January 5th, 2017 | 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 9th January 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from 2016.
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.
If timeless elegance is your thing, prepare to fall head over heels as we share the beautiful big day of Katie and Andrew on the blog today.
Picking the stunning Grays Court hotel in York, as the impressive backdrop to their wedding, Katie and Andrew married in a romantic outdoor ceremony, complete with a petal and lantern-lined aisle.
Concentrating on the details, the champagne, blush and gold styling and florals are nothing short of sensational, and we adore the wedding party’s gorgeous attire too! Top marks all round!
With images by Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography.
katie says: Andrew proposed in Mijas, Spain, in June 2015 on a family holiday. He had planned to propose during the first few days but my best friend also got engaged at the same time when we were away, which was amazing, but as a result, Andrew said he felt he had to wait a few more days so he could have his turn of getting down on one knee!
Knowing we always wanted to choose the engagement ring together and having been planning for a long time, he proposed with a Pandora engagement charm, getting down on one knee in the botanical gardens in Mijas in the hills overlooking the Spanish coast – it was beautiful! Andrew had asked my mum for my hand in marriage the day before so everyone knew about it except me. I didn’t have a clue!
We set the date for Saturday 14th May 2016. Our venue had an outside ceremony area within stunning gardens, so it was vital that we had a spring or summer date. This was the only date left in May and it was extra special as I turned 30 in the same week.
Our chosen venue was Grays Court hotel, in York. It is an elegant, luxury, boutique 11th Century house with outstanding features, long gallery and breath-taking gardens. York walls overlook the venue and we found Grays by chance ourselves in 2010 when walking the walls and witnessed a beautiful wedding there in the gardens. York was one of our first city breaks together and we go every year so it is a special place for us. We didn’t entertain anywhere else when choosing the venue.
We had always wanted black tie tuxedos and elegance as the style of the wedding, and so we planned a classic, romantic, intimate, English wedding with lots of style and detail.
For the colour palette, we had lots of white, champagne, blush and gold tones, with fantastic details. It was the colour scheme we naturally gravitated to and complemented our venue.
When dress shopping, I chose to visit Eternity Bridal Wear in Cheshire, as it was a local stockist of Pronovias, which was the designer I wanted to try the most. It was the only shop we went to and about five dresses in, we found ‘the one’. I always knew I would end up in a fitted dress with back detailing however this was more embellished with beading and a tulle train and I totally fell in love with it. Karl, Zoe and Ann at Eternity are amazing and Zoe knew which would be the dress for me when she asked my mum and nan to close their eyes as I came out of the dressing room. The store is beautiful too. I wanted something that felt like me, something I felt comfortable and beautiful in with lots of detailing but something I could also dance in.
Accessories-wise, I chose a Joyce Jackson two tier cathedral length veil embellished with Swarovski crystals, it glittered in the sun! My crystal embellished bridal shoes where from Badgley Mischka shipped from America, I wanted something different and sparkly. I also wore a Tiffany & Co bracelet, which was a wedding gift from Andrew.
On the morning of the wedding my bridal party’s hair was styled by Emily Hawkes, who went above and beyond and even helped me get into my shoes and dress.
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September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Though not set on a strict theme, today’s real wedding couple styled their day perfectly to create a reflection of them and the things that they like.
The pretty affair features playful pastel décor in blooms, bird cages and antique accessories to help set the scene. Add to this a chic VW camper van, a to-die-for Stephanie Allin gown and gorgeous lace mint bridesmaid dresses, and you’ve got one very swoon-worthy wedding indeed.
With images by Elouisa Georgiou Photography.
charlotte says: We got engaged in Paris. Kyle had booked the weekend away as a surprise and told me to pack a small case. He took me first to a hotel in Liverpool airport, and in the room he left two tickets to Paris and Disneyland on the bed for me to notice – I was so shocked! Our first day in Paris consisted of a 38 degree heatwave so we waited until it was dark to venture up the Eiffel Tower. During the lift ride, I could feel his hands shaking but he said it was his fear of heights! As we stood looking over Paris at night, I just remember he got out a ring box and asked me to be his wife still shaking. I will remember that moment forever.
Our wedding date was 9th August 2014. I’m a secondary school teacher and so having the holidays to enjoy our day was important – I really wanted a summer wedding too. Although the day before there was an awful storm and horrendous rainfall, by some miracle the weather was perfect – the marquee we hired from Ascot Marquees had all dried out and we were blessed with sunshine.
We only ever looked at one venue and that was Wood Lane in Sheffield; a grade two listed barn with lots of character and original rustic features as it was built in 1802. We knew we wanted the venue to be all ours and to be on the unique side – so a hotel wasn’t for us. We also loved the fact that Kyle’s mum had helped to dig the pond in the gardens years ago and Kyle went to school right next door.
As soon as I walked into the barn I fell in love with the natural stonework and wood beams and I knew this is where I wanted to marry Kyle. Being a blank canvas, we knew it would be hard work, but we had the freedom to create exactly the day we wanted.
We didn’t have a strict theme as we’re quite eclectic in our tastes: we love old, restored furniture, vintage styling and unique rustic touches and this is what I wanted the styling of our day to represent.
For the colour palette we mainly went for a mix of pastel colours: mint, pale pinks and blues, to fit in with the delicate colourings of the barn and the meadow-like gardens surrounding it.
As a student I worked part-time in River Island (which is actually where Kyle and I met) so fashion and clothes have always been a big part of my life. Having heard great things about The White Room in Sheffield I knew this was the kind of bridal boutique I needed to go to. I fell in love with Loren – a full lace Stephanie Allin dress – and Chloe, the owner, suggested I added lace bolero.
I also wore a vintage crystal headband by Debbie Carlisle. The band was wrapped in satin to match the colour of my hair too. I adore shoes, and so I decided on a pair of white satin peep toe Louboutins. The inside of the shoes are blue for your ‘something blue’, which I loved. My earring were from Swarovski to match a necklace my friends had bought me on my birthday and I also wore a diamond bracelet which Kyle had sneakily bought me and given to my bridesmaids so they could surprise me!
My and the girls’ hair was done by Jade from Identity in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. She knew exactly what I wanted and did an incredible job. I wanted my make-up to be subtle so I felt like me. I’d seen Laura Turner’s work on Facebook and she created a perfect natural vintage look for me.
Kyle didn’t want a traditional wedding suit, so he went for a slim line blue Lambretta suit and brown leather brogue shoes from Slaters. His best man Ryan, and his dad, John also wore the same suit with my uncle and cousin wearing a slightly darker version. They all wore the same ties from Primark – which had to be the biggest find of the wedding! And pocket squares from River Island. I also ordered Kyle, Ryan and John socks with their name and wedding title sewn on from eBay as a bit of fun. Kyle and Ryan also wore a tie pin, both belonging to their grandfather.
I found the bridesmaid dresses in BHS. I knew I wanted something a little different, and I wasn’t searching for a colour it was more about the style of the dress and making sure all the girls were comfortable and happy. We decided on full lace dresses in mint with a tie around the waist and matching mint peep toes satin shoes, again from BHS. The girls had so many compliments.
We wanted to introduce the wedding party to all the guests on arrival, so with a little help from the best man and my bridesmaid, we made a ‘wedding fan’ with introductions to everyone tied with mint ribbon and James, our usher, made sure everyone had one.
Kyle and I knew that the traditional wedding cars didn’t really fit with the vision of our day. We visited a wedding fair in Doncaster and found an amazing VW camper van from All Luvd Up. The VW had enough room from myself and the bridesmaids to arrive together and we could enjoy a bottle of Moet on the journey too! They also decorated the van with ribbons and gorgeous flowers. It was great to have all my bridesmaids around me to keep me calm!
We’d known our wedding photographer for about six years as we met at River Island when we were all students. After leaving University, Elouisa started her own business – Elouisa Georgiou Photography – and I’d followed her work on Facebook. We loved how she captured such natural photos and you felt like you really understood the emotions of each wedding day by the way she portrayed the guests and the bride and groom in the images. I’d been scouring through Pintrest, blogs and magazines to find inspiration and Elouisa just knew exactly what we wanted and that we didn’t want an album of all traditionally staged photos. Looking back at the photos, I can’t even remember noticing her taking them! She was brilliant at capturing all the precious memories but without even being noticeable – we would definitely recommend her.
We found our florist at a small wedding fayre at Wood Lane – Fantail Designer Florist. Sam understood immediately what I wanted and made some beautiful suggestions. In my bouquet I had memory lane roses tied in with gysophila, which my bridesmaids also had, and beautiful pastel accents. Sam wrapped the stems in vintage lace and finished with a silver broach which belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. When she delivered them on the morning of the wedding, I was overwhelmed – they were just perfect.
Sam also created the most stunning centrepieces using rustic birdcages I had bought from The Range. The flowers were sat in a bed of natural moss and they looked incredible. She mounted the birdcages on plates of natural tree trunk, which I bought from a local farm. We also had natural bark planters and ivory around the natural stone window behind where were said our vows.
As well as the flowers, we hired ‘love’ light-up letters for our evening reception. They looked amazing as it went dark.
For our table names I bought a collection of vintage records to represent all our favourite bands that we have seen together in the past eight years, and I made the table plan using half a birdcage from Hobby Craft and backing it on some vintage style paper from Paperchase.
I really wanted to create an English tea party feel to the wedding breakfast, so Kyle and I had been collecting vintage tea cups from charity shops and car boots and with some help from Kyle’s mum and then hiring some more from a lady on Gumtree we managed to make sure everyone had their tea in their own tea cup.
After the ceremony, I didn’t want to go just straight into the photos; I wanted people to relax and enjoy the day. As the gardens were so stunning, we bought a batch of hay bales from Wood Lane and added blankets so our guests could sit and enjoy drinks, mini cartons of popcorn and delicious scones and cakes made by my bridesmaid’s mum.
For the favours Kyle wanted to buy the men scratch cards which was really fun, and I chose shabby chic doves with twine for the women. Kyle’s mum brought back some handmade chocolates from France and put them in little boxes for everyone too. They were delicious!
Our amazing cake was made by Donna-Jane Cakes. She’s so talented. I saw her on Facebook and loved her designs. We had three tiers: chocolate, vanilla and one red velvet and they were all delicious. We’d already had the cake topper for over a year as we bought it in Disneyland Paris on our engagement weekend, so it meant a lot to us. Donna did a brilliant job of surrounded it with pastel flowers and an edible lace trim.
With the nature of our venue we had to hire outside catering and so I was recommended Hazel’s Catering by Wood Lane, and they were fantastic. We loved their presentation of the food; our starter was spicy tomato soup with fresh warm bread and they served it in little casserole pots on a slate. Our main was tarragon chicken and our dessert was their own recipe of a chocolate and fruit tart with raspberries and cream. Everyone commented on how nice it was.
I always knew the entertainment was going to be an important part of our day. We’d been going to gigs and festivals since we were young and we both loved indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. I found our band – Hudson – on Function Central’s website. The guitarist had played with Sir Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Empire and my husband and his brother are huge Beatles fans so we knew they’d be perfect. They created such a cool, indie atmosphere like we had our very own gig with everyone dancing.
For our first dance I asked my very good friend Pete to sing Elton John’s Your Song. He’s an incredibly talented singer and sounds just like Elton John! The band played live whilst he sang and I think even they were taken back at how good it was. It was such a special moment.
One of the most special touches to the day, was the wedding arch made by Kyle’s dad. He did such a good job of recreating what we wanted and it meant a lot to us that he’d worked so hard on it as we said our vows stood underneath it.
As a bit of a unique touch, before the wedding I asked the married guests to send me a photo of their wedding day. We bought an old led window from a second hand shop and I painted it green and added ‘Love is all you need’ in scrabble tiles at the top. On each window pane we put one of the photos so our guests could share in the weddings of others. It was quite fun as the guests were trying to work out which wedding photo belonged to who!
I also put together a vintage style sweetie stand using an old desk from eBay, which Kyle’s dad restored, some vintage scales for £4 from a car boot, which Kyle’s mum restored, and old jars from charity shops and car boot sales.
We also had a photo booth from Dave Spink Photography. It was incredible fun. They created us a book or all the images and the guests wrote some sentimental but also hilarious messages in it! The guests could also keep a copy of the photos to take home too.
We would definitely recommend Wood Lane to a couple thinking of moving away from the traditional hotel wedding. Of course it’s hard work, but to have a venue which is a stunning and natural blank canvas where you’re able to create a wedding that represents who you are as a couple is relatively unheard of for many venues. You have the venue from the Friday to Sunday, so it takes so much stress away to have that time to style your wedding as you want it and to know that you’re the only people there is just amazing.
We’ve both always wanted to go to America, so we booked our own little American tour as our honeymoon. We stayed in New York for four days then we flew into Orlando and Kyle’s dream was to drive a Mustang so I hired a white convertible one as a present. He was in his element! We actually stayed in Clearwater in the Sandpearl Hotel overlooking the beach, but we did visit Universal and Kyle’s family in Orlando, who weren’t able to come over, so that special to include them too.
Weddings can easily become about everyone else. My top tip for other Brides Up North is that when you stand at the front of your venue saying your vows, or sit down for your meal or dance the night away, just make sure those moments are as you wanted them to be. Stay true to who you are as a couple as you won’t please everyone, but the day isn’t about everyone, it’s about just you and your partner.
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September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Bride Jenny’s top tip to other brides-to-be is quite simply ‘do it your own way’, and that’s exactly what she and groom Owen did when it came to their big day.
Keen to ditch tradition, the couple chose an unusual venue and opted for a dark colour scheme with pops of colour here and there, though bridal white was strictly off limits.
On the day Jenny and Owen enjoyed an intimate ceremony with just 24 guests, before partying hard in the evening with 240 family and friends, showing you really can have it all your own way (well on your wedding day anyway).
With images by David Walters Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2014. We were sitting on the sofa watching Die Hard (good job it’s one of my favourite films). Owen hadn’t picked a ring, so after popping the question, we went together to pick one.
We set the date for 2nd April 2015. We liked the idea of an evening wedding and didn’t see the need to wait long.
Our venue was the Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse in Liverpool. We loved the look of the hotel on the website so decided to go and see it. We didn’t look anywhere else! It was amazing. Exactly what we wanted and we could tailor everything to fit in with us. It wasn’t a traditional wedding and unlike lot of places it didn’t specify that we had to have certain things, like a sit down meal, which we didn’t want.
The Titanic was fabulous, dramatic, unique, and we were the first wedding ceremony and reception to be held there, which made it extra special. We loved the industrial feel of the hotel and that a darker colour scheme would fit perfectly there. They could also accommodate all of our reception guests, which a lot of places couldn’t. A lot of people stayed over at the hotel and it was brilliant for everyone to come through to the Rum Bar after the reception and then to have breakfast with everyone the next day. The presidential suite was fabulous, we made the most of it and stayed for three nights! The staff were amazing and bent over backwards to give us an amazing day, the little touches and attention to detail were incredible. The derelict warehouse opposite made for an incredibly dramatic backdrop to the whole thing too.
Our wedding theme was simple – no white! We loved the venue’s replica of the Titanic staircase and chose to have our ceremony at the bottom of it. The venue is quite dark – lots of grey, black and wood – which we loved, so I decided on a silver dress, then the other colours we added were mainly grey and black with a little navy and a splash of coral. There were a few art deco touches too, which fitted well with the feel of the venue.
I had picked a pale grey dress from Coast as I didn’t want to wear white or ivory, but then I changed my mind a couple of months before the wedding. I knew I still wanted a non-traditional colour so rang a few shops to see if they had any silver or grey dresses in stock (I didn’t have time to order one). Only one shop did and they only had two – I bought one of them on the spot! I loved the soft silver colour and the delicate lace with tiny pearls and crystals on. The dress was from Copplestones Bridal, Liverpool, where I received brilliant service and the wonderful seamstress Maxine, completely redesigned the dress for me.
On the wedding day I wore it with a white birdcage veil, an art deco style hair slide and nude Louboutin shoes. I also had coral nails, a coral and white flower and a coral wrap, which added a bit of colour. Peaches and Cream did a fab job with my hair and makeup, also my mum’s makeup and my bridesmaids’ hair.
Owen wore a navy Reiss suit, grey waistcoat and white shirt. His tan shoes were from Jones and he had a dark grey tie and pocket square handmade by Sasha – our lovely wedding coordinator.
My bridesmaids wore navy Coast Lori Lee knee length dresses and thee groomsmen wore their own suits.
David Walters was our photographer on the day and he was brilliant! He specialises in candid, documentary style photography, which was exactly what we wanted, with a few formal ones thrown in too. We would highly recommend him.
I wasn’t going to have any flowers as I don’t think they would have fitted with the industrial feel of the venue but again, I changed my mind last minute and had some huge paper flowers made for me and my bridesmaids! They chose pink and I had an ombre coral to white effect. They looked brilliant and I had loads of comments about them.
Big Entertainments provided our decorations; hurricane lanterns on the staircase and huge candelabras for the ceremony, which were then moved to the tables for the reception. The venue doesn’t need a lot of decoration as it is so stunning. Big Entertainments also provided lots of blue uplighters to add to the effect, as well as black chair covers with silver hoods for the ceremony.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and so instead, the venue made lemon and poppy seed cupcakes for us.
For the food, we chose pink prosecco and canapés for immediately after the ceremony, then pink prosecco and bottles of beer as welcome drinks, served on salvaged croupier tables. For the meal we had fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, then cupcakes and rum cocktails (which we gave as favours) to finish off. Plus a popcorn and candyfloss cart!
To keep guests entertained, we had a live band called The Clink, they were brilliant and played a range of music to suit everyone. We also had casino tables from Big Entertainments, which helped to keep everyone occupied.
As special touches on the day, we had a wooden drop top guestbook, which required guests to sign wooden hearts and the drop them inside. Also the hotel projected our names and the date on the wall of the venue, which we thought was brilliant.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend the venue to others. It’s unique and you can tailor the day exactly how you want it. Sasha the wedding coordinator is worth her weight in gold!
On reflection I’d say the reception was my favourite part of the day – looking around and seeing 240 people who have all made the effort for your day was amazing. Our intimate ceremony with 24 people was also amazing though. Our dads doing surprise speeches on the staircase was brilliant, as was Owen taking the stage before the food and giving a speech too. Lots of favourite parts!
After the wedding we had a minimoon in the UK. We went to Warwick Castle, The Harry Potter Tour and York (where we bought my engagement ring from). We are planning to go to Canada for a proper honeymoon this month.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – do it your way! Our non-traditional wedding made people dubious about how the day would work at first but everyone has said how much they enjoyed it and that it will be a hard wedding to top
August 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
We are loving bride Emily’s glamorous look in today’s real wedding. Her gorgeous slim fit, lace fishtail gown and long, tumbling, dark wavy locks remind us of recent celebrity bride Michelle Keegan, with both ladies looking stunning for their moment in the limelight.
The pretty continues throughout the Emily and Stephen’s glam wedding day in the summery colour scheme, chic décor and girly bridesmaid dresses. There’s also a rather pretty pooch involved in the proceedings too, the couple’s adorable pet dog Honey, who had her very own coral outfit made for the special occasion. Too cute!
With images by Rachel Victoria Photography.
stephen says: We got engaged on 13th March 2013. I had the ring for some time and told pretty much everybody I knew I was going to do it, but swore everyone to secrecy. On the day, I took Emily to her bedroom where I had laid out rose petals on the floor in the shape of a heart with some candles to set the mood, with me knelt in the curvature of said heart. After her initial surprise followed an up roar of nervous laughter before my beautiful wife finally came to and said yes.
emily says: We chose the 26th June 2015 as our wedding date because we always wanted a summer wedding. We also chose this date because it was on a Friday, which meant we could have the weekend to ourselves and reflect on what an amazing day we had. The date was also exclusive to us, so we didn’t have to share our special day.
We married at The Thistle in Haydock, Merseyside, which is a lovely hotel ten minutes away from Haydock Race Course. We chose this venue for a number of reasons as we wanted a marquee for our evening reception, but also a hotel so we could get ready there. Our main reason for picking it however, was because the hotel is dog friendly which meant we could have our most prized possession, Honey, with us on our big day and she could be a part of it too.
Our theme for the wedding was a vintage/ fairy tale as we incorporated things like bird cages with tea lights in them, and picture frames that our guest could leave messages. We wanted our wedding to be simple and classic, yet pretty.
Our colour scheme was coral as we saw it as a summery, bright colour that would stand out. With having seven different bridesmaids with different hair colours to each other and different skin tones, we also felt this colour was one that would complement them all equally.
I wore a fitted, lace fishtail dress with a sweetheart neckline and low back, with a simple belt with a classic bead embellishment in the centre. The dress, which was from Always and Forever Bridal Boutique in St. Helens, was perfect and meant so much to me as my nan bought it for me. I wore it with Christian Louboutin peep toe stiletto shoes and a handmade lace and blue garter made by Stephen’s mum, which made it even more personal! I also had a Tiffany & Co bracelet bought by Stephen, which I received as a gift before the wedding.
Stephen bought a three piece suit from Slaters in Liverpool, and wore Kurt Geiger shoes, with a coral cravat. To accessorise Stephen had a pair of groom cufflinks and a Michael Kors watch, which I bought for him as a wedding gift. The best man and groomsmen wore the same suit as Stephen, each with personalised cufflinks and a coral cravat, again from Slaters.
We had seven bridesmaids that wore a one shoulder, floor length dress with a cascade of flowers on the shoulder strap. These dresses were purchased from an online boutique. We had a flower girl who wore an ivory dress with coral details and a big coral bow, made by the mother of the groom. Our pet dog Honey, had dress made also by the mother of the groom, to match the bridesmaids, and had a bow made for her hair to match.
Our photographer was Rachel Butterworth of Rachel Victoria Photography, who did an amazing job on the day! I went to school with Rachel so automatically felt comfortable around her. I’d also been to events that Rachel had photographed before and the photos always looked perfect. Rachel even did an engagement photo shoot for us before the wedding, for us to get used to being in front of the camera. I was feeling quite nervous being photographed at first but instantly felt at ease with Rachel. We are so made up with our wedding photos they exceeded our expectations and we can’t stop looking at them!
The flowers carried by my bridesmaids and I were made by our manager in work who does floristry on the side, we loved the personal touches she gave to them and how they complemented our theme and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
To decorate the venue we had large martini glasses as our centre pieces with beautiful summer flower arrangements in done by Amore Flowers in Widnes, Cheshire. They were excellent and listened to exactly what we wanted.
Our reception room was dressed by Angela of Chicks on Wheels, based in Widnes, who covered the chairs with white chair covers finished with a coral bow. On our entrance table we had a wishing well for cards to be put in and a wishing tree for our guest to hang well wishes on. Angela also did our candy cart which went down very well with our guests who defiantly had a sweet tooth!
On the entrance table was also a wooden frame with small wooden hearts for our guests to sign and post into the frame so that we can keep it forever as a statement piece in our home. My mum bought this for us as a gift.
We had personalised mirrors as favours for the women from Not On The High Street, which read ‘thank you for sharing our special day with us, Emily and Stephen’. We placed the mirrors in mini birdcage favours boxes to tie into our theme. We had tuxedo tins with mints in for the men and a children’s wedding colouring pack for the little ones.
We chose a four tier wedding cake with different shades of coral and peach flowers cascading down the side. The flavours of each tier were different: fruit, chocolate, lemon and strawberry. It was made by Cakes by Kerry, based in Widnes, who delivered it to the venue on the day. Stephen’s nan and granddad kindly bought us the cake.
Entertainment was provided by The Thistle’s DJ, Ian Dutton, who was fab. He kept the guests on the dance floor with his eclectic mix of songs and guided us through the evening. At the reception, we also had a photo booth from Sunshine Events, with a selection of props, and we were given a copy of all the photos taken in the booth, presented to us in a book that we can keep.
The Thistle was an amazing – we cannot recommend it enough! The staff could not do enough for us, nothing was too much trouble. Our favourite part of the day would have to be the ceremony. We had been planning the wedding for two years and to finally be standing there saying ‘I do’ was the most amazing feeling.
For our honeymoon, we went to Crete in Greece and stayed in the Thompson Sensatori five star hotel. We had our own private pool on the balcony, so we could relax in peace after all the wedding stress. We picked Greece as this was the first destination we went on holiday together, so it has many sentimental memories to us.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the day and not worry about everyone else. You will only have one wedding day and it goes so quick so make to most of it!
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.
July 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
This is our idea of sports-luxe.
And they’ve still got the famous red soles… #winner.
Louis Woman Calf/ Strass by Christian Louboutin, £1795
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