June 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s real wedding couple show how a blank space can be transformed into an attractive setting for a personal big day.
After saying their ‘I dos’ at the local church, Colin, Vicki and their wedding party headed to Slaidburn Village Hall for a fabulous meal, emotional speeches and live entertainment.
To give it their own touch, the hall had been decorated with pretty bunting, table linen and chair covers, which complemented other village fete style touches, including their home made naked wedding cake, VW camper van and dainty floral decorations in lace bound jam jars.
With images by Mick Cookson Photography.
vicki says: We got engaged on the beach in Cornwall in April 2013 and set the wedding date for two years later on 4th April 2015, giving us time for all the planning.
Our ceremony was at St Andrew’s Church, Slaidburn, followed by a reception at Slaidburn Village Hall. We knew that we wanted a village hall wedding as it would allow us to do whatever we wanted – choose our own food, drinks etc. When we saw Slaidburn Village Hall we knew it was perfect for us – it was modern but still a blank canvas.
We wanted things to be quite neutral and didn’t want too much of a theme because then we could just add/change things when we saw something that we liked without being too restricted. Then towards the end, we just tied everything together.
We chose a neutral colour scheme but then added in pink as one of the main colours after choosing my sisters’ bridesmaid dresses, which were pale pink.
My dress was lace and satin design, with cap sleeves. I got it from Amelia Bridal in Clitheroe and they were amazing! My wedding makeup was done by Joanne at Hidden Beauty, Great Harwood. Joanne, was fantastic and made sure that everything was perfect.
We used lots of great suppliers to help pull the wedding together including Classique Venue Dressing in Chorley, to dress the venue, and caterers from Country Kitchen Cafe, in Waddington, to provide the food. Tim, the café owner was fabulous and helped with every detail. My mum made our wedding cake which was a delicious naked sponge design.
For our transport on the day we used Coach House Limousines in Blackburn, who provided a gorgeous VW camper van for my bridesmaids. We also hired a lovely Daimler from McGowans Classic Car Hire in Bamber Bridge, Preston.
My bouquet was a lovely mix of roses and gypsophila, put together by Le Rainflorist in Blackburn.
To keep guests entertained in the evening we hired a band calledThe Beat Collective. They were absolutely amazing and the dance floor was packed all night!
All of the wedding was captured by our fabulous photographer Mick Cookson. The pictures are so amazing, it is going to be so hard choosing some for our album!
It’s hard to pick a favourite part of the day as we loved all of it, though the ceremony and the meal stand out on our heads.
Following the wedding we went on a mini moon for a couple of days to the Brecon Beacons in Wales. We will be jetting off to America in August for 18 nights for our main honeymoon.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and get everything organised a few days before then you can relax. Unfortunately, I ended up rushing around on the last day!
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June 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime
When it comes to tying the knot it’s always great if you, or those close to you, have some fabulous skills you can use, not only to save yourself a few pennies, but also to make the day more personal and memorable.
Today’s bride Danielle is a baker, so not only did she bake her own wedding cake, but she also made her guests’ trio of desserts for the wedding breakfast (she admits she likes a challenge). Better still, Danielle’s Aunty is a florist so as well as lots of sweet treats, her wedding day was brimming with beautiful blooms all carefully arranged by her talented relative.
The day as a whole looks like an incredibly loved-up, emotional and fun-filled affair set against a well styled backdrop.
We must also congratulate the happy couple on the fantastic news that they are expecting their first baby in September. All together now…ahhhh!
With images by Alexandra Holt Photography.
danielle says: We got engaged at the place where we met! Jack took me back to London where we had met at a student ambassador event. He got down on one knee in a lovely snowy park and I had no idea. I cried. A lot! He had then arranged for all of my friends to be at the friend’s house we were staying a, and they had organised an engagement party to celebrate! Later we went for posh cocktails up a super high building in London. All in all, the perfect engagement.
Our wedding day was 23rd August 2014. We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and also because it was a bank holiday weekend.
We got married at St Olaves Church in York. We chose it because even though neither of us are from York originally, it was now our home and where we wanted to bring our family up. The church was suggested to us by a friend and we went along to meet the vicar and congregation and they were all lovely. Our reception venue was the beautiful Hornington Manor where we had a Papakata tepee.
We didn’t have a themeas such, we just went for a rustic/vintage feel. Coming from an arty background, we made a lot of the decorations ourselves and felt this made it extra special! We chose the style because neither of us really like anything matching, and it seemed to fit our creative personalities. We didn’t have a colour scheme either – just lots of it! Pastels mainly but some brights thrown in there too.
I chose my dress from a bridal shop called Elizabeth of York in York. It was probably only the second or third dress I tried on and it was perfect! Lace all over, a long (ish) train and quite fitted at the top.
We hired a vintage cream VW Beetle for myself and my dad to get to the church and the boys had a VW camper van in black. They were hired from LoveDubz Campers in York – the friendliest car company people ever! We also hired a vintage double decker bus for our guests. This was from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company.
Our photographer was an old friend of mine called Alex Holt. She is the most amazing photographer and I couldn’t recommend her enough. She gets shots when you don’t even know she’s there and every single one was perfect! They took my breath away – I couldn’t believe it was our wedding!
Luckily, my Auntie is the best florist in the world, so she did my flowers for me. We had a lot of flowers! Mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were hand tied bouquets of wild flowers with lots of colours and variations of flowers. Beautiful.
My Auntie also did the reception flowers for me. I went along to the wholesalers and choose hundreds of flowers and then she worked her magic! We had lots of vases scattered over all of the tables, hanging bird cages filled with flowers and lanterns lining the pathway to our wedding reception filled with flowers too.
As a baker by trade I’m a lover of all things sweet so for favours I used small jars with lids and filled them with yummy gourmet popcorn then labelled each jar with the guest’s name.
I made my own wedding cake as it’s what I do every day! We had a simple three tiered stacked cake and covered it in ribbons and fresh flowers. I didn’t want to make life too complicated for myself!
Our wedding breakfast and evening food was provided by a company called The Hog and Apple. We had a delicious starter of ham hock terrine and a main of roast meats and posh veg! I made the trio of desserts myself (I like a challenge!) and we had mini cheesecakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and tiramisu heart stacks. The evening food was a hog roast which was divine!
When our guests arrived at our wedding reception we had a beautiful acoustic guitarist/singer called Jonny Woodhead who played to our guests whilst they had arrival drinks. We then had a band in the evening called The Hot Jazz Biscuitsand they were amazing! We had our own laptop and playlist for after the band had finished. Perfect!
As a special touch on the day my family had arranged to let a helium balloon off for my Mum who we lost when I was 18. It was a really nice surprise for me and made the day extra special.
Our wedding reception was held in the garden of a Manor House called Hornington Manor near York and it was held in a teepee. The teepee company Papakata were truly fantastic and I would highly recommend them!We would highly recommend both our wedding venue and reception venue to other couples as they were fantastic. Hornington Manor is a great huge house that you can hire out. There are around 16 self-catering rooms where all the family could stay and made the long bank holiday weekend an extra special one!
I think the ceremony was my favorite part of the day. Emotional, meaningful and perfectly suited.
We went to Cornwall on our honeymoon which was lovely. Jack had hired us a camper van for a few of the nights which was a nice surprise and I then surprised him with a trip to Monza, Italy, to see the Formula 1 (he is a huge fan!) as it was his 30th birthday whilst we were away.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to do as much as you can yourself without causing yourself too much stress! Don’t be scared to shop around either – there are things that you won’t want to skimp on but others that you might be able to get some good bargains on if you shop around!
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April 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
One of the biggest concerns for the majority of couples when planning a wedding is the budget, with hidden costs and little extras often taking brides and grooms way over their original limit. However today’s couple prove that with a savvy mind, a dash of enthusiasm and a sprinkling of imagination you can have your dream wedding without breaking the bank!
We love the pretty homemade bunting (well done mum), the retro board games and dance-happy guests that make this both a picturesque and enjoyable big day!
With images by Rachel Ryan Photography.
alice says: We got engaged 3rd August 2013. Dan had planned to do it at the open air cinema viewing of Amelie at the Roman Gardens in Chester, along with a picnic. However, with Dan not booking tickets in advance we were turned away and set off to eat our picnic elsewhere! After trekking over to the meadows to find a picnic spot I managed to step in the biggest cow pat – in sandals too! We then gave up, headed home and after a shower ended up having the picnic in the back garden! After the picnic Dan suggested we head up town for a drink and whilst walking over the suspension bridge played the old trick of ‘wait I need to tie my shoelace’ and there he was on one knee! It was a complete surprise, although we had been together for over three years I wasn’t expecting it!
Without my knowledge Dan had been to ask my dad’s permission too, which my dad really appreciated. Dan told me although he knew he had wanted to propose for a long time, he chose to do it then because he wanted our grandparents to experience it too. We are both very close to/admire our grandparents so this really touched me. Although my granddad unfortunately never made it to the wedding he was so excited/happy for us and so glad we got to share this experience in our lives with him.
We set the date for 7th February 2015. The time of year that we got married had never really bothered us that much, British weather is so unpredictable and as our wedding was going to be DIY budget we didn’t want to pay premium wedding prices for a summer wedding when it would probably rain anyway! We picked our wedding date a few months after getting engaged and after deciding a budget we worked out how long we would need to save up which resulted in February. Dan who is not really a fan of Valentine’s Day was adamant it couldn’t be on the 14th!
We got married at Eccleston Village Hall near Chester. Having lived close to Eccleston for most of my life, I had always been fond of the village, its church and the hall so for me it was an obvious choice. As soon as Dan came to look around he was taken with its charm too, and the price only costing a few hundred pounds to hire it for the weekend! This was the only venue we viewed as we knew immediately what we could do there!
It was really important to me that our wedding was about everyone having a great time, spending quality time with friends and family and a celebration that wouldn’t break the bank for our guests too! Eccleston was a short taxi journey for most of our guests and there were B&Bs close by for those that weren’t! Having the wedding at the village hall also meant we could hire our own bar without the hefty prices that you find at hotels. We looked the big rustic beams in the hall and its cute charm. The hall had lovely views of the river and lots of greenery around too. It was a blank canvas for us to throw a wedding party that was personal to us for our friends and family!
I’ve always loved being a bit crafty and would much rather, if possible, do something myself as opposed to buying it. The general style I wanted to reflect was a vintage, quaint fete theme. Lots of bunting (my mum and her friends had bunting parties and made it all), vintage crockery and fabrics. I genuinely had the best time planning the wedding and thankfully, sometimes a little reluctantly, Dan left me to it (still being very supportive of course). A great tip one of my mum’s friends passed on to me was that sometimes you can spend hours stressing over tiny details that often people won’t notice and although personal touches lovely, don’t over complicate things decoration wise.
I didn’t really have a colour scheme, which was pleased about. In the hall, the stage curtains were a deep red so I collected lovely floral fabrics in similar/complementing tones to this as it was such a big feature in the room. These colours also stood out well against the white walls in the hall. I chose white/pastel pinks for my flowers as I love feminine, pastel colours which complemented the navy bridesmaid dresses too.
The only thing I knew before I started dress shopping was that I wanted something covered in lace that didn’t show much, if any cleavage! I love lace, I think it’s so pretty and feminine and thought it would complement the theme well. I chose a fitted lace dress with a gentle fishtail which had an embroidered lace voile at the top so to cover my chest. I was never quite sure I would ever put a dress on and immediately know that it was ‘the one’ but I was wrong! I felt great in it straight away and comfortable too. I got my dress from Cheshire Rose Bridal.
Dan works at M&S Bank so was lucky enough to buy suits for himself and all five ushers with his employee discount, saving us quite a good amount for such good quality suits!
The bridesmaids wore a navy maxi dress from ASOS for £65, it was a really flattering, feminine fit with little lace cap sleeves. It was a real struggle to find a dress that fitted and suited five adult bridesmaids who are all different shapes and one being 20 weeks pregnant too!
My dad sorted wedding cars through friends of his, we had a maroon Mercedes dressed with a traditional wedding bow.
Our photographer was Rachel Ryan Photography. I saw Rachel’s work on Facebook whilst browsing vintage crockery hire. After viewing a few photographers but not really engaging with their pictures I was immediately excited by Rachel’s photographs and the natural story she captures through her work! After meeting Rachel, her professional yet passionate personality impressed us and her genuine enthusiasm for our wedding made us so excited and we really connected with her. Rachel really listened to us and made great suggestions to help our day run smoothly yet make the most of it too! On the day we both felt completely at ease with Rachel.
Following the wedding we were overwhelmed by the amount of photographs we received from Rachel, every single one edited. It relayed the story of our day all over again to us, bringing back so many great memories! Rachel also has a blog on her website which she updated about a week or so after the wedding. This was such a lovely, personal touch and a great way to show friends/family some photos from the day! We were so pleased we chose Rachel to capture our day.
I carried a white/pastel pink bouquet made by Clare at Cocoa Flower in Chester. It included avalanche and spray roses. Cocoa Flower replicated this pastel theme through the floral arrangements in the church too. These were faux flower arrangements we hired from them and to save money the ushers carried them down to hall after the ceremony. They were so good nobody noticed they were fake! I bought the flowers on the top table/welcome table discounted from a supermarket the day before and rearranged them myself in jars.
The main decoration we used in the hall was bunting hung from the beams. My mum spent hours hand sewing 40 metres of bunting together with a little help from myself and also by holding a bunting party with a few friends (and some wine)! I wanted lots of atmospheric lighting in the hall so hung fairy lights round the beams and had bird cages with tea light in on the tables from Home Bargains! They have a great wedding section there with lots of decorations and bits and bob’s at fab prices.
We both really loved the idea of a photo booth but they were way out of our budget so we bought lots of props made of card off eBay for £5 and glued them onto kebab sticks and then left them on the tables in milk bottles for people to take photos with!
As favours we gave each of our guests a scrabble tile keyring in their initial. We both love scrabble so wanted to incorporate this in a small way! We ordered the wooden tiles and keyrings separately from eBay for only £27 for the whole lot and then Dan spent an evening putting them together, resulting in a few finger blisters! We also had chocolates for everyone, kindly bought by Dan’s mum.
We chose a three tier chocolate sponge cake with white fondant from Marks & Spencer. We decorated it simply with a Lego bride and groom off eBay – Dan is still a massive fan of Lego, even at 27!
For food we had a vintage afternoon tea with lots of finger sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes. This was served on vintage crockery on the tables. The tea ladies also served lots of different teas as well as their own blend! We served the afternoon tea with prosecco which we bought again with Dan’s M&S discount. The afternoon tea worked out well with having a mixture of guests who are meat eaters/veggies as there was lots of choice for everyone without any hassle. For the evening meal we had a big pan of chilli – which was amazing! The Caterers were Yours Truly Vintage Catering Company. They left us a tin of homemade blended tea for us to take home too!
To keep guests entertained throughout the day we had a big vintage suitcase filled with lots of childhood games for people to play. We basically ransacked my nana’s house for all these! We had Hungry Hippos, Connect Four, Snakes and Ladders and Dominoes, to name a few. For the evening we had a DJ as we wanted something that people would enjoy, a crowd pleaser! We asked guests to give a request for the DJ on our RSVPs and Adam was great in honouring them! The DJ was very good in reading what people wanted and we had a full dance floor all night!
When figuring out the itinerary for the day it was important to us that things went as smoothly as possible for our guests. We made sure we reserved seating at reception drinks for grandparents so they weren’t left standing and we made SOS baskets in the toilets filled with bits and bobs such as safety pins, hair grips, mints and toiletries for any small fashion disasters that might happen throughout the day. We also baked lots of gingerbread men a few days before and put them in a basket near where guests entered the marquee after the ceremony. We didn’t want anyone to be hungry throughout the day so made these for people to have with their reception drinks!
I would definitely recommended Eccleston Village Hall to other couples who are looking for a budget DIY wedding. Eccleston Village Hall only hold eight weddings a year and it’s quite popular due to the picturesque surroundings. It does book up quite quickly!
On the lawn connecting to the hall we had a small marquee supplied by Border Bars and Marquees and then the bar inside free-of-charge and the prices were really reasonable. They helped us out massively throughout the day, serving the prosecco we bought to go with the afternoon tea as well as nipping out mid evening do to grab another bottle of Jagermeister (which my uncle had ‘discovered’ that night). Nothing was too much trouble for them, they were great!
It’s so hard to choose a favourite part of the day – I think the evening celebration was just so much fun, having all our friends and family together having the best time. It was also great to see all the decorations and organising coming together, it makes any stress or worries all worth it. The morning of the big day was also special, spending time with my bridesmaids and all the excitement flowing around from everyone was amazing. As well as the obvious pampering as well!
Dan’s parents very kindly booked us a surprise honeymoon to Majorca after the wedding. We didn’t have enough budget left for a honeymoon and so we were so grateful/excited! It was great to get away and reflect on the day by ourselves. The run up to the wedding was so exciting but very busy so we very much needed time to sit back and relax, which we were able to do.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is your budget doesn’t matter, there’s always a way to create your ideas with a bit of imagination – and help from family friends!
February 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
As soon as I saw the stunning images of Lydia and Jamie’s wedding day I knew it was one we just had to share with our readers. The creative couple tied the knot in The Lantern Theatre, a unique wedding venue in Sheffield that I had no idea existed, despite it being in the city in which I live.
This wedding is packed full of inspiration from Lydia’s fabulous bespoke vintage dress to the home-grown flowers, cool favours and gorgeous décor.
So take a seat, as Brides Up North is now showing Lydia and Jamie’s big day.
Images by Weddings by Smith.
lydia says: We got engaged at La Rosa Campsite in Whitby which is a campsite full of beautifully decorated themed caravans. Our caravan was a Catholic kitch theme and somehow we picked a weekend that was quiet which meant we had the whole place to ourselves. Jamie hadn’t planned to ask the big question, but suddenly over lunch one afternoon the timing just felt right. We searched for a ring the following weekend in Nottingham, the city where we first met and I chose a blue antique ring.
We set the date for 17th August 2013. We chose that date because of the weather mainly, and it was around one year after we got engaged.
We had our ceremony at The Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge, Sheffield. It is a small theatre that seats around 84 people with a miniature balcony. It is Sheffield’s oldest surviving theatre, 120 years old, and a Grade II listed building. We loved that it was small and intimate, laid back, yet a bit grand and opulent, and a bit of a hidden secret. It was also extra special because it was a minute’s walk from our house. It reminded me of the film Moulin Rouge, which is by Baz Luhrmann, a film director whose visual style I love. Our party venue was Hagglers Corner, a cafe bar and venue space all set around a lovely courtyard, on the edge of Sheffield city centre.
The theme was kind of inspired by where we got engaged, our venue and all the things we love. It was a little bit of everything, vintage, romantic, Hollywood, rustic and kitsch. We wanted soft and romantic hues of blues, pinks, reds and golds. We chose the overarching colour scheme based on what we both wanted to wear.
I chose a beautiful lady called Joanne Flemming from Brighton to make my dress and took a little mini break there to get fitted. I wanted a vintage wedding dress with a blue underlay and bow. My shoes where Vivienne Westwood Melissa heart shoes and I wore a birdcage veil.
Jamie wore a blue checked suit and red bow tie from Ted Baker.
My grown up bridesmaids wore Karen Millen silk blue dresses, and my flower girl wore a pink dress from Monsoon. We asked the groomsmen to all wear an eclectic mixture of blue tones, and we gave them a red bow tie and I made button holes to tie it all together.
We hired a red vintage bus from a local bus museum to take guests from the ceremony to the party venue. The ceremony was so close my dad took me in his car (which my nan would like to point out she made a special bow for).
Tom Smith of Weddings by Smith did our wedding photography. He was absolutely amazing, we had seen him shoot a wedding before, and I knew that we could not get married without him shooting ours. We gave him some mood boards and he got exactly what we wanted straight away. He also made us feel very comfortable and kept staged photos to a minimum.
I bravely decided to do my own flowers, a mixture of flowers that I planted and grew in my garden, foliage stolen from roadsides in the Peak District and flowers bought the day before from the flower market. I spent the two days before the wedding in my garden cutting flowers, arranging about 100 vases, making bouquets for me and all the bridesmaids and all the button holes for the men. We decorated both venues ourselves (with help from friends and family) the day before with pompoms, bunting, ornaments, homemade table cloths and candles. I carried a bouquet that was made from blue hydrangeas, pink peonies (the Chinese flower of love) and gypsophila.
For our favours we had popcorn boxes which contained fortune cookies, blowing bubbles, a fan and 3D glasses. The fans had quotes from our reading on one side, and timings on the other. Our reading was ‘advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young’ which is on the end of the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet original soundtrack.
Our cakes were by Victoria Made.We had a naked cake with sugar flowers and a cake made from layers of cheese covered in fruits. Our cake topper was made by the wonderful people at Lollipop Workshop which we will treasure forever.
After the ceremony we had ice cream and Pimms. At the party venue we had a healthy vegetarian BBQ by Organic Fusion.
To entertain our guests we hired a magician called Steve Faulkner for the theatre, plus a lady who made balloon animals for the kids. We had an ice cream VW van from Ice-Cream Dub and later at night a DJ. We also had lots of board games and toys and fancy dress bits for the kids.
As a special touch we had a wishing tree at the ceremony. We had guests pass around our rings in a box of ribbons and tags, and write a little wish for us to tie to the tree. I also designed our wedding invites myself via my creative studio, Studio Binky.
Our venue didn’t have wedding license at the time, so we chose a humanist ceremony by Kate Gee.
It was everything we wanted, really personal and full of love. Kate really got to know us over a couple of meetings and wrote a great ceremony, with us writing our own set of vows. I would highly recommend her.We did the legal part a week before in secret at the town hall.
The Lantern Theatre and Hagglers Corner where both really accommodating, they allowed us to decorate the day before and really helped on the day, whilst at the same time leaving us free to enjoy the venue hassle free. I would definitely recommend them both to other couples.
I’d say my favourite part of the day was sitting down on the stage next to Jamie before we said our vows. Time seemed to stand still, I was worried I might be nervous being on a stage, but surprisingly I felt really relaxed. Everyone in the crowd was someone I really cared about and it felt so special, more than just marrying Jamie, it felt like a big life moment and I’d never felt so loved or happy and at ease.
We had a night in our favourite hotel La Rosa in Whitby straight after the wedding (a gift from a friend), we stayed in a swan themed room which was very romantic and went to a folk gig in the basement that night. This was followed by an unfortunate honeymoon from hell camping trip to York which had to be abandoned. We planned to go somewhere tropical a few months later, but it unfortunately didn’t happen which is why I would advise all brides to book a proper honeymoon, you will need it.
In addition, my top tips to other Brides Up North would be to make mood boards, they come in really handy when showing a supplier the look and feel you want. Also, let people help you (especially if planning a DIY wedding). I should have done this more.
Jamie and I are now planning for the next chapter in our life – we are having a baby in June, eek!
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January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.
It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!
After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.
After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”
We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.
We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.
We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.
We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.
The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.
We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!
Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.
On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!
Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.
I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.
My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.
I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!
She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!
We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!
My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!
We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!
We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!
We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.
The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!
Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.
It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.
The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.
We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.
My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.
Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.
We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.
We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!
Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.
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