Charlotte Balbier

in the pink. roses & lace for a vintage style wedding at nunsmere hall – sarah & stuart

May 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (22)

A girl after our own heart, today’s real bride Sarah is huge fan of the colour pink and so styled her big day using a dreamy dusky palette.

Add to this elegant vintage décor, reams of dainty lace and an abundance of beautiful roses and you’ve got one very pretty wedding day indeed.

Fellow pink patrons, you’re going to love this!

With images by Pixsmiths Photography.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (3)

sarah says: We got engaged on 4th May 2013. Stuart asked me to marry him on a stunning local beach in place called Caldy. He then took me away to a beautiful spa hotel in Cheshire called Carden Park for the weekend.

We set the date for 4th September 2014. This was the date of my great gran’s wedding who was also called Sarah. This was only a coincidence but four and nine are special numbers to us. We live at number nine and got engaged on 4th May.

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Our ceremony was at St John’s the Divine Church and Nunsmere Hall was our chosen venue for the reception. We got married in a church as we always wanted a traditional wedding with god’s blessing and this was our local church. Nunsmere Hall in Cheshire was chosen due to its tranquil and magical setting. We fell in love with it as soon as we stepped foot inside. The place had so much character and warmth.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (10)

The theme we chose was a vintage style, as we both loved the look. It was very close to both our families. We could connect to old furniture, glassware and our interests. The colour scheme was dusky pink as I have always been a ‘pink’ girl and the colour fitted in perfectly with the vintage theme.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (12)

I found my dress in a cute little store called Bellissima Brides in Brimstage, Wirral. It was made from soft delicate lace with tiny sparkles to catch the light. The dress had a sweetheart neckline, see-through romantic A-line overlay and stunning lace fringe. My Papa’s wish before he passed away was to buy my dress. Unfortunately he did not see it but my dress means so much to me now!

I chose a mid-single tier veil which had a matching lace and a sparkle fringe. In my hair I wore a vintage silver slide. My hair was styled by Hair Dolls and was more than I could have dreamt, with beautiful curls pinned like a waterfall with a few loose ones hanging to accentuate the back.

I chose my Elegant Steps shoes with my mother in-law. I went for comfort and also a little lace and sparkle on the toes!

My make-up, done by Catherine Bobby, was natural and flawless with the use of my own deep rose lipstick and lip liner, which meant I could top up throughout the day!

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Stuart wore traditional tails in a mid-grey colour, ivory waistcoat and an ivory cravat chosen from Moss Bros.

My three bridesmaids wore pale dusky rose coloured dresses from Dessy, which matched sweet avalanche roses.

To match the groom the groomsmen and page boy also wore traditional tails in a mid-grey colour with ivory waistcoats and dusky rose cravats. These were also hired from Moss Bros.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (18)

A very close family friend who is like an uncle to Stuart was honoured when we asked him to be our wedding day chauffeur. He picked me up from my parents’ house and took me to the church and then drove both Stuart and I to Nunsmere Hall in his Mercedes Benz

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Pixsmiths Creative Photography, who we would most definitely recommend, took our wedding photos. They were brilliant throughout the whole day and to have two photographers capturing the whole day allowed every aspect to be caught on camera. The pictures are perfect and their hard work is very much appreciated.

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Carys West was our florist and she did a wonderful job. I carried a bouquet with a picture of my Papa on a tag tied to it. The bouquet mainly consisted of vintage roses in cream, ivory and dusky pink with pale sweet avalanche and Amnesia dusky roses.

We decorate the reception venue we had 12 centre pieces of tall vases with a ball of flowers on top of each, which consisted of the same flowers in my bouquet. These were again supplied by Carys West.

We also had lace decorated jam jars and silver vintage tea light holders and scattered heart shaped vintage floral pattern confetti on each table. Each name place card was attached to the guests’ favours – a miniature jam jar decorated with lace. Inside was a Wigan delicacy called an ‘Uncle Joe Mint Ball’ (Stuart is from Wigan).

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (27)

Family friends of ours, Jessica and Sophie, made our cake. We chose a three tier round cake with ivory icing with the bottom tier (fruit cake) with an ivory ribbon, themiddle tier (also fruit cake) had a lace edible pattern and the top tier was Victoria sponge. We had a waterfall of roses down the cake in two tones of dusky rose colours.

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To keep our guests entertained we had a live band called JC & The Two-Steps which is a talented local band from the Wirral. The ‘party’ was something that was always important to us and we both love live music and got these guys through a recommendation from Stuart’s work colleague. We also had a DIY photo booth which created some hilarious memories.

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To make the day our own we added a few special touches such as providing our guests with tissues for ‘tears of joy’ at the church and handmade confetti from dried petals. Also instead of guests signing a book we got a wooden giant ‘&’ sign cut for people to sign on both sides.

Our table numbers were ‘dates’ that were special to us and we had a ‘family ladder’ decorated with lace which had photographs of both Stuart’s Grandma and my Papa on who both passed away in the lead up to the wedding so they could overlook the day.

In memory of Papa and Grandma we also had two candles lit at the front of the church. I carried a picture of Papa tied to my bouquet as I’d always wanted my Dad and my Papa to walk me down the aisle right from being a little girl.

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We are proud that we did most things ourselves. All the stationery was designed by my younger brother. He designed the invites, table names, table plan, save the dates and order of service, keeping to the same vintage theme.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (45)

We would definitely recommend Nunsmere Hall to other couples. It’s a beautiful and breath-taking venue with its secretive garden by day and ‘Aladdin’s cave’ by night. Perfect, secluded venue in Cheshire.

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We loved the entire day but for me my favourite bits were the morning preparations with my best friends and Mum, then walking down the aisle looking at Stuart and saying my vows! Also dancing the night away at the evening party!

Stuart’s favourite parts were sharing it all with the special people in our lives, having a special moment for more photos down at the jetty at dusk and having great live entertainment in the evening.

a pretty pink wedding at Nunsmere Hall (c) Pixsmiths Creative Photography (50)

For our honeymoon we went to Kenya on a magical safari and then onto the Seychelles for pure beauty and relaxation. In Kenya on a safari we could hear elephants eating around our tent and hippos scratching at night. We watched lion cubs playing and saw giraffes walking past our tent – amazing! In Seychelles we flew through the mountains on a zip wire, stroked giant tortoises and snorkelled with tropical fish as well as walking on the most photographed beech in the world!

My top tips for other Brides Up North would be the groom involved in all that you can! The memories start from the preparation. I’d also say get part of the day filmed – we had friends and family that took footage over the day, which is great looking back at! Most importantly, enjoy it all and go with the flow!

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art felt. a colourful wedding celebration at manchester’s media city – rachael & zariah

April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (41)

Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.

I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (10)

rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!

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We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.

an arty wedding at Media City (c) On Love Photography (4)

We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.

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The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.

Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.

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After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.

It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.

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Zariah’s wore a blinking gorgeous electric blue FCUK suit from Moss Bros and Icon tanned brogues from Schuh. I thought he scrubbed up very well!

The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.

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We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!

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Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.

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Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!

The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.

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Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.

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Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!

As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!

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As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!

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We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.

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For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!

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It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.

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Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!

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As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.

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We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.

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It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!

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Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.

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Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).

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roses and thistles. a gorgeous winter wedding at bashall barn – amy & ted

April 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

a pretty winter wedding at bashall barn (c) Fairclough Photography (49)

We don’t know about you but here at Brides Up North HQ we just couldn’t take our eyes of Ted and Amy’s wonderful winter wedding when it arrived in our inbox. This stylish couple tied the knot between Christmas and New Year giving their friends and family an extra reason to be in high spirits over the festive season.

They wanted a relaxed and informal do in a charming rural setting and that’s exactly what they delivered.

I absolutely adore the flowers in this wedding – that bouquet! Oh and of course there’s a bunch of mistletoe too…pucker up!

With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Fairclough Photography.

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amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Day. We were at my parents’ house with my sister and auntie and uncle. We had just finished opening the presents and then Ted said, “I’ve just got one more present, but you’ll have to stand up for this one Bob (my nickname)”. I stood up, turned around and he was on one knee. I don’t remember much of what happened after that – only that I said “YES”.

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We didn’t have a date in mind when we started looking at venues but after finding the right place, we sat down to look at diaries and found out they had space around Christmas. We both love Christmas and as we got engaged on Christmas Day, it seemed like a good idea to do it around that time. We went for the Saturday between Christmas and New Year, 27th December.

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We got married at Bashall Barn, a few miles out of our hometown of Clitheroe, Lancashire. We wanted to get married in the Ribble Valley and knew that we wanted a relaxed and informal setting. The Barn was perfect for us, spacious yet cosy and with plenty or rustic, rural charm.

We didn’t have a theme as such but did stick with traditional Christmas colours of red and green. We wanted to create the sense of happiness and magic that Christmas evokes in us for all of our guests.

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My dress was from Dessy’s After Six range. I went to Orchid Designs bridal shop in Clitheroe to try on some dresses to get a feel for what I wanted. It wasn’t the kind of dress I thought I wanted but as soon as I put it on, it just felt so ‘me’ and I didn’t want to take it off. It was the third dress I’d tried on and I just knew it was the one.a pretty winter wedding at bashall barn (c) Fairclough Photography (11)

Ted wanted a three piece tweed suit but we’d left it quite late and they are harder to come by than we thought. About four weeks before the wedding we went out looking and found the perfect suit in Next, it fit perfectly and he looked gorgeous in it.

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I purchased the two bridesmaids dresses online. I knew I wanted dark green but I found it really difficult to find any in the shops so had a look online and managed to find a company who had just what I was looking for. The dresses were then altered to suit each bridesmaid.

The groomsmen each wore their own suits but they all had matching red ties which were purchased from the Saville Row Company.

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I travelled to the wedding in my dad’s car. I didn’t see the point in hiring a car and driver for the ten minute journey. As it was, it was lovely, my auntie had decorated it with ribbon and flowers and my uncle chauffeured us – it was perfect.

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Our photographers were husband and wife duo, the Faircloughs from Fairclough Photography. They were recommended to me by another photographer. I sent the initial email to them to see if they were free on the day that we’d chosen and received a phone call less than five minutes later from Katie. The service was as efficient as that throughout and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They have some great ideas and are keen to try out cutting edge techniques. We didn’t want the posed formal shots and so were happy for them to do their own thing. We were completely overwhelmed with the pictures! They really capture the spirit of us and of the day and that’s just what we wanted. I would highly recommend them.

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I didn’t want really fussy flower decorations. I had a look on Pinterest for rustic winter wedding flowers and found a bouquet with thistle, berries and roses in. My mum had been recommended to try Fusspots in Whalley. I took the picture of the bouquet along with me and told the owner Theresa, what I was thinking. I cried when she delivered the flowers on the morning of the wedding – they were absolutely perfect!

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The venue was already decorated for Christmas and so I didn’t want to go overboard with decorations. I had a large bouquet of mistletoe where the ceremony took place and candles everywhere – I love candles! On each of the tables, I had a cluster of flower decorations from Fusspots and a large lantern, along with favour bags and decorative table number plaques which were designed by a close friend.

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I wanted simple homemade favours. I bought 150 small brown paper bags, miniature bottles and miniature jam jars online. My best friend’s mum made some homemade chutney to fill the jars with and I filled each of the bottles with port. There was also a small chocolate in each. I tied each bag with a piece of butcher’s string and attached a brown gift tag with the guest’s names on so that the favours were also the name places.

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We had a cheese wedding cake for the evening, which was provided by the Barn. I wasn’t going to have a sweet wedding cake but my mum panicked a few days before and so we did end up getting a few plain iced sponge cake tiers from a supermarket but we didn’t even cut into it in the end!

The venue we chose has been voted to have the best on site restaurant in the UK, as foodies this was a massive plus for us. We didn’t get married until 4:30pm and our evening guests were due from 7:30pm onwards and so we were a bit limited for time. We chose to have canapés to start whilst guests were having their reception drinks, for mains we had a braised blade of beef with creamed mash and veg and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding. It was lovely!

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We had a band called Duncan Disorderly to provide our entertainment. We first saw them at Knutsford Wine Bar and fell in love with them. They play covers but put their own funk style on each track. They’ve got tonnes of energy and are perfect for a good dance!

We wanted our guests to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible – this was at the forefront of our minds when we planned the day. We had a little snack table with savoury and sweet nibbles and little bowls for people to help themselves throughout the evening, to ensure nobody went hungry. We also put toiletries in each of the bathrooms for guests to freshen up.

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I would highly recommend the Barn, especially to couples who want a little bit more flexibility when planning their day. Henk, the coordinator, was a great help in the planning and was very accommodating to our ideas.

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I loved the whole day – it just went too quick! I particularly loved walking down the aisle and seeing my Ted for the first time – I got a rush of excitement like I have never experienced before!

We hadn’t booked a honeymoon initially but had booked a fortnight off work at the end of January. A few days after the wedding, we went to the travel agents in Clitheroe and booked a ten-day break to Mauritius, to begin two weeks later. It was so nice having something to look forward to when we both went back to work after New Year. Mauritius was idyllic! We stayed at Le Victoria in the north of the island and everything was perfect – the weather, food, people – we didn’t want to come back! We still miss the time we lived in Mauritius – even if it was just for ten days!

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My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy the experience! It is so easy to get carried away with what you should/shouldn’t do but at the end of the day, it should be about you, the bride and groom! You only get one day to show everybody who you both are and how much you love each other – don’t lose sight of that in the planning.

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look book: black magic

January 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Black short taffeta dress with lace bodice - Monique Lhuillier

by Monique Lhuillier

I’d say 80 per cent of my wardrobe is black, something I’m often told off about but it’s a classic, right? Slimming, timeless and flattering against pretty much every skin tone and hair colour. This is why in my eyes it’s a great choice for bridesmaids.

The dark, elegant colour palette provides sophistication and class, and is unlikely to rock the boat with any of your maids.

Initially the trend was mostly isolated to New Year weddings with brides and grooms going for a polished black tie theme. But now the little (or long) black dress has become more acceptable for ceremonies in seasons beyond the winter.

5531 - Jim Hjelm

5531 by Jim Hjelm

Those opting for the dateless hue can keep things clean and simple with black or nude accessories, add a little sparkle with glittering metallics or opt for a contrasting colour to achieve a vibrant pop. Black maids’ dresses won’t district from or determine your choice of blooms either, giving you and your florist free range.

Looking at what’s available, designers have clearly noted the rise in popularity with most offering a fair few black creations within their collections. The simple hue is available in designs incorporating other top bridesmaid trends such as lace, illusion necklines and detailed backs.

2940 - Dessy

2940 by Dessy

For those wanting a full lace number Dessy has two stunning options in contrasting lengths; the 2911 strapless knee-length and the floor-length 2940 with illusion neckline, which can be picked to suit the season and maids’ preferences on whether they would rather flaunt or cover their pins.

5476 front - Jim Hjelm

5476 by Jim Hjelm

Meanwhile for those that desire just a little lace detailing Jim Hjelm and Monique Lhuillier have some truly striking options that are bound to result in very merry maids. Hjelm’s 5420 and 5524 offer mini length dresses with lace appliqués and panels while the elegant full length 5476 and 5531 feature just flirty touches of the regal material.

Lhuillier’s black short taffeta dress (top) with lace bodice is a real show stopper and a LBD that I would love to own myself.

2925 - Dessy2925 by Dessy

If any brides are planning to have black maids’ dresses for a New Year 2016 wedding, then all out glamour is the way to go. Full length designs that would hit the right level of opulence include Hjelm’s 5428 with high-leg split and Dessy’s elegant 2921 and 2925. For those wanting to bring the hemline off the ground, it has to be Lhuillier’s mid-length strapless taffeta dress – pure perfection!

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real wedding recap winter 2014. softly stunning. a romantic wedding at Eshott Hall – natalie & warren

December 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, 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 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) 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 for 2014.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (116)

Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides.  Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing.  I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…

With images by Helen Russell Photography.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (6)

natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!

We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.

After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (3)

We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (9)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (22)

I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband

Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (30)

Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (36)

My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.

The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (40)

My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (46)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (52)

Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (62)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (60)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (69)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (79)

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (83)

As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (101)

The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (90)

We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (106)

During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.

Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (107)

We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (127)

For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.

a romatic pastel wedding at Eshott Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography  (112)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.

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