Brides Up North

Elegantly Does It! A Real Wedding At Rockliffe Hall – Rachael & Chris

June 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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 Hynes Photography

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I know the venue for this afternoon’s Real Wedding well, having styled some gorgeous bridal shoots there and also acted as bridesmaid at my best friend Rachel’s wedding (which you can see by clicking here), so when Rachael and Chris (another Rachael!) sent me their images – courtesy of Hynes Photography – and told me that they were aiming to have a modern and elegant celebration. I knew that their big day would be just that. 

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 Hynes Photography

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Rachael says:  We got engaged at Christmas on a trip to London five months after having our first child Charlie, and were married on 27th October 2012 at Rockliffe Hall in Darlington. 

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We choose Rockliffe Hall cause it was just perfect for us: modern, elegant, high quality and we had been to lots of weddings but none of them at Rockliffe.  We wanted the wedding to be glamorous and romantic to compliment our choice of venue. 

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My dress was a diamond white, sweetheart neck line, beautiful big dress from Poppy Bridal in Darlington.  I loved it soon as i tried it on.

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We chose a colour scheme of deep red magenta and white, and my four bridesmaids were stunning in a long fishtail dresses from Marks & Spencer.

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Chris and the groomsmen wore grey lightweight tails from Affleck & Moffat in Darlington. They looked really smart.   Charlie, my son, and Finley, my nephew, had really cute suits matching the bridesmaids.

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I carried a bouquet of calla lilies with a hint of pink running through them, very simple but stunning.  Our flowers were from Flower House at Hartburn, Stockton.

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It might sound strange, but we stayed over together the night before the wedding in the same room! We had an amazing spa experience and bottle of Champagne together the night before and had breakfast in our room on the morning of the wedding.  Unconventional, but perfect for us.

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Our entertainment was the Wildcats of Kilkenny – a big knees up! I didn’t stop dancing the whole night (not even for the evening buffet!) it was so much fun and everyone in the room was up doing the Irish jig!  The wedding was intentionally very sophisticated during the day, with a big party at night!  Perfect.

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We chose to have cupcakes with a beautiful butterfly design on them rather than a traditional wedding cake.  Our cupcake tower was by Clare’s Cake Shack, Stockton. 

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We didn’t go far on our honeymoon, we had a week in Center Parcs in Nottingham with our son Charlie and then the two of us went off to London for a few days on our own.

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My top tip for Brides Up North would be don’t panic about anything, just relax and everything will happen. It was the best day of my life and I wish that we could do it all over again!

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 Hynes Photography

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Congratulations Rachael & Chris!

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Get in touch to see your own wedding day featured on Brides Up North.  Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Hynes Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Love & Laughter: A Tea Length Justin Alexander Gown For A Fun Filled Real Wedding At Rockliffe Hall – Rebecca & Philip

April 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We are in the North East this morning for an understated and elegant Real Wedding filled with pretty details, love and laughter.  Rebecca and Philip chose a stunning venue and used some excellent Brides Up North Featured Suppliers to make their big day super special. 

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Rebecca says:  Thank you for your blog! It became my bible in the run up to my wedding!  Not only was I able to source my photographer and entertainment through your directory but  many of my suppliers featured in your blog in the time leading up to my wedding which was always reassuring as your blog/you became my unofficial wedding planner. Thank you for the advice and the inspiration. I will still be checking in to get my fill of all things wedding.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Rebecca says: Phil and I were engaged in Newcastle the day after my 29th Birthday on January 8th 2010, after an 11 year “courtship”; we got together back in September 1999.

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Phil surprised me for my birthday with a magical mystery tour which saw us travel from our then home in Leeds to our home turf Newcastle for a weekend away. I was in the early stages of pregnancy and was in need of a rest before dinner and Phil said he would leave me in peace and go and do some shopping. At dinner I had asked Phil in jest if he had managed to find me a ring while he was out. His response was a yes and that if I wanted we could go and get it tomorrow! We went and purchased the ring and then went to meet our parents for lunch where Phil asked my Dad’s permission. I was presented with the ring at lunch in front of our parents who were all thrilled. I joke and say that Phil has never really asked me to marry him we just got engaged.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our wedding was on 21st July 2012. Two years after we got engaged; we had the small matter of having a baby to contend with first.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We were married at the gorgeous Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Hurwurth on Tees, Darlington. The ceremony was in the Old Hall Arches and the reception was in the Rockliffe Suite.

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Have you been to Rockliffe? If you have then I probably don’t need to tell you why we made the decision to get married there. Phil and I at the time of our engagement were both working in jobs that meant we travelled a lot staying in many hotels around the country and it was reaching the point where very few places we were staying for social occasions would make us stop and stay “wow”, but Rockliffe did. We stayed at Rockliffe for Phil’s birthday in the March after our engagement and asked to have a look around. It had everything we were looking for and more; a more traditional area for the ceremony; a large banqueting suite that would be appropriate for the large number of guests for the evening; fabulous bedrooms; a spa and for my parents a golf course. The staff during our stay were attentive and professional. The food was – in the words of my mother in law – “to die for “. Perfect!  We booked the wedding that weekend and I am looking forward to many anniversary meals.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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The theme for the wedding was understated and the focus was on fun, good food and music; a real party rather than a formal event. We wanted to treat our guests, which was made up primarily of our family, to fabulous surroundings and all that Rockliffe has to offer while feeling comfortable and not stuffy. We wanted the day to reflect us as a couple and what we enjoy doing together and good food has always been paramount in our relationship. From the canapés to the hog roast we made sure that our guests all had full tums.

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I had been to seven weddings the year before all beautiful in their own way but I was all “quirked out”, I wanted to keep things simple so the focus of the day became the entertainment.  I didn’t want to be to “matchy” with my colour theme and chose complementary tones of pale blue and pink. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My dress was a Justin Alexander tea length gown in style number 8555, I had never envisaged myself in a long gown and the dress helped set the tone of the day. I had seen a different Justin Alexander dress at a wedding fair and even paid a deposit before I had even tried it on. I went to try the dress on with bridesmaid and mum in tow and was asked by the shop to try on 8555 and quickly changed my mind, apparently my face changed when I put the dress on and the expressions on everyone else’s faces said that this was the one! I used a bridal shop in Shotton Colliery called Just Perfect and cannot praise the staff enough from allowing me to have a morning trying on as many dresses as I liked (even after I had made up my mind). From day one to picking the dress up they were fantastic! I wore Rainbow Club shoes called Coral and my hair I wore a hairband from Coast and a short veil.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My bridesmaid dresses were a similar length and gave a 1950’s feel to the day (Alfred Angelo Style 7188 from Wild Brides at Heart). My flower-girls wore shoes from Monsoon and a dress from BHS.

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My husband and I discussed outfits and we both decided that morning suits were a no go and so the groom wore a Reiss suit, while his groomsmen and the dads wore navy suits from Autograph Collection at M&S (the official suit of the England football team), and ties also M&S. The groomsmen were given the suits as a gift and it has been lovely when I have spied them wearing it again

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My hair was by Lesley and Rachel from Hooker and Young Darlington. I have always had short hair and had no intention of changing it for the big day by adding extensions (just not me) but I wanted it to look different. I wanted soft and feminine and Lesley delivered the goods! My make up was by Victoria Lees – Spa treatment manager at Rockliffe Hall. I have never been big on make-up and Victoria made sure that I felt comfortable.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Music throughout the day was a surprise for all of our guests. The string quartet and my chosen music for coming down the aisle was a surprise for Philip and set the tone for the day. I entered to “Dance of the Knights” by Prokofiev – this is the song that his team, Sunderland AFC, come out to on match days at the Stadium of light.  My favourite photo of Philip is one of him laughing as I am about to enter the music has started and the penny has dropped as to my choice. Walking down the aisle to laughter is not what every bride wants but it was the perfect way to start the party.

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Standing with Phil in front of our friends and family and our son Joe declaring to a silent room “That’s my Mammy and Daddy!” was a special moment and I am glad that Joe was part of our big day.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We followed the ceremony with reception drink entertainment from a West Yorkshire based singer songwriter we both fell in love with on a night in the Rodley Barge when we lived in Leeds; Roger Davies. We had a pianist during the wedding breakfast and the Blue House Band provided music for dancing the night away to. The music was aside from Roger Davies was supplied by the team at AMV Live Music, who went out of their way to make sure that the music was exactly what we wanted. Our first dance was to “Your Song” by Elton John sang by Andy Garner of AMV (whose version was better than the original). My dance with my dad was to Moondance by Van Morrison and I don’t think my dad has recovered from busting such a move.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our photographer was the fabulous Sean Elliott Photography! Sean is so personable it was just like having an extra friend to share our day. Sean also provided our “Picture Peg Project” at our evening reception.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Noble Fine Art supply stationery as part of the wedding package at Rockliffe (menus, name cards and table plan) and they also supplied my invitations and orders of service. The stationery was beautiful and they were a lovely team to work with.

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Simply Bows & Chair Covers dressed the room for the wedding breakfast. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our cake was supplied by my very talented Aunt, who only does cakes as a hobby, she did me proud.  It was a four tier cake in a mixture of sponge and fruit, covered in over a hundred individually handmade flowers. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our florist was Adam Prest. Adam was one of the nicest people I came into contact with during my wedding preparations. He is simply amazing. He worked his magic on our bouquets, button holes and on the table and pedestal arrangements. In an early meeting with Adam I had said that I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted but trusted him implicitly and he came up trumps.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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I have so many favourite parts of the day that it is hard to name just one but the spontaneous helicopter ride stands out! A guest of the hotel had flown his helicopter in for a game of golf so Phil and I asked if he would mind if we had a picture taken. He said he would to one better and would take us for a short flight.  It was totally unexpected and was the part of the day that Phil and I were together on our own (with the pilot).  Unfortunately and much to his disappointment we had lost Sean (our photographer) at this stage of the day and so we don’t have any professional photos.  There were stories of a man with a camera sprinting from one end of the hotel to the other to try and capture the moment once the rumour had spread. Poor Sean.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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The first dance spotlight shifting form me and Phil to my son and niece, both two, is still talked about as they took to the floor unexpectedly and camera shifted from the bride and groom to the far cuter pint sized couple.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We honeymooned in Mexico at the Dreams resort, Puerto Adventuras which was the perfect resort for our family honeymoon. We were lucky enough to travel business class and after the wedding it was time for a lie down.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My top tips for other Brides Up North would be not to stress about the small details as no one will notice but you.  Pick suppliers that you like you are going to be spending a year planning your wedding with these people and you wanted to be able to enjoy the preparations. 

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Congratulations Rebecca & Philip!

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Want to see your own Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Sean Elliott Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Light On Black: Ian Stuart, Jenny Packham & Enzoani For A Styled Bridal Shoot At Middleton Hall

April 18th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Stan Seaton Photography

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Is anyone still at their screens this morning, or have you all bunked off for the North West Jenny Packham end of line sale?!  In case there’s anyone still out there…I’ve started so I’ll finish…

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There’s a lot of negative chat in the blogosphere about styled bridal shoots.  Now, I hate negative chat in general, but particularly when it’s based on unfounded generalisation.  Its unfair to generalise when there are creative, talented people out there working hard to do things well: whether that be styled shoots, wedding fairs (cough, cough!) or supplying excellent wedding services.  Some of us do things differently

In my opinion, styled bridal shoots are fantastic – an opportunity for talented suppliers to get together, forge relationships, show what they can do and work towards a common goal.  All it takes is their time and their imagination.  And when it’s done right – like today’s shoot (featuring not one or two but three Brides Up North Featured Suppliers no less – hello to the fabulous Stan Seaton Photography, Middleton Lodge and Make Up By Jo teams!) – the results can be spectacular.

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Behind the scenes video by RL Films Co

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This shoot, originally for editorial in Darlington Weddings’ latest issue (did you pick up your copy and catch up on my regular column?), tells the story of a bride who is persuaded to go over to the dark side… and is really just a chance to show off some beautiful gowns, a stunning venue and some really very striking bridal looks.  Enjoy this little piece of perfection. 

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Stan Seaton Photography

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Jane at Stan Seaton Photography says:  Have you ever asked yourself what type of bride you want to be? Are you perfectly classic, and favour the more traditional simplicity in structure and style or are you more unconventional, pushing the boundaries and testing the limits?

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Stan Seaton Photography

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There is a focus on colours this season where soft blush tones and compelling ivories contrast fiercely with the daring black, adding drama and elegance to every silhouette.  Ian Stuart, Jenny Packham and Enzoani have allured us with their latest bridal collections, where beautiful feminine lines and softly contoured layers create a second skin in a world where nothing is as it seems…

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Stan Seaton Photography

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Little Black Book

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Images: Stan Seaton Photography 
Dresses and accessories: Poppy Bridal
Make Up: Make up by Jo

Hair: Contemporary Hair Darlington
Location: Middleton Lodge

Flowers: Eliza Blooms

Stylist: Peta Clarke for Darlington Weddings Magazine
Models : Anna Miller & Katherine Lees
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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Stan Seaton Photography

Stan Seaton Photography, Middleton Lodge & Make Up By Jo are all Brides Up North Featured Suppliers, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Take Your Marks! A Real Wedding In The North East – Nick & Sarah

February 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Need a Monday morning endorphin boost?  I’m still on a high after yesterday’s amazing Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza (what a day people!) but I think it might take more than coffee, toast and a banana to get me started today.  So what’s better than a burst of colour and fun to get the week off to a cracking start?  With images by Ruth Mitchell Photography, Sarah and Nick’s “Wedding Chase” is brimming with energy, personal touches, DIY details and love.  Get set…

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Sarah & Nick from Sarah MacVean on Vimeo.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Sarah says:  We got engaged on a weekend to Keswick in the Lake District. We were on a hike up one of the mountains and I was walking ahead. I heard Nick shout me back to look at something. He had painted a stone with a poem and placed it on the top of a cairn so when I found it and read it I turned around back to him and he was on one knee. It was perfect. It was still such an amazing surprise.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We got married on 21 July 2012 at Hurworth Methodist Church, with the reception at Michelin rated Bay Horse.  I grew up in Hurworth and we chose the church as it was where I used to go as a child and always knew it was where I wanted to get married. We chose The Bay Horse as we wanted an outdoor feel and didn’t want to be inside a hotel all day. We were able to have a marquee and use the gardens so it was perfect – plus the food is totally amazing. It was great that the guests were able to walk from the church to the reception as Hurworth is such a pretty village. We also knew there would be some fantastic scenery for the photos.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We are both very keen runners so we hosted our own Wedding Chase (!) and we teamed that with a country fair feel. Most of all we wanted it to be relaxed and be more fun than too formal with lots of colour. 

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I love bright colours and originally we had chosen pink as a colour base, but while looking for bridesmaids dresses we found some amazing green ones (my favourite colour) which all the girls loved although we teamed it with pink and blue for decorations and flowers.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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I’m not really used to dressing up so to be honest I found dress shopping quite stressful. As I am small a lot of the dresses didn’t fit in the right areas and were so long. I must have tried on about thirty dresses by the time I found my dress.  After trying on a few plainer dresses the lady in the shop sensed that I wanted something a bit different and brought out ‘the one’. It was very princessy and floaty and different from the others I’d tried and fitted much better. I felt special in it and my mum and bridesmaid cried so I knew it was a winner.  I’m glad I didn’t go down the safe dress route as I felt great in it on the day.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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The girls wore full length green dresses from Monsoon which were floaty and complimented my dress. The boys wore dark blue hired suites from Woven in Durham, they also custom made Nick’s suit which was pin stripe blue and looked amazing.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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The minister – Andrew – did a beautiful service and as my father had passed away last Christmas he included some lovely words about him during the service. While we were signing the register we put up pictures of Nick and I growing up with music in the background which kept guests entertained.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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I actually made my own bouquets for me and the girls as love to do crafty thing. I was really pleased with the flowers. I also attached my Dad’s ring to my bouquet so I felt like he was there with us.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Unknown to us members of our running club did a guard of honour when we came out of the church which was awesome.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We really wanted to personalise the day and we had so many special touches.  We had race numbers on the back of guests chairs instead of place name cards, which most guests ended up wearing by the end of the night and we gave all the guests race medals as favours.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We asked our guests or their favourite songs and played them all during the day.  We were originally going to have a band but eventually decided on a disco as we love a good dance. It was great and perfect for the day. We also added a few games on the tables, had bubble machines and piñatas and of course a limbo pole. We did a quiz on how well the guests knew us which was fun, and also had a sweet table with personalised bags for guests to take home

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We knew we wanted something a bit different and didn’t want to go down the traditional white cake route. I have a love of baking and cake decorating and decided to do the cake myself. My mum made the fruit part and I made the cupcakes and we decorated them with lots of bright colours to match out colour scheme. It certainly had the wow factor and got lots of notice.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day. Being there with our closest friends and family and having them spend such as special occasion with us was certainly one. It was great to see everyone smiling all day and enjoying themselves. It was awesome being introduced into the reception as Mr and Mrs Watson. I loved the ceremony and saying our vows as our minister made it so personal to us, it’s important to remember that is the part which is about just the two of you, after that it all goes crazy. My mum also made a beautiful speech on behalf of her and my dad which I know was hard for her but she did amazing. I loved every minute of the day, especially knowing I was married to Nick.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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We spent our wedding night at Clowbeck – a lovely bed and breakfast in Hurworth and the following day went on a mini-moon to the Lakes for the week after the wedding and us being us tagged a 24 hour running race onto the end of it. We asked for contributions to our proper honeymoon from guests and are planning on getting away next year.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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My top tips for other Brides Up North would be that I know it’s a cliché but just enjoy the day, it really does go so fast. Invest in a good photographer, ours was great, we also hired a videographer (Sarah McVean) who captured so much of the day that we hadn’t seen and it was great to watch the ceremony again.

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Don’t over invite, we were lucky and didn’t feel pressure from family to invite people we didn’t want which we were glad of, you spend so much of the day meeting and greeting everyone, so make sure it’s spent with people you really want there.

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Pick good ushers, ours were great and ended up doing so much, and all the jobs behind the scenes.

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Most importantly don’t sweat the small stuff. For example I forgot to wear my bracelet and Nick forgot to wear his button hole, neither of which stopped it from being the best day we could imagine.

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Ruth Mitchell Photography

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Congratulations Sarah & Nick!

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Would you like to see your own Real Wedding featured here?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Ruth Mitchell Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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