July 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As soon as we spotted today’s real wedding we knew it would be perfect for the blog, not only because it’s incredibly pretty, but also because it’s brimming with our favourite colour, pink!
Every element of Rachel and Brandon’s well-styled big day blends together seamlessly, from the rustic barn wedding setting with exposed stone and beams, to the cute bunting strung along the walls and the also the stunning floral displays placed upon the tables.
The bride and groom say their main aim was to deliver a day that was fun and joyful – looking at the images we’d say mission well and truly accomplished!
With images by One Little Daisy.
rachel says: We got engaged when we seized a brief moment of alone time on Christmas Day 2013. Brandon had been working away a lot so it was poignant that we were able to savour this moment at home – well, my parents’ home, but at least we were in our home country (where we live anyway, Brandon is American).
After our engagement we chose 23rd April 2015 as our wedding date, which was a Thursday. Family and friends were travelling from all over the world and with those journeys in mind we thought that a Thursday would be easier for people. It also meant we saved a few pennies here and there on the venue and some suppliers. A hidden benefit for us was that suppliers had better availability so there was less pressure to get them booked.
Our venue was The Ashes in Endon, Staffordshire. We chose it for its beautiful Grade II listed barns and stunning scenery. We wanted a stress-free ride and loved the idea of their team of expert planners. Plus we could provide our own wine (wine tasting was definitely one of the preparation highlights)!
We wanted the day to be fun and joyful and so we picked things we really liked to incorporate into our day. We ended up making a lot of things ourselves and involving friends, all of which just evolved as the planning progressed.
For our colour scheme we chose blush and navy as the principal colours almost instinctively.
The dress I chose was the polar opposite of what I started out looking for – it was a wildcard. As soon as I put it on I loved it. It felt so much fun to wear and I couldn’t stop grinning. It was from Knutsford Wedding Gallery.
On the wedding day my flawless makeup was by Gemma at Dollface Makeup Studio in Macclesfield. She was lovely to work with. My gorgeous hair meanwhile was by Vicky at Anthony James, Altrincham.
Brandon wore a blue racing green suit, a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt and a Dessy tie and pocket square to match with the Dessy dress of my maid-of-honour. He had stripy blue and pink socks that matched the rest of the wedding party.
My maid-of-honour wore a blush floor-length dress from Dessy and the groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom wore navy racing green suits and blush ties and pocket squares from Dessy.
Our ceremony was pretty special and a first for the registry office, which took some organising! We had the co-founder of Sunday Assembly, Sanderson Jones, as our MC. We really wanted a ceremony that was as personalised to us as we could make it. He created such a celebratory atmosphere and had the whole room singing and cheering throughout. He balanced humour and jubilation with thoughtful words on marriage.
I was adamant I wanted signing to be a part of our ceremony and we were honoured to have James Adams, an amazing musician and close family friend, play for us. We had the whole congregation singing, and he played a medley solo whilst we signed the register.
To transport our guests to The Ashes we hired a big red bus from Routemaster for Hire, Wrexham. It was a fabulous sight to watch it slowly make its way up the long winding road at The Ashes.
We loved our photographer Joe, from One Little Daisy in Leek, from the day we met him. So much so we didn’t even meet with anyone else. One unique thing that he offers is a ‘Go-pro video’ of the ceremony and speeches. We’d whole-heartedly recommend him for his professionalism, his friendly nature and his stunning photos.
I was blown away by my bouquet. I have never seen anything like it. The variety and precision was remarkable. Our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers, did an immense job of interpreting my array of thoughts and ramblings.
When it came to decorations, we wanted them to be fun and joyful. For our floral decorations we incorporated some blues and purples to complement the pinks, whites and ivories used in the bouquets. We had a stunning six-foot arrangement for the ceremony table, which we moved to the top table. Everything floral was provided by our florist, Nadia of Nadia Di Tullio Flowers.
Our elegant bunting, from Bunting with Love, was excellent quality. The owner was exceptionally helpful and went out of her way to help us. We then supplied the many props ourselves.
My friend Laura kindly made our beautiful cake. She isn’t a professional baker so we were hugely honoured that she went to so much effort in her spare time to create such a masterpiece. The bottom and top layers were fruit and the middle layer was sponge. We served it alongside the evening buffet.
The highlight of our wedding breakfast was the ‘Host a Roast’ sirloin beef. We had pre-selected a carver for each table, each of whom were presented with an apron and a chef’s hat. This aligned with our theme to create a fun day for everyone. It was a great way to get guests talking at the tables and great fun to watch from the top table. The food, which was impeccable, was provided by Jenkinsons, the venue’s resident caterer.
We were very excited to be able to have carte blanche to choose our own wines (with no corkage!). We sought wines that would stand up to being drunk without food, as there can be a lot of time between courses at a wedding. We paired the asparagus and Serano ham starter with a lively Australian Voignier and chose a sumptuous Spanish Garnacha to accompany the roast beef. For the toasts we enjoyed a beautifully refreshing Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
We took a traditional approach to the entertainment and hired a band called the Warning Tones, who were fab and had the dance floor filled the whole night.
There was a few special touches added to the day to make it all the more memorable including a ‘first look’. Brandon and I were keen to share as much of the day together as we could and so shared a few special minutes together before the ceremony.
With the help of others, we also made some lovely homemade items for the wedding. My maid-of-honour made our fun table plan and confetti cones. We wanted to incorporate an element that united our two nationalities. Brandon and I made the place names, champagne cork holders and table names, amongst other bits and pieces and my dad made the blackboards that our page boys carried.
As something a little bit different we had a Poloroid guestbook, which our guests loved! It includes so many fun photos.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other brides and grooms. It’s picturesque, arranged perfectly and has all the necessary elements, including the ‘Dairy’ where the bride and her maids can get ready.
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony, we had such a blast singing and dancing. Who knew comedy had a place in a wedding, it was so much fun.
Following the wedding, we had a mini-moon in the Peak District. It was heavenly to nip away for a few days without the added hassle of having to prepare for a full honeymoon. We’ll be honeymooning in the USA after spending some time with Brandon’s family.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to wed on a Thursday! It makes booking suppliers so much simpler. Also, have a first look! It was so special to share those few minutes together just the two of us. It took away any butterflies for the ceremony and I’d say we enjoyed the ceremony more for it.
June 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Well what can we say about today’s wedding – it’s just so pretty! From the idyllic Lake District setting to the romantic styling and gorgeous wedding attire, we love it all!
Debra’s choice of a soft pastel palette for the décor, flowers and bridesmaid dresses works perfectly with the spring season and surrounding countryside, making for an incredibly elegant and romantic big day.
Here at Brides Up North we just love to see couples having fun with their wedding photography and so adore the mix of documentary and staged shots from Richard and Debra’s special day (particularly the ones of the maids with the giant balloons – how fabulous are they!)
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Helen Russell Photography.
debra says: We got engaged at Gleneagles on 22nd April 2012. Richard had booked a surprise weekend away. I had no idea! The day we arrived we used the spa and had a bite to eat. Later, we got dressed ready for dinner and took a walk in the grounds. Richard proposed to me by the fountain, and I said yes! It was lovely. When we went back inside we were taken to a reserved table where Richard had arranged for a special bottle of champagne to be waiting for us, then we ate dinner in the restaurant and celebrated with some cocktails afterwards. We enjoyed a very special time at Gleneagles. For me, it was one of the most memorable and happy weekends of my life!
We got married on 25th May 2015. We both liked the idea of getting married in Bowness in The Lake District as it’s a place that we have frequently visited since we started dating almost eight years ago. As we both love spring time we decided on a date in May. Timing it on a bank holiday also allowed our family and friends more time to travel to The Lake District and we thought it would be more relaxing for everyone.
Our chosen wedding venue was Linthwaite House in Bowness-on-Windermere. We chose our venue as it’s located in the area we have been visiting regularly since we met. Linthwaite House is in a truly beautiful setting with stunning views over Lake Windermere and we were fortunate to be able to take over the hotel and exclusively use it for our wedding. Linthwaite House offered everything we were looking for and we felt it was the idyllic, intimate wedding venue for us to enjoy with all of our guests.
We didn’t have a particular theme, although I’d say our wedding style was romantic and elegant. My flowers were made up with a range of different roses in soft pastel shades and featured David Austin roses. Other little details such as the vintage postcards, signage and table plan I made myself with the help of my mam and sister added to the feel of the day. To introduce a bit of sparkle I wore a diamante headpiece and cuff. The bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes also had a hint of sparkle and they each wore diamante slides, earrings and bracelets.
Our colour scheme was made up of soft pastel colours, mainly soft spring greens and pale pinks, purely because I wanted it to look clean, fresh and romantic.
My dress was by Justin Alexander and I purchased it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. I chose the dress because it was elegant and I loved how the fabric felt. It was a fitted ivory duchess satin dress which tailed out slightly at the bottom. I loved that it was plain and featured some subtle diamante details on the shoulders and a scoop back with buttons all the way down the chapel length train. I also wore a plain chapel length veil which I loved. My shoes were by Rainbow and were very plain mid-heeled ivory court shoes. It all felt lovely on and I was very comfortable.
Richard wore a stylish three-piece suit, tie, socks and shoes from Reiss which we purchased in Leeds.
We booked the transport for me to get from Linthwaite House to the church and back through Lakeland Wedding Cars. I ordered an ivory coloured 1947 silver wraith.
Our photographer was the amazing Helen Russell! Richard already knew Helen and she was the first person we contacted regarding photography. We didn’t consider anyone else and I could not recommend Helen highly enough. She is friendly, professional and has a great eye. Helen is without a doubt an excellent photographer and I would assure any couple getting married that she is brilliant at what she does. I had 100 per cent confidence that Helen would capture our wedding day perfectly in the images she’d create, and she did just that.
Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal provided all of the flowers at our wedding and she was great! My four bridesmaids and I carried bouquets. These were made up of soft country pastel peonies, hydrangea and David Austin roses. My flower girl carried a pomander made up of similar flowers. Richard wore a button hole made up of peony, hydrangea plus greenery and the groomsmen wore smaller versions with foliage. The mum’s wore corsages in the same flowers and colours.
Kerry provided eight table arrangements at our wedding reception which were made up with the same type of flowers that I carried in my bouquet. The table arrangements were displayed in glass stands with some flowers overflowing. Kerry also provided a fresh floral display for the newel post in Linthwite House, fresh flowers for the top of our wedding cake and ribbons trails for the church gate. The church florist meanwhile provided soft clean pale coloured fresh flowers inside the church, which were mainly ivory roses.
The decorations at our wedding included wicker hearts which were placed in the entrance to the church and on the pew ends. We had paper pom poms in the trees and floral vintage bunting placed in and around the outside of the venue. I did a little DIY and made the confetti cones, the table plan, the table name cards, tags for the favours and other decorative signage.
The ladies favour was ‘a love nest’ – a set of miniature ceramic love bird salt and pepper shakers presented in a box. The men each had a miniature bottle of spirit and the junior guests had a Cadbury’s Freddo sweet tree and colouring books.
A friend made our delicious three-tier wedding cake which I designed myself using the same lace and ribbon which I used to create our ‘message in a bottle’ vintage themed wedding invitations. We chose three flavours, fruit for the bottom tier, lemon sponge in the middle and chocolate on the top. Delicious!
Canapes were served upon our arrival at the Linthwaite House with celebratory drinks of prosecco. For our wedding breakfast we had pea and smoked Cumbrian ham risotto topped with a crispy hens egg to start, roast sirloin of beef, fondant potato, mushroom duxelle, onion puree in a red wine jus for main and baked lemon tart with raspberries and raspberry sorbet for dessert. To finish the meal we had coffee and petit fours, which included salted caramel, peppermint cream, dark chocolate and pecan nut fudge. On the evening we had hot bacon and sausage baps and the wedding cake was also served during this time.
To provide entertainment we chose a local North East band called The Rattlers, who travelled from Sunderland to play at our wedding. We then had local a DJ in the evening named DJ Travis who was recommended to us by Linthwaite House. We also had a wedding wishing tree and small sweet buffet during the evening reception.
Others suppliers we used that we would recommend are Imelda Lantern, who provided our tea lights for the tables, and Balloons in the Lakes, who supplied some large ivory balloons to be used as photo props. These were excellent!
The entire day was perfect but leaving the church as Mr and Mrs was definitely our favourite part. We thoroughly enjoyed the photography too as it allowed us to spend some precious time on our own and reflect on our special day together.
For our honeymoon we went to California. It was amazing! We travelled to San Francisco and on the first day cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was fantastic. We then hired a car there and drove onto Pebble Beach where Richard played golf. I walked around the course with him as the scenery was so incredibly beautiful. Our next destination was Los Angeles, which is where I found out that we were expecting a baby (Freddie was born on 8th February 2015 weighing 8lb 0.5oz and is just perfect – we are completely besotted with him). After a few days we drove onto San Diego and finished up in Las Vegas. All excellent places and well worth a visit. A very memorable holiday to top off our wedding. It was all a truly magical experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the lead up to your wedding as it is all part and parcel of your special day. Take your time when making your choices and decisions and most of all trust your own judgement. It’s amazing to see everything come together. On the day, relax and take it all in. It’s the most wonderful day of your lives.
balloons in the lakes, bhs, brides up north featured supplier, coast, dessy, helen russell photography, imelda lantern, Jenny Packham, justin alexander, lake district wedding, lakeland wedding cars, linthwaite house hotel, mia sposa, next, rainbow club, reiss, swagger and swoon, the floristry, the rattlers, uk wedding blog
June 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding starts with a romantic proposal in Barcelona which scores groom Gareth top marks with us girls here at Brides Up North HQ.
After saying ‘yes’ (and getting over the shock) Ghislaine and Gareth agreed to take their time to save up for their dream wedding rather than ploughing through the planning.
The result is a carefully constructed big day with filled with smiles, laughter, cake and a good measure of lace and burlap to fit their shabby chic theme. Just stunning!
With images by Adam Riley Photography.
ghislaine says: I hate surprises but the day before my 26th birthday (in 2012) Gareth surprised me with a four-day break to Barcelona – little did I know that he was also planning to propose on my birthday. Gareth popped the question down at the Port of Barcelona following an evening of fantastic tapas and sangria. I was completely unprepared and couldn’t hold back the tears, especially when he produced a beautiful diamond ring and I realised that he had also requested permission from my father in true romantic style before our trip.
Following our engagement we quickly realised that we would need a couple of years to save up for our wedding whilst still enjoying ourselves. As we got engaged in October we started to consider October dates. Neither of us had our hearts set on a summer wedding and when we realised the significant price difference between peak and off peak wedding packages we knew that October was the perfect month for us. We chose the 24th October 2014.
From the beginning we knew that we always wanted a small wedding, as neither of us particularly like being the centre of attention. We initially considered getting married abroad and very nearly booked a venue in Verona, Italy – however we both had specific members of our family and friends whom we wanted to be there and soon realised that getting married abroad was not an option for us.
We’re both originally from Wales but met each other and have lived together in Liverpool for a number of years so we started to look at venues in Cheshire (half way between our families and friends). We chose Inglewood Manor and everything about it was perfect. Kim Shute the wedding co-ordinator was dream to work with and we can’t recommend her highly enough. The manor itself is an Edwardian country house and has 29 bedrooms to enable friends and family to stay – exactly what we wanted for our intimate wedding. We ended up staying at Inglewood the night before and the night of our wedding with many of our friends and family helping us to extend our wedding celebrations by making a weekend of it.
Our theme (if any) was ‘shabby chic’ as this reflects our personalities and our home – we were keen to incorporate as many pieces of our personal belongings into our wedding day rather than buying new items.
One of our favourite colours is sage green so deciding on a colour scheme wasn’t too difficult. We were fairly traditional and didn’t disclose the colour scheme until our invitations were sent out but some of our friends had already guessed based on fact that many of the rooms in our home are decorated in varying shades of green.
Choosing my wedding dress was probably the only aspect I felt nervous about but I should never have worried as my dress was the second dress I tried on and I loved it instantly. My dress was a lace Justin Alexander gown with a bateau neckline and mermaid train. We customised the dress with a belt to add a bit of sparkle and I also wore a chapel length lace veil. I bought the dress from Brides of Liverpool but it was customised and adjusted by a fantastic seamstress called Janey G who is also based in Liverpool.
Gareth and the groomsmen wore classic tails. This was a surprise as Gareth originally thought he would wear a tailored suit but having tried on various options felt most comfortable in tails. Gareth looked super handsome on the day but our little pageboy Sam definitely stole the show in his miniature version.
I had eight bridesmaids in total, slightly ridiculous for a wedding of 72 people, but I couldn’t imagine getting ready or getting married without them all being there so it was a no brainer! The girls wore full-length dresses designed by Dessy in sage green and my little adorable flower-girl wore an ivory dress with matching sash.
The bridal party’s hair and makeup was looked after by a fantastic bridal hair and make-up artist called Nicola Joyce. I trusted her completely and she did not disappoint us; her calm manner, personality and style is a credit to her and I she was a pleasure to have around on the wedding morning.
Our photographer was the amazing Adam Riley. Gareth enjoys photography and we both knew that choosing the right photographer was one of the most important aspects of our day. Gareth spent many hours looking for photographers online and Adam’s photography caught our eye. We visited Adam a number of times before our wedding to discuss details and we found that we spent time chatting about our lives/holidays as if to a friend rather than a stranger. Both Gareth and I are rubbish at having our photos taken and both agreed that Adam’s true reportage style was exactly what we wanted.
Adam captured the story of our day perfectly and never once made us feel uncomfortable. We wanted to enjoy our day rather than spend hours having posed photos and Adam captured every moment without us even realising it. We can’t thank him enough and would recommend him every single time – he’s even offered to shoot our second wedding if we ever renew our vows!
I carried a hand-tied bouquet of pale pink Sweet Avalanche Roses with cerise pink mini Eden Spray Roses and Gypsophila, and the bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets of Gypsophila. I love Gypsophila and felt that the simple pink and white colours worked really well with sage green colour scheme. Our bouquets, button-holes and corsages were made by a fab florist called Mark at Gordale Garden Centre near to Inglewood Manor.
We bought and arranged the flowers for the venue/reception ourselves. In the run up to the wedding, Gareth and I collected every wine bottle and jam jar we could find and decorated them with twine, lace, pink ribbon and burlap to tie in with our shabby chic theme. Gareth is now a whizz with a glue gun!
We used loads of candles and tea lights to create a relaxed atmosphere and filled the jars with Gypsophila and Sweet Avalanche Roses that we bought from Liverpool Flower Market the day before the wedding. We also used an old-style suitcase (normally kept on top of our wardrobe at home housing my handbags) to display our table plan and we filled the base with gorgeous flowers.
We didn’t make personalised favours but instead set up a vintage sweet table with all of our favourite treats ranging from peanut M&M’s through to marshmallows and peardrops. Again we used an old-style suitcase for display purposes and collected numerous crystal dishes (thanks to Julia, Gareth’s mum) as I love cut glass.
We knew we didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and we found it very difficult to narrow down which flavours we would like (we both love cake). In the end we ended up having eight different cakes displayed in glass cloches. We made and decorated a number of cakes ourselves including a traditional fruit cake (which was generously fed with brandy for six months before the wedding) and we also bought a number of cakes from one of our favourites bakeries called Cuthbert’s Bakehouse in Liverpool – the cakes were delicious!
Our guests enjoyed a range of canapés in the afternoon including mini fish and chips and Welsh rarebit, followed by a beautiful three course evening meal. In the evening we didn’t have additional guests and so had a lighter buffet of bacon/sausage batches and wedges together with as much cake as people could manage.
Our music for the day was provided by a fabulous string quartet called The Dotted Crotchets. We first heard them play at The Trafford Centre in Manchester and we both knew they were exactly what we were looking for. They are the perfect mix of traditional and contemporary, playing many modern chart hits. I walked down the aisle to Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros and we left our ceremony to Friday I’m in Love by The Cure.
The Dotted Crotchets continued to play throughout the afternoon and entertained our guests with great hits from Journey, Coldplay, Rihanna and Take That. They even enthralled our two youngest guests with a rendition of the famous Frozen theme tune – we can’t thank them enough.
We also had a magician called Ian Knowles, who mingled with our guests throughout the afternoon. He is a work colleague of Gareth’s and his magic tricks are second to none – all of our guests loved him.
There were a few special touches on the day which included my sister presenting me with a story book of my life to date that she had created and my mum had framed various baby photos of myself and Gareth which were displayed in the reception areas of Inglewood Manor. It was very emotional for Gareth and I and was great talking points for all of our guests.
Unbeknown to us, my best friend Charlotte had also secretly organised and recorded a video containing clips of all of our guests singing lines to the Bruno Mars song Marry Me. This was played to us during the evening and honestly blew us away! We still can’t believe the time and effort involved by Charlotte and all off our guests for taking part – thank you.
Later on in the evening, my sister and brother-in-law led us outside to see ‘Just Married’ lanterns lined up along Inglewood’s terrace. This was a perfect touch and has since become one of our favourite photographs taken by Adam Riley.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day though. Walking down the aisle to see all of our lovely family and friends smiling back at me and Gareth looking completely over-whelmed was a breath-taking moment.
For our honeymoon we spent two weeks in paradise in the Maldives. We arrived to monsoon type rain that lasted a couple of days, but we didn’t let it spoil our excitement. The island really was pure paradise and we experienced some of the best food we have ever eaten, from fillet steak to fresh sea food. If we could go back tomorrow we’d both be jumping on the plane immediately!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t let the weather worry you. Getting married in October we had planned for rain and I was prepared for a day indoors, however we had a beautiful day and we spent a good couple of hours outside in the afternoon with many guests commenting that it was actually too hot inside.
Things that worry you beforehand will not even be given a second thought on the day as you are far too busy enjoying yourself. If we could do it all again tomorrow…we most definitely would. Best day of our lives!
May 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.
I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!
rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré–Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!
We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.
The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.
Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.
After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.
It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.
The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.
We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!
Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.
Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!
The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.
Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.
Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!
As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!
As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!
We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.
For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!
It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.
Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!
As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.
We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.
It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!
Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).
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