she had a lump in her throat saying the words. It was an incredible moment.
We would strongly recommend the Leeds Club. It is a beautiful, historic location but also incredibly well placed. Very easy for guests to find but also easy for them to find their hotels! The team at the Leeds Club will also bend over backwards for you. They did so much to help us prepare for our big day- a big thank you especially to Karen Hiscoe, Ellie and Laura.
My favourite part of the day was when Sam and I met before we went to the Town Hall in the Leeds Central Library. It was a bit of a risk as they had previously told us we’d need permission for photos there. I was starting to get nervous when I arrived at the Library and fell up the stairs as I walked in (much hilarity ensued for my siblings!). But when Sam and I saw each other, all the nerves disappeared and we were just so happy.
We took some photos and walked across to the Town Hall. It felt so calm and natural to walk in together with all our friends and family there. The emotions came back as we walked down the aisle though. Truly amazing.
For our honeymoon, we went to one of our most favourite places in the world- Barcelona. Viva Espana! We hired a flat in Barceloneta with a view of the sea and spent the week drinking cava, relaxing on the beach and seeing art! Perfecto! Randomly two of our close friends were also in Barcelona at the time so we had them over for dinner at the flat one night and it was great to get their view on the wedding! Our photographer- Mark, had also been to Barcelona the week before so he gave us some great tips on some art to see.
We loved our wedding so much and had an absolute ball! I have probably a hundred top tips for other Brides Up North. Seeing your partner before you walk down the aisle is so special. Just go with the flow on the day. When we planned the day I was nervous about fitting all the bits in- they didn’t fit in, and it didn’t matter! We were late but that was ok!
Make sure you get plenty of water – it’s amazing how dehydrated you can feel from the nerves.
September 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding couples’ budgets vary, as do their lists of priorities. While some will want to splurge on a delicious wedding banquet fit for a king and queen, others would much rather invest in an amazing band to keep the dance floor rocking all night long.
On a similar note, brides have different ideas of what price tag their wedding attire should carry. A proposal can mean the green light to spend a crazy amount of money on a couture dress, designer heels and matching accessories – because hey, if you don’t do it on your wedding day when will you ever have a license to spend so frivolously again?
But then there are other lines of thought – why spend so much on a dress that I’ll only where for one day? I’d rather have a blow out on fancy footwear that I can wear well beyond the wedding day? I’ll spend less on the dress and put the money saved towards my dream honeymoon.
Of course there’s no right or wrong answer as to how much one should spend on a wedding dress – it’s a case of each to their own.
For those brides that are on smaller budgets, or who would simply prefer to spend in other areas, there are some incredibly pretty high street bridal offerings that won’t completely break the bank.
An expert in elegance, style and class, high street honey Monsoon has just released its autumn/winter 2014 bridal collection, and ladies; you’re in for a treat!
Sleek and slim-line in the majority, the dresses are fabulously flattering and not one oversteps the £700 mark. In fact one of my favourites in the collection is actually the cheapest. The stunning Lyra maxi dress, which features a sparkling band hand embellished with beads and diamantes, comes in at just £229.
Mid-range dresses include Rosanna, Iris and May, though each offers a totally different look. The high-waisted Rosanna is a pretty vintage vision with a sparkling diamante and bead trimmed scalloped neckline and antique broach detailing. Meanwhile the cute tea-length Iris dress is ideal for 50- style brides with its boned bodice, full skirt and floral appliquéd layers. May is perhaps a better option for brides wanting a more fitted gown. Though less voluminous, the romantic knee-length design still packs a punch its lavishly embroidered finish.
Creeping up to the £500 region we have the beautiful Breya. The romantic, mermaid silhouette with a scalloped court train boasts vintage Indian-inspired metallic embroidered tulle, adorned with shimmering seed pearls, beads and miniature sequins. This is most definitely a show stopper!
Finally the enchanting Ellis dress is top of the shop at £699. According to its creators, this dress has been tailored to form-flattering perfection so brides can walk the aisle with the utmost confidence.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Monsoon has also designed a collection of highly-desirable bridal shoes, which remain within the £50-£100 price bracket, so you can pocket even more pennies.
1. Lyra, £229
2. May, £249
3. Rosanna, £299
4. Iris, £299
5. Jessica, £299
6. Breya, £499
7. Erynne, £499
8. Ellis, £699
All prices correct at the time of publishing.
September 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Let’s get the week of to a really fabulous start with this old Hollywood inspired – and super cool – cinema wedding in Manchester, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Melanie.
Popcorn at the ready. Roll film.
With images by Miki Photography.
Melanie says: We got engaged in Wembley Stadium. We had spent the day at Wembley waiting to see my favourite artist Bruce Springsteen. When he played an acoustic version of Thunder Road to finish the set, Chris got down on one knee in the middle of the crowd and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!
We were married on 7th June 2014. With a World Cup year and Glastonbury tickets booked we were limited to which dates we could pick, we would hate to miss an important football match! The 7th June was sports and festival free! Our engagement was just under one year which was the timeframe we wanted.
We chose Cornerhouse Cinema on Oxford Road in Manchester. We wanted somewhere that we had been before and had a connection with. We’re not church people and we felt that the town hall was a right of passage for Mancunians – which neither of us are! So when we realised the Cornerhouse was licensed to do weddings, it was an easy decision to make. We go there regularly and it’s somewhere we enjoy spending time.
The cinema venue seemed to naturally lend itself to influence the theme for the day which was 1920s Hollywood glamour.
Tying in with the theme, we tried to keep the colours classic with deep navy, burgundy and rosewater (bridesmaid dresses) the main colours. The groom and the best men were in navy and our flowers were a mix of nude, rosewater and burgundy.
Anyone who knows me will not that I’m not the girliest girl or someone who would be naturally drawn to a floor-length dress. I always thought I was too short to wear one. Originally I was looking for a tea-length dress. So I tried on many beautiful dresses but nothing seemed to click. Then the lady at The White Closet suggested ‘Eden’, immediately I said it wouldn’t suit me but she encouraged me to try it ‘even just to rule it out’, when I put it on I couldn’t believe how it looked and I knew straight away that this was the dress for such a special occasion.
Chris wore a tailor made suit which was made in Italy but measured and designed at Doherty Evans & Stott in Manchester. It wasn’t cheap but their service was perfect, not too stuffy but very informative in terms of etiquettes. Chris learned some valuable life lessons!
I carried an orchid bouquet, provided by a great little florist in the Northern Quarter called Frog Flowers.
I was chauffeured to the venue in a classic Jaguar. It was beautiful, really classy and fitted with our theme really nicely. It was provided by Platinum Wedding Cars who were great, particularly the driver who held the brolly at the photo shoot with aplomb!
Mick from Miki Photography was our photographer on the day and I would 100% recommend him to anyone. He was upbeat, organised and a total pro on the day, as well as being a great guy and easy to get along with.
Mick made us feel comfortable and relaxed and played a big part in bringing a relaxed atmosphere to the wedding.
We packaged up traditional cinema sweets to give out to the guests: popcorn for some and pick and mix for others.
We had a beer brewed for the occasion – a light, citrus IPA (my favourite) from local Manchester brewery Blackjack Beers.
We had a four-course menu of asparagus with pancetta, sea bass, steak and then chocolate brownie. The first two courses were paired with a white Gavi and the latter were paired with a red Nero D’avola. During the meal tasting we tried several wines and we felt like these were the best options to suit all tastes.
We wanted a four course menu to extend the length of the meal to really appreciate and enjoy it. We followed the meal with a special selection of Whisky, Port and Sherry chosen by my father.
We had a red velvet two-tiered cake with coconut buttercream icing piped in a floral pattern. The cake was made by Bakeorama (Charlotte) who provides the cakes for Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter.
My favourite part of the day was the drinks reception we had at the Cornerhouse immediately after the ceremony, and it was just a great chance to go and soak up everyone’s excitement and share that feeling with all our close friends and family.
We used props and uplighters from i Catching based in Hyde. The props were really cool, and they were really helpful and easy to deal with so would definitely recommend them as well.
In the evening, we had a photo booth with fancy-dress accessories which provided good fun for everyone.
We also had a local band, The Coolers, play two fantastic sets. Our good friend Roger Hughes works in the music industry organising session bands and wedding bands so we left the music in his more than capable hands, he even played keyboard on the night!
We were getting a lot of help from my Dad and Step-mum in organising the wedding, and since they were living abroad at the time they decided to get some help with a wedding planner, Andrea from Fabulous Day. At first we weren’t sure we needed it, but by the end of the day we knew the day wouldn’t have been the same without her. Absolutely everything was taken care of and we were all able to relax and totally enjoy the day. 100% recommend her services to anyone.
We went to Croatia two days after the wedding. We spent the first four nights in a private villa on Vis Island in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. It was lovely and peaceful where we could just relax in the aftermath of the wedding. We then had three nights in Split, just as the World Cup started, so we were able to catch some games on the big screens!
Everybody advised us to soak up every moment of the day and try to take it all in because it goes by in a flash. This was brilliant advice and I think we both tried to do it and really enjoy every minute of the day. There were some nerves at times, but we didn’t let it get the better of us and we just had enjoyed the day.
September 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
You shall go to the ball.
Save the pumpkins for Halloween, Cinders.
September 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This little corner of the internets wouldn’t be here without my fabulous Brides Up North Sponsors (by the way, have you checked out our slick new Directory yet… you could explore for hours, and do all your wedding planning at once!) so today, I’m very pleased to introduce the lovely Jane of Camera A Photography to these pages.
And it’s a Happy Friday indeed!
As a special treat for Brides Up North readers Jane is offering a pre-wedding shoot at her studio or at a venue within 20 miles of her studio if you quote ‘brides up north’ on booking. You can then choose your favourite image and Camera A will produce a guest signage board free of charge. Lovely!
Let’s say hello.
How did you get into photography?
Camera A Photography is a family run business. My mum Ann set up the business when I was born, 32 years ago, working from home. She was college trained and worked for a photographer before going it alone. Twenty two years ago we moved to our present studio: which is situated at 3, Skinnergate, Darlington.
I joined the business 10 years ago to originally help mum expand the business as my background is in marketing and sales. However, I fell in love with photography and the wedding business is now mine (mum works for me)! After joining the business and many courses later I achieved my diploma in photographic practice. You never stop learning with photography. Sarah Atkinson who is college trained also works for me, and has been with Camera A for 8 years. We also have Zoe who has worked for Camera A for 15 years part time, who is again fully trained and insured. We are a well established all female team.
Why wedding photography specifically?
A wedding is one of the most important days in people’s lives, so it is a great privilege to be a part of that day. We also have a studio, where we do lots of family portraits, so the next best thing is when a bride and groom bring their newborn baby for me to photograph.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
Being female, as I can really connect with the bride because I understand what she wants from her special day. It enables me to go into the bedroom at home or the hotel to take photographs of the finishing touches. I can be on hand and offer you help, advice & support, like an extra girlfriend! At this point I also take photographs of all the flowers, your jewellery, all the extra details that you have put into the wedding that makes it special to you.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
By the time the wedding day comes, the bride and groom will have met me a few times so they already feel like they know me. I have discussed with them their requirements regarding family and friend photographs and made a plan of the day together, so everything runs smoothly and all they have to do is enjoy themselves.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
It might sound a bit obvious, but I say to them not to worry, the day goes by so quickly and half the time they will not even realize that they are having their picture taken. They will be naturally beaming which will come across in the photographs. On the day, our priority is the bride. We have over 30 years experience in the wedding business, we know what works and what doesn’t, experience is priceless. We have come across every scenario and can help you keep calm.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
I would always recommend a makeup artist, as a make-up artist will make the most of the brides features. We would also advise not to wear glitter, as this can reflect if flash is used and to use a matt foundation to help with the shine. Always have a trial to make sure you like it, this goes for hair too.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
If you are going to have a spray tan, make sure you have it a good few days before hand!
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
I’m going to have to say the obvious, Kate Moss. She has cheek bones to die for and she wouldn’t take a bad picture, I’m sure!
Any really beautiful weddings that you have captured?
I did such a beautiful wedding at Judges in Yarm in May. All of the pink blossom was out on the trees. The bride was stunning, the bridesmaids had these lovely short funky dresses on, the sun was shining and the bride arrived on a carriage pulled by two white horses. If this was not a fairy tale wedding, I’m not sure what is. As a surprise the brides own horse was brought to the wedding, with pink roses plaited into his mane, it was perfect. (I have a horse myself, so I just loved it even more).
Any funny stories to share?
Ann crashed her car on the way to a wedding once, it was her fault. The man she crashed into was not pleased as you can imagine. Her car could no longer be driven but she knew she could not be late for the wedding and had no time to wait for the AA so made the man who she crashed into drive her to the wedding! He was really not happy about this, but did as he was told. Well a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
The fact that we are a larger team sets us apart from others, there’s myself, Ann and Sarah as three main fully trained and insured photographers. With all the goodwill in the world, if you are ill or an emergency happens, there may be a reason why the photographer you have booked cannot attend the wedding. This would not happen with Camera A. As we are a large team we will always have back up.
The quality of our work also stands out; we use Photoshop to edit our images and to make them as perfect as possible. You have gone to so much time and effort to look and feel good, so we carefully enhance and can soften the skin to give you that little extra celebrity help, as all of the magazines do. You can tell us how much or little airbrushing you would like!
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
Amazing photography, a fantastic time and professional service.
What is included in your “package”?
Camera A Photography offer many different packages, which can also be tailored to suit the requirements of each bride and groom.
We offer coverage from the brides preparations until the wedding breakfast as standard then additional coverage to include speeches and the first dance can be added if desired.
We have packages with one photographer and two photographers.
Every image is edited as standard to make then as perfect as your special day.
All images can then be provided on disk as high resolution files with the copyright to the image and we have a wide range of options which include beautiful albums and Graphistudio Wedding Books. If a Wedding Book package is opted for, you will also receive 20 mini books for family and friends.
Thank you cards are included and in the thank you cards are details of how guests can access your wedding photographs with your own unique password from our website.
Can you give us an idea on price?
We offer a mid week special package, which is one photographer to cover from the bride’s preparations to the wedding breakfast. All images provided on a DVD slideshow to music, an A4 Wedding Book, a disk containing all album images, 20 mini books, all for £995.
For a Saturday and Sunday, the above package is a larger 25x35cm Wedding Book starting at £1395 including 40 thank you cards.
Our Ultimate Collection is more expensive but is the best value for money. Two photographers to cover from the bride’s preparations to the first dance. A DVD slideshow of all images as well as the high resolution files and copyright to all of the images. A 30x40cm Wedding Book with 70 images. 2 parents books which are A4 in size, 20 mini books and 40 thank you cards, all for £1995.
If you would prefer not to have an album we can do all of the images on disk starting at £900 for mid week or £1000 for a Saturday or Sunday.
Any treats for Brides Up North readers?
If you quote ‘brides up north’ I can offer you a pre wedding shoot at the studio or at a venue within 20 miles of the studio. You can then choose your favourite image and we will do you a guest signage board free of charge.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
We would love to hear more about your wedding and to be given the opportunity to put a package together for you and to show you examples of our work, hopefully at your chosen venue.
Please call us on 01325 381055, email email@example.com or our web address is www.cameraa.co.uk.
Come along and meet the Camera A team at our Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza at Hardwick Hall Hotel on Sunday 28th February 2014, 12pm till 4pm, free entry. Click here to find out more.
September 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Rachel and James’s lovely wedding in the heart of the Northumberland works with the natural landscape around it to create a beautiful day that just fits. A setting that means something, allowed to shine. And a big dash of countryside glam.
It’s a breath of fresh air for a Thursday afternoon.
With images by Jamie Penfold Photography.
Rachel says: James and I met at a mutual friend wedding in Newcastle, but he lived in Bath and I lived in Northumberland. We spent hours on the phone and we quickly arranged a first date weekend in Bath. After collecting me from the early flight down, we went for breakfast at a cafe under Baths beautiful Pultney bridge, and knew at that point that we were both smitten. 8 years later, we both live in Bath and totally unexpectedly, James proposed under this bridge with a surprise audience of friends watching over and with a ring from a jewellers on Pultney bridge! It was an amazing moment.
We got married on June 27th 2014 in my family church in Northumberland, literally just over the hill from my family home. It’s beautiful countryside and a special place for both of us now so there was no question about it. My 94 year old grandfather drove us over the steep hill from church where we stopped for fizz and photos and we had a the reception back in the garden at the farm. It was my dream wedding.
The Northumberland countryside and my family garden already has so much character and natural beauty, I wanted a theme to work with that but I’m artistic at heart, so wanted to do tradition with a rustic/ vintage twist to compliment the old farm and house. The theme just evolved sticking to using props from the farm such as hessian sacks, old doors, an old Singer table, vintage mirrors… I got carried away with rustic vintage but loved the simple and yet effective finish.
The colour scheme was simple muted white and beige of the crisp white cloths and the beige of the hessian, combined with fresh green and white on the groomsmen and flowers. My bridesmaids were dresses in coral and white lace- which worked well with my dress and the soft flowers.
I love my dress! I chose it from Bella B in Berwick where I have shopped for years for other people’s outfits and where they had made bridesmaid dresses to fit me. Their Friday section is fantastic and I chose my dress easily and they made me a bespoke jacket to cover my shoulders and arms. Like a lot of brides, I had a thing about my arms and as a bit of a traditionalist wanted my shoulders covered in church. I had the best of both works to be able to remove the jacket at night. The dress has beautiful lace and diamond detail, a beautiful train and I matched it up with a few sparkles and a veil. The lace trimmed veil was the finishing touch that made me feel fabulously bridal (and hid a few happy tears going into the church!)
Our flowers were done by a friend but professional based in Northumberland, Sandra Dickenson. I wanted simple and light, so I swayed totally to baby’s breath… everything! Except for my bouquet where I included some peonies. Sandra is so talented and went the extra mile to accommodate my weird and wonderful requests.
James wore traditional tails for a traditional wedding. The button holes matched the hessian and baby’s breath of my bouquet and we had the ties made in a green and blue liberty pattern which was a soft but summery finish. He had a massive 10 ushers all dressed the same with a buff waistcoat to work with the hessian. With this amount of ushers it was far cheaper to make ties and to get enough for 10 and in a design to suit. I’d really recommend it.
Our photographer (Jamie Penfold Photography) was fantastic. Before the big day he came down to Bath to shoot us where we got engaged which was a great way to get to know him so that we were relaxed with him and the camera on the day. It also gave him the chance to get to know us as a couple and the type of photography we were hoping for. Not only did we do all this, but we also got some great shots of us in Bath which was an added bonus! We are so pleased with the shots of the big day, he has captured the whole feel of the day perfectly, our emotions, our guests reactions, the scenery and the wedding detail you are proud of. Most of our guests didn’t know we had a photographer- that’s a sign of a good one I think!
Instead of a traditional cake we went for cheese from The Northumberland Cheese Company. They were brilliant to work with: we tasted some amazing cheeses, it was hard to decide what to go for. The cake itself was assembled by the florist and the whole thing was demolished on the night! My theory is that people want savoury more than sweet after a few glasses of fizz and wine… and it appears they certainly did!
In the evening we had a band, Groove All Stars - they were brilliant! Offered a wide range of music playing as a duo for the reception and as a 7 piece in the evening. We pulled together our own dance to Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’. The band learned the music especially for the dance and were very happy about me getting behind the mic to start the song (which was planned I might add!)
They were a lovely bunch of people, very willing to bend over backwards to make you happy. That they definitely did – the dance floor was never empty!
I have two favourite moments from the day… walking into our beautiful little church on my proud dad’s arm and seeing James’s face at the end of the aisle – priceless and a lifelong memory of an amazing emotion.
Then, walking into the reception with my nephew leading us into a tunnel crowd of all our guests cheering. It was at that moment that it dawned on us- they are all here for us, all our most treasured friends and family are all around us and we’ve done it, we’re married and it feels amazing.
We set off tomorrow for Crete – I can’t wait. I’ll let you know on our return if we’d recommend it!
September 18th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
After kicking off our A to Z of weddings by deliberating how brides can top off their wedding attire with fabulous ‘A’ccessories we now move on to the letter B, which is for beauty.
Some may think that a bride doesn’t need to worry about her beauty regime until almost reaching her wedding day – but the preening and primping preparations often start well in advance.
Upon setting the date for the wedding and booking a venue, many brides begin the search for a make-up artist who they can trust to transform them into a gorgeous goddess on the big day. When embarking on the hunt, ladies should look out for glowing testimonials, details of their experience and also find out what brands they use to ensure its high-quality stuff that will stand the test of time in front of the camera. Once decided it’s helpful for a bride to think about the type of look she would like for her big day and collect images that will help their chosen make-up artist achieve what’s desired. When it comes to the trial; try, try and try again until you are happy with your chosen look and your make-up artist is happy they can recreate it.
But of course, make-up is just one small part of a bride’s beauty plan in the run up to their wedding. So let’s take a look at what else is on the mission goddess to do list.
Collage image sources as tagged in gallery.
Starting at this point gives brides time to make changes to their diet, beauty regime and fitness ritual ahead of the big day, without causing too much added stress to the already demanding task of organising a wedding.
If, like me, you’re guilty of not drinking enough water, now’s the time to up your intake as H2O is the simple solution to clearer, brighter skin. To ensure your skin is glowing and your eyes twinkle, try to drink at least eight glasses a day.
Following a healthy eating plan should also help to boost your skin as well as your hair and nails and will also help you shed any extra pounds you’d like to ditch. Weight-loss is of course aided by exercise so now’s the time to up your efforts in this area too. While high-intensity fat-burning exercise like running, aerobics and spinning will be top of the agenda for brides looking to slim down, those that are happy with their weight might just want to shape-up areas that their dress will highlight, such as toning their upper arms, stomach and/or bum.
Oh and let the pampering commence! If your pre-wedding budget allows treat yourself to a programme of tailored facials up until the week before your wedding to clear up and enhance your skin. Alternatively, if your purse strings are a little tight, you can always treat yourself to facials in the comfort of your own home.
You should be starting to see the results of your new beauty, diet and exercise routine but you could always step it up a gear by cutting down on your tea, coffee and alcohol intake which will enhance your appearance further.
If you’re becoming tired of your current exercise regime mix it up a little by trying a new class such as yoga or Pilates which will help improve your posture and core muscles while helping you to de-stress.
If you fancy spoiling yourself a little, start having regular manicures to keep your hands and nails in tip-top condition ready for that wedding ring close-up shot!
By now you should have clearer skin, glossier hair and a more slimmed down and/or toned up figure.
You can boost your beauty regime further by body brushing and exfoliating to rid yourself of dry skin cells resulting in a much more radiant look.
If a Hollywood smile is also on your ‘must list’ it’s time to whiten those pearls, whether you opt for a home-kit or book in for a professional procedure with a dentist.
Get a bikini wax and either shave or wax those legs so you’re ready for any wedding night passion and/or the honeymoon that‘s to follow.
Now is also a good time for any final eye-brow shaping and tinting.
If pre-wedding nerves are getting to you an indulgent massage might be just the ticket to relieve tense and aching muscles.
Have your final facial now to allow your skin to settle down ahead of the wedding but you can continue to exfoliate and moisturise to achieve a really flawless complexion.
Oh and did I mention to drink plenty of water?
Try not to wear any make-up a day or so before your wedding to allow your skin to breath.
A visit to the beauty salon is in order for those wanting spray tans, manicures and pedicures.
And the final stage in the ‘make me a goddess’ countdown is simply to get plenty of beauty sleep the night before the wedding – just so long as the pre-nerves or excitement aren’t kicking in too much, that is. The result should be one confident, radiant and beautiful bride who is ready for her moment in the nuptial limelight.
September 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Well, you picked the right time to stop by, because look! It’s the Brides Up North Super Showcase Grand Wedding Exhibition! It’s THIS WEEKEND! And it’s only the biggest event in our whole autumn calendar.
The region’s best and most beautiful wedding industry suppliers will gather at of the North East’s favourite wedding venue – Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club – on Sunday 21st Septemeber 2014, from 12pm till 4pm, FREE ENTRY.
Yep. Free. With a goody bag on top!
Judging by our pre-registration, it’s going to be pretty epic…
Once again, we don’t do things by halves here at Brides Up North! We are filling the whole hotel – that’s five huge function areas – and it’s going to be spectacular!
If there’s one wedding fair to attend this year, this is it. This isn’t your typical wedding fair though, it’s a knock-your-socks-off Super Showcase! This is officially the largest free entry bridal event in the North East area and should most definitely be one for your diaries.
Whether you are shopping for the final details or have no idea where to start, I can promise you the very best choice of the best bridal experts in the region. Everything you can think of for planning your big day will be represented and there’ll be on the day discounts too.
Come and see our two professional bridal catwalks (this season we are getting ready to sparkle!), meet the Ramside wedding planners, pose in our photo booths, taste our scrumptious wedding cakes, kit out your man and bridesmaids, play dress up with gorgeous gowns and accessories, get lost in our beautiful floral displays, get the hair and make up sorted, source your stationery, find a top photographer and tick off all those last essential details. You name it, we can sort it.
I adore this event – it’s big, it’s busy, it’s exciting, but most of all it’s really beautiful. I can’t wait to see you all there for a day of wedding heaven… and lots of fun too.
Just ’cos I’m generous, we’re giving away up to 300 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors John Lewis and Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last.
We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2014. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions this autumn.
Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Since their inception in spring 2012, all exhibitions have been sell outs on exhibitor space with a record attendance for every venue. Consequently, we expect demand for our autumn season to be very high. Get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee your place.
Images by Cat Hepple Photography.
September 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a distinct “Tuesday feeling” for much of this morning (the direct opposite of the Friday feeling, which is far nicer). I’m not sure if it’s a come down from the heady mix of industry and bridal events, high heels and glitter whirlwind that I’ve been spinning around in for the past week or so, but today’s huge to-do list of deathly dull admin left me feeling meh.
That’s until I started putting today’s real wedding feature together.
Stacey & Michael’s beautiful celebration at North East landmark venue Wynyard Hall reminded me exactly why I love this job and that however many VAT returns I have to chew through, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Get ready to pretty up your Tuesday and get lost in lace, blooms and birdcage veils…
With images by Foster & Foster Photography.
Stacey says: We got engaged in October 2012. I was meant to have some annual leave from work, but had been very busy at work and consequently had cancelled my holidays. Unknown to me, Michael had planned a couple of days away. I phoned him from a work to let him know and when I got home from work, I changed into my pyjamas and began to prepare dinner. He nipped upstairs and reappeared in our sitting room on one knee and proposed.
He said that he did it because now he was uncertain as to when we could go away he couldn’t wait!
We were married on 8 March 2014. We knew we did not want a long engagement and 16 to 18 months felt about right.
I didn’t want a typical summer wedding as I envisaged the bridesmaids wearing fur capes outside. We plumped for early March as it was likely to be past the worst bits of winter (heavy snow) but still chilly.
We chose Wynyard Hall, Teeside as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the North East as this is where most of our friends and family are. We also knew we wanted an old venue as this suits our taste. We visited lots of venues, but when we drove up to Wynyard we were blown away by the building and its grounds. When we went inside and seen the amazing stain glass ceiling with grand piano below, I was sold.
When shown around, we liked that we could use three different rooms through the various stages of the day and have our own bar area. The terrace on the right was exclusively ours and allowed our guests privacy. In addition Wynyard had amazing bedrooms to accommodate our immediate family and friends, whilst being near enough to other hotels for other guests. It is an incredible venue, with lots of places for amazing photographs as well as creating the perfect atmosphere.
The team at Wynyard were very helpful and friendly and we knew we’d be in good hands on the day. Chris, our master of ceremonies, kept everything on track and did an amazing job. Maggie our wedding coordinator was very attentive, answered all my queries well and efficiently and everything went smoothly on the day.
Given the venue, I chose lace and, in hindsight, a vintage theme. The boys’ ties were a soft sage green and the bridesmaids wore nude. The flowers then picked up on these colours with ivories and soft peach. I wanted to go for pale colours and tie everything into the lace that I had chosen for the tables.
I wore a fishtail lace Pronovias dress in an off white colour (Diago). I bought it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. I knew that my preference was for a dress with straps/sleeves and no “bling”. When I tried this dress on, the way it moved made me feel amazing and the lace detail was spectacular. Every dress I tried on after it I kept comparing to this one.
What Katy Did Next made me an amazing bespoke birdcage veil. It had a large ivory flower with pearl centre and jewelled leaves on either side. The small veil was then detachable after the ceremony. Her expertise and skill was second to none, as was her service. She also made me some heart shaped shoe clips in ivory so that my shoes were unique!
Michael and the rest of the bridal party wore a mid grey three piece suit hired from Mia Sposa. We bought white shirts from TM Lewin and bought the ties with matching pocket squares from an online retailer.
I had the bridesmaid dresses made to measure by Eve and Adam in Newcastle. They were nude coloured, sleeveless maxi dresses made to my specification. I chose to do this as I had two adult bridesmaids and two children (13 and 9) so it was difficult to find an off the shelf style to suit all. I also wanted a dress they could easily use again.
I had a bouquet of white lilac, champagne, soft peach and ivory roses and ivory peonies.
Katherine’s Florists in Newcastle provided these and they were amazing. Helen at Katherine’s really understood my vision and worked with me to achieve the look I wanted. She understood that I wanted to use fresh flowers but peonies were out of season at this time so she sourced high quality silk ones which you would not have known were silk when in the arrangement.
The bridesmaids carried very similar bouquets, with more soft peach shades and slightly smaller.
All of the groomsmen had button holes of champagne roses, along with Michael’s grandparents and mum. My mum had a pearl wrist corsage with a champagne rose which was beautiful.
We cannot praise Sarah and Mark enough for the huge part they played in our wedding day. We were recommended to use Foster and Foster Photography by several friends and from the minute we contacted them for a quote the service we received was exceptional!
They met with us prior to the wedding to understand the approach we wanted for our photos, get a feel for our wedding and just get to know us in general. They guided us on the optimal way of getting the crucial group shots we wanted whilst also allowing us to spend time with our guests.
On the day they were very much in the background, but still managed to capture amazing images! They made us feel very relaxed throughout the day. Michael in particular was nervous about being put into staged shots and feeling uncomfortable, but Sarah and Mark really made us feel at ease. They were brilliant at taking the group shots we wanted without being intrusive into the natural flow of the day.
The finished product was beyond our expectations and the follow up service has been exceptional! They sent us a small sample of their shots the day after our wedding which was amazing as we were jetting off on honeymoon. They then quickly produced a slideshow to send to our friends. All of our friends and family adore the images and commented on how well executed the photography was on the day.
We also opted to have an album and they worked with us to include all of our favourite pictures. More importantly they used their expertise to produce a professional finish which flowed well and captured all elements of the day. They also helped us to get some extra shots printed for our family. Small things like arranging specific times to deliver our disk of photos and album (to ensure we would receive them quickly and in perfect condition) really added to the already exceptional service.
I would not think twice about recommending Sarah and Mark as any couple’s wedding photographer. The service was faultless and they are a lovely couple who work incredibly well together. We are very lucky to have such amazing pictures from our special day!
We did not want people to sit on certain sides in the ceremony so had a personalised framed picture made saying “Today two families become one, choose a seat not a side”. I reserved the first two rows of the ceremony room for immediate family, bridesmaids and groomsmen and had names badges made which I used as place names in the ceremony room.
Down the aisle we sprinkled petals and had white lanterns with big candles in them which looked amazing.
In the room where we were married we had to two tall slim vases with large ivory hydrangeas. These were moved to our wedding breakfast room after the ceremony. Each table had a centre piece with tall vases containing a combination of the bouquets flowers with some ivory hydrangeas.
The top table had several small vases and jars dotted along the table with one or two of the bouquet flowers picked out. There were then five circular vases into which my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were dropped before the wedding breakfast. These were all supplied by Katherine’s Florists.
In addition, as part of our wedding package, Wynyard supplied a floral pedestal display and a floral spray for the registrar table in ivory colours.
I made some vintage style ladders for the table plan which were very unique and stood out next to the piano. We also had a table of family wedding photos next to the piano, which was brilliant as some people had passed away and it was a way to recognise them.
I also had made some extra frames with M&S in as well as some Mr and Mrs signs. One of my bridesmaid’s bought us a Mr and Mrs Hall sign for the top table which finished it off perfectly! She gave it to me the night before which made it an extra surprise!
I hired Posh Chair Covers and Bows to do the lace bows and hoods on the chairs as well as lace runners down the tables which fitted perfectly with the theme!
The cake was one of my favourite things! It was off-white to match my dress and covered in flowers in pale green, peach and ivory to match my colour theme. They cascaded down the cake and were more closely gathered near the bottom.
The bottom layer was fruit cake made by Michael’s brother (and the best man) who is a chef. There were then two layers of chocolate cake and one of vanilla. It was made by a family friend, Sue Hall. We also had a huge stack of cupcakes to match the main cake as cupcakes are a favourite of mine!
For the wedding ceremony and drinks reception we had a piano player Mark Deeks of Music Newcastle. We knew we wanted to use the grand piano in the main hallway where guests would be chatting. It was the perfect accompaniment to our ceremony and Mark provided an excellent bespoke service! He took requests on the day which our guests really enjoyed!
On the evening we had a local band, The Fontains. They were better than we could ever have hoped! They performed our first dance song “Read My Mind” by The Killers and the arrangement was fantastic! The atmosphere they created was beyond what we could have hoped for!
My favourite part was walking out of the wedding ceremony to the drinks reception because I was officially married to Michael, everything looked perfect and everyone seemed to be having a brilliant time.
I felt I could relax as everything had come together as planned!
For our honeymoon, we went to Barbados for two weeks. The first week we spent on the west coast near Holtown self catering and the second on the south east coast near St Lawrence Gap.
The weather was perfect for us as it was hot with a breeze. We explored the island in the first week, visiting various places by bus and foot. This included going on a catamaran cruise and Landrover off-road island tour.
The second week was absolute luxury in an all inclusive Sandals resort which was amazing and very relaxing after the hectic wedding build up!
One of the last things we booked was a wedding videographer, Ben at HNE Media. It was one of the best decisions we made as it allowed us to relive the day and listen to the speeches again. Ben was brilliant and the final product was perfect!
As my top tip for other Brides Up North I would definitely recommend splashing out on a videographer.
September 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding dress necklines have officially reached new depths.
While once an innocent sweetheart neckline was as far as designers dared to dip, there are now an increasing number of dresses reveal that much more of the chest area. But this doesn’t mean the dresses look at all cheap, tacky or tarty. Instead the designs scream high-fashion, ooze elegance and have just the right amount of sass and sexiness.
A perfect choice for confident brides who dare to bare, this style of dress can be highly flattering and incredibly striking. So let’s get the lowdown on the designers that are endorsing the new lowered neckline.
Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham, images in gallery as tagged.
Monique Lhuillier has several wonderfully dipped dresses in her collections. Clever designs such as Sylvie, Karlotta and Logan feature a lowered neckline but keep a good amount of flesh under wraps through the use of broad shoulder straps, illusion necklines and elegant lace sleeves. Meanwhile, the likes of Valletta and Teagan, which boast deep necklines but with thinner shoulder straps, give brides the opportunity to flash some extra flesh.
Claire Pettibone’s lowered necklines also retain modesty through the use of sleeves and shoulder detail. Lily is a stunning example for brides wanting to keep their arms covered. The elegant slim-line design features a highly detailed lowered neckline, exquisite long lace sleeves and a to-die-for sheer lace back. Minuet meanwhile is a much more revealing design with a dipped sweetheart neckline and pretty keyhole back detail.
Queen of vintage glamour, Jenny Packham has also jumped onboard the lowered necklines bandwagon. For brides wanting to keep their look simple but flash just a little flesh, there is Lavinia and Nina. Other brides will look to Packham for a dose of that intricate detailing that she does oh so well. This can be found in Noa and Marina, both of which feature plunging necklines as well as pretty, sparkling embellishment. Gatsby-style brides meanwhile will find it almost impossible to resist the sophisticated yet sexy charm of Rio – it’s a real head-turner!
Finally Justin Alexander, which produces perfect princess style gown, has a few lowered neckline creations to add to the offering. Interestingly, many of the dresses that feature deep necklines in the front are mirrored in the back of the gown. So for example the 8737 fit and flare gown, with heavily beaded pearl and crystal deep V-neckline also has a plunging back neckline. Similarly the 8652 mermaid style dress features a V-tank neckline in the front and is finished with a deep V-neckline in the back.
So the only question that remains is how low will you go?