March 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only the most gorgeous weddings grace the pages of Brides Up North. What’s with the Jane Austen? Well, there’s something a little bit Regency-era about today’s real wedding. Perhaps it’s the understated elegance of the bride’s Phase Eight Hermione dress (that cape!), or maybe it’s Pendrell Hall’s stunning architecture and sculpted gardens.
Jennifer and her dashing Mr Darcy (aka David) left Pride and Prejudice behind, however, when they also opted for vibrant colours, confetti balloons, pom poms, giant Jenga and an industrial-sized bubble machine (yes, really) to ensure a fun-filled day for young and old alike.
Period venue, classic gown, children’s games and wacky photo booth? Trust us. It really works.
With photography by Juliet Lemon.
jennifer says: We got engaged during a trip away for my birthday in 2013 to Snowdonia, Wales. It was organised by David. We stayed in a beautiful B&B with views of sheep and mountains, and the day after my birthday we climbed Snowdon. The heavy snow and weather meant we could only get as far as Glas Lyn (the lake beneath the summit), where we stopped for a lunch break practically up to our knees in snow. He then surprised me by getting down on one knee with a totally perfect aquamarine and diamond ring. Of course, I said yes!
We got married on 15th May 2015. The date had a nice symmetry to it and meant we had a shot at a sunny wedding. Luckily, we got it!
Our venue was Pendrell Hall, Codsall Wood (near Wolverhampton). It is close to both our parents’ homes and lots of friends and family so we went along to view the venue not long after we got engaged. We fell in love with the grounds, and the beautiful interior (even though it was still being renovated and wasn’t finished!) We knew we could trust the team at Pendrell to finish the works to the high standard of the rest of the venue, so we booked. They also work with Jenkinsons Caterers.
The overall idea for a theme was ‘relaxed’ – we didn’t want anything too formal. We fancied some wild flowers dotted around and some loosely arranged floral arrangements, and then tea lights, fairy lights, confetti balloons and garden games were quickly decided on. We just really wanted people to have fun and get to know each other.
Our colours were mainly ivory and lilac, forget-me-not blue (bridesmaids’ dresses) and pale pink (e.g. pompoms) dotted around – the colours complemented the venue and are our favourites!
I chose a Phase Eight dress called Hermione, from a couple of seasons ago. I fell in love with the Phase Eight range last year when I was looking and the Hermione dress just felt wonderful to wear. It’s quite heavy (all the beading!) but almost slinky too, and I loved the cape (I’m quite conscious of my arms!) It wasn’t too expensive either, and spending less meant I could spend more on shoes and my hair! My hairband was from June Ellen, shoes from Rainbow, my hairdo was by Cute Hair (Wolverhampton), nails by my mother (a nail artist, handily) and I did my own makeup. My mini-birdcage veil was from LilyBella.
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September 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is the type that calls for some serious pinning, so mood boards at the ready ladies, as this one is brimming with gorgeous inspiration.
Tying the knot at one of our fabulous Sponsor and Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair venues, the wonderful Middleton Lodge, Beccy and Craig took cue from the elegant setting planning a sophisticated yet fun wedding weekend, complete with stunning attire, dreamy décor, delicious food and fabulous entertainment. Top marks guys!
With images by Lucy G Photography.
beccy says: We got engaged on 13th December 2014, just four months after we starting going out (we have known each other for nearly four years though). Craig proposed at my parents’ house, in their dining room! We live in Cheshire but Craig is from Teesside originally. His parents had come to stay with us for the weekend and had brought the engagement ring with them, which he’d bought from Whittakers in Yarm, but didn’t have a way of collecting without me knowing. He had been thinking about all the different ways to propose and hadn’t decided on the best approach, so when we got to my parents for a joint-family meal Craig managed to get my mum on her own to show her the ring and told her he wasn’t sure when he was going to do it. She told him it didn’t matter where or when because she knew I would say yes. The parents were all so beside themselves with excitement, Craig thought then was as good a time as any… and beside which, both sets of parents may have spontaneously combusted at any point otherwise! I had been wondering what was wrong with him given that he offered me his dessert and I’ve never seen Craig not finish a meal before!
Our wedding was on 20th February 2016, as we wanted to get married as soon as we could. We visited our venue on their open day and asked about availability. We nearly went for November 2015 but decided that February would be a good time as it would give us something to really look forward to after Christmas and the New Year. We also knew it would be good weather for where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.
We got married at Middleton Lodge, which is in Middleton Tyas, near Richmond in North Yorkshire. We started looking for venues as soon as we got engaged and were initially thinking of somewhere between Cheshire and Teesdale, like the Lake District, but we didn’t really find anywhere that we loved. We saw Middleton Lodge on hitched.co.uk and we fell in love with it immediately. We went along to an open day there, having not viewed any other venues, and as soon as we saw it, we knew it was the place for us – it was perfect!
We didn’t really have a theme as such for the wedding, our inspiration stemmed from the venue but also my dress, although Craig didn’t know that of course! My dress wasn’t white or ivory – it was classed as blush but it was a very, very pale peachy/champagne pink. Given the colour of my dress, I thought that grey would work best for the chief bridesmaid and her dress was really sophisticated and beautiful. The feel of the venue combined with the look of my dress and my bridesmaid’s dress inspired us to aim for a vintage, glamorous look. We therefore decided to use lots of silver/mercury glass as a key feature. We actually sprayed an awful lot of glass bottles, jars and containers to look like mercury glass ourselves. The glasses had been saved up by us and both sets of parents over the course of a year, so lots of jam had been eaten, along with wine and whiskey drunk, all for the good of the wedding! We dotted these around Middleton Lodge, lighting tea lights in the jars to give off a glow which reflected against the bottles to create a lovely, warm atmosphere. We also had silver candelabras as our centre displays on the guests’ tables with silver candlesticks, which had pearls draped over them. Our wedding stationery also complemented the feel and featured a grey ribbon with a pearl embellishment, as I had lots of pearls on my dress.
I got my wedding dress was from 7th Heaven in Congleton, where we live. The shop is owned and run by the delightful and totally gorgeous Helen Allen. I feel very honoured and privileged to call this lady my friend. Choosing my dress from 7th Heaven was really special. Helen, her mum Brenda, Leslie and the seamstress Carolyn are just amazing. The shop is beautiful inside and out and you are made to feel incredibly special – you never want to leave! I tried on a number of dresses and was struggling to decide between a few until Helen’s mum came down from her fitting appointment to see how we were getting on. She reminded us that they wanted me to try on the dress on the mannequin in the window because it was a little different. As soon as I put it on my mum cried and I knew that was the one!
I absolutely adored my dress, it was Sophia Tolli and it was called Starling. I really felt like a princess in it. The dress was very different to those I had previously tried given its colour and detailing. It was a strapless ball gown with a sweetheart neckline in lace and tulle which had a fitted, lace up bodice. It flared out from the hips into a big skirt and had a chapel length train. The dress was a blush/champagne pink and covered in charcoal grey lace and crystal and pearl beading. It also had a beautiful and very sparkly satin belt to match that went around the waist.continue reading
September 5th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Monday might have come around too quickly once again, but fear not as we have a stunning real wedding to distract you from the working week ahead.
After falling head over heels in love with the beautiful Crewe Hall in Cheshire, Laura and Luke found picking their venue a doddle. Taking inspiration from its grandeur and class, the two then planned a sophisticated celebration full of pretty pink and purple summer blooms with fabulously fine attire for the wedding party.
With images by Sarah Horton Photography and assistant photographer Hannah Wilson.
laura says: We got engaged on my birthday at one of our favourite restaurants, The Swan with Two Necks in Blackbrook, Staffordshire. We’d been away travelling for nearly four months to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It turned out that Luke had taken the ring with him but never found the right moment – plus I think everyone was expecting it back home so he didn’t given in! We got home in March and he proposed in May – which nobody was expecting so it was a complete surprise which made it even more special. Luke was however given some grief about visiting many amazing places while we were away and missing his opportunity.
We set the date for Saturday 25th June 2016, as we wanted a summer wedding.
Our chosen venue was Crewe Hall in Cheshire. We got married in the library and had the wedding breakfast in the long gallery. We both loved Crewe Hall form the moment we saw it! We’d been to weddings there before and knew it was the place for us.
We didn’t have a specific theme but we wanted it to be classy and sophisticated to reflect the venue. Our colour scheme was subtle pinks, lilacs and purples.
November 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you’re craving some pretty on this Monday morning then you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re sharing Hayley and Ross’ gorgeous celebration, complete with pastel wedding colours and handpicked style blooms.
As well as the setting being stunning, so too are the bride and groom with Ross opting for a slightly unusual bottle green suit and Hayley wearing a slim-line vintage style gown with exquisite detailing.
Above all we love that the day is beautifully styled but has a very chilled out vibe to it too – well until the reception that is when it appears some rather competitive moves went down on the dancefloor!
With images by Knot Just Pics.
hayley says: We had been together for eight years and were travelling around Australia and New Zealand visiting family and friends when we got engaged. Ross’ mum lives in New Zealand and she planned a big trip for Ross, myself, her and her husband around the South Island. We stayed in lots of small out of the way places, one of which was called ‘Barb’s Bach’ in the Marlborough Sounds (A bach is a holiday cottage). It was a fair drive from anywhere so really peaceful and remote. Ross and I were sleeping in a ‘sleep out’ which is essentially a spare bedroom down a walkway in the garden. Ross is not an early riser so I was getting suspicious of him getting up so early to make coffee in the mornings. Little did I know that these were failed attempts to get the ring from his mother’s handbag where it was safely hidden! Eventually he got down on one knee next to the bed and proposed. It was a total shock, having been together for so long, I just did not see it coming!
Our wedding date was slap bang in the middle of the school summer holidays as I am a primary school teacher. I needed both time to sort things out and then time to go on a honeymoon before school started again.
Ross is from South Africa, I’m from Shropshire and we live in London, so no matter where we got married, people would have to travel from somewhere! In the end, we decided on Shropshire as it was the most affordable option for people having to travel. It is also one of the most beautiful, unspoilt places in the UK (although I may be a little biased!). Our venue was somewhere that I had often been to with my family for special occasion dinners although it took us ages to think of it as a wedding venue. We had been looking for places with accommodation and had no luck. During a family Sunday lunch we had a quick look around The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel and it was pretty perfect! Coincidentally my grandfather had booked my parents a room there on their wedding night but there was a mix up with the booking and they didn’t stay. Thankfully my parents were able to get over it – 36 years later!
September 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s oh so pretty real wedding caught my eye for two reasons: a familiar face and a famous face. I was in 6th Form (all those years ago) with beautiful bride Amanda and the lively vicar is none other than Reverend Kate Bottley, who stars in addictive reality TV show, Gogglebox.
It looks like I’ve now reached that age where there is almost a constant stream of people I know getting hitched (though I’m yet to even make it into the engaged club *le sigh*).
I loved Amanda’s wedding as soon as I set eyes on it due to the great choice of venues, her stunning off-the-shoulder dress, pretty blooms, polished wedding party and lovely colour scheme. Everything is simple but effective for an elegant wedding with a touch of glamour, just as Amanda wanted.
With images by Shakespeare Photography.
amanda says: Our engagement was a complete surprise to me. Howard took me on a date to the Gherkin in London as he was working there at the time. You can only go up to the viewing deck if you are working there so it was completely empty. We were looking at the view of Tower Bridge and the next thing he was on one knee. He proposed with a candy rock giant ring and I thought he was joking at first! Then he produced a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring. I said “yes” of course and then we went upstairs to the bar which has a 360 degree view of London and had champagne. Afterwards we went for a gorgeous meal on a rooftop restaurant in the Bank area of London.
We got married on 23rd May 2015. We chose the date as we wanted to get married in May and wanted to get married on a Saturday. That Saturday was also a bank holiday weekend which made it perfect for our travelling guests.
We got married at St Mary and St Martin Church in Blyth, Nottinghamshire. We chose to get married there because I was born in Rotherham and grew up in Worksop. I have always liked Blyth as it is a pretty old market town and the church there is very special as it is almost 1,000 years old. The church has a rich history with both Old Catholic and more recent protestant sections and has architecture that reflects this interesting history. The vicar there is the Rev Kate Bottley and she is fabulous and made the process so much more fun.
We had our wedding reception at Rossington Hall which is just over the border into South Yorkshire. We fell in love with Rossington Hall as it had the right combination of period grandeur, excellent food and friendly, approachable staff. The venue is perfect for weddings. It was an old boarding school and had run into dereliction so a local man bought it and painstakingly restored to its original Victorian glory.
I just wanted the whole day to be simple and elegant with a touch of glamour. Everything was ivory and pale blush pink apart from the men’s suits which were navy blue. We chose this colour scheme as we wanted everything to be elegant and understated.
I chose a long chiffon dress from Sincerity Bridal. I got it from a shop called Wedding Frox in Cranleigh, near where I live. I fell in love with it on the hanger as it was so simple; it had no embellishment on it at all which was what I wanted. When I tried on the dress I was certain it was the one as I loved the shape and the way it made me feel.
June 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Here at Brides Up North we just love a glam wedding and today’s has it all – a striking gown, opulent colour scheme and men in uniform!
Kathryn and Kelechi chose the grand Allerton Castle as the setting for their dream wedding, which was then styled in keeping with the historic venue’s décor and to suit the couple’s personal taste.
Posh transport, sparkling stationery and lavish centrepieces all help to create a wedding day as alluring as the bride and groom’s attire. Glam to a tee.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Laura Calderwood Photography.
kathryn says: We got engaged in Sydney, Australia, my hometown at the time. After meeting three years prior, Kelechi came over on a two-week holiday from the US Navy. Palm Beach is a favourite spot of mine so on day one of the trip we decided to go there and climb to the lighthouse, little did we know it wasn’t a pleasant stroll up but a hike! At the top and covered in sweat, I looked around and said “just think, this may be the last time we come here” – then turned back to Kelechi who said “we better make sure we remember it then” – he was down on one knee!
Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We chose this date mainly due to Kelechi’s work schedule. Spring in the UK is a beautiful time, so that helped too!
We got married at Allerton Castle, which we chose due to the grandness of the building, its Great Hall and the beautiful countryside location. As a lot of our guests were coming from overseas, we needed the wow factor!
We didn’t really have a theme but kept everything very glamorous. We used a lot of candles, fairy lights and crystals. I picked this style due to the castle’s decor and so that it would be in keeping with what Kelechi and I like.
Black and Gold was the colour scheme. We choose this combination to match with Kelechi’s military uniform – dinner dress blues. Although the tux is actually black!
I chose a dress that was the complete opposite of what I thought I’d choose! The dress was called Amalfi by Ian Stuart, which I bought from Limelight Occasions in Huddersfield. I was drawn to the dress due to its uniqueness. It was two colours and had beautiful detailing. It was like nothing I’d seen anyone wear before. As soon as I put the dress on, I knew I had to have it!
Kelechi wore his military US Dinner Dress Blues uniform and the groomsmen who weren’t in uniform also wore black tuxedos.
My bridesmaids wore black maxi dresses with gold detailing around the top half of the dress, from Quiz. They were very flattering on all shapes and the girls looked fabulous whilst feeling comfortable at the same time. My ‘Mate of Honour’ wore a black tuxedo, hired from Greenwoods. He also invested in some gold shoes which looked amazing!
As I was getting ready at the castle, I decided to drive my little white Fiat 500 there in the morning with some of my bridesmaids. I decorated the car and we had a great laugh on the way! I organised an Aston Martin as a surprise wedding present for Kelechi. The car picked him up in York and took him and his best man to the castle. We then organised a vintage double decker bus to bring our guests to the venue from York.
Laura Calderwood was our photographer. She’s an absolute gem and was very patient with some of our more demanding guests. Nothing was too much trouble and the pictures taken speak for themselves and how great Laura’s work really is.
Joanna at Twisted Willow provided all our flowers, centrepieces and dressed the Great Hall for our ceremony – it looked magical.
My flowers were a mixed white bouquet with crystal detailing. For the wedding reception we had tall candelabras on each table surrounded by candles and draped in crystals. I had a vase on our sweetheart table for my flowers to be shown off in.
Another great supplier was Katie from Tigerlily Creations. Katie made all our stationery for our day from the invitations to the wishing well. Everyone commented on the quality and luxury feel she gave to our day.
Our wedding cake was wheels of cheese and therefore our favours were jars of chutneys with the words ‘Spread the Love’ on. We also gave little red double decker bus key rings to all our guests as a lot of them were visiting from abroad.
We had a dessert included in our menu, which is why we chose a cake made of cheese. It was something different for a lot of people and we loved it! Matt at The Cheese & Chutney Co couldn’t have been nicer either.
I wanted a fun cake topper so searched online and found Feats of Clay. Sarah is amazing and made both myself and Kelechi out of clay. A great talking point for guests and a great souvenir for us to keep.
We used the Dine for the food, who are provided through the Castle. They were fabulous!
We had champagne and canapés of mini Yorkshire puddings, chicken skewers and goats cheese tarts, during the drinks reception. For the wedding breakfast we had fishcakes to start, followed by a sirloin of beef, rounded off with a glorious sticky toffee pudding. Everyone commented on the quality of the food. We organised cheeseburger and chips for the evening reception – it made our guests’ night!
Entertainment wise, we had a string quartet playing for the guests’ arrival and during the drinks reception. It made for an elegant start to our day. For the evening entertainment we used Alive Network and booked the band Munch. Kelechi and I love live music so a band was a must. They played a whole host of music and catered for all ages.
During the band’s break we surprised our guests with a five-minute firework display. At first I was reluctant to do this but Kelechi pushed for it – I’m now so glad we did, it was magical and the guests loved it.
My favourite part of the day was the build-up and then finally seeing Kelechi as I stood at the top of the stairs before walking down the aisle. They are two moments that will stay with me forever. The dancing during the evening was pretty great too! Kelechi literally burnt the stitching off the bottom of his shoes!
For our honeymoon we went to a Sandals resort in St Lucia. It was fantastic, they couldn’t do enough for us and helped make the week very romantic and assisted Kelechi is organising lots of little surprises along the way. One thing to note though – everyone there is on their honeymoon so bear that in mind.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is a tip that everyone gave me – make sure you take a step back, look around and enjoy the day so you can remember it. I made a conscious effort to do this and I’m glad I did. Kelechi and I also chose to have a sweetheart top table to make sure we got some time to just sit down with each other and take it all in – a great decision.
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