Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

baby it’s cold outside. a fun-filled winter wedding at fishlake mill – sammi & andy

June 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Winter Wedding at Fishlake Mill (c) Lara Frost Photography (18)

Quirky and fun was the order of the day for teacher couple Andy and Sammi’s winter wedding. After an early morning visit to the registry office decked out in Christmas jumpers, this unconventional pair headed to 18th century corn mill, Fishlake Mill, for their stunning outdoor ceremony lit by candles and fairy lights.

Guests enjoyed a hog roast, a shot cake, hot chocolate and mulled wine and the entertainment just kept coming with a live band, a magician, photobooth and a string quartet. Phew – sounds exhausting!

No wonder bride Sammi says it was all a “bit of a blur’”. Here, she tells us more…

With images by Lara Frost Photography.

A Winter Wedding at Fishlake Mill (c) Lara Frost Photography (6)

sammi says: We got engaged in the Lake District. We’ve been visiting the Lake District during October half-term with family every year since we met, and hope to continue this tradition for many years to come.

On this particular visit, we had a week with family and then a week on our own. On one of the days it was particularly sunny, so we went on a long walk around Elterwater. Looking back, the day was filled with many opportunities for a beautiful proposal up on the moors with stunning views. After sitting on a rocky ledge admiring the countryside with the sun setting for an abnormally long amount of time and a very tense Andy… we went home.

Following this, we then went to an incredible Michelin starred restaurant (which was amazing despite feeling slightly out of place with our strong Yorkshire accents – barely understood by the poor waiter – and complete cluelessness about half of the items on the menu which led to a lot of nodding and smiling). Not that we were too concerned though, as a few drinks helped us blend into our swanky surroundings rather quickly – in our eyes. It was a fantastic evening and has left us with lots of memories. Still no ring though…

Finally, on the journey home, I was really cold and asked to borrow Andy’s coat. He refused, because of the ring in his pocket. As we got to the edge of the lake where our lodge was, he got down on one knee and proposed. Although it wasn’t quite what he’d originally planned, it was still perfect.

A Winter Wedding at Fishlake Mill (c) Lara Frost Photography (15)

Our wedding date was 21st December 2016. We chose the date partly because it fitted with the school holidays – we’re both teachers – and partly because we liked the idea of a winter wedding but mostly because we loved the idea of getting married as the sun was setting with lots of fairy lights and candles (and a more flattering light for photos).

We got married at Fishlake Mill in South Yorkshire, as they had a beautiful pagoda and would let us have our ceremony outside in mid-December – no matter what the weather (we were hoping for the best). We did the legal bit at the registry office early that morning with two witnesses, all dressed in Christmas jumpers. We didn’t consider this as our ‘official’ ceremony, although it technically was.

A Winter Wedding at Fishlake Mill (c) Lara Frost Photography (14)

To us, our ‘actual’ ceremony was led by a close family friend, Andrea Bonser, a celebrant who made our ceremony quirky and humorous – perfect, we thought, to reflect us. Also, she too was willing to marry us at 3.45pm, outside, mid-December no matter the weather.

The theme? As I said, we were going for quirky and fun. Hopefully it came across like that, anyway. We aimed for a less formal affair than normal, starting our wedding at 3.45pm and, rather than a sit down meal, we had a hog roast. We changed quite a lot of the traditional elements; instead of a fruit cake, for example, we had a ‘shot’ cake, which seemed to go down well and certainly settled our nerves.

A Winter Wedding at Fishlake Mill (c) Lara Frost Photography (22)

I wore an ivory drop-waist dress from It’s Bliss Bridalwear. I chose it as I thought it was wintery in style and matched our loose theme quite well. For shoes, I wore black sparkly wellies and warm, fluffy socks when outside and some little sparkly heels for inside.

Andy wore a tweed three-piece suit and a bow tie from Moss Bros.

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feel good factor. house of mooshki for a seaside themed wedding at northorpe hall – lene & jimmy

November 10th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Lene and Jimmy’s big day at Northorpe Hall in Kirklees, was packed full of fun and personality, with thousands of origami flowers, space hoppers and an ice-cream van.

Lene rocked a pink tea-length dress and songs from old-time numbers to Blink 182, were provided by the bridal party’s talented friends.

But the feel-good factor goes beyond the pretty details, for Northorpe Hall was set up to support a children’s mental health charity, and so through their wedding Lene and Jimmy made a significant contribution to a very good cause.

So sit back for Lene’s uplifting account of a big day with big hearts, you’re going to love it…

Photography by Amber Marie Photography.

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lene says: We got engaged three years ago whilst on holiday in Clearwater, Florida. We were enjoying the sunset whilst hanging out on the beach, and Jimmy put his arm round me and muttered “So, err, you fancy getting married then?” We’re not ones for big, romantic gestures, but it did feel a bit like he was trying to sell me a dodgy watch or something. That being said, it really was the perfect, most awkward, Jimmy-esque proposal.

We got married on the 30th July. With us having a seaside theme, me having a tea-length dress, and us being in a potentially chilly venue (barns aren’t known for their warmth and insulation), we knew we’d need it to be during the summer months.

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From the outset, I knew I wanted a barn venue decked out in fairy lights; and we wanted it to be at a mid-way point for our families (James’ family are based in Doncaster, and mine in Clitheroe). When we found Northorpe Hall in Mirfield, it ticked all the boxes. And better still, it’s owned by a charity, so prices are very reasonable and you know that the money you spend is going towards a good cause.

We had a bit of a DIY seaside theme. A lot of our favourite memories are based around beaches so it was something that just slowly came together.

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We didn’t have much of a colour scheme. We’d originally thought about having a light blue, but as my dress was pink we worried it might end up looking like a baby shower! As the bouquets were made from paper, we’d originally thought they should be white, but they looked really plain and a bit tacky – so we decided that each bridesmaid would have a different colour. That kind of threw any colour scheme out the window.

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come rain or shine. a fun and fabulous wedding in liverpool – jody & liam

October 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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While I love viewing all the real weddings that are submitted to the blog there are certain ones that I fall for so much they have me genuinely wishing that I’d been present to toast the bride and groom.

And today’s wedding is one of them – I love everything about it! The cool and stylish city locations, the pretty colour palette and décor, not to mention that delicious looking naked wedding cake. But a slice of sponge aside, the main thing that makes me want to be a part of the action is the expressions of happiness and enjoyment on everybody’s faces.

It turns out that even the rain couldn’t dampen Jody and Liam’s wedding day spirits!

With images by Lisa Howard Photography.

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jody says: Liam popped the question on 16th May 2015, at Delamere Forest. It totally took me by surprise! In hindsight, how awkward he was acting that day, now all makes sense. After our walk in the forest we went home and celebrated with a lovely bottle of champagne and then shared the news with our beloved family. A total whirlwind of a day!

Our wedding date was the 19th June 2016. There wasn’t a particular reason for this date but funnily enough it ended up falling on a significant date, as it was Father’s Day! We didn’t realise this until a few months before the weddings, when we started sending out wedding invitations.

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We got married at Hope Street Hotel, in Liverpool. It was perfect. The place is stunning! We knew we wanted to get married in the centre of the city. We had met each other just a few doors away from the hotel ten years before we got married. It just seemed like it was right for us.

Hope Street Hotel has an amazing room called The Fifth, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows from which you can see the whole of Liverpool. It’s also right in the centre of our two beautiful cathedrals. An amazing location. What more could we have asked for?

Our reception was then at the popular Oh Me Oh My, also in the city centre.

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There was no set theme or particular style to our wedding. I just knew I wanted to have lots of bunting, flowers and fun things to do. It all just worked itself out naturally.

We decided on a pastel colour scheme for the decorations and bridesmaid dresses. Our ceremony venue was very clean, white and neutral so we wanted to ease some colour into the reception venue whilst making sure that it wasn’t too overpowering. The wildflowers we picked for our centrepieces and bouquets popped beautifully against the pastel colours we used around the room, bringing a lovely boost of colour and greenery to the wedding and reception venues.

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I chose to wear a beautiful 50’s style wedding dress. It was midi length with three-quarter-length lace sleeves. It had a sweetheart bandeau neckline, empire line belt and a lot of lace detail going on. The dress was perfect for my style and, most of all, it made me feel comfortable. I bought it from an amazing bridal boutique in Ormskirk called Trudy Smith. As soon as I found it, I knew it was definitely the one. Trudy at the boutique was amazing! She was able to get my dress to fit me perfectly. I couldn’t have found anywhere better to buy my wedding dress, and I know that I would never have found anything else which suited my style and personality as much as my chosen dress did.

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don’t stop the party. ronald joyce for a fun filled wedding at abbey house hotel – steph & paul

March 24th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (14)

Top of the agenda for this morning’s wedding was ‘fun’ – taking just one look at the images below it’s clear to see that the bride and groom accomplished their aim. From the morning preparations to the ceremony and reception Steph and Paul, and their guests, just can’t stop smiling!

So let’s put on our dancing shoes and go join the party!

With images by Fairclough Photography.

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (19)

steph says: We got engaged during a concert at the O2 Academy in Liverpool. We were watching our favourite band Scouting for Girls, who we have seen live many times and their songs and performances have given us such special memories from the moment we met. Our song is Heartbeat and as the band started to perform our song, Paul turned to me and produced a dazzling ring and asked me to marry him. In all the excitement I forgot to answer, I was in a daze.  Eventually and after some prompting, I said yes!

We set the date for 16th August 2015, hoping for a sunny day – and it was!

A Fun Filled Wedding at Abbey House Hotel (c) Fairclough Photography (15)

Our venue was Abbey House Hotel, Barrow-in-Furness and it was sort of fate how we came to pick it. We initially met John from Abbey House at a wedding fayre in Bolton and were taken back by the stunning imagery he was displaying.  Paul thought he recognised it and sure enough it was actually a hotel in the town Paul was born and raised in. We then entered a competition to win an overnight stay at Abbey House – and we won. When we booked our night’s stay we were keeping an open mind about the venue, but from the minute we pulled up we fell in love with the place. It ticked every box!

We didn’t have a wedding theme as such, we just wanted the day to be really fun. I picked coral for the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour though it turned out to be the most awkward and challenging colour to match anything to.

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silver lining. a highly entertaining wedding at west tower – sally & simon

March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an entertaining wedding at West Tower by Jonny Draper Photography (66)

Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.

Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.

Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.

So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!

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We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!

We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!

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I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!

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I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!

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Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!

The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.

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It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.

We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!

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Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!

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My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.

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As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.

I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!

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One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!

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We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!

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We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.

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We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!

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My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!

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We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!

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I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!

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