March 17th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding couple might have got engaged amidst the bright lights of NYC, but chose a very different theme for their summer wedding: an English country garden x Downton Abbey inspired celebration. In fact, bride Natasha admits that her guiding mantra during planning was WWLMD? (What Would Lady Mary Do?)
Looking at these gorgeous blooms, floral confetti and the Gothic-style setting of their stunning Yorkshire venue, it’s a mantra that served them well. On with the pretty!
With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Laura Calderwood.
natasha says: Matt proposed on Christmas Day in Central Park in New York. We’d spent Christmas morning exploring Times Square and decided to go for a walk. We were watching the skaters on the ice rink when he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Of course I said (or, should I say, screamed) “Yes”!
Our wedding date was 6th August 2016. We originally tried booking the ever-popular Bank Holiday weekend but this date was taken, so we went for the 6th. It probably sounds strange but I had a strange feeling then that we’d have really good weather that day. Luckily, I was right! The sun shone all day and it rained like crazy on the August bank holiday. It was a blessing in disguise that date was taken!
We got married at Carlton Towers in Yorkshire. I had actually provisionally booked another venue and decided on a whim to go visit Carlton Towers because my uncle recommended it. I completely fell in love with the Gothic-style turrets and opulent Venetian Drawing Room and knew it was the place for us. I’m so glad I took a chance on it!
The theme was ‘Downton Abbey’. I wanted something romantic and classic with a feel of English country garden to it. If I ever had to make a decision during the planning process, I’d ask myself, ‘Would Lady Mary like this?’ If the answer was yes, then I’d go with it!
We chose a blush palette with petal pinks and ivory as the main colours. We wanted something fresh and pretty that had a summer wedding feel.
I wore a Justin Alexander mermaid-style gown in ‘Sand and Silver’ from the Harrogate Wedding Lounge. It was actually the second dress I tried on and as soon as I stood in front of the mirror I knew it was the one. The mermaid-style complemented my curvy figure (and, most importantly, nipped me in all of the right places) and the detailing made it stand out from the others. I also absolutely loved the colour. It was much warmer than a traditional ivory, which complemented my slightly olive skin tone.
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June 23rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Today’s real wedding is totally getting us in the mood for summer. We love Beth and Dan’s gorgeous choice of venue for their barn wedding and stunning coastal setting, with them enjoying much of their celebrations outdoors!
Highlights for us include the pretty pastel colour scheme, the informal style wedding breakfast and, of course, Beth’s stunning fitted dress and gorgeous accessories. We would have quite liked to have attended this one ourselves!
With images by Photography34.
beth says: We got engaged on 24th December 2012. This was a special day for us as that’s the date when we got together. We had a nice little trip to Chester booked as a treat. Dan says he had put that much thought into my engagement ring that he didn’t think about how nerve racking the proposal would be. He’d had the ring made by a local jeweller, he choose the design and wanted it to have a twist. He asked for my birth stone to be entwined in it, so nobody knows that I have a secret amethyst stone underneath the diamond. When the light shines through you can see the amethyst. He waited all day for the right moment to present itself though I was totally oblivious. We drove back home from Chester, booked a table for our Christmas Eve date night tradition and then Dan proposed under the stars.
We did the legal parts of the marriage on 24th August 2015, then held our wedding ceremony and reception two days later on 26th August – the anniversary of our first date.
We got married at The Barn in Burniston, near Scarborough, on the coastal road. We choose this venue as it was just everything we were looking for in one. The Barn is beautiful on its own and the team there allowed us to have what we wanted, which made our day complete.
We didn’t pick a theme, we loved how rustic the barn was. We chose a colour scheme of pastel colours and incorporated them throughout, but kept the overall look very soft and natural.
March 31st, 2016 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon’s real wedding is a true fairy tale romance, with the bride and groom basing their celebrations on the well-known love story of Cinderella, which initially brought them together.
We love that bride Jessica Jayne embraced being a princess for the day by wearing a stunning ball gown style dress, travelling by horse and cart and celebrating in a grand hall along with her new hubby!
Judging on the images below, these two are destined to live happily ever after…
With images by ER Photography.
jessica jayne says: We got engaged on 15th November 2014. Andrew had apparently decided that he would ask my father’s permission before asking me and I don’t know whether he said something that made him think he already asked me, but as soon as I saw my dad he said congratulations and spilled the beans!
I was over the moon! We had planned to spend the day Christmas shopping so on our way out Andrew had placed a scroll on the passenger seat of his car, he told me to read it out loud and as I got to the end (through tears) Andrew was there on one knee to ask me to marry him. We cancelled Christmas shopping and celebrated the whole day, and as they say, the rest is history. It just goes to show that even if not everything goes to plan it can still be romantic and maybe even more memorable!
Our wedding was on 10th October 2015. We both love autumn with all the beautiful colours and my brother had got married in October 2014, which gave the month more meaning. As it turned out our wedding day was a beautifully sunny, it seems that October nowadays is an Indian summer!
We got married at Our Lady and the Apostles RC church, in Shaw Heath, Stockport. It was very special to me and my parents as they had got married there 31 years ago. My dad was so emotional before we walked down the very same aisle he had walked my mother down, we both had tears in our eyes and had to catch our breath when the organist started to play the wedding march. Andrew and I both wanted a traditional church ceremony and because it was so personal it made it extra special.
For the reception we chose Capesthorne Hall. We both fell in love with the venue at first sight, the entrance to the grounds alone is just magnificent. It is a truly stunning venue!
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January 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Ladies you’re in for an absolute treat today as this morning’s real wedding is brimming with pretty inspiration to take note of.
After tying the knot during a traditional church ceremony, Emma, Jamie and their wedding guests carried on the celebrations in an elegantly styled marquee, pitched in the bride’s parents’ garden.
We adore the pretty pastel colour scheme and in particular the maids’ muted coloured dresses and the a-maz-ing flowers created by Emma’s talented mum.
Top of our swoon-list though has to be the bride’s stunning bespoke gown, made by British designer Emma Hunt.
With images by Nicola Denby Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in February 2014 in Dubai. Jamie had planned a surprise holiday during half term and I didn’t know where we were going until the day we were leaving, which also happened to be my birthday! On our first night in Dubai we went out for dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Dubai Fountain. When we got back to the hotel room, Jamie got down on one knee and presented me with a gorgeous vintage style diamond ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes then burst into tears before calling our families to tell them the exciting news! Weeks before our engagement, I’d pointed out the style of ring I liked and Jamie had remembered and had a similar ring made especially for me!
We got married on 11th July 2015. As a teacher, I knew I wanted the wedding to be in the summer holidays so I could have some time before the wedding to do any last minute preparations and so we would have time to go off on our honeymoon afterwards. It worked perfectly and we were really lucky with the British weather!
We got married at All Saints’ Church, Ripley in North Yorkshire. Jamie is from Winchester and I grew up near Harrogate and for the last 15 years my parents have lived in their beautiful home near Ripley. It’s a lovely village and the church is stunning. We knew straight away that it would be where we would hold our wedding.
We held the reception at my parents’ home which, as it turns out, lends itself perfectly as a wedding venue! It has super views over Harrogate with plenty of space for a marquee, drinks reception and even a bar in the stable! I had dreamt of having my wedding at home and it was just what we both wanted.
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July 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As soon as we spotted today’s real wedding we knew it would be perfect for the blog, not only because it’s incredibly pretty, but also because it’s brimming with our favourite colour, pink!
Every element of Rachel and Brandon’s well-styled big day blends together seamlessly, from the rustic barn wedding setting with exposed stone and beams, to the cute bunting strung along the walls and the also the stunning floral displays placed upon the tables.
The bride and groom say their main aim was to deliver a day that was fun and joyful – looking at the images we’d say mission well and truly accomplished!
With images by One Little Daisy.
rachel says: We got engaged when we seized a brief moment of alone time on Christmas Day 2013. Brandon had been working away a lot so it was poignant that we were able to savour this moment at home – well, my parents’ home, but at least we were in our home country (where we live anyway, Brandon is American).
After our engagement we chose 23rd April 2015 as our wedding date, which was a Thursday. Family and friends were travelling from all over the world and with those journeys in mind we thought that a Thursday would be easier for people. It also meant we saved a few pennies here and there on the venue and some suppliers. A hidden benefit for us was that suppliers had better availability so there was less pressure to get them booked.
Our venue was The Ashes in Endon, Staffordshire. We chose it for its beautiful Grade II listed barns and stunning scenery. We wanted a stress-free ride and loved the idea of their team of expert planners. Plus we could provide our own wine (wine tasting was definitely one of the preparation highlights)!
We wanted the day to be fun and joyful and so we picked things we really liked to incorporate into our day. We ended up making a lot of things ourselves and involving friends, all of which just evolved as the planning progressed.
For our colour scheme we chose blush and navy as the principal colours almost instinctively.
The dress I chose was the polar opposite of what I started out looking for – it was a wildcard. As soon as I put it on I loved it. It felt so much fun to wear and I couldn’t stop grinning. It was from Knutsford Wedding Gallery.
On the wedding day my flawless makeup was by Gemma at Dollface Makeup Studio in Macclesfield. She was lovely to work with. My gorgeous hair meanwhile was by Vicky at Anthony James, Altrincham.
Brandon wore a blue racing green suit, a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt and a Dessy tie and pocket square to match with the Dessy dress of my maid-of-honour. He had stripy blue and pink socks that matched the rest of the wedding party.
My maid-of-honour wore a blush floor-length dress from Dessy and the groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom wore navy racing green suits and blush ties and pocket squares from Dessy.
Our ceremony was pretty special and a first for the registry office, which took some organising! We had the co-founder of Sunday Assembly, Sanderson Jones, as our MC. We really wanted a ceremony that was as personalised to us as we could make it. He created such a celebratory atmosphere and had the whole room singing and cheering throughout. He balanced humour and jubilation with thoughtful words on marriage.
I was adamant I wanted signing to be a part of our ceremony and we were honoured to have James Adams, an amazing musician and close family friend, play for us. We had the whole congregation singing, and he played a medley solo whilst we signed the register.
To transport our guests to The Ashes we hired a big red bus from Routemaster for Hire, Wrexham. It was a fabulous sight to watch it slowly make its way up the long winding road at The Ashes.
We loved our photographer Joe, from One Little Daisy in Leek, from the day we met him. So much so we didn’t even meet with anyone else. One unique thing that he offers is a ‘Go-pro video’ of the ceremony and speeches. We’d whole-heartedly recommend him for his professionalism, his friendly nature and his stunning photos.
I was blown away by my bouquet. I have never seen anything like it. The variety and precision was remarkable. Our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers, did an immense job of interpreting my array of thoughts and ramblings.
When it came to decorations, we wanted them to be fun and joyful. For our floral decorations we incorporated some blues and purples to complement the pinks, whites and ivories used in the bouquets. We had a stunning six-foot arrangement for the ceremony table, which we moved to the top table. Everything floral was provided by our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers.
Our elegant bunting, from Bunting with Love, was excellent quality. The owner was exceptionally helpful and went out of her way to help us. We then supplied the many props ourselves.
My friend Laura kindly made our beautiful cake. She isn’t a professional baker so we were hugely honoured that she went to so much effort in her spare time to create such a masterpiece. The bottom and top layers were fruit and the middle layer was sponge. We served it alongside the evening buffet.
The highlight of our wedding breakfast was the ‘Host a Roast’ sirloin beef. We had pre-selected a carver for each table, each of whom were presented with an apron and a chef’s hat. This aligned with our theme to create a fun day for everyone. It was a great way to get guests talking at the tables and great fun to watch from the top table. The food, which was impeccable, was provided by Jenkinsons, the venue’s resident caterer.
We were very excited to be able to have carte blanche to choose our own wines (with no corkage!). We sought wines that would stand up to being drunk without food, as there can be a lot of time between courses at a wedding. We paired the asparagus and Serano ham starter with a lively Australian Voignier and chose a sumptuous Spanish Garnacha to accompany the roast beef. For the toasts we enjoyed a beautifully refreshing Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
We took a traditional approach to the entertainment and hired a band called the Warning Tones, who were fab and had the dance floor filled the whole night.
There was a few special touches added to the day to make it all the more memorable including a ‘first look’. Brandon and I were keen to share as much of the day together as we could and so shared a few special minutes together before the ceremony.
With the help of others, we also made some lovely homemade items for the wedding. My maid-of-honour made our fun table plan and confetti cones. We wanted to incorporate an element that united our two nationalities. Brandon and I made the place names, champagne cork holders and table names, amongst other bits and pieces and my dad made the blackboards that our page boys carried.
As something a little bit different we had a Poloroid guestbook, which our guests loved! It includes so many fun photos.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other brides and grooms. It’s picturesque, arranged perfectly and has all the necessary elements, including the ‘Dairy’ where the bride and her maids can get ready.
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony, we had such a blast singing and dancing. Who knew comedy had a place in a wedding, it was so much fun.
Following the wedding, we had a mini-moon in the Peak District. It was heavenly to nip away for a few days without the added hassle of having to prepare for a full honeymoon. We’ll be honeymooning in the USA after spending some time with Brandon’s family.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to wed on a Thursday! It makes booking suppliers so much simpler. Also, have a first look! It was so special to share those few minutes together just the two of us. It took away any butterflies for the ceremony and I’d say we enjoyed the ceremony more for it.
February 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I do love a stunning piece of architecture and clearly so too do today’s real wedding couple Kate and Chris, who picked Manchester’s beautiful Palace Hotel in which to tie the knot.
Its regal marble floors, wood panelling and domed ceiling provided a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows and evening reception. During the day the new Mr and Mrs headed out onto the streets of Manchester with their photographer James Tracey, for some edgy urban shots which contrast beautifully with those taken inside The Palace.
In addition to a great location, highlights of Kate and Chris’s big day include an opulent colour scheme, delicious food and toe-tapping entertainment. Enjoy!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
kate says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2013. I had an idea Chris might propose but when I opened all my presents and there was no ring I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However later in the day Chris surprised me by asking me to marry him and gave me a beautiful ring. As it was Christmas it was great being with family to help celebrate our engagement.
Our wedding date was 4th October 2014. We knew we wanted a local wedding but we weren’t too bothered about it being in the summer months as you can’t guarantee the British weather. Instead we decided on early October as it was just out of season but we though the weather wouldn’t be too wintery.
We got married at The Palace Hotel in Manchester city centre. We wanted our ceremony and reception all in one venue but wanted to find somewhere with character which is why we both loved The Palace Hotel. As soon as we walked into the hotel and saw the domed ceiling we both knew it was right for us. We also thought that the hotel would be a great backdrop for our photographs in case the weather was really bad and we couldn’t have any outside, but luckily on the day we were able to get a mixture of both.
I’d definitely recommend The Palace Hotel as a wedding venue. It’s a beautiful setting for a wedding and the layout works really well. We liked the fact that the ceremony room was separate to where we had our wedding breakfast and the bar area had plenty of space for all the guests. The wedding organisers were very helpful, and on the day the service and staff were great. We didn’t have to worry about anything which is what you want on your wedding day.
When looking for wedding inspiration I loved rich, jewel colours, which I thought would be perfect for an autumnal wedding rather than the more pastel shades that you often see in spring and summer. We decided to go for two colours in the end, a deep purple and a teal colour. The teal bridesmaid dresses were the first things I bought and I thought matching the exact colour of the dresses might be difficult which is why we introduced the purple colour. I loved the fact we had two colours and that everything didn’t have to match.
I love sparkles and lace so my wedding dress was the perfect combination of both. The dress was by Ellis from the Blossom Collection. I bought it from Timeless Bride in Poynton. Janine, the owner, is lovely and made the whole experience really great. I saw the dress on the shop’s website and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! I loved the keyhole back design and little details such as the staggered button back and the floral gem waistband, which made it different to other dresses I tried on.
Chris chose his own suit and I didn’t see it until the morning of the wedding! He did a brilliant job. He wore a navy blue morning suit with a dove grey waistcoat and gold tie. He hired the suit from Swarbricks but bought his shirt and tie from Charles Tyrwhitt.
My four best friends who were my bridesmaids wore floor-length teal dresses from Coast. I actually got them in the January sales so they were a great bargain. The groomsmen wore the same navy blue morning suits and grey waistcoat as Chris. We also bought the shirts and ties for them but they wore purple ties rather than gold.
A soon as I booked the wedding I knew I wanted Donna Crompton at The Halo Rooms to do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair. She’s fantastic at up dos and is great for ideas and inspiration. Donna also put me in touch with Louise Elliott, a freelance makeup artist who did my makeup on the day. It was great being pampered on the morning of the wedding and not having to worry about anything.
I decided I didn’t want to spend a lot on transport to the venue so I travelled in a black cab to the hotel with my brother who gave me away. My bridesmaids followed behind in a separate taxi. Chris stayed at the Palace Hotel the night before the wedding so he had no excuses for being late!
We used James Tracey Photography for our photos, who we booked after he photographed my brother’s wedding the previous year. We loved James’ style of photography; he’s really friendly but also very professional and talented. He captured our day perfectly and we are so pleased with the lasting memories of our wedding day. We ended up with a great mix of more traditional and contemporary photos, especially the ones he took around Manchester city centre. I’d absolutely recommend James.
Before the wedding, I had a craft day with my bridesmaids where we created our bouquets. I liked that with artificial flowers I could create exactly what I wanted and not be restricted by what was available in terms of types of flowers and colours. It was also a cheaper alternative to fresh flowers and I’m able to keep my bouquet forever.
The Palace Hotel was great and helped with setting up our room on the day of the wedding. I had in my mind how I wanted the room to look and they recreated it perfectly. I provided mirrors, tea lights and scatter crystals for the guests’ tables and the hotel provided the candelabra. For the top table we had floating candles in glass vases as well as my bridesmaid bouquets. We also used Divine Designs who provided white chair covers with a purple sash to finish the room off.
Our favours also doubled up as our name places. Each guest had their name printed on a traditional sweetshop paper bag which we filled with a few pick ‘n’ mix sweets. Keeping on the sweet theme, our wedding cake was a gift from Chris’ parents. It was made by Joanne Howson at Imagicakes. It was three tiers – chocolate, lemon and carrot cake in a ‘bling and rose’ design. It looked stunning but it also tasted delicious!
We both love music and knew we wanted some sort of entertainment for our evening reception. In the end we booked the Live Lounge Duo who are Danny Lee and Gary Kirk. They played a great mix of songs that got everyone up on the dance floor straight away. As part of our package they also provided a DJ, which was great for keeping the party going until late.
We also had a photo booth set up for the evening reception, which was great fun. All the guests enjoyed getting dressed up with the props they provide. The photos are printed instantly which was perfect as the guests all went home with a memento from the wedding. We hired the booth for a couple of hours from Phil Burdge at Digi-booth.net.
It’s hard to say my favourite part of the day as I really did love every minute of it, it’s such a special feeling. I think we both enjoyed the evening reception when the party got started. It’s so nice to have all your friends and family together celebrating with you and having a good time.
We went on a two week road trip to Las Vegas and California as we wanted an action packed honeymoon. We spent five nights in Vegas and then flew to San Diego for a couple of nights. From there we drove up the Pacific highway stopping at various places such as LA and Santa Barbara before we reached San Francisco for the last part of our honeymoon. It was amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be decide on the things that matter the most to you both about your day and spend your wedding budget on these things. It’s easy to get carried away and stress over things that won’t even matter to you on the day. Most of all, remember to enjoy it and have fun!
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