March 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Well, you picked the right time to stop by, because look! It’s the Brides Up North Super Showcase Grand Wedding Exhibition! It’s THIS WEEKEND! And it’s only the biggest event in our whole spring calendar.
The region’s best and most beautiful wedding industry suppliers will gather at of the North East’s favourite wedding venue – Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club – on Sunday 8th March 2015, from 12pm till 4pm, FREE ENTRY.
Yep. Free. With a goody bag on top!
Judging by our pre-registration, it’s going to be pretty epic…
Once again, we don’t do things by halves here at Brides Up North! We are filling the whole hotel – that’s five huge function areas – and it’s going to be spectacular!
If there’s one wedding fair to attend this year, this is it. This isn’t your typical wedding fair though, it’s a knock-your-socks-off super showcase! This is officially the largest free entry bridal event in the North East area and should most definitely be one for your diaries.
Whether you are shopping for the final details or have no idea where to start, I can promise you the very best choice of the best bridal experts in the region. Everything you can think of for planning your big day will be represented and there’ll be on the day discounts too.
Come and see our two professional bridal catwalks (this season we are getting ready to party!) meet the Ramside wedding planners, pose in our photo booths, taste our scrumptious wedding cakes, kit out your man and bridesmaids, play dress up with gorgeous gowns and accessories, get lost in our beautiful floral displays, get the hair and make up sorted, source your stationery, find a top photographer and tick off all those last essential details. You name it, we can sort it.
I adore this event – it’s big, it’s busy, it’s exciting, but most of all it’s really beautiful. I can’t wait to see you all there for a day of wedding heaven… and lots of fun too.
Just ’cos I’m generous, we’re giving away up to 300 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors House of Fraser and Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last.
Images by Cat Hepple Photography.
January 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we are in my home town of Durham as we meet loved up newly-weds Dan and Donna and share their wild and wintery engagement shoot.
wrap up warm…
With images by Chris Parkinson.
dan says: The engagement took us both by surprise really, we were sharing a bottle of champagne in Durham, and all of a sudden I just asked Donna ‘Will you marry me?’. It was as much a surprise to me as her, I didn’t have a ring or anything. It was just the right moment, the perfect time. Magic.
We were actually classmates in primary school. But we went on to different secondary schools, and didn’t meet again until we were both 25, through Donna’s brother. I asked Donna out for a drink and we’ve been together ever since.
We just went to the local pub for our first date. It was love at first sight for me, but not sure about Donna! We just seemed to become best friends instantly.
Just being around Donna makes me happy, she makes me laugh a lot, in particular her dancing around the house.
I know this sounds soppy, but Donna never really annoys me, I annoy myself more.
Our biggest wish for married life is just to keep on being us.
Obviously the best bit about Brides Up North that its local, and helps you find exactly what you need. We just find the whole website really easy to use and got some great ideas. We were married at South Causey Inn on 22nd December 2014 and we’ll definitely be back to share our wedding photos on the blog.
December 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s Friday, and after a whole week at home with my poorly baby (who is feeling much better, thank you) I’ve got the Friday feeling and then some. Any post-work drinks will probably still be consumed in my kitchen, but if you are heading out to have some fun… I hope you have a good one.
Be inspired by Claire and Scott’s super fun day – totally done their own way – starting with an intimate ceremony for five, followed by an English tea party and finishing off with a full on festival. Via a trip to the local, of course.
I like their style.
With images by Darren Mack.
claire says: We got engaged on Valentines Day 2012. We were spending the weekend in the country and whilst out walking Scott proposed on a windy hillside in Upper Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. Apparently he didn’t really know it was going to happen!
We were married on 9th August 2014. We wanted a vintage English country garden wedding so guessed that time may be the best chance of sun. It was a beautiful sunny day.
We chose Crook Hall & Gardens, Durham as our venue. Its very close to home, and just right as soon as we walked in. Its very English and has a great view of the Cathedral, beautiful gardens and and feels like a real home, which it is. It’s an incredible sight in summer with the gardens in full bloom.
The evening reception was held at Durham Amateur Rowing Club Boathouse on the river. It’s a small friendly spot with a campsite which we needed for all our camper van mates.
We didn’t want a wedding that didn’t reflect who we are. The day had to be nobody’s but our own. It needed to feel home made because it really was. We had a private family ceremony (five guests in total), tea party reception in the afternoon with live acoustic music, our vintage VW camper, a walk through the city centre featuring a pint in the historic Victoria Inn, and then a music festival theme on the night time with Scott’s band playing the music and our friends camping in their old VWs. This all reflected who we are and what we get up to in our lives.
There was no colour scheme to speak of, but colours that reflected vintage bunting and English garden flowers. The lads all wore fuchsia pink ties and music manuscript buttonholes, but it was all very unscripted.
I wore a fitted, elegant diamond white Maggie Sottero dress (Tia), with delicate, hand-sewn jewelled details. I bought it from Poppy Bridal in Darlington. It was the very first dress I tried on, nothing compared afterwards. It made me feel like a princess and summed up the look I wanted. Michele Bailey (of Wedding Hair and Makeup North East) took care of my hair and makeup on the day – perfectly.
Scott wore a sharp blue suit from Reiss with a fuchsia pink tie and brown brogues.
Our photographer was Darren Mack, who we highly recommend. He captured the true essence of the day without being formal. He captures off guard moments with ease and is truly a nice guy to have at your wedding. Top man Daz!
I chose an English country garden-style hand tied bouquet from City Blooms in Durham. The colours reflected the season.
For our reception, we decorated using our own vintage tea pots decorated with English flowers by my Mum. We also made our own bunting on our 1950’s sewing machine, plus all the table decorations for both venues made from old tin cans and jam jars decorated with raffia, lace and twine.
We gave out jars of Scott’s homemade jam and marmalade in hand decorated paper bags.
We had a Pimms reception in the garden for afternoon guests with local real ale from the Black Paw Brewery, then full afternoon tea from Crook Hall which was stunning served on the lawn. In the evening we chose local craft ale from Anarchy Brewery, Morpeth with a classic summer BBQ and ice creams (Scott’s mate’s vintage ice cream van) to go with the music festival theme on the river.
We chose a three tier round cake, decorated with vintage bunting. Scott’s Mum made the base fruit cake, and Michelle Fortune of Frotchy’s Cakes, Great Lumley, made the top two sponges and decorated the whole cake.
In the daytime we had friends of Scott playing acoustic music in the garden, with one of my friends playing harp music through afternoon tea and Luke Howells Magician entertaining throughout.
At night we asked Scott’s mate Steve Maddison to be on DJ duty to get things moving. Then we had a ‘group dance’ with all guests dancing to The Beach Boys ‘Wouldn’t it Be Nice’. We didn’t have a ‘first dance’. Then both of Scott’s bands played (including Scott); The36s playing classic rock and Shakedown playing vintage soul and dance. The entertainment reflected who we are and probably not what was expected but it went down great.
It was a real festival feel (and we even had festival lanyards)!
On the day we walked everywhere right through centre of city attracting spontaneous rounds of applause from strangers! A one point we even popped out to the pub to meet up with more friends!
There are so many highlights, it’s hard to pick just one! Firstly, the ceremony – walking out of the hall into the garden with my Dad and seeing Scott waiting for me. Secondly, our guests arriving and the amazing afternoon tea with entertainment. Thirdly – our walk through Durham – now that turned a few heads! Fourthly, our group dance rather than a first dance – it took people by surprise. Finally, letting our hair down and enjoying the party. It was the best day of my life! I wouldn’t change a thing.
For our honeymoon we did a Pacific North West of America road trip from the super cool San Francisco, via the jaw dropping beauty of Yosemite National Park, through NorCal wine country, up the pacific coastal highway, through redwood country, into beautiful Oregon for the best craft beers on earth, fantastic white water rafting, trekking through forests, climbing snow topped mountains, experiencing the incredible city of Portland and watching live music as much as we could. All in all a truly fantastic place to journey through.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t feel you have to follow a set routine. Your wedding day should reflect your personalities. Your family and friends will understand that and your day will be all the better and more relaxed for it. Be yourself!
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October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is something special. A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.
I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.
With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.
Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.
We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!
Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.
The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.
We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.
There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.
Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.
My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.
Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!
The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!
We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.
We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!
Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.
My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.
Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.
My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!
We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!
The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!
We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.
We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.
The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!
July 15th, 2014 | Julia Braime
County Durham based photographer Chris Parkinson got in touch with his first ever blog submission, to share the engagement shoot of his best mates Shane and Jessie. Well, he might be a newbie to these pages, but Chris is certainly no novice behind the lens, as this cool and quirky set of images shows.
Chris says: I was chosen as best man at Shane & Jessie’s wedding so thought it would be fitting as a gift to them if we did a pre-wedding shoot in the run up to the wedding around the local area where we live. We have some spectacular woodland so why not go for a mooch in the trees & fields?
Let’s check out what they came home from the woods with, and hear Shane and Jessie’s love story.
Shane says: I asked Jessie to marry me on Christmas Day – We had Jessie’s family to visit for Christmas, and after Christmas dinner I sent them on a treasure hunt around the village leaving clues at each place. The final clue led to me down on one knee.
We were married on Saturday 7th June in Piercebridge, Darlington.
We met on the mountains of Flaine (France) by chance whilst we were both working as Ski Reps. Jessie was from Shropshire & I lived 200 miles away in Durham.
Our first date was spent skiing together on the mountains, nobody knew we were together so there was lots of sneaky kisses on the ski lifts. The date finished in a nice little French restaurant & a few too many drinks.
I knew that she was the one for me when we came back to the UK, we lived 200 miles apart and I realised life wasn’t the same without Jessie so I upped sticks and moved to Wolverhampton. I love her ability to always make me laugh, some people probably think she’s a bit mad but that’s why I love her.
We’re hoping for a life time of happiness, fun and laughter.
We actually wanted an engagement shoot with Chris because we’d seen some of his previous work and liked his alternative style.
The engagement shoot was lots of fun.
Before the shoot we collected Chris and his partner Sara (who are both great friends of ours) in our vintage VW Beetle (which was also Jessie’s car at the wedding) Unfortunately the Beetle broke down half way through the shoot in the middle of Hamsterley Forrest with none of us having any phone reception, although we did manage to get it up and running after a little while.
Chris asked us to position ourselves in some very obscure places but after seeing all the pictures he created it was well worth all the climbing on trees, rumbling in forests and rapeseed fields.
We framed a lot of the engagement shoots and displayed them on the wedding day. Chris also provided us with a book with all the pictures as a gift.
We love Brides Up North as we have a bit of a passions for DIY weddings, Jessie spent lots of time on our wedding day doing arts & crafts. She loves to take inspiration from other people’s crafty work too
Congratulations Shane & Jessie!
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June 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This evening we join Jemma and Danny for their elegant and opulent Real Wedding in Country Durham. I actually said my own wedding vows under the very same roof at Durham School Chapel, so sharing their wedding on these pretty pages holds a special significance for me and brings back reminders of my own big day.
I think I’ll be logging off early today to spend some extra time with my lovely hubby. In the meantime, enjoy Jemma and Danny’s lovely celebration.
With images by Focal Point Photography.
Jemma says: Danny had taken my sister to Tiffany & Co to help pick the engagement ring before our holiday to Las Vegas. He asked me to marry him on a private terrace overlooking the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. Complete surprise we were just having our “photo taken” and playing guess the next song for the fountains when Danny correctly guessed “Elton John Your Song” I realised that there was something up when he got down on one knee and obviously I said yes!
We got married on 22nd February 2014 at Durham School Chapel with our reception at Rockliffe Hall. I went to school at Durham and the chapel meant a lot me and Rockliffe is just a stunning venue.
We worked with Noble Fine Art to design our wedding invites and they designed us a J&D monogram. The bridesmaid dresses were made with a small amount of rose gold lace by Jim Hjelm and we married the two together. We then found Coco Luminaire and we had giant J&D letters at our evening reception. The overall theme was elegant opulence.
I chose a Mori Lee dress from Y.A.P Bridal boutique in Newcastle. It was not what I expected to pick, it was jewelled and beaded and very intricate not what I thought. I only tried on four wedding dresses and three of those were in a different shop prior to trying “the one” on. Y.A.P were fantastic!
My bridesmaids wore dresses from Jim Hjelm supplied by Accent Bridal in Newcastle. We were very lucky in that the rose gold lace was no longer used by Jim Hjelm due to availability of supply but as we loved it so much Accent rang the suppliers and managed to find the last few yards!
The junior bridesmaids dress did not have any gold lace so Ann from Diva Designs at Seaham made us a bolero which tied everything together.
We used the excess lace to put around the bottom of my flowers and a small amount on the mother of the bride’s corsage. So an inadvertent theme all based around a bit of lace!
The groomsmen all wore the same three piece suit from Moss Bros.
My mum made me a personalised garter with something old, new borrowed and blue in it. The something borrowed & old was her mums’ wedding ring.
Amanda Bell was my make up artist and I had her for the day. She felt like part of the family from the make-up trial to the actual day and getting touched up between photos I felt like a celebrity!
Hooker and Young at Wynyard were in charge of my wedding hair. Marcus King and Rebecca honestly went above and beyond. They already had a wedding that day when I went to book mine but Marcus started really early and I was so happy with my hair.
I carried a bouquet of ivory roses from Flowers By Nattrass, Darlington. The bouquets and service we received were beautiful.
Aurora Strings played in the chapel and every time they stopped playing Danny thought I had arrived and went white as a sheet – brilliant!
Danny’s favourite bit of the day was seeing me come into the chapel and I have to agree seeing his face and his best man giving him a pat on the back was one of mine too!
Focal Point Photography came very highly recommended and to be honest we never shopped around as we knew we wanted them. We made the right decision since as a not very photogenic couple we are so happy with the final photos!
One Digital Image were chose for our wedding video and honestly they were truly fantastic! I would have been so late without Janet’s help and they were just as excited as we were!
My mum and I did the centrepieces and we were very proud of them. I also made individual horseshoes to arrange up the steps of the Chapel (all 97 of them)!
We had Jason Isaacs, a swing singer to start the evening entertainment off and then our friend Bodg from Capital radio was our DJ. His wedding present to us was public liability insurance so Rockliffe Hall would let him do it… he will never know how much it meant to us both!
We also hired a photo booth from Snaparazzi – all our guests commented on how amazing the booth was but the owner Ross was our favourite part as he let us take refuge in the booth whilst he was setting up so we could catch our breath before the evening event!
I think my favourite part of the day were the speeches from my dad who is normally a man of few words to three A4 pages of notes to Danny’s speech who had everyone clutching the Kleenex. Our mini bridesmaid and our youngest usher surprised us with personalised poems and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Bobby the best man absolutely stole the show from silver platform shoes to a PowerPoint to a The Hangover style video.
For our honeymoon we jetted off to the Hawaiian Islands!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that when thinking of your suppliers for the day go for the people that are supplying them. Remember you need to spend the best day of your life with them and deal with them up to and after the ceremony. No amount of amazing photos on websites will block out a really annoying person or someone who stressed out for the day.
Congratulations Jemma & Dan!
Would you like to share your own Real Wedding with Brides Up North? Get in touch.
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