Charlotte Balbier

home for christmas. a twinkling winter wedding in the north west – kylie & graeme

June 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (43)

Here at Brides Up North HQ, it’s just dawned on us that there’s only 6 months till Christmas!  Since we haven’t really seen a sniff of summer yet, that still feels like a pretty long time away to us, but if you’re planning a winter wedding, we bet time is just racing by.

Today’s real wedding couple followed up their festive engagement with a vintage Christmas themed wedding at a luxury Cheshire hotel, so we hope their lovely celebration leaves you feeling inspired and looking ahead!

Keeping things classic yet classy Kylie and Graeme ditched a traditional red or white winter wedding colour scheme in favour of an elegant navy and pink theme, complete with hints of sparkle. Subtle Christmas touches were then blended with pretty vintage décor for a stylish setting.

We love Kylie’s lace fishtail dress (that was clearly meant to be) as well as the bridesmaids’ elegant bespoke dresses and the guys looked very handsome in their fitted suits too!

With images by Emma Hillier Photography.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (1)

kylie says: I was studying my first degree in Liverpool and Gray (Graeme) use to visit all the time. We had been together three years when he proposed. It was Christmas Eve and I returned to find tea lights and rose petals everywhere. I opened my gifts and in the last present was a box with a diamond in it. Gray then got down on one knee and proposed. Looking back I am so glad there was no massive ‘out in public’ proposal, the way Gray proposed was so intimate and perfect. Just us.

We decided to tie the knot on 23rd December 2014. Gray is a massive Christmas fan! We both are actually, particularly because between 2010 and 2014 I studied my second degree and I was away from our home a lot, and Christmas was the only time we really got to spend quality time together.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (2)

Our wedding was not only a celebration of our love but it was a way of remembering all our lovely Christmas times together and celebrating that I was finally home for good.

We got married at the Grosvenor Pulford in Cheshire. We absolutely adore this venue. On our first visit the wedding co-ordinator was really attentive and nothing was too much trouble, even with all our ideas! The venue also looks so lovely at Christmas time, the in-house decorations are stunning. The venue is big enough to invite everyone you want but small enough so you don’t feel lost in the venue.  I loved that we were the only wedding that day too.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (4)

It was a vintage Christmas wedding. I wanted lots of subtle winter touches but without it feeling like your typical Christmas wedding. We also wanted a vintage feel, so we had birdcages decorating the venue and a vintage style wedding cake with lots of sparkle thrown in!

The colour scheme was navy and pink. The bridesmaids were in navy and there were subtle hints of pink dotted around. Navy looks fantastic during winter and I’m a sucker for pink!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (8)

My wedding dress was a lace fishtail dress – I adored it! I saw the dress on a wedding blog and I just loved it as soon as I saw it so I rang round lots of bridal shops in the area to see if they stocked this particular dress and none of them did. It looked like I was going to have to pay to have it shipped to a bridal shop to try it on, which I was reluctant to do in case I didn’t like it. Then a week later, one of the bridal shops I called had received the sample dress on error in my size, they were going to send it back that day to the designer so they said if I wanted to try it on I needed to come right away. I raced to the bridal shop and I was so glad I did, as soon as I tried it on I loved it!

Gray bought a suit from Reiss. He originally was going to wear a navy suit and grey tie like the groomsmen but we went into Reiss to get some suit inspiration and Gray took a liking to his suit straight away. So on the day Gray wore a grey suit and navy knitted tie and the groomsmen wore navy wool suits from Burton with grey ties from Topman.

I had the bridesmaid dresses designed and made by the fabulous fashion designer Klue by KellyAnn. I cannot tell you how much I love the bridesmaid dresses. I loved that each one was made to measure and my bridesmaids could tweak any aspect of the dress that they wanted to. Some of my bridesmaids had midi pencil dresses and one of my bridesmaids was able to a have a dress that she could spin around all day in at her hearts content!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (11)

Emma Hillier Photography was our chosen photographer. Emma is the most amazing photographer I have ever met. I may be biased but that’s not only because I have the most amazing wedding photographs but we have some amazing engagement shoot pictures and boudoir pictures too. Emma is such a lovely person, she puts me completely at ease and my wedding day would not have been the same if she wasn’t there. She was so calming on my wedding morning and my family loved her.

The first time I saw her pictures from another wedding Gray and I both knew she was going to be our wedding photographer. She captured the wedding day so perfectly and nothing was too much trouble for her or no idea was too wacky! We love you Emma!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (16)

Vivid Floral Design provided our flowers – this was a very important aspect to me. I explained to Mandy at Vivid Floral Design exactly what I wanted and she delivered my vision perfectly. I loved my bouquet with the added glitter and sparkle and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were exactly what I envisioned in my mind. I also picked the groom’s and groomsmen’s button holes and asked Mandy to add the twine to them last minute as a surprise to my future husband.  He loved it!

Vivid floral design also supplied our table arrangements which were fantastic with the roses and dangling tea lights. Our table plan was created by Deannamic Designs.

As favours we gave our guests ‘Grylie’ (a combination of Graeme and Kylie) strawberry jam which was made by both of us over a weekend. It was something fun for us both to do together and our guests loved it with many since asking for a second batch!

We chose a three tier sponge wedding cake. Each tier was a different flavour: Victoria sponge, lemon and coconut. We didn’t want royal icing on the outside and asked for buttercream instead. It was amazing!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (20)

We had Rock Revolution as our evening band and one of the members of the band also played the piano during the wedding breakfast. The band were amazing and everyone said how much fun they had dancing away to them. They even got me and my bridesmaids up to help with the backing vocals of one song!

Special moments on the day included my brother walking me down the aisle as my dad is no longer with us, which was a really emotional moment for us both. Two of the bridesmaids also did readings, which were really touching.  One was heartfelt and the other more humorous. It was nice to get a mixture of emotions during the ceremony and made the ceremony personal to us.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (25)

Other suppliers that we used on the day that we would recommend are Love Umbrellas who provided our umbrellas, The Glass Slipper Company where I got my shoes from, Crown and Glory which is where we got the bridesmaids’ hair pieces from and Nicola Joyce who did hair and makeup. Also, our invitations and stationary were done by Artwork by Angie. We had completely bespoke stationery made and the outcome was more than I expected. Angie is so amazing to work with!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (50)

My favourite parts of the day included getting ready with all my favourite girls. It was nice having that time with them. I also loved seeing Gray’s face as I walked down the aisle. It was just amazing having all our nearest and dearest under one roof and sharing the day with them.

Gray says the best part of the day for him was seeing me walking down the aisle, he says I looked absolutely stunning. Gray is usually quite a calm person, he didn’t get flustered about doing his speech or saying his vows in front of people but recalls the anticipation just before I arrived and the emotion he felt when he saw me… feelings he says he’s never felt before!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (44)

We went on a minimoon over New Year in Scotland. It was a secluded lodge with a hot tub called ‘the hideaway experience’ and was simply amazing. Each night we would be in the hot tub and we would chat and just admire the stars. We will be having a honeymoon this summer and plan to visit Halkidiki in Greece.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be do what makes you happy, listen to advice from friends and family but ultimately do what you want to do. Also, pick your battles; don’t waste energy getting stressed on the lead up to the big day. You want to look back on the build-up in a positive way.

Finally, don’t worry about people not turning up to the evening; people might not be able to attend even if they had the best intentions to. The friends and family that are there will still make sure you have an amazing day!

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snow in love. ronald joyce for a radiant winter wedding at the maynard – rachel & gareth

May 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (48)

We may be supposed to be heading into high summer right now (although as I’m writing this there is hail beating on the window outside) but here at Brides Up North HQ just the very sight of a winter wedding makes us dream of mulled wine and mince pies, getting us excited about the chillier months to come.

If you’re in the middle of planning your Christmas wedding, Rachel and Gareth’s seasonal celebration has it all – stunning wreaths complete with red berries and mistletoe, warm comforting food and a classic red colour scheme.

So forget about the (lack of) sunshine – an easy ask for us northerners – wrap up warm and let’s head to the stunning Peak District to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.

With images by Richmond Pictures.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (13)

rachel says: We got engaged in London. We had given a voucher for a meal for two in the Apex Hotel at Tower Bridge as a Christmas present. We booked the meal for 8th February 2014 and decided to make a night of it by booking a room there too. Gareth proposed in the hotel room as we were getting ready to go down to dinner. It was a bit of a shock but I couldn’t have been happier!

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (22)

We got married on 13th December 2014. We both really wanted a winter wedding, there’s something romantic about that time of the year and the run up to Christmas. The crisp, frosty days and (hopefully) blue skies outside while we cosy up inside, perfect!

We got married at Fulwood Old Chapel in Sheffield. We picked this as we wanted to get married somewhere close to where I was brought up. The chapel is small and intimate so it was perfect for our numbers and we felt it would be nice to have our family and friends fill the whole place and really feel like a part of the ceremony.

Our reception was held at The Maynard in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We went to a wedding fair there and knew straight away it was the perfect venue for us. There are stunning views from the rooms looking out across the Peak District.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (38)

As it was coming up to Christmas we played a little on that and had a snowflake theme. We had snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours, the cake was decorated with snowflakes and our stationery and table confetti was snowflake themed too.

We picked red and silver for our colours. Again because of the time of the year. The bridesmaids had red dresses which looked stunning and vibrant in the winter light.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (41)

I chose a dress by Ronald Joyce from Brides by Losners in Stamford Hill, London. I picked this one because my mum and my bridesmaid cried when I put it on – so I was pretty sure this was the dress for me! It was the complete opposite of what I’d imagined for myself as it was quite fitted, but I loved it from the first time I tried it on.

On the wedding day my makeup was done by Lisa Kirby in Sheffield and my hair was styled by Kirstine Allott of Kutz in Dore, Sheffield, both of whom I would recommend.

Gareth hired a navy blue three piece lounge suit with red tie from Young’s suit hire. The groomsmen wore the same. The bridesmaids wore gowns from twobirds in claret.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (42)

I travelled from my parents’ house with my dad in a vintage Jaguar while my bridesmaids travelled to the chapel in another vintage jaguar. These were provided by a family friend.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (46)

Karina and Tom Lax of Richmond Pictures were our photographers. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. They were so professional but also fun and friendly and made us feel totally at ease throughout the whole day. Karina and Tom really did their homework before our big day and found an amazing place for us to have some pictures taken after the ceremony; it was like something out of Wuthering Heights! We are absolutely over the moon with our photos, a perfect reminder of our special day for us to look back on.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (47)

Our flowers were provided by Vikki Baxter at Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield. I had a bouquet of red roses, mistletoe, red berries and Christmas tree twigs.

Vikki also provided the flowers for the chapel and reception. We had a heart shaped wreath above the door at the Chapel and arrangements around the inside with the same flowers and foliage as the bridal bouquet and also cinnamon sticks, orange slices and nuts to make it really Christmassy. We also had Christmas wreath style table centre pieces around hurricane lamps, lots of tea lights and a twinkle curtain as a back drop behind the top table, which were provided by Weddings by Dragonfly.

My mum, my bridesmaid and I made snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours using snowflake wire form beads and ribbon. These also doubled as place names as we threaded name tags on the ribbon with our guests’ names on one side and our names and the date on the reverse.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (55)

We chose a three tiered cake iced in white and decorated with snowflakes. Each layer was different flavour – vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake. The fruit cake was made by my mum and the rest by a family friend.

For our wedding menu we picked winter warming food – chicken with bubble and squeak and a sticky toffee pudding dessert. We had champagne for our toasts so we could celebrate in style!

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (60)

We really wanted our guests to have a great time and leave thinking ‘wow’ so we hired a magician for the drinks reception and a photo booth for the evening reception, provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.  My parents also booked some singing waiters who performed during the meal. This was a complete to surprise to the both of us and also to all our guests. One of the waitresses dropped a whole tray of cutlery which got everyone’s attention, and then started singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen as she got up from the floor! It was such a shock but soon everyone was joining in, dancing and waving napkins in the air!  We had a band in the evening called Banzai and a DJ provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (66)

We would recommend both the chapel and The Maynard to other couples. Janet and Peter at the chapel were so friendly and helpful from the minute we booked our ceremony with them.  It’s perfect for smaller weddings. I would recommend The Maynard for its setting. There are so many beautiful places for photos and stunning views from the venue. The food, drink and service on the day were all excellent.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (68)

The ceremony itself was our favourite part of the day. Having all our family and friends in one place at the same time who were all there to support us and celebrate with us was so touching.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (75)

We went to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives for our two week honeymoon. We had a month between our wedding and honeymoon so we could enjoy Christmas at home with our families. The resort was fantastic and just what we wanted. White sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, excellent food and drink, and stunning sea life on the house reef where we went snorkelling every day.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the day! Look around and see all your friends and family who are there for you.

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happy & hygge. a warm winter wedding at newton hall, northumberland – emma & rachel

February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (20)

I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.

These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!

All will be explained…

With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (10)

the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!

The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!

Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (4)

We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/.  Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (1)

Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!

The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (13)

Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.

Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (23)

Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (24)

We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (27)

Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (29)

We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!

We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.

We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!

Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (35)

A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (33)

We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!

Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (40)

We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!

Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (39)

Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (46)

The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (50)

At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!

We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (49)

We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!

Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.

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’tis the season – a christmassy wedding at Crewe Hall – rebecca & callum

November 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (23)

I don’t think I can resist it any longer.  So let’s bring on some christmas cheer!  Grab yourself a (first?) mince pie of the season, make mine a gingerbread latte and let’s get this festive season started with a little help from a lady who loves herself a little seasonal styling.

Rebecca and Callum’s big day was festive and fabulous, designed to leave their Antipodean relatives in no doubt that us Brits know how to celebrate.

With sleigh bells on top!

Images by Chapter Photography.

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (35)

rebecca says: Callum and I met in Australia in 2009 and I moved over to live in Melbourne for 18 months. My parents came to visit in April 2011 and Callum asked my dad’s permission when out at a beer factory together. Dad kept it quiet from everyone and we all thought we were just going to Melbourne Zoo so that they could feed some Kangaroos. Turns out I was going to meet the Giant Tortoise! My favourite animal. Dad had Mum filming and there was a photographer present. Callum got down on one knee in front of a massive crowd and presented me with the cutest little box. We had professional photos with the tortoise and went off to celebrate with everyone. Mum was crying!

We got married on 30th November 2013. We chose this date because we wanted to tie it in with Callum turning 30 and so that all his Australian family could celebrate with us and make a big weekend of celebrations!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (1)

We got married at my church in my home village of Thelwall and the Reverend was fantastic! He had asked me if I wanted serious, religious or funny and I said ‘Just be yourself’. He was amazing – everyone was laughing along with him.

We went on to Crewe Hall which was just stunning. We chose this venue as it was the only one that made my Dad smile when he walked inside. Plus the original Crewe Hall was built before Australia was founded! Australians love a bit of history and it was important for me to show them a spectacular venue.

The staff at Crewe Hall are passionate about what they do and giving you the best day. The drive way is full of trees and when you see Crewe Hall for the first time it takes your breath away. Inside the wood carvings and the stair case made it the closest thing to being at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (7)

We chose to have a Christmas theme because most of our Australian guests were returning home around the 15th December. So we wanted them to experience a real English Christmas time. We had a few complaints in the run up to the wedding about the cold and there being nothing to see so I wanted to prove them wrong that actually it’s the best time of year to visit.

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (9)

I wanted a fish tail dress and couldn’t find one anywhere that I liked. I wanted something unusual as I’m a size 14/16. If you can’t on your wedding day when can you? When I was shopping with my Auntie in Melbourne we saw a little dress covered in feathers, she wanted me to try it on and it was about $5,000. So when I got home I decided I wanted white Christmas feathers to trail behind me as I walked. So my mum Janet got going and we made it together. It had 14 rows of feathers at just under 21 metres and a lace jacket.

Phoebe, my make up artist at Flossy & Leigh was so amazing and didn’t let anybody stress and I love her to bits!

Callum wore the Scottish National Tartan and looked amazing! He hired it from Groom in Warrington and it came with the shoes and accessories. Jennie his mum, was so desperate for him to wear it. We told her he was wearing the traditional morning suit and she was so disappointed. She didn’t know until the groomsmen parted at the door to reveal Callum in full Scots regalia. It was caught on our wedding video the moment and it was brilliant she screamed and cried and hugged. A memory that will last a lifetime.

My bridesmaids wore a dark green so we decided to go with red as the contrasting colour. My teacher always told me ‘red & green should never be seen, except at Christmas time’. So I followed his advice.

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (38)

Callum is a bit of a geek so I gave him his own Robin cloak and t-shirt to go under his shirt. Obviously I am Batman and he’s my Robin!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (12)

We hired a vintage red bus from Warrington Borough Transport which took the guests staying at Crewe Hall the night before and all the bridal party back to Thelwall.

My dad Anthony, hired a beautiful cream Rolls Royce. The Rolls reminded me of the Beatles and I knew Callum’s dad David would love it! Again it was all really about impressing the Australians with our Englishness!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (14)

We had an amazing photographer called Evie who works with her husband at Chapter Photography. Not only was she brilliant at family wrangling (as Callum’s dad calls it) she had become a really good friend and we keep in contact still. She had come from Ireland and nearly didn’t make it getting stuck out at sea for 12 hours before docking! I had no idea as she didn’t want to worry me. So even with no sleep she was amazing!

a christmassy real wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Chapter Photography (20)

All my flowers were silk as I didn’t want any real ones. My flowers were put together at Bents Garden Centre. My bridesmaids’ bouquets and boutonnieres all came from KateSaidYes who sells the most amazing silk real touch flowers on her Etsy store. I couldn’t recommend her enough.

The wedding reception was decorated by Precious Things and it looked stunning. We provided our own hearts which we had collected from little shops and boutiques. They used holly & Ivy to tie them all together and placed it on top of the tartan swags. Crewe Hall also had their own trees up and decorated the main entrance which was lovely.

We had a little presents for all our guests with their names on a tag. This was a favour as well as a place setting.

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We had a fruit and Madeira cake that was baked and decorated by myself and my Mum. Each tier was covered in cut out snowflakes and reindeers and in-between we added pearls. The top tier had Kangaroos and Koalas and we wrote the words ‘Callum & Becca’ on one tier and ‘You are the Robin to my Batman’ on the other. We topped the cake with two little robins we bought at Bents Garden Centre.

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For our entertainment we decided to use the in house DJ and she was brilliant! She kept everyone up dancing all night! Earlier on we had arrived to a bagpiper who played Flower of Scotland and Waltzing Matilda when Callum got off the bus. Everyone thought he was fantastic.

On leaving the church we dedicated a song to Callum.  He had no idea what it was until it started playing. It was the original theme tune to Neighbours! Everyone in the church started laughing and singing along. Some of the Australians didn’t know what it was!

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Reel Weddings provided us with the most magical wedding video. I said it was my own personal Love Actually. Everyone who has seen it has cried and laughed and the music choices were perfect. They edited the day together perfectly that we had our own little movie. We will forever have those memories on DVD and I would hire Reel Weddings again and again. Aaron is so funny and I loved spending time with him and our photographer who made the time fly.

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We decided not to go on honeymoon but spend time with the Australians instead. In February we are going to Vegas for our real honeymoon and we are going to see Britney Spears!

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Everything was perfect for us and the Australians loved all the little touches that were for them. My family and friends partied the night away and by 10pm I had my slippers on under my dress!

My top tip for other Brides Up North is that if you want to see all the bits that went by whilst you were being photographed or hitching you dress up to go to the toilet – a videographer is a fantastic thing to have. I love being able to watch all my family and friends enjoying themselves. It was the best present we got and it was from Callum’s parents.

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Joy To The World. A Backless Anoushka G Gown For A Real Wedding At Quarry Bank Mill – Clare & Lee-John

January 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Hayley Baxter Photography

Things are looking really rosy red this week on Brides Up North aren’t they?  First up, the sun baked celebration of Annie and Lee yesterday, and now a complete about turn with today’s stunning winter Real Wedding.  Shot by Hayley Baxter Photography, Clare and Lee-John’s big day had all the hallmarks of the perfect Christmas wedding – red berries, a feather cape, a dress to die for, Christmas pudding, a ruby red carriage and a partridge in a pear tree!

Hayley Baxter Photography

Clare says:  We got engaged on 16 August 2013, in North Wales and were married on 21 December 2013 at Norcliffe Chapel, Styal with our reception at Quarry Bank Mill. 

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

We visited the National Trust village and Mill in June 2013 and both absolutely loved the church and the imposing architecture of the Mill itself.  Mandi and her team at the Mill were so helpful and were happy to assist in any way possible.

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

We chose a Christmas theme, we sang carols in the church and had mulled wine and mince pies at the drinks reception instead of canapés.  We decorated the Mill ourselves with fairy lights, Christmas garlands and Christmas trees, including edible decorations and a gingerbread house.  The table centres were hurricane vases with candles, holly, ivy, cinnamon, pine – all natural flowers and seasonal.

The colours were dark green and red.  The green was chosen to incorporate the Bride’s Irish roots and the red for the groom’s Welsh roots.  The bridesmaids wore dark green and the groomsmen all wore red ties and hankies.  The bouquets were gorgeous red and green with grand prix roses for the bride and tulips for the bridesmaids and flower girls.

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

My dress was called Hazel by Anoushka G. I love it! I bought it from Lace Bridal in Hale who were so helpful. I am not a keen shopper and had given myself one day and two bridal shops to find my dream dress – I didn’t have to search for long… it was the first dress I tried on and it could not be matched! It was cut on the bias with mini capped embroidered sleeves with a cowl scoop at the back.

I had an oyster feather shrug to keep me warm too.  I wore my wellies into the church as the path down was muddy and I didn’t want to spoil my Jimmy Choos!

Flossy & Leigh made all the bridal party’s hair and make up look fabulous and I wore a bespoke hair piece designed by Ann McKaveney of Eleventh Heaven.

Hayley Baxter Photography

My two adult bridesmaids wore a dark green maxi dress from Coast and the three flower girls wore gorgeous white dressed from Debenhams.  They all had gorgeous fur shrugs for warmth and the two littlest flower girls wore White Uggs boots.

The groomsmen wore hired suits from Slaters in Manchester. They were dark grey tails with waistcoat and their own classic white shirts with bright red ties and hankies.

Hayley Baxter Photography

We hired a beautiful red and cream vintage car supplied by Love & Carriage.

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