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love in bloom. martina liana for an enchanting wedding at the alnwick garden – jade & james

July 26th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pretty Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (64)

The wonderful Alnwick Garden in Northumberland provides the stunning, contemporary backdrop to today’s nuptials between Jade and James, who tied the knot in May of this year. Describing their venue as both impressive and beautiful – we think you’ll agree when you see the fabulous photos from their big day!

Going for a rustic and natural theme to tie in with this exquisite setting, the couple chose a dreamy pink, cream and white colour scheme, which complemented the surroundings beautifully. Throw in a dash of sunshine and you’ve got the perfect mix for those natural, outdoorsy feels. There are plenty of other Insta-worthy touches to look out for throughout the day too; from the candy floss stand and handmade table decorations, to the three-tier semi-naked wedding cake, which looks simply divine.

This is something of a blueprint for a wedding that’s a little bit different to your traditional barns and castles and we think you’re going to love the result! So, let’s pass the blog onto Jade to talk us through the finer details.

With images by Rachael Fraser Photography, and second shooter Rosie Davison Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (25)

jade says: We got engaged on 27th November 2016. James is quite into his photography and had told me he had arranged access to the roof terrace of The Vermont Hotel to take photos of Newcastle. We turned up at The Vermont and were taken upstairs and left on the terrace alone. I noticed music was playing in the background but didn’t take any notice as James was taking photos, our song came on (Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud) which I thought was a bit strange. James then asked me to look at the Tyne Bridge; his family were holding a banner over the bridge asking me to marry him! He got down on one knee and popped the question, to which I said yes of course! Afterwards we had some champagne and pictures taken. When we went downstairs and into the lounge, I was then surprised by my parents, who had travelled up from Sheffield without me knowing! We all went for lunch together and had some celebratory drinks!

We tied the knot on 27th May 2018. We chose that date as it is close to the start of summer and has a good chance of being good weather but not too hot. It was also a bank holiday the day after, so it made it easier for people travelling a long way.

A Pretty Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (3)

We had the ceremony and reception at The Alnwick Garden. We had looked at a few different venues which we liked but when we saw the gardens we fell in love with how beautiful it was. On a sunny day, which we fortunately had for our wedding, I think you would struggle to find a more impressive and beautiful venue!

A Pretty Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (32)

We had a fairly rustic and natural theme for our wedding. We thought this suited the venue and tied in with the natural elements of the garden.

The colour scheme was light pinks, cream and white which suited the natural and rustic style we had chosen. It also suited the bridesmaids’ dresses.

A Pretty Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (76)

My dress was Martina Liana, design 744 – an embroidered lace gown embellished with diamonds and pearls, a backless mermaid style with a long train. The dress was from Mia Sposa, who made my experience very special and Joy was amazing in helping me find the dress. As a special touch to my attire, James surprised me on the morning of the wedding with earrings made out of diamonds from his mother’s original engagement ring, which was very thoughtful.

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sophisticated sparkle: morilee for an intimate wedding at styal lodge – rachel & paul

July 25th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (61)

The bride and groom of today’s real wedding chose a ‘classy not trashy’ theme for their big day and we’re sure you’ll agree they surpassed their goal, with an elegant colour scheme of pink, grey and silver, and just the right amount of sparkle.

Their chosen Cheshire venue is dressed to the nines – the swags draped from the ceiling complete with fairy lights all pulled together by a disco-ball chandelier looks very effective in the cosy lodge setting, especially by nightfall. We also love Rachel’s choice of centrepieces, not only because the martini glasses overflowing with gypsophila and lush blooms look super pretty, but because the beauty of tall centrepieces is they give great impact when guests enter a room, but when they come to sit at the table the display is above their eye line, and so they can easily chat to everyone across the table without obstruction.

And bride Rachel has lots more fabulous tips too; from choosing edible wedding favours and arranging joint planning meetings with your florist and stylist, to attending open days at your chosen venue and booking your desired suppliers ASAP – ladies, you may well want to take note!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (71)

rachel says: We got engaged at home. I got back from the gym and Paul said he wanted to go out for something to eat that evening. As we are both rubbish at making simple decisions, he said he wanted me to come up with three choices of where we could go whilst I was in the shower so, when I got out of the shower (with a towel wrapped around my hair and my pink dressing gown on), Paul was shouting my name from downstairs. As I hadn’t thought of three choices, I cheekily just ignored him and pretended I couldn’t hear him but, by the third shout, I thought I had better answer him so when I did, he shouted “Come down here, our song is on!” I thought that was quite sweet, so I went downstairs in my towel and dressing gown and, when I walked into the room, our song was playing, the room was full of candles and Paul was down on one knee. When he asked me, I was speechless (that doesn’t happen a lot). Then I asked if he was joking and then I finally said yes!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (49)

We got married on Friday 4th May 2018 at Styal Lodge, Cheshire. There wasn’t really a particular reason for the date, other than the weather is usually OK in May and it was the start of the bank holiday weekend.

We would definitely recommend Styal Lodge to other couples, especially those looking for small, exclusive venues. We wanted a small venue as we only had 75 day guests and we felt it was more personal to us. The gardens are lovely and, on the day during the drinks reception, the bride, groom, photographer and videographer get driven to a nearby lake in the grounds for photos. The venue is also easy to find and very accessible as it isn’t far from Manchester Airport, so there are good transport links. Another really nice touch is that each year they hold an event called Bridesmaids’ Brunch, where the bride can take up to three of her bridesmaids to the venue and they have suppliers there to chat to, live music and it is also dressed, which can be good for inspiration. Food and drink are provided and it’s just a really nice atmosphere, as it’s only available to brides who have booked their weddings. They usually have two or three open days each year too, which is helpful to go and see the venue dressed and speak to different suppliers.

Our theme was classy, not trashy and our colour scheme was light pink, grey, silver and a touch of sparkle!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (58)

For my dress, I chose a princess gown with a love heart neckline. The designer is Morilee and I purchased it from Blush Boutique in Uppermill. I chose it as it was the kind of dress I thought I would want as long as the style suited me – and luckily it did. It also had the right amount of sparkle and I loved the tulle skirt. I had looked on the internet at different dresses I liked before going shopping and saved the designers and style names in my phone. When I went into the shop and picked dresses out to try on, I purposefully didn’t look at what the designers were or the price as I just wanted to try on a mixture. Then, when I tried my dress on for the first time and loved it, I looked at the list in my phone of dresses I had made a note of and this one was the first on the list!

A Sophisticated Wedding at Styal Lodge (c) Lee Brown Photography (8)

Paul wore a grey suit, with a silver waistcoat and a pink cravat, all from Moss Bros. The groomsmen all wore the same suit and waistcoat as Paul, but they had pink ties instead of a cravat.

The bridesmaid dresses were all from Dorothy Perkins and the flower girl dresses were from John Rocha at Debenhams. I also had a ‘bridesman’ who wore the same suit as Paul and the groomsmen but he had a dicky bow instead of a tie or cravat.

Lux did all of our hair and makeup and we were all so happy with it.

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calming, contemporary & creative: say hello to white closet studios, liverpool

July 24th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Halfpenny Cheryl

Halfpenny London – Cheryl

We just love to work with suppliers who are evidently passionate about the world of weddings and the job they do within it – hence our excitement to introduce you to one of our newest Sponsors on the blog today, the wonderful Zoey Amitage, proud owner of White Closet Studios.

Located in a chic spot in Liverpool’s city centre, this friendly bridal boutique is beautiful both inside and out. Set within a beautiful Georgian house and stocking gowns by some of our very favourite designers, we can easily see why Zoey fell head over heels in love with it – just as you might well do.

Keen to help brides narrow down their search and find that one special dress, Zoey prides the boutique on its appointment-only approach, and its amazing collection of gowns, each chosen to offer something unique to the contemporary bride who craves a romantic yet individual look.

Designer images provided by White Closet Studios.

Studio

How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to own a bridal boutique?

zoey says: It may sound clichéd but it has been a dream since I was little. Life has taken me along quite a different path, but the dream was always to work in bridal and now I am finally doing what I love.  For months I had been looking for the perfect boutique to come along as I know that setting up from scratch can be extremely difficult and White Closet Studios was the second boutique I visited.  After sitting there for five minutes I just fell in love with it and knew it was the right one for me (a little like finding the right husband!).

Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?

Based on the iconic Rodney Street in Liverpool City Centre, we are a small but elegant studio, which seeks to create a calming and creative atmosphere for our brides. Being bijou certainly has its benefits, in that we are able to operate on an individual appointment only basis which means we devote our full attention to each bride who visits us.

Watters Galatea

Watters – Galatea

What designers do you stock and can you tell us a little about each one?

We are extremely fortunate to work with some of the most sought-after designers who all create unusual and romantic dresses for the contemporary bride.

Renowned for her relaxed bohemian styles and pioneering additions, we are extremely proud to stock London based designer Charlie Brear. Charlie’s dresses are beautiful enough to be worn on their own but by including additions a bride is given the freedom to celebrate her individual style by creating her own unique wedding dress.

We are equally as thrilled to work with British luxury bridal wear designer Halfpenny London, who offer the most beautiful elegant detailed designs which ooze glamour with a nod to a bygone era.  With a distinctive couture look utilising the most exquisite fabrics and textures, Halfpenny London continue to push bridal wear boundaries.

Widely known for their elegant, refined and sophisticated lines the acclaimed Spanish designer Jesús Peiró provides our third collection.  It is their philosophy of high quality which has this year seen the designer celebrate their 30th anniversary.  Designed and manufactured entirely in Spain, Jesús Peiró gowns offer a twist on the traditional with touches of romanticism.

And for the bridal party we stock Rewritten bridesmaid dresses, which are simple, elegant and pretty damn cool!

How do you pick the right designers for the boutique and what do you think makes a good bridal collection?

We pride ourselves on offering something a little different and we are only able to do this by choosing the best designers who seek to break the mould when it comes to bridal wear. Of course, there will always be traditional styles, and Jesús Peiró are an example of this, but it is how our designers adapt these styles to create something unique that inspires our collection.

A good bridal collection should offer quality and diversity which is something we achieve with our contrasting designers. Moreover, it should be adaptable to allow brides to create something that is unique to them.

Watters Brighton

Watters – Brighton

What current trends are you seeing in bridal wear and can you forecast any future trends that will be coming through?

Lace remains hugely popular and we are continuing to see a rise in brides asking for mermaid styles.

We are however interested to see if the addition of black nuances, as noted on bridal catwalks recently, will prove popular, alongside the increasing number of bold applique designs.

What research or preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?

We would advise brides to look at our website and research our designers before they come to see us.  We love seeing everyone, but there is nothing worse than advising a bride that we do not stock the style of dress they have their heart set on and seeing their disappointment.  Equally, if you have not tried any dresses on yet come with an open mind and try on something different, if nothing else this will enable you to narrow down your ideal silhouette very quickly.

My other little bit of advice is by all means look on Pinterest, but you cannot feel any genuine emotion until you try on a gown.  It is this emotion that make the bridal shopping experience so special and cannot be replaced by online browsing.

Halfpenny Daisy

Halfpenny London – Daisy

What can brides expect from an appointment at your boutique and how do you and your team help brides to find their dream dress?

As we operate on an individual appointment only basis each bride will have exclusive use of our boutique for the one-and-a-half-hour appointment.  We wholeheartedly believe that bridal shopping should be an enjoyable, stress-free experience and our aim is to ensure that the whole bridal party are relaxed and enjoy their visit with us.

We are inspired by our bride’s sense of individuality and endeavour to find a dress that represents who they truly are without compromising on quality.  Therefore, during the appointment, we will offer advice on shapes, fabrics, cuts and designers, in addition to offering accessory advice but we love hearing creative suggestions.

What size and price range of dresses do you stock?

The majority of our samples are size UK12, however we are very proud of our Capsule Curve Collection with samples sizes up to UK20.  Many of our styles however can be made up to a size UK32.

Our bridal collections ranges from £1,500 to £3,000.

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independent woman: yorkshire bridal boutique owner hayley hoyle on why you should buy from the professionals

July 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Harrogate Wedding Lounge (4)

Having just shared details of my own dress shopping experience in this wedding diary instalment (I’m a 2019-bride-to-be don’t you know?!) this afternoon’s post further backs-up my findings as we hear from industry expert and Brides Up North Sponsor, Hayley Hoyle, on why ladies should visit independent bridal boutiques when searching for their dream gown.

As the owner of not one, but two top Yorkshire boutiques – The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and The Bridal Collection Harrogate – Hayley is well placed to speak on this topic and advise brides-to-be on how to get the most out of this precious part of the planning.

A far cry from a high-street changing room, Hayley explains the welcoming ambience, top styling and seamstress service and aftercare that awaits brides and these small, professional businesses. She also makes clear that ladies of all budgets can shop at independent boutiques and the service is warm, friendly and fun – not at all like the Pretty Woman style connotations that some conjure up in their heads.

My experience of such businesses was exactly as Hayley describes – real women dressing real women to help find that one special gown that ticks all the boxes while providing professional support along the way that you just won’t find elsewhere. So, ladies, here’s why you’ll want to support your independent sisters…

Bridal Collection (6)

hayley says: For some, buying their wedding gown is a prospect filled with excitement, giddiness and hopes of the perfect shopping trip filled with friends, fizz and finding the one. For others the thought is nothing short of terrifying. Fears of being squeezed in to samples too small or bulldog clipped into samples three-sizes too big while your nearest and dearest pick fault at every part of the dress, or even worse, your body in the dress. Whatever your inclination toward it, after more than ten years in the industry I can confirm that for the most part finding, buying and fitting your wedding gown is an intimate, emotionally charged, sometimes nerve wracking but ultimately beautiful experience, or at least that’s what my hope is for all of my brides.

Harrogate Wedding Lounge (3)

It should be undertaken with your most trusted advisors; the person or people who know you most and who’s number one priority is your happiness. This also applies to the place you choose to shop for your gown. As an independent boutique, myself and my team make it our business to get to know you. Your hopes and dreams for the dress and the day. We understand your fears, your hang-ups and all your insecurities. We are women too remember. We don’t care that your pants don’t match your bra today or that you have just had lunch and feel like have a food baby going on, all we care about is you relaxing and having fun finding a gown that truly represents you, and that you feel and look incredible in.

Harrogate Wedding Lounge (2)

Independent boutiques go much further than selling wedding dresses, I certainly don’t see that as my job at all and I am pretty sure other independents would say the same. We are councillors, confidants, mediators, the shoulder to cry on, the person who holds the tissues – and the prosecco! But above all we are stylists. Our space and that of many other boutiques I know are beautifully created and full of inspiration. Everything matters; the calming atmosphere, beautiful scents, gorgeous flowers, endless accessories, soft music and of course the beautiful gowns and the team of experienced stylists that know our products inside out and are passionate about your experience with us.

Harrogate Wedding Lounge (6)

My team accompany me to all of our designers’ collection launches, they know about construction, fabric options, possible changes that can be made and make personal recommendations for you based on your body type and desires. Unlike many other less personal options available to brides when choosing their dress, our team are trained to work with you individually, hand pick gowns we know will knock your socks off and give you the very best advice on fit. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, we can recommend options such as bespoke sizing – like a size 14 top and 18 bottom. Made to measure for a large bust or a short torso. The result? A unique experience totally tailored to you, your ideas and your body.

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vintage vibes: justin alexander for a 1920s wedding at eaves hall – stacey & wesley

July 17th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (43)

An understated 1920s theme weaves through today’s featured wedding, bringing in very subtle nods to the decade, such as the 1920s-style font used for the table numbers and the strings of beads draped over the candelabras on the table centrepieces. The cake meanwhile is a little more ‘out there’ – a spectacular confection in gold and white with a definite 1920s’ feel and topped with white feathers.

Stacey is beautiful and elegant in a fitted gown with a long train and an equally glorious cathedral-length veil. The dress features a pretty sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves and the illusion back with its white buttons all the way to the floor is nothing short of stunning. She finishes the look with a delicate bouquet of pale pink and white. Wesley’s smart tuxedo is the perfect complement to her timeless look.

One idea we’re certainly a fan of is booking a crèche to keep the little ones entertained during the meal as Stacey and Wesley did, especially if you plan to have plenty of speeches. It gives your guests a nice break from wiping hands and mouths and passing colouring pencils while also trying to enjoy your wedding breakfast! Let’s hear more from Stacey…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (21)

stacey says: We got engaged in Sardinia. It was a complete surprise and it was booked for my birthday in October 2015. We were out in the gardens of the hotel with a beautiful stream and, while we were on the bridge, Wesley got down on one knee and proposed!

We got married on 21st August 2017, as we wanted a summer wedding. The whole day was at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and the girls and I stayed in the lodge the night before the wedding. We picked Eaves Hall because it was a beautiful setting with amazing gardens. We really loved the exclusivity of the venue and all the staff were really helpful. On the day, nothing was too much trouble. The venue was really classy but still relaxed and comfortable. We would absolutely recommend Eaves Hall to other couples. The fact they have the lodge, so you can stay with all the bridesmaids the night before is a really nice touch.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (51)

In terms of a theme, the table plan and decorations were very 1920s inspired but we didn’t want this to overtake our day, so we kept it minimal.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (34)

My dress was from Fairytale Brides and was by Justin Alexander. I chose this dress because it was so beautiful and elegant, and I loved the details. It made me feel amazing.

Wesley and the groomsmen wore tuxedos with a bow ties from Slaters Formal Hire.

My bridesmaids wore gold dresses from Debenhams’ evening wear. There wasn’t any real reason we chose this colour but, again, we wanted to keep their look comfortable and classy.

A Vintage Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Nik Bryant (67)

For hair styling we had Kate Simmons and Sonara Parker did our makeup. They were both great and we would recommend them to anyone.

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country charm. justin alexander for a stylish wedding at sandhole oak barn, cheshire – nikki & mike

July 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (46)

Today’s couple, Nikki and Mike, are showing us a thing or two when it comes to stylishly pulling off a rustic barn wedding. Traditional yet contemporary – we think they got the balance just right.

Hosting their big day at the quaint Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire, the couple kept things pared back and beautiful, with plenty of rustic feels to complement the enchanting setting, with hessian and wood textures, bunting, jam jars, candles and crisp white floral arrangements just a few of the delightful details to look out for.

The wedding breakfast was a particular highlight for the newlyweds – just take a look at the sublime menu they dished up – not to mention their elegant naked cake with a delectable four different flavours to choose from!

Plenty of inspiration awaits though, so it’s best we hand the reins over to Nikki so that she can talk us through all the magical moments of their big day. Enjoy!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (30)

nikki says: We were staying at a vineyard just outside Bordeaux in May 2016 when Mike proposed. Mike decided to take me for a morning stroll just outside the chateau, which was on the vineyard. We walked though some woodland and then he got down on one knee and popped the question!

We got married on 11th May 2018. The weather has been great the last few years in May, so we decided to hedge our bets and go for that month.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

We tied the knot at Sandhole Oak Barn, in Congleton, Cheshire. The setting was just perfect and exactly what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a barn style wedding and Sandhole ticked all the boxes.

We went for a rustic, countryside theme, although we didn’t have a particular colour scheme in mind, it was just more of the rustic feel with hessian and white tied in.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

I wore a chiffon A-line gown with a beaded portrait neckline designed by Justin Alexander which I bought from the Bridal Path in Childwall, Liverpool.

A Rustic Wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

Mike wore a blue suit with a grey waistcoat from Suits Direct, in Cheshire Oaks. The groomsmen wore matching suits to the groom, but with different button holes from Mike.

The bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore blue/grey multi-way dresses from M&S with gypsophila worn in their hair.

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