Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Real Wedding Recap Summer 2014. Indian Vintage: A Mughal Inspired Real Wedding At Thornton Manor – Pooja & Krishna

July 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014,  but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.

Lawson Photography

I’ve been in the wedding blog game for almost four years now, penning two fab features a day and of those features at least three Real Weddings a week.  I might have said this once or twice before, but sometimes a celebration comes along that really knocks my socks off.

I’m a sucker for a bit of tradition, a dash of sparkle, an abundance of blush pink roses and full on glam.

Pooja and Krishna’s wedding ticks all those boxes, and has to be one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen.  And in my line of work, that’s really saying something.

Have a lovely Friday Brides Up North, and be very inspired!

Images by Lawson Photography.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Pooja says: We went to Dubai last year in January for a short break and got engaged there. I had no idea he was going to ask me to marry him! Suffice to say he went down on one knee to pop the question and it came as such a shock that he had to ask me again!

Lawson Photography

We got married at the beautiful Thornton Manor on the Wirral on 22nd February 2014. As it was a winter wedding we wanted somewhere grand, classic and all exclusively to ourselves for the big day. The Manor was perfect for our theme, our ceremonies & our guests. With the ceremonies being traditional, colourful and intimate the Manor’s vintage feel and lavish décor provided an exquisite backdrop to the day.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

For us it was all about remembering our loved ones that couldn’t be with us, glamour, and collaborating two cultures into a memorable day.

If I had to describe a theme for our wedding, I would describe it as Indian vintage. The Indian outfits for the Hindu ceremony were very regal and we were inspired by the Mughal era (1570 to 1857). The grooms procession, the shehnai music, a live sitar player (classical Indian instrument), a rich evening dinner and the Vedic wedding ceremony itself were all very in line with tradition and with the Indian vintage theme . To add to this the wedding was in a grand manor which was built in the early 1900’s.

Lawson Photography

Our colour scheme was white and blush pink.  Our mandap (a 4 pillar structure where the Indian ceremony takes place) was white and was decorated with beautiful blush pink roses. The cake, the top table, the brides bouquet, the groomsman’s button holes and in the civil ceremony room all had the white and blush pink theme incorporated into them. We also had a white carpet that was laid out leading to the mandap with rose petals scattered on it for the bridal entrance.

All our beautiful flowers were by Wedding Flowers Cheshire by Ian Lloyd.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We had created an order of service which provided an overview of each step of the Vedic Hindu ceremony in English so all our guests could follow the ceremony.

Lawson Photography

For the day ceremony, the bridesmaids wore anarkali salwar suits in light cream, each had the same style of embroidery but in different colours. Anarkali dresses owe their name to Anarkali, a famous courtesan in the court of a great Mughal emperor.

The best men wore traditional Indian Kurta’s which were in light gold with dark brown embroidery. The Kurta’s were complimented with deep red duppattas (scarfs).

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

I wore a traditional Indian lehenga choli which was inspired by the Mughal era. The outfit was bought from Kalki in Mumbai, India.  It was embellished in heavy red, gold and cream hand work. I wore Mughal inspired Kunda jewellery to compliment the look.

For the civil ceremony I wore an Archana Kochhar creation bought in Mumbai, India. It was exclusively designed for me. It was in ivory and embellished in Swarovski crystal details. My shoes were by Benjamin Adams and my jewellery was Persian inspired.

I carried a shower bouquet of blush pink roses with white orchids.

Lawson Photography

Krishna wore a beautiful Manish Malhotra outfit from his collection bought in Mumbai, India. The traditional Indian wedding outfit is called sherwani and was embellished in beautiful hand work detail.

For the evening Krishna wore a classic two button tailor made suit in black from James Personal Tailor in Manchester with black patent shoes by Hugo Boss.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

With such a mixed crowd we needed to choose our music very carefully. We therefore decided to go with a DJ who could provide a wide range of music. We hired DJ Fritz who was highly recommended and wasn’t your traditional wedding DJ. He provided an excellent DJ set along with production and lighting for the wedding.  The equipment he had was more akin to a club and he was mixing music which is exactly what we wanted. In addition to his set we had a Dhol player playing tracks such as Happy by Pharrell Williams which made for an eclectic  sound.

For our champagne reception we had a very talented sitar player – Stephen Callaghan aka Yaman who travelled from Glasgow, Scotland. Yaman studied the art of playing the Sitar in Banaras, India. The Sitar is a classical Indian instrument.  He played classical Indian raga’s as well as covering songs of artists such as the Beatles, Nirvana and Oasis.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We gave pashmina shawls to all the female guests as wedding favours which we personally picked and placed in a glossy white bag, finished with a thank you tag tied with a pink bow.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We wanted to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us throughout the day; we had pictures of our loved ones around the Manor, we lit a candle in remembrance prior to the commencement of the vows, we raised a toast to them during the speeches and our first dance song was an Elton John classic, Your Song, which was my father’s favourite song.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Our wedding cake was in the style of a mandap. Half of the cake was chocolate and the other half was Victorian sponge in strawberry flavour, provided by Slattery.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

My favourite part of the day was the first dance! I was dreading it as I didn’t like idea of everyone watching me. To avoid this I had asked all close friends and family to join us after a minute of us dancing. It all went beautifully to plan – in the end I really enjoyed the whole moment so much!

Lawson Photography

We always wanted to go on safari, hence the first part of our honeymoon was spent in Kenya, on safari in the Maasai Mara.

Then we went to Zanzibar, where we stayed at the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort, which is an incredible beach resort. Amazing people, pristine white sand, crystal clear water & a great experience. Our final stop was Dubai before we came back to reality! It was perfect!

Lawson Photography

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a toast master for the wedding. Bob was absolutely brilliant and made sure our day went to plan and as we wanted.

In addition, have a meeting with all key suppliers at the venue together a month before the big day. We found it useful given that we had two ceremonies, it was great for all the suppliers to meet and go through all the finer details so everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet on the big day. It really helped our day go smoothly and to plan. I’m not sure the Manor has ever seen such planning!

Lawson Photography

Congratulations Pooja & Krishna!

Would you like to see your own Real Wedding on Brides Up North? Get in touch!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Lawson Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Very Vintage! A Real Wedding At The Bowdon Rooms – Ellie & David

April 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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We’re so excited for our return to The Bowdon Rooms this coming Sunday 27th April 2014 for our third Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at this stunning venue.  You can’t beat a sunny April day in Altrincham (here’s hoping!) and a unique and authentic vintage wedding venue packed full of lovely local suppliers and wedding pretty.  Seriously, you need to see our stellar exhibitor line up!

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Is the date in your diary?  You can pre-register here.  Go, go, go!

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If you’ve picked up one of our leaflets in the area (it’s been blanketed!) or received one of our subscriber emails about the event, you’ll recognise our lovely bride & groom from today’s Real Wedding. Ellie and David’s wedding day shows off exactly what can be made of this stunning venue and their celebration, full of love, music, excitement, humour and delectable vintage details, is an absolute corker! 

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I rarely re-blog content on these pages (I prefer to keep things fresh, y’know?) but I wanted to revisit their big day ahead of the weekend’s festivities because, well, you’ll see.

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Enjoy!  And see you on Sunday…

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With images by Foley Photography

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Ellie says: This was not an ordinary proposal. it being leap year and all!

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David took me to Paris in February 2012 and everyone thought he would propose.  On our return (no proposal had been made) which was Valentine’s Day I suggested we stay in London overnight, although we will just stay in a Travel lodge as we had just come back from Paris. Little did David know that I had booked a 5 star hotel called ‘The Corinthia’ off Whitehall for us to stay in all as part of my master plan proposal. I had already contact the hotel and told them my plan and they provided an upgrade and other goodies!

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David was overwhelmed by the hotel and thought it was a lovely thing to do on Valentine’s day. We went to our room and unpacked, then I pulled out his valentine’s present – a shirt from Zara. I then gave a him a little package and said these are to wear with it. 

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Inside were silver heart shaped cufflinks my sister had made and engraved on were the words ‘David will you’ on one and ‘Marry me?’ on the other.  Now David being David couldn’t read them properly and didn’t have his glasses on, he thought one said David and the other Ellie – a bit cheesy he thought, then he said “This shirt doesn’t have cufflink holes” so I said “Put your glasses on and read them”!

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He did and was overwhelmed and said yes! He wore the cufflinks on our wedding day.  The hotel then brought a bottle of Champagne and a congratulations cake to the room.  We can’t wait to go back next year for our anniversary!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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We were married on Saturday 25th May 2013 at The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, Cheshire.   We loved the space inside and the sprung wooden floor for dancing, it was a great Edwardian building that had so much character and history, plus Karen and the team were so open to all the ideas I had that we didn’t want to get married anywhere else!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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The theme was very vintage!  With homemade bunting, we had bought all our own vintage mismatched china for cups, saucers and side plates, plus sugar bowls and milk jugs. We also scoured car boots and charity shops for tea pots as these were our centre pieces with flowers in them.

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The wedding colour scheme only came about after we had chosen the bridesmaids’ dresses and we chose blue floral for my sister who was matron of honour and pink floral for the other seven bridesmaids.  So the colour scheme ended up being blue and pink.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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I tried on so many dresses and always had in my mind I would like a short one and I did. I went for a strapless ballerina length 1950’s dress. It was by the designer Enzoani in the Blue range. I bought it from The Wedding Shop in Alderley Edge and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The customer service was fantastic and everyone was so helpful!

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I bought my Benjamin Adams shoes from the same shop and they dyed them blue to match my sister’s bridesmaid dress. I also bought a sash from there by Sash & Co.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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My bridesmaid dresses (all eight of them) were from Vivien of Holloway as were the petticoats. Everyone had a white petticoat underneath apart from my sister who had pink, which went perfectly with her blue dress.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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We didn’t really use many suppliers as we did a lot ourselves, but our food was supplied by Herb and Spice and our photography by Foley Photography, Scott captured the day perfectly! Our wedding video was by www.wedding-productions.com and it was fantastic!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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.Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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I had two bouquets.  One was a brooch bouquet that i made myself, comprising of all different brooches i had collected over the years which meant something to me, I loved making this and I look at it every day on my dressing table. 

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We made all the bouquets and centre pieces ourselves and just bought them from a wholesaler, this was so cost effective and as I had made a brooch bouquet i didn’t think I would want a flower one, but as my family and David’s cousin Lesley were making the bridesmaids, I thought it might be nice for photos to have one. Luckily we had some flowers left over and made mine out of all the bits leftover. It was beautiful, my sister made mine and did an amazing job!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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I think my favourite part of the day was seeing David at the end of the aisle when I started dancing down, as he was so overwhelmed and happy I knew he was the one for me!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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I travelled in an open top Beetle called Suzi provided by Little Limos. They were fantastic and it was so lovely to drive through my Village with everyone waving. My Dad loved the car and it went perfectly with our day!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Bowdon Rooms89

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To make the day more personal, I made and sewed pink floral and blue floral napkins for everyone. We also used the same material to make over 60 metres of bunting which decorated the room.

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Our table names were David’s favourite Coronation Street characters, the head table being Steve McDonald!

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Our favours were white chocolate coconut covered truffles that u had made for everyone and came in a floral handkerchief for the ladies and white handkerchief for the men. I love using handkerchiefs and wanted to bring it back.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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We had an American styled buffet with burgers and chicken wings and hotdogs! It was delicious. 

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David and I are not big fans of traditional wedding cakes so we asked my Mum to make us a three tiered Rice Krispie cake. this was my favourite treat as a child and it meant so much that my mum had made it, plus it didn’t cost the earth!

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We also asked our guests to make and bring a cake as part of the desert. This proved a great idea and I couldn’t believe how many gorgeous cakes there were.  There was definitely plenty of food for everyone!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Being a Drama Teacher, entertainment was high on my list of priorities. We had several pieces of entertainment during the service, provided by my students from school. Two girls Samantha Jabangwe and Nicole Hodson sang a song each and then also wrote and played a song they had written especially for me.

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I also provided some entertainment at the start of the service by having by bridesmaids dancing down the aisle followed by me dancing down with my Dad to a song I had pre-recorded for David, I changed to words to ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars to ‘Hey David I think I Want To Marry You’. This was all a complete to surprise for everyone including David.  I also sang and played the Ukulele for David during my speech.

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The main Entertainment was provided by a band a found at a vintage wedding fair in Liverpool called ‘Vintage Blossom’.  They were amazing, no one stopped dancing whilst they were playing and they also happened to be local to Manchester.

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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We are going to America for three weeks at the end of July, starting in New York for a few days, then flying over to San Francisco for a few days then picking up a car and driving down the coast stopping off at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara – where we stay in a horse ranch – Santa Monica, San Diego, Palm Springs and finally Vegas!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to try and do as much of the wedding prep together as you can as we had so much fun making the bunting and searching car boots and also not to get too drunk, then you can remember the best day of your lives!

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Foley Photography at The Bowdon Rooms

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Congratulations Ellie & David!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding on the wedding blog?  Here’s how!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Foley Photography

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The Bowdon Rooms is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier but this is not a sponsored post

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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As Audrey Would Say: ‘I Believe Happy Girls Are The Prettiest Girls’: Supplier Showcase: Choola, Sheffield

February 22nd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.  Audrey Hepburn
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Today we meet an Audrey fan who lives by her idol’s motto – the fabulous Francesca from the even more fabulous (if it’s possible!) Choola bridal boutique, Sheffield.  Form an orderly queue girls. 

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With images by Jess Petrie

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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When did Choola open and what is your background?
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Choola proudly opened its doors in July 2008 and is run by myself and my partner Ivan. I’m thrilled to say since opening, we have become one of the leading boutiques in Sheffield and the Northern region with brides travelling from all over the UK and now even abroad to visit us! We have worked very hard to establish ourselves and we are thrilled to have been recognised enough that we were selected to appear on Wedding TV, be the supplier to National and local Radio competitions and regularly featuring in the leading bridal magazines.

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Bridal had always been my passion, having religiously bought the wedding magazines each month for years and losing myself in a world of style, fashion, flowers and cakes! After being a bridesmaid 6 times, I had known for many years that I wanted to open my own boutique but it was only when driving down Ecclesall Road one day and spotting the empty shop that the ‘Eureka’ moment hit me! It was now or never!

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That was back in January 2008 and within weeks I had gone part time in my job, signed the lease and all focus was now on turning the once bathroom and shower showroom into a gleaming bridal boutique!

Ivan and I did all the work ourselves with a huge amount of help from our family and before we knew it the appointments were flooding in and we were in full swing. 

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Having graduated in 2004 with a degree in Law and working within the field of policy and procedure, suddenly running my own business was a huge shock to the system! However, Ivan and I were used to throwing ourselves in at the deep end and having previously worked as a Rent Arrears Officer for the Council, I was certainly not afraid of a challenge.  My fiancé and business partner was no stranger to the complexities of business with a degree in Business Studies and having run a successful property development company. With his business expertise, my legal background and passion for all things wedding, we knew we had the perfect mix for a fabulous new venture. 

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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What lines of wedding gowns do you stock?

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We were really keen to have a mix of designers both well established and up and coming and over the years this has developed significantly. We aren’t afraid to change which designers we stock as quality and service is everything to us and we have successfully managed to carve ourselves a niche for showcasing dresses with "that little bit of something different". The dresses aren’t so far off centre as to limit our clients but yet edgy enough to set the Bride apart from the crowd.

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We have stocked Lyn Ashworth from first opening and these are our classic British made gowns. With an exceptional cut and quality of silk and lace, these our firm favourites with our brides seeking the quintessential English wedding style.

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For girls who love beautiful fabrics with more emphasis on cut than embellishment, we stock the French design house of Lambert Creations. All handmade and made to measure in Brittany, these gowns can seldom be found anywhere else in the UK. 

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For our brides who favour lace and intricate beading we stock the Portuguese designer Maria Karin which again has few UK stockist so brides can be assured of exclusivity.

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The award winning Mark Lesley range provides beautiful dresses with a more traditional element but still with some great contemporary twists.

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We then have then very glamorous designs of Anoushka G, favoured with the celebrities, these dresses are perfect for brides who want to be fashion forward and not feel overly "bridey"! The collection boasts a lot of silk-chiffon which is also perfect for brides having destination weddings.

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Our two newest designers to Choola are Jonathan James Couture and Private Label by G. We were drawn to Jonathan because he isn’t afraid to break the rules when it comes to his collections! He can just as easily create a simple unembellished gown as he can a heavily beaded princess dress and with the ability to bespoke gowns for our clients, he was a definite must!

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Private Label by G has only just been introduced in the UK with its cult following being in the USA and Canada but always wanting to be ahead of the crowd we quickly sought to introduce the label into Choola! The first dress from their fabulous collection was sold within an hour of arriving at the boutique and already are proving a real talking point! The Private Label collection literally has a dress for every bride, from vintage glamour to full on fairy-tale romance. 

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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What lines of accessories do you stock?
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I love my sparkly things! We stock stunning headpieces and veils from Ivory & Co, Studio Bridal and Emmerling. We have an eclectic mix of vintage inspired pieces, art deco styled hairbands, traditional tiaras and some quirky birdcage veils and fascinators.

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As a huge shoe lover we have over 30 pairs of shoes to choose from by celebrity favourite Benjamin Adams. We love their shoes because they are stylish, fashionable and all beautifully handmade. The best thing is that most of them can be dyed after the wedding and worn again so they don’t end up gathering dust in the attic. I have several pairs in several colours that look great with pair of jeans or the infamous LBD. 

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Where are you located?

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Our beautiful boutique is based in one of my favourite places in Sheffield, Ecclesall Road. This road has always been a favourite with the independent boutiques and the trendy bars.  It has a great cosmopolitan buzz to it and perfect to be able to spend a whole day on, browsing the shops, having lunch and a glass or two of wine! It also has a fabulous park with beautiful views. In my opinion there is nowhere else we could have had our boutique.

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Can you give Brides up North an idea on price?

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Our dresses start from around £900 to approximately £2700. A good retailer will always chat with a bride about budget as the last thing we want to do is put you in a dress you fall in love with, only then for you to find out that the price is above what you would like or more importantly able to spend. Don’t be afraid to be honest about what you are able to spend, the more honest you are the more we will be able to help you. For us its not about selling you the most expensive dress in the boutique, its about selling you the perfect dress for both your body shape and personality. The bride after all is our walking advertisement!

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Do Brides up North need an appointment?
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We will always try and see a bride if somebody pops in and we have the time to do so but we always advise brides to book as there is nothing worse than travelling a long way to see us, only to be turned away as we already have a full diary. Booked appointments are a must on Saturdays and need to booked well in advance. We always suggest a bride to come on a week day if she is able to take time off work as we can generally spend a little longer with her. However, as a busy woman myself, I understand that its not always possible, therefor we offer late appointments on both Mondays and Wednesdays. We only close Sundays so we are very accessible to both busy brides and those who live further afield.

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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What can Bride Up North expect when they come for an appointment?
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When brides come to visit us we want everyone to leave feeling energised and excited! They will have time to browse the gowns, chat through their thoughts and feeling about what they envisage for their day and then be taken to their private fitting area.

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Looking for your dress is one of the most important and exciting parts of the wedding planning, this is where it all starts! We are genuinely passionate about what we do and I think that shows. We take time getting to know our brides, we listen and support. We offer constructive advice and never pressure brides into a decision. We ask brides to pick out their own dresses to try on but then we will make our own suggestions and often a bride is surprised to fall in love with the dress she never dreamed of. 

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We only see two brides at a time but they are both on separate floors so each bride has her own consultant and more importantly her own privacy. Great refreshments are also a must and we always have plenty of drinks and freshly baked cupcakes to nibble on! For us, providing a woman’s dress for her wedding is a real honour and privilege so we always strive to provide the best level of service and advice. We all still regularly attend training events with designers and all staff have completed national qualifications in customer service and business.

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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What is your current favourite gown and why?
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My favourite dress changes regularly depending on my mood or who has just tried it on. I’m a real fan of quirky dresses that have intricate pattern cutting or unique fabrics.  At the moment though, I’m really in love with Elenore by Anoushka G. Its a silk dress with cowl neck and back and an amazing waterfall train! I also love Gwendoline by Lyn Ashworth as its very Audrey Hepburn and as you will be able to tell from the amount of Audrey Hepburn pictures in the boutique she is my style icon! Elegant yet quirky, chic yet individual!

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment?

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The vintage and lace styles have been popular for several years now but I think we are seeing a move away from the vintage trend with a number of our brides opting for either the more classic style or braving a more contemporary look. Organza has become very popular as you can create a number of looks with this versatile fabric. What I love though is that a style of dress can look so very different on each bride, this is what makes the job so interesting. 

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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How does Choola provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

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I think this is a really tough question to answer as the one thing I’m not so good at is saying how good we are! I think we would all like to believe we are the best at what we do and it can become easy to criticise other boutiques in the process. The fact is though, that Sheffield and the surrounding area has some fabulous boutiques and when we started the business we wanted to become a part of that, to really put Sheffield on the map. We are pleased to say we have forged some great friendships with other bridal boutique owners which is not only beneficial for us and them but also for the brides.

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We take great pride in our attention to detail in both our service and how the boutique looks and feels.  We are very humbled to have a shop filled to the brim with thank you cards and photos from past brides and with a huge amount of our business coming from recommendations, I guess that tells us we really are getting it right! Many brides have now become firm friends and come back with friends and family either to help someone else shop for a dress or simply just to pop in and have a chat. 

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We are very honoured and proud to have been nominated for 2 awards within 12 months of opening, getting to the finals of Wedding Boutique of the Year UK and the top 50 Hottest boutiques in the UK! This was especially exciting as we were categorised alongside the very best of the best such as Bruce Oldfield and Suzanne Neville! It was a lovely surprise as a lot of awards you have to put yourself forward for but this was completely out of the blue!

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We have a genuine enthusiasm for our business and I’m a bit of a wedding-a-holic! I go home and watch Wedding TV and read the bridal magazines, I just cant get enough of it! Our brides tell us we have a lovely warm atmosphere here at Choola and I think it’s because our business is family run so our dedication and passion radiates through all of us! We also have fun! My heart swells when I hear the shrieks of laughter and the champagne corks popping, its a feeling like no other. 

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Our ethos here is to treat brides how we would want to be treated, simple I know but its strategy that works! We are honest with our brides and try to give them as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision about their gown. Our boutique is chic and stylish with great lighting and lots of space and privacy, There are always fresh flowers and our boutique smells divine thanks to our fab candles.  We have soft cosy cream sofas and carpets and stunning mirrored furniture. The changing areas are luxurious and large enough to really move in the dresses. We offer a full styling service as well as being able to provide contacts for other bridal industry experts. We know our gowns and industry inside and out and most importantly, know how to dress a woman to show off her figure and personality to its full advantage. All in all we believe our dress shopping experience is exactly what it should be, fun, relaxed, special and a memory to be treasured.

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Do you stock bridesmaid’s dresses?

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We have two great collections by Mark Lesley and our newest designer Kenneth Winston. The dresses are a wonderful mix of traditional, contemporary, quirky and style led. A lot of the dresses are perfect to be worn again after the wedding. We have a great array of colours and many of the dresses my friends and I order to wear at days at the races and awards events as they are that gorgeous. 

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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Who would be a Choola bride?

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Anyone can be a Choola bride! We literally have a dress to suit every figure and personality and love that fact that over the years we have dressed brides from the ages of 20 to 60 and every size and shape that’s in between! We have brides who aren’t particularly "girly" and don’t want to look "bridal" right through to brides who have dreamt of being the princess from a little girl. I love the quirky mix of brides we have and how individual and different they all are.

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Are you married?

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In case anyone didn’t know, Ivan and I got engaged last year and are marrying in early summer! I’m so excited that I tell everyone! I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have a couture gown made for me by one the most talented designers (I’m keeping it secret for now!) The whole process of sitting down and sketching out the dress has been a fabulous experience and watching the dress develop step by step is truly amazing. I’m so excited to see the finished gown and I think there will be lots of tears when I have my final fitting! I can tell you though that I am having the most stunning pair of Aruna Seth shoes and they aren’t ivory. I’m a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw and have more shoes than I care to admit (or want Ivan to know about) and these are just to die for!

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Choola by Jess Petrie

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How can Brides up North get in touch with you and find out more?

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Brides can visit our website www.choola.co.uk, our facebook page, Choola Bridal Boutique and our Twitter page for more information about us. We will soon have a blog where I can talk wedding till my hearts content! Or if you just want a chat the good old fashioned way you can call us on 0114 2671303.

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Anything else Brides up North should know?

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Yes, we will soon be having our very first celebrity bride tie the knot! My lips are sealed but when the time comes keep your eyes peeled and there may even be an appearance in OK magazine… watch this space!

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  – Images © 2012 Jess Petrie

Choola is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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