Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

blissed out bride: matfen hall

November 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (2)

We’ve been out on the road again all in the name of research to share with you our experiences of the North’s finest hotels, getaway retreats and spas, providing inspiration for pre- and post-wedding relaxation, and sometimes also a setting for the big day itself!

Cue our recent visit to Matfen Hall – a stunning stately home set in 300 acres of lush parkland in the Northumbrian countryside. The award-winning Hall houses fabulous function spaces, accommodation and spa and leisure facilities, making it an option for sophisticated hen dos, romantic getaways, such as a minimoon, plus a dream wedding venue too.

All images by Sean Elliott Photography.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (6)

Ahead of a super-exciting wedding refurbishment at Matfen, we were invited to view the current celebration spaces and to see what’s in store to take this already gorgeous venue to the next level. And my word, are couples saying ‘I do’ to Matfen in for a treat! Keen not to give away too much at this stage, we will be following up with a Dream Venue post soon that will detail the stylish refurbish plans in more depth.

Furthermore, on Sunday 4th March 2018, we will be holding a Luxury Wedding Fair at Matfen to reveal the results of the quarter-of-a-million-pound-refurbishment programme first-hand – so be sure to mark the date in your diaries!

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (8)

But for today’s post, we return to our visit. During our blissful overnight stay, we experienced Matfen’s warm and welcoming hospitality, making use of its leisure facilities, restaurant and accommodation.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (13)

We began as any busy business ladies should, with a trip to the spa! Hotel guests can enjoy access to such facilities or there are a number of full and half-day ‘Escape’ packages to choose from, comprising different treatments, food and drink, so ladies (and gents) can pick which best suits their needs and wishes.

There is a 16-metre swimming pool and spa pool, plus thermal suites including an aromatherapy room, steam room, sauna, ice cold bucket shower, monsoon shower and ice fountain. We worked our way round, prioritising the warmer options, to relax and revive weary muscles, before indulging in a little chill time around the pool.

Matfen’s treatment choices cover off facial, body and massage therapies for men and women, as well as ‘Finishing Touch’ treatments such as nails, waxing and tinting.

Sean Elliott Photography at Matfen Hall (10)

Feeling in need of a radiance boost part-way through our autumn season of wedding fairs, we both opted for the Skin Specific Facial. Having been led to quiet, candle-lit treatment rooms, our knowledgeable therapists took time to enquire about our skin concerns before tailoring our facials to help combat such issues using heavenly Elemis products. We both emerged with hydrated, glowing complexions and super-soft skin (if only we could indulge one of these treatments every week!).

Leaving the spa feeling super-relaxed, it was time to freshen up (and wake-up!) before dinner. We were staying in one of Matfen’s stunning Principal Rooms in the original part of the Hall, that was spacious, comfortable and boasted gorgeous views of the garden.

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for the stars. a styled bridal shoot at allerton castle

February 20th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (13)

Today on Brides Up North, the stunning Allerton Castle in North Yorkshire provides the romantic setting for our styled wedding shoot.

Dating all the way back to 1066, the site is quite literally steeped in history with striking architecture and a captivating gothic interior to match. We’re talking ornate mirrors, candelabras, original fireplaces and spellbinding staircases.

Becki from all You Need is Love Photography paired up with a number of talented suppliers (including Brides Up North Sponsor Blossom and Belle) to create this dreamy yet dramatic bridal look, and we simply adore the bold palette of the bouquet, headpiece and makeup.

Don’t miss our Brides Up North Luxury Bridal Show on Sunday 5th March 2017, 11am till 3pm, Free Entry at this stunning venue! We’re filling the Castle with 30+ of the area’s most brilliant bridal suppliers, live music, bridal fashion, pretty paper, sweet treats, floral designs and all the details.  Come and see the place dressed to the nines to inspire your own perfect wedding day! Click here to register now. 

With images from All You Need is Love Photography

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (29)

becki says: We named the shoot ‘Star Of Love’ which is the variety of astrantia that the florist, Claire Slater Flowers used in the red bouquet, which features in most of the photos. Our model, Daisy, was quite the star, too, wearing a white gown from Blossom and Belle, based in York.

In terms of inspiration for the shoot, we focused on all things vintage. We wanted an opportunity to be creative together, especially as our tastes are so similar; plus we all have a soft spot for anything vintage.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (16)

We loved working together to create such a timeless and elegant look for the shoot. It’s just great to meet like-minded ladies within the wedding industry that can inspire and encourage the best from each other.

Allerton Castle was the most perfect location; each room is breath taking and the staff there are incredible.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (26)

I visited the castle a few years back, and it has always been a dream location for me to photograph. Each element of the shoot fitted together seamlessly and the backdrop of the castle really pulled it all together. It was like stepping into a time machine, as it’s steeped in so much history.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (7)

We didn’t have a specific style from the outset, this emerged as we discussed our favourite looks, and before we knew it, the vintage theme took a life of its own.

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lace & pearls. tones of blue for a regal wedding – stef & tom

November 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Vintage Wedding (c) Kate Gosney Photography (51)

Is there a grander setting for a wedding than a castle? We think not having feasted our eyes on the pics from today’s real wedding.

Having secured their dream venue, Tom and Stef let their surroundings do the talking, just adding a few simple touches in elegant vintage décor whilst working around their timeless blue colour scheme.

The floral arrangements are particularly stunning, and we love the maids’ vibrant cobalt dresses too!

With images by Kate Gosney Photography.

An Elegant Vintage Wedding (c) Kate Gosney Photography (6)

stef says: We got engaged in Las Vegas. It was the second day at the end of a night out. Tom got down on one knee and produced the most amazing ring!

An Elegant Vintage Wedding (c) Kate Gosney Photography (5)

We got married on 28th August, which was the Bank Holiday weekend, giving people more time to recover. Chiddingstone Castle was our chosen venue. My dad got married there and I had visited as a child so it felt special to me.

We didn’t have a theme as such, instead just choosing to let the beautiful venue do the talking and making choices that were sensitive to that. Our colour scheme was different tones of blues as it’s my favourite colour and I think it’s timeless too.

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flying high. maggie sottero for an elegant wedding at peckforton castle – caroline & chris

May 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (34)

There’s something extremely enchanting about saying ‘I do’ in a castle setting as today’s couple demonstrate.

Every inch the fairy-tale bride, Caroline wore a stunning Maggie Sottero organza ball gown for the big day and carried a romantic bouquet of pink and ivory roses, peonies and ranunculas.

Add to this some incredible floral displays, stunning grounds and a fine feathered ring bearer and you’ve got one very grand affair indeed.

With images by Martin Hambleton.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (4)

caroline says: We got engaged back in June 2011 whilst on holiday in Turkey, during a visit to the harbour in Fethiye.

Upon returning we set the date for Sunday, 8th June 2014 at Peckforton Castle, Tarporley, Cheshire. I spotted Peckforton online whilst looking for potential venues and I was instantly drawn. It just looked so beautiful. After arranging a visit that was it, we loved everything about it and we knew our guests would too.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (6)

We didn’t have a theme as such, just a bit of everything we like and loved. Our colour scheme was silver, grey, cream and ivory.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (10)

My mum chose my dress for me at Brides Gallery near Chorley. The ladies their Alison and Liz were amazing and so helpful. The dress I wore was a Maggie Sottero organza ball gown called Hanaleigh. It was a sweetheart fitted dress, with a ruched bodice, loads layers and hand-sewn flower detail. It was huge and so fairy-tale like. Far from what I originally thought I would go for, seeing as I was looking at a non-detailed, no frills, slim-fitted dress. But I loved it and I knew it was the one.

My bridesmaids wore silver/grey A-line/sweetheart floor-length chiffon dresses with pleated and beaded/sequin detail. I bought these by recommendation from JJ’s House online.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (17)

We used Hipswing for the lighting and entertainment. They also supplied our chair covers and sashes as well as the sparkle lit dancefloor. We would highly recommend them. Our DJ Dan was great, he played all our favourite songs and the dance floor was never empty. Tansy and the team were so helpful with helping organise our day and nothing was too much trouble.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (22)

We also used Eventures wedding venue decorators. The team did an amazing job for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Everything looked incredible and the flowers and bouquets were stunning too. I had a hand-tied bouquet of white and ivory roses, pink avalanche roses, peonies and ranunculas, finished with lace and diamante pin detail. We cannot thank them enough.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (25)

Our photographer was Martin Hambleton. We met Martin at a wedding fayre, he was so easy to talk to and his work was just incredible and exactly what we were looking for. Knowing I would be nervous on the day, Martin made me feel at ease and half the time I didn’t even know I was being photographed. Martin captured every aspect of the day. Our photographs are beautiful and we cannot thank him enough either!

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (31)

Chris designed all of our stationary; the invites, order of the day, the seating plan, place names, table numbers and also the favour boxes. We both then did the making and the embellishments. It took a long time but was well worth it.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (37)

For some extra décor I bought tall lanterns for the entrance to the Great Hall and vintage birdcages which I decorated with flowers, pearls and diamantes bought from Country Baskets. I also did my own sweets and treats table.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (47)

As a special touch we had Mango the owl deliver our rings during the ceremony and a falconry show at the drinks reception, which was enjoyed by all.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (53)

My auntie had our cake made for us as a wedding gift by family friends who have done this for many years. They did an amazing job. We had a three tiered cake; one lemon sponge, one Victoria and the other was fruit. It had ivory icing with vintage detailing in lace, pearl flowers and fallen petals.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (54)

For the transport on the day we hired two Imperial Landaulette cars from Horgans. I have to say these are by far the best supplier in wedding cars you’ll find. The cars were immaculate and the drivers were lovely. They arrived in plenty of time and even got us to the venue, some 40 miles away 20 minutes early, avoiding all the traffic, road works and chaos that some our guests got stuck in. Definitely number one for reliability. Thankfully all ended well and everyone made it in time.

An Elegant Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c) Martin Hambleton Photography (59)

I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day as I loved everything about it. Following our special day  we jetted off on honeymoon to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and relax during the lead up to the wedding – don’t stress and enjoy every moment. It’s your day after all. Everything will be perfect.

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Sound The Bugles! The Venue Hunt Has Commenced…

May 27th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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And you thought I was going to ease you back in gently after the bank holiday break, eh?  Incorrect.

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This afternoon, we are going hard (or going home) and getting one big thing ticked off that to-do list – your wedding venue.  Dropping by to talk you through it is our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides.  Notepads – and cheque books – at the ready people… 

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DINE LEAFLET

Allerton Castle, North Yorkshire by Chris Chambers Photography

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Rachel says:  Last week I received a picture message of a sparkly diamond on the ring finger of a pretty manicured hand. I knew without even looking at the sender’s name that the perfectly polished hand belonged to my beautician friend Jo. Sure enough her boyfriend James had whisked her away to a romantic hotel in North Yorkshire where he popped the question in a plush roll top bath, complete with bubbles and fizz.

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When meeting up with Jo this week to hear more about the proposal (I’m a sucker for a soppy engagement story) I handed her a useful engagement pressie rather than the expected bottle of champagne. It was a cute wedding planner book from Marks & Spencer titled ‘Lots of Lovely Ideas For A Very Big Day’ with dedicated areas for the guest list, contacts, the budget and checklists as well as pages to record wardrobe, reception and ceremony details. So where to begin?

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For Jo and many others it’s the venue. This is often the biggest expense and one of the most important factors of a wedding as it sets the scene for the big day. Therefore it’s well worth researching all the fantastic venues available (particularly in the North, of course) to ensure you find one that ticks all the boxes.

Hotels remain a top choice, often favoured for their package deals and on site facilities, but changes in the law and the amazing creativity of suppliers have made the previously impossible, possible when it comes to dream wedding venues.

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So what are the options beyond the church in the UK and what should you take into consideration when doing your research?

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Something Old

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We are fortunate to have many stunning historic venues in the UK that are licensed for civil ceremonies. Options include castles, country houses, listed halls and stately homes. Such venues tend to ooze character and charm meaning little décor is required which can make a big saving. Their rooms are often of large proportions providing plenty of space for big guest numbers though those planning more modest celebrations should not be put off as smaller, more intimate rooms are often available.

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Meredith & at Denton Hall in West Yorkshire (see their full celebration by clicking here) image by Gary Micklethwaite

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Perfectly Packaged

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Most hotels or independent venues hold a civil license giving couple’s the straightforward option of having their celebrations all in one place which can eliminate travel costs from the budget altogether. It’s important to ask what’s included in the price such as room hire, the registrar and the wedding breakfast, also ask if there is a minimum guest requirement and how prices vary on different days of the week and throughout the year. To make the plans even more manageable the hotel may well have a list of recommended suppliers that you can use which can save you both time and money. Be sure to enquire about exclusivity – if you want the place to yourselves there can be an additional charge.

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Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography

Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography 

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Blank Canvas

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Marquees and tepees continue to rise in popularity with couples won over by the prospect of having a plain backdrop to go to town on for a unique and stylish celebration. While you can’t legally get married in marquee or tipi as it’s not a permanent structure, you can throw a flippin’ good party in one afterwards. The styling possibilities are endless from cute bunting and bundles of hay to natural blooms and twinkly fairy lights. Some also offer the option to create individual areas for dancing, dining and chilling, complete with cosy fur throws and roaring fires. Though a marquee or tepee might seem a cheaper option, additional costs such as the fee to plant it on someone’s land and essentials such as toilets, heating and electricity can see the price creep up.

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John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

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Let’s Go Outside

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My friend Jo has her heart set on a relaxed outdoor wedding with lots of live music. While some venues do have gazebos, band-stands and the like licensed four outdoor weddings, those craving a more adventurous or quirky backdrop may still be able to secure their dream setting by doing the legal ‘I do’ bit separate. This means simply booking into the registry office prior to the outdoor celebrations for the legal formalities which can take as little as 20 minutes. A celebrant can then conduct a more personal ceremony in front of your guests at your chosen outdoor wedding setting whether it’s on the beach, a woodland location or amongst the ruins of a castle.

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Alnwick Garden

The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

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Dare To Be Different

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Changes in legislation have opened up the doorways to many unusual settings for couples to tie the knot in. Out of the ordinary options include museums, theatres, restaurants, sporting venues, private residences and art galleries.

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Happy hunting!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Yorkshire Fling! Tartan & Lace For A Real Wedding At Bolton Castle

April 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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Today’s stunning wedding -  at Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue Bolton Castle – looks oh so Wintery, but actually took place at the end of March over the Easter weekend.  Remember that cold snap?  Luckily Gemma and Asa were well prepared in their gorgeous castle setting for their Yorkshire meets Scotland celebration with some roaring log fires and a helpful piper ready to lend the bride his cape!

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With images by Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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Gemma says:  We got engaged on the 10th of December 2011.  It was a Saturday morning and we decided to go for a walk – nothing out of the ordinary there!  We walked up to Mill Gill which is a beautiful waterfall just outside Askrigg and five minutes from our house. While we were standing there Asa said that he had been thinking about things recently so I quickly asked him what he had been thinking about… he then said there was something he needed to ask me so I quickly turned and said “Ask me what, what’s the matter?” His response was “Well if you will shut up for a minute and let me talk I will ask you!”… at that point he got down on one knee and asked! What a total and fantastic surprise (the answer was yes – once I stopped crying)! We carried on up the hill and were the only two in the world who knew! By the time we got home it was lunchtime and we had cheese on toast with champagne – brilliant!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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We were married on 30th March 2013 at Bolton Castle, Leyburn. Its beautiful Medieval Castle where Mary Queen of Scots ‘stayed’ for six months!  The venue is somewhere out of the ordinary without being too ostentatious.  We pretty much had free rein to set up and decorate as we wanted, there were no hidden charges for bedrooms and the atmosphere was just fantastic!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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We had a joint theme of Scotland and Yorkshire. Everything had to be rustic to show off the castle perfectly.  We chose a colour scheme of white and burgundy with Blackwatch Tartan making an appearance!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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I had a beautiful white halter neck wedding dress from the online suppliers JJ’s House. The dress was perfect  Asa wore black tails with grey pin stripe trousers with white cravat from the online supplier Formally Yours. 

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A special mention has to go to Hair by Becci. Becci did our hair and I don’t think she could have done anything better – it was just perfect for the dress, me and the setting!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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I had a simple bouquet of white roses for Yorkshire, thistles for Scotland and Tulips to tie in the burgundy and also for Spring!  My bridesmaid Melissa had the same but slightly smaller.  The buttonholes were thistles and white heather – for luck! We used Hutton Flowers of Northallerton who were fantastic. 

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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We had a piper for the day who welcomed the guests, piped me down the aisle and piped us into the breakfast for our first official engagement – an amazing experience!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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The day was spent giggling with my closest family and friends. We got married which was the main aim of the day and we introduced a lot of people to our beautiful village as well as Scottish dancing. If I had to pick one favourite moment then it was a moment during our first dance when I had a sneaky peak around me and everyone was smiling and looking so happy – it was just the most humbling feeling ever.

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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Our fantastic photographers Richard and Caroline Wynn-Davies went above and beyond at every opportunity, this really comes through looking at how relaxed and happy we are in each of the photos – they truly are amazing people!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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There were special touches springing up all over the place all weekend! Our favours were homemade heart shaped shortbread (which I baked a couple of days before) and Yorkshire tea bags.  We had Blackwatch tartan table runners over the tables which really brought warmth to the rustic castle.

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We both work for the Scouts and so named each of the tables after a Scout Activity Badge – caused lots of giggles!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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I baked and iced our wedding cake as when I looked around at prices I realised I could save an amazing amount of money – I’m a true Scot!  We had one tier of Madeira and two of angus fruit cake (the fruit is soaked overnight in tea). 

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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We had a Ceilidh band made up of three local guys from Northallerton – they were amazing and taught us all the dances, everyone took part! The more commercial bands were an absolute fortune and very specific on how long they would play for. Nimmo Clark and the band played all night!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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We made the celebrations last the whole weekend! The Friday evening before we invited everyone to join us in the village pub for a drink so people met each other then and on the Sunday we put a big tent up in the back garden and invited everyone and locals from the village for the afternoon/evening to carry on celebrating. 

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The week after the wedding a lot of family and friends had stayed so we got to spend time with people we don’t often see. We both work away a lot so once everyone had gone home we took an extra week off and… we stayed at home – it was perfect! The weather was rubbish so apart from short walks with the dog we just spent time together!

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(c) Richard Wynn-Davies

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Gemma & Asa Bolton Abbey BUN-67

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to keep it small and simple, don’t blow your budget, keep it personal – it is a very very special day so make sure that throughout the day there are things which show why you are perfect for each other.

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Congratulations Gemma & Asa!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding on these pretty pages?  Get in touchHere’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013

Richard Wynn-Davies is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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