Charlotte Balbier

woodland wonderment. stewart parvin for a luxurious winter wedding at colshaw hall – luisa & peter

November 9th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding is just perfect for the snow flurries that we are seeing up and down the country today.  We hope you are all safe and cosy with a steaming cup of something chocolately on your desk or on your knee!

Luisa and Peter pulled off the impressive feat of a Christmas wedding without a can of snow spray or a gilded pine cone in sight. Instead, their big day at Colshaw Hall in Cheshire, was led by an organic woodland theme, full of warm earthy tones and plenty of grown-up black-tie glamour.

The food and the playlist were particular focal points for this Manchester music-loving pair, and the following day saw the festivities extended with an aprés-ski extravaganza. So get comfortable, perhaps with a glass of Malbec or a mulled wine – go on, Luisa would definitely approve!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography

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luisa says: Peter and I got engaged in Barbados. One night we went down for dinner and, instead of heading for our usual table in the restaurant, we were led down a path lined with candles that took us to a private beach and a table for two. When we sat down and opened the menus, I saw all of my favourite foods and champagne. Then a steel band appeared playing Elvis Presley’s I Cant Help Falling In Love With You. When I looked around, Peter was down on one knee; it was a truly magical moment. He made a beautiful speech and, of course, I said yes. We spent the rest of the week celebrating and relaxing; it was just so perfect!

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We chose to get married on 19th December 2015 because it was the closest Saturday to the Winter Solstice – a date important to me and my mum. We wanted a winter wedding as we felt that there were lots more options to explore in terms of the decorations and the vibe that we could create.

For the venue, we chose Colshaw Hall in Cheshire. We wanted to make sure that the event was totally private and this was the huge bonus of Colshaw: the venue and all of its grounds are hired exclusively so we wouldn’t be sharing our special day with anyone else. Secondly, as Peter’s family are based in Suffolk, we wanted to make sure that there was accommodation onsite to ensure that the wedding weekend was as easy as possible for those travelling. Having looked at quite a few venues in the area, Colshaw’s accommodation was, we felt, the most beautiful. Each room has its own stunning theme and beautiful view over the grounds. Colshaw’s Peel Suite also offered a beautiful blank canvas; no wedding looks the same there. We had hired the main house for the drinks and canapés straight after the service and this offered a unique, cosy, Christmas drinks party atmosphere.

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Theme-wise, we wanted to create a natural and organic winter forest. Peter and I love walking our dog Digby up on the Edge and we wanted to recreate that same earthy, woodland environment. I wanted my wedding to be just that little bit ‘out there’, and having the trees as the centrepiece certainly achieved that goal. As our wedding was the weekend before Christmas, I think people expected us to go down the more conventional festive route and it was truly lovely seeing their reactions to the chapel and the main room. We’d focused on lots of earthy tones, such as dark greens and ambers, making sure that everything was lit by candles to create warmth.

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I had chosen quite a traditional and simple gown designed by Stewart Parvin with the lace detail as a nod to my Italian heritage. My dress was bought and styled by the incredible ladies at LOVE Bridal in Cheshire. They helped accessorise my gown with a Stewart Parvin veil, lace jacket and honey-toned belt which contemporised it perfectly. My shoes were Hangisis by Manolo Blahnik; I just loved their quirkiness. In the evening, I removed the lace jacket and added a thin sparkly belt to liven it up for the dancing. I visited several bridal stores and LOVE Bridal’s service surpassed all the London boutiques. From the beautiful little cakes they serve to the ‘grand reveal’, the wonderful Emma and Clare have it covered.

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get set, sparkle. ian stuart for a winter wedding at armathwaite hall – emma & mark

September 20th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today on the blog we have some beautiful inspiration for those of you planning winter weddings as we share the details of Emma and Mark’s big day.

Following an Ikea proposal (don’t worry, he made up for it), Emma and Mark set about planning an atmospheric November wedding, complete with lots of soft candlelight and sparkling décor.

Going all out on the opportunity to wear a big dress, bride Emma chose a stunning Ian Stuart gown with accents of shimmering silver to match both the colour scheme and season. Now that’s what we call a dress with the wow-factor!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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emma says: We got engaged in Ikea over meatballs! Honestly! But then we had my engagement ring specially made and Mark surprised me with a trip to London to see the Lion King (I love Disney). He got us box seats and had champagne and chocolates put in the box. It was amazing!

As we loved the idea of a Christmas or winter wedding we set the date for 28th November.

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Our chosen venue was Armathwaite Hall in Keswick. We both love the Lake District and when we went to look at venues Armathwaite felt really personal. I like modern venues and Mark likes old fashioned and Armathwaite had the perfect blend of both.

To fit the time of year we went for a sparkly wedding theme (with a hint of Disney!) As we knew it would be dark outside we thought lots of sparkles and candles would look great.

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When it came to the colour scheme we knew that we didn’t want everyone in the same colour as we had an unconventional bridal party in that the maid of honour was male and we had female groomsmen. I also wanted each of the bridesmaids to have dresses that suited them, rather than sticking to a certain theme. In the end we went for pale pastel colours accented with a silver shimmer.

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I chose to wear an Ian Stuart dress from Ava Rose Hamilton. I instantly fell in love with it. I’d tried on about seven or eight dresses beforehand but none of them made me excited, or felt quite so special. I knew I wanted a big dress – the sort that you can only ever wear on your wedding day – but also wanted something that really suited me. I loved the silver woven into the lace of the dress and that it had a huge skirt but fitted silk body. I never thought I would get a strapless dress but the minute I tried it on I knew it was right.

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cranberry & tweed. a romantic christmas wedding at the racquet club, liverpool – louise & jonathan

March 31st, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Festive Winter Wedding (c) Rachel Victoria Photography (41)

We’re spoiling those of you planning a festive wedding with another Christmas celebration – this time the stunning big day of Jonathan and Louise, which took place in Liverpool.

Deciding the festive season would be the perfect time to tie the knot with family and friends being in high spirits, Jonathan and Louise planned a stunning wedding around a cranberry red and tweed theme for a very classy day of romance.

We love the sensational seasonal blooms, elegant wedding transport and all the twinkling fairy lights!

With images by Rachel Victoria Photography.

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louise says: We got engaged in Italy in a little town called Geta. We had been out for a meal and lovely wine. Jonathan suggested we went for a walk around the hotel grounds and then said “I have something to ask you…” I turned round and he had gotten down on one knee and produced a ring in a box and asked me “will you marry me”. Of course I said yes!

We decided to set the date for 23rd of December, as we wanted a festive wedding. This day seemed a perfect choice as we knew that everyone would be excited and in the festive spirit in the lead up to Christmas.

A Festive Winter Wedding (c) Rachel Victoria Photography (39)

Our ceremony was at Saint Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, as this has been Jonathan’s parish and church since he was a young boy. It is a beautiful church and Kip (the rector) and Graham are the most helpful and loveliest of people. My uncle gave me away as my father sadly passed away when I was young. We felt very lucky to have been married at this monumental and timelessly beautiful church. Our reception venue was The Racquet Club in Liverpool.

We chose to a theme of rustic Christmas. It fitted perfectly with the venue and the time of year as everyone was in the festive spirit already! Our colour scheme was cranberry red and tweed. We chose this again to fit the time of year and a Christmas wedding theme with a rustic twist.

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christmas kisses. a festive wedding at the bowdon rooms – jo & david

March 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Winter Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Mick Cookson Photography (43)

With all the chocolate we’ve consumed over the weekend we’re all Easter-ed out and so are turning our thoughts to other bank holiday celebrations today, as we relive the wonderful Christmas wedding of Jo and David.

Following a festive engagement, today’s bride and groom decided December would be the perfect month in which to take their vows too. As a nod to the season, their romantic big day featured twinkling fairy lights, glittering baubles and shiny accessories, resulting in some super sparkly celebrations.

In case you’ve not heard, we will be hosting one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibitions at The Bowdon Rooms on Sunday 17th April, giving you the opportunity to see the fabulous venue for yourselves.

With images by Mick Cookson Photography.

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jo says: David proposed on Christmas morning 2014, it was a complete surprise. I had to follow clues around the house which led to different presents (including a jigsaw of the world and a Manchester City gnome!) and further clues until I found my engagement ring under the tree.

Our wedding was on 27th December 2015. It was 12 months following our engagement and we wanted a Christmas/winter wedding, so the date was perfect!

A Winter Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Mick Cookson Photography (82)

We were married at St Vincent’s RC Church in Altrincham. The wedding breakfast and reception was then held at The Bowdon Rooms. It was the only venue we looked at, and loved how it was one big room with a stage for the band. Also, the room could be decorated to suit whatever style we wanted.

When it came to the theme we were both very easy going – we just wanted a Christmas wedding and for the venue to be decorated for that time of year. To fit the season we chose a décor colour scheme of red and gold.

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fab festivities. ronald joyce for a christmas wedding at eaves hall – anna & dan

March 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Christmas Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Stella Photography (79)

We may have mentioned just one or two times before that here at Brides Up North HQ, we absolutely LOVE Christmas. It will therefore come as no surprise that we are big fans of festive weddings – I mean, why not hold you big day at a time of year when people are already in high spirits and give friends and family yet another reason to raise a glass of champers?

Today’s real wedding couple did just that, hosting their wedding at the lovely Eaves Hall on the 21st December. To get their celebrations off to a fabulous start, the bride, groom and their guests enjoyed a pre-Christmas party, complete with carol singing (how perfect?), before the main event got underway.

We love the simple midnight blue and ivory colour scheme with red berry pops, as well as the elegant floral and table displays of thistles, roses and pine cones.

So join us as we rewind the clock to the most wonderful time of the year…

With images by Stella Photography.

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anna says: We got engaged at Valley Gardens in Harrogate. The first weekend that we met, we went for a walk through the park and woods in there and then Dan took me back there for a walk one Saturday morning and proposed. It was very romantic! I was in complete shock as I really wasn’t expecting it at all. He had also planned a surprise stay at The Feversham Arms in Helmsley, where we celebrated with champagne in the spa!

We set the date for 21st December. We wanted to get married around Christmas time and getting married just before Christmas seemed like the perfect way to start off the celebrations and festivities.

A Christmas Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Stella Photography (9)

Our chosen venue was Eaves Hall. It’s gorgeous and was the perfect location for our big Christmas wedding party. We hired out the whole venue for two days (day before and day of the wedding) and all the family were able to stay in the same place so it felt like our ‘home’. The night before the wedding we had a meal and had organised for a pianist to come and play carols and Christmas songs so we could have a ‘sing song’ around the grand piano. This was amazing and really got everyone in the mood for Christmas and to party!

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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.

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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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