November 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m firmly of the opinion that your wedding day should be the very best party that you’ve ever been to.
It looks like Jessica and Craig took the same view when they said ‘I do’ at the gorgeous Thornton Manor on The Wirral earlier this year. Gorgeous outfits, good food, vibrant flowers and plenty of fun and games left their guests in the mood for a very beautiful all night party.
With images by Elbowroom Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged in Rome, Italy. After a romantic candlelit dinner we caught a taxi to the Trevi Fountain. We found a quiet spot to the side in an alcove and he got to one knee. This was after a day walking around the Vatican.
We were married on 23rd May 2014 at Thornton Manor – the beautiful setting & extensive grounds coupled with the exquisite manor house made it an easy decision. It’s spectacular venue with so much history.
We chose careful colour palettes throughout the day using white and cream for purity and innocence during the Ceremony, and then the Wedding Breakfast & my bouquet were extremely colourful to reflect our personalities!
I chose a plain but elegant champagne/oyster dress with a long cathedral veil from Blush Bridal.
Flower Design created the most beautiful of bouquets, button holes and displays throughout the venue, using orchids and other vibrant flowers. Flower Design worked with my ideas really well and produced the most splendid arrangements.
Elbowroom Photography were our photographers. They were fantastic – beautiful pictures, lots of coordination on the day and part of the party!
Chapman Holmes were our caters and were fantastic! Craig’s favourite food is steak, so decided that we really wanted the menu to reflect what we love to eat. We decided on Goats Cheese with Pesto Credot, Roast Sirloin of Steak with Dauphenois Potatoes and our cake as dessert.
Our pretty wedding cake was by The Frostery in Uppermill. It was Lemon Drizzle and we served it as our dessert with Raspberry Coulis. We had a cheesecake for the evening so the evening guests could enjoy an alternative wedding cake.
We had David Buckingham, a guitarist from the ceremony through to the end of the meal. My father has always played the guitar and when we came across him at a wedding fair he was playing the very piece that my father used to play to me as a child.
Soul Apostle were the band providing lots of fun and great music. Tom was our DJ and listened to our tastes and played us the best music which meant I danced all night!
We had a photobooth which people stuck into a book and left us their best wishes and messages.
We hired the lakeside marquee for the evening reception so we could have a big party and part of the marquee is a nightclub so we could create the party atmosphere. My favourite part of the day was dancing all night!
We took a week’s mini moon in Barbados but plan to go to South America in September for 3.5 weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure you take time out on the day to spend together and have a moment of reflection.
November 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Packing a zesty punch to end the week on a vibrant high, we welcome Miriam and Richard to the blog with their opulent, colourful and champagne fuelled Algerian inspired wedding.
Get ready to pop the fizz… this looks like my kind of celebration.
With images by Matt Horan.
Miriam says: Richard proposed when we went away for the weekend to the lakes, it was actually my brother in law’s 30th Birthday which Rick kyboshed. We walked up to the room and the bed was laid out with flowers, it took me a while to comprehend what they said and the first thing that came out my mouth was “ I think we are in the wrong room!” anyway, on closer inspection the rose petals said “Will you marry me?” and I turned round and Rick was on one knee. It was a surreal moment but I of course said yes and the champagne got opened.
We were married on Thursday 17th July 2014 at Colshaw Hall in Pever. We just fell in love with this place. It is a stately home and was just beautiful. The owner is also very down to earth which made us want to go with them even more.
It is just the most beautiful venue, gorgeous gardens and you felt you were a million miles away even though you weren’t.
My dress was a Heritage gown, by Amanda Wyatt and Charlotte Balbier. I got it from Love Bridal Boutique and I just fell in love with it. Rick wore a tailored suit that he had especially made for him and my fabulous bridesmaids all wore dresses from Debenhams.
We had a Algerian theme as my dad is Algerian and also a fizz theme as I love Champagne, so all the tables were named after Champagnes. The colours were all middle eastern and the food followed this theme.
Our flowers were from Red Floral Architecture and were very blingy with diamante in them! We also had lanterns and candles.
Matt Horan was our photographer and we’d certainly recommend him! He was very natural and really caught the moment.
We had a videographer, Tom from Silk Wedding Films who was great, you didn’t even know he was there.
We used a wedding planner called Janice who really supported and helped us through the whole process.
We carried the Algerian theme into our wedding breakfast so served a mezze to start which included taboluh, merguez sasuage, humous, feta with harissa, flat breads, we then had lamb and couscous with roasted veg and a trio of desserts.
My dad picked all the wine which included red, white, fizz and champagne.
We gave Algerian sweets as favours and instead of a wedding cake we had lots of mini pavlovas, they were lovely!
The whole day was just amazing but it just went very quickly. We are both foodies so I would have to say the food part was lovely, even though Rick was too nervous to eat as he knew he was going to do his speech!
We went to France, Italy and Spain for our honeymoon.
In France we stayed in a Michelin starred chateaux for 4 nights, we then got the train to Italy for 4 nights where we visited Lake Maggorie and finally relaxed in a villa in the Andalusian mountains for a week.
It was great that we visited a few different places.
I am sure all brides say this but my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to ENJOY every second as it flies by!
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October 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Stunning scenery, rainbow blooms, tartan trews and spinning a reel… Clair and Nick show how an elegant wedding needn’t be a stuffy affair. Combining traditional charm with modern and personal touches, the couple’s colourful celebration is a bonnie day indeed.
Images by AnnaJoy Photography.
Clair says: Nick and I met while studying at St Andrews in 2008. Our first little holiday together as a couple was to a lovely little guesthouse outside of Ballachulish in the Scottish Highlands. We had a lovely few days together as a fairly new couple. One of the things we both enjoy most is documenting our little adventures – we found an amazing, almost deserted road in Glen Nevis and realised it could be a lot of fun to take a series of stills of the both of us in the road, sort of like the flip books you get where when you look at the images quickly they tell a little story. As our new year celebrations finished in the early hours of 1st Jan 2013 Nick told me he was taking me back to that same guesthouse as a surprise gift! We went back to the same spot on the deserted road to make a new “flip book” of photos of us 4 years later and then Nick got down on one knee. It was beautifully romantic and entirely unique! Those pictures now have even more meaning!
We were married on 12th July 2014. We picked that date because both of us had extremely tight schedules at the time. I was in between graduating for a second time and starting work and had four weeks that I could totally devote to the last minute frantic preparations.
We got married at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews. It’s the chapel associated with the University we both studied at and it just felt right to go back there. I wanted a very traditional service but in a place that was familiar, so the Chapel was perfect! Our reception was across the lawn at Upper and Lower College Hall, a beautiful building from the early 17th century. The grassy lawn in between the Chapel and the Hall was the perfect spot for drinks after the service and for the littlies to tear around. We were on a very tight budget funding the wedding ourselves – the Chapel and College offered the opportunity to put our own stamp on our wedding whilst fitting within a well-rehearsed framework for a very agreeable price.
We decided that our wedding would have a ‘hint’ of vintage but that in order to really work with the venue it also had to be elegant. We decided that additions such as vintage china and pastel handkerchiefs would work with the room whilst I had to forgo the likes of bunting, as it just wouldn’t have worked. We also wanted lots of homemade elements – we are crafty people but also wanted the really personal feel that this adds. It also saves lots of pennies if you can make things yourselves!
We wanted it to be bright. And beyond that I didn’t want to complicate matters by having a colour scheme. As many of the fine details were done by ourselves, it was much easier to have a loose colour scheme for resourcing what we wanted at the price we wanted it for. I wanted my bridesmaids to have dresses they had picked and could wear again and shoes they liked rather than enforcing my choices on them – they all agreed that they would wear navy and between them all picked the same dress! But their shoes were all different. They all had a bright pink shawl and a posy of brightly coloured flowers – many of the same flowers that were elsewhere in the venue. Very loosely we tried to stick to oranges, yellows, pinks and purples but all sorts of other colours crept in too!
The dress I thought I wanted and the one I picked were worlds apart. I have very much a pear shape, and realised that the dresses I thought I liked only accentuated my wide hips and left me feeling frumpy. I ditched my original ideas and in Pretty Woman in Edinburgh riffled through dresses they had hanging. I knew I wanted lace somewhere, and I had realised that something that fit snuggly at the waist but then skimmed out over my hips was going to be most flattering. With new thinking, the first dress I tried on was strapless – something I knew I just didn’t want on its own, but had been told I could add a lace jacket to. It had a sweetheart neckline, fit tightly at the waist and then had layers of tuille and a lot of taffeta to give a very full skirt and chapel length train. The instant I put the jacket on over the top I knew the look was exactly what I wanted. Both were made by Justin Alexander. The girls I was with at the time said it was the first time I had smiled as looked at in the mirror. That was it. I decided there and then that the dress and jacket were the ones I wanted.
Nick wore a pair of McNaughton Muted Tartan Trews I had bought him as a Christmas gift. His father was Scottish and this was his family tartan (McKendrick). His bow tie was in the same tartan to match. The Prince Charlie jacket his Mum had bought him a Christmas later, so that he had a complete outfit. His lovely shoes were Loake – his favourite brand of shoes, and compensation for all the pennies spent on my dress. The dress shirt came from TM Lewin and his copper cufflinks I had bought on Etsy as an engagement gift – they had the co-ordinates on them of the exact spot in Glen Nevis at which he had proposed.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by LightInTheBox – a company based in China which make beautiful quality gowns to order. I sent them the girls’ exact measurements and the dresses arrived and needed only the smallest of tweaks. The groomsmen wore a mix of their own Highland wear or suits. We were flexible with what the boys wanted to wear – it fit with the relaxed colour scheme. Each of them had a set of pirate Lego cufflinks – Nick’s stag had been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads that the boys had customised into a pirate ship.
We hired a beautiful Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from Prestige Cars of Fife – a company owned by Tom McKean. The car worked with our loosely vintage theme and was a definite luxury. Tom was the perfect driver, putting our nerves at ease and then drove us around St Andrews for some of our photos after the service.
Our photographer was Anna Hamill of AnnaJoy Photography. She was perfect. We knew at our engagement shoot we had found a real treasure. She was wonderfully discrete but also somehow captured every single moment beautifully. She didn’t mind being punted into taxi’s across town to be a part of everything and in the midst of relative madness, she was calm. There are lots of little touches Anna brings that others don’t – beautiful little business cards with pictures of you on, USB sticks sent with edible goodies, emails that are more friendly than blunt business, and the rights to do with your photos as you wish. And Nick and I would recommend her in a heartbeat for all of this.
My bridesmaids and I carried bouquets of flowers constructed by my beautiful and incredibly talented Mama. We ordered them wholesale from Triangle Nursery who delivered them to where the bridal party had gathered for a few days prior to the wedding. Mum then assembled them into beautiful creations and somehow knew what flowers would work where. She was magical.
Our flowers for the venue came from the same wholesalers. In keeping with as much being made by the people we love most, we got a bunch of my girlfriends, my sister, Nicks Mum and Great Aunt together and led by my Mama they each made one of the decorations. Each one had the same flowers and greenery in, but was assembled however they wanted. And they all looked fantastic. We had peonies, dozens and dozens of roses, freesias, gerbera, chrysanthemums, gypsophila, thistles and more!
We had a wedding tree as an alternative to a guest book – it’s now framed and hanging on our wall as a memory of all of those that joined us. We also asked every guest to bring their favourite recipe so we could create a ‘wedding cookbook’.
Perhaps the most personal thing for us was that our family and closest friends joined us for five days in total – a few days before preparing, and a couple of days after the wedding. Having our favourite people around us for a little bit more time was so important to us both.
We used Gordon’s Cater Hire for our vintage crockery and chairs – I wanted lime-washed chairs as I am not a fan of chair covers or sashes. They were excellent and provided an excellent service.
As favours, we gave ladies vintage handkerchiefs for “happy tears” and men brightly coloured silk pocket squares. Everyone also had a personalised name tag made from salt dough – something else people could take home and hang somewhere if they wanted.
We chose traditional Scottish options for our food. We sent guests a selection of three options for main course and dessert and asked them to get back to us – we wanted our guests to eat food they wanted to eat! St Andrews University created delicious dishes and many of our guests complimented the quality of the food. We sourced our favourite wines from the supermarket – we just waited until they were on offer and bulk bought. We had to pay corkage but felt for the same cost as the cheapest wines on the wine list we had wines we loved and that we thought other people would enjoy.
My favourite cake of all time is the fruit cake that my Mum makes for Christmas and this was the only cake I ever considered for our wedding. She also made a madeira cake for those people that don’t like fruit cake. She decorated them beautifully with hearts and pearls and lace and ribbon. Oh they were gorgeous. And to please Nick, who, if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life it would be cheese, we had a stack-of-cheeses cake. We served the cheeses and cakes as our evening buffet and they went down a treat!
One of our cheeses came from Cote Hill, a farm in Lincolnshire where Nick’s family is from – it was delicious!
We are largely a Scottish family and many of our friends are Scottish. We had been to a friend’s wedding and were amazed at how a ceilidh got everyone up and dancing – so we emailed a dozen bands and eventually settled on one we liked the look of – Ceilidh Sound. We also had a close friend who did a fantastic job of MC during the speeches – he had everyone in stitches.
The whole day was perfect. The moments we had as just the two of us were just as precious as those we shared with our friends and family. Our mothers gave us kisses right before we said our vows, our ‘last kisses’, and dancing with my Dad was one of those moments every little girl wants. The whole day was completely wonderful and we are off to Barbados in just 8 days! We are so excited!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan plan plan. It’s never too early. We had all of our big things booked well in advance, including our band, Anna, the venues, the accommodation, my dress, our rings. It meant closer to the time we had plenty of time to focus on the fine details. Also, an Excel spreadsheet is a girl’s best friend.
October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is something special. A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.
I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.
With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.
Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.
We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!
Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.
The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.
We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.
There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.
Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.
My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.
Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!
The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!
We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.
We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!
Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.
My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.
Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.
My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!
We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!
The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!
We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.
We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.
The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!
October 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m all about the flowers in today’s stunning real wedding, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor James Jebson Photography and newlyweds Mark and Stephanie.
What a way to start the weekend with all things bright and beautiful, a very beautiful bride, a dapper groom, some super cool styling and an abundance of pretty blooms.
Be inspired… and it’s over to the groom to talk you through it!
With images by James Jebson Photography.
Mark says: We were married in Lancaster on 24th August 2014.
We chose our venues because we felt they complimented each other in their own special way and we are both fond of old grand buildings. We loved the grandeur of The Ashton Memorial overlooking The Lake District with its striking appearance. The boldness of the dome on the horizon for us sold it as it would be something we will always see and think about.
Thurnham Hall was picked as the reception because of its history and the intimate feel it had, alongside this was the huge fact that it looked like a castle and so went well with The Ashton Memorial.
Our theme was based around a show/play where each part of the day on the program was put together like a set of acts with a synopsis for each part. The programs were designed like you would receive at a show on arrival. The tables were set with each one being a scene from a London market and using the guests on the table we wrote a funny introduction to each scene including them in it. Our invites were designed and printed like an invite to a play based around the old Empire posters where it was heavily typographic with an old ‘admit one’ ticket in each tube for the guests.
The colours were a mixed bunch taking the lead from the bridesmaids dresses and ties and pocket squares to pick out the flower colours. There were bright pastel colours used in the flowers and more subtle tones used in the bridal party’s outfits.
Stephanie’s dress was a princess style dress from Enchanted Brides, Lostock Hall. The gown had a pale pink lace bodice and ivory at the bottom with a band around the waist.
My outfit was bought from Ben Sherman and it was a pale blue suit with a white shirt. The vintage waistcoat and brown braces with it were bought from a vintage fashion shop on Brick Lane.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from two places; the younger three dresses came from an online retailer called Vertbaudet, the older two bridesmaids wore dresses from Dorothy Perkins. The groomsmen got suits from Slaters in Preston and the ties came from Ben Sherman for each groomsman. The pocket squares were handmade from fabric bought from Abakhan.
Stephanie carried a bouquet with various vibrant flowers in it from Flower Design St Annes. There were blooms of different shades with a full poppy head.
I had a wooden bowtie and two ceramic scrabble pieces on each side of the cuff link with L(left) and R(right). Each groomsman had a personalised scrabble piece for their first initial inside the button holes.
Our photographer was James Jebson Photography.
James understands creativity and understands people. Even on the first meeting with James I instantly felt comfortable with him. He has a great personality and he makes you feel in control throughout the day but adds his creative direction to it. He is such a lovely bloke too and has great banter which makes it even nicer. I would actually say he is someone we would like to see more often as I think we formed a bond with him on the day.
When we first saw our images we were absolutely stunned, they were amazing. They brought tears to my eyes when I saw them for the first time.
Our stationery was by Ditto Press, Dalston.
All table furnishings and props were sourced by us from vintage tins to old books as you will see in the photographs. We had a sack for all the wedding notes, the wedding notes were hand letterpressed postcards that people could write on.
We chose to use cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes in Lancaster. 7 tiers were used, the top cake was a fruitcake and the other 6 tiers were various assorted cakes with different flavours.
We had a pianist to play throughout the evening reception for the guests and a DJ afterwards.
We went to Windermere for a minimoon. We stayed at a place called The Rum Doodle, a boutique hotel. Our main honeymoon is in New Zealand next year.
Designing the theme or idea is the trickiest part, so my top tip for Brides Up North would be have a really rough concept from the start, brainstorm ideas together and build a really rough storyboard of what you want in moodboards, Pinterest or drawings, whatever you can. What you will find is that when you start building up the people you are using you will gather ideas and create more ideas with them when meeting them. Its not a bad thing that you have a rough guide. We started the ball rolling with our invitations and this gave us a great design base/concept with look and feel, typography, colours and that reflected in the flowers we wanted and how they were created by our florist.
And drink lots after the wedding watershed. The wedding watershed is around 9:30pm!
October 7th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The weather might not have been so kind to today’s real wedding couple but that didn’t dampen a single person’s spirits at this incredibly pure and pretty celebration.
I love that although Howie and Mary have clearly put careful thought into planning their big day the results seem 100 per cent effortless.
Everything fits together perfectly. From the earthy and informal venues, to the naturally beautiful blooms and the rustic homemade cakes – slice of the lemon and lavender for me please!
So let’s head down to the woods today for Howie and Mary’s wonderful wedding.
With images by Kate Cooper Photography.
Mary says: We got engaged in June 2012, in my home village of Kempley in Gloucestershire. It was the Jubilee weekend and we had gone down to visit my family. Howie suggested going for a walk together on Saturday morning. We went out over the fields across the back of the house. Howie was unusually quiet and eventually, in a carefully chosen field with the least amount of cow pats, he stopped me, got down on one knee and proposed. It was lovely as it was in a place I knew and loved so well and we could go straight home and tell my mum and sister who went berserk!
We set the date for 7th June 2014. We actually chose this date so that it would not clash with any of the World Cup football that was on that summer. Neither of us are particularly into football but didn’t want anyone to be sneakily watching a penalty shoot out at the wedding.
The Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield was our chosen wedding venue. I grew up with woods just up the road and love walking and being in the woods. It had a very natural and informal feel to it which is what we wanted, the staff were lovely and the woods are an incredibly beautiful backdrop for a special gathering. It just felt right. We had our reception in the lambing barn at Whirlow Hall Farm, just up the road. Again it was a place we felt very comfortable in. We also had total freedom to decorate and use the space however we wanted to. Lots of room for children to run about and a farm tour was even available for those that wanted to do it.
We didn’t have a special theme as such instead we just chose things that we liked and luckily had lots of friends and family who wanted to help out. I suppose you could call it a DIY wedding as we had to come up with everything from scratch.
Similarly we didn’t have a specific colour theme but we knew that we wanted it to be colourful. I wanted my bridesmaids all in different colours, but pastel shades. The bunting and doily decorations in the barn went along with this. For the flowers we used pastel shades again and things like ferns to make it ‘woodlandy’.
My dress was Beatriz by J Crew. I wanted something quite simple but pretty. I loved the lace and the T-shirt neckline. My seamstress and I also came up with a way of hitching the outer dress up using four buttons at the back, front and sides. This made it easier to dance in and gave it a whole new look. My shoes were just pretty, cream ballet shoes from Accessorize. I ordered a woollen crocheted shawl from Etsy and got my golden flower earrings from a jewellers in Sheffield called Green and Benz.
Howie wore a blue suit from TK Maxx. It was lovely and fitted a treat. It took a half hour shopping trip, unbelievable! My bridesmaids wore different coloured long floaty dresses that were ordered from an online shop on Etsy. The groomsmen meanwhile wore blue suits from various places and matching ties.
Kate Cooper did our photographs. We were really happy with the results and she was great to work with. Lots of the guests commented on how nice she was during the day.
My bouquet contained lots of different flowers and foliage including lavender, ferns, senecio, grasses and wheat. The bridesmaids had flowers in their hair and the groom and ushers wore buttonholes. These really suited the venue and were all provided by Campbell’s Flowers. Tracey there was absolutely lovely to work with and very flexible in terms of what we wanted. Campbell’s Flowers also provided our top table arrangement and small bunches of baby’s breath, dotted around the venue. In addition, we placed lavender plants from Yorkshire Lavender on each table, which we invited guests to take home at the end of the evening.
We had three tiered cakes – carrot, ginger and plain sponge – baked by Howie’s uncle Chris Beaney of Beaney’s Bakery. Our friend Noemie of Noemie’s Kitchen also made lemon sponge decorated with lavender. Both of these were amazing! We invited friends and family to contribute to a cake table, so we had about 15 other wonderful cakes – there certainly wasn’t a shortage!
The food was provided by Whirlow Hall Farm, most of which was produced on-site. We had canapés after the ceremony, a big barbecue at the reception and a Ploughman’s platter in the evening. We hunted for good deals on wine. The red ended up being from Morrison’s and the white was bought in France. We also found some good Prosecco in Aldi – shop around!
We had a Ceilidh band called Rodger the Badger for our entertainment. They were great for getting all the guests dancing after the meal, followed by our own disco into the night.
The barn was big enough to have a kids section cordoned off by hay bales. It was a great space for them to run wild! We provided colouring books, balloons and games. This seemed to work really well for both parents and kids.
We would most certainly recommend our venue to other couples. The barn was simple but loads of fun and the food provided was great. It’s also a charity that does great work for the community, so we felt it was money well spent! We would also recommend our friend Catherine Iles for stationary. She produced some fantastic order of the days and a table plan for us! They were decorated with magical woodland scenes. We loved them!
Dancing and drinking into the night was definitely one of the best parts of the day as that’s what we like to do. Also being with all our friends and family – it’s incredible to have almost everyone you know and love together for the day.
For our honeymoon we went to Iceland. We spent 12 days driving around this amazing country. We enjoyed fantastic landscapes, people and food, incredible scenery, mountains, whale watching, walking, volcanoes, glaciers and lots of hot springs to bob around in. It’s a very romantic and peaceful place, which we would highly recommend.
Our top tip for other brides and grooms-to-be would be to focus on the important things to you as a couple. For us it was food, drink, music and dancing. Also, don’t forget friends and family are often happy to help you out!
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August 14th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The spate of sunshine we’ve been having recently may have been interrupted with a few bleak breaks this week but this bright and beautiful wedding is guaranteed to inject a big boost of colour and happiness into your day.
Creative couple Tony and Katy tied the knot in the super city of Sheffield, starting off with their ceremony in the stunning Town Hall before moving onto the nearby Workstation for a fabulous afternoon tea and evening celebrations.
To really make the day their own they included lots of vibrant decorations, quirky homemade touches and beautiful blooms, all of which was captured perfectly by their talented photographer.
With images by Photography34
Katy says: We got engaged on New Year’s Day 2013. We had been to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and Tony had taken the ring, but he couldn’t find the right moment when we were both alone. The following morning we both woke up early and Tony asked me what I was doing for the rest of my life as he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and then produced my beautiful ring! I cried a little and then called the world.
We set the date for Saturday May 24th 2014. We wanted to get married over a Bank Holiday as we had lots of guests who would be travelling a distance so we were keen to make sure they had plenty of time to party and recover.
I think we must have viewed almost every venue in Yorkshire, but we couldn’t find anything which would allow us to create the different look and feel we were hoping for within our budget. We are both from Sheffield and love to city so when we found the Workstation which is part of the Showroom Cinema and met Mark the sales manager, it ticked all the boxes. He was so accommodating and because the venue is an exhibition centre he allowed us to dress it exactly how we wanted. We originally wanted to get married at the same place as our reception but this was not possible at the Workstation so we started to look for somewhere close by. We had walked past Sheffield Town Hall hundreds of times but had never been inside. Once we did we were blown away by how beautiful the building was, especially the fabulous staircase.
Very early on in our wedding planning I discovered Pinterest, and began pinning ideas to a mood board. We knew the venue was going to need a lot of dressing so we decided to hire someone to help with this. Jennie from Hansley Beard came highly recommended by our venue and she did a fabulous job of keeping me calm, my ideas focused and she planned the design to the finest detail, we could not have done it without her.
We knew we wanted to do things differently and we wanted the whole feel of the day to be bright, colourful, fun and homemade. We both like colour – our house is full of it. We originally found some bright material which we liked at The Range store, we used this as the basis for our colour scheme, they had paper, buttons etc all in the same collection which was great. Bright coloured ribbons and buttons then became the main theme throughout the wedding. We didn’t want a traditional wedding so decided that lots of bright colours would really help create a different atmosphere. We are so happy that we went with these colours in the end as our wedding day turned out to be raining and gloomy but the colours helped keep everyone bright and cheery!
I always knew that I wanted a fitted lace dress and I fell in love with Pippa, a Sassi Holford dress which was well over my budget. I searched the internet and to my complete amazement I found Silk Bridal in Litchfield selling a sample of this dress in my size. I would highly recommend this bridal shop – they made my wedding dress experience so memorable. Helen, the seamstress, could not do enough to help with my alterations and every time we visited the shop I was made to feel just as special as the last. My friend Serena, very kindly lent me her beautiful Jenny Packham headband for my something borrowed. I’m actually selling my dress it is currently listed on eBay and preloved. Although I will be very sad to see this dress go, it would give me great pleasure for another bride to have a chance to wear a fabulous Sassi Holford dress.
I knew that I didn’t want traditional bridesmaid dresses or anything too formal; I wanted something that they would wear again so they wore emerald green maxi dresses from Mango which were accessorised with belts from H&M. The best man wore a bright blue suit from Moss Bros and our page boy, my nephew, wore a little navy suit from Next, a homemade emerald green bow tie and some white Converse boots which he loved!
Tony’s mum’s friend made all the bouquets and button holes. I picked the flowers for these, along with the flowers for the venue, from the Parkway Flower Market in Sheffield. I had a hand-tied bouquet with bright flowers including Gerberas,Ranunculus, Gentian and Craspedia. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar, just a bit smaller. All the bouquets had ribbons hanging from the stems.
We both share a love for VWs, especially retro split screen camper vans and we knew that we couldn’t arrive any other way. We hired the stunning ‘Johnny’ from Something old Something New. As our venues were close together we were able to use the same van for the whole wedding party.
We were let down by a friend who was originally planning on doing our photography, very close to the wedding day. Tony at Photography34 was recommended to us and to our delight he was available on our date. Choosing Tony was the best decision we made, after getting married of course! He had a very relaxed, natural style and went above and beyond. He made us, and our guests, feel relaxed all day. Our guests noted how hard he worked on the day. Most importantly he captured all the detail, fun and laughter of the day.
When we started planning we decided that we wanted things to be as personal as possible and make as much ourselves as we could. Having ‘Brown Owl’ as my mother-in-law-to-be made this a lot easier. Jennie from Hansley Beard helped us to create our desired look with lots of help from our bridesmaids, best man and friends. We had homemade bunting, pom poms, table numbers, seating plan, card box, paper covered jars as centre pieces. We also used fairy lights to decorate the mezzanine. We had bright coloured ribbons hanging from the back of all the chairs and a ribbon drop which cascaded from the mezzanine to the dance floor. I went to the Parkway Flower Market with Jennie, other than Gerberas which are my favourite flowers I wasn’t that particular, it was mainly the colours I was looking for. We incorporated all the flowers from the bouquets as well as Golden Glory, lime green and yellow bloom Chrysanthemums. Jennie then arranged all the flowers for the venue and centre pieces, and made these look great, she truly was amazing!
Tony’s mum and I made homemade rhubarb jam for our favours. The rhubarb was home grown in Tony’s dad’s allotment.
I love baking so the wedding cake was very important. We had a four-tiered cake covered with bright coloured hearts. The actual cake was striped coloured Victoria sponge with butter cream and made by Gemma at Iced Gems. We had two wooden birds with matching hearts as cake toppers which we got from Etsy.
We didn’t want to have a formal three-course wedding meal so we decided to have afternoon tea with prosecco for our wedding breakfast. In the evening we had pie and peas with plenty of Henderson’s relish!
The entertainment was really important to us, we wanted a big party with all our friends and family, and I love to dance. For our ceremony we had a friend, Rebecca Guy sing and play her guitar. As a wedding present my parents got Paul Pashley, Sheffield’s answer to Michael Bublé, to sing at our evening reception. Not only does he have an amazing voice, he was a little bit of eye candy for the ladies. We then had a DJ who played us into the early hours.
We did include quite a few special touches in our big day. Tony’s mum made a very cute ring cushion for Reuben, our page boy, in the same material as the bunting and sewed buttons all over it, he was very proud of his special job.
We hired some beautiful vintage crockery from Jameson’s Tearoom for the afternoon tea, and one of the highlights was their teacup glasses which we served the prosecco in.
We chose big illuminated ‘LOVE’ letters from Typical Type as a backdrop to our dance floor, and our homemade photo booth and they were the talk of all our guests. Once we had decided on the letters it helped us decide on our first dance – L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole sang by Paul Pashley.
We both share a love of sweets, so a sweet table was a must. We brought in our theme by laying the table with ribbons, we used the same paper we had used for the centre pieces for the sweet labels and homemade pin wheels, and then had bright coloured paper fans as the backdrop to the table.
I found a finger print poster tree from Etsy which was a wonderful alternative to a guest book. Our guests added their fingerprints as ‘leaves’ to the tree and wrote their names. We now have this framed and it acts as a daily reminder of our special day and the guests we shared it with.
My favourite part of the wedding day came at the end of our first dance. Jennie, who had helped us to design our wedding day, had arranged with our guests to drop all the off cuts from the ribbons from the mezzanine above the dance floor. This was a total surprise and the only thing throughout the day which we had not planned for. This was an amazing moment which Tony, our photographer, captured perfectly and we have used one of these images for our thank you cards.
We went on honeymoon two days after or wedding; we spent two days is Dubai and eight in the Maldives. Dubai was very hot and we packed in a lot within the two days; tours of the city and a dessert safari. Then the Maldives, which was absolute paradise, was the total opposite to Dubai, quiet and relaxing, which was exactly what we needed after the wedding.
My advice to other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you happy and have the day that you want, not what others expect of you. That is so important. You want to look back on your day and know that you had it exactly how you wanted it. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t follow traditions or you think people won’t like your ideas, as long as you do, that’s all that matters. Tony’s advice would be at some point during the wedding breakfast, to go around each table and speak with your guests and thank them for coming, as it’s a very busy day and you don’t get chance to spend very much time with anyone. Our collective advice is to make sure you both take time together to have a few moments to take everything in as the day will go past so fast.
It rained for the most of our day, but like Louis Armstrong sang, we didn’t care what the weather man said, when the weatherman said it was raining as you didn’t hear us or anyone else complaining!
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July 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Wednesday afternoons always warrant a trip to the chocolate machine, don’t they? Save your calories – here’s a double dose of sweetness instead. Real childhood sweethearts and newlyweds Charlotte and Danny are here to share their love story, along with some bright and beautiful images from friend of the wedding blog Sarah of Folega Photography.
Charlotte says: Danny planned a surprise proposal in Hathersage atop of Mam Tor, the exact place he asked me to be his girlfriend on a school trip 10 years ago when we were just 12 and 13 years old!
Danny says: It was a surprise for Charlotte, but everyone else – her mum, sister, my mum and dad, my brothers and a few of my best friends were in on it.
We tied the knot at 3.30pm on Sunday 28th June 2014 at Ringwood Hall Hotel in Chesterfield.
The first time we properly met was our first day of secondary school as we were in the same class. With us being only 12 years old at the time, our first date was probably at McDonalds!
I don’t think we realised then how long we would be together, it was the norm really to swap and change your boyfriend or girlfriend each week in the school yard!
Personally I love the fact that because we grew up together, supported each other, shared sad and happy times together and experienced all our “first times” with each other – he is my best friend, we are completely open and natural with each other, nothing has to be forced with us, we genuinely enjoy spending as much time together as we can and I cannot wait to marry him.
June 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
Back in February when I blogged an interview with our wonderful Featured Supplier and ex copper, James Tracey Photography, I led the piece with an image of a beaming bride at a colourful altar and over on Facebook lots of you fell in love with her. Later that week I featured Laura and Nathan’s fabulously cool and quirky swimming pool wedding (yes, I’ve never seen one of those before either!) in all it’s glory.
This still has to be one of my favourites to date.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
Laura says: We got engaged in October 2013 in Saint-Cirq Lapopie (in the South of France). We were on our holiday with our six month old baby boy and Nathan got a sudden urge to ask me to marry him. It was a beautiful spot by the river. It wasn’t planned so he found a twig and tied it in a knot around my wedding finger.
We have been together for 18 years (we met at school when we were 16!) and finally tied the knot on 27th May 2013 at Victoria Baths, Manchester.
Victoria Baths is part of the restoration project. It was opened in 1906 as a swimming baths and Turkish baths. The restoration of the building begin in 1995. It is a beautiful old building with ornate stain glass windows. One day they hope to restore the swimming pools themselves and open it up again to the public.
We actually got married in the old male swimming pool in the deep end!
We wanted to get married somewhere that was a little different and allowed us to do what we wanted. Victoria Baths allows you to hire out the entire building and you are able to bring your own caterers, music and decorations in.
We wanted the day to be very relaxed with a feel of a street party. No formalities so everyone could relax and have fun! We chose a colour scheme of pale pink and green.
The bridesmaids wore pink dresses and the groom, best man and ushers wore pink ties. The tiles of the swimming baths are green so we hung pink and green paper pom poms from the ceiling along with bunting.
I wanted something every simple for my wedding dress. I visited Jane Bourvis in London after a friend recommended her. Jane owns a small shop in Notting Hill and as soon as you walk in you are greeted with antique lace hanging from the ceiling. Jane told me she had just restored some lace the night before. She dressed me in a pale cream slip and placed the lace petticoat over the top. It was stunning and a one off. I bought it within half an hour of walking into the shop. I just felt special. There was a story behind it too as an elderly lady in Scotland had found her mothers veil in the loft and that was what Jane used to create the dress – old Scottish lace.
The bridesmaids each wore a lace dress which I bought from a beach side shop in Cape Town. I just saw them and knew they would match the dress and that each of the bridesmaids would like the style.
Nathan wore a tailored suit from A Suit That Fits. The best man and ushers wore their own suits with a pink tie.
My friend has a beautiful old beetle called Gracie. He came to the hotel to pick me up (complete with a flat cap) and drove me to the baths.
It was a family affair! My cousin is a register so he married us and my other cousin works at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) so he arrange for four different bands to play: a string quartet to walk down the aisle to, an acoustic guitar whist we drank fizz, a two piece acoustic band and a 9 piece disco band. Amazing!
I carried a simple vintage style bouquet made by Manchester Flower Company.
I especially enjoyed the vows and turning around to see everybody we loved.
After the ceremony we arranged for a tour guide to show people around the building as it’s so historic with lots of amazing stories behind it.
10 of my closest friends and family made cakes for the deserts. There were some amazing cakes ranging from carrot cake, lemon drizzle and early great tea muffins. Everyone just helped themselves.
We had 45 children at the wedding so we had to provide entertainment. We hired two nanny’s to look after the babies and provided lots of toys. We hired a bouncy castle to go in the female pool and we created a cinema with a big screen and lots of popcorn and bean bags so the kids to watch a film. It was nice as the adults could have a rest and enjoy the fizz.
At the end of the day we planned a big surprise for everyone. We didn’t know how well it would go down. We hired 150 headsets and held a silent disco in the main hall. At first everyone didn’t quite know what to make of it. By the end of the night everyone was dancing their hearts out. We had three different channels with different types of music. There was some crazy dancing going on.
We went to the Lake District for a few days after the wedding and found cosy pubs to relax in. Bliss!
I kept sneaking away for a few minutes every now and again – either with Nathan or own my own to just catch my breath and smile. So my top tip for other Brides Up North would be that it’s nice to stop for a few minutes and reflect on things throughout the day itself.
Congratulations Laura & Nathan!
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June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University. Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul.
Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission. I was exactly right: Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.
Bravo Mrs Hough!
With images by Andy Gaines.
Vicky says: Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!
Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.
About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect
Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!
We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire.
I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.
I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.
As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.
The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.
The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.
With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.
Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!
The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.
I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.
I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!
It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.
Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.
Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.
Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.
Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!
Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill. Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.
We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.
Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day. 2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.
Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!
Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!
Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.
For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.
The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!
We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.
Congratulations Vicky & Paul!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014
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