Charlotte Balbier

through the looking glass: an alice in wonderland wedding shoot

April 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (11)

This year marks the 150th anniversary of one of my all-time favourite fairy tales – Lewis Carrolls’ alice in wonderland.

The weird and wonderful story featuring a talking White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter and feisty Queen of Hearts is so far off the wall some questioned whether Carroll was actually high when he put pen to paper. I just like to think he had an amazing imagination and in doing so gave us a magical tale that will live on for many more years to come.

My fascination with Alice makes it easy to understand why I immediately fell head over heels myself (narrowly avoiding the rabbit hole) when this captivating styled shoot landed in the Brides Up North inbox.

Put together by a talented Yorkshire collective of wedding industry suppliers and shot by our fabulous blog sponsor Sarah of Sarah Beth Photography, this Alice in Wonderland wedding shoot combines enchanting blooms, whimsical styling and gorgeous rustic décor to create one marvellous tea party.

So let’s pull up a pew and join Sarah as she takes us through the looking glass…

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (28)

sarah says: I first met Shannon of Evelyn Taylor Bridal, based in Holmfirth, Yorkshire, in 2013 when I photographed her wedding to husband James. Ever since that point we have stayed friends and now work closely together on various projects, which includes organising a photo shoot every season to produce new imagery for her bridal shop – and also to work with new and exciting local suppliers.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (4)

Shannon approached me this time with the idea of a tea party themed shoot as she wanted to celebrate the first birthday of the opening of Evelyn Taylor Bridal. Our inspiration was taken from the classic fairy tale Alice in Wonderland. We wanted to set the shoot in a forest or woodland area imaging Alice was lost, looking for the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

We were inspired by rustic styling influenced by nature and old antique curios. We used two girls in our shoot wearing two dresses both available to buy at Evelyn Taylor Bridal, which sells beautiful off the peg dresses from many well-known designers and also has a large choice of bridal accessories, including stunning headpieces from Ophelia May. Shannon works closely with her in-house seamstress to ensure a bride’s chosen dress fits perfectly.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (31)

The styling for our shoot was supplied by Sophie Bennett of Weddings by Sophie, who organises weddings at Oaklands, a unique wedding venue set in the largest woodland in East Yorkshire. Here Sophie works alongside couples to create entirely bespoke, beautiful weddings individual to them, from festival celebrations to Moroccan feasts, she ensures the venue is dressed to perfection.

Along with styling by Sophie, we also handmade some of the items, such as the wooden signpost. We used old glass bottles and moss to decorate our table along with old curios, such as antique pocket watches. The Oaklands, which is spread over 200 acres of grass glades and lakes, was the ideal location for the theme of our shoot with its surrounding woodland proving a wonderful backdrop that complemented our vision perfectly.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (1)

Oliver from Oliver James Sugar Craft Creations made a selection of sweet treats to adorn the table including flapjack, cupcakes and shortbread along with a chocolate cake coated with ganache to give a bark like finish to fit in with the woodland rustic theme. Based in Holmfirth, Oliver specialises in bespoke wedding cakes designed and created to suit the bride and groom’s dream cake for their big day. Oliver prides himself on the taste of his hand-baked cakes as well as a flawless finish – which is clearly demonstrated in the shoot.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (22)

Amy and her assistant Unity from Bows salon based in Anlaby, Hull, created a whimsical look for our models with pretty undone hair and subtle make-up, including smouldering eyes and lips to suit the girls’ colours and complexions. Bows is a young vibrant company specialising in hair and beauty for any occasion, creating on-trend and inspiring looks. We were certainly pleased with their work on the day.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (15)

The wonderful flowers were provided by Stems Design who specialise in wedding floristry and offer a bespoke service to make a wedding truly magical. Stems pride themselves on a friendly and professional service designed specifically around the individual.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (32)

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (12)

The girls wore dresses from Evelyn Taylor bridal. Our model Casey wore the short blush pink dress by House of Mooshki and Sarah modelled a beautiful lace gown by Intuzuri. Their shoes are by Custom Kicks Shoe Design. Originally based in the UK and now Western Australia, Custom Kicks believe every girl deserves a unique pair of ‘kicks’ for any occasion. They hand design all shoes in any design a girl desires!

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (29)

We weren’t blessed with the best weather on the shoot, fluctuating between snow and sun throughout the cold March day. Our models however were very brave and withstood the cold! We had planned for more elaborate styling for our shoot but unfortunately the fluctuating weather conditions affected the amount of styling we could do outdoors.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (9)

That said, we are really happy with the outcome of our shoot. The aim was to have fun and create some interesting imagery to accompany the first anniversary of Evelyn Taylor, which I think it’s safe to say we achieved. It was an absolute joy working with all the suppliers involved and I’m sure there will be more to come.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (10)

Sarah of Sarah Beth Photography is based in Hull, East Yorkshire, and specialises in alternative and natural wedding photography. She aims to document a couple’s big day exactly as it happens creating beautiful natural imagery for brides and grooms to remember and treasure for years to come.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (3)

Sarah will be attending the Brides Up North luxury wedding fair this Sunday at Nostell Priory and will be offering 15 discount vouchers  on the day entitling recipients to a massive £100 off her wedding photography services.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal will also be attending our Nostell Priory event, which will be held between 11am and 3pm. Click here to register.

Evelyn Taylor Bridal - Woodland Shoot (c) Sarah Beth Photography (5)

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graceful grandeur. sottero & midgley for a romantic wedding at allerton castle – angela & riccardo

March 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (25)

Today we join Angela and Riccardo for a wedding celebration in a wonderfully grand setting, complete with elegant 1920s touches.

But it isn’t just the venue and décor that’s looking good. Angela makes for a sparkling and stunning bride in a slinky Sottero and Midgley gown embellished with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads while her maids look incredibly pretty in flattering floor-length Coast designs.

The men don’t brush up half bad either as they work their dapper blue suits and mustard bow ties – cue some serious man posing!

With images by Andy Crozier of Insight Photography.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (41)

angela says: Riccardo proposed to me in Beijing on the Great Wall of China. We were on holiday just the two of us, the proposal was a great surprise. We had both always wanted to travel to China so we went and visited a few destinations including Beijing, Xian, Shanghai. When we returned we had an engagement party at Laazats in Hull. We chose to hold it on the anniversary of the date we first got together – February 15th. During the party we announced who we had chosen for our bridesmaids/best man and groomsmen. Keeping this information quiet for so long was very difficult. If anybody wanted to give a gift we asked for a donation to be made to the Macmillan charity due to recently losing a good friend to ovarian cancer at a young age.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (10)

Our wedding date was 26th July 2014 and was held at Allerton Castle. We’d always wanted a summer wedding.

Allerton Castle is the most beautiful and amazing location we’d ever seen. This was the first and the last place we visited – we instantly fell in love and never turned back. It has such character and amazing grounds. We also loved the fact that we could celebrate our complete wedding in one location. From staying over the night before in the nearby log cabins to the finishing touches and pre wedding drinks for the girls in the bridal suite and for the boys in the billiard room. We celebrated the civil ceremony within Allerton and had our wedding breakfast and reception within the castle too.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (3)

Our theme was focused around the 1920s. We felt the whole elegance of the era fitted in well with the setting for our wedding. Our colour palette was different shades of blues/purples/white and ivory.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (9)

I wore a floor-length Sottero and Midgley dress bought from a well-established bridal shop called Deborah Moore in Hessle, Hull. Deborah helped to ensure I found the perfect dress and even did all the alterations. The dress was called Lola. It was a slim A-line cut, with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads. I also opted for the choice of adding the capped sleeves. The dress colour was diamond white and pewter. I had tried on many dresses before I found this one. When I put it on I knew it was the one. I kept my dress a secret from everyone – the only people who knew were my brother’s girlfriend and my mother.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (13)

Riccardo got his suit at a shop called Rees. He wore a three-piece dark blue suit with a white shirt. He wore a mustard bow tie with matching coloured socks and brown shoes. He also had a pocket. He got his suit tailored to a high level by a local source Gillian Long, who was previously a Saville Row seamstress and is now the owner of Cock of the Walk in Hull.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (27)

The bridesmaids wore floor-length purple/grey coloured dresses bought from Coast in House of Fraser, again in Hull. They all wore diamond studs which were a present from us. Following the wedding speeches as a surprise on the big day my bridesmaids read out a poem they had written together which went through the journey of me and Riccardo meeting until the present day. This was truly amazing and very emotional!

The boys (groomsmen/best man/father of the bride) all got their suits from Next. They wore two-piece blue suits with a white shirt, brown shoes, matching coloured bow tie and socks. They all also wore a pocket watch which were individually engraved with a personal message. These were again bought by us as a gift to the groomsmen. They were all lined up in the billiard room for when the boys arrived, which was a surprise to all!

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (6)

All the ushers, best man, groom, bridesmaids and bride arrived at the nearby cabins the day before the wedding. Both groups were separated once arriving – the boys had a barbecue and beers while the girls had nibbles and a pamper session. On the day of the wedding the men walked to the castle and the girls drove.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (19)

Our photographer was Andy Crozier of Insight Photography, based in Hull. Andy captured our whole day and even stayed beyond the time we’d arranged. He went above and beyond for us throughout the day, never too pushy but ensured we got exactly what we said we wanted. Andy was great with all of our guests, young and old, and made every single person there on the day felt special. Our images were truly amazing and we would highly recommend Insight to anyone.

I knew Andy personally from childhood, we both lived on the same street since I was the age of eight. Riccardo didn’t know Andy but soon felt at ease and felt comfortable following our initial meet up. We also did a pre-wedding photo shoot at Allerton Castle which we both felt was a great touch. Andy used our favourite image as a message board for guests to sign on the day.

We also had a videographer who helped capture the memories of our wonderful day. It was a lovely and very professional guy called Dan Cain.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (32)

Our flowers were provided by Twisted Willow and were done to such a high level. We had great customer service and felt automatically at ease that the flowers and decorations were to be done professionally. Again we would definitely recommend them. My bouquet consisted of mainly white and ivory colours with a touch of pastel shades. The flowers had a lovely lace ribbon which I then attached a blue brooch to (I used this as my something blue). The brooch was borrowed from a very special friend.

In terms of décor we had a candelabra at either side of us when we read our vows which were decorated with white and pastel coloured flowers draped with crystals. We had candles on either side of the staircase and the reception tables all had tall vases with balls of flowers draped in crystals and pearls. We also had scattered tea light candles around the room.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (31)

As favours we gave small bottles of sparkling rose wine to the ladies and white sparkling wine for the men. The wedding favours had a custom made ribbon around them in dark blue with gold text which said ‘Mr and Mrs Seaton’. Also attached to the ribbon was the person’s name tag and a cluster of vintage keys. Keys being the symbol of the key to a happy life/key to success and key to a happy future. The children had loom bands and sweets.

Our wedding cake was again from a locally sourced supplier. The lady who designed and made it was the sister of a long term friend of Riccardo’s, who was also one of our ushers. The cake maker owns a shop in Sutton, Hull, called Cake-licious. We followed our 1920s theme through with our cake design. The cake was a four-tier hexagonal shape with lots of geometric prints/designs. We had different flavours: lemon, chocolate and vanilla. All of our ushers put towards buying us our cake as a gift from them.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (29)

Brides Up North Featured Supplier Dine provided our food and drinks. For our drinks post ceremony we had bottled beers and Pimms. We made our own sweetie table display with lots of retro sweets.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (39)

Music during the day was provided by the events company Trio Vivo. During the wedding breakfast we also arranged a surprise. Using the events company we set up a staged performance pretending to have a very drunk guest and a waitress who then broke out into singing opera. These two were truly amazing and left many without a dry eye. To end our celebrations we then partied through into the evening at the castle with the music supplied by Chris Hilton’s Little Big Band. We were very impressed with all!

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (38)

Towards the end of the evening we also had a five-minute firework display (and sparklers), provided by Ferrensby Fireworks. We would recommend using this service along with other fab suppliers we used on the day including hair stylists and beauticians from Bows in Anlaby for the hair and make-up and a good friend of ours Rachel Peterson from Hull who had recently completed her wedding planner course. Rachel worked with us from the beginning right until the end and ensured we both felt at ease and kept us both in line and very organised with all the planning and finer details.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (43)

We would also most definitely recommend Allerton Castle to other couples. It’s an amazing location and I’m yet to see a more perfect location.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (45)

We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we enjoyed it all! This may sound cheesy but we can genuinely describe it as the best day of our lives to date.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (49)

For our honeymoon we went to New York and Orlando, Florida. We spent one week each location. With some of the money guests gave we booked a limo trip around New York City by night which was an experience we would definitely recommend.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (50)

My top tip or other Brides Up North is enjoy every single minute of the day. People told us it would go quick and it sure did. Cherish every moment.

As an extra special touch on the wedding day we set up a message in a bottle for our guests to each put a message in for us. The plan is that we will smash it open on our first wedding anniversary (which we’re hoping to celebrate in Hawaii) and read all of the messages.

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Look Book: The Bow Factor

July 10th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Rosa by Stephanie Allin

Rosa by Stephanie Allin 

From small to big and neat to blousy, bows are everywhere. 

A pretty addition to many wedding dresses, ribbons, sashes and bows can be used for delicate detailing or to make one heck of a statement.

Traditionally bows appeared in the back of the dress and were used to cinch in the waist, but today designers are making bolder statements with bows, placing them on the front of the dress, the side, or even on the shoulder.

Honour by Stephanie Allin

Honour by Stephanie Allin

Graceful bows feature quite heavily in Stephanie Allin’s Day and Night collection. Rosa, Heaven and Bardot are equally dreamy designs with slim-line bow and ribbon detailing. Allin’s steely toned Masquerade dress also features a delicate bow, but in the back. Meanwhile her Honour dress (which I have swooned over too many times) gives brides the option to tie its stunning sage green sash, complete with fabulous floral corsages, in the front, back or side, depending on their styling preference.

Stephanie Allin

Images: Stephanie Allin

Those looking for simple bow designs will find options in the collections of Ronald Joyce, Ellis and Sassi Holford, including large princess style gowns as well as structured slim-line creations. Ellis’ tea-length fifties 11404 style dress is a cute example as is Sassi Holford’s Martha dress. Those looking for more detailed designs might prefer Ronald Joyce’s Bernice dress. Its slim-line silhouette features a beautiful cowl neck and embroidery detailing, all finished off with a large jewel-centred bow on the side.

Martha by Sassi Holford

Martha by Sassi Holford

17416 by Ronald Joyce

Bernice by Ronald Joyce

11404 by Ellis Bridals

11404 by Ellis Bridals

67073 by Ronald Joyce

Style 67073 by Ronald Joyce

Josephine & Josephine Skirt by Sassi Holford

Josephine by Sassi Holford

Megan by Sassi Holford

Megan by Sassi Holford

Fans of structured, rather than blousy, bows should look to Holford’s Josephine gown, which features a wide satin bow belt in the front, and her fabulously feminine Megan dress with slim duchess satin bow belt, which nips in neatly at the waist.

South Pacific Print by Ian Stuart

South Pacific Print by Ian Stuart Bride 

Blue Bird by Ian Stuart

Blue Bird by Ian Stuart Bride

Finally, for those really wanting to make a statement on the aisle, there‘s only one man for the job – step forward Ian Stuart. His sensational Supernova collection has several dresses featuring bold bows. Blue Bird (from the Killer Queen collection) is a particularly striking design with incredible oversized bowtails that waterfall down the back of the dress into a flowing chapel train. But top of the stand-out stakes has to be South Pacific that features a billowing oversized bow which cascades from the left hip and opens to reveal flowing silk gazar. A must for fashion-forward brides, this dress is also available in striking floral print for that extra wow-factor!

Ian Stuart Bride

Images: Ian Stuart Bride

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