March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Avid Brides Up North reader Sarah’s wedding to her new husband Ross was a truly gorgeous affair. From her lace Victoria Jane dress (oh, how we love a gown with beautiful back detailing) to the stately setting and vintage transport, everything about the big day is stunning.
We also absolutely adore the theme for this fabulous North West wedding – love is the key.
So join us as we unlock and relive Sarah and Ross’ big day.
sarah says: We got engaged on 14th August 2013. This was the day before my birthday and Ross had surprised me with a night at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley. Whilst he was checking in, they told him there would be a tour of the hotel before dinner. I was more concerned about traipsing around in my heels but Ross managed to persuade me (as he had planned this it was a good job!) The guy showing us round took us all around the hotel, telling us the history which was great. In the grounds of the castle there is a chapel, as we walked in the whole place was filled with candles and looked beautiful. As I was looking around, Ross had gone down on one knee with a beautiful ring. I was so shocked and lost for words he had to ask me three times if it was a yes! We came out to a champagne reception and had the most amazing meal – it was perfect.
We chose to get married on 15th February 2015. It gave us 18 months to plan which we thought would be about right. We looked at having it on Valentine’s Day but we though guests might want to be on their own that day. Also it means that Ross has to buy me a present for Valentine’s and our anniversary now instead of having a combined one!
We got married at Adlington Hall & Gardens. We looked at a few venues, as we were having a civil ceremony, we knew we didn’t just want to get married in any old hotel room and none we saw were quite right. We made an appointment to view Adlington Hall and as soon as we walked into The Great Hall we were absolutely blown away by how stunning it was, it was the one! We loved the fact the whole place was ours for the day and we were truly treated like royalty. We also loved the fact we had two different venues in one. The ceremony in The Great Hall and wedding breakfast at the Hunting Lodge. From the very first meeting we had, the whole team were amazing professionals. This gave us confidence that the day would go smoothly. It was perfect!
We have two children Scarlett, aged eight, and Oscar, aged three, who were our flower girl and page boy at the wedding. Scarlett did a beautiful reading (A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton) at the ceremony which was very special and there were definitely a few tears shed by all. It was lovely to have them involved.
I came across the quote by Oliver Wendel Holmes – ‘love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness’ – and the whole ‘Love is the Key’ theme was born! I wanted something elegant and vintage that would reflect the history of the venue. Also very romantic with lots of candles, beautiful flowers and pearls.
We chose lilac and ivory as our colour scheme. Purple is my favourite colour and this fitted in nicely for the vintage elegance we were trying to achieve.
I knew I wanted a fitted, mermaid style lace dress but I wanted something at the back of the dress that made it different. As soon as I saw the Victoria Jane Ivy dress I knew that ticked all the boxes! I loved the pearl draping at the back and I thought it looked very elegant and vintage, which is exactly what I was looking for. I teamed this with a beautiful pearl headpiece which reflected the draping on the dress. I got this from a shop on Etsy called Gilded Shadows, it came over from the United States and was perfect. I also wore a crystal edged veil which was my ‘something borrowed’ as it was my wonderful sister Rebecca’s wedding veil she let me use. My diamante encrusted shoes came from Next and matched perfectly.
Ross wore a dark blue suit with grey waistcoat by Paul Costelloe. He teamed this with a grey and lilac tie which brought the whole outfit together. He looked very handsome!
My two sisters wore long lilac chiffon dresses with embellished necklines, which they teamed with a pale lilac feather cape from Coast. They also wore a pearl hair comb from Highland Angel which finished the whole outfit beautifully, they looked stunning!
The three (yes three!) best men and our fathers all wore two-piece navy blue suits from Austin Reed. They teamed this with a lilac tie. My son and three nephews as pageboys wore navy suits from BHS with lilac bow ties and lilac trainers – super cute! My daughter’s dress was by Pearce Fionda, I also got a vintage style diamante brooch to put on the waistband which mirrored my dress.
My father, my son and I arrived at the venue in a stunning 1930s Beauford. The rest of the bridal party arrived in a Daimler State Limousine.
Our photographer was James Tracey. I had looked at loads of photographers on the internet and James’ images really stood out. We knew we didn’t want the cheesy poses and wanted natural, documentary style images that really told the story of our day. James did not disappoint at all. We met for a pre-wedding shoot which was fantastic as it really helped us to relax in front of the camera when wedding day nerves set in and gave us confidence that the images would be great on the day. The images we have are stunning and have really captured the best moments of the day. James really talked us through every stage but was so unobtrusive on the day, it was perfect. We were both blown away and would highly recommend him. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the images are too!
I wanted an informal bouquet in lilac and ivory with foliage. I had seen the amnesia rose and knew I wanted them included as they are a beautiful lilac colour and look so vintage. I also included lavender in all the flowers as I love the smell and the colours and style matched perfectly with the day. I also got some vintage style pearl brooches which were put onto mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and really finished them off. The flowers were provided by The Wild Bunch in Macclesfield. They were absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in how they translated my vision for the styling of the day.
The Wild Bunch also provided flowers for the decor. I wanted lots of candles and cluster vases with various flowers that tied in with my bouquet. We had this set up for the ceremony table and also the top table. We used some vases which my sister-in-law had used at her wedding last year which was a special touch. It was stunning and took my breath away when I first walked in. The smell of lavender was amazing. The tables had fish bowl centre pieces with matching flowers. I had sourced lots of mercury glass tea light holders as well as some gorgeous antique lilac coloured ones which had pearl details on. There were lots of holders in various shapes and sizes on every table and around the cake. It created such a romantic feel to the day. There were also scatters of table pearls which completed the look.
We gave our guests bottle openers shaped like a vintage key as favours. They seemed to like the practical gift! For the evening we made some hangover kits. I found some small muslin bags on Etsy and had them personalised and sent over from The States. I filled them with mints, plasters and Alka Seltzer and put them over a bottle of water. A lifesaver for those who were celebrating a bit too hard!
My amazing friend Nova made my cake despite being nearly eight months pregnant! It was a three-tier sponge cake of chocolate, lemon and vanilla – delicious! It was lilac and ivory and had lace effect icing on the top two tiers. There were ivory and amnesia roses, foliage and pearl droplets in between the bottom two tiers. I also had an amazing cake topper custom made from Better off Wed on Etsy which said Love is the Key.
Ross and I are massive foodies so this was a really important part of the day. We had a delicious selection of canapés after the ceremony with champagne and mulled wine, which was perfect for a winter wedding. For our wedding breakfast we wanted food that we love and decided on smoked salmon to start, fillet mignon, which was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked, for main followed by profiteroles with chocolate rum sauce for the gents and raspberry creme brûlée with shortbread biscuit for the ladies with coffee and petit fours to finish. We had a choice of wine and champagne too. For the evening we had bacon, sausage and fish finger sandwiches. Just what was needed! The crepes just about finished us off but I managed to squeeze in a chocolate and Baileys one!
The food was unbelievable, all our guests couldn’t compliment it enough. We also used vintage champagne saucers for the toast. These had been tirelessly scoured for by Ross’ parents and sister Fran and had been used at her wedding last year. It was a lovely finishing touch and was extra special as they were hers.
We used the amazing pianist Guy Porteous, to play from the ceremony right through to the end of the wedding breakfast. He is fantastically talented and was a lovely extra special touch to have him there. In the evening we chose to have a DJ to get the party started. He is the resident DJ at Adlington Hall and did a great job getting everyone dancing with a variety of songs that catered for the varied age range.
In terms of special touches, I had seen the large light up letters people hire for weddings and thought they made such a great focal point. I hired our LOVE sign from Dressed to Impress at Blakemere and it added a real wow factor, perfect for photo poses! We also had a wish tree as an alternative guest book. I found some tags on eBay which guests wrote their ‘key to a happy marriage’ message on and hung them on the tree. This was decorated with fairy lights, crystals and some vintage keys borrowed from Ross’ parents. I spent ages making escort card tags for the guest seating plan. I attached small keys to each tag and hung them from a mirror on ribbons. The guests then took their own key tag to keep. It was something different and the guests loved it. We hired a crepe station as a surprise for our guests in the evening. Original Crepes were fantastic, they provided a huge choice of sweet and savoury crepes and they tasted delicious. It was something the guests weren’t expecting and everyone loved it!
I had a sign made for our son Oscar to carry down the aisle, it said: ‘Daddy here comes Mummy’. He’d been practicing holding it and walking so steadily and was so proud of himself when he got to the end! We also had framed photographs of both sets of parents on their wedding days, as they have both been married for over 40 years this was a good inspiration!
We hired a videographer as we wanted to capture the day and have a great memento of the action. We used Creative Videos, Barry was fantastic and as he had filmed my sister’s wedding previously, we knew the video would be fantastic.
We would absolutely recommend Adlington Hall! From the moment we walked in we were overwhelmed by how stunning it was. The food amazing, the staff so professional and accommodating. Everything was more than we hoped for, my dream wedding venue!
I think my favourite part of the day was when the doors opened to The Great Hall and I was ready to walk down the aisle. On my dad’s arm, looking at all the most important people in our lives all there just for us was totally overwhelming.
We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to utilise the talents of your friends and family. My sisters Rebecca and Jessica did my makeup and hair and my talented friend Nova made our fabulous cake. It was extra special for them to play such an important role. Oh yes, and plenty of waterproof mascara!
From getting engaged Brides up North was my go to for inspiration. I have been an avid reader of the real life weddings and I’m so excited to now be one of them!
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March 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Hollie dreamt of a summer wedding with pretty pink touches and along with the help of her groom Mark the two executed the brief perfectly.
From the beautiful blooms, bunting and ‘love bug’ to the ombre pink cake, rustic centre pieces and adorable sweetie table, this is one seriously well styled wedding.
As huge fans of all things pink here at Brides Up North, Hollie and Mark we salute you!
With images by our Featured Supplier Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Hollie says: We got engaged on 28th September 2012 whilst we were on holiday in Cuba. Mark took me by surprise when he got down on one knee and proposed on the first night with a beautiful bespoke ring!
We decided straight away that we wanted a summer wedding, with high hopes of sunshine and so set the date for 9th August 2014.
We got married at our local church, St John the Baptist in Adel, followed by an evening reception at East Riddlesden Hall. We wanted a traditional church wedding and St John The Baptist is a beautiful old church with a striking Norman doorway and gargoyle sculptures dotted around which was just perfect. After looking at a number of evening venues, we fell in love with the converted barn and gorgeous surroundings at East Riddlesden Hall as it gave us a blank canvas to let our imaginations run wild and create a day that truly reflected us as a couple.
We had a rustic theme to complement the barn, with vintage touches. I spent hours scouring Pinterest for ideas, earning myself a reputation as a Pinterest addict in the process!
The colour palette was dusky pinks, cream and rose gold. This is my favourite colour combination (in fact most of our home is decorated in these colours) so after ruling out the Leeds United colours pretty early on (!), it seemed like a no-brainer.
After looking at lots of wedding dresses on Pinterest, I pictured myself in a fitted lace dress with cap sleeves but ended up falling in love with quite the opposite! I found a gorgeous strapless dress by Essence of Australia at Ava Rose Hamilton in Sildsen with a sweetheart neckline and big tiered lace skirt and the moment I tried it on I thought ‘now thisis a wedding dress’ and at that point I knew I’d found the one! The service at Ava Rose Hamilton was second to none and Rebecca made the whole experience from choosing my dress to getting last minute alternations done an absolute breeze!
As the dress was so detailed, I chose a simple one tiered veil and purchased a pearl necklace and earrings from Azendi. My little sister gave me her pearl bracelet from Tiffany & Co to wear on the day as my something borrowed. I found some beautiful rose gold strappy heels by Ivanka Trump on Pinterest, which went perfectly with my colour scheme. When I realised the style was called Hara (my maiden name is O’Hara), I knew I had to have them and had the shoes shipped over from America!
Mark wore a grey three-piece suit which he hired from Yorkshire Menswear in Rodley, Leeds. He accessorised with an ivory tie and black shoes. I surprised him with personalised cufflinks and socks, and a Hugo Boss watch. He looked very handsome! The groomsmen wore matching grey three-piece suits with blush pink ties and personalised cufflinks.
My four beautiful bridesmaids wore blush pink maxi dresses from Oh My Love, with a cream and rose gold belt which had a cute bow on the front. I gave each of them a rose gold pearl bracelet on the morning of the wedding with their initials, which they wore on the day.
For the transport we hired a convertible 1970’s cream Beetle from Love Bug Celebrations. They dressed the car with pink ribbons and flowers to match the colour scheme and included a bottle of champagne for Mark and I to enjoy on the drive from the church to East Riddlesden Hall, which was a lovely touch. Mark and the groomsmen arrived to church in a black customised Range Rover, which his parents arranged as a surprise.
Choosing the right photographer was very important to us and when we met Lissa Alexandra at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall we knew she was the right lady for the job! Her photography is very natural with a vintage edge, which is exactly what we wanted. We had an engagement shoot in Knaresborough a month before the wedding and, although it was pouring down with rain on the day, Lissa made us feel totally at ease and took some brilliant photos.
On the wedding day she brought her assistant photographer Jamie and they both did an amazing job of capturing all the special moments of our big day. They were both so friendly and it was an absolute joy to have them there on the day! Lissa is exceptionally talented and I can’t recommend her highly enough.
I carried a bouquet of dusky pink and cream roses, mixed with gypsophila and bound with lace and pearls. The bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and church flowers were all supplied by Lily’s of Bramhope. Rachel was extremely helpful and went the extra mile to find the perfect roses to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
We bought a selection of pink and cream roses and bunches of gypsophila from the Morrisons Flower Shop to decorate the barn, which helped us keep within our budget.
In the lead-up to the wedding we collected lots of little trinkets and did a lot of crafting to decorate the barn. My friend Zoe was an absolute Godsend and spent many a late night designing and printing stationery for us and other friends also helped out making metres of hessian and lace bunting and chalkboard signage. The parents of one of my bridesmaids then kindly dressed the barn for us on the morning of the wedding along with the East Riddlesden Hall wedding team and did an amazing job of bringing our vision to life.
As favours everybody received a personalised wooden heart and we had a sweet table for everyone to tuck into, which went down an absolute treat!
My friend Sally kindly offered to make our wedding cake and did an absolutely fantastic job! She made a beautiful three-tiered cake with a mixture of chocolate and Victoria sponge and pink and white ombre frilled icing, which we displayed on a tree stump with our initials and wedding date carved into it.
We chose GFS Catering as our caterers as they allowed us to create a completely bespoke menu. We had Pimms and canapés on arrival and a gourmet barbecue later in the afternoon, followed by a trio of desserts including cherry crème brule (my favourite), profiteroles (Mark’s favourite) and New York cheesecake (failsafe). We then a choice of either Thai green curry or tikka masala curry in the evening.
We wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and for everyone to let their hair down and have fun, so entertainment was a very important element when planning the wedding. We had giant Jenga set up outside the barn and we also hired the Booth Revolution photo booth for the evening, which our guests loved. As part of the wedding package we received a wedding album full of photos and messages from all our friends and family, which is a lovely keepsake.
Luckily my bridesmaid Kelly knows an amazing wedding band called Tom Rocks & The Replicants – her dad is the bassist! They played a mixture of covers from old classics to recent hits and got everyone up and dancing – somebody took a brilliant photo of my dad doing the twist! Lots of people commented on how brilliant the band were and they’ve also had a couple of booking from guests for their own weddings since which is a real testament to their talent!
We worked in a few extra touches through the day too. We hired hay bales to create seating alongside the lake which opposite the barn and provided bags of duck food which the children enjoyed feeding to the ducks! We also hired large illuminated M&H letters from Add Vintage which we positioned on the stage next to the band. These made an amazing backdrop for the photos of our first dance!
East Riddlesden Hall has a golf buggy that can be hired to transport guests to and from the restrooms, which are separate to the barn itself. We decorated it with fairy lights and our guests absolutely loved taking a ride up and down the path! We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. East Riddlesden Hall is stunning and unlike many other venues, it gives you a blank canvas to create your vision for your wedding. Emma and the wedding team are also great at what they do and they made the whole planning process as straightforward and stress free as possible.
Saying our vows in front of all our nearest and dearest was so special and a moment I’ll treasure forever. The speeches were also great and had me in tears one minute and in fits of laughter the next, but it was also lovely to have some time just myself and Mark on the journey from church to East Riddlesden Hall to take everything in.
Following the wedding we went to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a five-day ‘minimoon’ and have recently returned from a three-week honeymoon in Hong Kong and Thailand, which was beyond amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding day personal to you. It’s the one day you can have everything just the way you want it to be so embrace it!
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March 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a cute engagement story and today’s real wedding starts with a great one. Having been together just short of nine years brave bride Cheryl decided to turn the tables and asked partner John for his hand in marriage during a romantic weekend away to celebrate their anniversary. Huge kudos to Cheryl for ditching tradition – oh, and for also quickly pointing out to John that he owed her a ring to make it official.
To make their big day a real family affair Cheryl and John made their two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie, a big part of the day and it looks like the girls carried out their duties perfectly. Well done girls!
So let’s hear that engagement story…
With images by Brides Up North featured supplier Diamond Photography.
cheryl says: John and I have been together for almost nine years and we have two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie. We had talked about marriage over a number of years but something else always seemed to arise, in regards to work schedules and having two young daughters. Our anniversary was fast approaching and we always make the effort to go for an overnight stay somewhere so I made the decision that this was it – I was going to ask him to marry me! I’d always been adamant I would wait until he proposed but I guess the time just felt right. So, after looking at different hotels and listening to other people’s experiences I decided to book Yorebridge House boutique hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. On 1st November 2012 we set off for our overnight stay, I told John that we wouldn’t bother with gifts this time as we had paid that little bit extra for the hotel stay.
After a glass of wine (for courage) I handed John a gift-wrapped box, which he cautiously opened but seemed pleased when a box of Thorntons chocolates were presented to him. However, he had to do a double-take when he realised what the chocolates spelled out the words ‘will u marry me?’ I was relieved when he smiled and answered ‘Yes!’ Next I presented him with a smaller box containing a jelly Haribo ring and a note stating, ‘you owe me.’ I felt comforted and very excited afterwards as we both began to contact our family and friends to share the news.
I had hoped to book an earlier date, preferably before the football season started but those dates had already been taken, so we agreed finally agreed on our date, Saturday 30th August 2014.
We got married at Rushpool Hall, Saltburn, described as ‘a fairy tale castle set in picturesque surroundings’. We liked that our ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception would be all in the one venue. We chose the blue room with beautiful décor, which overlooks Saltburn Valley with additional sea views. This had been one of the hotels that John and I had previously stayed at and once we began to look at wedding venues we revisited the site and instantly knew this would be where we would say our wedding vows.
Our wedding colour scheme was ivory and pink. The pink element stems from both of our daughters’ love of the colour.
After visiting six different wedding dress retailers, I went back to Exclusively Yours at Wingate, County Durham. I chose a selection of three/four dresses but I kept returning to a particular dress, which I had previously tried on. I soon realised I’d found the one. The dress was Romantica Zeta, a straight A-line dress with crystals on the bodice, which featured a zip fastening on the back with crystal buttons. The dress was ivory in colour.
John wore a suit with a waistcoat and jacket and an ivory cravat from Moss Brothers at Dalton Park.
Our two daughters Millie and Ellie both wore ivory bridesmaid dresses from Next which had an ivory band round the middle and fastened in a bow at the back. Bryan the best man wore the same suit as John from Moss Brothers.
Andrew and Mandy of Diamond Photography were our photographers. I’d arranged to meet with Andrew who showed me different wedding packages and photographs that himself and Mandy offered. Andrew was very easy-going and added no pressure. Across a period of time before I got married I often messaged Andrew who always answered any questions and worries I may have had. On our wedding day they captured amazing moments, I’m not a person who particularly likes to be in the limelight, but Andrew made me feel very comfortable and settled my nerves at begin photographed. Andrew and Mandy were lovely. They had captured particular photos we had requested and more. They were so friendly and created a very professional and well-produced package, without being intrusive. I would definitely recommend future brides to meet Andrew and Mandy – I cannot thank them enough.
My two daughters and I had small hand held bouquets, which consisted of my favourite flowers tulips and roses. My friend Tracy arranged our flowers for us along with the corsages and buttonholes. Our daughters carried a sign each, one saying ‘Here comes Mammy’ and the other saying ‘Last chance to run Daddy’.
Our top table had an ivory ‘Mr & Mrs’ sign, with a small tea light candles in diamond cut glass holders and a bowl with other floating candles. The guest table centre pieces were ivory jewelled candle holders with diamonds scattered across the table. On the fireplaces we also had bowls with floating candles. In the evening we had a wedding wish tree, along with paper lanterns and large pink and ivory balloons.
The favours were lucky sixpences, which were personalised to each guest in a small wallet with ‘John & Cheryl’ written on, alongside our wedding date.
Our cake was pink and ivory with four tiers – the top tier was carrot cake, the second sponge cake and the two bottom tiers were fruit cake. It was delicious! It was made by Michelle who owns Michelle’s Cakes shop, situated in a wedding store called A Bit of a Do in Hartlepool. I often messaged Michelle with different pictures of cakes and constantly asked questions but nothing was ever too much trouble.
For entertainment we had a disco which was provided by Rushpool Hall and the resident DJ, who was very good played all requests – we opted for a lot of 80s music. Our photographer provided a freestanding photo booth, which at the time was part of a special promotion. There were lots of props and guests were provided with a copy of their photo moment! I have to add that Andrew and Mandy were very patient as by this time everyone at the wedding party had, had quite a bit to drink – and shall we say, in very good spirits! We also had a caricaturist during the day to entertain our guests.
Other great suppliers we used included Elaine Butler, who designed our wedding invites along with our guest place cards, table plan, sweet jar labels, and table numbers. Made At Home made our lovely sign, which I placed next to our cake which said ‘& they lived happily ever after’, along with beautiful handmade wishing dandelions for our daughters. Heart Shaped Home made lovely framed verses which we gave to our parents as gifts and also the signs that Millie and Ellie carried. Angela Leonard from Unique Styles in Hartlepool did my hair and Deborah Campbell did my make-up. Deborah and I have been friends since we were young and she offered to do my make-up as she knew I would be panicking about it. When she mentioned eye lashes I was panic stricken, however I was gently persuaded and loved them!
We would certainly recommend our venue to others. Rushpool Hall is a perfect romantic setting, with beautiful grounds and an open staircase along with log fires. The team at Rushpool Hall were fantastic and very friendly, nothing was too much trouble and I must not fail to mention to Kerri who assisted us in the run up to the wedding and on our actual day, thank you.
Our favourite part of the day had to be spending it with our family and friends, most of all our two beautiful daughters Millie and Ellie. I also think remembering those people that couldn’t be there to share our special day, in particular my Granddad Tommy, and John’s Granddad Bobby, was a special moment.
For our honeymoon we went to the Grand Sirenis, Mayan Beach Hotel in Mexico, Riviera Maya. We were lucky enough that our family looked after our daughters for a week while we went away. We had an amazing week, with sunny skies and plenty of strawberry daiquiris. We spent days floating round the lazy river but our most enjoyable moment was swimming with dolphins, something that I had always wanted to do!
My top tips to other Brides Up North is – enjoy every moment and try to make a little time to take it all in! Don’t let the day pass you by and try not to be too nervous.
March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.
Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.
Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.
So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!
We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!
We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!
I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!
I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!
Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!
The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.
It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.
We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!
Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!
My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.
As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.
I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!
One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!
We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!
We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.
We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!
My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!
We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!
I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!
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March 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
The unpredictable British weather is a concern for many wedding couples in the run up to their big day, particularly for those saying their ‘I dos’ outdoors.
Thankfully luck was on the side of today’s real wedding couple Elizabeth and Stuart when they tied the knot during a gorgeous wedding in the grounds of Middleton Lodge. I love the bright, breezy and relaxed vibes that come from this wedding and I’m sure you’ll agree Elizabeth looks stunning in her lace Enzoani gown.
Girl done good!
p.s. You can join Brides Up North for our Luxury Wedding Exhibition at this oh-so-beautiful wedding venue on Sunday 12th April 2015, 1pm till 4pm. Click here to pre-register.
With images by Stan Seaton Photography.
elizabeth says: We got engaged in Bali in June 2013 on the beach whilst having a romantic candlelit dinner on our last night of our holiday. Stuart got down on one knee and gave me a pretend ring!
When we returned we set the date for Thursday 24th July 2014. We always wanted a summer wedding and in particular to have the service outdoors.
Our venue was Middleton Lodge, Richmond. We chose it simply because we both instantly fell in love with the lodge and its surroundings – the gardens are so beautiful!
We didn’t have a theme as such but used a colour scheme of champagne and natural shades to style the wedding.
My dress was a lace fitted Enzoani design with scallop finish from Poppy Bridal. I chose it because I love lace and found the perfect dress for my maid of honour which complemented it and was also from Poppy’s. I wore Jimmy Choo Evelyn shoes and a diamond and pearl hair comb. I kept my jewellery simple with diamond drop earrings that matched my engagement ring and a diamond bracelet.
Myself, mum, sister and godmother stayed at The Coach House at Middleton Lodge the night before the wedding, which was a lovely start the celebrations. We walked over to Middleton Lodge in the morning for breakfast and pampering! Selena from Cocoon did my make-up as well as my mum’s and sister’s and Dianne Minnes did our hair.
Jane and Stan from Stan Seaton Photography were our photographers which was a special wedding present from my godmother Lesley. They gave us many laughs and made us feel very comfortable but are extremely professional and we would recommend them to anyone – they are simply the best!
Both my sister and I had a cream roses in our bouquets and Isla had a flower wand. On the tables we had pink hydrangeas and cream roses on mirrored plates and crystals. Beth from Eliza Blooms provided all the flowers and they were exactly how we imagined them.
For favours we gave each of our guests a slate heart with their name chalked on the front and the date of our wedding date on the back. We got then from Dotty’s Place in Richmond.
Our cake was a cream rose chocolate three-tier cake from Marks & Spencer.
For the entertainment we had John McGeough playing chilled out sax whilst we had our drinks reception and The Imposters were our band for the night.
The whole day was absolutely perfect. My best friend Rochelle did a beautiful reading at our wedding service that stands out as a special part of the day. I walked down the aisle to Stevie Wonder, My Cherie Amour, and our first dance was to John Legend, PDA.
We would definitely recommend Middleton Lodge everyone as it’s so friendly and the team there work to such a high standard. It’s a special place that you can go back to visit after the wedding and recall such happy memories.
We went to Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles for our honeymoon straight after the wedding which was very romantic! However, after being ill for three months after the wedding we decided we needed a second honeymoon after all the worry and celebrated again by going to LA and New Zealand in January.
Our tip for other Brides Up North would be just to enjoy every stage. All the planning can be quite stressful but is also so much fun and you actually miss it afterwards so just enjoy every minute!
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