March 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Tying the knot in the Lunedale Valley in Teesdale last August, our couple Natalie and Will went to great lengths to involve their guests in their summer wedding – including the family sheep and chickens – in every element of preparing for their day.
Throw in a beautiful colour scheme inspired by the heather and wildflowers in the surrounding terrain, together with the family tartan, a spot of paddling and the most stunning tree chandelier we’ve ever seen, and you’ve got yourself a wedding that’s like no other.
Natalie, who would like to dedicate this blog post to her Uncle Iain Macintyre, who sadly died shortly after the wedding, shares all the special details.
With images from Bloom Weddings.
natalie says: We had known each other for years. After our paths crossing when we both worked for a local wedding venue, and with me finally moving into my first home – which happened to be in Will’s local village – he finally plucked up the courage to ask me out. On our one-year anniversary whilst we were holidaying in Iceland chasing the Northern Lights, he got down on one knee on a glacier and presented me with a gorgeous vintage ring. Of course, I said yes!
We decided that as we both love the outdoors, we wanted to be married in our parent’s bottom field and that the start of August would be ideal. It meant we could spend lots of time outdoors enjoying the stunning scenery the venue had to offer.
The wedding was very much focused in the Lunedale Valley in Teesdale. The morning began with the bridal party assembled in my mum and dad’s house with batches of bacon sarnies and glasses of Prosecco. Hair and make-up was provided by Vikki and Jordon from the Zhoo in Barnard Castle, who were fantastic and even helped us with last minute tweaks in the marquee. My beautiful bridesmaids did their own hair and make-up and we added flowers into their plaits to tie their hair with my hairstyle.
We chose a gorgeous small church known affectionately as the ‘holy barn’ because of its rustic and humble beginnings and its stunning view over the valley. It’s a really small church, which was perfect for us, as it meant we could have a lovely intimate wedding that we craved. We spent a lot of time going to services in the run up to our wedding and really got to know the Reverend and all the people of the church. This made the service itself really special as everyone went really above and beyond to make it so personal. The ladies of the church were kind in helping with our flowers, and giving us access to the church to make sure we could add our little details to make it so ‘us’.
November 25th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Today’s real wedding is a light-hearted and loved-up celebration featuring an elegant colour scheme, a gingerbread-topped cake and the sweetest little flower girl we ever did see!
With images by Sarah Horton Photography
lucy says: We got engaged on 25th March 2015, while at Center Parcs in Whinfell. Our daughter Ruby was playing and one of her toys was the box that had the ring in. I asked what the box was and then Neil popped the question.
We set the date for 29th May 2016, as I’d always wanted to get married in May.
Our chosen venue was The Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa in Chester. We had seen a few venues but fell in love with this one the moment we saw it. We loved the gardens and the general feel of the hotel. We wanted to get married where everyone could stay over and truly relax.
The wedding theme was gingerbreads! I have a Gingerbread Man teddy from Shrek, which I love, and Neil is ginger, so it seemed fitting to have this as our theme. The invitations had gingerbreads on them as did the table plan, and we even had a gingerbread bride and groom on top of the cake.
Our colour scheme was silver/grey. Mainly picked from the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses and it worked really well with the suits and venue style.
February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
August 10th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its been an epic week of beautiful Real Weddings here at Brides Up North, so I thought I’d wrap up with another stunner this Saturday. As you all head off to enjoy your weekends, I’ll leave you with Kelly and Greg’s cool blue celebration in Middlesbrough, proving that beautiful can be done on a budget.
With images by Sally T Photography.
Kelly says: We tied the knot on 23rd March 2013 at Middlesbrough Town Hall. We choose this venue as it was somewhere different, nobody had ever held a traditional wedding ceremony there and we loved the historic value and architecture of the Town Hall.
We decided to use the décor and colours of the town hall as part of our inspiration, deep reds, navy and dark wood, and all the little touches like the bouquets, flowers and bridesmaids dresses tied in together with that.
I’ve never dreamed of my wedding day so didn’t have any particular ideas and just went with the flow. I wanted to make the day relaxing and enjoyable for us and our friends and family.
Each bit of our wedding was about us. We tried to spend as little as possible and spent money on what we thought mattered which was the food and alcohol! Everything just fitted into place and the venue just made the day even more special and it’s in the centre of our Town where we grew up. We hope we showed everyone how much me and Greg love each other through the most wonderful day of our lives and one we will treasure and never forget.
My dress was from Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton. It just felt right, it fitted perfectly and looked beautiful. I loved the detailing of the pearls and stones on the dress and just felt like the dress was just made for me.
My earrings were given to me by my mam. I didn’t wear any other jewellery as I felt I had enough sparkle in my bouquet and on my dress. My beautiful garter was made by What Katy Did Next.
We wanted something simple and pretty for the flower girls and my adult bridesmaids wore navy on cream and cream on navy dresses from Debenhams accessorised with gem headpieces I found in a boutique in Middlesbrough.
Greg had his suit made especially for him by G Russell Tailor in Billingham.
Floral Dreamz made my and the bridesmaids’ bouquets. I had been searching for a florist that made crystal brooch bouquets for a long time when I came across these on Facebook. I didn’t like the idea of spending a lot of money on bouquets that were going to be thrown away at the end of the day so I wanted something that I could keep forever. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice as they were beautiful and every time I look at my bouquet, it reminds me of our wonderful day. One of my bridesmaids has had hers taken apart and had jewellery made with the brooches which I thought was a lovely idea.
My car was supplied by my father in law donning his own chauffer’s hat that he got from a fancy dress shop! He made me giggle!
There are so many moments but my favourite part was the church service. It was so relaxed but still intimate and having all our family and friends there watching us say our vows was very emotional and special for us both.
The flowers on the table were by local florists in Middlesbrough called Butterflies. Greg and I wanted to keep them simple and not too big as we wanted our guests to be able to see each other across the table.
I decorated a wall in the room with three heart shaped metal memo boards. To the left heart I attached pictures of me growing up, the one on the right had pictures of Greg growing up and the one in the middle had pictures of me Greg and Sebastian – our son – as a family. I thought it would be nice to show friends and family a story of then and now.
After searching the internet for ideas for an alternative guest book I found the idea of using a ‘Fingerprint Tree’ I purchased a canvas and my friend drew a very beautiful tree on the canvas for me. We then got our guests to put their fingers in ink and put their fingerprints on the tree as leaves and finally writing their names next to it. It looks amazing and from what I’ve heard people enjoyed taking part.
We used Sally T Photography. Sally is a truly unique photographer, she captured moments that I would have missed if she wasn’t there to see them for me. Her style is unlike any I’ve seen and we were overwhelmed by her amazing photographs. She captured all those important moments that mattered to us. We couldn’t have chosen a more talented photographer.
Greg and I wanted a cake that wasn’t iced as we both don’t like icing. I also wanted the cake to be like the wedding ‘a bit of everything all rolled into one’ it was colourful as we didn’t really stick to one colour scheme for the wedding. I had seen a few naked cakes that I liked and showed them to Debbie from Cakes By Debbie. Each tier had a different flavour jam – strawberry, lemon and blackberry – which gave it some colour too. It was then sprinkled with dry icing and decorated with fresh flowers and fruit (strawberries and blueberries). It looked amazing, I didn’t expect it to look as gorgeous as it did and taste as amazing as it looked. I didn’t want to cut into it. I’m happy to say that every last piece was eaten.
The gorgeous peg cake toppers were made by What Katy Did Next.
We choose Flavour for our catering. Paul our caterer went above and beyond just organising the food. His team helped set up the room and ensured that the day went smoothly by my schedule. As they’ve catered for a lot of weddings I turned to them for lots of advice. I couldn’t have found a better company to work with.
We meet at Middlesbrough Football Club where I work as a Hospitality Bar Supervisor and Greg is a big fan of the Boro so we wanted to include that into the wedding so we named our tables after Middlesbrough Legend Footballers.
We had a saxophonist to play whilst guests were arriving and during the meal (Harry of Mellow Moments). He was fantastic. The saxophonist was a surprise for Greg. He loves the saxophone so I knew he would love it.
The band was my uncle’s band called Still Active. They played songs from Stone Roses, Killers, The Beatles, Kings of Leon and many more. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing.
We had our first dance to”Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. We choose this song as Greg and I were born in the 80’s and that song seemed to follow us around. We didn’t want a slow song – nothing soppy – and to be honest we don’t have a song that we call our own. We choose this song because we love the lyrics, as cheesy as it sounds the words in the song sum us up.
We are going to Italy for Greg’s sister’s wedding in the Summer so are going to honeymoon for a week around that to relax.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is don’t stress about the small things and if friends and family who have already been married offer you advice don’t just brush it off, think about it as they’ve done it before and know what they are talking about. Take as much help as you can if you are organising all of the wedding as trying to do it all yourself is exhausting. Enjoy every minute!
Congratulations Kelly & Greg!
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