September 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime
A little later than planned (we’ve been in recovery from another very busy weekend of wonderful wedding inspiration!), but worth waiting for, we bring you the super gorgeous wedding of Brides Up North reader Julia and her brand new husband Alex. Inspired by the colours and tones of their one time Italian home, this beautiful, colourful wedding is an absolute feast for the senses.
Prepare for a Pinterest frenzy.
With beautiful images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
julia says: We were living in Italy at the time we got engaged. Disguising a trip home as ‘lads university reunion’ Alex assembled the ‘Ring Squad’ – made up of his parents, brother and very lovely cousin to help choose a ring for me. The jewellers were Michael Levin of Nottingham who specialise in antique pieces, which I’d long before fallen for on a shopping trip to the city.
Living in Milan at the time, Alex had planned a trip down to Rome for my birthday – unbeknownst to me he was ducking into the toilet on the train trying to call my dad at every opportunity to ask him for permission to marry me! On our second night in Rome, Alex asked me to come out onto our balcony that was picked intentionally with its towering view of the Eternal City, as we were getting ready to go out. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife and pulled out the most beautifully sparkly ring I have ever seen. We both burst into tears. I said ‘yes’ of course and celebrated by heading out for a really romantic dinner. We were in such a bubble, it was incredible. We delayed telling our friends and family until the next day (we let our parents know), so that we could truly live in the moment that we’d created.
We knew we wanted to get married in the summer, and I was under strict instructions from Alex to avoid the football season due to our football mad families. We set our hearts on 6th June 2015 – which is actually D-Day! One week after the conclusion of the Premiership season!
We’ve had many romantic weeks and even a few New Year’s Eves in Windermere up in the Lake District over our 6 year relationship. It’s also somewhere we used to go as kids with our families before we met – weirdly enough! We both decided on the Lakes pretty early in the planning – we’re both from the North (me from Liverpool and Alex from Bradford) so we wanted somewhere meaningful but a middle ground. We saw a few venues in the area before we came across the Merewood Country House Hotel. It had the stunning views of Windermere we wanted, plus it was such a historic mansion (once the home of the Earl of Lonsdale) with beautiful interiors. Once we met Lorna (the fierce Scottish manager!) we knew it was meant to be. She went out of her way to make things happen for us and it was like coming home every time we came to visit the venue. Once we tasted the food that was it, we signed on the dotted line.
I am Catholic and it was really important to me to get married in a church. We tied the knot at Sacred Heart Catholic church in Coniston perched above the lake. It was a very Cumbrian looking slate church with gorgeous stained glass windows. Father Bob was really good at making the service enjoyable for people who weren’t religious; we had so many moving comments from guests about the ceremony and it was really inclusive.
Our wedding day was inspired by a weekend we had in Cinque Terre when we were still living in Italy. It was a year to the day until we got married and we walked between the stunning Italian towns on the coast. They’re five fishing towns in Liguria made up of warm copper colours, with yellow and pinks, with lots of luscious plants and the sea close by. It was a very romantic weekend and I was really inspired by the tones. My flowers by Jane Thompson at Flower Design, reflected these colours and included many Italian foliage. Our wines and some of the menu also had a subtle Italian theme. I even propped my mood board for Jane in the hallway of the Merewood on the day.
Our colour scheme was coral and greens – I wanted to remind us of the stunning Mediterranean colours and vibrancy of Cinque Terre – even though we were celebrating with guests in the English Lakes, it really worked with the beauty of another special place for Alex and I.
For my wedding gown, I knew I wanted something fitted, but elegant. I tried on a few ballgowns and they really didn’t suit my curvy figure, so I narrowed my search down to sweetheart neckline with a trumpet style fit and flare gown. I went to about 5 shops with my mum and bridesmaids and left empty handed, sadly. A few weeks later, on a whim my mum and I went to Society Brides in Liverpool city centre and they had just received Sophia Tolli’s dreamy lace Brienne and they persuaded me to try it on. It was meant to be, it was the one for me.
My veil was a two-tiered veil from Richard Designs. I wanted the drama of a chapel length veil for our church wedding but also the blusher over my face, which I could flick back and wear all day. My headpiece was from Glitzy Secrets and the flowers worked really well with the lace of my dress. My shoes and earrings were from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. The shoes were so comfortable; I danced in them all night long.
My signature scent was the spicy and oriental Calincantus by the ancient apothecary Santa Maria Novella in Florence. I wear it on special occasions now, Alex loves it too. I also wore a vintage pearl bracelet from the gorgeous antique jewellers in Nottingham which is where all our rings are from.
Alex is into his style so he knew early on that he wanted a tailored three-piece suit in navy blue. I found Michelsberg Tailors in Leeds’ Victoria Arcade on a wedding blog, and the process began. He even had a shirt tailored with his initials ‘AB’ on the cuffs. Why should the brides have all the fun?!
I bought him some solid silver cufflinks in the shape of white roses (the symbol of Yorkshire for my Yorkshire groom) from an amazing lady on Etsy called Sarah-Jane Egan based in Caerphilly. He wore black Loake’s dress shoes and a pistachio green tie from Reiss.
My three bridesmaids wore coral convertible dresses which were actually from New Look. They all wore them differently to suit their figures and they were all floor length versions. I loved how they looked with their bouquets and they swished around the dance floor in them all night. Their shoes were strappy light gold sandals from Dune and I bought them rose gold tear-drop earrings to wear on the day.
The groomsmen wore navy blue two-piece suits from Charles Trywhitt in Leeds with silk green ties with leaves on them.
Our two flower girls – one was my niece, Catherine and the other was Alex’s cousin’s little girl, Sophie – wore pretty ivory dresses and shoes from John Lewis. I made their headbands with flowers from H&M and a very interesting few hours with a glue gun in my parents’ kitchen.
The day was wonderful because the start was so chilled. In the morning myself, my mum and my three bridesmaids donned our floral robes and sipped prosecco. Lorna set up a table in the bridal suite for me and the bridesmaids to have breakfast which was lovely. It was great to start the day so relaxed and looked after. We had so much fun with utterly adorable Katie Tweedale our hairdresser for the day, and the fabulous Bridget Foster on make-up who were loving our 1990s playlist and our Liverpudlian humour!
But our (joint!) real favourite part of the day was turning around to our guests in the church as we were about to walk down the aisle to see their faces when our brother in law Richard began to play us out to ‘Match of the Day’ on his piano! No one expected it and both families are huge football fans so we got a great reaction – even some high 5s as we made our way out of the church! That was such a proud and fun moment for both of us – we literally floated out of the church.
Our guests had come from far and wide – even as far as the USA and Italy so we wanted everyone to relax. We hired a Routemaster bus from Classic Buses to collect everyone at the Merewood and take the guests to and from the church. I sourced a vintage ticket clipper for my bus geek of an Uncle Brian who was able to clip pretend tickets for everyone getting on the bus with the help of his granddaughter. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more!
I travelled to the church with my parents and my 4-year-old niece in a 1937 Rolls Royce which was fabulous and owned by the lovely Tony Henderson at Lakeland Wedding Cars. I felt no nerves travelling to the church and the scenery was really gorgeous. Alex and I then travelled back in the car to the Merewood and sipped a few glasses of bubbles in the back. We got a lot of waves and cheers from the mountain climbers and walkers en route.
Our photographer was James Tracey. He’d shot a wedding of a friend a few years back in Manchester’s Victoria Baths and I loved his style. He captured all the emotions of a wedding day and we booked him very early on in the process. Our pre-shoot in April was really fun with James, even though it was blowing a gale in Manchester, he still made us laugh and we loved the photos. On our wedding day, James brought along the lovely Daniel Lloyd Photography who assisted on the day. The two of them were really good at getting in there and getting on with things and letting us get back to our guests. We really appreciated that. I’d recommend both of them, we love the vibrancy and realness of our photographs.
My flowers were my favourite things about the day (after marrying the love of my life, of course!) We chose Jane Thompson at Flower Design early on – she’s based in Blackpool and made time for us on our flying visits back from Italy. Jane totally got what we wanted from our wedding day. In our pre-meet a few weeks before the meeting she made prototypes of my bouquet and the table settings. It was a wrench to give my prototype bouquet back!
My bouquet included coral & bowl of cream peonies, viburnum opulus, fresh lily of the valley, apricot hyacinths, olive foliage, juliet & patience roses from David Austin, white hydrangeas, sperengerii, eucalyptus, umbrella fern, sweet peas and lovely fragrant rosemary. The peonies changed throughout the day and opened up, I really loved how they looked and the scent was to die for.
All the groomsmen’s’ boutonnieres were totally different. Alex commented that his white peony looked like a scoop of gelato (ice-cream)!
In the church we had posies to match the flowers in the bouquets, tied in little jars at the pew-ends. These were then transported to the Merewood and dotted around the reception.
The Merewood’s dining tables were decorated with the gorgeous crystal cake plinths topped with relaxed designs featuring a stunning combination of roses, peonies, hydrangeas, gloriosa rothschild and sweet peas and foliage with Italian Olive foliage, with real peaches and apricots scattered about. Jane used the same flowers on the top table in a range of different glass vases and vessels, they were so pretty in the afternoon sunlght. We chose low flower displays so our guests could enjoy the Lakeland countryside from the Merewood’s huge windows.
We took lots of our flowers to our minimoon hotel which was close by and scattered them around our suite. They lasted until the end of the minimoon!
We used the very patient Kerry from Project Pretty in Chester for our Save the Dates and invitations, the green backgrounds and coral flowers hinted at our colour scheme. Kerry also made the menus for each table which we stood up on old Prosecco corks we collected in Italy. Kerry was really easy to work with, even after our many amends on countless proofs!
I also designed the order of services for the church and my mum got these printed out in Liverpool. I collected family wedding photographs from both sets of parents of their own weddings and the weddings of their parents and they took pride of place in the hall way of the Merewood next to Alex’s Roman head which he has had since he was about 15! I also covered the J & A with special paper and glue to sit alongside these bits in the hallway of the Merewood to make it more personal.
The gold calligraphy table numbers were handmade in Texas by Tina at Better Off Wed. I loved how they looked against the flowers. We also hired gold Cheltenham chairs from Lancashire Event Hire, they tied in with the gold tones throughout the day.
I made the table plan from scratch and printed the table cards myself. I found the frame in a charity shop and painted it and bought the lace to string the tables onto it from a craft shop. The table plan sat on a really ornate gold easel from Megan at Typical Type. I loved how it turned out! We also hired a huge light up heart from Megan at Typical Type, this was really fun later on on the dancefloor and we got some great group shots after hours with it!
I also made the confetti out of coloured tissue paper and the confetti cones out of doilies which everyone used outside the church. We went bright on colour because you never know how the weather will be in the Lakes. I was really happy with the colours!
My bridesmaid Kate made the card sign which we hung on a vintage wicker picnic basket and bunting out of gorgeously pretty floral material, it looked so lovely on the day. I also bought tasseling for the sweet table and pom poms from Decopoms on Etsy which were dotted around the bar area.
Instead of favours we had a sweet table which my bridesmaid Claire organised the sweets for. She has a massive sweet tooth! We hired the jars and containers from local wedding stylist Amy Brunton at Sure to Surprise You and Amy styled the dresser with lace and pearls. I bought some peachy tasseling from Etsy to go along the sweet table.
Alex is a Yorkshire boy and one of our first dates was in Betty’s York on August 1st 2009. We decided early on that the cake would be from Betty’s, choosing between them was the hard part. In the end we went for three-tiered cake with two layers of their famous fondant fancies and the top layer was iced Swiss Sacher chocolate and apricot cake. It came with the most stunning solid silver cake stand and knife which were nearly 100 years old.
Lorna saved us two cakes and we ate these the next day in our suite with some champagne at the Gilpin and wallowed in the love.
We chose The Twentysomethings after researching and finding them online. They’re a covers band with great vocals and a trumpeter and saxophonist so they played all sorts from Prince to Daft Punk and Shaka Khan. It was really easy to work with Daniel and the band to get the set list right. Everyone danced all night, it was wonderful to see everyone letting their hair down and partying with us.
Music played a big part in our day. We had a close family friend, Richard, who is a super talented pianist play the music in the church. I entered to a really special song for both of us, the Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘To Build A Home’, and we left the church on a high with ‘Match of the Day’. It was amazing to have him play for us during these special moments.
Our first dance was to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ – they’re one of our favourite bands and we learned a fun 2 minute routine with Emma-Joy at All Steps who visited our house to teach us. Our guests loved it and it really set the tone for the night – the second song was ‘You Can Call Me Al’ for Alex! Everyone went crazy for that!
I would whole-heartedly recommend the Merewood, it’s intimate enough to feel like home but grand enough to really make the day special. Lorna and her team quite frankly know their weddings so if something really won’t work they’ll tell you and suggest an alternative. That’s really helpful during wedding planning. They looked after every single guest and worked so hard to make everything run smoothly. Planning a wedding from aboard can be tough, but Lorna and the team at the Merewood were great over email and kept us updated on things.
We spent 3 romantic days at the Gilpin Lodge near Windermere in a garden suite with our private hot-tube, next to a very interested family of llamas. It was lovely to be surrounded by Jane’s flowers and to read our cards and open our gifts. We enjoyed lots of great food and some lovely spa treatments, as well as a cruise on Windermere.
Our proper honeymoon or maximoon is in October this year and we are going to India for three weeks. We’ll visit India’s spiritual centre in Rishikesh (the home of yoga), the have a few days in Delhi, then head to Agra and the Taj Mahal, then we’ll go on safari in Ranthambore and hopefully see some tigers, followed by a few nights in Jaipur (the Pink City) and Udaipur to the stunning lake. We both love India food and adventure.
Make time for each other throughout the day were you take in everything that is going on around you. It goes in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to have a few parts of the day alone to appreciate what you have achieved and what it means now for both of you. The amazingness has just begun, really.
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July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom are currently living outside of the UK due to spouse visa restrictions which have caused them and their families a lot of heartache. Their wedding was bittersweet as their friends realised that they had to leave the country because they were getting married, which made it all the more important that their celebration was extra special.
Hilary and Mike proved that your big day doesn’t have to cost the earth in order to have the time of your lives. Full of original styling touches, hand made elements and bursts of bright colour, Hilary & Mike’s perfectly personal quirky wedding day reflects their individuality beautifully.
Images by Eleanor Woodruff Photography.
hilary says: Our engagement story is absolutely hilarious and, according to our friends, no one could botch it quite like we did. We were on holiday in Cap Ferret, France in June 2013, and Mike had been secretly planning this for ages… he’d organised the barbecue, the beach, and even the sunset, but when it came to the critical moment he realised he’d forgotten to buy a ring or phrase the question! So looking rather ill (“food poisoning”), he steered the conversation towards “What the Bible says about marriage…”, much to my bewilderment. He finally managed to ask, “So… how ’bout it then?” To be fair, I didn’t get the answering part right either – I laughed and thought he was joking, then sobered up and said yes, then cried and said no, then walked down to the other end of the beach to think about it, and finally came back half an hour later with a definite yes.
We got married on Saturday 12th July 2014. We chose Left Bank Leeds for our venue, ultimately for the price and the DIY aspect of the space – which meant that we could rent the building for the day and move furniture around in between the ceremony and the reception, saving us paying for two venues and worrying about transport in between! We had an incredible team of friends resetting the hall for us while guests had drinks and photos taken outside. That Left Bank is a beautiful old church building which was another plus point for us as Christians.
We didn’t really have a theme, unless you count “a tight budget” as one! When planning the wedding we were a little daunted by the perfect, fairytale weddings we were seeing everywhere – we’re the least “bridal” couple we know, and as you might have guessed from our engagement story, far from perfect. In the end we just went with what reflected our personality best and made us feel most comfortable, which meant lots of origami flowers in recycled wine bottles, tea lights in jam jars we’d collected all year, and haphazard splashes of bright colour everywhere. This actually made it the perfect wedding for us because it represented our crazy and pragmatic sides so much better.
We used royal blue as a backdrop to hold all the splashes of brighter colour together, and also because everyone in the bridal party looked good in it – a bigger consideration than you might think in mixed race marriages!
My dress was from BHS and tailored to size by the lovely Sophie Davies Tailoring. Being 4’11” dress shopping is difficult at the best of times, and I’d got to the point where I was trying on First Communion dresses when I found this one, in the most unlikely of places! It was everything I wanted – a beautiful muted colour from the creamy lace material and champagne lining, not wider than I am tall and with straps to alleviate my fears of a wardrobe malfunction. Sophie did some magic and made the dress fit like a glove, also shortening it (by about a foot) from the waist to save the lace hem – something that a different tailor I had originally gone to wouldn’t do. She is incredibly talented and I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.
My shoes were from New Look and specifically chosen to narrow the foot and a half in height difference between me and Mike! It meant that I had some difficulty walking downhill but it was a small price to pay.
Mike is 6’4″ and has different problems altogether when buying clothes. He swears by Marks and Spencer‘s suits, and would do no different for his wedding day. He wore a slim extra-long suit in charcoal grey, a blue-and-white dogtooth bowtie with matching pocket square and, to my chagrin, a pair of Arsenal cufflinks.
We were fortunate to find dresses for the bridesmaids in a style quite similar to my dress in New Look! I definitely wanted dresses that they could wear again, and this fit the bill perfectly, also surprisingly in a shape and colour that suits them all. The dresses originally came with brown belts but the girls swapped these out for white ribbons. They wore their own shoes and I loved how this added to all the colour on the day.
Mike had two best men – his brother Andrew and his best friend Mike. Andrew has an amazing waistcoat and bowtie with multi-coloured frogs on a hot pink background which we absolutely wanted him to wear, and we brightened Mike’s wardrobe up with a colourful polka-dotted bowtie. Our ushers (unfortunately not photographed as they were moving furniture) wore royal blue ties with elephants. The blokes that did make the photos were my “Ugly Bridesmaids”, my housemates without whom a lot of the wedding would not be possible. They could wear whatever they wanted.
We didn’t hire any transport, we were each driven to the venue by our friends/family. Mike’s driver made a detour for petrol on the way to the venue!
Our wedding was photographed by the amazing Eleanor Woodruff Photography. Ellie had photographed another wedding at which Mike was best man, and we were drawn by the amount of personality she captured in those photos and how genuine she made the day look. Ellie took the time to meet up before the big day to find out more about us, scout out the venue, and go over a list of family photos. Being far more experienced with weddings than we were she also had many handy organisational tips for the day! The photos of our day are full of character and absolutely perfect, we cannot thank her enough for what a great job she’s done.
My bridal bouquet was made by my friend Liv, whose origami skills know no bounds. She’d layered so many papers, textures, and beads – it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
We didn’t have any real flowers on the day because I was paranoid about hayfever and sneezing my way down the aisle (I opted to trip down it in my 6-inch heels instead). I had the idea to do origami flowers and folded some of them to begin with, but the vast majority of it was down to an amazing team of friends and family who folded away for several hours the day before the wedding. We also had plenty of balloons and colourful bunting for a fun touch, home-made confetti and fairy lights around the hall. The table settings were my favourite – each table had a white tablecloth, a royal blue runner, multi-coloured napkins, candles and a wine bottle-full of colourful origami flowers.
Mike’s Uncle Keith made the cake based on a picture that we’d shown him on Google. Everyone agreed that he needed a career change from train driving! The cake had three tiers covered in white icing, each made by a different family member and iced by Uncle Keith. He also stuck on individual pieces of edible confetti to form a cascading effect down the side and tied royal blue ribbons around each tier – if anything it looked better than the original that inspired us! The cake was topped by a champagne glass filled with more edible confetti, and engraved with our names and the date of our wedding.
Following our DIY-origami theme, we had DIY spring rolls for our first course, a great conversation starter for our guests who didn’t know each other! We also had bring-and-share salad and desserts, which turned out to be a great idea as there was an incredible variety of food to choose from. Our main was a hog roast provided by Boss Hog Yorkshire. There was SO MUCH food and everyone was well and truly stuffed.
Left Bank Leeds provided the drinks: beers and soft drinks from Samuel Smiths Brewery, a local company, and a selection of Fairtrade wines.
It made no sense to us to hire a band when several of our friends are musicians, so we organised an open mic for entertainment during the meal. Our friends absolutely did not disappoint and we had such a good evening, with everything from classical violin to 5-piece band. After the meal we pushed the tables aside for a ceilidh, with music from Ermine Street Band. Everyone loves a good ceilidh, and there was plenty of screaming, shouting and laughing.
Our vast height difference does not lend itself well to dancing, so we opted to do a “first duet” instead. We sang the song “Without You” by AJ Rafael, a song which I sang to Mike on Skype while we were long-distance, and made him cry. Mike was on guitar and I played piano.
For our honeymoon we went on a cooking holiday in the Loire Valley in France. This was a real treat for us as we’re nuts about French food. We were the only guests at the B&B as we went mid-week, and Lesley went out of her way to make things especially lovely for us! We enjoyed every moment of it and would totally recommend it to anyone else looking for a more hands-on holiday.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that a spectacular wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth – we managed to source most of our decorations from eBay and Amazon, or supermarkets and discount shops like Home Bargains. High street stores also turned up some pretty surprising and budget-friendly clothing finds for the wedding party! Putting a bit of elbow grease and creativity into the preparations also helped cut costs, and we’re grateful for all the incredible friends we had around to lend us a DIY-hand. Finally, don’t worry too much about having to put on a spectacular show to impress the guests – they turned up to celebrate “us” in all our quirkiness and loved how much the wedding reflected our wacky personalities!
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!
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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!
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