June 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime
When it comes to tying the knot it’s always great if you, or those close to you, have some fabulous skills you can use, not only to save yourself a few pennies, but also to make the day more personal and memorable.
Today’s bride Danielle is a baker, so not only did she bake her own wedding cake, but she also made her guests’ trio of desserts for the wedding breakfast (she admits she likes a challenge). Better still, Danielle’s Aunty is a florist so as well as lots of sweet treats, her wedding day was brimming with beautiful blooms all carefully arranged by her talented relative.
The day as a whole looks like an incredibly loved-up, emotional and fun-filled affair set against a well styled backdrop.
We must also congratulate the happy couple on the fantastic news that they are expecting their first baby in September. All together now…ahhhh!
With images by Alexandra Holt Photography.
danielle says: We got engaged at the place where we met! Jack took me back to London where we had met at a student ambassador event. He got down on one knee in a lovely snowy park and I had no idea. I cried. A lot! He had then arranged for all of my friends to be at the friend’s house we were staying a, and they had organised an engagement party to celebrate! Later we went for posh cocktails up a super high building in London. All in all, the perfect engagement.
Our wedding day was 23rd August 2014. We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and also because it was a bank holiday weekend.
We got married at St Olaves Church in York. We chose it because even though neither of us are from York originally, it was now our home and where we wanted to bring our family up. The church was suggested to us by a friend and we went along to meet the vicar and congregation and they were all lovely. Our reception venue was the beautiful Hornington Manor where we had a Papakata tepee.
We didn’t have a themeas such, we just went for a rustic/vintage feel. Coming from an arty background, we made a lot of the decorations ourselves and felt this made it extra special! We chose the style because neither of us really like anything matching, and it seemed to fit our creative personalities. We didn’t have a colour scheme either – just lots of it! Pastels mainly but some brights thrown in there too.
I chose my dress from a bridal shop called Elizabeth of York in York. It was probably only the second or third dress I tried on and it was perfect! Lace all over, a long (ish) train and quite fitted at the top.
We hired a vintage cream VW Beetle for myself and my dad to get to the church and the boys had a VW camper van in black. They were hired from LoveDubz Campers in York – the friendliest car company people ever! We also hired a vintage double decker bus for our guests. This was from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company.
Our photographer was an old friend of mine called Alex Holt. She is the most amazing photographer and I couldn’t recommend her enough. She gets shots when you don’t even know she’s there and every single one was perfect! They took my breath away – I couldn’t believe it was our wedding!
Luckily, my Auntie is the best florist in the world, so she did my flowers for me. We had a lot of flowers! Mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were hand tied bouquets of wild flowers with lots of colours and variations of flowers. Beautiful.
My Auntie also did the reception flowers for me. I went along to the wholesalers and choose hundreds of flowers and then she worked her magic! We had lots of vases scattered over all of the tables, hanging bird cages filled with flowers and lanterns lining the pathway to our wedding reception filled with flowers too.
As a baker by trade I’m a lover of all things sweet so for favours I used small jars with lids and filled them with yummy gourmet popcorn then labelled each jar with the guest’s name.
I made my own wedding cake as it’s what I do every day! We had a simple three tiered stacked cake and covered it in ribbons and fresh flowers. I didn’t want to make life too complicated for myself!
Our wedding breakfast and evening food was provided by a company called The Hog and Apple. We had a delicious starter of ham hock terrine and a main of roast meats and posh veg! I made the trio of desserts myself (I like a challenge!) and we had mini cheesecakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and tiramisu heart stacks. The evening food was a hog roast which was divine!
When our guests arrived at our wedding reception we had a beautiful acoustic guitarist/singer called Jonny Woodhead who played to our guests whilst they had arrival drinks. We then had a band in the evening called The Hot Jazz Biscuitsand they were amazing! We had our own laptop and playlist for after the band had finished. Perfect!
As a special touch on the day my family had arranged to let a helium balloon off for my Mum who we lost when I was 18. It was a really nice surprise for me and made the day extra special.
Our wedding reception was held in the garden of a Manor House called Hornington Manor near York and it was held in a teepee. The teepee company Papakata were truly fantastic and I would highly recommend them!We would highly recommend both our wedding venue and reception venue to other couples as they were fantastic. Hornington Manor is a great huge house that you can hire out. There are around 16 self-catering rooms where all the family could stay and made the long bank holiday weekend an extra special one!
I think the ceremony was my favorite part of the day. Emotional, meaningful and perfectly suited.
We went to Cornwall on our honeymoon which was lovely. Jack had hired us a camper van for a few of the nights which was a nice surprise and I then surprised him with a trip to Monza, Italy, to see the Formula 1 (he is a huge fan!) as it was his 30th birthday whilst we were away.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to do as much as you can yourself without causing yourself too much stress! Don’t be scared to shop around either – there are things that you won’t want to skimp on but others that you might be able to get some good bargains on if you shop around!
alexandra holt photography, brides up north featured supplier, coast, colourful wedding, diy wedding, elizabeth of york, hornington manor, lovedubz campers, outdoor wedding, papakata, papakata wedding, peter werth, teepee wedding, the hog and apple, the hot jazz biscuits, yorkshire heritage bus company
May 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Ashleigh didn’t want just one shade or her colourful wedding day so instead decided to add depth and interest with gorgeous tones of red, purple and Brides Up North favourite – hot pink!
But it isn’t just the flowers that standout – what an incredibly good looking wedding party! Mark looks the model groom in his dapper blue suit and tan brogues while the maids are pretty in pink with their striking floral headpieces. And then there’s the star of the show Ashleigh, who wore a stunning Ellis gown and glam makeup.
Prepare to get well jel!
With images by Little Miss Boyco Photography.
ashleigh says: We got engaged in Portugal on Mark’s birthday, 13th June 2012. We were on a very quiet beach when Mark asked me to go in the sea, I was reluctant as it was very cold but he jumped straight in. I was standing on the water’s edge when he dived out of the sea, with the ring in his pocket, and got down on one knee. As we had just bought our first home it was completely unexpected. We made our way back up to our apartment as I was too excited and wanted to call my family and friends. Mark had champagne waiting for us for when we got back from the beach.
After visiting various venues in the North East I fell in love with Close House. We set our date originally for March 2015. A few weeks later after paying our deposit we were asked to move our date forward as Close House were closing after October 2014. We chose 10th October 2014.
We got married at Holy Trinity Church, Seghill. This is the church my grandparents got married at in 1953. The daytime was spent in Close House and our evening venue was the golf house, No.19. Close House is very grand with large fireplaces and gorgeous chandeliers compared to No.19 which is very modern. This gave two different themes and separated the daytime to an evening party.
I didn’t want a certain colour theme. Originally I chose very pale, pastel colours for my flowers, but when the date changed I decided darker colours would better suit the time of year. The golf house is mainly decorated in red. I wanted the flowers for the tables to tie in with the colour of the room. Therefore my flowers were red, purples and hot pink. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want one certain shade of colour as a ‘theme’.
I knew I wanted my dress to be a little different as most brides do. I chose a fish tail Ellis dress with a cut out back. After ordering my dress we realised it was the same brand of dress my mother wore. I originally wanted a strapless dress but decided on a dress with long lacy sleeves with satin buttons. With the wedding now being October a sleeved dress would be practical for the weather. My dress was bought in New Beginnings, Whitley Bay.
Mark won a suit by T.M Lewin, for being ‘best dressed male’ at Newcastle races in 2013. As he had the choice of a free suit, shirt, tie and cufflinks, we decided he would use this for his wedding suit. He chose a bright blue suit, white shirt and blue tie and was a perfect fit.
We used Mark’s suit and matched the colour with a range of slim fit suits from Next for the groomsmen.
For the bridesmaids I originally wanted them to have different dresses but struggled to find five to go together. I decided to have my sister and cousin in short dresses and my three friends in long dresses from the same range in Coast.
Our photographer, Wiesia Bojko of Little Miss Boyco Photography, was recommended by one of my bridesmaids. We met over a coffee and I love the relaxed feel she has to her work. I didn’t want a photographer to take up a lot of the day taking group photographs. I prefer more natural shots, catching people enjoying themselves. I would definitely recommend her work.
My flowers were from the Flower Cabin in Seaton Delaval. I went in with an idea and a few pictures and the girls created exactly what I wanted. For my something old I used my Grandma’s earrings, which were bought for her by my Granddad on their 60th wedding anniversary. They had dark purple stones which added depth to my flowers. My bouquet had unusual flowers which felt like velvet. I had a structured bouquet bound with lace. My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of mine with a lighter purple through. The bridesmaids also has fresh flowers in their hair, positioned on an oversized comb.
For the wedding reception we had eight tables for the guests. We had four large candelabras with pearls draped over and a wreath of flowers surrounded by candles. The other four tables had low smaller wreaths with the flowers from the Flower Cabin, but made by my grandma. I used the same decorations for the tables for the evening. The top table was covered in different styles of glass jars and candles filled with flowers.
The favours were chocolates made by The Chocolate Smiths. For the ladies I had white chocolate with champagne and strawberry filling, heart shaped lollies with ‘10/10/14’ piped on the front. The men had chocolate and salted caramel lollies some with popcorn pieces. Mark’s niece the flower girl filled her goody bag with most of the guests’ lollies!
The entertainment was singer Glen Roughead. We first saw Glen performing at a wedding fair in Newton Hall. We booked him straight after. We continued to follow his work leading up to the wedding going to various gigs around the North East. He’s a lovely lad with a great talent. He played three acoustic sets during the time the guests arrived to Close House.
For our first dance we chose an acoustic version of Little Things by One Direction. We knew we didn’t just want to stand on the dance floor so three weeks before we decided to go for some lessons. Newcastle dance centre is where we went, and with our instructor Michael we made up a two minute routine to get us around the floor. This was my mother’s favourite part of the wedding as we kept it a surprise.
After getting married on the Friday, my parents had an after party on the Sunday at their house. We were blessed with good weather all weekend and this continued the wedding right over the weekend. We laughed about the wedding and looked at pictures from the day. We packed our cases on the Monday and left for a two-week honeymoon to Mexico on the Tuesday morning.
As an engagement gift I was given a wedding planning book. This was used throughout planning and organising the wedding so I kept everything together. It was an invaluable tool and I would encourage other Brides Up North to get one and do the same, keeping all receipts and leaflets in one place.
May 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom knew that they couldn’t guarantee sunshine at their October wedding and so instead of relying on the weather to provide some rays, the clever couple created their own in the form of bright bridesmaid dresses, vibrant flowers and sunny decorations.
Their chosen venue was the Crab & Lobster in Thirsk, an incredibly quirky hotel and restaurant which Stacey and Andrew agree suited them perfectly. And so while they let the venue speak for itself, they brought their own style to the day with their fabulous attire – Stacey in her cute vintage style dress and Andrew in his handsome grey and navy get-up. Their leading lads and ladies didn’t scrub up half bad either!
And Stacey scored extra bride brownie points by getting Andrew a puppy as a wedding day gift – ladies, take note!
With images by Shutter Go..Click Photography.
stacey says: We got engaged in Paris in March 2013. Andrew surprised me with a trip to Paris and we stayed in the most gorgeous hotel ‘Secret de Paris’ where all the rooms are themed on different Paris landmarks. On the first night we ate at a great restaurant called Bones and then at midnight we visited the Louvre museum where Andrew proposed, after which a French couple cycled past and shouted congratulations! It was amazing apart from my ring being so big it wouldn’t even fit my thumb so I couldn’t wear it for the rest of the trip (or for another month after whilst it got remade).
We got married on 19th October 2014 which was 11 years since our first date. Our wedding was at the Crab & Lobster in Thirsk, Yorkshire – we loved the venue and the food is amazing. We didn’t fancy a traditional white wedding and I think the decor and atmosphere was just perfect for us.
There wasn’t a specific theme we just wanted to be relaxed, not too formal and good fun. We wanted things we liked too, not just things you should have at a wedding.
In terms of colour we had a really colourful wedding. The main colour which ran through everything, from the stationary to the bridesmaids and flowers was yellow. I really love yellow and have a yellow diamond in my engagement ring so wanted to emphasise this. Also with the wedding being in October the chances of sun was slim so I knew that I would always have sunshine with my lovely bridesmaids.
I love navy blue too so the boys went with that and then we had a bit of everything in the flowers. Crab Manor is full of colourful pieces of decor so it suited it really nicely.
I had a tea length dress that I got from Bride & Co in my home town of Hull, the girls there we’re lovely and the whole experience at Bride & Co was fab. I knew I wanted a short dress, I don’t know why but I always did. I tried other styles but this was the one. It had a little jacket, which I wore through the day then I whipped it off for the evening and it was party time!
Andrew wore a mix and match grey and navy outfit with trousers and jacket from Reiss, a waistcoat from Ted Baker and shoes from Paul Smith. The bridesmaids wore amazing yellow shift dresses we bought from ASOS, it was good fun doing bridesmaid shopping – we did one day out and one massive online order all from the high street. They picked their own shoes and went for blue pointy courts. They all looked great and got loads of compliments.
The men matched Andrew apart from the waistcoat, he bought them both shoes as their thank you gifts so they were different too.
We stayed at Crab Manor the evening before the wedding so it made it much easier, no transport required! It also gave us a chance to start the celebrations earlier with a lunch with guests and get final preparations done, whilst having a few glasses of bubbly and enjoying the hot tub too!
Our photographer was Ryan at Shutter Go..Click Photography. I found it really hard to find a photographer but absolutely loved Ryan’s style as soon as I saw some of his work. He was really friendly and good fun from the start and just got our style. I’d definitely recommend Ryan and have already passed on his details to others.
My bridesmaids and I carried mixed hand tied bouquets that were made for us by my friend and her mum who used to be florists. The most unusual thing in the bouquet was artichokes, some open flowers and some closed, they were really striking. The button holes were made by Stacey and Barbara too, I can remember getting to the ceremony and seeing Andrew’s button hole for the first time, it was lovely and it made one of my favourite photos too.
The venue is already jam packed with all sorts of vintage finds from a diver to old fashioned beer pumps so we didn’t need to go mad with table designs.I opted to do the table décor myself including flowers which was fun – many hours spent on Pinterest!
My mum and mother-in-law made it their mission to collect old bottles and vases and I ended up with such an eclectic mix, I then went for single or double stems dotted along the tables and central points, cake table, post box etc. I chose my flowers by picking some key pieces from my bouquet including Miss Piggy roses, yellow craspedia and Scottish thistles and I got them from Dave in Leeds market. It was great I popped in two weeks before, ordered what I wanted and collected them the morning before the wedding, we even picked more on the day just in case!
Whilst the boys were in the hot tub my room was a hive of activity the evening before the wedding cutting stems, adding water to vases and grouping items together for tables, making sure everything was just right. I couldn’t have done it without my bridesmaids; Amy, Ellie and Rose and my lovely friends Kate and Steph. We also decorated the aisle with massive crepe paper flowers that we had made in advance, they went a bit floppy but still added a lovely pop of colour.
For favours we went for a little box with two chocolates each – I never even ate mine! We got our mums lovely bouquets, our dads got tie clips that they could wear on the day and our niece and nephew got some glow stick wands to help them bust moves on the dance floor. My bridesmaids got little goody bags which included some gorgeous personalised bracelets which were hand made by my lovely mother-in-law Liz. Since then she’s set up an Etsy shop as everyone loved them.
Cake was an interactive part of our wedding, we invited our guests to join in ‘The Great Wedding Bake Off’ and ended up with about 15 cakes. It looked amazing! Me and my friends found old plate sets and pink glasses in a charity shop and the cake stands were superglued together the night the before and luckily made it through the day.
For the big cake cutting event we doubled up cake with evening food by having a three tiered cake of cheese and a giant Wilson’s pork pie. It went down a treat and there wasn’t even a crumb left.
Our ceremony was at 12 noon and wedding breakfast was at 4pm so we needed nibbles, rather than canapés. We organised a leg of parma ham and some n’duja, a spreadable spicy salami – by the time we were back from wedding duties there was nothing left!
For our wedding breakfast we had some absolutely gorgeous food, one of the reasons we picked Crab and Lobster. Starters were smoked roast salmon or a goat’s cheese tart, which came with mustard ice cream – we’d tried this before in the restaurant and knew we had to have it. For main it was lamb shank or halibut with a crab and coriander crust and a gorgeous saffron and lobster bisque – mmm! Desert was a simple fruit crumble and everyone had to leave room for cake!
We had Prosecco throughout the day for toasts, I much prefer it to champagne. In the evening Andrew and I had our own special bottles of fizz behind the bar called Nyetimber which is an English wine and will be our special occasion wine forever.
For entertainment we thought more about the day than the evening as we had a good few hours in between the ceremony and wedding breakfast. We hired a magician called Chris Kendal who was magic! Chris kept our guests entertained and blew my mind, that was Andrew’s decision and it was a great part of the day. We also made use of the grounds and had a mini golf competition, I even had a go in my dress. It kept everyone busy and apart from one small injury everyone enjoyed themselves.
In the evening we opted for a juke box rather than a DJ it added another element of interaction for our guests and it just looked really cool.
Crab Manor has a secret beer tap that we had found the day before our wedding so we let our guests know where they can grab a sneaky beer. We also had a photo booth in the evening and got our wedding guests to write messages alongside their pictures. I love looking back at it, it’s funny because you can tell the booze was flowing on some of them. We had a bubbles and sparklers instead of confetti to make more interesting photos.
We would most definitely recommend the Crab and Lobster to other wedding couples. Brilliant location, lovely staff, the perfect backdrop to a wedding.
Andrew’s favourite part of the day (on top of getting married) was when during a jukebox disc change our friend Aaron walked into a silent dancefloor and belted out the first line of We’ve Lost That Loving Feeling from Top Gun. It was perfect timing and had everyone in hysterics. Our joint worst part of the day was our first dance, it was so cringe worthy! We chose Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing. However a few hours later was our second first dance and that was one of my favourite parts, everyone singing along to Take That, Never Forget.
We went to Gaya Island in Borneo for two weeks for our honeymoon. It was an idyllic island where you could do as much or as little as you wanted. I think our grand plans of activities melted away when the warm sun hit our bodies though and we just enjoyed the relaxation of it all. We did a bit of kayaking and a few jungle hikes, we saw orangutans and ate loads of amazing food. It was the perfect place for a honeymoon and if we ever travelled to Borneo again we would have to go back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – enjoy it all, don’t sweat the small stuff, no one will notice and if you get stuck just ask, ask anyone, everyone loves a wedding and will feel happy to be able to get involved.
I got Andrew a puppy for his wedding gift and it was a complete surprise so that was an exciting part of the day too. We collected Ralph the day we got back from honeymoon and he has been a brilliant addition to married life!
April 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime
image by Laura Power Photography
As we head full steam into the summer months ahead we’re hoping the British weather is going to be kind to us so that we can finally ditch the monochrome winter wardrobe once and for all and start wearing more colourful clobber.
Talking of which, today we welcome somewhat of a colour connoisseur to the Brides Up North pages to take part in our Style Profile feature. Introducing,
jess turley, co-founder of the fabulous Bespoke Bride.
Now here’s a girl with incredible style that’s not afraid to stand out with her vibrant outfit choices no matter what season it is. Here Jess shares her fashion fixes and crushes along with her some of her top wedding picks. She’s certainly inspired us to inject some colour into our wardrobes and we hope you’ll be doing the same.
If this doesn’t brighten up your day, nothing will! Take it away Jess…
How would you describe your nine ‘til five style and what are your key work wardrobe pieces?
jess says: I would describe my nine ‘til five style as very casual. If I’m working from home, I like to make sure I’m comfy but am still wearing something that makes me feel motivated! So often you’ll find me in bright colourful jumpers teamed with a bold statement necklace and a comfy pair of leggings or ripped jeans!
If we’re working out for the day or are meeting up with other fab industry suppliers then I love to wear feminine pleated skirts to dress up an outfit. As for shoes I’d normally throw on something with a wedge heel to give myself a bit of height without losing too much comfort!
What would you wear for a night out drinking cocktails with the girls?
For a night out drinking cocktails I’m most likely to wear a maxi skirt with a strappy crop top or alternatively a pretty playsuit. Again, I’d be teaming it with a pair of comfy shoes so either a wedge shoe or a block heel and probably a blazer.
If you were currently planning your wedding what would be your top picks in terms of styling, attire, accessories and blooms?
If you didn’t already know from our blog, I am obsessed with colour so a plain white wedding dress just wouldn’t be an option for me, I would need something a little more vibrant going on and to me, ombre dresses are perfect for that!
I would then continue that colourful theme throughout the styling with fun place settings and vibrant table runners teamed with an array colours, but mostly several different shades of pink.
For the blooms I really love bouquets that are a real selection of flowers but also have a few succulents in the mix, I think it gives the bouquet a little something different, and of course it would have to be filled with beautiful bold colours (no surprise there!).
For the accessories I know I would be asking the fabulous Crown and Glory to make a custom floral headband or crown to sit upon my head all day with colours that matched my bouquet and the dress! I think I’d keep it simple with the shoes and wear a block colour pair of wedges or heels, probably in a vibrant pink!
Clockwise from top left: Heels from Topshop| image found on target.com via ohjoy.blogs.com, photography by Laure Joliet| dress by Synderela Story, photography Amber Gress| headband from Crown and Glory.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
Mostly Pinterest, I have a style board that I pin anything that catches my eye to, then when I’m struggling to put together an outfit I’ll check back there for reference! I also find Lookbook really helpful with fashion inspiration, I keep the app on my phone too so I can have a browse from time to time!
Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and why?
I used to think my dream honeymoon destination would be Mexico, because it’s my favourite place to visit, however because I’ve been there a lot I think it would be nice to go somewhere extra special for my honeymoon, probably somewhere really secluded like the Maldives or Bora Bora so that we could really relax, snorkel, and soak up the sun. I really like the idea of honeymoon time being all about each other more than exploring the destination, I’d like to think we have our whole lives to explore the rest of the world but that time would really be about us as a couple.
Who is currently your favourite fashion designer and why?
I don’t really follow fashion designers but the first person that popped into my mind when I read that question was Kate Spade, I just love how bold and colourful her pieces are!
What current wedding trends are you a fan of and why?
I absolutely adore geometric themes, bold and colourful colour schemes or something Aztec or Mexican, although my favourite weddings are always the ones where you can tell a whole lot about the couple just from the wedding because their personalities are splashed all over it!
Which celebrities’ style do you admire and why?
I really like the way Cheryl Cole dresses, she always looks classy and feminine! I also love the way most of her outfits come in at the waist, that’s something I like to do often with high waisted skirts and jeans.
Another celeb who’s style I love is Katy Perry, it can be pretty wacky at times but I always love how fun and colourful her outfits are!
What is your key piece in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?
My teal green pleated maxi skirt from Zara, I absolutely adore how long and flowy it is and I can be totally bloated in it and you wouldn’t even know! Ha! So it ticks all the boxes for me, it’s comfortable, colourful and flattering.
What areas of a wedding would you splurge on the most and why?
100% photography and videography! I cannot express how important those two factors will be in my own wedding, they’re pretty much the only two things about your day that will last you a lifetime!
April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.
I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!
rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré–Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!
We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.
The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.
Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.
After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.
It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.
The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.
We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!
Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.
Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!
The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.
Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.
Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!
As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!
As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!
We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.
For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!
It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.
Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!
As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.
We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.
It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!
Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).
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