Charlotte Balbier

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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when we collide. a stylish white wedding in Northumberland – tina & andy

December 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (36)

Tina & Andy’s big day is just sublime.  From their chic styling, to their outdoor white wedding breakfast, personalised brew and simple yet special personal touches, this is a celebration that has real class.

And take a look at their randomly captured proposal video.  It’s moments that this that make life amazing. 

With images by Little Miss Boyco.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (7)

tina says: For our 10 year anniversary, we decided to have a big trip to celebrate – and what better way to do that than going to Vegas and Orlando! Little did I know, Andy was planning his own little surprise. In the months leading up to the holiday, Andy had spoken to my parents about his plans and had also found the perfect engagement ring, with the help of my little sister.

On the second last day of the holiday, we went to Universal Studios in Orlando for the “Cinematic Spectacular” – a light, laser, water and firework display in celebration of 100 years of Universal. At the end of the show, as we walked out with the crowds, we reminisced about our favourite parts of the holiday and how the show was the perfect way to round off the trip. As we chatted, Andy stopped and turned to me and said there was just one more thing that would make the holiday more perfect. And this is where he got down on one knee and proposed! Amongst the blur of tears and strangers clapping and cheering, I accepted!

In a crazy twist, the proposal was actually captured on video by one of the passers-by, which was posted on YouTube a couple of months later, and which Andy randomly stumbled across a few months after that!

If you would like to see the moment for yourself, take a look. It is so strange being able to watch it back but also awesome we have this memory to cherish forever!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (16)

We chose to get married at High House Farm in Northumberland as it had everything we were looking for in a venue – beautiful countryside surroundings, delicious locally sourced food, a cute little play area for the kids – and of course, the fact it’s a brewery just added to its charm (myself and Andy are both avid beer drinkers)!

We especially loved the outdoor barn and knew it would be the perfect place to have the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the evening party. We also loved the fact there was no package to adhere to – we were allowed to choose our own food, drink, entertainment, and decorations.

The main thing we wanted was for our wedding to be as personal as possible – we wanted elements of “us” in as much as we could. It was really important that the wedding reflected us as a couple and not just a wedding package. We also wanted to keep it quite soft, rustic and romantic. In keeping with the venue, we decided to adopt a country theme – that is soft colours, floral prints, twine, and lots of candles and fairy lights.

We decided to have olive green as it is one of my favourite colours and we thought it would fit well with the country theme we wanted.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (21)

My dress was a Maggie Sottero from Wedding Essentials in Newcastle. I had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted – something soft, elegant and which was a bit different to the “typical” wedding dress. I spent several months dress-shopping and thought I had finally chosen the dress I wanted which ticked all the boxes however it cost a bit more than I had budgeted. As fate would have it, in the very last shop on my very last day of a “just-in-case-I-see-anything-else” shopping trip, I saw a replica of the dress I had my eye on – in the sale! I tried it on and knew it was the one – long, soft lace, with a low v-back with just a little touch of bling. Lucky for me as a few weeks later, the store closed down!

In keeping with the fact we wanted to have the wedding as relaxed and informal as we could, we decided not to hire or buy suits. Instead, Andy wore a suit he already had and loved – it was a navy three piece suit (jacket, waistcoat and trousers) from Burton and he teamed it with a white shirt from Next, a skinny tie in the same olive green as the bridesmaid dress and some brown brogues also from Burtons. As Andy is a big fan of comic books, he also wore Wolverine socks and handmade Wolverine cufflinks, a present I had bought him for his birthday earlier on in the year.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (26)

My little sister was the only bridesmaid – she wore a long chiffon, one-shouldered dress from Dessy in moss green form Wild Brides in Sunderland.

I saw an advert at work that a colleague made paper flowers and bouquets out of recycled materials – we thought this was really interesting and unique and so contacted her to see what she was able to do for our wedding. We found she could customise the flowers (using different materials, decorations etc) and it would also work out a lot cheaper than real flowers. Coupled with the fact me and Andy both suffer from hayfever and the flowers would be a lasting memory of the day, we jumped at the chance!

Joy from Martha Makes made us two bouquets and nine buttonholes from sheet music we had chosen ourselves. We bought cream paper from Paperchase, printed out one of our favourite songs (Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls) and had them made into flowers with pearls in the centre. We also wanted a leaf adding to the flowers to give it a bit more of a floral design – Joy had never done this before but she was happy to play around with the idea and in the end, she made them out of green gardening magazine pages – they looked amazing! Organic, personal and one of a kind!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (27)

Wiesia Bojko was our photographer for the day – we feel incredibly lucky we found her and that she was available! From our very first consultation, she came across as a very warm and friendly person – with a passion for her work and a portfolio to prove it. Our impression of her has not changed one bit even after the wedding. She was professional and friendly, and has a very natural way of capturing the special moments and little details. I would (and have!) recommended her to friends and family!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (33)

We had asked friends and family to save their glass bottles and jars for us since we got engaged, which we decorated with tea lights, twine and green and cream ribbon.

We decided to have real flowers dotted around the venue using the glass bottles and jars we had collected. I had seen online that it was possible to buy the flowers from a wholesaler and make up the displays yourself – and it would be considerably cheaper than ordering from a florist. As we wanted a soft, romantic, country theme, we decided to buy lots of baby’s breath, a few purple thistles and some light pink lilies to decorate the venue. We bought the flowers from a wholesaler in Gateshead (Premier Flowers) and me and my sisters put them into the bottles and jars the day before the wedding.

Me and Andy chose fabric for the bunting from Dainty Supplies in Washington and my sister (who is a dab hand with a sewing machine!) made them for us. We had three different types of bunting – one was made out of hessian which I painted white hearts onto using a stencil and fabric paint, one was hessian which I painted “Love Is Sweet” onto for the sweetie table, and the rest of the bunting was alternate triangles of olive green, floral and hessian. We also decorated the barn with fairy lights and lanterns from eBay.

We went through all of our photo albums and chose some of our favourite photos from our time together which we thought represented us a couple (e.g. festivals, beer and fancy dress!). We printed them off, trimmed them down to look like polaroids and wrote little captions beneath them – we pinned them onto a piece of twine with little wooden pegs and hung them from the walls.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (34)

We decided to give out beer bottles as favours as the venue was a working brewery and we knew a lot of our friends and family would love it! We went for a tasting session at the venue a few months prior and chose the beer we would use. Andy designed the label for the beer – calling it “Tandy’s Tipple” (a name our friends call us), and High House Farm printed the labels and stuck them on the bottle for us. We used the favours to double up as seating cards – I made little origami hearts using some paper I had bought in Paperchase and I learnt how to make them from a YouTube video and wrote our guests names on them and tied them to the bottles with twine.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (42)

We wanted to have cupcakes for the wedding as we felt they are more fun and informal. Andy’s sister and brother-in-law own their own restaurant and we enlisted the help of their dessert chef (Carley from Carley’s Cakes) to make us a selection of pastel-coloured cupcakes in various different flavours (e.g. cherry, chocolate, gingerbread). We also had little bride and groom cupcakes made – the bride had a veil on the top (a cutting from my very own dress!) and had iced flowers and the groom had a little top hat and a bow tie. We had bought little Mr and Mrs cake thrones for them to sit on as well!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (50)

As Andy is a DJ, we decided to choose all our own music from the ceremony to the meal to the evening. We chose a selection of songs we love, and thought were in keeping with each part of the day, and mixed them together and let them play either through speakers. We had everything from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Westlife, N-Trance to Manowar! In the evening, the best man’s father very kindly lent us his lighting and sound system so we were able to have a proper disco.

Me and my dad danced to The Carpenters “Yesterday Once More” – a song which means a lot to both of us.

Me and Andy’s first dance was to Biffy Clyro’s  “Many of Horror” – which isn’t a typical first dance song but a song which we both love, invokes great memories, and which was a little more alternative.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (54)

We bought a cheap mirror from a high street store, and we wrote the seating plan for the wedding breakfast on it and displayed it during the day. On the night, we took out the mirror and used the frame as a photo prop.We had also made speech boards by ordering speech bubble shapes from eBay, and covering them with blackboard vinyl. We asked our guests to write a message on the board and pose with them in photographs.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (55)

I would recommend High House Farm to other couples who love the countryside, love good food, love good beer and the option to create the wedding they want!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (59)

It sounds cliché but I loved every single part of the day, from seeing all the guests during the ceremony, to walking up/down the aisle, to laughing/crying during the toasts, to dancing my shoes off on the night (literally – I swapped my cream lace heels for my lovely pink Converse trainers!)

If I had to choose one, I really loved seeing all our friends and family stood around us in a circle at the end of the night, singing Green Day’s “Time of Your Life”. It is a song we both love and to see the people we love singing it back to us was just amazing.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (61)

Two weeks after our wedding, we jetted off on a 4 week honeymoon around South East Asia. It was a trip we had both wanted to do all our lives. We spent 5 days in Tokyo, Japan – eating insane amounts of sushi and ramen and sightseeing, and then we went on a two week cruise which stopped at some incredible ports – we shopped in Osaka and Okinawa, we went to a hot springs resort in Taiwan, we ate fresh seafood and visited the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam and we ate from a hawkers market and watched the skytrees in Singapore. We then spent a week in Hong Kong – visiting family and sightseeing. It was an incredible trip and something we would love to do again!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (80)

It sounds simple but our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make YOUR wedding what YOU want it to be. We knew from the start we wanted a wedding that reflected us and our relationship – we are so glad we didn’t just choose a wedding package on offer.

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (79)

Another top tip – spreadsheets! Make spreadsheets for everything! They keep you organised and save so much stress!

a white wedding in Northumberland (c) Little Miss Boyco (75)

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