Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

a little blush. justin alexander for an elegant wedding at seaham hall – kirsty & ryan

November 8th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh


Today’s bride Kirsty, says that the perfect wedding dress took her by surprise by being everything she supposedly didn’t want. The dress in question – a romantic, swishy Justin Alexander creation – was a truly stunning choice from what we can see!

Kirsty also said she wanted her day to be defined by the words “classy” and “romantic”. Well, mission accomplished, just take a look at the stunning photographs!

Ready for some serious pretty? Let’s dive right in…

With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.


kirsty says: Ryan and I got engaged on 1st August 2014 while on holiday in Mexico. Ryan had organised a private, romantic meal on the pier, looking over the ocean where we could watch the sun set. We had a gorgeous meal with champagne. Once we’d finished our meal, Ryan got down on one knee and the waiter presented my ring on a silver plate. It was perfect and the waiter caught it all on camera so I will always be able to look back at that moment. I had no idea, which made it even more special.

We got married on 6th August 2016. We always wanted to get married in the summer and this date worked well around my work. I’m a teacher and wanted to have a few weeks off before the wedding as well as being able to go on our honeymoon before the new term started. Plus, we hoped that in August we’d have sunny weather – which we did!


We were married at our local church in Houghton-le-Spring and then went onto Seaham Hall in County Durham. I’d always wanted to have my wedding there. The hotel is so beautiful I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Plus, we loved the fact that we could have an exclusive wedding with the whole venue and facilities to ourselves. We booked all 20 of the hotel rooms, which meant our close family and friends could stay over. The hotel boasts a sports room with a pool table, which was ideal for the men, plus there was a quiet lounge for the ‘oldies’.

I’d always wanted a big wedding and Ryan just went along with it! The two words I wanted to define the day were “classy” and “romantic”. When we got engaged the rustic, vintage theme was very popular and I loved the idea of lots of little details. However, I still wanted the overall feel to be contemporary as Seaham Hall is quite modern.


Making a decision on the colour scheme wasn’t difficult. I’m a girly girl and knew I wanted pink. We decided on a very soft blush; we knew it would suit both bridesmaids as well as the groomsmen. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Mia Sposa in Newcastle; I chose a full-length lace gown in blush pink. They chose their own shoes so that they were comfortable on the day.

The choice of my own dress took me by surprise. It was everything I supposedly didn’t want. I chose a Justin Alexander dress also from Mia Sposa in Newcastle (the girls there are fab!) It had a full skirt, long train and lace straps, creating a ‘v’ shape at the front and back. The lace detail went all the way down the fitted bodice and past my hips where it faded out and then also all around the hem of the skirt. I loved the buttons at the back as they too went all the way down the skirt. When I spun it swished around me; I really felt like a princess! I also wore a veil, which was the full length of my dress and decorated with small crystals.

Mel Hedley did the bridal party’s makeup for the wedding. She was fantastic! Francesca Hair Design in Pelton, then did the bridal party’s hair. We had such a laugh getting ready and they all went beyond the call of duty!


We hired Ryan’s suit from Just Perfect in Shotton Colliery. He wore a French navy suit with a tweed waistcoat. He had a blush pink tie and tan shoes. The combined effect was gorgeous. The groomsmen wore the same as the groom however their waistcoat was the same French navy as the suit, also from Just Perfect.

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butterflies & blooms. a romantic blush pink wedding in the north west – charlotte & chris

October 17th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh


Today’s bride and groom were married at the stunning Warrington Golf Club surrounded by their very nearest and dearest.

The wedding day was a sublime, pink-hued affair with more than a hint of Midsummer Night’s romanticism and revelry.

There were plenty of nods to tradition, including Charlotte’s showstopper of a Camelot-inspired dress, but also plenty of fun, personal touches, such as the Marvel Comics cake and Molly the Chorkie dressed in dusty pink.

So, ready for some romance?

With images by Helen Smiddy of HJS Photography.


charlotte says: We got engaged during a cruise to the Bahamas in June 2014. Chris proposed on a starlit night whilst we were on route to Miami. It was very romantic, although he had to walk me around the ship four times before he plucked up the courage to ask the question!

We decided to get married on 11th June 2016. We chose this date for two reasons: it was exactly two years from the date of the proposal, and I’d always wanted to be a June bride.


We were married at our local church, St Mary’s, in Great Sankey. Chris and I wanted a traditional church wedding, and St Mary’s is so pretty and traditional. We then travelled to Warrington Golf Club for the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations.

Our theme was based around butterflies; I love butterflies, and they always make me think of summer. Our colour scheme was a dusty pink. I’m a self-confessed girly girl and pink has always been my favourite colour.


I wanted a dress and veil that were a little different and suited my style. I’d always admired the fairy-like style of dresses in movies, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camelot, and I hoped to emulate this style. I bought the dress in Blackpool and had the veil made to match. My shoes were ordered from Monsoon and my hair vine and jewellery were from Debenhams.

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blushing romance: a rose quartz inspired styled shoot at the arches

March 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Rose Quartz Styled Bridal Shoot (16)

We’ve made no secret of the fact that us girls here at Brides Up North HQ are totally crushing on Pantone’s colours for 2016, serenity and rose quartz. We were so taken with the dreamy colours in fact that we put together a style sheet to help inspire brides wanting to incorporate the hot hues into their weddings.

And today we bring you further pretty Pantone inspiration in the form of this stunning styled shoot put together by a talented bunch of Northern suppliers and captured at The Arches @ Dean Clough, a fairly new venue to the Yorkshire wedding scene that’s attracting great attention.

So grab your notebooks and fire up your Pinterest boards as we hand over the blog to Tabby Clegg, Director of Mode for…Events, who was involved in the shoot, to give us the all-important deets!

With images by Georgia Nolan of Happily Ever Captured and videography by Charlotte Brownridge of Charlotte Emily Videography.

A Rose Quartz Styled Bridal Shoot (9)

tabby says: The concept for this shoot came from the fabulous Claire at Sweet Sugar Sixpence, and together with Natasha, from Natasha Jane Events, they developed this dreamy image which I recommended they shoot at one the fantastic venues I work with, The Arches @ Dean Clough in Halifax.

The venue is a beautiful converted Victorian Mill with stone floors, arched brick vaulted ceilings and steel columns. It’s a truly inspiring space which I love working with and it’s proving to be a new hot choice with brides and grooms in the North since it launched as a wedding venue in October 2015.

A Rose Quartz Styled Bridal Shoot (11)

For the concept, Claire was inspired by one of the Pantone colours for 2016, rose quartz, and the trend she had seen creeping through for geodes and crystals (particularly on cakes).

claire says: “I wanted to put together a shoot using real rose quartz. The obvious way to go would have been a hippy/boho look but Natasha and I felt that didn’t really fit the typical ‘Arches couple’ so we looked at how to make it more chic and romantic. I pulled together a colour scheme of pinks, greys and silvers and sourced a heap of rose quartz from the wonderful Natalie at Gallery 339 in Halifax. We asked some amazing suppliers to come on board with us and rather than dictating what we wanted, described our imaginary couple and scheme and asked them to ‘do their thing.’ This meant we had a really natural, un-contrived end result. Each element reflects not only the theme of the shoot but also who we are as individual suppliers. We didn’t name the shoot until afterwards when we saw the amazing video by Charlotte, which is so romantic and dreamy; the name ‘Blushing Romance’ was thrown in the pot by Tabby and we all loved it!”

The Arches @ Dean Clough Stylised Shoot from Charlotte Brownridge on Vimeo.

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style sheet: pantone 2016

February 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry


For some couples giving their wedding day a theme makes it feel a little gimmicky, and so they prefer to keep things simple by coordinating the details to a chosen colour scheme instead. But which hues to choose?

Some brides will simply go with their favourite colour(s), while others will pick shades which complement the season of the year in which they will wed. Those needing inspiration meanwhile can always turn to colour experts Pantone, who forecast the top colours each year based on a snapshot of what is taking place in our culture.

For the first time ever, Pantone has introduced two colours for 2016 – rose quartz & serenity – both of which make dreamy wedding colour schemes, either alone or when combined together. So today we’re giving you, our lovely brides-to-be, ideas on how to pull off the perfect Pantone palette for your big day…

rose quartz

Rose Quartz

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Masha Golub| image source, photography by Laura Gordon Photography| image source| image source, photography by Matthew Morgan Photography| image source, photography by Elizabeth Messina| image source, photography by Ryon Lockhart| image source, photography by Sarah Mellor| image source| image source.

Described as a warm tone that reflects wellness by Pantone, this stunning dusky shade of rose pink is particularly elegant and would suit various styles of weddings, from classic to contemporary.

Sweet and soft in its appearance this shade is the epitome of love and romance and is also gentle on many skin tones, making it an ideal choice for bridesmaids. It’s also an option for brides looking for a subtle alternative to ivory, with a growing number of designers introducing blush gowns to their collections.

Brides sticking to tradition however can still incorporate the rosy hue into their attire through their shoe and accessory choices; whether it be a blush garter, pink pearl necklace or dusky stone drop earrings.

Thankfully when it comes to flowers, there are plenty of pink blooms for brides to choose from, such as peonies, lilies, astilbe and anemones. In addition to bouquets and button holes, such blooms can be incorporated into the décor and even the cake design. It would also be a nice play on the colour scheme to feature roses in the theming, both in terms of the flowers and design of elements like the stationery.

Weddings that are light, soft and delicate in their appearance will work best with this girly hue so just be sure to keep things simple, clean and classy.



Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Ben Yew Photography| image source, photography by Fuller Photography| image source, photography by Anastasia Belik| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Amaranth Photography| image source.

Every bride needs a something blue for her big day, so why not choose Pantone’s serenity for an on-trend and elegant colour scheme.

Described as tranquil and soothing by the colour forecasters, this is an ideal choice for those wanting a laid-back yet loved-up feel for their wedding.

Though not the most popular choice with brides, we have seen an increase in the number of steely blue dress designs hitting the bridal catwalks, notably from top designers such as Ian Stuart and Monique Lhuillier. Brides wanting to play it safe meanwhile could go for the classic something blue in the form of their shoes, adding a pop of colour to their attire.

For bridesmaids the cool tone could be a little tricky to match to varying complexions and so a mix of differing blue tone dresses might work best, whilst also adding depth and interest.

Grooms can also get in on the blue colour scheme for their attire. Though serenity is a mid to lighter shade of blue, which many men might not feel comfortable in, there is the option of a navy suit matched with a tie or dicky bow in a similar shade to serenity, whether it be plain or patterned.

Elsewhere blue can be reflected through flower choices such as hydrangeas, thistles, eucalyptus and iris. Cake designs can also feature the hue, with watercolour, ombre and wedgewood styles lending themselves particularly well.

As to not make the overall look too cold and controlled, try to keep to the powder side of blue and soften décor with the use of pretty petals and bows.

blue & blush

Blue & Blush

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Into the Light| image source, photography by Loft Photographie| image source, photography by Natalie Bray Photography| image source, photography by Rebecca Amber Photography| image source, photography by NJ Wedding Photographer Kay English| image source, photography by Eve Photography| image source| image source, photography by Tiffany Hughes Photography| image source, photography by Caroline Tran| image source.

Finally for a complete colour contrast, couples can fully embrace Pantone’s picks of 2016 by incorporating both blush rose and serenity blue into their big day.

Focusing on gender equality, Pantone points out that bringing the two shades together creates something of a gender blur, though for weddings it could be seen as both a reflection of the bride and groom through both a feminine and masculine colour combination.

Working in perfect harmony Rose Quartz and Serenity are particularly appealing for those wanting a sweet, surgery and elegant look to their wedding.

Bridesmaids can be mixed and matched in the two colours, or alternatively kept in one shade for their dresses and then have the contrasting colour for either their bouquets and/or heels.

In terms of décor, coordinating and contrasting blooms and vases, jars or bottles work well, as do pretty paper pompoms or lanterns in the two shades. Crockery and glassware can also be mismatched to reflect the scheme, and in pastel shades can work particularly well with vintage and afternoon tea style settings.

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beautiful blush. lusan mandongus for a wedding in cheshire – joanna & ryan

June 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (33)

I just love the setting of today’s real wedding, a gorgeous glass room at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens which boasts gorgeous views of the venue’s spectacular grounds.

Taking inspiration from Abbeywood, bride Joanna picked a pretty blush colour scheme and included lots of wild blooms in the wedding décor to help bring the outdoors, in.

And this is yet another wedding with an incredibly well dressed bridal party. Ryan and his fellow men look fabulous in their suits and kilts and we’re loving the bridesmaids’ specially designed pastel dresses. But without doubt it’s Joanna who steals the show in her gorgeous slim-line Lusan Mandongus gown and full-length veil.

With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (1)

joanna says: We got engaged in October 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The holiday had been booked for ages. We always try to go away during the holidays as I’m a teacher and we both enjoy travelling. We chose the hotel together and discussed what we would do during our break. On our second day we hired bikes and cycled around the city visiting the sites. Just before we were about to go back to the hotel, Ryan decided that it would be a great idea to cycle through the park. We stopped outside the palace in the gardens where Ryan got down on one knee and proposed. After the proposal we enjoyed the rest of the holiday celebrating before returning home to share the good news with our family.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (3)

We set the date for 15th August 2014. We were very lucky to get this Friday in August as many weddings had been booked over a year in advance. I always knew I wanted a short engagement.  The thought of planning/talking about a wedding for two years was just not for me.

We got married at my church St Mary’s in Crewe and then celebrated the rest of the day at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens, Northwich. We knew from our first visit that Abbeywood was the venue for us. We have both worked in hotels when we were younger and didn’t want our wedding to feel like something on a conveyer belt which many hotels felt like to us. Abbeywood made us feel so special and nothing was too much trouble. It was beautiful, no fuss venue with lovely staff. The gardens were breath-taking and because the room was made entirely from glass, it felt like we were sitting outside in the gardens all day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (4)

We didn’t really have a colour scheme, however the bridesmaid dresses, ties and the majority of the flowers were a subtle blush. Ryan was certain that he wanted a blue suit so we fitted the bridesmaid dresses around this and because the gardens were so bright and colourful we also chose colourful flowers as our centre pieces.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (9)

My dress was a Lusan Mandongus wedding dress. I chose this dress because it was simple and elegant but a little bit different. I loved the dress as soon as I put it on and even though I continued bridal shopping for many more weeks with my mum, I knew that I would not find anything that would suit me better. I was never a girl who had a vision for a dress so I tried on all shapes and styles but quickly came to realise that I wanted something lace and fitting. My shoes were from I Do Dresses in Crewe. They were the comfiest shoes and allowed me to keep dancing all night.

Ryan choose his suit from Platts Menswear and Formal Hire in Crewe. The staff were so knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The most important thing to Ryan was a suit that fitted him really well and that it was a bit different. The suit that he chose was a gorgeous French blue and tails because he knew that no other guests would wear a tails suit to the wedding. My Dad then chose a blue kilt and matched this with a French blue jacket. The suits that the groomsmen wore fitted all the men perfectly and they looked extremely smart all day. Ryan thinks that this suit was the nicest attire he has ever dressed in.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (17)

The bridesmaids’ dresses were designed and made by Mariee bridal shop in Nantwich. The shop specialises in bespoke bridal wear. After months of searching for bridesmaids dresses that complemented my dress and the groomsmen’s suits we decided to visit Kate at Mariee. I showed her a picture of my dress and the French blue suits that we had chosen and right anyway she picked the perfect colour of fabric (blush) and drew the most beautiful bridesmaid dress that myself, my mum and both of my sisters loved instantly. My sisters then asked Kate to add buttons down the back and a lace belt that matched the lace from my dress. The dresses were perfect and looked great on the day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (14)

We hired our wedding transport from Horgans. The driver arrived in the morning and took myself and my dad to the church and then myself and Ryan to the venue after the mass. It was a nice time after the mass for me and Ryan to catch up and have a glass of champagne together before the reception.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (28)

Our photographer on the day was Jo Bradbury. She was the perfect choice for us because I knew that I needed someone that was going to fit around our day and not take over by making us spend hours having photographs taken. Jo was great, I barely knew she was there and the photographs are all stunning. She managed to capture so much of the day and stayed well until the evening getting some really fun shots of enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (35)

My flowers were provided by local florist Julia Wynn. I told her about Abbeywood being a natural garden and that I wanted my flowers to reflect that. She came with lots of ideas and knew exactly what I wanted. She put together a very natural bouquet for myself and my bridesmaid that included a thistle because we are Scottish. Julia also sourced flower boxes and trees for the centre pieces for the tables.

Because I’m a teacher my invitations were designed by the children at my school. The head teacher at my school launched a competition to design the best invitation for my wedding. I had hundreds of entries all of them were great in their own way. We eventually chose one winner for the invitation but all the other pictures were way too cute not to use. I went to Delmar printers in Nantwich who kindly made the invitation and then scanned the other hundreds of pictures and shrunk them small enough to fit onto name cards. Every guest had their own personalised name cards with a picture designed by one of the children from my school. Each table number was written on a small blackboard with a top tip for marriage written by the children in my class. They were all really funny like: let your wife go shopping, don’t flip out if she spends £200; Buy waffles from Asda; make each other smile every day; and let your husband play on the iPad all day. They gave the guests lots to laugh at and talk about when they got to their table.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (43)

We only gave favours to the ladies at our wedding. Each was given a china tea cup and saucer.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (47)

My friend made our wedding cake. We spent an evening together searching the internet for ideas and she made one that was a mixture of a few ideas. The cake was perfect and all my guests kept telling me how delicious it was too. It had three tiers, blush flowers and lace icing.

The food at Abbeywood was delicious and many of our guests throughout the evening said it was the best wedding food they had ever had. We chose fishcakes for starters, chicken for main and chocolate brownie for dessert.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (39)

We knew that we wanted a band for our wedding because a band gets everyone up and dancing like nothing else. The band we chose was The Jim Jams. We had booked them before for a birthday party so we knew they were professional and really know how to show everyone a good time. They had everyone up dancing from start to end!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (45)

Other suppliers we would recommend include Hair by Amanda Hendrie. Amanda specialises in wedding hair and put my hair up for my wedding. I had trials previous to the day so we both knew exactly what I wanted. She took into consideration the style of my dress and how I usually wore my hair so that I still looked like myself on my wedding day, which was really important to me. I also had a veil to consider for the day and a hair slide for the evening. My hair stayed up and perfect all day.

We also can’t speak highly enough about a company called Shoot it Yourself – this was the best wedding money that we spent. The cameras were dropped off at our house the day before. Ryan took one camera with the boys and I kept one camera with the girls. Our friends and family recorded parts of the morning, the wedding mass and parts of the day. The next day Shoot it Yourself collected the cameras and put together three chapters of our day.  The ‘best bits’ was a selection of clips from throughout the day with our music choices. The best bits were also put on their website so that all our friends and family could watch too. The other two chapters were of the complete ceremony and the speeches. Since the wedding day we have watched it so many times and it brings back some great memories. We also got to see everything that goes on in the background that we would have never seen otherwise.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (59)

Ryan’s favourite part of the day was between main course and dessert, he looked up and as the sun was piercing into the glasshouse everyone was enjoying themselves and he knew the hard parts were over and the party was about to start. My favourite part of the day was during our first dance, I was so worried that we would be left on the dance floor for the entire song alone, but as soon as the band invited people to the dance floor all our guest flooded on, desperate to get the party started!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (62)

For our honeymoon we went to Italy, visiting Venice, Lake Garda and Milan. It was a great honeymoon. We enjoyed Lake Garda the most as it gave us time to relax, we didn’t realise just how exhausting getting married would be. The rest during our honeymoon was very much needed.

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be – book a live band, book the week before you get married off work as there is so much to pick up and do and where possible go with local businesses.  The amount of times you need to go and see suit suppliers, bridesmaid dresses, printers etc. staying local where possible saves you so much time and you get a more personal service from a small local business. Finally you don’t need to spend money on things you don’t need, all people tend to remember is the food, the company and the music.

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sparkling blush. lusan mandongus for a classic wedding in sheffield – Amy & Joel

February 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (46)

Amy and Joel wanted their wedding to be a true celebration of their love and their feelings for each other certainly shone brightly during their big day in Sheffield.

As well as love their wedding was full of laughter, happiness and simple yet stunning styling. All in all the couple achieved their goals for a relaxed celebration full of romance as documented here.

With images by Ever Thine Photography.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (55)

amy says: We got engaged in September 2012, in Sheffield where we live. I had been in Manchester for a family birthday and drove back on a Saturday, unintentionally hitting the road to Sheffield on the same day that thousands of University first years were moving into their halls. So I had a nightmare journey and was back to Sheffield a couple of hours after Joel had planned for us to go for a walk together, in a terrible stressed mood. When I saw him I said “Please cheer me up” and he replied “I think I can do that”.

He took me on a walk to a meadow where we had also ended up on one of our first dates. It was a beautiful sunny day and nobody was around. We had a lovely picnic that Joel had packed, but before we ate anything he got down on one knee! Then when I said yes (through happy sobs) he uncorked the bubbly he’d hidden in a cool-bag. Joel had also arranged a surprise engagement party with our friends in Sheffield that evening, and a celebratory lunch with my family the following day! He really did himself proud – and he definitely cheered me up!

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (12)

We got married the following August 9th. I had always wanted to get married in summer and Joel was training to be a doctor so only had a few weeks in August where he would be on holiday and available for wedding/honeymooning. So with various other things going on that month, the 9th it was.

We got married in Sheffield in a church, which was important to us and our families. Straight after the ceremony we had a mini afternoon tea reception at the church, which people appreciated as it kept them fed and watered. Our reception venue was Whitley Hall – a great 16th century mansion with loads of character. We loved the fact that it had beautiful grounds so we could spend lots of time outside, but it also had a few different rooms inside with cosy armchairs and soft lighting. It’s a lovely venue and we really enjoyed our day there.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (17)

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (19)

We didn’t choose a particular theme – style-wise I knew I wanted everything to be quite classic and soft, romantic. But we really wanted the day to be about love and our marriage. We had lots of quotes/poems around love and we had a lot of touches that were personal to us. I spent a lot of time hand-making things in intense wedding craft sessions with my wonderful helpful family! Luckily my sister Katy is trained in graphic design so she was able to really personalise our wedding and help give us unique special touches – she designed our ‘logo’, wedding invitations and all our other design and print.

The colours we chose was a really soft palette of ivory, champagne, creams, blush and gold/sparkling details because I’m a bit of a magpie.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (21)

My dress was a lace design by Lusan Mandongus that I bought from Amy Louise Bridal in Nantwich, Cheshire. I loved a sort of flowing mermaid shape with a train, soft and romantic but figure-flattering at the same time. I was pretty sure I wanted lace and straps before I tried on dresses, but hadn’t found the dress I had imagined after trying on about 50 in a few different shops. I was actually going to Amy Louise to try on a different dress for the second time when the lovely consultant Kirsten pulled out the dress, saying that it had just come into the shop and she’d thought of me… I tried it on and felt lovely in it, my mum and sisters loved it, and I could completely imagine walking up the aisle to Joel in it. I felt great in the dress in the day – I love the soft lace straps, the hint of sparkle and the gorgeous deep back with covered buttons going down it. I was sad to take it off! I also loved my sparkly shoes, I felt like they were my little secret ‘princess’ touch!

Joel wore a suit from River Island, which was kind of a bright/French navy, with a champagne coloured tie. I went with him when he picked the suit and had tears when he came out trying it on – he looked so good and I felt so lucky! I thought he looked so gorgeous on our wedding day.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (24)

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (25)

The bridesmaids wore dresses that I found in an online shop Goddiva – I wanted blush ones, and I loved the flowing Grecian style of these with a little bit of sparkly detail on the shoulder. They were a really good deal too. The groomsmen wore the same suit as Joel, with blue ties (except Joel’s brother Josh the best man wore a champagne one like Joel), and the detail that Josh provided which was socks to match the champagne colour of our ties.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (28)

A dream of mine since I was a young teenager has been to own a classic VW campervan. My parents surprised me on the day of the wedding by booking a cream campervan that we all went to the church in. Joel and I also travelled to the reception in it – it was so much fun and so thoughtful of my parents.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (31)

Our wedding was shot by Lucy Aspray of Ever Thine Photography. She was so relaxed but professional, and because Lucy loves weddings herself she appreciates and captures the details you put effort into. We were really lucky in that the lovely folk at Ever Thine were dear friends of ours before we even got engaged, so we were so happy to be able to have them do our photos. However I would definitely recommend them to others even if we hadn’t know them – I think that Lucy’s style is to really put you at ease and have fun with you, but she’s also really unobtrusive with lots of natural shots and has the instinct for catching moments at the perfect time – which is really important on your wedding day when you don’t want to feel awkward and like you’re being bossed around by a photographer, but do want plenty of beautiful pics.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (41)

I carried a bouquet of ivory/cream flowers with trailing flowers and vines to look flowing and romantic like my dress and the general vibe I was going for. Anna at Swallows & Damsons in Sheffield did the bouquet – she is an absolute sweetheart and really helpful and knowledgeable, her style is beautifully modern and natural.

We didn’t go mad on flowers at the wedding reception, but put stems of blush roses and cream hydrangeas (which Swallows & Damsons provided us with) in lots of antique vases and glassware that my mum and I foraged for in Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter. I customised tea light holders with gold glitter, and we put candles in these and in some antique glass candlesticks on the tables in with other cut glass pieces – the effect was quite classic, vintage and a little bit glam, and the light really bounced off all that cut glass making it sparkle.

a poetic real wedding at Whitley Hall (c) Ever Thine Photography (40)

The main favour I did also doubled up as a place name – I bulk bought wine glasses, ‘glitterised’ the bases and wrote people’s names on them in a calligraphy style font. We also did wedding CDs with music from the ceremony, first dance, father daughter dance and other love songs we like. My sister made paper cases for these with the logo she’d designed. Lastly we had a sweetie bar in the evening for people to help themselves!

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Rather than a proper cake we cut a cheesecake. We were having cheesecake for dessert anyway (it’s both mine and Joel’s favourite) and we asked Whitley Hall to dress a big cheesecake up for us a bit, which they did. The food was delicious, my favourite thing being little canapés that we had when everyone arrived at the reception venue. A lot of brides say they couldn’t eat anything on their wedding day but I ate loads!

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For our entertainment we had a string duet during the day, Citron Pressè – I honestly partly chose them because I liked their name!! I really liked their laid-back music; it added a lovely special feeling.

In the evening we had an in-house DJ who was just what we needed – he played all our requests and the dance floor was packed for hours!

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We added lots of special touches to the day. I put quotes about love from favourite books, poems etc in picture frames and scattered them around the place. I also handmade our guestbook – every page had different creative ways for people to leave us a message. It took me hours to do the different pages and stick loads of photos of Joel and I throughout but people loved it and it’s a keepsake we’ll treasure. We also had lawn games and I bought some floral picnic blankets and spread them on the lawn for people to sit on. My mum found this amazing old golden empty picture frame on eBay, and we used that during the day as a prop for people to take pictures in! We had a competition at dinner where tables which was fun and got people talking to each other.

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I loved the whole day, just the fact that we got married and spent an amazing day with each other and everyone we loved, but a few particular moments stand out.

The best man’s speech was hands down the best I have ever heard. We laughed hysterically (mainly at Joel) and we cried. People still talk about it.

I surprised my Dad with a father-daughter dance to a song that he used to sing to me when I was tiny. It was lovely, he was so touched and everybody had a little weep

Seeing Joel’s face when he turned around as I walked up the aisle. Favourite memory of my whole life probably.

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We went to Crete for our honeymoon and were so blessed that some family friends paid for us to go all-inclusive at a lovely resort – I’m ashamed to say it was less a cultural trip soaking in Crete’s history and more a trip where we soaked up the sun and cocktails and just chilled to the max.

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Everyone always says it’s your day and make sure you do exactly what you want without bowing to pressure from other people but my advice to other wedding couples would be it is your day, but it’s also your other half’s so plan a day you both will love. Also it’s a day about the two of you – your love and the fact you’re committing to each other in marriage, which is an amazing beautiful thing. Even though ultimately decisions are up to you, if your family and friends are everything to you take them into account and treat them to a time they will enjoy, especially if they have travelled far to be there for your special day or assisted in the wedding somehow.

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