Charlotte Balbier

happy ever after. mori lee for a fairytale wedding at chatsworth house – stephanie & nick

October 27th, 2016 | Emma Davis

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Today’s bride Stephanie made her childhood wedding dreams come true with a rustic wedding set in the delightful surroundings of the Chatsworth estate, in Derbyshire.

The carefully planned and personal big day featured lots of highlights, including a horse drawn carriage, homemade décor, fabulous florals and a show-stopping cake, but to name a few!

Images by Shoot Photography.

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stephanie says: We got engaged on 3rd July 2014. Nick took me on a surprise day out to Chatsworth House, in Bakewell, Derbyshire, as he knows it is my favourite place. We spent the morning looking around the beautiful house and in the afternoon we went into the gardens, where we started off by walking along the lawn next to the Emperor Fountain. Nick had been quiet all day so to try and make conversation I stepped closer to the fountain and started looking around for something to talk about, I then turned around and Nick was down on one knee with a ring box in his hand!

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Our wedding day was on the 29th June 2016. We wanted a summer wedding, and decided to marry on a weekday. We picked the end of June to try and have the best chance of a warm and sunny day, and picked Wednesday 29th thanks to an old folk rhyme:

Marry on Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday the best day of all, Thursday for crosses, Friday for losses, and Saturday for no luck at all.

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Our chosen venue was, of course, Chatsworth House. We live in the West Midlands but my parents took me to visit Chatsworth as a little girl, and from then on I wanted to live there, or at the very least get married there! Nick knew this when he decided to take me there to propose; he had also enquired with their wedding team as an extra surprise!

The theme for our wedding was mostly taken from the Chatsworth Estate. The stables are filled with beautiful original features including panelling from the stable blocks and hay wracks on the walls. To tie in with these features I wanted the flowers and table settings to have a ‘rustic’ feel to them, so we used lots of natural materials including hessian, bark and wooden lanterns; and neutral colours, such as ivory and brown craft paper. Some of our decorations featured stags and antlers, as a tribute and symbol of the Chatsworth estate; and other décor included paper roses and confetti made out of book pages, as a reflection of my love of Jane Austen and her novel Pride and Prejudice.

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My wedding gown was a Mori Lee Voyage dress from Brides of Solihull. I wanted a dress that was elegant with flow, plus a little bit of lace and a touch of sparkle – I think my chosen wedding dress fit all of these requirements, with the added bonus of the chiffon cowl that draped across the back, which myself and my mum fell in love with, and that was really what sold the dress to us!

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vintage pinks. art couture for an elegant wedding at ashfield house – liz & nick

July 11th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Wedding at Ashfield House (c) Stephen McGowran Wedding Photography (83)

Time to district you from those Monday blues with this gorgeous North West wedding.

Keen to make her day an elegant affair, bride Liz chose a timeless colour scheme of vintage pinks to complement the venue, which was decorated with beautiful and natural blooms.

In particular we love Liz’s luxurious satin A-line dress, as well as her bridesmaid and flower girl dresses too – they all look stunning!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Stephen McGowan Wedding Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Ashfield House (c) Stephen McGowran Wedding Photography (46)

liz says: Nick proposed during a party that he and my family had organised as a surprise for my 30th birthday. During the night Nick surprised me again with a trip to Iceland (somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit), before asking if I would be his wife in front of everyone – not like him at all!

We set the date for 24th March 2016, which led into the Easter weekend and would give us about a year to plan.

An Elegant Wedding at Ashfield House (c) Stephen McGowran Wedding Photography (54)

Ashfield House in Standish, Wigan, was our chosen setting. It was the venue of the first wedding fair I went to with my mum and sister. I loved it and nothing compared after that. I took Nick and we decided it was the place for us.

We didn’t have a theme as such, we just wanted everything to be elegant and the venue style helped with this. We then chose a complementary colour scheme of vintage pinks which the flowers and other accessories were styled from.

An Elegant Wedding at Ashfield House (c) Stephen McGowran Wedding Photography (91)

An Elegant Wedding at Ashfield House (c) Stephen McGowran Wedding Photography (114)

I chose a champagne, satin, A-line dress by Art Couture, which I bought from Bride in Childwall. I didn’t think I would go for a half/half style dress but after trying this on I fell in love.

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real wedding recap: ronald joyce for a fairytale wedding at ness gardens – laura & richard

June 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, 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 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some 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.

A Fairytale Wedding at Ness Gardens (c) Emma Hillier Photography (49)

Today’s real wedding is pretty and sweet and features lots of pops of our favourite colour, pink! It’s no wonder then that we loved it as soon as we set eyes on it!

Having dreamt of her big day since being read fairytales as a little girl, bride Laura decided on a ‘once upon on time’ romantic theme for her big day, complete with loved-up pink colour scheme. We adore all the bright and charming elements that make the wedding stand off the page; from the stunning outdoor garden setting to the bridesmaids’ pastel dresses and the dreamy blooms. A fine fairytale indeed!

With images by Emma Hillier Photography.

A Fairytale Wedding at Ness Gardens (c) Emma Hillier Photography (20)

laura says: We got engaged in March 2014, Richard had organised a surprise trip for my birthday to the Lake District. It was raining that day so we took cover in the hotel that Richard had booked my favourite afternoon tea at. Once the rain slowly started to go off he suggested we take a walk around the hotel’s beautiful grounds. As we were walking all of a sudden the sun came out and he got down on one knee in the wet grass and asked me to marry him! I was completely overjoyed and through some very happy tears, I said yes!

We were keen to get married as quickly as we could but realised that we needed time to plan and save so we decided we would get married the following year. We wanted a Saturday wedding in one of the summer months, we checked dates with our venue and the registrar and we were able to book our wedding on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

A Fairytale Wedding at Ness Gardens (c) Emma Hillier Photography (22)

Richard didn’t really want to get married in a church and although we have been to many beautiful weddings in hotels it didn’t really fit in with what we wanted. I’d heard Ness Gardens in The Wirral, held weddings outside so a week after we got engaged we went to see the venue. We both instantly fell in love with it – it was everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. The gardens are so beautiful and getting married outside felt really magical. We never went to look at any other venues as we just knew this was where we were supposed to get married.

Ever since I was a little girl and my mum read me stories of fairytales, this is what I’d dreamed my wedding would be, my very own fairytale with my own happily ever after. So I chose a romantic theme for mine and Richard’s big day. For my table names I chose my favourite romance films and then from each film I used a quote about love. I also had signs made with love quotes on and hired some amazing light up love letters from Rock That Letter.

I used Pinterest a lot for inspiration and a pink colour scheme just stood out for me – it’s one of my favourite colours and added to my romantic theme. Once the room was dressed it looked even more beautiful than I had imagined.

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city lights. roses & gypsophila for a neutrals based wedding in manchester – caroline & matthew

May 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Wedding in Manchester (c) Zen Photographic (26)

This afternoon’s real wedding is all about simplicity, elegance and class!

Taking place in Manchester, Caroline and Matthew chose the city’s stunning town hall for their ceremony followed by a reception at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel.

Keen to stick to a simple and neutral palette, Caroline chose beautiful white and green flowers and mink bridesmaid dresses to complement her stunning ball-gown style dress, which made her look every inch a princess!

With images by our talented Brides Up North Sponsor Zen Photographic.

An Elegant Wedding in Manchester (c) Zen Photographic (13)

caroline says: We got engaged while on holiday in Mexico. One evening, just before it went dark, we were walking along the beach to dinner, it was a beautiful evening and there was no one around. Matthew asked me to move a large palm tree branch out of the way to take a picture. I moved it to reveal the words ‘marry me?’ written in sand on top of a large leaf, I turned around to find Matthew on one knee with the ring in his hand. When we returned back to the hotel our room had been filled with rose petals, champagne and chocolates. It was perfect!

An Elegant Wedding in Manchester (c) Zen Photographic (27)

We got married on 8th August 2015 at Manchester Town Hall. The building is so beautiful we fell in love with it as soon as we went inside. We lived together for the first time in the city centre so it felt like a special place to get married. The wedding breakfast and reception were held at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel just a stone’s throw away from the town hall. We loved the look and feel of the hotel and the history of all the musicians who had performed there when it was the Free Trade Hall.

We didn’t have a theme as such, we wanted to keep in style with the elegance of the Halle Suite at the Radisson so chose white flowers and lots of candles. Our colour scheme was a mink colour for the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s cravats. We wanted everything to be neutral.

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under the sea. maggie sottero for a teal wedding at allerton castle – nicola & nick

April 18th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (77)

Today’s real wedding has a somewhat unusual theme to it, though we just love to see brides and grooms thinking outside the box and injecting a little of their personalities into the day. This is exactly what Nick and Nicola did by picking an underwater wedding theme to reflect their favourite hobbies: angling and scuba diving.

To complete the look, Nick and Nicola chose a beautiful teal colour scheme, which tied in with their chosen theme, as well as the venue’s existing décor, perfectly.

We will be visiting the fabulous Allerton Castle in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, ourselves this Sunday to host one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. The event will give couples the opportunity to see this impressive venue for themselves whilst also meeting some of the area’s top wedding suppliers, several of which were a part of Nicola and Nick’s glorious big day. So if you like what you see be sure to register for the event here, it’s free entry!

With images by Laura Calderwood Photography.

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (1)

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (78)

nicola says: We got engaged at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum, which has always been a special place of ours to walk and relax. We wandered to our favourite spot with the lake in front of us and the trees behind, next to the giant acorn sculpture! I thought we had just come out for a nice stroll in the sunshine, but as I turned around Nick got down on one knee and asked “will you marry me?” I couldn’t believe it, of course I said yes! Nick had a mini bottle of champagne in his back pack, which we enjoyed in the sunshine. It was such a peaceful place and very romantic. When we went back home, our parents were waiting for us and had decorated the house in banners and balloons, it was such a lovely surprise and I had no idea it had all been planned!

A Water Inspired Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (73)

Our wedding date was Sunday 24th May 2015. We wanted to get married in spring, in the hope for some nice weather on the big day. We chose the Sunday as it was the bank holiday weekend, and it was nice to have the whole family celebrate for a long weekend. It also meant that those who had to travel long distances would not have to take any time off work.

We got married at Allerton Castle, which is a beautiful place. We went to our first wedding fair at the castle and it just took our breath away. As we looked round other venues, we kept comparing them back to Allerton Castle, we just knew straight away it was the place for us. Another practical point was that Allerton Castle were willing to hold smaller weddings on a weekend, requiring 60 guests during the day. Other venues insisted on a minimum of 100, or even 150 guests, for a weekend, which we thought was quite unfair. We had 65 guests during the day and 85 in the evening, it was just the right number for us.

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the big debate: high street vs designer

April 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Every couple is different when it comes to planning their wedding and every bride is different when it comes to picking their dress. There is no rule book to follow on how much the overall budget for the wedding should be, or how it is to be split between the different elements of the day. And while for some, the venue and food will be top of the list, for others it’s the honeymoon, entertainment or attire that gets the majority of the cash.

In terms of the bride’s spend on her dress it may be the case that she’s been saving on the side of the main budget to buy her dream dress, or that this is something her parents have said that they would like to contribute to. Whatever the case, the dress ‘allowance’ generally comes down to the bride’s mind-set: ‘you only do it once – spend on an amazing designer gown’ or ‘it’s only one day – save with a high street dress’.

So today on the blog we’re debating if ladies should be booking appointments at bridal boutiques filled with fabulous designer gowns once that ring is firmly on her finger, or if it’s worth giving the high street options a go for a pretty gown at the fraction of the price?

(All gowns pictured in post body by ASOS. This is not a sponsored post, we just think they are pretty!)

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rachel says: high street happy

Once upon a time I would never have suggested a bride look to the high street to find her wedding gown but now I would say it’s certainly worth considering.

We’ve seen the likes of BHS, Monsoon and Phase Eight releasing wedding dress collections (and making a good job of it too) and now more stores are jumping on the bridal bandwagon by launching their own big day collections – most recently fashion giants ASOS and H&M.

This means there is now more choice than ever for brides-to-be when it comes to selecting a gown at the lower end of the price scale, with high street designs starting from as little as £100 – leaving lots more in the spending pot for the shoes and accessories!

And just like the designers, the high street are taking notice of brides’ desire for individuality and so you won’t just find a one-style-suits-all approach within the collections. Instead there are options for the boho bride, the fashionista, the style statement maker and fans of vintage. Just this week Self-Portrait has launched its first bridal collection within selected Selfridge’s stores (and it includes some real beauties – some of which are shown in our Gallery below). With modern and rock n roll influences, the brand has created “a contemporary capsule of affordable, timeless wedding dresses for the ‘untraditional bride’”. Sounds good to me!

I’m also bowled over by Needle & Thread’s swoon-worthy bridal collection with dreamy designs varying from slinky floor-length gowns, to modern separates and mini dresses, not to mention ridiculously pretty tulle, almost ballerina, style creations.

One of the main reservations of buying bridal from the high street can be the thought of missing out on the boutique experience – and while having specialist on hand to help you pick a dream dress is a hugely valuable service – there’s nothing to stop you creating your own special shopping experience at home or on the high street. Either make a day out of it with your leading ladies, factoring in time for a lush lunch and a champagne stop (or two) on the agenda. Or, order online and invite your nearest and dearest to help you pick over an evening of fizz, canapes and cupcakes (surely that’s an ideal job to delegate to your bridesmaids). Who knows, you might even be able to afford to keep more than just the one dress!

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julia says: undoubtedly designer

We’ve featured all sorts of amazing frocks on these pretty pages, from vintage finds to high street bargains to couture masterpieces and the one thing that they had in common was that the bride felt like a million dollars in them and they all looked bloody beautiful.

I also think it’s wonderful that there is now a range of fashion forward options at varying price points for today’s bride and would never judge a friend for choosing a more affordable option, but would I pick up my wedding dress during a high street haul?  Not a chance!

I’ve been lucky enough to sit on the front row of some of the world’s most prestigious bridal events and work alongside some of the most talented designers in the business.  What makes these labels successful is the unbelievable attention to detail that they pay to every gown, every sequin and every client.

What makes these dresses worth saving for and spending on is the whole ‘dream dress’ experience.  It’s in the exciting trips to the boutique or atelier with your loved ones; the anticipation (and pop of Champagne) at every fitting; the rustle of tulle in a big, starched box; the million hand sewn pearl buttons; the bespoke accessories and additions and the perfectly steamed silk chiffon.

Not only that, it’s the exquisite fabrics, perfect cuts and delicate boning that nip, tuck, lift and skim in all the right places. These gowns really will make you look the best you ever have, and I think that’s worth paying for.

On your wedding day you want to feel special, beautiful, unique and individual, not just one of thousands of off the rail identikit Saturday shoppers.  Your wedding day fashion can be flash, but it should never be fast!

I love some of the most recent designs hitting the high street and featured here today, but I still wouldn’t give up the couture experience over bagging a stylish bargain.

To be honest, I’ve never seen a clearer cut need for a two dress wedding day… some of these numbers would look amazing on the dance floor!  Pass the credit card.

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what you said on social…

Elizabeth says: “I’ve dreamt of getting married since being a little girl and so have saved up for my dream dress. Going to the boutiques was an amazing and unforgettable experience so for me it would have to be designer every time!”

Jemma says: “We’re doing our wedding on a £4,000 budget (excluding the honeymoon) and so I’ve decided to buy from the high street. I’ve fallen in love with a lace Monsoon gown with scallop detail which is just under £300. I think it could be ‘the one’.”

Fay says: “I’ve already picked a designer gown and enjoyed every minute of the shopping experience. However it’s quite a voluminous dress and after recently seeing a real wedding on a blog where a bride chose a slim-line high street gown to change into for the evening do, I’m tempted to do the same.”

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