September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Bride Jenny’s top tip to other brides-to-be is quite simply ‘do it your own way’, and that’s exactly what she and groom Owen did when it came to their big day.
Keen to ditch tradition, the couple chose an unusual venue and opted for a dark colour scheme with pops of colour here and there, though bridal white was strictly off limits.
On the day Jenny and Owen enjoyed an intimate ceremony with just 24 guests, before partying hard in the evening with 240 family and friends, showing you really can have it all your own way (well on your wedding day anyway).
With images by David Walters Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2014. We were sitting on the sofa watching Die Hard (good job it’s one of my favourite films). Owen hadn’t picked a ring, so after popping the question, we went together to pick one.
We set the date for 2nd April 2015. We liked the idea of an evening wedding and didn’t see the need to wait long.
Our venue was the Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse in Liverpool. We loved the look of the hotel on the website so decided to go and see it. We didn’t look anywhere else! It was amazing. Exactly what we wanted and we could tailor everything to fit in with us. It wasn’t a traditional wedding and unlike lot of places it didn’t specify that we had to have certain things, like a sit down meal, which we didn’t want.
The Titanic was fabulous, dramatic, unique, and we were the first wedding ceremony and reception to be held there, which made it extra special. We loved the industrial feel of the hotel and that a darker colour scheme would fit perfectly there. They could also accommodate all of our reception guests, which a lot of places couldn’t. A lot of people stayed over at the hotel and it was brilliant for everyone to come through to the Rum Bar after the reception and then to have breakfast with everyone the next day. The presidential suite was fabulous, we made the most of it and stayed for three nights! The staff were amazing and bent over backwards to give us an amazing day, the little touches and attention to detail were incredible. The derelict warehouse opposite made for an incredibly dramatic backdrop to the whole thing too.
Our wedding theme was simple – no white! We loved the venue’s replica of the Titanic staircase and chose to have our ceremony at the bottom of it. The venue is quite dark – lots of grey, black and wood – which we loved, so I decided on a silver dress, then the other colours we added were mainly grey and black with a little navy and a splash of coral. There were a few art deco touches too, which fitted well with the feel of the venue.
I had picked a pale grey dress from Coast as I didn’t want to wear white or ivory, but then I changed my mind a couple of months before the wedding. I knew I still wanted a non-traditional colour so rang a few shops to see if they had any silver or grey dresses in stock (I didn’t have time to order one). Only one shop did and they only had two – I bought one of them on the spot! I loved the soft silver colour and the delicate lace with tiny pearls and crystals on. The dress was from Copplestones Bridal, Liverpool, where I received brilliant service and the wonderful seamstress Maxine, completely redesigned the dress for me.
On the wedding day I wore it with a white birdcage veil, an art deco style hair slide and nude Louboutin shoes. I also had coral nails, a coral and white flower and a coral wrap, which added a bit of colour. Peaches and Cream did a fab job with my hair and makeup, also my mum’s makeup and my bridesmaids’ hair.
Owen wore a navy Reiss suit, grey waistcoat and white shirt. His tan shoes were from Jones and he had a dark grey tie and pocket square handmade by Sasha – our lovely wedding coordinator.
My bridesmaids wore navy Coast Lori Lee knee length dresses and thee groomsmen wore their own suits.
David Walters was our photographer on the day and he was brilliant! He specialises in candid, documentary style photography, which was exactly what we wanted, with a few formal ones thrown in too. We would highly recommend him.
I wasn’t going to have any flowers as I don’t think they would have fitted with the industrial feel of the venue but again, I changed my mind last minute and had some huge paper flowers made for me and my bridesmaids! They chose pink and I had an ombre coral to white effect. They looked brilliant and I had loads of comments about them.
Big Entertainments provided our decorations; hurricane lanterns on the staircase and huge candelabras for the ceremony, which were then moved to the tables for the reception. The venue doesn’t need a lot of decoration as it is so stunning. Big Entertainments also provided lots of blue uplighters to add to the effect, as well as black chair covers with silver hoods for the ceremony.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and so instead, the venue made lemon and poppy seed cupcakes for us.
For the food, we chose pink prosecco and canapés for immediately after the ceremony, then pink prosecco and bottles of beer as welcome drinks, served on salvaged croupier tables. For the meal we had fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, then cupcakes and rum cocktails (which we gave as favours) to finish off. Plus a popcorn and candyfloss cart!
To keep guests entertained, we had a live band called The Clink, they were brilliant and played a range of music to suit everyone. We also had casino tables from Big Entertainments, which helped to keep everyone occupied.
As special touches on the day, we had a wooden drop top guestbook, which required guests to sign wooden hearts and the drop them inside. Also the hotel projected our names and the date on the wall of the venue, which we thought was brilliant.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend the venue to others. It’s unique and you can tailor the day exactly how you want it. Sasha the wedding coordinator is worth her weight in gold!
On reflection I’d say the reception was my favourite part of the day – looking around and seeing 240 people who have all made the effort for your day was amazing. Our intimate ceremony with 24 people was also amazing though. Our dads doing surprise speeches on the staircase was brilliant, as was Owen taking the stage before the food and giving a speech too. Lots of favourite parts!
After the wedding we had a minimoon in the UK. We went to Warwick Castle, The Harry Potter Tour and York (where we bought my engagement ring from). We are planning to go to Canada for a proper honeymoon this month.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – do it your way! Our non-traditional wedding made people dubious about how the day would work at first but everyone has said how much they enjoyed it and that it will be a hard wedding to top
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.
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March 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon it’s wetsuits at the ready and off to East Yorkshire to join Claire and Dave for their celebration at Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue The Deep in Hull. Styling their big day, Claire kept things simple – and saved herself some pennies too – by letting their unusual and extraordinary wedding venue do the talking.
Images by Chris Bailey Photography.
Claire says: Dave’s parents live in Portsmouth and we often travel down there with our sons for holidays by the sea, ice creams and all! It was a beautiful summer’s day and we’d spent it on the sea front amongst the two penny falls, eating candy floss and winning teddy bears for the boys. On the pier we stood admiring the view and out Dave pulled a pretty necklace with the words “Marry me” engraved on it. I was beginning to think he’d never ask! I began planning straight away, in case he changed his mind! We both had pretty unconventional ideas when it came to weddings and we knew from the start that we wanted something a little bit different.
We were married on 27th October 2013 at The Deep in Hull. We looked around at various wedding venues and as beautiful as they were, it wasn’t quite what we wanted. Then we came across The Deep. We fell in love with the venue instantly, the atmosphere was so serene and we wanted to create a real "wedding experience" that our guests would always remember. The huge tanks blew us away and the "ice tunnel" that was to become my aisle, was especially stunning. We had definitely found the unique venue we were looking for. They were so welcoming and their attention to detail made me sure the day would go perfectly.
The staff at The Deep did an amazing job of putting everything together and so many guests commented on how much they enjoyed it.
I really like natural colours and so I chose dark champagne, browns and coffee colours for the day. As we were getting married later on in the day and having a candlelit reception I thought this colour would complement our autumn wedding perfectly.
On the morning of the wedding I had all the people I love around me. My bridesmaids were with me and my mum was in the hotel room next door! As the wedding wasn’t until 5pm, we spent all day getting ready, giggling, drinking champagne and doing hair and makeup. It was such a special time having them around me, I think that was the reason I was fairly calm and relaxed (that and the champagne!)
I wore an A-line light ivory Maggie Sottero dress with a little crystal detail from The Bridal Barn in Stafford. I wanted something really simple and got overwhelmed by the amount of dresses I tried on with a lot of detail. My dress was perfect for me as it reflected my every day style. I wore a lovely tear drop silver necklace by Leslie Davis from a little boutique in Stoke on Trent.
My bridesmaids wore champagne and mocha coloured dresses, bought from Debenhams and found on eBay. As a hairdresser I had specific ideas on how I wanted my bridesmaids to look, they both had matching chignons and pretty hair slides. They looked absolutely beautiful!
I have a bit of a hoarder when it comes to make up! So my bridesmaids had a great time rooting through my collection and using all of my lotions and potions! We all did our own makeup and I think by doing this, we all felt comfortable with how we looked. I’m not sure I would’ve felt the same with someone else making the choice for me.
I made my own bouquet as I like to think of myself as fairly creative and saved a heap of money doing the flowers myself. I was so pleased with the results and it was something the bridesmaids could keep after the wedding.
Our photos were taken by Chris Bailey Photography of Cottingham. We were lucky enough to get some shots outside The Deep after the ceremony, just as the sun was setting. It was a bit on the chilly side, but our photographer was so great at getting the shots done, that we were back in the warm in no time. The guests went up to the observatory and we were able to get some great shots in front of the huge tanks.
My special moment of the day was singing to my new husband instead of a first dance. Everyone was so surprised! I sang “The Story” by Brandon Carlisle and the words are especially emotional, I cracked a little half way through, but all the guests gave me the biggest cheer of encouragement that I was able to carry on! I’ll be in trouble for saying it, but even the men were in tears, although I’m sure they’ll all deny it!
We didn’t have a wedding cake, but made up for it by stacking chocolate donuts and cupcakes on a stand and to be honest, I don’t think anyone even noticed the missing cake! We danced the night away until the early hours and all of our guests were in the party mood.
The day after the wedding, we took the boys away for the night to the Alton Towers resort, where we stayed in a Peter Rabbit themed room which was like a rabbit burrow! We are planning a honeymoon to coincide with my 30th birthday and our one year wedding anniversary to Disneyland Florida. We love spending time together as a family and couldn’t image a honeymoon without them.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would to be savvy! Don’t fooled into buying the most expensive of everything. We stuck to a tight budget and saved money by customising and creating. By doing this, we got our dream wedding for under £5000. Remember to cherish each moment, and don’t stress! It goes by so quickly that before you know it it’s over and you’ll wonder what all the nerves and worrying was about!
Congratulations Claire & Dave!
March 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
So here’s an interesting thing. These images of Charlotte and Pete’s cute and funky city centre wedding feature almost no “detail” (in the traditional sense… centrepieces, stationery, favours) at all. But I’d bet that you’re still feeling inspired?!
So where’s the wedding inspiration at? Right there. In the “feeling” of it all. In their cool style choices, their city centre location, their hugely fun looking friends and family, their beaming smiles and their made-for-each-other kisses. Their wedding was their wedding, no question about it.
Have fun, be yourselves and be inspired to plan your wedding your way. If it’s even half as cool as Charlotte and Pete’s day, you’re doing alright.
With images by Lucie & Bruce.
Charlotte says: We got engaged in June 2011 in our kitchen! Pete put the ring in a Krispy Kreme donut! We were married on 8th June 2013 at Manchester Registry Office.
We wanted a city centre wedding rather than a country house and chose a black and red colour scheme.
The girls stayed in Malmaison Manchester the night before and we all walked down to M.A.C at House Of Fraser in the morning for our make up – they got to keep the make up they liked as a gift from me.
My hair was by Hayley Staniland.
Once we were ready we hopped in a black cab to the registry office.
My favourite part of the day was walking into the registry office to a string version of Coldplay’s Paradise, and seeing Pete choking up when he saw me.
Following the wedding we all went for a meal at Grill On The Alley.
Our cake was a stack of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and after dinner we had a disco night at Malmaison with a photobooth from Bloom Pics – we made our own entertainment!
My dad’s speeches were really special. He read an email from my brother in Oz who couldn’t be there. I think everyone shed a tear at that!
For our honeymoon, we went to Tavira in Portugal in a beautiful villa with the kids and my parents. They helped so much with the kids and we got to have a few luxury days to ourselves. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen also bought us a night in a stunning hotel. Very nice!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax! Nobody notices the tiny details. The people you invite make your wedding.
Congratulations Charlotte & Pete!
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December 31st, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for what’s set to be the biggest and best year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty.
Usual service will recommence on 2nd January 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings in 2013. Drop in every day for the very, very prettiest wedding inspiration and if you are a Brides Up North bride, to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
My god, Helen and Jamie’s wedding day looks like fun. This is one of those features – put together in the early hours of the morning (or the late hours of the night, whichever way you want to look at it) that makes me want to shut down the laptop, pick up those dancing shoes and a bottle of something cold and head off to party till dawn.
Bright, vibrant, individual and full of fun, I hope that this gorgeous Real Wedding spreads a little sunshine your way. Just watch out for dragons…
With images by Mike at One Wedding.
Helen says: We got engaged in June 2011, in Hong Kong. We were living in a city called Zhuhai in mainland China at the time and Jamie whisked me away to Hong Kong as a surprise to celebrate 9 years since our 1st date. Despite a typhoon and last minute customs issues with the ring J’s plan came together!
We were married on 6th July 2013 in the gardens of Woodthorpe Hall in Derbyshire The ceremony took place in the cider press and the reception outside and in a marquee on the lawn.
We chose the venue because of it’s stunning location. We were showed round by the house owner Dick and he was so friendly and his wife Sue was brilliant. We had the freedom to choose anything we liked, bringing in our own suppliers and spend the week before customising the whole place.
Our theme was a hint of China! We lived in China for almost four years and got engaged in Hong Kong so there were a few nods to that part of our lives. We brought back all sorts of lanterns and flags for decorations and filled the fridges with Tsingtao beer (from the city where we lived). Our first dance was a Chinese pop song. Our colours were lucky Chinese red and white.
My dress came from a shop in Manchester, I was after something a bit different and once I saw it I knew I’d found the right one. It was a bit of an ordeal because I had sorted something from China that didn’t work out in the end so it was quite a last minute find but it was all ok in the end!
I had one bridesmaid; Jamie’s sister Em. She looked stunning in a red dress made for her in China. She sent us some pictures of the style she liked and we chose the material and had it made. My other best mates all wore something with a touch of red and we all carried red or white parasols. Jamie and the groomsmen wore the same suit they found on a shopping outing together. The teamed it up with waistcoats/ties to suit their own style.
We originally wanted red and white orchids in our bouquets but it was such a hot week that the florist, Jo Price, called and said they wouldn’t last the day so we added in roses.
The ceremony was in the same place as the reception so we didn’t have any transport between the two. I travelled in style with my Dad whose car my bro polished to perfection. We had a great moment with the top down and the music playing going down the country lanes.
A really special moment was when three friends sang a song during the ceremony. A school friend, uni friend and neighbour got together for the first time the morning of the wedding and by the afternoon were playing beautifully during the ceremony!
A highlight of the day was the arrival of the Sheffield Chinese Lion Dance Troupe just after the meal. Jamie and I had arranged for this to be a total surprise so everybody was shocked and excited. Brilliant!
Thanks to the help of friends and family we personalised the tables and marquee. We glued photos of us with friends and family onto red ribbon to make bunting and string it around the marquee. There were photos of every guest as well as friends who couldn’t make it everywhere.
We used beer bottles from around the world as table markers and a friend did calligraphy for names. The table centres were flower arrangements made by Jamie’s Mum and friends teamed up with some Chinese fans. We brought back some Chinese bracelets which we used as napkin rings for the guests to keep. Instead of favours we put a pound coin in a Chinese box and told guest to choose a pot labelled for three different charities. People added some extra coins and we raised over £300.
Dick and Sue at Woodthorpe Hall were fantastic. They were so hands on and helpful. The guests said they felt very well looked after. They only do a handful of weddings a year so it felt very personal.
We hired a Marquee from Ascot Marquees. ‘Marquee Mark’ helped us hang lanterns and red bunting (expertly made by my Mum!) and the place looked great. A friend from Totally Gazeboed contributed gazebos for the string quartet and a photo booth. We raided the attic for some props and got some hilarious shots.
We brought in our own booze and homemade canapés. Jamie used to live in Germany so the last time he went to visit his friends there he filled up the car with mini kegs of German beer which we placed around the garden for people to help themselves to. PJ Taste provided the main food. Wonderful! We had BBQ steak, swordfish and veg with lots of lovely salads. Highly recommended. Our friends from Cocoa Wonderland sorted us out with some yummy chocs.
My mum baked fruit cake for the three tiers and iced them white then the week before the wedding my friends came over to help decorate. Kat and Sarah made sugar paste flowers and James helped stack the tiers and add the ribbon. We also had friends bake cakes to bring along so we had lots to choose
For the evening dancing we played our favourite tunes and friends and brothers helped to DJ. We also had a fab impromptu ukulele song by Geoff who got everyone singing along.
I have so many favourite parts to the day! Standing there with Jamie at the ceremony. Seeing all our different friends and family all together having fun. The speeches. People’s reaction to the Lion Dance. Having a moment with Jamie taking it all in looking over the moors. The first dance and the dancing to Design for Life with my Dad and friends. Everything was so positive and lovely.
After the wedding we honeymooned at a music festival in Lisbon (including seeing Biffy Clyro whose music we used during our ceremony) and spent some time on the Portuguese coast.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to add lots of little things to make the day feel yours and don’t get too worried what other people do for their weddings. The day is very personal, there are a lot of extras that you don’t always need. Include things that reflect you!
Congratulations Helen & Jamie!
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November 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime
If you’re going to theme a wedding, you may as well do it properly. Or at least that was today’s newlyweds’ motto (that and “Be Prepared” of course) when planning their entirely Scout and Guide themed wedding.
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this fun and fabulous day with you. Campfires at the ready, it’s Claire & Andrew’s big day…
Images by Alex Knight Photography
Claire says: We got engaged on 12th August 2012 at Whitby Abbey. I had just been on a JEKA adventure with my Guide & Ranger groups to Adelboden in Switzerland via Disneyland Paris on the way back. I was very tired and hadn’t showered in 2 days! I had managed to change my pants and brush my teeth though – small things to make a long coach journey bearable!
Andrew had been clearing out the Scout stores and I had to suffer a variety of vintage gas lamps in the kitchen. Upon collecting me he declared that he found a Scout campsite willing to have said lamps; "It’s a bit of a drive but you can tell me about your trip in the car." I was too exhausted to argue.
It turned out the "bit of a drive" was Scarborough; a likely story. I had an inkling that Andrew might propose but didn’t think he would be so cruel. Meanwhile I kept looking at the road signs wistfully that said Whitby – my favourite place in the entire world. I had a nap; woke up to tell Andrew off for nearly ploughing into the back of a tractor; fell asleep again and eventually woke up in a car park.
"This doesn’t look like a Scout campsite."
"Do you not know where you are?"
"Look out of the window to your right."
"*Sees Whitby Abbey* oh… OH!"
I guess what the game is; immediately feel sick, think I’m about to ramble and ruin everything and promptly clam up. Andrew and I go for an ice cream and a walk around the Abbey.
Andrew gets on one knee and pops the question. I squeak and nod. Andrew then gets extra Brownie points by reading a love letter from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn (one of my idols). He was going to memorise it but it was too hard! .
We wanted something historical and a little bit different to a modern hotel. We were never going to get married in church so we needed to widen the search. We loved Temple Newsham in Leeds but it was very booked up and the amount of chasing we had to do with marquee people started to get a bit silly.
As we had a lot of guests travelling we looked to York. I always enjoyed day trips there with my Mum and there is history around every corner; plus it has an abundance of hotels for every budget and a major train station!
The Great Hall in Barley Hall is decorated with white roses – perfect for a Yorkshire girl and it still has the medieval fireplace in the centre. Andrew wanted a small ceremony (promptly forgetting how large his family is!) due to stage fright – speeches he can do but being “on stage” for something so important and intimate brought us both out in the heebie jeebies! The exhibition when we got married was “Horrible Histories” – I’ve got a full set of the books; cue one very excited bride. I’m proud to say even the costume for “Stupid Death” was on show plus a skeleton and a stuffed rat. What can I say? I love my history!
A Google search for “large venue hire York” revealed the De Grey Rooms. Lindsey was possibly the most excited, lovely and welcoming person I’ve ever spoken to on the phone. Once I revealed the theme she was ecstatic – her Mum was a Brown Owl and got on board with the theme straight away!
We walked from each venue in York. The heavens opened in the morning and I was willing the forecast to be right and that it would pass by the time we needed to leave. Thankfully, the rain stopped by lunch time and we were ready to rock n roll!
Our theme was Scouts & Guides – we both volunteer for the movements and it’s how we met. We were both volunteering on the Physical Zone at Wings 2009 in Berkshire. We didn’t really have a colour scheme as such but sapphire blue and purple did make an appearance – my favourite colours.
My bouquet was white & antique roses with blue thistles by The Floral Studio – blending Yorkshire and Scotland. Twisted Willow Floristry did our table garland and herb pots.
I had a few requirements for my wedding dress: I wanted some sort of sleeve (narrows the search right down); to be corseted and to have covered buttons rather than the criss cross of corseting shown on the back.
I was willing to try on pretty much anything at the start of the search but quickly realised that sleeves or straps were high on my wish list. I’m short at 5ft2 and I’ve got a good bosom so I didn’t want anything to highlight my top heaviness!
The Bridal Boutique in Guiseley was where I ended up finding my dress: Angelina by Diane Harbridge. There were so many dresses in the range (and now the new range) that I loved. I loved the way it pulled me right in on the top half but my legs weren’t constrained.
The back of the dress was really detailed – that’s what most people see in the ceremony. I could hear so many comments as we walked through York complimenting the dress – I felt fantastic!
We asked the groomsmen and ushers to wear their best suits and I got them a tie and our Scottish best man wore his full Bonnie Prince Charlie kilt get up.
Bridesmaids were trickier – two of them weren’t in the country during the planning. I sent an email with links to dresses that I had found online and by a stroke of luck all three liked the same dress. Monsoon had come to the rescue. We got a sapphire blue dress called Meadow and my Mum made ivory sashes to jazz them up a bit.
During the ceremony Andrew’s Dad’s quartet played various pieces from the TV show the Tudors. I’m a big fan of Jonathan Rhys Meyers and I got permission from Trevor Morris who wrote the music for the show to use it in our ceremony.
My favourite part of the day was probably walking through York. On the way I got stopped and had photos taken with tourists. We had photos taken with bridesmaids, best men and groomsmen taken at the doors of York Minster and we could see a crowd of about 200 people stopping and watching. I couldn’t resist some photo bombing of photos on the walk back to the hall (bad bride!)
Overall, the seeing all the hard work come together was fantastic.
We went to town on the theme. All tables at the reception were named after real Scout & Guide patrols and each guest got a specially made wedding badge – quickly popped into pockets and bags by the many Scouters and Guiders at the wedding!
Mum made a necker for each guest to wear and also bunting from donated Scout & Guide neckers. Our table centres were old Scout & Guide books and we displayed the gas lamps used in the proposal on the fireplaces.
Andrew made a considerable amount of wine for the reception – this went down a lot better than expected! We made our own pub quiz and then we had a good old boogie to some cheesy classics.
My bridesmaid’s Mum made our cake. This was very fitting as she made my naming cake and some of my birthday cakes growing up. We had three layers: fruit, chocolate and Victoria sponge. Yummy! The wedding cake had Scout & Guide emblems around the top layer and on the very top was a tent made from icing with two pairs of feet sticking out and our personalised woggles.
Andrew’s an engineer and loves trains so for our honeymoon we went from Leeds to London and then to Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin all by train! We flew back to London to see Les Miserables and then one final train back to Leeds. When we got back Andrew asked for a beach holiday next time!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is this: When you enter Wedding World; be prepared to leave common sense at the door. You can be in a classic no win situation as no matter what you say you are immediately accused of being a Bridezilla.
Weddings have a weird habit of turning people a bit strange – and I’m not including the bride here! You will hear so many different daft comments and questions. Just remember: “There’s nowt as queer as folk!” & “Keep Calm and Carry on!”
Congratulations Claire & Andrew!
This is not a sponsored post
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