Charlotte Balbier

well dressed. sassi holford for an elegant wedding at iscoyd park – emily & rory

May 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (63)

Bride Emily experienced a nightmare situation when the boutique she had found her gown in went out of business. Determined to still secure her dream dress, Emily went straight to the designer whose team went above and beyond to make sure she got her wish – and we’re sure you will all agree she looked absolutely stunning!

Groom Rory then chose to reflect his family roots by donning traditional Scottish Highland dress for the occasion and the pretty maids completed the attractive line-up in their elegant lavender dresses.

An abundance of pretty blooms in bouquets, button holes and décor enhanced the already romantic setting of Iscoyd Park for one very dreamy day indeed.

With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (26)

emily says: Rory had planned a romantic trip to Ireland where he intended to propose at Giant’s Causeway. Unfortunately heavy snow over two consecutive weekends scuppered his plans. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we travel to Ireland in a blizzard. Having asked my parents’ permission I think he was becoming worried about the cat being let out of the bag so, during a snowy weekend in January, whilst I was busy defrosting the freezer, he called me into our living room where I found him down on one knee. I was completely shocked, it was so unexpected but absolutely perfect as it was.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (29)

We had originally planned to marry on the 2nd August, which would have been five years to the day that we had met, but when we eventually found our perfect venue the only date they had available was 24th May 2014. So although it was a little earlier than we had planned it was absolutely worth it to secure the venue.

We got married at Iscoyd Park in Shropshire. Apart from being the most beautiful Georgian house in a gorgeous setting, from the very start the staff were overwhelmingly wonderful and relaxed and remained so right through to the big day itself – absolutely nothing appeared to be too much trouble.  I had become a bit of a bridezilla and was struggling to find a venue that ticked all our boxes. Iscoyd Park ticked the boxes and more, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (2)

We didn’t have a fixed theme as such we just wanted an elegant and happy day with lots of personal touches and I like to think we achieved that. In terms of colour, we tried to match one of the colours to Rory’s family tartan, which was a sort of dusty lavender.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (40)

After a fairly exhaustive search, I settled on a dress by Sassi Holford. Unfortunately the shop where I had ordered the dress from went out of business just before the wedding leaving me without a dress. Thankfully Sassi Holford were incredible and after a trip from Derbyshire to Taunton to be re-measured they made another dress from scratch. I really can’t thank the team at Sassi Holford enough for pulling out all the stops to make the dress for me at breakneck speed to ensure I had the dress of my dreams.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (43)

Rory’s family is Scottish so he opted to follow tradition and wear a kilt, which was hired from Greenwoods. The best man also wore a kilt hired from Greenwoods. Rory also had sgian-dubhs, worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, made and personalised to go with the kilts.

Sourcing bridesmaid dresses in the right colour proved more challenging than I had originally thought but, thanks to family in the USA, we were able to obtain them from Donna Morgan via Nordstrom.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (16)

We booked Iscoyd Park for the whole weekend so my bridesmaids and I stayed in a beautiful cottage in the grounds the night before for a girly spa evening and Rory drove himself to Iscoyd the morning of the wedding.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (41)

In our view, the photography was probably one of the most important elements, it is really the only thing you are left with other than memories after the day itself and I really wanted to be able to look back and see all the little details and moments from our wedding. Our photographer was Jo Bradbury. She had photographed my mum’s wedding to my step father at which I had been a bridesmaid, so I knew from direct experience that the photographs would be beautiful. Rory and I aren’t always the most serious of people, and models we certainly are not, so I really wanted someone who would be able guide us. I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She was there from getting ready, where she was incredibly non-intrusive during the nervous moments but was able to capture some really lovely shots. She then stayed almost right until the end to get photos of some dodgy dancing. Very importantly she managed to make one of the rainiest days of the year (we even had to throw the confetti indoors) look like a classic late spring day.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (47)

I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses, freesia with a lamb’s ear greenry. All the bouquets and buttonholes were provided by Selina Godsal, the mother-in-law of Phil who owns Iscoyd Park. She is the on-site florist which is so handy for tying in meetings with venue visits.

I wanted predominantly white flowers so we used peonies, roses, hydrangeas, gypsophila with a few coloured roses in the hanging vases behind the top table. We decided early on to do some of the flowers ourselves so my mum sourced an enormous van-load of flowers from her local flower stall in Manchester as well as the best part of a small lavender bush from friends. We arranged them in hundreds of vases sourced from Ikea. Selina then did some big displays for us in the ceremony room and a large ball display hanging from the centre of the marquee.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (48)

I wanted to do something a little different for the favours and as I had decided most of the flowers and table settings were to be white I added a little colour by planting succulents into small glasses which would double as a wedding favour and a name place setting. It’s quite nice really as I am still getting updates from our guests nearly a year on as to how their plant has grown.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (49)

I had seen a cake on Pinterest which I fell in love with and which fitted well into our dusty lavender theme. We had this recreated by The Cheshire Cat Cake Company. We couldn’t decide what flavour to have so went for different flavours in each tier. It was absolutely beautiful and tasted great too!

I was given free rein on the décor for the wedding but the food was definitely my husband’s domain. Iscoyd works closely with the Fine Dining Company - the food was incredible and not only tasted great but looked lovely too.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (57)

For entertainment, we had the Vittorio String Quartet play as our guests arrived and as I walked down the aisle through to the drinks reception. I’m not sure it was necessarily a wise decision as I managed to cry almost every time I heard them play in the run up to the wedding. Thankfully, I successfully held it together on the big day.

For the evening Iscoyd suggested a DJ for us which was really useful as we are not from the area so any recommendations were gratefully received. We spoke to Robert Maxfield who asked our likes and dislikes music wise and he really created a party atmosphere for our evening of dancing.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (59)

I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest for the little details. We printed a little poem for the ladies bathroom complete with a basket of toiletries to try and refresh the guests before continuing the party. Another of my favourite details were the little packs of tissues on the seats for during the ceremony; ‘for happy tears’. I really wanted to personalise a lot of the wedding so we had various things made, from a wooden card box painted with our names and wedding date, to the arrows directing the guests to the venue.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (6)

Other suppliers we used that I would recommend include Sash and Co who supplied the belt to go with my wedding dress. This too was originally ordered from the bridal shop that went out of business so they also pulled out all the stops to remake the belt in time. Gemma Cosgrove was my make-up artist, who was another calming influence on the morning of the wedding, not forgetting my friend Emma who not only managed to do my hair but also four bridesmaids, two flower girls and a few aunts all in time for the ceremony! Jean Jackson Couture also deserves a mention for making my mum look amazing!

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (12)

I actually don’t think I can ever recommend Iscoyd Park highly enough. Not only is it incredibly beautiful but the people there are great too, Jen the wedding planner and Phil the owner were always on hand for any questions I had and Jen particularly really put my mind at ease. They have the perfect set up from the onsite beauticians and florist to the luxurious accommodation and venue. They urge you to make Iscoyd your home for the duration of your stay which I have to say, during what can be such a stressful time, was a really welcome comfort.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (4)

The moment that stands out in my mind from the wedding day is hearing the string quartet start to play as I began to walk down the aisle and catching the eye of my soon to be husband – a moment which Jo managed to capture perfectly. My mum’s speech was also incredibly touching, not sure there was a dry eye in the house, including a couple of Rory’s friends from the Army. Other than that I genuinely loved everything from getting ready with all the girls to the amazing best man speech to endless dancing and finally being able to call Rory my husband.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (1)

We went on a mini moon to a lovely boutique hotel in Norfolk booked through Mr and Mrs Smith. Later in the year we then went to stay in Tuscany in the most magnificent villa called Villa Fontelunga. Neither of us had ever been to Italy before and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Phillip and Paulo the owners of Fontelunga were so welcoming and although we were offsite in our own villa they were always at the end of the phone to make dinner reservations for us or recommend places to visit. They hold weekly dinners for all the guests where everyone can get together to eat, drink and have lots of laughs overlooking the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany! We absolutely cannot wait to plan our return trip!

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (70)

My top tip for other Brides Up North to help with the planning would be – Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest (you can follow Brides Up North’s boards on Pinterest here). It became my wedding planning bible, from colour schemes to flowers, to personalised details, I found it a really useful tool to create a mood board for the wedding.

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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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love is in the air. ian stuart for a classic wedding in the north west – linzi and leigh

May 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (33)

This wedding has it all – glamour, sparkles, a pretty princess dress and even a helicopter.

Bride Linzi chose simple and elegant styling to create her classic dream wedding in various tones of romantic ivory at Davenport Green Hall, and my goodness didn’t it look gorgeous!

Between Linzi’s words and fabulous images by Ally M Photography you can really feel the love in this wedding, not only between the bride and groom but also their friends and family who clearly mean the world to them (this one made us teary).

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (6)

linzi says: We got engaged on 18th March 2010 on a trip to Venice. We’d travelled to Venice for the weekend as it was Leigh’s birthday. On the first evening we went out for dinner and on our way back to the river taxi we went through St Mark’s Square, that’s when Leigh bent down on one knee and popped the question. Of course my answer was yes. Venice is such a spectacular place and so romantic, it was just so perfect.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (5)

We set the date for 8th August 2014. We chose August as it would still be warm but hopefully not too hot. The day itself started off with heavy rain but after the ceremony we had glorious sunshine throughout the rest of the day.

Our wedding venue was Davenport Green Hall. The first time we viewed this venue we knew this place was perfect for us as its set in its own grounds and meant that we had the entire estate to ourselves and our guests. The venue itself combined both old Tudor style with immaculate and modern décor inside which was perfect for our tastes. Better yet, the bridal suite was in the grounds and so was only a stone’s throw away when we had partied the night away.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (7)

We did not have a certain theme but I wanted a wedding that suited our tastes as couple. With that in mind I kept the theme simple, classic, elegant and natural in all ivory tones. It began with our beautiful wedding invitations which were pure ivory with pearl and diamante fronting and pearlised envelopes right down to our exquisite wedding cake which we kept to all ivory tones too. I always knew that I wanted to keep to ivory as it creates a beautiful and romantic feel.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (13)

My dress was by Ian Stuart. I had tried on about ten dresses before this one but as soon I put it on, I knew it was the one for me – I felt like a princess! I also knew that my daughters, Ella and Chloe would love the dress because of the heavy sparkle detail to it and the princess look. I purchased the dress from Bridal Italia in Bolton. I had quite a few fittings in the dress and each and every time, I was sorry to take it off.

My chief bridesmaid Vicki surprised me with my beautiful earrings on my hen do. I had said that as my dress was quite detailed, I needed a simple drop earing and they were so perfect, I couldn’t have made a better choice myself.

The night before my wedding, I had all the female members of my family and my friends around to my house to have a final pamper from my sister who is a beauty therapist. In the midst of hair dying and nail painting, my bridesmaids provided me with a box which contained my something old, new, borrowed and blue. The something old was a broche with a picture of my dad who passed away when I was younger and to which they then tied to my bouquet so he could walk down the aisle with me the following day. The something new was a new bottle of perfume which I loved so the scent would always remind me of our special day. The something borrowed was a simple diamond bracelet to wear with my dress as I didn’t want anything heavy and wanted the dress to do all the talking. The something blue was a blue garter which although they had measured my leg previously, still managed to continually fall down all day!

On the morning of my wedding, myself and my bridesmaids, along with my mother-in-law, all attended a local salon to have our hair done. Whilst there we had our makeup done by my lovely friend and makeup artist Natalie Marie. Ally, the photographer, even came to the salon so he could get some pics of us all getting prepared for the day.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (17)

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (18)

Leigh wore three piece tails in grey with an ivory tie to match myself and our daughters. We decided against top hats as it was a warm day. These were rented from Groom at the Wedding House in Liverpool.

My four older bridesmaids wore grey dresses from Coast with diamante sparkle belts to match my theme and my wedding dress.

My two daughters Ella and Chloe wore ivory dresses. I didn’t like the thought of having a coloured sash put on their dresses so I had a band of three flowers sewn onto each dress to tie in with the theme of romance. They also had their hair delicately designed into crowns so they felt like little princesses too.

The groomsmen wore grey three piece suits with the same shade of grey as the girls’ Coast bridesmaid dresses. These were also from Groom at The Wedding House in Liverpool.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (20)

On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in a Bentley, which was hired from AJ Limousines in Manchester, who we would recommend. My husband meanwhile travelled to the venue by helicopter which was amazing as all our guests stood outside to watch and all the bridesmaids watched from a bedroom window of venue. Although he was nearly an hour late due to nearly not being able to fly as there was heavy rain and a serious accident on the motorway on the way to the airport! Leigh is late for everything, so it was no surprise he was an hour late for his own wedding!

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (21)

Our photographer was Ally Hedeyati of Ally M Photography. We met Ally about ten months before our wedding and we instantly knew he was the one for us. We had our pre-wedding shoot in Southport with our children and the pictures he produced were just amazing and so natural! We knew we had made the right choice when it came to our wedding pictures. Ally is so friendly and professional and extremely funny which immediately puts you at ease. Neither I nor Leigh were particularly confident in front of the camera but Ally made sure that he got the best from us. I would definitely recommend Ally as his pictures tell a story and one thing from your wedding is that it all goes past so fast that you need the expertise of a great photographer who can capture these moments that you will never get back – Ally is definitely the person to do this.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (31)

All my flowers were artificial. My bridal flowers were by Alison by Lasting Memories in Timperley who also dressed the venue. My bouquet was half flower and half broche as I wanted this to complement my detailed dress which sparkled. I asked Alison to place a diamante initial in each of my bridesmaids’ bouquets for individuality which such a nice touch.

I had seen quite a lot of Alison’s work so I knew that I would love the way she had set up the civil ceremony room and then the conversion into the wedding breakfast. It was just the romantic look I was trying to achieve with candles, flowers and glass everywhere. I would highly recommend Alison.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (30)

For our favours we provided the men with mini Jaeger bottles and the woman mini bottles of wine.   We had quite a few children at our wedding and I made them each an individual bag which contained lots of things for keeping them entertained. The older children received perfume and jewellery. All the name tags were painstakingly hand made by me and my mother-in-law to add a personal touch.

We chose a three tier cake in the style of a bird cage. Each tier was a different flavour. The top was sponge, the middle tier was lemon and the bottom was chocolate. The cake was then surrounded by more than 30 mini cakes to match. We did re-design the cake to incorporate touches that we specifically wanted. For example I asked them to put ‘L&L’ on the front and also our daughters’ names were placed on tags which hung from it. The cake was from Occasion Cakes in Bolton.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (35)

For entertainment we had a live six piece swing and jazz band called The Young Swing Things that we hired through Garston Entertainments who were very professional and got back to us quickly. Kayleigh, the main singer was phenomenal and everyone commented on how powerful and emotional her voice was. They sang our first dance which was Run by Leona Lewis as my husband and I had a little crush on her for some time and so she was the obvious choice when picking a first dance. My brother took over from my husband mid dance which was very emotional as my father had passed away.

We also had a photo booth which I must say, kept everyone in stitches and was a real highlight of the wedding – a definite must I would recommend. We hired a chocolate fountain too which went down well with the children at the party! I bought hundreds of sparklers and had personalised cards made with our names on and placed them in a huge basket. When it went dark, the guests gathered outside and created a kind of arch and whilst lit, Leigh and I walked through it – magical!

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (36)

We added a few special/personal touches to the day too which included a white tree in the corner of the room with a box of personalised cards so that our guests could write personal messages of luck and wishes to us and then hang on the tree. Our photographer Ally, also gave us a beautiful picture from our shoot and mounted it onto card. We placed this on an easel and our guests were given the opportunity to write their messages around the border.

To help keep guests feeling fresh both the male and female toilets contained a basket with deodorants, hairbrushes, tablets, plasters etc just in case they needed anything. My auntie also made a huge basket and filled with white diamond flip flops in various sizes for all the women when their feet began to hurt as they partied the night away.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (43)

It’s difficult to choose one particular part of the day as my favourite as there were so many. If I was to choose, it would be walking down the aisle and saying my vows. I wasn’t nervous at all until I stood outside waiting to walk towards Leigh. As I approached him, I knew he was as nervous as I was. My daughters’ together read a really funny reading which had everyone in stitches during our ceremony and I eventually got to say “I do” to the most amazing man on earth. It was definitely the best part of our day.

Other special moments of the day included my brother giving me away and he wore his army uniform to do so with all his medals attached. I also made a speech which heavily referred to my aunt and uncle, Elaine and Trevor, as they have been my parents throughout my life and provided me with so much. My speech was dedicated to them and how I wished for a marriage as normal and loving as they have. I cried through my speech but I got to the end where I thanked my lovely new husband.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (45)

We had decided not to go on honeymoon as we wanted to go back to Florida the following year however during our first dance my husband told me that we were going to Barcelona for five days the Sunday after our wedding. You can only imagine my excitement! Even my children knew this secret and had managed to keep it from me. Barcelona was a perfect place for honeymoon – very quaint and historic and gorgeous food. My husband is a massive Liverpool fan and whilst there we obviously couldn’t escape a visit to the New Camp.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (44)

If I was to give a tip to other Brides Up North, it would be to not scrimp on a photographer. I’m so happy that a great photographer was something that we had at our wedding so that we can always look back at the pictures and remember the little things and the things that made us laugh on our special day.

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the music sounds better with you. a sunny festival wedding in cheshire – nicola & andrew

April 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (38)

Nowadays brides and grooms go beyond a colour scheme to theme their wedding day to reflect them as an individual couple – their personalities, passions and hobbies.

Today’s real wedding couple Nicola and Andrew did just that by arranging their ‘festival wedding’ around their love of music with vinyl decorations, gig ticket style invitations and live entertainment, in which the wedding couple themselves took part.

So grab your wellies and watch out for the mud as we share Nicola and Andrew’s soulful big day.

With images by Ricky Carrington Photography.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (4)

nicola says:We got engaged on 23rd Feb 2013 while we were away in Paris for the weekend. I’d always wanted to go, and it was a surprise weekend away which Andrew organised.

We set the date for 17th May 2014. It was in the rugby off-season and was an available date at the venue we wanted – Willington Hall Hotel in Tarporley, Cheshire. We both really liked the venue as it was easy on the eye and the team there were very relaxed in catering to our needs.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (19)

We decided on a festival/music theme for our big day – I play the electric guitar and Andrew plays the drums. We both played with the wedding band at our reception as a surprise to our guests. We played Spitting Games by Snow Patrol. Music is an important part of our lives and we wanted our wedding to reflect that.

To fit in with our theme the place names were old vinyls with guests’ names on them, the table names were groups/albums close to our hearts, our invitations were like gig tickets and we had lots of photographs with our guests in wellies.

To go along with our festival theme we had a yellow and blue colour scheme. I liked sunflowers and the idea stemmed from there really!

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (17)

Before trying on any wedding dresses, I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted so I went into a shop and told the assistant this. She then helped me try on a wide range of different types of dresses. I fell in love with a Jenny Packham dress – it was the third dress I tried on! I then went to a further two shops and ended up going back to the original shop to get the Jenny Packham dress. I can’t really tell you why I picked I just loved wearing it. The shop I got my dress from is called The Wedding Club in Birmingham. The bridesmaids got their dresses from there too.

Makeup and hair on the day was organised by the spa attached to Willington Hall and was absolutely fabulous. The hairdresser was called Sian Dutton who was recommended to us by the spa.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (24)

All the male wedding party wore the same suit. It was from a local suit vendor called L & J Formal Hire. All the males wore converse rather than shoes which all matched, in keeping with our festival/music theme. I wore flat shoes for the wedding ceremony and converse which my friend had decorated especially for the day in the evening.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (30)

Ricky Carrington Photography did our wedding photos. Ricky was brilliant and made everyone feel at ease which is a big help on the day. Any request we made wasn’t a problem and the photographs were amazing.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (29)

The flowers were based around sunflowers with a few extra bits. Arrangements were done by Black Cat Floral Design who I would highly recommend. I’m not actually a big fan of flowers and Mel really helped bring out my one idea of sunflowers and made the flowers/venue look amazing. They arranged everything and everyone on the day, which is a lovely personal touch.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (32)

We didn’t have any favours as such on the tables, instead we had a retro sweet table which the florist also decorated and set up for us. We had cupcakes rather than one big wedding cake, which was made by my close friend Natasha and reflected our musical theme.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (31)

To provide entertainment we had live band for the evening called The Smooth Criminals. This was a true highlight of the day, especially when we played a song with them. Again, as music is a big part of our lives, it seems a good match to have a live band for the evening. To keep children (and some of the adults) entertained at the wedding we also had giant games such as snakes and ladders and Jenga.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (34)

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (35)

We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others. The venue is gorgeous to look at and you can get married outside, which we did. We had the entire venue to ourselves, including accommodation for all of the wedding party. The staff were amazing and no request was too much trouble for them. They made me feel in control of the decisions made for the wedding which they were supportive in, it didn’t feel like a ‘package’ wedding – everything felt individual. Sue was our wedding co-ordinator who I would recommend also!

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (39)

I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we loved all of it!

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (27)

For our honeymoon we had a bit of adventure! As well as music, we also love to travel so we took full advantage of our three weeks off work and went to Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo and Dubai. We spent every day exploring – it was amazing, especially Tokyo.

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (42)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is chill out – everything works out fine in the end!

a festival themed wedding at Willington Hall Hotel (c) Ricky Carrington Photography (50)

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love locks. lilac and lace for a stunning celebration at adlington hall – sarah & ross

March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (66)

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.

With images by James Tracey Photography and Daniel Lloyd Photography.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (2)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (17)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (23)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (25)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (34)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (38)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (50)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (55)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (57)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (61)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (65)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (69)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (73)

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!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (76)

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.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (80)

We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (79)

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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