April 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Here at Brides Up North we make no secret of the fact that we love all things pink! And so when we saw Stephanie and Robert’s incredibly pretty day (with lots of lovely pink touches) we knew we had to have it on our pages.
This big day is both cute and classy with special touches including a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan named Dylan, original Penguin paperback books as favours and wonderful décor in paper diamonds, twinkly lights and rustic style bike wheels in a nod to the couple’s love for cycling.
So let’s saddle up for this flawless Yorkshire celebration.
With images by Weddings by Smith.
stephanie says: We got engaged at home in our bedroom. It was a low key affair, fitting of our relationship – quiet and understated. The ring was a real surprise, and beautiful, inherited from the groom’s mother’s great aunt. It is lovely to have such a family heirloom.
We chose Saturday 13th December 2014 as our wedding date. We wanted a winter wedding as December has always been a special time for us, and we thought the Yorkshire setting would be stunning on a crisp winter’s day (which we got). We didn’t want to follow the traditional summer wedding approach, this was a way to make ours a bit different.
Our wedding was at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue as it’s been somewhere we have cycled past on one of our many cycling outings, but never visited. The Rob’s sister, Sarah (one of the bridesmaids), had previously been to a wedding there and said it was wonderful. Upon visiting we fell in love with it straight away, the barn is beautiful and we loved the fact that the whole wedding could be held in the same venue. Also, being a National Trust venue, fitted with my past as a history graduate from Oxford University.
We didn’t have a specific theme but wanted all the details to be as personal to us as possible. As big cyclists we wanted to incorporate cycling into the wedding – hence the bike wheels decorated with flowers that were hung up around the barn and a poem about a couple and cycling as one of our readings. We’re also both keen readers – note the original Penguin paperback books as favours and place markers for the wedding breakfast.
The colour scheme was generally pink and silver, which were chosen to fit with the bridesmaids’ dresses. And pink has always been my favourite colour!
My gown was an ivory lacy dress with a satin underlay. The back was low cut and the dress had a very simple and sleek silhouette. I really liked the simplicity of the dress, with added elegance from the sparkles on the lace. I bought it from Teokath in Wimbledon. Originally I thought I would want a sixties style tea-length dress, but couldn’t find any that suited my figure. The dress I bought in the end was perfect for my figure.
Rob wore a navy suit from Moss Bros. He, along with the groomsmen, all had pink socks to keep in with the theme. Rob wore a charcoal tie to match the bridesmaids’ dresses while the groomsmen had pink ties. These also tied in with the maids’ dresses, which were pale pink and charcoal dresses by Vera Wang.
Our transport for the day was Dylan – a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan. It did two trips, one with four bridesmaids, and a second trip with the two remaining bridesmaids, the father of the bride, and the bride. It was perfect! Dylan stayed around for photographs afterwards, and was a key part of our vision for the day.
Tom Smith of Weddings by Smith was our photographer. He is a friend of the Rob’s and was a wonderful and perfectly unobtrusive photographer. We wanted photos that weren’t too formal, but picked out the small details we had spent time organising and making. We were also keen to have photos of guests that were of individuals picked out from the crowd in a natural setting, rather than any posed photographs.
Beth Webber, another friend of the Rob’s, did our flowers. She is not a professional florist, but has some experience helping out at other weddings, and we both think she did a wonderful job. We had a theme of wild flowers in pinks and greys. None of the flower arrangements were too fussy, we just wanted to work a casual vintage theme. We think the flowers perfectly reflected the happy, relaxed vibe of the day.
We hired caterers GFS to take care of the food.They were wonderful and fitted the menu around what we wanted. Specifically we requested half the welcome drinks to be Kir Royales (to go with the pink theme), Yorkshire pudding with the main course, the groom’s favourite sticky toffee pudding for dessert (along with specially requested jugs of extra sauce for the tables) and a bottle of port and petit fours to follow dessert. My talented mum made our iced wedding cake of three tiers – one fruit and two sponge.
A group called The Frankies provided our entertainment. We originally requested a band known as The Funtime Frankies, but unfortunately they were not available. However their B group, The Frankies, were, and they were no less fun!
We incorporated several special touches into our day to help reflect our theme. We used beautiful vintage crockery to go on the tables and each guest had their own unique combination of crockery, including tea cup and plate. The effect was wonderful.We also had bike wheels hung on the walls around the barn, decorated with flowers to reflect our love for cycling. Rob’s mum made our hand folded heart books and his sister made paper diamonds in all different sizes and materials.
When guests arrived at the ceremony they were met by the groomsmen, who had a basket of badges with a photo of either the bride or groom on. They were asked to pick a badge to wear for the day to identify themselves. We chose not to have traditional divisions in seating (groom’s family/friends on one side, and the bride’s on the other). Instead we asked guests to mingle, to reflect the relaxed vibe of the day.Our table plan for the reception was created by cutting out photos of all of our guests and placing the photos into wooden pallets. Each table had its own small pallet. We wanted to do something quirky and original.
We would most definitely recommend East Riddlesden Hall to other wedding couples. The venue is stunning and being able to hold everything in the same place really helps when it comes to logistics.
We followed our wedding up with an amazing honeymoon – three months travelling around New Zealand!
My tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every moment; it will be the best day of your life, so relish every second of it!
March 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Hollie dreamt of a summer wedding with pretty pink touches and along with the help of her groom Mark the two executed the brief perfectly.
From the beautiful blooms, bunting and ‘love bug’ to the ombre pink cake, rustic centre pieces and adorable sweetie table, this is one seriously well styled wedding.
As huge fans of all things pink here at Brides Up North, Hollie and Mark we salute you!
With images by our Featured Supplier Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Hollie says: We got engaged on 28th September 2012 whilst we were on holiday in Cuba. Mark took me by surprise when he got down on one knee and proposed on the first night with a beautiful bespoke ring!
We decided straight away that we wanted a summer wedding, with high hopes of sunshine and so set the date for 9th August 2014.
We got married at our local church, St John the Baptist in Adel, followed by an evening reception at East Riddlesden Hall. We wanted a traditional church wedding and St John The Baptist is a beautiful old church with a striking Norman doorway and gargoyle sculptures dotted around which was just perfect. After looking at a number of evening venues, we fell in love with the converted barn and gorgeous surroundings at East Riddlesden Hall as it gave us a blank canvas to let our imaginations run wild and create a day that truly reflected us as a couple.
We had a rustic theme to complement the barn, with vintage touches. I spent hours scouring Pinterest for ideas, earning myself a reputation as a Pinterest addict in the process!
The colour palette was dusky pinks, cream and rose gold. This is my favourite colour combination (in fact most of our home is decorated in these colours) so after ruling out the Leeds United colours pretty early on (!), it seemed like a no-brainer.
After looking at lots of wedding dresses on Pinterest, I pictured myself in a fitted lace dress with cap sleeves but ended up falling in love with quite the opposite! I found a gorgeous strapless dress by Essence of Australia at Ava Rose Hamilton in Sildsen with a sweetheart neckline and big tiered lace skirt and the moment I tried it on I thought ‘now thisis a wedding dress’ and at that point I knew I’d found the one! The service at Ava Rose Hamilton was second to none and Rebecca made the whole experience from choosing my dress to getting last minute alternations done an absolute breeze!
As the dress was so detailed, I chose a simple one tiered veil and purchased a pearl necklace and earrings from Azendi. My little sister gave me her pearl bracelet from Tiffany & Co to wear on the day as my something borrowed. I found some beautiful rose gold strappy heels by Ivanka Trump on Pinterest, which went perfectly with my colour scheme. When I realised the style was called Hara (my maiden name is O’Hara), I knew I had to have them and had the shoes shipped over from America!
Mark wore a grey three-piece suit which he hired from Yorkshire Menswear in Rodley, Leeds. He accessorised with an ivory tie and black shoes. I surprised him with personalised cufflinks and socks, and a Hugo Boss watch. He looked very handsome! The groomsmen wore matching grey three-piece suits with blush pink ties and personalised cufflinks.
My four beautiful bridesmaids wore blush pink maxi dresses from Oh My Love, with a cream and rose gold belt which had a cute bow on the front. I gave each of them a rose gold pearl bracelet on the morning of the wedding with their initials, which they wore on the day.
For the transport we hired a convertible 1970’s cream Beetle from Love Bug Celebrations. They dressed the car with pink ribbons and flowers to match the colour scheme and included a bottle of champagne for Mark and I to enjoy on the drive from the church to East Riddlesden Hall, which was a lovely touch. Mark and the groomsmen arrived to church in a black customised Range Rover, which his parents arranged as a surprise.
Choosing the right photographer was very important to us and when we met Lissa Alexandra at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall we knew she was the right lady for the job! Her photography is very natural with a vintage edge, which is exactly what we wanted. We had an engagement shoot in Knaresborough a month before the wedding and, although it was pouring down with rain on the day, Lissa made us feel totally at ease and took some brilliant photos.
On the wedding day she brought her assistant photographer Jamie and they both did an amazing job of capturing all the special moments of our big day. They were both so friendly and it was an absolute joy to have them there on the day! Lissa is exceptionally talented and I can’t recommend her highly enough.
I carried a bouquet of dusky pink and cream roses, mixed with gypsophila and bound with lace and pearls. The bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and church flowers were all supplied by Lily’s of Bramhope. Rachel was extremely helpful and went the extra mile to find the perfect roses to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
We bought a selection of pink and cream roses and bunches of gypsophila from the Morrisons Flower Shop to decorate the barn, which helped us keep within our budget.
In the lead-up to the wedding we collected lots of little trinkets and did a lot of crafting to decorate the barn. My friend Zoe was an absolute Godsend and spent many a late night designing and printing stationery for us and other friends also helped out making metres of hessian and lace bunting and chalkboard signage. The parents of one of my bridesmaids then kindly dressed the barn for us on the morning of the wedding along with the East Riddlesden Hall wedding team and did an amazing job of bringing our vision to life.
As favours everybody received a personalised wooden heart and we had a sweet table for everyone to tuck into, which went down an absolute treat!
My friend Sally kindly offered to make our wedding cake and did an absolutely fantastic job! She made a beautiful three-tiered cake with a mixture of chocolate and Victoria sponge and pink and white ombre frilled icing, which we displayed on a tree stump with our initials and wedding date carved into it.
We chose GFS Catering as our caterers as they allowed us to create a completely bespoke menu. We had Pimms and canapés on arrival and a gourmet barbecue later in the afternoon, followed by a trio of desserts including cherry crème brule (my favourite), profiteroles (Mark’s favourite) and New York cheesecake (failsafe). We then a choice of either Thai green curry or tikka masala curry in the evening.
We wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and for everyone to let their hair down and have fun, so entertainment was a very important element when planning the wedding. We had giant Jenga set up outside the barn and we also hired the Booth Revolution photo booth for the evening, which our guests loved. As part of the wedding package we received a wedding album full of photos and messages from all our friends and family, which is a lovely keepsake.
Luckily my bridesmaid Kelly knows an amazing wedding band called Tom Rocks & The Replicants – her dad is the bassist! They played a mixture of covers from old classics to recent hits and got everyone up and dancing – somebody took a brilliant photo of my dad doing the twist! Lots of people commented on how brilliant the band were and they’ve also had a couple of booking from guests for their own weddings since which is a real testament to their talent!
We worked in a few extra touches through the day too. We hired hay bales to create seating alongside the lake which opposite the barn and provided bags of duck food which the children enjoyed feeding to the ducks! We also hired large illuminated M&H letters from Add Vintage which we positioned on the stage next to the band. These made an amazing backdrop for the photos of our first dance!
East Riddlesden Hall has a golf buggy that can be hired to transport guests to and from the restrooms, which are separate to the barn itself. We decorated it with fairy lights and our guests absolutely loved taking a ride up and down the path! We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. East Riddlesden Hall is stunning and unlike many other venues, it gives you a blank canvas to create your vision for your wedding. Emma and the wedding team are also great at what they do and they made the whole planning process as straightforward and stress free as possible.
Saying our vows in front of all our nearest and dearest was so special and a moment I’ll treasure forever. The speeches were also great and had me in tears one minute and in fits of laughter the next, but it was also lovely to have some time just myself and Mark on the journey from church to East Riddlesden Hall to take everything in.
Following the wedding we went to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a five-day ‘minimoon’ and have recently returned from a three-week honeymoon in Hong Kong and Thailand, which was beyond amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding day personal to you. It’s the one day you can have everything just the way you want it to be so embrace it!
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January 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Lets get this week off to a swinging start, shall we? Vanessa and Andrew chose to go for Gatsby glitz for their speakeasy style wedding at East Riddesden Hall.
The gin might have been flowing, but nobody was feeling melancholy on Vanessa’s big day – add some super styling, fabulous florals and a dress so good it had to be worn twice, and you’ve got one helluva party.
And as we all know, a little party never killed nobody!
With images by James & Lianne.
vanessa says: Andrew asked me to marry him during our annual ski holiday in 2013. We were staying in the French resort of Morzine when Andrew, with massive help from our friend Dan at The H.O.F.N.A.R Experience had arranged a surprise picnic at the top of the mountain overlooking Switzerland to celebrate our two year anniversary.
Afterwards, when Andrew was packing up the picnic in the snow, he was down on his knee and pulled out the engagement ring (which he had designed himself) and asked me to be his wife, to which I said yes. Unbeknownst to me Andrew had already asked my traditional father for my hand in marriage on a ski lift days earlier and him, my sisters and brother were waiting at a mountain bar further down the hill with champagne waiting for our arrival to celebrate!
It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on the 2pm on the 13th September 2014. You know what they say about the 13th being unlucky for some? Well we are the opposite! We met on the 13th through an online dating service, we found our and moved into our dream home in Harrogate on the 13th so there was no other date would have chosen.
We got married at Christ Church on The Stray in Harrogate. It’s a beautiful church set in a great location, nestled in an area of calm just outside the centre of the town.
Our guests were then whisked away on vintage buses to East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. East Riddlesden Hall has always been a perfect venue in our eyes, as when we initially talked about wedding venues both our answers were that we would love to have our reception in an old barn. We spent days scouring the internet looking for such a venue with little success. We eventually stumbled across East Riddlesden Hall through our photographer’s website instantly knowing that this was the place for us.
Our theme was Great Gatsby glitz meets underground prohibition. We both love gin so we had the tables named after different gins and an old crystal decanter filled with gin on each table with bowls of lemons and an individual bottle of Fever Tree Tonic at each place setting. There was even a cocktail table where you could mix the gin and make a Vansoire or a Bob Roberts cocktail.
The colours were dark grey and mint green as they work really well together in contrast. Andy used it on our invites, table plans and other stationery and designed it all himself.
I had a beautiful Claire Pettibone dress. I couldn’t stomach the full cost of a brand new one, so I bought it second hand from a lady who was selling hers on a preloved site. The only downside was I had to try it on for the first time in a grotty train station toilet – it just made the experience even more memorable!
I carried a bouquet of Sweet Williams, ivory Roses and some very special Patience Roses from Nicolla Florist in Wetherby.
Our attendants wore their own outfits. The two best men wore dark grey suits and the bridesmaids wore mint green and charcoal grey – all different makes and styles.
Our photographers were James & Lianne – we found them online and had a real affinity with their style of photography. We wanted laid back and natural and that’s what they provided – beautiful, natural contemporary photos – we even had some taken with a vintage 1930’s camera which we adore
The reception flowers were amazing – we had a huge mix of flowers from pampas grass and gold sprayed baby’s breath with peacock feathers and willow branches. All our reception flowers were supplied by Emma’s Home & Garden.
Mel Brooksbank at stylemywedding.co.uk designed the whole look of the day – all the props and little touches were all made possible by her – she set up the whole venue and rents out all the props from her collection. It completely took the stress away on the day and made it all look magical.
We wanted our guests to have a good time so we spent a lot of our budget on food and drink. GFS Catering did our food – we had a mix of canapés with Pimms and Saltaire Brewery Ale on the lawn before a main course of BBQ food including ribs, chicken & chorizo skewers and a selection of salads and sides. For pudding we had a trio of mini lemon cheesecake, crème brûlée and chocolate brownie.
Our friend recommended the caretaker’s wife at a local school to make our mountain scene cake – it had a chalet, hot tub, piste, gin, BBQ and our little car – she’s incredibly talented! Andrea Anderson isn’t a pro but she should be.
We are famous in our friendship group for BBQ’s so we made our own BBQ rub and packaged it up in test tubes for our guests to take away as favours.
Andy also had a box of Romeo & Julietta cigars which we handed out after dinner.
We had outdoor games, a coconut shy, croquet and boules.
One of the best bits was the dress-up box and frame – we hired old vintage fur stoles, hats and gloves and everyone dressed up and took pictures with our instant Polaroid camera.
Alex Graham & The Concords play outside Harvey Nicholls every Christmas and one year I stopped and asked them for their card, vowing they would one day play at my wedding, then one day they did. They play proper rock n roll and also some of the new stuff – they had the crowd in the palm of their hand and everyone was up dancing the night away
Emma and the wedding team at East Riddlesden Hall are so helpful and friendly – they try to embrace people’s ideas rather than impose rules and regulations like at some venues. It’s a National Trust site so the grounds are beautiful and well kept. It was also excellent value for money.
We loved driving over from the church to the reception in the Aston Martin, just casually driving through Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales with the music up loud and celebrating being newlyweds in style!
For our honeymoon we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and travelled around Positano, Sorrento, Capri and Ischia. Our favourite stop was The Relais Blu Hotel near Sorrento but Capri was stunning – if you haven’t been already you must go. We were lucky enough to see the fireworks festival in Ravello which was an amazing experience.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to pick the three most important elements for the wedding and concentrate your budget around them. Ours were food & drink, the band and the venue. For example, I was looking at chair covers but Andy pointed out that for the same price of the chair covers we could have an extra 30 bottles of champagne. Needless to say we went without chair covers in the end and I didn’t even notice!
Try not to look at too many options as it’s easy to confuse yourself – try or get quotes from a maximum of 3 places. 3 venues, 3 dress shops, 3 caterers… otherwise the planning can be all consuming.
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November 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Beth and Tom’s wedding is the very best type: relaxed, fun and colourful with lots of pretty details, good food and a packed, twinkling dance floor.
Add a swingingly gorgeous (high street!) frock, the most beautiful of bouquets and a visit from the ice-cream fairies and that’s one mighty fine big day nailed.
Can I get a flake with that?
With images by James and Lianne.
Beth says: We got engaged on holiday in Cape Cod, America. We’d just arrived at where we were staying and took a little drive to go for a walk on the beach. I think Tom thought that this was a good opportunity to pop the question. It was a fab surprise and made our holiday really special.
We were married on 1st August 2014. We chose this date as I’m a teacher so it fitted nicely with the school holidays. It also happened to be Yorkshire Day which made it extra special.
We got married in the Airedale Barn at East Riddlesden Hall, which is a National Trust Property in Keighley, West Yorkshire. It was the only venue we looked round and knew straight away that it was just what we wanted. The barn is set in lovely grounds with a lake, a walled garden so lots of space for guests and fab photo opportunities. The inside of the barn and really simple with prettry fairy lights and we knew that we could add our own little touches to make the barn personal to us. Also the team at East Riddlesden Hall are brilliant and were so helpful in helping us to organise the day.
We didn’t have a particular theme but we had lots of bright colours and quirky touches. We were keen for the wedding not to be formal or traditional so we tried to make the flowers and decorations colourful, fun and relaxed. We didn’t have a set colour scheme but chose lots of faded bright colours for the flowers and decorations, in particular the bridesmaid dresses and men’s ties which were a coral/ pink colour.
I knew that I wanted a short 50’s style dress as I thought it would suit my shape and I wanted to be able to dance in it. After reading lots of wedding blogs I knew exactly what I wanted and thought that I would have to have the dress made. Luckily when looking on the Coast website I spotted the dress that I had in mind. I went to try on the dress at the Coast store in London when visiting a friend and loved it. I added a petticoat underneath it to give the skirt a bit more volume. The dress was perfect for me and I really did love wearing it. My auntie had made my jewellery and jewellery for the bridesmaids which went perfectly with mineand their outfits.
My flowers were done by Emma Flora Home and Garden and they were exactly what I wanted. I had met Emma at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall and knew her style would be perfect for what I fancied. Emma is so talented and created amazing bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids. I explained the colours that we were incorporating and I showed Emma lots of pictures that I had collected. I was really excited to see my flowers on the morning of the wedding and they were even better than I expected!
My bridesmaids wore coral dresses from Warehouse. I wanted something bright and nothing too ‘bridesmaidy’ so these dresses were perfect and the girls looked gorgeous!
Tom chose a navy suit from Ted Baker and a coral tie from Charles Tyrwhitt which matched the girls’ bridesmaid dresses. He also chose a piece of fabric that matched his suit and tie that my mum made into a pocket square.
The dads, best man Daniel and groomsmen wore their choice of suits and the same tie as Tom’s.
To keep with the theme of the day we wanted to hire transport that was a little quirky. We found Liberty Campers when searching for camper vans to hire for weddings and loved ‘Dylan’ the campervan. We couldn’t recommend Liberty Campers enough and Tracey was so lovely on the day and made it feel extra special.
Our close friend Helen read ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ by John Cooper Clarke during the ceremony as it was a poem we studied when we were at school together. She did an amazing job!
Our rings were hand made in Yorkshire by Nikki Barret, from NB Jewellery.
We were so glad that we chose the amazing James and Lianne Photography to capture moments from the day. I had seen some of their photo’s on various blogs and loved the relaxed and natural look of their photos. Guests commented on how they both just fitted in with the rest of the guests and didn’t even notice they were there. We are so pleased with the photos and would highly recommend them!
To help create a colourful relaxed feel to the barn, My amazing mum had made meters and meters of colourful bunting which looked gorgeous. She also made a fab little banner that we attached to the curtain behind where we sat which used the same fabric as the bunting. We were very keen for the day to be very personal to us. For the table names we had found postcards from the special places we had visited, which was very personal to us. We also had made a photo board showing photos of when we were younger and with friends and family.
Other decorations included flowers in jam jars that I decorated with my mum and sister. Jill, a close family friend did an amazing job and put all the flowers together which were picked from our gardens and some from the flower market in Leeds. These were placed in the middle of the tables on cut up tree slices and some were placed on the window ledges of the barn. She also made the button holes for the lads and mums. We also used tea lights that were dotted around the tables to create a nice glow.
We also had three large silver vases that we filled with flowers from friends and families gardens.
The ladies were given button heart favours that were made by myself, our mums, sisters and bridesmaid.
Our caterers were GFS Catering and they were fantastic in both producing amazing food and providing excellent service. For the evening food we also had bacon and sausage sandwiches. We would highly recommend using GFS.
A close family friend Jill, made our fab cake and it was just what we wanted. We loved the bright colours and bunting to match our actual bunting. The mini Beth and Tom were made by my friend Mandy and we loved the little clothes and detailed she added. I made the little models of our cats, Will and Boo.
We had a sweet table, with lots of jars of our favourite sweets, and for dessert guests were treated to an ice cream from the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream van which were really delicious!
We chose the brilliant Jonny Ross band who played a fab mix and really got everyone up dancing. Our first dance was ‘You and Me’, by Penny And The Quarters.
It is difficult to choose just one part of the day that we enjoyed the most. It was fantastic having all of our family and friends together. We also enjoyed the ceremony much more than we thought and our brilliant registrar Jeff really helped us to relax. Coming down the aisle to a song that was special to us, Micky P Kerr, ‘Where its At’ and the barn doors opening opening as we said our vows was also lovely. Getting ready at my Mum and Dad’s, travelling in the campervan, the speeches and dancing all night were just fab!
For our honeymoon we went to San Fransisco and down the coast to Carmel, Monteray and the Big Sur.
Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the build up to the day, don’t get too bogged down by all the little details, it will all come together. Add touches to make your day personal to you. Also try to relax as much as you can on the day, it really does fly by so try and take a moment to take everything in! Lads, go for a pint before hand to calm the nerves and relax. Tom felt loads better after going to the Busfeild Arms first with the boys. Need to take your mind of things!
June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University. Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul.
Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission. I was exactly right: Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.
Bravo Mrs Hough!
With images by Andy Gaines.
Vicky says: Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!
Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.
About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect
Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!
We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire.
I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.
I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.
As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.
The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.
The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.
With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.
Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!
The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.
I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.
I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!
It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.
Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.
Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.
Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.
Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!
Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill. Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.
We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.
Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day. 2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.
Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!
Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!
Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.
For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.
The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!
We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.
Congratulations Vicky & Paul!
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