October 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
It’s been a very pretty week indeed on the Brides Up North pages – and it’s not over just yet, as this afternoon’s real wedding is yet another beauty.
Taking place in Yorkshire, Kate and Luke’s big day is brimming with style & romance thanks to a pretty blush pink colour scheme, a well-dressed wedding party and lots of twinkling fairy lights.
With images by MJ Holding Photography.
kate says: We got engaged on 22nd June 2014, at an Eric Clapton concert in Leeds. Luke picked it because the first present I ever bought him was tickets to Eric Clapton. He proposed during the song, Wonderful Tonight. It was a really special moment and the song will provide us with a lifelong reminder.
We got married on 10th July 2015. It was actual only one of the few dates left at our venue – East Riddlesden Hall – for 2015 and happens to also be my dad’s birthday so it was extra special. It was meant to be!
Having lived in Australia for a few years, when we moved home we decided that we would like a local wedding surrounded by all our family and friends. We got married at Bingley Parish Church, as it is a picturesque church with a great local feel, and then went onto East Riddlesden Hall.
We didn’t really have a theme as such apart from I wanted it to be a very pretty wedding, lots of blush colours, lots of flowers and lots of candles.
We decided on a navy blue and blush colour scheme as I didn’t want lots of bright colours and wanted it to look very classic.
I went for a Justin Alexander sweetheart neck strapless dress with lots of ruffles, which I wore a lace jacket over the top as I wanted to put my own touch on the dress. I took the jacket off at night and added a belt and a diamante clip in my hair. I tried lots of dresses on until I found my dress at Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden. I didn’t want a dress that I could die black and it be used as a cocktail dress but I didn’t want a big princess gown either so mine was perfect in that it was big but it had some structure and detail to it without being ‘blingy’ as I didn’t want a lot of beading. I absolutely loved it!
We found the style of Luke’s wedding suit when visiting Rome and asked George Lilley, a Leeds tailor to recreate the design. Luke wore a double breasted pale pink waistcoat with a navy blue suit which had some pink detailing on the jacket to match the waistcoat. We teamed it with a navy tie. All the boys wore pale pink socks, which looked fab too.
Our bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses and they all picked their individual styles which all really suited them as they are different ages and have different tastes. The groomsmen wore TM Lewin slim fitting suits with a matching pink tie and dark brown shoes.
Fir transport, we hired a traditional wedding car from Halifax Wedding Cars – it looked amazing as we were able to take the roof down when we travelled from the church to the venue.
Our photographer was one of our best friends and groomsmen – Mike Holding. Mike has been a photographer for a long time and just recently turned professional so it was an obvious choice! He was absolutely incredible in making everyone feel relaxed, he didn’t seem phased by anything and we couldn’t have been happier with the photos we received. We would recommend Mike to everyone!
I carried a soft, natural, handtied bouquet of soft vintage pink sandstorm roses, scented white O’Hara roses with majolica spray roses, sweet peas and pink peonies. We used Stems Design, from the minute I met Lynne I knew she had to be the person to do my flowers. Lynne took all my ideas and brought them together to give the reception barn the perfect look. As the barn is quite a blank canvas it was really important to get the décor right and the flowers just made it. We had candelabras on every table filled with flowers and in all the windowsills we had flowers and candle lanterns.
We wanted favours that could be enjoyed on the day and so our family helped us to create them with Luke’s grandma Annie making Sloe Gin for the Ladies, and my uncle Andrew making Bramble for the men.
We had a five tier cake made by Charlotte at Sugar Therapy who is actually Luke’s Step Auntie. We had five different flavours: vanilla and raspberry, Belgian chocolate, passionfruit, Himalayan salt and caramel and white chocolate and raspberry. Instead of icing we had white chocolate covering the cakes and a waterfall of roses coming down.
The food and wine for the day were really important to us as we wanted to create our own menu. We chose James Brown Catering as his personal approach, passion and enthusiasm set him apart from the other caterers we spoke to. The food and service we received was absolutely incredible, we had so many comments on the food being of restaurant quality rather than mass catering.
When it came to the entertainment, we had our own playlist for during the meal and the band – Psychoslinkys for the evening. They were a band who we used to watch when we were first dating and we remembered them being fantastic – they didn’t disappoint! They even played the song we got engaged to – Wonderful Tonight!
There were a few extra special touches to the day which included having our own Instagram hashtag #thelaverys2015 which was great and everyone used it! We also hired a huge ‘love’ sign which I was debating about for a long time as they are quite costly but I am so glad we got it as it looked great on the dancefloor – especially in pictures. I did a lot of the outside decorations myself, pompoms and hearts hanging from the trees, a ladder with a love sign and flowers on it. Basket in the ladies toilets with lots of handy items to spruce yourselves up with. We also purchased Polaroid cameras and asked guests to create a ‘memory’ book.
We would absolutely recommend East Riddlesden Hall to other couples, particularly those that want to really make the day their own. The venue is very idyllic with a lake at the front and picturesque gardens and scenery at the back. You can make it as unique as you like. As it is basically a blank canvas, this was great for us as we didn’t want a “package wedding” we wanted to make it our own. It is harder work than a hotel wedding where everything is included but absolutely worth it. The staff there couldn’t have been more helpful, and from the minute we looked around to the day itself, they were so helpful.
It’s hard to pick a favourite part of the wedding that stood out more than the rest. There are lots of special parts that I still look back on and smile about weeks later. The whole day was perfect from start to finish and it really was the happiest day of our lives. Being able to celebrate with all our friends and family and seeing how happy everyone was on the day made it extra special.
For our honeymoon we went the California and Las Vegas – we did San Diego, Orange County, LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas over three weeks. It was amazing, I had never been to America before and it certainly didn’t disappoint! We did lots of travelling and saw absolutely loads, some of our highlights included the baseball in San Diego, dinner at The Ivy in Beverly Hills, cycling the Golden Gate Bridge and The Beatles show in Las Vegas.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – enjoy it! Don’t let anything get stressful and enjoy all the planning and run up as that all part of creating your perfect day. Also, don’t always go for big companies and rely on reputation when choosing suppliers. We went with people who took a genuine interest in our wedding and were as passionate about making the day a success as we were. The results were fantastic!
September 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you were too busy playing out this Bank Holiday to catch up on all things Brides Up North, make sure you click here to catch up on yesterday’s news… the new season and Unveiled Magazine, Issue #04 has landed! No rest for us wicked ones though, we’re getting busy with the pretty right away today… today’s bride and groom don’t like things too over the top and so decided to keep their big day simple and elegant, with both modern and traditional touches.
Following a church ceremony Jessica, Chris and their guests carried on the proceedings at the stunning Lartington Hall, which (having visited ourselves) we can say is a splendid choice of venue.
We love how chic this wedding is. With pretty pastel blooms, classic wedding transport and a dreamy satin wedding gown (in which Jessica looks gorgeous) it might be simple, but it sure is stylish!
With images by Joe Stenson.
jessica says: Chris attempted to propose on two different occasions. The first time was a surprise trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately there was an issue with the ring he had chosen so he didn’t have one and choose not to propose (but we did get to see the lights!).
The second was a surprise weekend to Paris but it was the week in 2014 when we had terrible storms and we got stuck in Dover for nine hours as the port was closed so we ended up missing the restaurant booking and arrived at 1am! Again he chose not to propose.
Third time lucky was an impromptu picnic in the New Forrest (we live in Surrey although I’m from County Durham) with our little dog Frank. Chris was acting very strangely, pacing up and down and eventually got down on one knee and popped the question. It couldn’t have been more perfect – beautiful scenery, wellies on and dog by our side!
We set the date for 25th April 2015. We originally wanted a winter wedding but as Chris proposed in March, I was worried there wasn’t enough time to organise a wedding for that winter. I love spring so this was our next option.
We got married at St. Romald’s Church, Romaldkirk, Teesdale, but we had our wedding weekend, including the reception at Lartington Hall.
My family have connections to the area and St. Romald’s is a beautiful church. We also fell in love with Lartington Hall and the two are only a few miles apart so it worked really well when transporting our guests. We chose Lartington Hall because it was exactly what we had dreamed of for a reception venue. It has all the English countryside charm of a stately home, but is stylish and elegant with a modern twist but doesn’t lose its fabulous history and appeal. John and the team at Lartington Hall are also just fantastic and put us at ease that we had chosen the right venue on our first meeting.
Simple elegance was our theme. We aren’t a fussy couple, we don’t really like lots of bling or making a big statement so we wanted the day to reflect our personalities. It was all about having a traditional, English country wedding with everyone we love around us having a relaxed day and loads of fun.
I’d always wanted my bridesmaids to wear navy dresses, however when we decided on a spring wedding we were worried they might look a little wintery. Rather than change the colour of their dresses, we decided to lighten the colour palette by having beautiful spring flowers in shades of light pinks, purples and blues. The stationary, cake and groomsmen’s accessories all followed the lighter spring colour theme.
I wanted a simple, classic and elegant dress. After trying on loads, I finally found my one at Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique in Beaconsfield. My dress was Anna by Augusta Jones. It is a structured ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, waist defining sash, and a full skirt, made in cream coloured Satin de Chine. I chose an organza overlay skirt also by Augusta Jones which I wore for the church service with a satin edge cathedral veil. For the evening I changed my sash and wore an Austrian crystal sash called Virginia from Ivory & Co. to give me a different look. My shoes were by Emmy London and were customised with mother of pearl T-bar.
Chris and all of the groomsmen wore traditional navy tails from Moss Bros. Chris wore an ivory waistcoat and cravat, while the groomsmen wore silver waistcoats and Creswell pink cravats. Our nephews (aged seven and ten) had top hats to match their suits.
On the wedding day Sally Ward from La Belle Vous, did hair and makeup for me and my three bridesmaids. She did a fantastic job and was lovely to have around on what could have been a very stressful morning! Everyone looked gorgeous but most importantly felt really good after she had worked her magic.
We hired traditional cars from Brooklands Wedding Cars in Durham, to transport all of the wedding party. My mum and I travelled in a 1930s Beauford convertible in navy and cream. The bridesmaids travelled in a 1920s Regent Landaulette in navy and cream, and the groom and family travelled in a cream Daimler State Limousine.
As we met in Nottingham and moved to the south and with Chris’ family being from Hampshire, the vast majority of our guests had to travel to our wedding. Because of this we wanted to put on a coach transfer from the hotels they were staying to the wedding and back again. We organised this through Enterprise Travel, based in Darlington.
When it came to booking a photographer, we contacted Joe Stenson who was based in Leeds and he travelled to meet us for an initial chat. We instantly knew we had picked the right photographer. He is hugely talented with a very laidback approach and was an absolute pleasure to have as part of our big day. We can’t stop looking at our photos – they are just fantastic and really capture what a happy, fun day it was. We would highly recommend Joe, and his colleague George, who also photographed our day.
Kirsty and Katy from Darling & Green, created all of our flower arrangements for church and venue and our bouquets and button holes, Hydrangea were our main theme for the flowers and these were arranged along with a selection of ranunculus, tulips, astrantia, allium sphaerocephalon and hellebores, following our spring colour palette of light dusky pink, soft shades of pink and purple with touches of very light blue and soft foliage.
Darling & Green arranged all of the venue flowers as well in the same theme as above. We had hurricane vases with candles and flowers and tall goblet vases with flowers on alternate tables. We also had mantelpiece arrangements of flowers and candles in the main ball room as well as vintage bottles containing hydrangea heads dotted around the different rooms of Lartington Hall. At the church we had the archway into the church decorated with willow and our chosen flowers, pew ends of hydrangeas and pedestal arrangements containing flowers and candles.
Jill Ellis who owns Hope You Can Make It, in Middlesbrough, designed all of our stationary in shades of the pinks and purples of the hydrangeas so the theme was continued through to the table plan, table names, menus and place settings.
We created a table plan using an antique picture frame, antique keys and old luggage tags. Guests were invited to ‘find the key to their seat’ from the keys hung on the table plan and on each individuals key was the name of their table. We also purchased a drop top guest book where guests could write messages on wooden hearts and post them in the top of an oak frame to create a keepsake of the day.
On our recent trip to Paris we fell in love with traditional Parisian macaroons and so decided to give these as favours to our guests. Chris Burnett at Burnetts 4 Cakes, created traditional macaroons in blush pink and each guest had two macaroons presented in a gift bag at their place setting.
Chris also created our cake. We wanted a simple, elegant, statement cake with oversized tiers and squared edges. Chris took our ideas and created a stunning cake. Each tier was a different flavour: fruit, carrot, chocolate orange and red velvet. The tiers were very plain with ivory icing, except for the bottom tier which was covered in intricate blush pink iced frills. My only regret was I didn’t get any! But we have saved the fruit tier so there is still hope!
Following canapés served during the drinks reception, we had a wedding breakfast of Smoked Salmon to start, Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings for mains and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. In the evening we had hog roast sandwiches served on the dance floor in large baskets – not to interrupt proceedings!
To provide entertainment during the church service we booked Dr Robin Harrison, who is a fantastically talented organ player, and his choir The Bobby Dazzlers. They performed while we were signing the register and were very popular among the guests. We then hired Purple Supper Band for the entertainment back at Lartington Hall and they played jazz piano during our drinks reception, followed by two very lively sets by the band and the DJ finished the night off. The dance floor was full from start to finish!
To make the wedding all the more special, we invited our immediate wedding party to stay with us for the weekend at Lartington Hall, which has 12 beautiful bedrooms. We had a lovely rehearsal dinner on the Friday prior to the wedding and the Saturday preparations were very relaxed as everyone was in the same place.
We would absolutely recommend Lartintgon Hall to all. It is a truly stunning venue, but also the team are so friendly and accommodating – nothing is too much trouble. They make the weekend an extremely relaxing one so the wedding couple can concentrate on enjoying their special day. We could not have asked for more from them.
The wedding service was obviously very special to us, but I think our favourite part of the day was walking into the ball room at Lartington Hall to greet our guests for dinner and seeing everyone together for us – we also got a huge cheer which was fantastic!
Neither I nor Chris had been to Asia or the Far East so we wanted to visit this part of the world for our honeymoon. We chose Vietnam with a one-night stopover in Singapore on the way home. We were away for three weeks and had a fabulous time visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Halong Bay with a ten day stay on a private cove at the fabulous Six Senses Resort Nimh Van Bay. The best things we did were a Vietnamese cookery course, conducted in a tropical garden and a private dining experience in a cave for my birthday. Singapore was a fabulous end to the trip as it was a total contrast to the cities of Vietnam with its modern infrastructure, sky scraper buildings and super clean streets.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – lists, lists and more lists! I make lists in my sleep so this was the way I organised myself during the planning stages. On the day itself, I would say make sure everything is done by the day before so you can really relax and enjoy every little second of the day – it is over so fast. Also, take a step back and observe just for a few seconds at different stages of the day. It is such a blur when it’s all over you will be pleased you took mental pictures of everything that is going on around you.
I can honestly say it was the best day of our lives!
August 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This is another one if those weddings that’s so pretty we actually gasped when we first saw the images.
We adore Donna’s choice of a delicate lace Claire Pettibone dress, which complements her soft colour scheme of pale cornflower blue and antique pink to a tee.
Keeping things simple, Donna and Ric didn’t go OTT with their décor, instead opting for dreamy floral arrangements to bring the colour and leaving the rest of the detail to the venue. For us, this is pure perfection!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
donna says: We got engaged in May 2014 on our hotel balcony in Montmartre, Paris. Ric was hoping to pop the question in Jardins du Luxembourg earlier in the day during a picnic, but as it was a sunny bank holiday Sunday in Paris, there were crowds and never quite the right moment! We celebrated on Monday with a gastro lunch on Bateaux Parisiens cruise on the Seine, which was fantastic.
We set the date for 18th July 2015, hoping for a sunny summer’s day and our chosen venue, Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire, only had two Saturday dates left in 2015.
We chose the venue as we wanted a civil ceremony, and also somewhere with history and where we could show our family in years to come. As a historic home with bags of character and a really welcoming team, we knew Samlesbury was for us. The Whittaker Room where we were married was the old family chapel of the family that used to live there, so felt so special and unique.
We didn’t want a clear theme as such. However, soon into planning our marriage, we tended to like vintage glamour, antique type styles. We also wanted to reflect the summer and a relaxed, elegant style. We also noticed a ‘scallop’ theme emerging in our choices – our stationery pattern, the lace in my dress and my jewellery.
Our colour scheme was pale cornflower blue (Dessy – Larkspur) and pale antique pink. We both love cornflower, and it fitted perfectly against the backdrop of Samlesbury’s black and white buildings and green lawns.
A wonderful friend of ours Nikki Graeme is director of The White Closet in West Didsbury, and it was top of my list for dress shopping! I did look at a number of different designs before making my choice. The new gown Estelle in Claire Pettibone’s Romantique collection just felt right as soon as I tried it on. I wanted something that was light and comfortable whilst also elegant with a touch of glamour. When I tried it on Sweet Disposition came on the radio and I found myself twirling around in the dressing room, so I knew it was the one!
My two bridesmaids Imogen and Jen wore knee length Dessy dresses in Larkspur and our flower girls wore ivory satin dresses with netted skirts with Dessy accessories to match the older bridesmaids.
Our hair and makeup artists was Nathan Hynes. We couldn’t recommend him enough, such a lovely friendly guy and really creative and talented with hair and makeup using Charlotte Tilbury products.
On the day of the wedding, my mum, two bridesmaids and I travelled in a silver Bentley Flying Spur from David Anthony Chauffeur Services in Manchester. They were wonderful and incredibly reliable and professional.
Hayley Baxter was our photographer and she was truly exceptional. From the moment we met Hayley on our pre-wedding shoot at Dunham Massey, we felt totally relaxed in her company, and really confident in her professionalism and technical skills.
On the big day Hayley arrived at our home whilst we were having hair and make-up done, she subtly starting capturing special moments, and felt like part of the day immediately. Hayley was so discreet, yet in these quiet moments was brilliantly capturing the details of the day. Hayley has a real knack of making sure the photographs progress swiftly, whilst being charming and friendly and put all our family and friends at ease. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.
I had a loose bouquet of summer flowers, including peonies and roses. I cried when I saw them, they were so beautiful! We also had a flower arch over the doorway at Samlesbury Hall which looked beautiful too. The Flower Lounge provided these as well as our floral decorations for the reception. We had silver candelabras with the same theme of peonies and roses on each of our top tables.
We used Amanda at Love Invited, who was wonderful, for all our stationery using her ‘Hollywood Glamour’ designs. She was thoroughly professional and the quality of her stationery was fantastic.
To continue our Parisian theme we gave our guests favours of colourful sweet Macaroons from Sam Joseph chocolatiers in Altrincham Market. They are a local supplier who we had seen at our local market and their macaroons were exquisite!
For our wedding cake, we decided to go for a simple iced sponge cake with three tiers of different flavours: orange and raspberry, blueberry and walnut, and lemon on top. This again was from a local supplier who we have tried and tested in the past from visits to The White Closet – The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon on Burton Road. We chose a ‘The Smiths’ cake topper from Not on the High Street for a bit of fun.
There was plenty of choice on the wedding breakfast menu from Samlesbury’s chef. At our tasting we loved the lamb, so this was an obvious choice for us. Starters and dessert were a bit more of a challenge, however we went for a summery Caprese salad with parma ham to start, and finished with our favourite – an unseasonal sticky toffee pudding!
Music was a really important element of the wedding to us and so we chose John Gilmore to play live Saxophone outside on the lawn during our canapés. We also chose songs during signing of the register and walking back down the aisle which were light hearted and set the mood of the day – happiness and celebrations.
Rick Cropper was our DJ for the evening entertainment. We met him back in September at Samlesbury Hall and were impressed by his friendly relaxed style. The dance floor was busy all night! We provided some fun kiddies packs for the little ones to keep them entertained too.
My favourite part of the day was saying our vows in front of family and friends and looking into Ric’s eyes – it was magical. For Ric it was (apparently) me walking down the aisle with my dad Peter! And the first dance, which was lots of fun and very improvised.
Following the wedding, we had a lovely relaxing minimoon in North Yorkshire, near Helmsley, in a little cottage. We are lucky enough to be visiting South Africa (Safari, Capetown and the Winelands) and Dubai next month for a longer break.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to remember that however challenging the planning might feel at times (when working long hours and decorating a new house, it can be tough) it will all be worth it the moment your day begins and all your hard work and vision pays off. You should relax and enjoy it – a few people commented that we both seemed very relaxed and involved in enjoying our day. That was absolutely the case and this was due to wonderful suppliers and time invested up front.
My other top tip would be to leave a couple of days before the wedding when you literally are all planned out and have time to relax. We finished all of the final details the weekend before so I had two days with my bridesmaids and my mum and had time to write cards, wrap presents and be pampered!
August 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Though they didn’t marry in the capital, opting for a northern venue instead (yay!), today’s couple still gave a nod to the place bride Lucy is from by hiring some iconic transport.
A black cab and red double decker bus carried the bride, groom and their guests between venues providing as great talking point and turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of the day.
So it’s all aboard to Cheshire as we relive Lucy and Andy’s wonderful wedding.
lucy says: We got engaged in November 2013 in Mauritius. Andy informed me that he wasn’t feeling well while we were sat on the beach at night looking at the view so we sat down. Next minute he was down on one knee proposing.
Our wedding date was 29th May 2015. It was the closest we could get to the date that we first met – we met years before we got together but it took Andy a while to ask me out on a date.
We got married at Heaton House Farm in Cheshire. I’m from London and wanted something totally different to all the venues that I had seen down south. Heaton House Farm is in such a stunning location and the views are spectacular, whatever the weather!
We had a loose London theme for the day. We had a red London bus from Routemaster Buses to transport our guests from the church to the reception venue and Andy and I arrived in a black cab.
Navy, white and yellow was our chosen colour scheme. I originally wanted navy and white for pure elegance but someone pointed out to me that it might look a bit clinical and so we added in a vibrant yellow.
Andy’s outfit came from Whitfield and Ward. He wanted a waistcoat and to incorporate tweed and some navy. Craig at the shop helped him choose a great suit to complement. The groomsmen’s attire was also from Whitfield and Ward.
My bridesmaids wore Vivian Diamond dresses from the Dessy collection, which we got from 7th Heaven.
James Tracey was our photographer on the day and Daniel Lloyd was a second shooter. Booking the photographer was one of the first things we did after booking the church and the venue. James has the perfect personality; bubbly, relaxed and super organised. We would highly recommend him.
For my flowers I carried a rustic, tied bouquet and my bridesmaids carried identical arrangements. Laura from Green Earth Flowers seemed to really understand my vision and put it into practise when creating the bouquets.
Venue Perfections helped with the reception décor. We had personalised bunting hanging from the beams in the barn, navy taffeta bows on the chairs and yellow and navy ribbons wrapped around the napkins. To decorate, we also had sliced lemons in mini jars with assorted flowers as well as long stemmed flowers in the scheme colours in tall, elegant vases.
I had seen lots vintage letters lit with old bulbs in varying wedding magazines at shows and I decided we must have them at our wedding and that Heaton House Farm would be a great place to showcase them. We hired ‘Love’ letters from The Word is Love. They were hugely popular and lots of our guests commented on them.
Our favours were by Gemma at Pat-a-Bakes. We had white, navy and yellow decorated gingerbread love hearts wrapped up and tied with a bow.
Linda at Buttercup Cakes, Whaley Bridge, made our wedding cake. It was a four tiered design with sparkling sugar crystals and had navy ribbon tied around with a diamante broach clasp. It was lemon flavoured with vanilla filling – yummy!
DJ Krissy B provided the entertainment on the day. I love 80s and 90s music and had seen Krissy B play before. He appeared perfect for the wedding and he was!
We would definitely recommend Heaton House Farm to other couples. The entire events team are extremely organised and nothing is too much trouble. You are allocated a wedding coordinator and they ease any stress that you might be feeling. The venue also has stunning views, inside and out.
My favourite part of the day was being on the London bus on the way from the venue to Heaton House Farm. Sitting next to Andy, surrounded by friends and family travelling through all the little villages and taking it all in was priceless and a very precious moment for both of us.
Following the wedding we had a minimoon to Lake Garda. It was simply stunning. The weather and views were glorious. It was a very romantic area with lots of amazing activities on the lake. A perfect setting for our first week as Mr and Mrs. We sailed, rode bikes, went kayaking and sunbathed.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to breath (remain calm) and be as well prepared as possible. That way the day should run smoothly. Be aware of your ‘countdown’ days in the run up to the wedding and allocate certain jobs to be done in certain months so that you feel a sense of achievement.
We would also suggest couples delay their big honeymoon until later in the year. Aware we might well feel deflated after our big day we took a minimoon following the wedding and have planned a ‘megamoon’ for October to extend the wedding feeling.
August 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning a wedding, couples are free to draw inspiration from anything they like, from the setting to the season, as well as their loves and passions.
With that in mind, today’s brides and groom, Christina and John, decided on a magical outdoor woodland wedding followed by an evening reception that was a nod to Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings, a novel they’re both big fans of. And why not?
The result is a very personal, fun and captivating big day that’s brimming with beautiful handmade décor, natural blooms and individual touches.
So get those reading glasses on and feast your eyes on this enchanting celebration.
With images by Jonathan Stockton Photography.
christina says: We got engaged in spring 2014 while we were travelling around Scotland in our campervan which John converted himself. We have a strong emotional connection to Scotland, it being the place we met and where many of our friends still live, so we had been on a two week campervan trip the year previously already. At that time John had recently discovered his passion for photography and so I had been left feeling a bit like a ‘photography widow’, with John spending more time with his camera than with me.
So when we went this time, John made a particular effort to put the camera down and really be with me. But he couldn’t resist incorporating photography in the proposal. The first time the sun came out, he set up the tripod for a selfie of us in front of a waterfall, but then at the last moment dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. So our proposal is captured on camera too, though we both look a little bedraggled.
We married on the 13th June 2015. The 13th may be unlucky for some, but we decided that it would be our lucky date, marrying on the 13th day and in our 13th year of being together.
The Garden Station in Langley, Northumberland, as our chosen venue. By that point we had our hearts set on a ceremony in a natural setting, so when we visited the Garden Station we fell in love with the quirky, pretty English country garden of the station itself, and the potential for a woodland ceremony and night-time do just put a stamp on it.
For the ceremony we envisioned a magical, natural woodland theme that would reflect our love of the woods and of nature, with birds singing all around us. To complement the venue our reception was a vintage afternoon tea party.
For the evening we were inspired by Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings. We both love the books and films and we wanted our wedding to reflect that element of us, without going down the route of an actual ‘themed’ wedding with fancy dress etc. And who could throw a better party than hobbits, with their love of good food and drink and music and all things merry.
There were nods to our love of geeky fantasy running all through our wedding. I gave John a leaf of lothlorien brooch to wear as a kilt pin as a wedding gift and his best man wore the Hand of the King pin from Game of Thrones on his lapel. One of the readers in our ceremony even wished that the Force be with us.
There was no real colour scheme, as there was always going to be multi-coloured flowers all around and the station itself is full of beautiful pastel colours.
I wore a custom designed dress in ivory silk and lace from the amazing Leigh Hetherington of Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. She was fantastic and couldn’t do enough to create the perfect dress for me. I loved that it was custom made for me, so no other bride in the world will have the same dress, and to know that it was handmade here, locally, rather than in some factory on the other side of the world is great. When it got cold in the evening I wore a beautiful handmade silk and cashmere capelet by Lizzy Lemon.
On the wedding day my hair was done by our friend Douglas, of Rainbow Room International in Stirling, assisted by Jill. It was lovely to have my friends come do my hair as it was a great way to stay relaxed in the morning. Jill also made the lucky horseshoe for us, which actually came from her own horse, Trooper, making it all the more special.
John wore full highland dress with a kilt in Modern Robertson Hunting tartan, as his grandfather was a Reid. We were going to hire his outfit but he ended up loving his kilt so much we had it made for him by Hector Russell in Edinburgh. John’s sgian dubh was a stunning piece of craftsmanship from Comrie Crafts, Pitlochrie, in bog oak and silver which I had engraved with our surname in Farsi script, bringing together his celtic and his Persian heritage. Slaters supplied the best man’s highland wear and our dads’ tailcoats.
My sister, who was our bridesmaid, wore a Dessy gown in Amethyst, which we customised with lace sleeves and a lace belt.
On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in Max, our campervan all decked out in flowers and ribbons. My sister’s partner acted as chauffeur and the whole family piled in. It was lovely, like a throwback to going on family holidays when we were children.
As John is a wedding photographer himself, but was forbidden to touch a camera on the day, finding the right photographer was really important and quite a challenge. We were so happy when we found the awesome Jonathan Stockton to do our photography on the day. His style was perfect for us, with his mixture of relaxed reportage and more polished images.
We already loved his photography, but after we met him it was his personality and his enthusiasm for our wedding that really meant there was no question. It’s so important that you get on with your photographer, so you can relax and be yourself in front of the camera and with Jonathan we knew we’d found someone we could consider a friend and a wedding guest, not just our photographer. We couldn’t have made a better choice as can be seen by the beautiful dreamy pictures he produced. He managed to even make the rain look beautiful.
I’ve always loved flowers and secretly wish I was a florist so I decided to do my own flowers. It was a bit of a gamble as I’d never done wedding flowers before. I think I did alright with my beautiful handtied bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthis, hyacinths and hydrangeas with delphiniums and marguerite daisies from our own garden. I also made my sister’s bouquets and the buttonnieres and corsages for the wedding party.
Our wedding was very much DIY, virtually nothing except the guys’ clothes escaped some kind of customisation.
We had yards of gorgeous bunting sewn by me and all the ladies in our two families and jam jars, which I decorated with hessian, jute and lace with flowers and tea lights in and around the ‘hobbit’ tent. Our stationary, including our invites, our ‘time-capsule’ guestbook and the design on the chalkboards was designed and provided by Lizzy Lemon, who also happens to be my very talented sister!
As favours we potted up little baby succulent plants and also gave mini bottles of mead, as apparently the word ‘honeymoon’ comes from the ancient Nordic tradition of making newlyweds drink mead for a month after the wedding. John also made some little bags of tasty beef jerky.
My lovely friend Roseann is a superstar baker and cake decorator and made our stunning four tiered wedding cake. It was two tiers carrot cake and two tiers fruitcake which we served with cheese. The cake was decorated with beautiful sugar roses and pink toadstools, in keeping with the garden and woodland theme, and topped with a frog couple made from Fimo by me.
For our wedding breakfast had afternoon tea with scones cakes and sandwiches and big jars of Pimms, served in vintage china teacups. In the evening we kept it rustic with a hog roast, veggie chilli and lamb tagine.
To provide the entertainment we booked a fantastic local ceilidh band from Northumberland called, Real to Reel. Recommended by friends of my parents we contacted them and outlined our wedding plans, including our inspiration being Bilbo’s Birthday party. It turns out the band leader actually played at the after party of the Hobbit premiere in London, which was just an amazing coincidence. They even learned to play the tune from the film for us, which was so great.
They were absolutely amazing, with a really good sound and celidh caller and they took everything in their stride, even carrying on playing when the lights went out due to a generator failure which led to a lovely moment where everyone was dancing just by the light of mobile phone torches.
As John is half Iranian, his brother organised a belly dancer to dance as well, which created a really great fusion of cultures.
A really special part of the day was our humanist ceremony in the woods, conducted by Anna Foster who is a registered celebrant with the British Humanist Association. She was fantastic! She worked with the two of us to create a really unique and personal ceremony, that included some beautiful elements like a celtic handfasting and jumping the broom, as well as a tasting of honey, which is an ancient Persian wedding tradition representing the sweetness we bring to each other’s lives. We’ve had so many great comments about the ceremony and how personal it was.
Other special touches on the day included hanging pictures of our grandparents, who have sadly passed away, in the branches of the trees in the ceremony space as a way of remembering them. We also incorporated a table with a variety of symbolic items in the ceremony space as a nod to the ‘sofreh aghd’, an Iranian wedding tradition.
In the evening we put up a separate tent a little into the woods, which was decked out with Persian rugs, cushions and lanterns, where people could go, chill out, and enjoy a shisha pipe.
The Garden Station is a beautiful setting for a wedding and is really something special and unusual. We really had a fantastic wedding day there. It’s easy to fall in love with it and for its beauty it is second to none. That said, we would perhaps, only recommend it to couples who are sure that they want to put in a lot of work themselves.
The ceremony itself was without a doubt the highlight of the day. It’s the most important part, when we actually became husband and wife and our ceremony was so personal, it was perfect. The evening party tent was everything we could have dreamed of and I remember standing together in the dark, looking into the brightly lit tent, ceilidh music drifting through the night air and watching people dancing and laughing and thinking that this had been the best day ever!
For our honeymoon, of course, we went to Scotland in Max our campervan. We had three weeks and used it to circumnavigate Scotland, travelling up the east coast to John o’Groats, along the north and down the west coast, hopping across to Lewis and Harris, Uist and Skye and ending our honeymoon where we met, in Stirling. Given John’s photography ban at our wedding we took my dress and his kilt with us, so our honeymoon turned into a bit of a Rock the Dress tour of Scotland.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to try and enjoy the planning as much as possible. Yes, it’s stressful and it can take over your life, but it’s also amazing and part of the excitement and the only time you’re going to get to do it. More importantly, on the day, really try to stop regularly to look around you, catch each other’s eye if you can and take everything in. This is what you’ve been planning all this time, it’s one of the best days of your life – you’re celebrating how much you love each other and everyone is there because they love you, it’s just so humbling and amazing!
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