July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.
Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed – but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.
With images by Shane Webber.
rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!) We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)
Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that. We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.
We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there. We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around! It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.
We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well. We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure. In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”. Sums it up, really!
So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men. And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!
I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it. Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.
James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss. The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little. They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties. I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome. James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.
May 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
The sun may be shining outside, but for today’s real wedding we’re focusing on an elegant Christmassy affair, perfect for those of you in the midst of planning a classy winter wedding.
Sophie and Callum were wed at the stylish and striking Matfen Hall in Northumberland – sold to Sophie on the basis of its jaw-dropping entrance staircase for the bride’s grand arrival.
This gorgeous couple opted for an elegant celebrity-styled vibe with black and white tuxedos, a Cinderella-esque princess gown and luxe favours. They also remained true to themselves, however, with their favourite chocolate Krispie slices transformed into the wedding cake of their dreams.
Sophie balanced big spends with some judicious bargain-hunting, and making savings on details like her dress helped her budget for big splurges – like a visit from some real-life reindeer. Yes, you read right – real-life reindeer!
So, sit back readers and enjoy Sophie’s gorgeous winter’s tale.
With images by Philip Ryott.
sophie says: We got engaged on Callum’s 21st birthday. It was the night before we flew to Dubai for two weeks and I’d booked a stay at Jesmond Dene House with a surprise afternoon tea with our parents.
Callum seemed nervous and, just as we were having tea, a couple had came in with the wedding planner. I commented, “Aw, how sweet! They’re planning their wedding!” Everyone suddenly seemed keen to change the subject, which I thought was a bit strange but didn’t think too much of it.
After our parents left we went back to the hotel room for a bath and to get dressed for dinner. Callum was looking at me with so much love throughout the evening and it was a gorgeous night. After we came back to our room, he suggested going onto the balcony and drinking some champagne. I agreed and went to get comfy – taking off my makeup and getting into my dressing gown – whereas Callum stayed in his suit and waistcoat!
I went back out to the balcony and he was sitting there with champagne looking gorgeous. He spoke to me under the moonlight and went back over all our special memories of early dates, fancying each other in school and holidays we’d been on. Then he said, “You know, I’m 21 today. I’m officially a man. I’ve got something to ask you”. I couldn’t contain my emotions and started to cry as he got down on one knee and asked me if I would do him the honour of becoming his wife. It was so beautiful, emotional and personal – and, of course, I said yes!
We were married on Thursday 1st December 2016. We chose this date because I loved the idea of a magical Christmas wedding – what better day than the 1st December?! It’s the start off the official countdown to Christmas, everyone is in good spirits, Christmas music can officially be played and, of course, advent calendars!
We were married at the gorgeous Matfen Hall. I heard someone say that of all the venues they’d been to, Matfen Hall had the grandest entrance for the bride – so I had to check it out!
As soon as we entered the Great Hall we got goosebumps and a sense of ‘this is it.’ It has a traditional church-like atmosphere with its high ceilings and stained glass windows; you definitely get the feeling that a lot of beautiful things have happened there over its history. I loved the staircase entrance, too – I mean, wow! What a statement! I had real nerves walking down there to greet everyone but the excitement and anticipation was just amazing.
The Matfen Hall team were incredible, especially Victoria Paterson (wedding planner) and Peter Dawson (master of ceremonies). Their hard work and care to every detail, enquiry and question was just outstanding. Such down-to-earth, lovely, lovely people who went so far beyond their role. I can’t thank or praise them enough.
We chose to have an elegant winter wedding theme with a Christmassy touch. I wanted the colour-scheme, decor, favours, chairs, tables – everything, really – to be very classy – with whites, silvers and sparkles. My Christmas touch was brought to life with real reindeer from Santa’s Reindeer based in Birmingham! I’d never seen reindeer before and had always wanted to; I’ve always believed in their magic and what better day to see them than on your wedding day?
Of course, my family thought I was bonkers! But my mantra is, “You can’t put a price on memories!”
I also had a reindeer-themed seating plan made by my friend Shawnee Quinn, and the tables were named after Santa’s reindeer. We had advent calendars as favours and snowflakes for name cards and the children had mini Santa hats.
For my dress, I originally wanted a fitted, possibly mermaid-style, beaded gown and – like most brides – I ended up with the total opposite! The wedding dress outlet store WED2B had recently opened in Gateshead so we tried there first.
My cousin and matron of honour Kelly pulled out a dress that was totally different to what I’d said I wanted – it was plain and Cinderella-style. But when I saw it I just felt something. Then I tried it on and, well, wow. I felt like a real bridal princess, like all the Disney princesses in one; I couldn’t stop smiling! They added the veil and the embellished belt and I just knew. My mam and maid of honour (who’s like a brick when it comes to emotion!) started to cry. Later, my fantastic dressmaker Kayleen added a five-layer tulle train with crystals scattered along the back and sides.
March 23rd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s real wedding takes place at Christmas time, but it’s anything but a traditional yuletide affair. Joanne and Timothy opted for a classy, neutral palette of ivory and green, with some Christmas sparkle in the shape of some rather stunning gold sequined bridesmaid dresses!
Spring might be approaching here at BUN HQ, but if you’re after a good dose of festive cheer – with some scrumptious macarons and bubbles thrown in for good measure – scroll down for all the fabulous details.
With images by Sarah Maria Photography.
joanne says: We got engaged during a trip to Paris in December 2015, which was an early Christmas present from Tim. We arrived at our hotel, Maison Souquet, late afternoon and decided to have a stroll around Paris. He took me to the Bir-Hakeim Bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower and that’s where he popped the question. He even had a photographer ready to capture the moment. The photographer then took us to other beautiful locations for more engagement photographs. That night, Tim took me to dinner and to the ballet.
We got married a year later, on 21st December 2016. We are both big fans of Christmas and wanted a wintery, Christmas wedding. I really hoped it would snow! I am a primary school teacher so had to squeeze in the wedding and honeymoon during the school holidays.
We tied the knot at West Tower country manor in Aughton, which was our favourite venue. We viewed it first and nothing else compared. The venue is so pretty and in a perfect location for our family and friends. Inside, it has a neutral colour scheme, which means it wouldn’t clash with any colour I chose.
Our theme for the day centered on Christmas, but not in the traditional red and green sort of way! I love neutral colours and wanted the venue to be full of ivory flowers and greenery. West Tower already had gold Christmas decorations, so I decided to dress my bridesmaids in sequin gold to match.
I purchased a Rosa Clara wedding dress from the Knutsford Wedding Gallery, in Cheshire and teamed this with Sophia Webster shoes. I am only 5’ 2” and knew that I wouldn’t suit anything that hid my frame, so I chose a slim fitting and backless gown. I knew that Tim would love it, too!
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January 3rd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 9th January 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from 2016.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Luisa and Peter pulled off the impressive feat of a winter 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
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 Can’t 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!
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.
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.
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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December 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
As we find ourselves in the coldest yet most magical season of the year, we’ve been turning our thoughts to winter weddings.
Some brides and grooms may be put off marrying at this time of year due to the increasingly unpredictable British weather, but with some careful planning and fabulous styling a winter wedding can be a real treat for all the senses, and in turn, more memorable for you and your guests.
Think scented candles for fragrance and ambience, warm comfort food to evoke nostalgic memories and winter tipples to help get the party started and you’re part way there.
If, however, what’s putting you off is the somewhat ‘go-to’ styling of winter nuptials, we’re here to change your mind. For we’ve come up with three alternative winter wedding themes that steer clear of crimson red and sparkling silver schemes, plus there’s not a reindeer or bauble in sight!
Ladies, we give you both comfort and class…
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Alyssa Turner Photography| image source, photography by Peaches & Mint| image source| image source, photography by Jonathan Ong Photography| image source, photography by Mandy Evans Photography| image source, photography by Awake Photography| image source, photography by Jenn Hopkins| image source, photography by Eyelet Images| image source, photography by Matilda Rose| image source, photography by Dan and Melissa Photography.
Just a small diversion from the traditional red winter wedding colour palette, a winning mixture of purple, pink and burgundy shades can give a wedding an instant hint of opulence.
Such tones also work beautifully with the flowers and fruits of the season making these a great way to project your chosen colour scheme.
Big, bold and blousy bouquets and floral decorations add to the luxurious feel that the rich hues emit and will help to provide striking focal points. For further plushness, metallic accents, particularly in gold, work in perfect harmony with the beautiful berry tones and give a small nod to the festive season without being at all OTT.
Beyond the blooms, mercury glass tealight holders and metallic vessels and vases look fabulous with the palette.
To remain on theme berries can be used in the bouquets and button holes as well as within the food and drink menus and the cake.
When it comes to the bridesmaids, brides can go with just one of the berry tones that suits her maids best, perhaps magenta, indigo or violet, or alternatively can have her leading ladies in a full spectrum of the hues.
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Svetlana Strizhakova| image source, photography by Kendal Riley of Ostara Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Taylor Lord Photography| image source| image source.
Possibly one colour scheme that works all year round, grey is both a classic and elegant choice of palette.
For winter weddings the hue can be ‘warmed-up’ by introducing different textures and shades providing both interest and depth.
Brides and their maids can easily layer their look with grey cover-ups; whether it be a faux fur jacket, feather shrug or lace overlay. Meanwhile groomsmen can opt for a tweed or woollen suit with coordinating pocket squares, dicky bows or ties in varying fabrics creating a stylish wintery feel.
Texture in tactile fabrics and finishes can be carried through to the décor too, with velvet ribbons attached floral arrangements or holding cutlery and napkins in place. Roaming foliage across tables can also help to break up the grey and works in line with on-trend botanical themes too.
Candles at various heights in pillars, tapers and tea lights will also help to set the wintery scene as will luxurious stationery in enchanting designs.
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Charlene Schreuder Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Emily Delamater| image source, photography by Shane and Lauren Photography| image source| image source, photography by E Schmidt Photography| image source| image source, photography by Gideon Photography| image source.
Though often thought of as a ‘cold’ colour, when accompanied with rich metallic accents blue can bring element of warmth and glamour to winter celebrations.
The trick is to use a deep shade of blue and not to get carried away with the glitz and glitter, instead giving the proceedings just a sprinkling of sparkle. This could be achieved through styling and stationery choices, but also through the bride and bridesmaid attire too. So, for example, brides could add a hint of shine to their outfit with metallic heels while maids can glam-up their look with delicate gold jewellery or accessories.
The table settings are perhaps the element that will require the most care in not overdoing it. For a look of understated elegance, keep things simple by adding gold-edged glassware and cutlery to a dark blue tablecloth base. For further interest and texture use rustic touches in foliage and tree slices, and perhaps even the odd pine cone (note the “odd” there).
Meanwhile for those wanting to take the sparkle up a notch, sequin table runners and cloths are an accessible and effective option. Further additions can include metallic candle holders, stationery and plate chargers but just be sure that the overall look is class rather than brash!
September 20th, 2016 | Julia Braime
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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