January 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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 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 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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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December 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Another top tip – spreadsheets! Make spreadsheets for everything! They keep you organised and save so much stress!
October 28th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
oh so sweet peaches and cream is set to be one of the hottest colour schemes for 2015 weddings.
Personally I couldn’t stand the sight of peach at one point as I was doing up a house where all the woodwork was layered in shiny peach gloss (pass the sick bucket) but just recently the pretty blush tone has sneaked back into my good books and so I’m totes in favour of this upcoming trend.
Perfect for those tying the knot in spring and summer, the palette is light, playful and girly.
It’s also a particularly good choice of hues for bridesmaids’ attire as the warm peach and subtle cream work well with pretty much all skin tones. So what are the dress options I hear you cry?
Brides can either choose to find maid gowns that feature both colours or alternatively select frocks in alternating colours, so one in cream and one in peach and so on. Or if they prefer one colour to the other on their bridesmaids they could dress their girls in just one colour, say peach, and then incorporate cream elsewhere in the wedding, like the flowers, décor, stationery or the maids shoes.
Dessy has some stunning options, particularly for those looking to feature another top look for 2015 in their wedding – bohemian. Designs such as 2919, 2920 and 6677 are long, flowing and flattering and offer a choice of different neckline options. Meanwhile for those wanting to dress their maids in cute cropped numbers for weddings during the warmer months, design 2780 in ginger and/or cream would fit in with the desired colour scheme perfectly.
Jim Hjelm also has a couple of floor-length and mini maid options in various peachy shades. The strapless 5410 design with fashionable scalloped edges is a particular favourite of mine that would look great on a young group of adult bridesmaids who aren’t afraid to show off their pins.
Meanwhile Dessy’s After Six range and Wtoo have some fabulous options that allow brides to pick different colours for different parts of the dress, meaning they can create their very own peaches and cream showstopper. Take the Wtoo 772 dress for example, brides can select different hues from a plentiful palette for the top, skirt and ribbon of the dress (the apricot and pearl shades work well with this theme). Likewise the incredibly gorgeous 6675 After Six dress in ginger with the choice of ivory lace over the top creates a delicious winning combination.
And the result – bridesmaids that look good enough to eat!
July 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
We’re wrapping up our Real Wedding Recap for Summer 2014 (full blog service returns on Monday – hurrah!) with this bright, beautiful and box fresh North West spring wedding, sent to me by bride and groom Laura and Mark and friend of the blog, photographer Amanda Balmain.
Laura says: We got engaged on 2nd June 2012. We were having a house warming party (at our house in Gateshead) and Mark had already planned that this was the night he was going to pop the question and told all of our friends, it was only me who had no idea! He got down on one knee in the middle of the living room with all of our friends around us and then we headed out into Newcastle upon Tyne for some engagement celebrations.
We were married on 12th April 2014, with the ceremony at St. Peter’s Church, Elworth, and our reception at Wychwood Park, Weston. The church has been my local church since I was born and I had always dreamed of getting married there with the blossom trees which line the path to the door out in bloom (which they were)!
We opted for a colour scheme of stormy grey, yellow and white.
The bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses in stormy chiffon. We went for the same style for two of the bridesmaids and a different style for my sister who was Maid of Honour.
Mark had a dark grey suit with black trim that he chose from Burton which he wore with a yellow tie and pocket square. The groomsmen wore the same suit as Mark and ties and pocket squares in the same shade as the bridesmaid dresses.
Tina Haworth from Beau Hair did my hair and the bridesmaids and my Mum went to Strands salon in Cheshire to have their hair done. Emma Williams did all of our make-up – bride, three bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
I had a beautiful bouquet with white and yellow flowers which included freesias, roses, craspedia, wax flower and lisianthus.
I had attached to my bouquet my late grandpa’s signet ring which was my something old and something borrowed and the heart charm from a necklace Mark gave to me for our first anniversary that I wear everyday.
Our wonderful photographer was Amanda Balmain. Amanda has captured our wedding day beautifully and spent the whole day with us which ensured that she didn’t miss a thing!
Our Panther de Ville car was hired from Grosvenor Classic Cars and was fantastic. We loved being driven around in such an elegant and striking car.
Saying our vows was an incredibly special moment and I also loved the evening reception dancing all night on a packed dance floor.
We got a three tier square cake from Marks and Spencer with assorted tiers – fruit, sponge and chocolate.
We also bought a personalised cake topper from Funky Laser but unfortunately no one got to see it as Mark broke it on the morning of the wedding!
All of our flowers and the decoration at the reception were from Faerie Godmothers. They were fantastic and even came to the church after the ceremony to transport our pedestal arrangement to Wychwood Park.
The lovely ceiling drapes complete with fairy lights in the room at Wychwood Park were from a company called Making Moments.
We gave all of our guests badge favours from Parkinsons UK which is very close to our hearts.
I also gave Mark a top hat and cane as one of his wedding presents from me as he had always wanted one. The only rule was that he couldn’t wear them until the reception!
Our DJ from Hipswing Entertainments was part of the wedding package from Wychwood Park and he was fantastic. He really captured the mood of our guests and the dancefloor was full all night!
We went on a mini moon straight after the wedding to Sherwood Forest where we stayed in a lodge cabin complete with it’s own hot tub and are hoping to go somewhere further afield in the summer holidays.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t worry about your dress, this is the one day you get to wear it so enjoy it. Don’t stress on the day, you are marrying the person you love and it will be fantastic no matter what. We loved every single second and wish we could relive it all again.
Congratulations Laura & Mark!
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