September 4th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
A reservoir and a boat club provide the captivating backdrop to today’s fine art wedding styled bridal shoot in the Peak District. Cue some dramatic skies, panoramic views of the water and overgrown foliage for a shoot that’s giving us all those autumnal feels.
Sam from Sheffield-based specialist wedding and event floral designers Fantail, brought all the suppliers together for the shoot, with an overarching theme of ‘something out of the ordinary’. And we think the results are certainly rather special.
The wild floral arrangements are one of the many highlights, featuring an on-trend mix of dahlias, cymbidium orchids, pampas grass and bulrush, all beautifully complementing the natural setting. There’s also some rather fetching props to look out for, including a leather chair and a woven moon. What we love most about this shoot, however, is that the models are a real-life couple and we think this really translates through the stunning photography.
Enough of our gushing commentary though – lets hand the blog over to Sam to share all the fabulous details!
With images by Stevie Jay Photography.
sam says: As a collective we all wanted to do something out of the ordinary and have some fun. We hadn’t done a shoot near water for a while, or at this time of the year, and as Damflask Reservoir is literally on our doorstep, it was the perfect location.
Damflask Reservoir is situated in Low Bradfield, just over the hill from where we’re based. It’s very popular with dog walkers and runners alike. Parts of the trail are really secluded but still reachable with a quick divert off the main gravel path. We chose an area close to where it was quite overgrown and wild, though still offering amazing views of the water. For the second part of the shoot we ventured to the local boat club where we could capture some different shots.
Pampas grass is a real wedding trend in the UK at the moment and one that we’ve seen drift in from New Zealand and Australia, where it has been popular for a good few years. We wanted to create a shoot that was in the middle of nature and although we chose not to use many flowers, it was about the textures of the foliage and different bloom shapes. We used bulrush in the bridal posy with touches of pampas grass, champagne grass and eucalyptus. Adding a touch of colour – we decided on the deep red of the dahlia with the cymbidium orchid.
Our real-life bride and groom, Maria and Neil, were brilliant from the start. Maria wore a ‘crown’ headpiece using pampas and petals from the cymbidium orchid. This complemented the makeup artistry and the way Georgina Gleed styled this was brilliant. We decided to go with natural soft waves for Maria’s hair, so it wouldn’t overpower the headpiece. As for Neil – his buttonhole featured a dahlia with a stag pin through the base.
Large floor standing floral circles are popular in weddings at the moment too. We mossed ours completely and added an asymmetrical floral design to the top and bottom. You can hire this from Fantail for a backdrop to the cake table or the wedding ceremony. It’s particularly fitting for a barn or tipi style wedding. Little details like the basket woven sphere was used to complement ‘buoys’ on the water.
April 17th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re considering a marquee style wedding, then we think today’s blog post might just sway you into having one! Donna and Dave’s fabulous day is the stuff of dreams – or in the bride’s case, the stuff of movies – as she managed to live out her very own ‘driving into the sunset in a classic car’ moment!
Bunting, paper lanterns, milk urns, hay and gorgeous wild florals came together for the most exquisite of country backdrops, dominated by an ever so pretty pastel pink palette. The couple even enjoyed exclusive use of their venue, Smallshaw Farm, together with its on-site cottages and spa facilities.
Other touches we just love include their homemade gins, a photobooth in place of the traditional guest book, and lovely hand decorated jars for their table centrepieces. The prettiness needs to be seen to be believed though – so scroll down for all the wonderful highlights.
With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.
donna says: We got engaged the weekend of the Tour de France finishing in Sheffield, and at the time we were moving into our first home together. Having originally planned to pop the question the night before but having gotten carried away moving and unpacking, Dave popped the question the following morning. He made me breakfast in bed and then got down on one knee and I said yes!
We got married on the 8th July 2017, as it would follow a nice pattern with dates. We moved in to our house on 5th July and got engaged the next day, on 6th July (2014), this would leave 7th July 2017 as our last day before becoming Mr & Mrs on 8th July 2017.
Our wedding reception was held at Smallshaw Farm Cottages and Spa. We really wanted a venue that was exclusive, with only our family and friends there, plus we wanted something local that would capture the natural beauty the region has to offer. Smallshaw offered us this opportunity, with the whole site and all the cottages included, exclusively for us. The location is exquisite, set in the Peak District with amazing views all around. One of the key aspects for us was being able to have our close family with us for the whole weekend, allowing us to enjoy the barbecue hut and Jacuzzi on the Sunday.
We had our ceremony at St Nicholas Church, in High Bradfield. Neither of us are particularly religious, but Dave went to church regularly when he was younger so wanted a church wedding. We chose St Nicholas initially because it was close to our venue, but when we visited it, we were taken aback by the stunning view across the valley and the lovely people in the church. The rector was very welcoming and even allowed the rector from Dave’s home church to come and give the talk, which involved him drinking the local beer – much to everyone’s amusement!
We didn’t originally have a set theme, so we decided to go with styles we liked. We wanted something that was elegant and not over the top and glitzy. We didn’t have a set colour scheme either, although in the end pink did seem to become quite prominent throughout.
My dress was from New York Bride in Sheffield. It was a champagne coloured sweetheart trumpet style dress with a lace overlay and beaded detail on the bodice. The pictures do it more justice than I can in words!
February 12th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
There’s a larger-than-life, fairy-tale quality to today’s winter wedding styled shoot, which takes place at Wood Lane Countryside Centre, a Grade II listed former farm set on the edge of countryside in north-west Sheffield.
With an owl, a ‘wolf’ and plenty of furry throws and candlelight, a lot of thought has gone into the styling of this enchanting outdoor shoot, organised by skilful Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, the owner and talent behind award-winning Fantail Designer Florist.
Having recently reached the final of The Wedding Industry Awards, Samantha’s fabulous creations turn heads and she knows just how to push those floral design and colour boundaries to produce something truly spectacular – as documented to this spell-bounding shoot.
So, let’s hand over to our good friend Samantha and photographer Stu, to explain how the mystical vision came together…
With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.
samantha says: Wood Lane Countryside Centre (WLCC) approached us to create a winter shoot that could inspire brides and grooms to explore the grounds and see the potential of what it has to offer. Being their recommended supplier for flowers, I relished the opportunity to bring in a handpicked selection of high-quality suppliers to create a shoot like no other and something of which to be really proud.
We wanted to shoot everything outside and in the grounds. The venue has a quaint back garden that’s often overlooked. David Ambler from WLCC had only one request: “to make it inspiring”.
Some people might say that it was a massive risk to organise a shoot completely outside in the middle of winter – and they’d be right – but it was a risk worth taking. The shoot started mid-morning, with clear blue skies and a crisp coating of frost on the grass. I arrived onsite with Wild Wedding Days and worked to create the backdrop for the shoot. Wild Wedding Days took care of all outdoor lighting and commercial props, including the drums and tables.
The dress was provided by Something Special Bridal, a fitted Chantilly lace gown called Grace from their Hollywood Chic 2017 Collection. True to its name, the dress exudes grace and has a modern twist of a top tulle and lace overskirt and corded lace hem, which makes for the amazing waist cape detail.
Our make-up artist Ria Amelia MUA arrived with Ellie, our real-life bride, and set to work with a brief from the photographer, Stu Ganderton, of ‘smoky, hard but natural’.
For hair, we wanted a powerful ‘warrior’ feel but still something that could be emulated by every-day brides. I created a hair piece that could be incorporated into the design. Anna Hibberd from HQ Works Sheffield created a stunning style with tight French plaits to one side and a backcombed fringe to give height and depth.
July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
As regular readers of the wedding blog will know, we’re suckers for beautiful wedding day blooms and love to see florists pushing the design boundaries in order to deliver something that is both impressive and individual.
One such florist who does just this is Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, proud owner of Fantail Designer Florist. Supplying dream bouquets, centrepieces and styling for weddings in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire, Samantha enjoys nothing more than meeting new couples and translating their personalities and ideas into show-stopping arrangements.
This afternoon on the blog, we’re super excited to be catching up with this talented lady at her Sheffield-based shop to her learn more about her designs, service and style…
With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how Fantail first came to fruition?
samantha says: Originally hailing from New Zealand, I came to Sheffield to peruse in a career in Interior and Furniture Design. Succeeding in this, and in the meantime having two children, a dog and a cat, I then retrained in floristry and set up Fantail doing freelance wedding floristry from my home studio in 2008. The business outgrew the house and when the local post office moved premises the opportunity arose in the village to open a shop, which I couldn’t allow to pass me by!
How has the business grown since that time?
Since we opened the shop back in November 2016, the business has grown ten-fold. It has given us the opportunity not only to offer more in the everyday bouquet market, including deliveries, but has also allowed us to expand our wedding portfolio. In addition to this we’ve been offering seasonal floral making classes, which have been over-booked to the extent that we had to double the dates! As well as flowers we also supply other, locally made, products, such as Sheffield Honey, Burgon & Ball gardening items, Nathalie Bond organic skincare and cards for all occasions. We’ve also taken the idea of a florist further beyond flowers by offering house plants in designer pots, with our own unique twist.
What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings and what is your favorite part of your job?
I love weddings and take pride in being involved in one of the most important days of a couple’s life. I enjoy everything about creating for a wedding. The initial consultation is great – you get to find out how the couple met, what are their likes and dislikes, their honeymoon ideas and by working together with them I can begin to suggest floral designs that work and create something unique that reflects their personality, the venue and the theme. The best part is when we meet them on the day to deliver the designs and they see the venues transform to the vision we created together.
How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from?
We are contemporary florists, with classic style and dip into vintage. We use a range of different textures and tones and try to include something different. We like to think that we are thorough and consider all the details, such as wiring succulents so they can be planted after the wedding and incorporating plants dependent on the time of year for the same reason. We take inspiration through the seasons, which sounds pretty obvious, but we always like to encourage seasonal availability. Yves Saint Laurent said: “fashions fade but style is eternal” and I think that’s as true for floristry as anything else.
What process will a couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?
We like to invite couples into the shop for a chat. We like to get to know our couples and I think jelling with each other is another key to the success of the relationship. We’ll go through all the nitty gritty things from floral bouquet style, the pins colours on the buttonholes to the length of a trail based on the height of the bride to the height of the candles used on a candelabra. We then come up with a plan going forwards that suits that couple and their budget.
Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?
Most brides will have an inkling as to what they think they would like or want to achieve in the venue for their wedding day. That might be a colour or a favourite flower or style, including bringing along magazine cuttings to the meeting. We can generally get to a finalised design by the time we’ve finished. Pinterest is a massive influence and is helpful for both brides and grooms as well.
Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements?
We source flowers from a range of suppliers including UK-grown flower farms, the Dutch auctions and even as far afield as southern Africa.
May 19th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Today we’re bringing you another helping of wonderful wedding inspiration in the form of this stunning styled shoot, put together by a talented team of South Yorkshire suppliers.
Enlisted to showcase the beauty of Manor Lodge, a new venue to the Sheffield wedding scene, photographer Stu Ganderton seized the opportunity to capture a shoot that was as honest and pure as its setting.
Keeping things simple, Stu and his expertly picked team focused on making the attire and flowers the main stars of the shoot to show that money invested into key areas of a wedding can really make it stand out from the crowd.
Another honest element to this shoot that we adore is that the models are actually a couple. As a result you can really feel the emotions, particularly in the image where Oliver is planting a tender kiss on Danielle’s head – we love!
To explain more about his ideas and how he executed them, we’ll now hand over the blog to photographer Stu…
With images by Stu Ganderton Wedding Photography.
stu says: When I decided to do the shoot, it was initially as just some simple marketing material for the venue to showcase the beauty of the ruins and Turret house. Manor Lodge has just recently started doing weddings, aimed at the Boho and DIY market, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, but I also wanted to show what could be done by a bride investing in the right areas on her wedding, and also what can be achieved when you engage the best creative brains in the market.
It was also important to me that the shoot had an ‘honesty’ to it, so that it was believable. So rather than spending on chocolate fountains, candy carts and love letters; getting a great dress that flattered the model along with beautiful flowers and a good photographer was at the forefront.
The two “models”, Danielle and Oliver have never had any modelling experience. Oliver is actually my son and Danni is his real girlfriend. So we had a real couple which I think complements the shoot and makes it more real!
I said all of the way through that I wanted the flowers and dress to shine through, so using the ethos of the original idea, we did not have any hair or makeup professionals on the shoot. Danni did her own makeup as she would normally, and said I wanted her to have soft curls.
The dress and veils used in the shoot were supplied by Kelly of KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer, and as soon as I mentioned the shoot to her, she knew exactly what dress she wanted Danni to wear. ‘Violet’ the dress modelled by Danielle in the shoot is an ivory, floor-length, circle skirt gown with a corded lace V neckline bodice. The full skirt is made of two layers of ivory duchess satin and chiffon with scallop lace edge detailing on the waist. We styled ‘Violet’ with the ’Louisa’ bridal belt and to mix up the looks for some of the shots we also added the ‘Evelina’ veil with Sam from Fantail Designer Florist’s stunning floral crown.
September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Though not set on a strict theme, today’s real wedding couple styled their day perfectly to create a reflection of them and the things that they like.
The pretty affair features playful pastel décor in blooms, bird cages and antique accessories to help set the scene. Add to this a chic VW camper van, a to-die-for Stephanie Allin gown and gorgeous lace mint bridesmaid dresses, and you’ve got one very swoon-worthy wedding indeed.
With images by Elouisa Georgiou Photography.
charlotte says: We got engaged in Paris. Kyle had booked the weekend away as a surprise and told me to pack a small case. He took me first to a hotel in Liverpool airport, and in the room he left two tickets to Paris and Disneyland on the bed for me to notice – I was so shocked! Our first day in Paris consisted of a 38 degree heatwave so we waited until it was dark to venture up the Eiffel Tower. During the lift ride, I could feel his hands shaking but he said it was his fear of heights! As we stood looking over Paris at night, I just remember he got out a ring box and asked me to be his wife still shaking. I will remember that moment forever.
Our wedding date was 9th August 2014. I’m a secondary school teacher and so having the holidays to enjoy our day was important – I really wanted a summer wedding too. Although the day before there was an awful storm and horrendous rainfall, by some miracle the weather was perfect – the marquee we hired from Ascot Marquees had all dried out and we were blessed with sunshine.
We only ever looked at one venue and that was Wood Lane in Sheffield; a grade two listed barn with lots of character and original rustic features as it was built in 1802. We knew we wanted the venue to be all ours and to be on the unique side – so a hotel wasn’t for us. We also loved the fact that Kyle’s mum had helped to dig the pond in the gardens years ago and Kyle went to school right next door.
As soon as I walked into the barn I fell in love with the natural stonework and wood beams and I knew this is where I wanted to marry Kyle. Being a blank canvas, we knew it would be hard work, but we had the freedom to create exactly the day we wanted.
We didn’t have a strict theme as we’re quite eclectic in our tastes: we love old, restored furniture, vintage styling and unique rustic touches and this is what I wanted the styling of our day to represent.
For the colour palette we mainly went for a mix of pastel colours: mint, pale pinks and blues, to fit in with the delicate colourings of the barn and the meadow-like gardens surrounding it.
As a student I worked part-time in River Island (which is actually where Kyle and I met) so fashion and clothes have always been a big part of my life. Having heard great things about The White Room in Sheffield I knew this was the kind of bridal boutique I needed to go to. I fell in love with Loren – a full lace Stephanie Allin dress – and Chloe, the owner, suggested I added lace bolero.
I also wore a vintage crystal headband by Debbie Carlisle. The band was wrapped in satin to match the colour of my hair too. I adore shoes, and so I decided on a pair of white satin peep toe Louboutins. The inside of the shoes are blue for your ‘something blue’, which I loved. My earring were from Swarovski to match a necklace my friends had bought me on my birthday and I also wore a diamond bracelet which Kyle had sneakily bought me and given to my bridesmaids so they could surprise me!
My and the girls’ hair was done by Jade from Identity in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. She knew exactly what I wanted and did an incredible job. I wanted my make-up to be subtle so I felt like me. I’d seen Laura Turner’s work on Facebook and she created a perfect natural vintage look for me.
Kyle didn’t want a traditional wedding suit, so he went for a slim line blue Lambretta suit and brown leather brogue shoes from Slaters. His best man Ryan, and his dad, John also wore the same suit with my uncle and cousin wearing a slightly darker version. They all wore the same ties from Primark – which had to be the biggest find of the wedding! And pocket squares from River Island. I also ordered Kyle, Ryan and John socks with their name and wedding title sewn on from eBay as a bit of fun. Kyle and Ryan also wore a tie pin, both belonging to their grandfather.
I found the bridesmaid dresses in BHS. I knew I wanted something a little different, and I wasn’t searching for a colour it was more about the style of the dress and making sure all the girls were comfortable and happy. We decided on full lace dresses in mint with a tie around the waist and matching mint peep toes satin shoes, again from BHS. The girls had so many compliments.
We wanted to introduce the wedding party to all the guests on arrival, so with a little help from the best man and my bridesmaid, we made a ‘wedding fan’ with introductions to everyone tied with mint ribbon and James, our usher, made sure everyone had one.
Kyle and I knew that the traditional wedding cars didn’t really fit with the vision of our day. We visited a wedding fair in Doncaster and found an amazing VW camper van from All Luvd Up. The VW had enough room from myself and the bridesmaids to arrive together and we could enjoy a bottle of Moet on the journey too! They also decorated the van with ribbons and gorgeous flowers. It was great to have all my bridesmaids around me to keep me calm!
We’d known our wedding photographer for about six years as we met at River Island when we were all students. After leaving University, Elouisa started her own business – Elouisa Georgiou Photography – and I’d followed her work on Facebook. We loved how she captured such natural photos and you felt like you really understood the emotions of each wedding day by the way she portrayed the guests and the bride and groom in the images. I’d been scouring through Pintrest, blogs and magazines to find inspiration and Elouisa just knew exactly what we wanted and that we didn’t want an album of all traditionally staged photos. Looking back at the photos, I can’t even remember noticing her taking them! She was brilliant at capturing all the precious memories but without even being noticeable – we would definitely recommend her.
We found our florist at a small wedding fayre at Wood Lane – Fantail Designer Florist. Sam understood immediately what I wanted and made some beautiful suggestions. In my bouquet I had memory lane roses tied in with gysophila, which my bridesmaids also had, and beautiful pastel accents. Sam wrapped the stems in vintage lace and finished with a silver broach which belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. When she delivered them on the morning of the wedding, I was overwhelmed – they were just perfect.
Sam also created the most stunning centrepieces using rustic birdcages I had bought from The Range. The flowers were sat in a bed of natural moss and they looked incredible. She mounted the birdcages on plates of natural tree trunk, which I bought from a local farm. We also had natural bark planters and ivory around the natural stone window behind where were said our vows.
As well as the flowers, we hired ‘love’ light-up letters for our evening reception. They looked amazing as it went dark.
For our table names I bought a collection of vintage records to represent all our favourite bands that we have seen together in the past eight years, and I made the table plan using half a birdcage from Hobby Craft and backing it on some vintage style paper from Paperchase.
I really wanted to create an English tea party feel to the wedding breakfast, so Kyle and I had been collecting vintage tea cups from charity shops and car boots and with some help from Kyle’s mum and then hiring some more from a lady on Gumtree we managed to make sure everyone had their tea in their own tea cup.
After the ceremony, I didn’t want to go just straight into the photos; I wanted people to relax and enjoy the day. As the gardens were so stunning, we bought a batch of hay bales from Wood Lane and added blankets so our guests could sit and enjoy drinks, mini cartons of popcorn and delicious scones and cakes made by my bridesmaid’s mum.
For the favours Kyle wanted to buy the men scratch cards which was really fun, and I chose shabby chic doves with twine for the women. Kyle’s mum brought back some handmade chocolates from France and put them in little boxes for everyone too. They were delicious!
Our amazing cake was made by Donna-Jane Cakes. She’s so talented. I saw her on Facebook and loved her designs. We had three tiers: chocolate, vanilla and one red velvet and they were all delicious. We’d already had the cake topper for over a year as we bought it in Disneyland Paris on our engagement weekend, so it meant a lot to us. Donna did a brilliant job of surrounded it with pastel flowers and an edible lace trim.
With the nature of our venue we had to hire outside catering and so I was recommended Hazel’s Catering by Wood Lane, and they were fantastic. We loved their presentation of the food; our starter was spicy tomato soup with fresh warm bread and they served it in little casserole pots on a slate. Our main was tarragon chicken and our dessert was their own recipe of a chocolate and fruit tart with raspberries and cream. Everyone commented on how nice it was.
I always knew the entertainment was going to be an important part of our day. We’d been going to gigs and festivals since we were young and we both loved indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. I found our band – Hudson – on Function Central’s website. The guitarist had played with Sir Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Empire and my husband and his brother are huge Beatles fans so we knew they’d be perfect. They created such a cool, indie atmosphere like we had our very own gig with everyone dancing.
For our first dance I asked my very good friend Pete to sing Elton John’s Your Song. He’s an incredibly talented singer and sounds just like Elton John! The band played live whilst he sang and I think even they were taken back at how good it was. It was such a special moment.
One of the most special touches to the day, was the wedding arch made by Kyle’s dad. He did such a good job of recreating what we wanted and it meant a lot to us that he’d worked so hard on it as we said our vows stood underneath it.
As a bit of a unique touch, before the wedding I asked the married guests to send me a photo of their wedding day. We bought an old led window from a second hand shop and I painted it green and added ‘Love is all you need’ in scrabble tiles at the top. On each window pane we put one of the photos so our guests could share in the weddings of others. It was quite fun as the guests were trying to work out which wedding photo belonged to who!
I also put together a vintage style sweetie stand using an old desk from eBay, which Kyle’s dad restored, some vintage scales for £4 from a car boot, which Kyle’s mum restored, and old jars from charity shops and car boot sales.
We also had a photo booth from Dave Spink Photography. It was incredible fun. They created us a book or all the images and the guests wrote some sentimental but also hilarious messages in it! The guests could also keep a copy of the photos to take home too.
We would definitely recommend Wood Lane to a couple thinking of moving away from the traditional hotel wedding. Of course it’s hard work, but to have a venue which is a stunning and natural blank canvas where you’re able to create a wedding that represents who you are as a couple is relatively unheard of for many venues. You have the venue from the Friday to Sunday, so it takes so much stress away to have that time to style your wedding as you want it and to know that you’re the only people there is just amazing.
We’ve both always wanted to go to America, so we booked our own little American tour as our honeymoon. We stayed in New York for four days then we flew into Orlando and Kyle’s dream was to drive a Mustang so I hired a white convertible one as a present. He was in his element! We actually stayed in Clearwater in the Sandpearl Hotel overlooking the beach, but we did visit Universal and Kyle’s family in Orlando, who weren’t able to come over, so that special to include them too.
Weddings can easily become about everyone else. My top tip for other Brides Up North is that when you stand at the front of your venue saying your vows, or sit down for your meal or dance the night away, just make sure those moments are as you wanted them to be. Stay true to who you are as a couple as you won’t please everyone, but the day isn’t about everyone, it’s about just you and your partner.
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