September 6th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Longing to get married outdoors, today’s couple, Emily and Tom fell in love with the beautiful gardens at Ringwood Hall Hotel – an exquisite 19th century manor house in Derbyshire.
Tying the knot on 21st June, in what is otherwise known as the Summer Solstice – the couple were inspired by one of our favourite plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and incorporated a variety of magical elements within their big day. Look out for plenty of handcrafted wooden decorations, wild flowers and an all-natural colour palette, creating a captivating setting fit for any fairy king or queen.
Making their day truly unique and personal – the couple made their own centrepieces, table plan and welcome sign, with family and friends adding their own touches too, from capturing photos from the day to performing songs throughout their picture perfect ceremony in the bandstand. Here’s Emily to tell us all the fabulous details…
With images by Laura Taylor.
emily says: We got engaged on 1st May 2016 in Paris. After four-and-a-half years together we took a trip to Paris and as we were sitting in the park looking up at the Eiffel Tower, Tom got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We had two years to plan the wedding, which I think was a nice amount of time to save some pennies and plan everything without stressing out.
Our wedding date was 21st June 2018, which is the Summer Solstice, or Midsummer’s Day. Traditionally, it is meant to be good luck to get married on this date, and we were hoping for good weather – which we got!
Our venue was Ringwood Hall Hotel in Chesterfield. It has always been my dream to get married outside (a bit risky for UK weather, I know!) so we hunted the area for venues where you can legally get married outside. When we first saw Ringwood Hall we knew it was the perfect location because the gardens are gorgeous and the bandstand area, which is used for outdoor weddings, is just lovely.
With it being Midsummer’s Day, we built on that theme and were inspired by A Midsummer’s Night Dream. We had natural elements – neutral colours, bits and bobs made out of wood, and the main emphasis was on the flowers which were country style/wild flowers in all different colours.
I am an artist so I was very creatively involved, and my husband likes woodwork, so together we made most of the decorations ourselves. We found a big old tree which was being chopped down, so Tom cut a slice and I painted a welcome sign on it. I hand-painted our seating plan, which was a tree with the seating plan cards hanging from the branches. All the invitations, menus, signs etc were made by me, and Tom made our table centrepieces out of pallet wood, which then had jars of flowers on top. It all came together perfectly.
My dress was a fairy-tale tulle dress by Viva Bride from Wed2B. I was absolutely in love with it. I chose the dress because it matched the natural, fairy-tale theme perfectly – the million layers of tulle made it quite floaty. It had very thin straps, which I was glad of, as it was a hot day and I don’t think I could have managed in a dress with sleeves or any more coverage around the top. The gown also had a delicate lace embroidery detail all over the bodice and a bit of sparkle, which was great for dancing at the reception!
May 17th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s styled shoot is perfectly timed for the summer months and takes us inside a magical tipi in Chesterfield for an uber cool, rural affair brimming in boho-inspired fun – we’re talking a polka-dot dress, laughter by the fire pit and a spot of marshmallow toasting.
And ranking high on the cuteness factor – there’s the most adorable puppy (a bridesmaid nonetheless) vying for our attention, too. She could be our plus one any day, that’s for sure.
Keen to spotlight those memorable quirks that make a wedding day truly unique, this styled shoot is all about originality and personality, and showcases some top suppliers from the locality. It’s a welcome reminder that when it comes to your special day – with a little imagination – you really can make a space your own.
laura & kym say: We named the shoot Boho Belle, after deciding that we wanted to create a shoot that fused bohemian fun with simple elegance. With a magical tipi setting, a polka-dot tea-length dress and an impossibly cute puppy bridesmaid, our shoot was all about inspiring our brides and grooms to incorporate their own personalities and little quirks into their wedding day.
We at Once Upon A Wedding Events work closely with Tipi & Kata as their recommended coordinators – as soon as we stepped inside the tipis, we fell in love with them and instantly began planning a styled shoot incorporating the space. The dance floor, fire pit and fairy lights naturally fit with our theme and provided a fab backdrop for our models, Katy and Doug.
To style Katy, we chose one of Susanna Greening’s tea-length dresses, which fitted with the relaxed, outdoor wedding vibe. Complete with a polka-dot print, this bespoke bridal design instantly stood out to us as a fun alternative to the classic floor-length wedding gown. The buttons on the back of the dress added that extra bit of quirkiness, in keeping with the ‘something blue’ theme.
As we’d opted for a tipi venue, we wanted to incorporate plenty of greenery into the floral adornments for the shoot. Our lovely florist Polkadot Florist crafted a hanging foliage feature, blending purple hues and greenery to create a flower crown and two beautiful bouquets.
Matching buttonholes were made for Doug and Scout’s collar to tie in with the bohemian theme. Avoiding the traditional suit, shirt and tie, we dressed Doug in simple chinos, paired with a waistcoat and bowtie from Tweed & Groom, available at The White Yard. The dark grey-blue tweed waistcoat complemented Katy’s tea-length dress and was the perfect fusion of smart-casual for our Boho Belle shoot.
With lots of lovely suppliers on board – including Oh So Makeup, Whyte Weddings (who supplied our signage and stationery) and videographer Lukas & Laura Films – the shoot ran smoothly without a hitch!
July 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Rather than deciding on one set theme and colour palette, today’s real wedding couple put together a mishmash of colours, passions and likes to create a big day that was both stylish & personal.
We love the bright colours mixed in with glittery gold touches, including Mike and Sarah’s fabulous looking cake! We are also fans of Sarah’s idea to switch her bridesmaids’ bouquets for balloons in a nod to her and Mike’s favourite film Up, because you don’t always have to abide by the wedding ‘rules’.
All in all a fun and elegant big day, just as the bride and groom wanted!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
sarah says: Mike proposed while we were on holiday in Las Vegas in September 2013. He’d asked for my parents’ blessing before the trip. On the 12th September we drove out from Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam and onto the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the south rim of the canyon and began to walk along the track. At sunset we sat down and took in the sight. Whilst sat Mike asked me if I was enjoying the trip, I said “yes it’s perfect”. To which he asked me if anything could make it more perfect and my response was “no”. I then turned round to see Mike sat with a small box with a love heart sweet ring saying ‘Marry Me’ written on it. My heart melted and I said yes! Mike let me choose my own engagement ring once we were home – he knows me so well!
We were married at Peak Edge Hotel near Chesterfield. The thing that clinched it with Peak Edge was that the venue had the rustic feel in part of the venue in the Red Lion bar and bistro (a former 17th century coaching inn) yet it also had a modern element as the hotel was built in 2011. It was just perfect and ticked all our boxes for us to have a civil service and for me to be able to get ready at the venue. Plus the ‘Perfection Package’ included so many elements we wouldn’t then need to arrange ourselves but it still gave us the chance to customise areas to our taste e.g. chair sashes, place cards, seating chart etc. The venue was spacious with our civil ceremony taking place in the Orangery with beautiful glass skylight and chandeliers. The orangery and adjoining Harewood suite were then transformed for wedding breakfast and we also had the Ashover suite for the disco in the evening. We also needed somewhere that could accommodate my bridal party of 17. Carly was our dedicated planner at the venue, and worked with us to ensure she shared our vision for the day and that every detail was perfect.
Our theme was understated rustic with modern pops of colour and fun! We didn’t want one colour to cover everything and it all to be very ‘matchy matchy’. Instead we created a classic elegant style using more neutral tones with bright elements and added a bit of bling with gold glitter. One of our favourite films is Up and so we knew we wanted to incorporate balloons into our day too. We both love the vintage rustic style weddings but felt that we wanted our own twist on this and so we incorporated rustic elements where we wanted but with bursts of bling and colour.
When it came to the dress I was pretty open to everything as I had no preconceived idea of what I thought it would look like, although I thought I didn’t want strapless nor satin. I went to several bridal shops and found I started to pick out the same designer – Mori Lee by Madelaine Gardner. I eventually bought my dress from Blushes Bridal on London Road in Sheffield. I tried on a Mori Lee dress I had tried on several months previously and I knew it had to be that one. It was just perfect – tulle skirt with subtle lace detail round the hem, a touch of sparkle on the waistband with a brooch detail and a fitted bodice top with delicate lace detail over laying and button up back with a long train.
Helen, Zoe and the rest of the staff at Blushes were just amazing – they managed to get my dress in slightly earlier so I could go and try it on a few times. Alterations weren’t a problem either as I was a perfect fit in my dress, it was as if it had been made for me. I borrowed a veil from my friend and finished my outfit with the most amazing pair of Louboutins which my husband bought me from Harrods.
Mike’s outfit was top to toe Hugo Boss. He went to the Hugo Boss store in Nottingham where assistant manager Lee Honey helped him pick and tailored his amazing three piece suit to him. The service in-store was sensational.
Lee of Lee Brown Photography was our photographer. Lee had done wedding photos for two of my work colleagues and I had met Lee at their weddings. I loved his style of natural photos and that it felt as if he very much blended into the day rather than having all posed photos. Michael also loved his work and his amazing all-inclusive package was the right deal for us. We had a wonderful pre-wedding shoot with Lee in the gardens at Chatsworth in January and these pictures were displayed at the wedding as a signing board and postcards. Lee arrived at the venue early in the morning to take some photos of us all getting ready and the boys arriving and stayed into late into the evening. The pictures really do show what an amazing day we had.
We also had our wedding filmed by Mike at Satin Pictures to give us lasting memories of the day. Mike often works with our photographer Lee and we loved his work. The video was a late addition to our wedding and we were very lucky to secure Mike. We have an amazing highlights film for our day which captured the fun and are excited to see our full video very soon!
Our flowers were provided by JJ’s Flowers in Chesterfield. Jess at JJ’s is an amazing florist! Flowers weren’t to be a main element of our day and I didn’t want us to spend a lot of our budget on them. I knew as soon as we met Jess I wanted her to do our flowers as she totally got where I was coming from and despite it being a relatively small order in comparison to other weddings she does, she was still very committed to getting it just right for me. I couldn’t have been happier with the results!
Liz at Mad Philomena provided our wedding invites and was amazing. When coming up with the design we met Liz at a pub one evening to discuss how she could help us create some invites that reflected us as a couple. We worked together on several iterations of the invite to make it perfect. From our meeting Liz wrote a beautiful piece in the centre of the invite about us as a couple; how we met, where the proposal happened and what we love about one another. We also hired some of Liz’s giant gold letters for display throughout the wedding day and a ribbon backdrop customised to our colours.
The balloons for bridesmaids and decorations came from Dottie & Love. I came across Jayne at Dottie & Love through a recommendation. Originally we were just having balloons for decoration in the Ashover suite for our evening reception and two of the large white balloons with ribbon tails for decoration and use in the photos. However I worked with Jayne and decided I also wanted the bridesmaids to have balloons rather than flowers to walk in with. This worked really well and looked beautiful on the photos, plus was a much more friendly choice to the budget. Jayne was fabulous and we would highly recommend her.
I made or bought the rest of the decorations including tissues for tears of love, joy, laughter and happily ever after, ring box and signs.
As favours we gave all our guests a wooden egg cup printed with our fingerprints from our ring fingers, our names plus and date of the wedding. There was a Cadburys Creme Egg in each one as it was Easter.
Our wedding cake was from Atherley’s Bakery in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire. My friend and bridesmaid Jo runs this family business with her husband James and they make the most amazing cakes! We had a three tier cake with lemon, red velvet and chocolate sponges with a rustic buttercream coating and gold dusting detail. We then had vanilla sponge cupcakes for my ‘pimp your cupcake’ stand during the evening reception where guests could add their choice of icing and a variety of toppings to a cake.
James Clark provided the entertainment at our drinks reception. We had seen James play many times before as he regularly hosts an acoustic night at our friend’s pub in Mansfield. His laid back style and music options were perfect. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our guests about James since.
Further entertainment was provided by a photo booth in the evening. When I met Kay who runs the Nottingham franchise for Photobooth.co.uk at a local wedding fayre, I knew we had to have it at our venue. The booth has the capability to take single photos or four onto one photo and the backgrounds can be changed. The booth also allowed guests to do some karaoke and merged the videos at the end of the day.
We would recommend our wedding venue to others without a shadow of a doubt. Nothing was too much trouble for the venue. The staff are so accommodating and cannot do enough to help. Several friends are now considering the venue for their weddings and we are attending a friend’s wedding at the same venue in August.
Looking back I would say the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. We had readings and an impromptu sing song. It was just perfect!
For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We flew into Melbourne and spent five nights there fitting in lots of attractions before moving onto Ayres Rock where we watched the sunrise, completed the base walk all the way round Uluru, went to the ‘Sound of Silence’ dinner, and had a go at boomerang and spear throwing. Next we went to Cairns for a week where we snorkled at the Great Barrier Reef. We finished up in Sydney where we completed the Bridge Climb, visited Taronga Zoo, Manly and Bondi beaches, and had a tour of the opera house.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to shop around! I managed to save lots of money by not getting drawn into hiring or buying the first things I saw.
October 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
This real wedding is a little bit special to me because I went to school with the bride and one of my best friends Kate *waves* was one of her lovely bridesmaids.
If I had to describe Laurie it would be a warm and laid back person who likes the pretty things in life and enjoys having a flippin good time – to me this wedding is a perfect reflection of that.
I love how personal her and Paddy made their big day. From the engagement and wedding date tied in with the time they met (at Leeds Festival no less) to the great involvement from their family and friends to make the day a truly special affair.
Also, I have to mention that two of Laurie’s bridesmaids and her photographer were pregnant at the time of the wedding so massive kudos to the lovely ladies for completing their duties with a big smiles as well as big bellies!
Right, over to Laurie for those all important details.
Photos by Gabrielle Bower Photography.
Laurie says: We got engaged on the 23rd of August 2013, which was a year to the day since we met at Leeds Festival. Paddy proposed at home but he needed to get me out the way while he prepared everything which is where my friend Kate came in. It was very personal, he lit lots of candles all around the house and waited patiently for me to come home from being out with Kate. When I arrived he told me I was his best friend, that he loved me and then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
We set the date for the 28th of August 2014, because we met on a Thursday two years previously.
Our chosen wedding venue was Ringwood Hall in Chesterfield. We looked at several small venues as we wanted a more intimate wedding than most. I’d been to a few weddings at Ringwood Hall and knew it was a really beautiful venue so decided to go take a look, even just to rule it out. They showed us their two smaller venue rooms, which Paddy and I immediately fell in love with. The staff at Ringwood Hall were absolutely fantastic too!
We didn’t have a theme as such; instead we just choose things that we loved as we wanted a really relaxed wedding. We both love vintage, retro, boho things so I suppose you could say we went down that road. Navy featured throughout the wedding as it’s mine and Paddy’s favourite colour. The bridesmaids wore navy which looked really flattering and classy and Paddy wore a navy tie.
I chose a very simple floor-length dress in ivory, it had a slight drape at the back and a small train. I always knew I wanted something simple and when I tried the dress on at the Monsoon store in Manchester I just knew that was the one. To complete my look my cousin Georgina Dobson did my make- up, she’s an incredible make-up artist, and my best friend Kelly Pendleton did my hair. I totally left it down to both of them (no pressure) and they were absolutely fantastic.
Paddy picked a grey three-piece suit, white shirt and navy tie all from Next for his big day attire.
My bridesmaids wore navy dresses that I ordered online from China and a good friend of mine, Sarah Coombes, tailored them all to fit perfectly. I was so pleased with the dresses and so were the bridesmaids. Two of them were eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding, my sister Hayley and my friend Kate, so it was really important the dresses were flattering and that the girls felt comfortable in them.
Our fab photographer was a very good friend of mine, Gabrielle Bower. Paddy and I would recommend Gabrielle to everyone; she is so talented and super professional. We were absolutely amazed with our photos, in fact I cried when I saw them. Like the rest of our wedding we wanted the photos to be relaxed and Gabs just totally got us and what we wanted straight away. She captured every single moment and more.
My flowers were done by a lovely lady called Liz at Meadow Sweet in Sheffield. They were wild and natural style flowers, all locally grown. We absolutely loved them and so did all our guests. In addition to floral decorations, my very creative and talented sister-in-law Beck at Little Ghost made our stunning table stationary, invites and table plan.
We choose a three- tier Victoria sponge with strawberries – or as it’s known a ‘naked cake’ for our wedding day. It was absolutely amazing. A lovely lady at Swoon Bakery made it for us. Yum, yum!
We selected a ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’s’ menu from Ringwood Hall for our meal. For starters there was a choice of tomato bruschetta or pate, mains was either beef with Yorkshire puddings or chicken in a tarragon and mushroom sauce and for deserts there was strawberry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles. Ringwood Hall had a great choice of food and we really enjoyed the taster session. It was so difficult to choose but we went with our favourites.
I would 110 per cent recommend Ringwood Hall to other wedding couples – and not just for the food. The staff were great and the service was fantastic! They took total control of the whole day so everything ran so smoothly. Their packages are worth every single penny.
To get the party started we had a family member DJ for us in the evening. We had a great time dancing the night away!
My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to see my husband-to-be. Other than that we couldn’t possibly pin point another ‘best part’ of the day – it was all truly amazing and more than what we’d ever dreamt of.
For our honeymoon we went to Mexico for two weeks, it was absolutely fantastic. Wish we were then now. We got married on the Thursday, booked it on the Saturday and jetted off the following Saturday. Our honeymoon was all thanks to our generous family and friends who gave us money towards it.
My top tip to other brides-to-be would be to have what you want and be sure to get your other half involved. Don’t be lured into gimmicks if you’re on a budget, a perfect day doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Enjoy planning it! Our wedding was very personal and we had great family and friends with various talents that kindly offered their expertise to help us create our perfect day for which we are very grateful.
Since our big day Hayley has given birth to a gorgeous baby boy named Joshua and Kate has also had a cute little boy called Ollie. Our photographer Gabs shot our wedding whilst pregnant so she is also soon to be a mum!
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