Charlotte Balbier

midsummer magic: a wild woodland-styled shoot at alnwick garden

July 20th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Woodland Styled Shoot at Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (6)

If you’re planning a wedding with any kind of wild woodland element – natural flowers, untamed hair or foliage and greenery, for instance –  then this stunning styled shoot at Alnwick’s Treehouse Restaurant, part of the Alnwick Garden, will be inspo overload.

Talented photographer Rachael Fraser brought together a group of innovative suppliers to display the very best of the North East, including the beautiful surroundings of her hometown, Alnwick. We adore the use of warm coppery metallics, which sit perfectly against the lush greenery of the gardens and create a super-gorgeous, slightly frenzied Midsummer Madness-feel. Even the cake is on the wild side, with a delicate floral design that’s (almost) too good to eat.

If you want to see more from Rachael, head over to her newly-updated website for more details or get yourself to the Brides Up North Big Bridal Super Show at Ramside Hall on Sunday 24th September, where she’ll be exhibiting along with a whole host of other luxury bridal suppliers.

So, it’s over to Rachael to tell us more about the inspiration behind the shoot and her feelings about the results…

With images by Rachael Fraser Photography. Model Melissa Steven at Tyne Tees Models.

A Woodland Styled Shoot at Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (24)

rachael says: My reasons for doing the shoot was that I really wanted to bring together local suppliers in a collaborative way to showcase some of the beautiful work that I’d seen at wedding fairs and on their individual websites. I wanted to create an inspirational shoot that was quite light and natural with blush, grey and cream tones – all super-popular at the moment. And, of course, the vibrant lush greens of the surrounding area!

The Treehouse Restaurant is part of the Duchess of Northumberland’s stunning Alnwick Gardens, in the town where I grew up and where I still live today. It’s a completely unique venue which, with the surrounding woodland, offered a variety of creative opportunities in terms of settings for the shoot. We started on the rope bridges and then made our way down onto the woodland walk where wild garlic and flowers bloom on either side of the path.

A Woodland Styled Shoot at Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (29)

The Wedding Dress Company provided the gorgeous dress by Maggie Sottero, which was a beautiful blush dress with a sheer lace overlay. I’d seen the gown on display at Brides Up North’s Luxury Wedding Fair at the Alnwick Gardens and knew it would look perfect in the pictures.

A Woodland Styled Shoot at Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (19)

Hair and makeup was styled by Tina Elliot who created a beautiful natural look with some simple foliage in the hair to keep in with the wild, whimsical feel.

A Woodland Styled Shoot at Alnwick Garden (c) Rachael Fraser Photography (23)

The Finishing Touch Company provided a stunning bouquet with white and cream flowers and trailing grey ribbons. For the table settings, they also created a stunning display with a floral garland on the table and copper details which worked perfectly alongside Amanda Michelle’s copper and pastel scripted stationery and table plan.

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going green. a laidback wedding at woodend creative – cheryl & paul

July 8th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Gorgeous Green Wedding (c) S R Taylor Photography (56)

Life is not a solo act and, funnily enough, neither is love. Today on the blog we’re showcasing the very special celebration of a couple whose laidback wedding day was a full-on creative collaboration.

Working in theatre and running a choir, they had musician and dressmaker contacts aplenty to call upon and a stack of guests happy to take part in their ‘open mic night’. They hired a fish and chip van, banned place settings and tables – no tables, I repeat no tables! – and the bridesmaids put together their own super-simple bouquets. The result is a unique, joyous and wonderfully relaxed wedding.

Enjoy the laughter, love and a stunning emerald dress that deserves all the heart eyes.

With photography by S R Taylor Photography.

A Gorgeous Green Wedding (c) S R Taylor Photography (24)

cheryl says: We got engaged in the kitchen at home. After lots of negative answers, Paul asked me to marry him one morning on the doorstep as I was leaving for work. This time however, I said “maybe”. For the next week Paul text me at regular intervals asking “how about now?” Then on the evening in question, Paul said (again!) “how about now?” And I replied, ‘Well, maybe if you had a ring”. He ran upstairs to get the ring he’d already bought and another plastic ring that my eldest son had gifted him for this very purpose but couldn’t find it, so grabbed a roll of electrical tape. He presented me with the tape and I feigned delight, trying it on for size and pretending it was great (despite being a poor fit!). Paul then got down on one knee and opened the real ring box. Suddenly I noticed it and asked what it was. He said it was an engagement ring and asked again if I would marry him. I finally caved, and the rest is history!

A Gorgeous Green Wedding (c) S R Taylor Photography (29)

Our wedding date was 22nd April 2017. We both have busy work lives in the theatre and three children and it was a rare weekend that we could make work.

We had two ceremonies: first up, a very small registry office legal ceremony with our family and witnesses followed by a meal in ASK.

The following day we had our planned celebration which was held in the gardens at Woodend Creative in Scarborough, followed by the reception, which was held in Woodend’s three gallery spaces.

A Gorgeous Green Wedding (c) S R Taylor Photography (31)

We had an apple theme which emerged from us choosing green as a colour scheme – it’s our favourite colour. A quick web search for green wedding cakes showed us several that used apples in their design and we were drawn to those. We then found out that apples are an ancient symbol of love!

A Gorgeous Green Wedding (c) S R Taylor Photography (75)

My dress was made by the freelance costume supervisor we use at the theatre where we both work. I wanted something that was beautiful, bridal (but not necessarily white) and unique with a vintage feel.

Paul and the four best men wore matching three-piece tweed suits from Marc Darcy with green ties and handkerchiefs. Our sons wore similarly coloured three-piece suits that we sourced through an eBay supplier.

The bridesmaids wore off-the-peg dresses from John Lewis, which my chief bridesmaid managed to find. They were white with a green flower pattern and an elegant vintage feel. Our daughter was our flower girl and she wore a dress made by a friend inspired by an image we’d found online. We bought some gypsophila and daisies from the nearest florist and the bridesmaids made the bouquets themselves.

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green dreaming. maggie sottero for a relaxed wedding in liverpool – sami & matt

February 8th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Relazed Wedding in Liverpool (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (25)

This feature comes to you a little later as normal as we’re working hard behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ, right on deadline for issue #05 of our beautiful Unveiled Magazine. I always love this last push, bringing together everything that we’ve been working on for so long, and I’ve got my Editor’s hat firmly on. Anna Wintour, I salute you! The industry support for this issue has been phenomenal and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve been up to for the past six months, so watch this space!

Now, everyone needs a little pretty on a Monday morning (us more than ever right now #sleepdeprived) and as such we’re sharing with you the wonderful wedding of Sami and Matt.

We love the simplicity of this relaxed big day which resulted in a beautiful and fun filled occasion, evident from the abundance of smiles in the images below.

It’s also a lovely tribute to her ‘Gramps’ that Sami built in so many little memories of a family member who was clearly very dear to her in a subtle yet moving way.

With images by Hayley Blackledge Photography.

A Relazed Wedding in Liverpool (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (29)

sami says: We first got together on a night out on St Patrick’s Day, so seven years later in 2013, Matt took me to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day and proposed outside St Patrick’s Cathedral

We set the date for 12th September 2015, it was my Gramps birthday. He meant the world to me, but sadly died just before we got engaged.

Our ceremony was at Victoria Gallery and Museum (VGM) in Liverpool, and the reception was at Crosby Hall Educational Trust Centre (CHET). We choose these as they were both unique venues and different from each other. Neither of us are originally from Liverpool so we wanted to show off the amazing buildings and sights the city has to offer. The VGM is a very old building in the city centre, and CHET centre is a bit like a converted barn on the outskirts, five minutes from where we now live.

A Relazed Wedding in Liverpool (c) Hayley Blackledge Photography (46)

There was no particular theme to the wedding, though we made all the decorations. The table names were named after cities we’ve visited and we decorated the seating plan using bits that we’d picked up while we were in those cities.

We chose green as the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour, and also the favourite colour of my Gramps.

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elegant emerald. a pretty green wedding at bowcliffe hall – wendy & steve

December 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall (c) Razzleberry Photography (44)

Wendy and Steve chose beautiful Bowcliffe Hall near Wetherby for their pretty green wedding that fused both traditional and travel inspired touches… even bringing in some faux snow for an impromptu snowball fight!

With images by Tom at Razzleberry Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall (c) Razzleberry Photography (16)

steve says: Wendy is a keen snowboarder and so I proposed in the snow. I’d designed her ring to include her birthstone which is in her favourite colour – green – and so I’d spent a little while in the jewellers getting it ready. Once that was sorted I just had to wait for the snow to fall!

I wanted a day that showed everyone who we are – something that was fun but didn’t take itself too seriously. We wanted an informal feel but had nods to the traditional elements.

A Pretty Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall (c) Razzleberry Photography (42)

wendy says: I wanted the wedding to be fun and to be personal to us. We wanted to be a little bit different and to reflect our personalities. We chose to have a map and travel theme as we love adventure.

When we were looking for a venue, we wanted something different and every place we visited seemed to have pre-set ideas and arrangements of what a wedding should look like. Bowcliffe Hall is totally unique – the Blackburn Wing instantly captured our imagination and the Hall, Drivers Club and Gardens created a perfect package.

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green gables. justin alexander for a shabby chic wedding at inglewood manor – ghislaine & gareth

June 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (36)

Today’s real wedding starts with a romantic proposal in Barcelona which scores groom Gareth top marks with us girls here at Brides Up North HQ.

After saying ‘yes’ (and getting over the shock) Ghislaine and Gareth agreed to take their time to save up for their dream wedding rather than ploughing through the planning.

The result is a carefully constructed big day with filled with smiles, laughter, cake and a good measure of lace and burlap to fit their shabby chic theme. Just stunning!

With images by Adam Riley Photography.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (5)

ghislaine says: I hate surprises but the day before my 26th birthday (in 2012) Gareth surprised me with a four-day break to Barcelona – little did I know that he was also planning to propose on my birthday. Gareth popped the question down at the Port of Barcelona following an evening of fantastic tapas and sangria. I was completely unprepared and couldn’t hold back the tears, especially when he produced a beautiful diamond ring and I realised that he had also requested permission from my father in true romantic style before our trip.

Following our engagement we quickly realised that we would need a couple of years to save up for our wedding whilst still enjoying ourselves. As we got engaged in October we started to consider October dates. Neither of us had our hearts set on a summer wedding and when we realised the significant price difference between peak and off peak wedding packages we knew that October was the perfect month for us. We chose the 24th October 2014.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (1)

From the beginning we knew that we always wanted a small wedding, as neither of us particularly like being the centre of attention. We initially considered getting married abroad and very nearly booked a venue in Verona, Italy – however we both had specific members of our family and friends whom we wanted to be there and soon realised that getting married abroad was not an option for us.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (10)

We’re both originally from Wales but met each other and have lived together in Liverpool for a number of years so we started to look at venues in Cheshire (half way between our families and friends). We chose Inglewood Manor and everything about it was perfect. Kim Shute the wedding co-ordinator was dream to work with and we can’t recommend her highly enough. The manor itself is an Edwardian country house and has 29 bedrooms to enable friends and family to stay – exactly what we wanted for our intimate wedding. We ended up staying at Inglewood the night before and the night of our wedding with many of our friends and family helping us to extend our wedding celebrations by making a weekend of it.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (11)

Our theme (if any) was ‘shabby chic’ as this reflects our personalities and our home – we were keen to incorporate as many pieces of our personal belongings into our wedding day rather than buying new items.

One of our favourite colours is sage green so deciding on a colour scheme wasn’t too difficult. We were fairly traditional and didn’t disclose the colour scheme until our invitations were sent out but some of our friends had already guessed based on fact that many of the rooms in our home are decorated in varying shades of green.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (17)

Choosing my wedding dress was probably the only aspect I felt nervous about but I should never have worried as my dress was the second dress I tried on and I loved it instantly. My dress was a lace Justin Alexander gown with a bateau neckline and mermaid train. We customised the dress with a belt to add a bit of sparkle and I also wore a chapel length lace veil. I bought the dress from Brides of Liverpool but it was customised and adjusted by a fantastic seamstress called Janey G who is also based in Liverpool.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (15)

Gareth and the groomsmen wore classic tails. This was a surprise as Gareth originally thought he would wear a tailored suit but having tried on various options felt most comfortable in tails. Gareth looked super handsome on the day but our little pageboy Sam definitely stole the show in his miniature version.

I had eight bridesmaids in total, slightly ridiculous for a wedding of 72 people, but I couldn’t imagine getting ready or getting married without them all being there so it was a no brainer! The girls wore full-length dresses designed by Dessy in sage green and my little adorable flower-girl wore an ivory dress with matching sash.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (31)

The bridal party’s hair and makeup was looked after by a fantastic bridal hair and make-up artist called Nicola Joyce. I trusted her completely and she did not disappoint us; her calm manner, personality and style is a credit to her and I she was a pleasure to have around on the wedding morning.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (26)

Our photographer was the amazing Adam Riley. Gareth enjoys photography and we both knew that choosing the right photographer was one of the most important aspects of our day. Gareth spent many hours looking for photographers online and Adam’s photography caught our eye. We visited Adam a number of times before our wedding to discuss details and we found that we spent time chatting about our lives/holidays as if to a friend rather than a stranger. Both Gareth and I are rubbish at having our photos taken and both agreed that Adam’s true reportage style was exactly what we wanted.

Adam captured the story of our day perfectly and never once made us feel uncomfortable. We wanted to enjoy our day rather than spend hours having posed photos and Adam captured every moment without us even realising it. We can’t thank him enough and would recommend him every single time – he’s even offered to shoot our second wedding if we ever renew our vows!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (28)

I carried a hand-tied bouquet of pale pink Sweet Avalanche Roses with cerise pink mini Eden Spray Roses and Gypsophila, and the bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets of Gypsophila. I love Gypsophila and felt that the simple pink and white colours worked really well with sage green colour scheme. Our bouquets, button-holes and corsages were made by a fab florist called Mark at Gordale Garden Centre near to Inglewood Manor.

We bought and arranged the flowers for the venue/reception ourselves. In the run up to the wedding, Gareth and I collected every wine bottle and jam jar we could find and decorated them with twine, lace, pink ribbon and burlap to tie in with our shabby chic theme. Gareth is now a whizz with a glue gun!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (43)

We used loads of candles and tea lights to create a relaxed atmosphere and filled the jars with Gypsophila and Sweet Avalanche Roses that we bought from Liverpool Flower Market the day before the wedding. We also used an old-style suitcase (normally kept on top of our wardrobe at home housing my handbags) to display our table plan and we filled the base with gorgeous flowers.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (34)

We didn’t make personalised favours but instead set up a vintage sweet table with all of our favourite treats ranging from peanut M&M’s through to marshmallows and peardrops. Again we used an old-style suitcase for display purposes and collected numerous crystal dishes (thanks to Julia, Gareth’s mum) as I love cut glass.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (42)

We knew we didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and we found it very difficult to narrow down which flavours we would like (we both love cake). In the end we ended up having eight different cakes displayed in glass cloches. We made and decorated a number of cakes ourselves including a traditional fruit cake (which was generously fed with brandy for six months before the wedding) and we also bought a number of cakes from one of our favourites bakeries called Cuthbert’s Bakehouse in Liverpool – the cakes were delicious!

Our guests enjoyed a range of canapés in the afternoon including mini fish and chips and Welsh rarebit, followed by a beautiful three course evening meal. In the evening we didn’t have additional guests and so had a lighter buffet of bacon/sausage batches and wedges together with as much cake as people could manage.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (44)

Our music for the day was provided by a fabulous string quartet called The Dotted Crotchets. We first heard them play at The Trafford Centre in Manchester and we both knew they were exactly what we were looking for. They are the perfect mix of traditional and contemporary, playing many modern chart hits. I walked down the aisle to Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros and we left our ceremony to Friday I’m in Love by The Cure.

The Dotted Crotchets continued to play throughout the afternoon and entertained our guests with great hits from Journey, Coldplay, Rihanna and Take That. They even enthralled our two youngest guests with a rendition of the famous Frozen theme tune – we can’t thank them enough.

We also had a magician called Ian Knowles, who mingled with our guests throughout the afternoon. He is a work colleague of Gareth’s and his magic tricks are second to none – all of our guests loved him.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (48)

There were a few special touches on the day which included my sister presenting me with a story book of my life to date that she had created and my mum had framed various baby photos of myself and Gareth which were displayed in the reception areas of Inglewood Manor. It was very emotional for Gareth and I and was great talking points for all of our guests.

Unbeknown to us, my best friend Charlotte had also secretly organised and recorded a video containing clips of all of our guests singing lines to the Bruno Mars song Marry Me. This was played to us during the evening and honestly blew us away! We still can’t believe the time and effort involved by Charlotte and all off our guests for taking part – thank you.

Later on in the evening, my sister and brother-in-law led us outside to see ‘Just Married’ lanterns lined up along Inglewood’s terrace. This was a perfect touch and has since become one of our favourite photographs taken by Adam Riley.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (49)

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day though. Walking down the aisle to see all of our lovely family and friends smiling back at me and Gareth looking completely over-whelmed was a breath-taking moment.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (47)

For our honeymoon we spent two weeks in paradise in the Maldives. We arrived to monsoon type rain that lasted a couple of days, but we didn’t let it spoil our excitement. The island really was pure paradise and we experienced some of the best food we have ever eaten, from fillet steak to fresh sea food. If we could go back tomorrow we’d both be jumping on the plane immediately!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Ingelwood Manor (c) Adam Riley Photography (53)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t let the weather worry you. Getting married in October we had planned for rain and I was prepared for a day indoors, however we had a beautiful day and we spent a good couple of hours outside in the afternoon with many guests commenting that it was actually too hot inside.

Things that worry you beforehand will not even be given a second thought on the day as you are far too busy enjoying yourself. If we could do it all again tomorrow…we most definitely would. Best day of our lives!

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catch of the day. a home made wedding at the alnwick garden – jancis & casey

January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (46)

Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.

It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.

With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (34)

jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!

After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.

After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (40)

We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.

We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.

We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (42)

We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (43)

The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.

We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (44)

Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.

On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!

Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.

I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (49)

Casey wore a grey silk suit from Slaters and green ties from Debenhams. It took months to find a green tie that matched the bridesmaid dresses. The groomsmen wore the same suits and ties.

My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (24)

I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!

She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (19)

We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!

My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!

We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (4)

We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (9)

We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.

The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!

Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.

It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (3)

The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.

We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (11)

My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.

Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (18)

We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.

We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (25)

Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.

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