Charlotte Balbier

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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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Owl Always Love You! Berry Red & A Feathered Friend For A Real Winter Wedding At Swinton Park – Rachael & Neil

May 22nd, 2013 | Julia Braime

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I normally like to get keep the weddings I feature relatively seasonal.  You know, falling leaves in the Autumn, bright skies in Spring time and all that.  But honestly, Rachael and Neil’s gorgeous winter wedding with it’s deep berry reds (and a feathered friend – the wedding blog seems awash with them this week!) was too good to save until the darker nights roll in.  And who knows if we even have seasons anymore anyway!

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If you are looking ahead to a Christmas celebration, get ready to get excited!  With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Richard Wynn Davies and featuring the work of some of my favourite Yorkshire suppliers, let’s get stuck in!

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Rachael says:  Neil asked my to marry him on the August Bank holiday 2011, at Golden Acre Park in North Leeds, and we were married on 27th December 2012 at Swinton Park, Masham, North Yorkshire.  We both fell in love with the venue after it was recommended by a work colleague who’d been to a wedding there before. 

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We had a winter red theme but we also had an owl fly our rings down the aisle so to tie in with this we had the Harry Potter classical music and Harry Potter table names along with chocolate owl wedding favours.

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Both Neil and I drove up to the venue to get ready in the morning, we got married at the venue so didn’t need to travel at all during the day which was perfect for our winter wedding!

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I loved getting ready with my mum and bridesmaids, although we ended up a little rushed!

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I chose a gorgeous dress from Amelia Elliott bridal shop on Horsforth Town Street, Leeds. The ladies running the shop, Vanessa & Caroline, had designed the dress and made the whole experience so enjoyable from start to finish.

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My bridesmaids wore full length chiffon dresses by Impression in claret. We got the dresses from Confetti & Lace in Leeds.  Our groomsmen wore charcoal suits hired from Yorkshire Menswear with ivory and claret cravats.

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David Fields was my hair dresser and did an excellent job! He was a genuinely lovely man and made the entire process of getting ready really enjoyable! He even chipped in and poured the champagne for us.

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I had a bouquet of red roses with frosted berries and dark leaves by Sasha at Rose & Co Flowers, Yorkshire who provided all of our flowers and chairs covers and did an excellent job with the decorations!

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My bridesmaids had ivory & red bouquets with roses and orchids amongst other flowers and frosted berries and the chair covers along the aisle were decorated with frosted pine cones.

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We used the Swinton Park Birds Of Prey Centre to arrange for an owl to fly our wedding rings down the aisle to the best man! This was a lovely touch and lightened the mood at the ceremony.

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We had an amazing chocolate wedding cake from Patisserie Viennoise covered in Belgian milk, white and dark chocolate.  The cake was chocolate from top to bottom!

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We had a Ceilidh for our evening entertainment – Cobblers Wax. They provided great entertainment and got everybody up dancing.  We also had a magician at our drinks reception, Anthony Heaton, who our guests thought was excellent.

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The entire day went exactly to plan thanks to the amazing staff at Swinton Park. If we had to choose one special moment we both loved letting off Chinese lanterns outside after the ceilidh.

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After the wedding we went to Dubai for new year followed by a week in Sri Lanka touring the sites and a week relaxing in the Maldives.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan things well in advance to avoid last minute stress and don’t worry about anything on the day, just enjoy every minute of it!

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Congratulations Rachael & Neil!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding on these pretty pages? Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Richard Wynn Davies

Richard Wynn Davies is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Northern Lights! A Real Wedding In North Yorkshire – Hannah & Steven

March 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Another cold Monday morning deserves a splash of something special, and this stunning Real Wedding sent to me by Abi of Wooden Hill Images and real bride Hannah reminds us that Winter can be beautiful as well as dreary!  From the traditional Christmas theme to the theatrical lighting effects and the bride’s gorgeous feathered cape, this wedding is packed with dramatic detail and atmosphere.

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After all, if you are going to go for breath-taking , why not make it completely and utterly breath-taking!?

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Hannah says:  We got engaged under an olive tree, in an olive grove in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco on 9th June 2012, and were married on 15th December 2012 at All Saints Church, Pickhill, then to Steven’s family farm for the reception in a marquee in the garden.

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My dress was Augusta Jones ‘Syd’ from The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton. It was a lace dress with a romantic line and low back.  I also wore a blush pink feather bolero and added LK Bennett shoes and Cachet London jewellery.  

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We opted for a Christmas theme, although we wanted a traditional Christmas wedding and not a commercialised  theme. We used purple as an accent colour and for the bridesmaids.

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My three bridesmaids wore three different shades of purple, with dresses from The Bridal Lounge, and Steven and the ushers were in traditional morning dress. 

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I carried a bouquet of antique roses with lavender and poppy heads. 

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Steven’s sister won a silver medal in the Olympics last year and so the wedding party were transported to the reception in her state of the art horse box, decorated inside for the wedding party to travel in style!

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The wedding was at 3pm so when we left the church at 4.30pm after mulled wine and mince pies it was pitch black with flaming torches lining the churchyard.  Flaming torches lined the mile long road to the reception venue and our musicians, who played throughout the whole day, played flute in amongst the trees when guests arrived, throughout the drinks reception and during the evening dancing.  

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Each of the twelve tables were decorated to replicate the twelve days of Christmas and we added a 20ft Christmas tree in the centre of the marquee and dry ice to create atmosphere.

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We chose a simple three tier cake decorated with antique roses to match my bouquet. 

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Wooden Hill Images

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Our first dance was a live version of Your Song with wonderful lighting effects and dry ice – very romantic!

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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After the wedding we headed to Lapland for a mini break before Christmas and are off to Thailand for a longer break this Spring. 

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Wooden Hill Images

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Wooden Hill Images

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to keep the focus of the day about being in love with the person you are marrying. The attention to detail beforehand just helps you to enjoy the day more with friends and family.

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Wooden Hill Images

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Congratulations Hannah & Steven!

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding featured on the wedding blog?  Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Wooden Hill Images

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