February 2nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
For today’s real wedding, we’re escaping to the serene and picture-perfect backdrop of the National Wildflower Centre for Hannah and Leon’s special day.
After seven years together, the couple said ‘I do’ at Runcorn Town Hall before celebrating with family and friends in the unconventional Wildflower Centre, set in the 35 acre Victorian Court Hey Park, for a wedding with a boho twist.
There are so many wonderful and heartfelt touches to this wedding – from the couple’s ‘posh’ picnic and specially crafted cocktails, to their handmade decorations and blessings in the pretty surroundings of a meadow.
With images by Hayley Blackledge Photography
hannah says: We got engaged on our first real Christmas living together. We had opened all our gifts and Leon said he had forgotten one, so he went to get it while I opened my last gift. I turned around and there he was on one knee. He did the traditional full name and full question – it was perfect. My last gift was a Westlife album of all “our songs” from when we first started going out as kids. On the back, he had written me a full proposal that I could keep forever.
We were married on 30th July 2016, exactly one week after our seven-year anniversary. Leon is a teacher so we wanted the wedding to take place while he was off school, which meant this date was perfect.
We had two separate venues for our wedding day. The first was Runcorn Town Hall for the ceremony, and the reception was hosted at the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool. The first time we visited, we walked through the wildflowers, explored the park and sat by the pond with my parents and sister, and we fell in love with the place. I noticed a tiny poster offering venue hire for events and we never looked back once we were given the price. Our parents were married in Runcorn Town Hall so it held a lot of sentimental value for us. Plus, it’s very beautiful.
We didn’t aim to have a theme, but ended up with a laid-back posh picnic – quite a mix! We wanted to create a beautiful space and that meant the right decorations rather than one set theme or colour.
The colour theme grew over time and became much more relaxed the closer we got to the big day. We started with navy (Leon’s suit), white (my dress) and peach (bridesmaid dresses). Over time we added gold, greens, wood tones, pinks and other pastel colours in the same shade. It looked great!
When it came to my outfit, I didn’t want to look like the “classic bride” and wanted something a touch more vintage and boho. There was one store on Bold Street in Liverpool, Cherry Blossom Boutique, which I tried to call into at least three times. Every time I called over, I’d mistimed it. I managed to make it along one afternoon though and found my dress. I tried two dresses on and then there it was: my Gino Cerruti. The full-length gown had an illusion neckline, a waist synching band and low back, and was covered in hoops of clear beads. I paired my dress with chunky heeled T-bar New Look shoes and a handmade veil from my nan. I then swapped my heels for white flats for most of the day.
Leon wore a navy three-piece suit, with a waistcoat of a different texture from Next. He teamed this with a white shirt with handmade Marvel Spiderman cufflinks and socks, and a pink tie from Burton, with a pink pocket square. To complete his ensemble, he wore brown brogues from Tesco and a squirrel silver tiepin.
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October 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We just love the simplicity of today’s real wedding.
It’s not always about the most extravagant decor, the biggest cake or the most flamboyant flowers (though we do adore details) but simply about the love the bride and groom have for one another.
Paul and Marie’s big day was brimming with elegance but without being OTT thanks to a stunning choice of venue, attractive attire and a pretty colour palette.
We are also totally crushing on all the natural outdoor shots, especially the ones with the deer! Super classy!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.
paul says: I proposed to Marie on her birthday while we were staying in a cottage in the Lake District. I gave her a bunch of silly presents and a wax jacket that she really wanted and I’d put an envelope inside the pocket containing a card asking her to marry me. When she opened it the envelope fell out and she didn’t notice it so I had to grab the card quickly and hand it to her once she’d sat down again. She opened the card and I got on one knee.
Our wedding was on 20th June, 2015. We booked this date as it seemed far enough away at time of booking to be able to get everything done and we thought the weather should be ok at this time of year.
Both our ceremony and reception were held at Whitworth Hall, Spennymoor. We chose the venue for its location, grounds and layout. Also due to the feeling we got when we visited it.
We didn’t have a cast iron ‘theme’ but we were working from the vintage end of things, not in a way which restricted us, but that merely gave the appearance of wedding continuity. Examples of this could be seen in our table names and seating plan as they used the same text fonts and floral illustrations as on all of our other stationery, but to add a little personal touch we named the tables after locations from the Lord of the Ring books, which we love. We also went for a vintage mute colour scheme. So overall, vintage meets middle earth subtly.
Marie wore the Leigh dress designed by Sophia Tolli, which she bought from Elizabeth George in Middlesbrough. On the wedding day her hair was done by her sister Stacy and her makeup was done by her sister Dawn. Marie looked beautiful so I think it would be fair to say we would recommend her sisters.
I wore a conventionally cut grey suit with a white shirt and silver tie. These were hired from Troughear Suit Hire, Durham. The night before the wedding I had a hot towel shave at Guappo Hair Design in Shotton. It was fantastic and helped to relax me – I’d definitely recommend this to other grooms.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were all from Debenhams.
As a photographer myself, I was very picky as to who I would pick to capture our day. After some time researching, we chose Paul Liddement because of his style and the obvious quality of his work but mostly because of his approach and the fact that we felt comfortable with him.
On the wedding day Paul was relaxed, focused and very well prepared. He managed to take lots of photographs that we were completely unaware of and seemed very good at catching that moment when you are more yourself. He also fitted in with the guests and spent time getting them at ease with him. We were blown away by our wedding images when we received them. We had high expectations based on the quality of our engagement shoot but the wedding photos far exceeded our expectations and managed to put an extra shine on an already magical day.
Marie arrived at Whitworth Hall buy classic car, along with her maid of honour and bridesmaids who travelled in a separate car, both of which were hired form Classic Wedding Cars, Durham.
We designed and made all of the wedding stationery ourselves. A time consuming process as we wanted to get it just right and put a lot of thought into it, but it was the right thing to do as we ended up with exactly what we wanted and it made the wedding more personal. We are immensely proud of the results.
In terms of flowers, Marie and her bridesmaids had vintage style bouquets and we had corsages for the mothers, female grandparents and the guests who did readings. The groom, best man, ushers, fathers, grandfather and all the male partners of the bridal party then had matching button holes. All were supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham.
For decoration, we had another small arrangement of flowers on the top table also supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham. We also had a miniature handmade birdcage made from pages of a book, which was positioned in the middle of the top table. This was made by a friend of ours, Gillian.
All the other tables at the reception had a vintage bird cage on them, which were put together by Marie and her sister Dawn (although myself and my brother-in-law Jona did put one together each and I think these were the best!) We purchased the materials from a variety of sources including Country Baskets, Home Bargains and eBay.
We handmade all of our favours; historically accurate 13th Century medieval coins for the men and angel charms for the ladies.
Our wedding cake was a three tiered spice cake. It had a very subtle vintage rose colour icing, with a lace like pattern piped down one side (as if a doily had been draped down on side). There was also an arrangement of icing sugar flowers on the third tier. The cake was made locally by a lady called Vicky who makes them more as a hobby than a business.
As a special treat we also had a sweetie table, which we put together ourselves. The sweets were bought at B&M and Home Bargains, which is where we also got the giant martini/wine glasses and other glass bowls from that held the sweets.
To fill the lull period after the meal (while the venue staff rearranged the room for the evening do) we arranged for the medieval re-enactment group The Dawn of Chivalry, of which I’m a member, to put on a combat display for our guests in the venue’s grounds. We chose this as it was something a bit different & again made the wedding more personal to us. For the evening do we had the venue supplied disco, during which my brother-in-law managed to take on a guest DJ spot much to everyone’s (apart from the actual DJ’s) amusement.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Whitworth Hall to others. The venue was brilliant, they were very accommodating and great on the day! The venue has plenty of space for people to mill around and relax and it is possible to find a quiet corner if you need some space providing you are not either the bride or groom, in which case you won’t have time to catch your thoughts! It lends itself very well to weddings as the ceremony room is very tasteful and has plenty of scope for some lovely photo locations without ever having to go too far from your guests.
Looking back, my favourite part of the day was the moment I first saw my wife-to-be in her dress. I fell in love all over again and then couldn’t see anyone but her.
We have not yet been on our honeymoon yet as we are planning to go to New Zealand (see Lord of the Rings sneaking in again) and it is currently winter there.
Our top tip for other Brides (and grooms) Up North would be to set a realistic budget then be honest with yourself and really set an actually realistic budget. Look at what you can actually afford and what you really feel is absolutely important. This will help you strip away a lot of the gimmicky, frivolous I wants.
We paid for the majority of the wedding ourselves by saving up and doing over time at work, but we also had some very generous gifts from family members. All in all it’s a party, so look at it as such – people are there for you and not what is on the tables or festooned around the room.
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