Charlotte Balbier

in the navy. ian stuart for a glamorous wedding at allerton castle – kathryn & kelechi

June 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (45)

Here at Brides Up North we just love a glam wedding and today’s has it all – a striking gown, opulent colour scheme and men in uniform!

Kathryn and Kelechi chose the grand Allerton Castle as the setting for their dream wedding, which was then styled in keeping with the historic venue’s décor and to suit the couple’s personal taste.

Posh transport, sparkling stationery and lavish centrepieces all help to create a wedding day as alluring as the bride and groom’s attire. Glam to a tee.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Laura Calderwood Photography.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (1)

kathryn says: We got engaged in Sydney, Australia, my hometown at the time. After meeting three years prior, Kelechi came over on a two-week holiday from the US Navy. Palm Beach is a favourite spot of mine so on day one of the trip we decided to go there and climb to the lighthouse, little did we know it wasn’t a pleasant stroll up but a hike! At the top and covered in sweat, I looked around and said “just think, this may be the last time we come here” – then turned back to Kelechi who said “we better make sure we remember it then” – he was down on one knee!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (4)

Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We chose this date mainly due to Kelechi’s work schedule. Spring in the UK is a beautiful time, so that helped too!

We got married at Allerton Castle, which we chose due to the grandness of the building, its Great Hall and the beautiful countryside location. As a lot of our guests were coming from overseas, we needed the wow factor!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (2)

We didn’t really have a theme but kept everything very glamorous. We used a lot of candles, fairy lights and crystals. I picked this style due to the castle’s decor and so that it would be in keeping with what Kelechi and I like.

Black and Gold was the colour scheme. We choose this combination to match with Kelechi’s military uniform – dinner dress blues. Although the tux is actually black!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (16)

I chose a dress that was the complete opposite of what I thought I’d choose! The dress was called Amalfi by Ian Stuart, which I bought from Limelight Occasions in Huddersfield. I was drawn to the dress due to its uniqueness. It was two colours and had beautiful detailing. It was like nothing I’d seen anyone wear before. As soon as I put the dress on, I knew I had to have it!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (20)

Kelechi wore his military US Dinner Dress Blues uniform and the groomsmen who weren’t in uniform also wore black tuxedos.

My bridesmaids wore black maxi dresses with gold detailing around the top half of the dress, from Quiz. They were very flattering on all shapes and the girls looked fabulous whilst feeling comfortable at the same time. My ‘Mate of Honour’ wore a black tuxedo, hired from Greenwoods. He also invested in some gold shoes which looked amazing!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (26)

As I was getting ready at the castle, I decided to drive my little white Fiat 500 there in the morning with some of my bridesmaids. I decorated the car and we had a great laugh on the way! I organised an Aston Martin as a surprise wedding present for Kelechi. The car picked him up in York and took him and his best man to the castle. We then organised a vintage double decker bus to bring our guests to the venue from York.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (28)

Laura Calderwood was our photographer. She’s an absolute gem and was very patient with some of our more demanding guests. Nothing was too much trouble and the pictures taken speak for themselves and how great Laura’s work really is.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (32)

Joanna at Twisted Willow provided all our flowers, centrepieces and dressed the Great Hall for our ceremony – it looked magical.

My flowers were a mixed white bouquet with crystal detailing. For the wedding reception we had tall candelabras on each table surrounded by candles and draped in crystals. I had a vase on our sweetheart table for my flowers to be shown off in.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (35)

Another great supplier was Katie from Tigerlily Creations. Katie made all our stationery for our day from the invitations to the wishing well. Everyone commented on the quality and luxury feel she gave to our day.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (42)

Our wedding cake was wheels of cheese and therefore our favours were jars of chutneys with the words ‘Spread the Love’ on. We also gave little red double decker bus key rings to all our guests as a lot of them were visiting from abroad.

We had a dessert included in our menu, which is why we chose a cake made of cheese. It was something different for a lot of people and we loved it! Matt at The Cheese & Chutney Co couldn’t have been nicer either.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (49)

I wanted a fun cake topper so searched online and found Feats of Clay. Sarah is amazing and made both myself and Kelechi out of clay. A great talking point for guests and a great souvenir for us to keep.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (56)

We used the Dine for the food, who are provided through the Castle. They were fabulous!

We had champagne and canapés of mini Yorkshire puddings, chicken skewers and goats cheese tarts, during the drinks reception. For the wedding breakfast we had fishcakes to start, followed by a sirloin of beef, rounded off with a glorious sticky toffee pudding. Everyone commented on the quality of the food. We organised cheeseburger and chips for the evening reception – it made our guests’ night!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (54)

Entertainment wise, we had a string quartet playing for the guests’ arrival and during the drinks reception. It made for an elegant start to our day. For the evening entertainment we used Alive Network and booked the band Munch. Kelechi and I love live music so a band was a must. They played a whole host of music and catered for all ages.

During the band’s break we surprised our guests with a five-minute firework display. At first I was reluctant to do this but Kelechi pushed for it – I’m now so glad we did, it was magical and the guests loved it.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (59)

My favourite part of the day was the build-up and then finally seeing Kelechi as I stood at the top of the stairs before walking down the aisle. They are two moments that will stay with me forever. The dancing during the evening was pretty great too!  Kelechi literally burnt the stitching off the bottom of his shoes!

For our honeymoon we went to a Sandals resort in St Lucia. It was fantastic, they couldn’t do enough for us and helped make the week very romantic and assisted Kelechi is organising lots of little surprises along the way. One thing to note though – everyone there is on their honeymoon so bear that in mind.

My top tip for other Brides Up North is a tip that everyone gave me – make sure you take a step back, look around and enjoy the day so you can remember it. I made a conscious effort to do this and I’m glad I did. Kelechi and I also chose to have a sweetheart top table to make sure we got some time to just sit down with each other and take it all in – a great decision.

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well dressed. sassi holford for an elegant wedding at iscoyd park – emily & rory

May 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (63)

Bride Emily experienced a nightmare situation when the boutique she had found her gown in went out of business. Determined to still secure her dream dress, Emily went straight to the designer whose team went above and beyond to make sure she got her wish – and we’re sure you will all agree she looked absolutely stunning!

Groom Rory then chose to reflect his family roots by donning traditional Scottish Highland dress for the occasion and the pretty maids completed the attractive line-up in their elegant lavender dresses.

An abundance of pretty blooms in bouquets, button holes and décor enhanced the already romantic setting of Iscoyd Park for one very dreamy day indeed.

With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (26)

emily says: Rory had planned a romantic trip to Ireland where he intended to propose at Giant’s Causeway. Unfortunately heavy snow over two consecutive weekends scuppered his plans. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we travel to Ireland in a blizzard. Having asked my parents’ permission I think he was becoming worried about the cat being let out of the bag so, during a snowy weekend in January, whilst I was busy defrosting the freezer, he called me into our living room where I found him down on one knee. I was completely shocked, it was so unexpected but absolutely perfect as it was.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (29)

We had originally planned to marry on the 2nd August, which would have been five years to the day that we had met, but when we eventually found our perfect venue the only date they had available was 24th May 2014. So although it was a little earlier than we had planned it was absolutely worth it to secure the venue.

We got married at Iscoyd Park in Shropshire. Apart from being the most beautiful Georgian house in a gorgeous setting, from the very start the staff were overwhelmingly wonderful and relaxed and remained so right through to the big day itself – absolutely nothing appeared to be too much trouble.  I had become a bit of a bridezilla and was struggling to find a venue that ticked all our boxes. Iscoyd Park ticked the boxes and more, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (2)

We didn’t have a fixed theme as such we just wanted an elegant and happy day with lots of personal touches and I like to think we achieved that. In terms of colour, we tried to match one of the colours to Rory’s family tartan, which was a sort of dusty lavender.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (40)

After a fairly exhaustive search, I settled on a dress by Sassi Holford. Unfortunately the shop where I had ordered the dress from went out of business just before the wedding leaving me without a dress. Thankfully Sassi Holford were incredible and after a trip from Derbyshire to Taunton to be re-measured they made another dress from scratch. I really can’t thank the team at Sassi Holford enough for pulling out all the stops to make the dress for me at breakneck speed to ensure I had the dress of my dreams.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (43)

Rory’s family is Scottish so he opted to follow tradition and wear a kilt, which was hired from Greenwoods. The best man also wore a kilt hired from Greenwoods. Rory also had sgian-dubhs, worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, made and personalised to go with the kilts.

Sourcing bridesmaid dresses in the right colour proved more challenging than I had originally thought but, thanks to family in the USA, we were able to obtain them from Donna Morgan via Nordstrom.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (16)

We booked Iscoyd Park for the whole weekend so my bridesmaids and I stayed in a beautiful cottage in the grounds the night before for a girly spa evening and Rory drove himself to Iscoyd the morning of the wedding.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (41)

In our view, the photography was probably one of the most important elements, it is really the only thing you are left with other than memories after the day itself and I really wanted to be able to look back and see all the little details and moments from our wedding. Our photographer was Jo Bradbury. She had photographed my mum’s wedding to my step father at which I had been a bridesmaid, so I knew from direct experience that the photographs would be beautiful. Rory and I aren’t always the most serious of people, and models we certainly are not, so I really wanted someone who would be able guide us. I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She was there from getting ready, where she was incredibly non-intrusive during the nervous moments but was able to capture some really lovely shots. She then stayed almost right until the end to get photos of some dodgy dancing. Very importantly she managed to make one of the rainiest days of the year (we even had to throw the confetti indoors) look like a classic late spring day.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (47)

I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses, freesia with a lamb’s ear greenry. All the bouquets and buttonholes were provided by Selina Godsal, the mother-in-law of Phil who owns Iscoyd Park. She is the on-site florist which is so handy for tying in meetings with venue visits.

I wanted predominantly white flowers so we used peonies, roses, hydrangeas, gypsophila with a few coloured roses in the hanging vases behind the top table. We decided early on to do some of the flowers ourselves so my mum sourced an enormous van-load of flowers from her local flower stall in Manchester as well as the best part of a small lavender bush from friends. We arranged them in hundreds of vases sourced from Ikea. Selina then did some big displays for us in the ceremony room and a large ball display hanging from the centre of the marquee.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (48)

I wanted to do something a little different for the favours and as I had decided most of the flowers and table settings were to be white I added a little colour by planting succulents into small glasses which would double as a wedding favour and a name place setting. It’s quite nice really as I am still getting updates from our guests nearly a year on as to how their plant has grown.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (49)

I had seen a cake on Pinterest which I fell in love with and which fitted well into our dusty lavender theme. We couldn’t decide what flavour to have so went for different flavours in each tier. It was absolutely beautiful and tasted great too!

I was given free rein on the décor for the wedding but the food was definitely my husband’s domain. Iscoyd works closely with the Fine Dining Company – the food was incredible and not only tasted great but looked lovely too.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (57)

For entertainment, we had the Vittorio String Quartet play as our guests arrived and as I walked down the aisle through to the drinks reception. I’m not sure it was necessarily a wise decision as I managed to cry almost every time I heard them play in the run up to the wedding. Thankfully, I successfully held it together on the big day.

For the evening Iscoyd suggested a DJ for us which was really useful as we are not from the area so any recommendations were gratefully received. We spoke to Robert Maxfield who asked our likes and dislikes music wise and he really created a party atmosphere for our evening of dancing.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (59)

I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest for the little details. We printed a little poem for the ladies bathroom complete with a basket of toiletries to try and refresh the guests before continuing the party. Another of my favourite details were the little packs of tissues on the seats for during the ceremony; ‘for happy tears’. I really wanted to personalise a lot of the wedding so we had various things made, from a wooden card box painted with our names and wedding date, to the arrows directing the guests to the venue.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (6)

Other suppliers we used that I would recommend include Sash and Co who supplied the belt to go with my wedding dress. This too was originally ordered from the bridal shop that went out of business so they also pulled out all the stops to remake the belt in time. Gemma Cosgrove was my make-up artist, who was another calming influence on the morning of the wedding, not forgetting my friend Emma who not only managed to do my hair but also four bridesmaids, two flower girls and a few aunts all in time for the ceremony! Jean Jackson Couture also deserves a mention for making my mum look amazing!

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (12)

I actually don’t think I can ever recommend Iscoyd Park highly enough. Not only is it incredibly beautiful but the people there are great too, Jen the wedding planner and Phil the owner were always on hand for any questions I had and Jen particularly really put my mind at ease. They have the perfect set up from the onsite beauticians and florist to the luxurious accommodation and venue. They urge you to make Iscoyd your home for the duration of your stay which I have to say, during what can be such a stressful time, was a really welcome comfort.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (4)

The moment that stands out in my mind from the wedding day is hearing the string quartet start to play as I began to walk down the aisle and catching the eye of my soon to be husband – a moment which Jo managed to capture perfectly. My mum’s speech was also incredibly touching, not sure there was a dry eye in the house, including a couple of Rory’s friends from the Army. Other than that I genuinely loved everything from getting ready with all the girls to the amazing best man speech to endless dancing and finally being able to call Rory my husband.

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (1)

We went on a mini moon to a lovely boutique hotel in Norfolk booked through Mr and Mrs Smith. Later in the year we then went to stay in Tuscany in the most magnificent villa called Villa Fontelunga. Neither of us had ever been to Italy before and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Phillip and Paulo the owners of Fontelunga were so welcoming and although we were offsite in our own villa they were always at the end of the phone to make dinner reservations for us or recommend places to visit. They hold weekly dinners for all the guests where everyone can get together to eat, drink and have lots of laughs overlooking the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany! We absolutely cannot wait to plan our return trip!

An Elegant Wedding at Iscoyd Park (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (70)

My top tip for other Brides Up North to help with the planning would be – Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest (you can follow Brides Up North’s boards on Pinterest here). It became my wedding planning bible, from colour schemes to flowers, to personalised details, I found it a really useful tool to create a mood board for the wedding.

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something blue. charlotte balbier for a beautifully styled wedding in the north west – sophie & andrew

April 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (36)

Here at Brides Up North we’re lucky to receive so many incredibly styled weddings and today’s is one that would come close to the top of the pile.

Art teacher Sophie clearly has an eye for detail as she combined a cool blue colour palette with Scottish touches and her favourite fabrics to produce one heck of a gorgeous wedding.

Gals, you can pick up plenty of inspiration here for the wedding party’s attire, venue styling and special touches.

Paper and pens at the ready!

With images by Spencer Photography.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (39)

sophie says: We got engaged on the 4th September 2013 at Lytham Windmill. It was the last day of the summer holidays (I’m an art teacher) and we decided we’d go out for a meal, so Andrew booked an Indian we like in Lytham. A lovely meal and lots of hand holding we decided we would walk off the meal a little. It was a beautifully clear night with stars everywhere and we wandered along the front and walked right up to the front of the windmill for the best view of the estuary over to the twinkling lights of Southport in the distance. I turned to go down the stairs saying we should probably get home when Andrew just said “wait Soph” and I turned to see him on one knee with an open ring box “will you marry me?” I had always thought I would be so confident in my answer but I could only whisper the quietest “yes” behind the biggest smile.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (4)

We booked our wedding for the 18th October, we both love autumn and had originally thought we’d go for the first weekend of the school holiday, however everywhere we liked was either booked or closed! Then the venue that we chose in the end – Charnock Farm – had the weekend before free and after a quick discussion – could we cope going straight back to work on the Monday? We decided to go for it!

We were married at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham, my church since I was a toddler. Not only is it a special place for me as it holds many happy memories but for a local parish church it is just utterly stunning. A grand entrance and long, dramatic aisle. What more could a girl need?

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (2)

There were a few little themes running through our day, the main I guess ‘buttons, bobbins and Liberty fabrics’, from the moment we set our date I started collecting and buying up hundreds of wooden bobbins. As well as being an art teacher I’m a textile designer and have a little obsession with buttons. From being pretty young I have adored Liberty and everything it stands for and love working with their fabrics. Lodden is one of my all-time favourites, this print was at the centre of many fabric elements at our wedding.

Our colour scheme was blues – every single one of them! Weddings are so often all about the bride, but blue is Andrew’s favourite colour and is a nod to the traditional rhyme ‘something old, something new….’

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (15)

I knew I wanted a vintage inspired dress, a nod to the 50s and Grace Kelly. With a pile of bridal magazines and Pinterest I quickly knew that Charlotte Balbier was the designer for me – and more importantly that Constance was almost definitely the dress, but I really wanted lace sleeves! I saw an advert for The White Closet in one of the magazines and they had a meet the designer night quickly after our engagement so I booked myself and one of my bridesmaids in. The White Closet is just gorgeous, I was in love. When asked if I had a particular dress in mind by Eve she made sure that the next changes included Constance, the buttons from the top to bottom of the train were beautiful, I just knew and I hadn’t even tried it on. It was as if Charlotte had been in my head when she designed the dress. I was able to chat with Charlotte on the night and discuss my ideas for extra sleeves, luckily I didn’t offend her. I booked myself in a few weeks later with my mum. I only tried on Constance.

At my first fitting with the help of The White Closet ladies I was also able to design a lace jacket to wear with my dress so I had sleeves, it dipped into a V at the back just as Charlotte’s own wedding dress had. I felt so beautiful in my dress; I didn’t want to take it off!

I also wore a simple ivory cathedral length veil and Rachel Simpson Cora ivory suede kitten heels. My youngest sister Izi made me a garter with fabric and buttons that all had little meanings, it was so very thoughtful.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (22)

Andrew knew he wanted a grey three piece suit but no tails. However when the boys went to have a look and try on he changed his mind. This was meant to be a secret but his brother and best man Scott told me by accident! So the suits were hired from Greenwoods but he wore a handmade Lodden tana lawn tie and matching pocket square, teamed on the day with blue spotty Paul Smith socks and dark brown brogue style shoes.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (26)

The bridesmaids wore floor length navy In One Clothing dresses their own way, with Izi and Laura wearing Agnes and Norman navy suede heels and Hannah in Rachel Simpson ivory satin sling-backs. Hannah, my middle sister, is wearing them for her own wedding in February.

The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Andrew but their ties and pocket squares were in Betsy print tana lawn.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (34)

Andrew and I have a mutual love of VWs so it had to be a camper van for our transport. We used Posh Pampa Campas and I travelled from home to church in Coco, a silver grey split screen, then we travelled from church to on reception via Lytham.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (38)

We found photography one of the more difficult things to pick, but through suggestions from different people and a few meetings we met Joanne Spencer of Spencer Photography for a quick drink and we could have talked for hours. Just totally on the same creative wavelength as us and her photos are just stunning. There is something in the colour that just captivates me. We had great fun on a very, windy and cold day on Morecombe front for our engagement shoot and we both felt totally at ease in Jo’s company. On the day Jo and her husband Scott were amazing, there when we needed them but not pushy as we had witnessed at other weddings. Their style suited ours as we didn’t want lots of posed shots, a natural documenting of our day and all the little details we had worked hard to include.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (35)

I carried a hand-tied bouquet of white roses, thistles, myrtle and rosemary mixed in with other bits of greenery. I wanted elegant and timeless and that is exactly what we got from Margaret Mason in Preston. Half of my family are Scottish so not only are some thistles blue (to fit the colour scheme) but they’re also the national flower of Scotland, another of our subtle mini themes.

At church we had our own little flower festival, and the church flower ladies led by Christine Lever took my breath away with their work and attention to detail. All of the ladies have practically known me my whole life so it was very special that they were able to do this for our wedding day. Stunning arrangements and an archway in ivories and foliage.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (62)

We had a combination of flowers and decorations we made ourselves at the venue. On the top table a traditional long and low arrangement with white roses, thistles, rosemary, pussy willow, gypsophila and other beautiful blue flowers. Then on the guest tables Andrew and I, with the help of a friend, had made our own bobbins on top of which posies of the same floral combinations sat and then tall slim vases filled with vintage bobbins also with a posy on top. Spare bobbins and buttons were dotted around the tables too. We had made loads of blue candles and decorated them with ribbons and ceramic buttons.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (50)

Our wedding venue was a barn with stunning exposed beams, from these Andrew and his groomsmen had hung blue and white paper pom-poms and white Chinese lanterns lit up with little LEDs. They did an amazing job on the morning of the wedding and they got it looking just as I had envisaged. We also hired carnival lights from The Word is Love, a huge S&A to light up the dance floor, our guests loved these and they really added something to the already gorgeous barn venue.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (40)

We did but didn’t give out favours but instead after the church service guests were invited for shortbread and fizz and a donation to WaterAid was made so that others benefited from our happiness. We only had a handful of children at the wedding but I made them each a personalised drawstring bag – using different blue fabrics and Liberty tana lawns, filled with books, games, bubbles, Lego, personalised pencils and colouring in books. The babies were given tana lawn bibs too – they went down a storm!

We changed our minds a little bit on the type of cake but in the end went for a four tiered fruit cake which my mum made for us and a sponge cake. A friend Caroline decorated our cake for us with ivory flat icing and a cascade of different blue icing buttons. It was exquisite and topped with a tiny floral topper.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (57)

Andrew and I both love music and we are quite eclectic in our tastes. But we both agreed that live music was important so we were lucky enough to be able to book The Flip Band, a three-piece on bongos, violin and bass guitar. We have seen them a few times at different venues and they didn’t let us down. They learnt Calvin Harris’ Feel so Close for our first dance, incredible! We also had DJ Gary Mills who had worked with my sister quite a lot and came highly recommended. He too was great fun and very entertaining with his costume changes! Gary gave us a CD of musical highlights from our wedding which was a lovely touch.

As a special touch our tables were named after different activity badges you can gain as a scout (they also happen to be blue), as Andrew and I met through our involvement in Scouts. We also had a homemade photo booth in the form of a giant Polaroid frame with a trunk full of different props for people to enjoy.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (56)

Our venue has a lovely outdoor seating area and because it was possibly the warmest October day ever lots of people were able to mingle outside but it did get a little cooler in the evening so I had a basket full of blankets ready for this and also a basket full of slippers for those that just had to kick off their shoes.

We would definitely recommend our venue to others – it’s warm, cosy without being small, spacious without being too big and neutral back drop which would suit many individual styles.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (51)

Other suppliers involved in our big day that we would recommend are RA Designs at The Manchester Craft & Design Centre who make bespoke engagement and wedding rings, Chloe Sinclair and Cedar Nail and Beauty in Kirkham, who did the bridal party’s make-up and Barbara Kay and Talking Heads in Wesham, who did the bridal party’s hair.

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (43)

The whole day was a whirlwind but a particularly memorable moment was when we started to exchange our vows the sun started to shine and it just burst through the church windows down onto us. Perfect. I did also love our photo shoot up at Lytham Windmill, it was time just together on our own (of a fashion) and we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, especially when my cheek was prickled by the thistle in Andrew’s button hole!

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (42)

We went back to work the following Monday but the next week we headed off to The Lakes for our minimoon of walking, spa days, afternoon tea and just time together. We are heading to California in August for our proper honeymoon where we are going to drive from San Francisco to San Diego down the coast. We cannot wait!

a Charlotte Balbier gown for a beautiful blue wedding in the North West (c) Spencer Photography  (72)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be yourselves. Do not be swayed by what other people think, it’s your day. And make sure you have clear communication with all your suppliers so that they fully understand your vision.

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the great british wed off. a colourful wedding at Scarborough’s seaside – fiona & sam

November 27th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

a seaside wedding in scarborough (c) Photography34 (1)

Today’s real wedding kicks-off with an incredibly romantic and festive engagement which is perfect as we’re soon to begin the big Christmas countdown with the help of our advent calendars (some things you are never too old for).

Sam and Fiona agreed on a laid back seaside wedding set around a cute afternoon tea during the day and a rocking party in the evening.

I love that Fiona was brave enough to shun tradition and work a blush pink dress on the aisle, which she looked fabulous in. Not to be left out, the guys also projected some colour with their daring but dashing sky blue bow ties.

So grab your bucket and spade as we journey to the maritime town of Scarborough for Sam and Fiona’s big day.

With images by Photography34

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fiona says: I was eight months pregnant with our first child when we got engaged. It was our first Christmas in our first ‘family home’. We set about putting the Christmas tree up on a snowy Saturday afternoon, when Sam announced that he had a special bauble to put the tree. He presented me with a gold gift box tied with red ribbon, and I opened it to find a glass bauble inside. I took it out of the box and realised there was a message engraved on it so I looked closer, and in the meantime Sam got down on one knee. The message on the bauble said “You are the love of my life. Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes, and the glass bauble has pride of place on our Christmas tree every year.

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We chose 26th July 2014 for our wedding day – firstly as it wasn’t during the World Cup, but mainly as it was the anniversary of my beloved Nana’s death in 2009. She was my everything, and after a lot of thought we chose this day so as we could turn a sad day in to a happy day for the family.

We married at St Mark’s Church, Scarborough. My parents literally live over the road from the church and it held a lot of happy childhood memories, including me attending dancing lessons in the church hall every Saturday. Both our daughters were christened there also, so it seemed only right that we be married there too.

For the wedding reception, we decided on Betton Farm, East Ayton. Initially attracted by the love of their afternoon tea, I fell in love with the venue’s scenery and the relaxed vibe. We weren’t restricted to just one area, and that was a huge selling point for me. We had the marquee, the main building and the terraces so people could sit in the thick of it or sit where it was a little more quiet and idyllic.

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There was no theme in particular, we wanted a relaxed wedding. We know how hard it is with two small children to sit down for a three-course meal, so we took the whole element of that away and provided our guests with a traditional afternoon tea so as to keep the whole event laid back.

The most important thing was that the people we loved the most could share our happiness with us.

When it came to styling, I was inspired by The Great British Bake Off, which featured an array of colours set in a marquee in the country. I wanted pastel colours, which could be mismatched to create a beautiful pallet.

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In my head I wanted a simple, lace style wedding dress. After visiting a number of bridal shops, I made an appointment at Wedding Belles of Scarborough. I picked out a few dresses and after a discussion with the owner, Jackie, she asked if I would consider wearing a pink dress. I said yes, purely to keep my options open and mainly not wanting to appear rude. After trying on half a dozen dresses, the pink dress was next. I nearly said no, but once I stepped in to the gown I knew it was the one for me.

It was a one off Phil Collins bridal gown, which I wore off the peg. I loved the tone, the way it shone gold in the sun. I had never seen anything like it in my life, and despite it being everything that I said I didn’t want, it was the one for me – like a fairytale moment. I complemented the dress with an antique gold toned veil and a burnished gold tiara. I wore Paradox of London peep-toe shoes, but I had these dyed the same blush colour to match the dress. On the day I also wore my grandmother’s topaz ring.

I carried a bouquet of cream astilbe and my bridesmaids carried a similar bouquet of pink astilbe. I wanted the flowers to look handpicked and not too structure. I used Forget Me Not Florists in Scarborough, and after listening to the image of what I wanted, they created the most amazing bouquets.

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Sam wore a charcoal grey suit from Greenwoods, shirt from ASOS and shoes from Kurt Geiger. He wore the same bow tie and braces as the groomsmen, which I found on eBay.

I also found my mint green adult bridesmaids dresses on eBay for a bargain price of £10 each from a boutique seller. They wore pastel pink heeled shoes from New Look and finished the look off with a cream floral garland and a cream corsage, both of which were purchased from Boyes Department Store’s bridal range in Scarborough.

The flower girls (five in total) wore dresses made by my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. The fabrics and pattern were purchases from The Sewing Centre in Scarborough, and were adorned with the same flowers which were added to the bridesmaid dresses. Each dress was a different colour, so we had pale pink, coral, buttercup yellow, country green and a deep pink. Together the little ones looked so colourful.

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On the day, I walked to the church from my parents as it was over the road. Stopping traffic was fun! To get from the church to Betton Farm, we hired an open-top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us via Scarborough’s North and South Bay. It was such fun, we were all singing and laughing in the sunshine, with tourists on Scarborough beach cheering and applauding us and cars beeping their horns.

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Our stunning wedding photographs were done by Photography34. Tony listened to exactly what I wanted and that was relaxed images. I didn’t want any traditional bride’s family and groom’s family pictures; I just wanted pictures capturing the magic of the day, which he did perfectly. I can see the happiness and emotion in the pictures, and that to me is priceless. I cannot thank Tony enough for the amazing memories he has given us of our day – such a talented photographer.

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My favourite part of the day was defiantly the bus ride, as it was light hearted and fun. Spurred on by the glorious sunshine and the emotional high of the wedding, we were singing Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside and it was one of the groomsmen’s birthdays so we sang a rendition of happy birthday. It was quite literally a fun bus!

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Decorations on the day included bunting in the marquee, which was provided by Betton Farm, who also arranged some vintage-style bits and pieces that I had collected over time. Forget Me Not dressed the tables using wine bottles and jam jars that I up-cycled at home beforehand using twine and antique lace. These were dotted around the tables with wild looking flowers and tea lights. I also hired birdcages from the florist and had these filled with gypsophila, burlap and wild flowers.

We hired a vintage style bike to use as an alternative to a central flower arrangement and the florist moved this up to the farm for the wedding reception.

I also used Celebrate Balloon Box in Scarborough for several selections of brightly coloured balloons to decorate the tables. They matched the theme perfectly and the colours really stood out in the marquee. Andrea Willis Designs, from Scarborough, was a huge help in making various signs which I used in and around the wedding venue. She also helped to make presents for the bridesmaids.

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As we live by the seaside, and as I thought the colours would look amazing, I gave favours of Scarborough rock to my guests purchased from John Bull on the foreshore in Scarborough. I attached a manila luggage tag to each stick of rock which had different messages such as “All You Need Is Love” and “To Have And To Hold”. I tied the seaside theme in by hiring a ‘kiss me quick’ style vintage photo board, which was situated at the entrance of the reception venue. It created fun photo opportunities for everyone and kept the mood light.

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My cake was from Bimbles Cake Emporium, Scarborough. I had a three-tier cake, with individual chocolate orange, strawberry sponge and chocolate cream tiers, which was decorated in country green icing. It featured an antique gold ribbon and lace and was topped with the same cream corsage which the bridesmaids wore.

Our afternoon tea was provided by Betton Farm, which is renowned in the local area for its amazing cakes and scones. We toasted the speeches with champagne for all the guests, which was provided as a gift from my father. In the evening, we had a hog roast from Glaves Butchers with all the trimmings.

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We wanted a party, a pure and simple party, so we used Spectrum Discos, who was amazing and kept the dance floor full right up until the end of the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. He played songs from my playlist and seemed to time the mood right to get the guests up and dancing. Everyone had an amazing time.

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Instead of a traditional wedding guest book being passed around all night, I used a battered leather suitcase which had a banner saying “love notes” across it and asked guests to write us a letter on paper and place it in the case. It was amazing to read these messages as they included poems, pictures and words of love. I have made a scrapbook of these and treasure it dearly.

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Betton Farm is a beautiful, idyllic and unique setting for a wedding and I’m so happy we chose the venue, especially combined with the weather – it proved to be a spectacular setting. I would recommend the venue to other wedding couples.

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We took a mini-moon to Rudding Park Hotel and Spa in Harrogate. We stayed in a Follifoot Suite and the hotel couldn’t have done more for us. We were treated to champagne on arrival and were given the best experience. The hotel is stunning, the food exquisite and the treatments were out of this world. We are planning on taking a honeymoon with our two daughters early in 2015.

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My advice to other Brides Up North would simply be to be relaxed. Don’t stress and don’t be afraid to break from tradition. We tailored our day to fit exactly what we wanted and everything was perfect. Enjoy every moment, drink in every emotion, and most of all, have fun as it is the happiest day of your life. When I think if our wedding day, I still grin like a Cheshire cat.

All I wanted was to have fun on my wedding day, and boy, we certainly had that! It was so relaxed and laid back – I couldn’t have dreamt of more.

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cheers to that! a pretty, rustic wedding at Wold Top Brewery – hannah & jaxon

November 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime

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Hannah and Jaxon’s wedding day was filled with soft colours, pretty details and homemade touches… and better yet, the beer supply was never going to run dry!  Turns out that you can organise a piss up wedding at a brewery…

I’ll raise a glass to Hannah and Jaxon for their super pretty, stylish, fun filled big day!

With images by Neil Jackson Photographic.

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Hannah says: We got engaged on Friday 30th August 2013 in a beautiful village of Brompton on the outskirts of Scarborough, the place where I grew up as a child. It was a gorgeous day and we went for a little walk and a picnic. My husband had bought a blanket made by his Mum and a bag full of food and a bottle of bubbly. We laid this out in front of Brompton Church (where I’ve always wanted to get married…we didn’t end up getting married there-oops!), very picturesque. Just as I was getting ready to tuck into the lovely food Jaxon got down on one knee and asked me to do him the pleasure and be his wife. I said yes.

We were married on 2nd August 2014. We wanted a summer wedding and fortunately our dream venue had a cancellation on this day so it was meant to be. We got married at Hackness Church followed by a reception at Wold Top Brewery. Wold Top Brewery was everything I wanted it to be, beautiful, different, in the middle of nowhere, country style and who doesn’t want to get married in a brewery!

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The theme for our wedding was rustic and country. The colour palette was neutral and dusty pink. I love neutral colours, we used lots of hessian, baby breath, creams and pinks.

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I fell in love with my dress the moment I put it on. It was a Sophia Tolli dress from the wonderful wedding dress shop The Wedding Room in Scarborough. The most lovely and friendly staff.

Jaxon hired his traditional morning suit from Greenwoods.

The beautiful bridesmaids’ dresses were made by my wonderful Mum. The pattern was a Vogue pattern and we bought the material from the Sewing Centre in Scarborough. All 4 dresses were a slightly different shade of dusty pink. They all wore matching nude heels from Next.

My gorgeous flower girl wore a matching dusty pink flowery dress from Monsoon Children. My page boy wore linen trousers, linen waistcoat and a cotton shirt also from Monsoon Children.

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My flowers were provided from my friend’s mother who is a retired florist. My flowers mainly consisted of Dutch Roses and Gyp (baby’s breath), they were beautiful.

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Neil Jackson was our photographer.

I would recommend Neil to absolutely everyone, I already have. I believe some of my friends have booked him for their wedding. Neil did everything we asked him to and more. You can see from his photos how amazing and talented he is.

Previous to our wedding we did an engagement shoot which I would recommend to everyone. It gave Neil the chance to get to know us slightly better and it gave Jaxon and I the change to feel comfortable in front of a camera… I loved it!

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a rustic country wedding at Wold Top Brewery (c) Neil Jackson Photographic (27)

For the wedding reception I made all the decorations, along with my wonderful little helpers. We decorated jars and tins and put them everywhere, jars filled with tea lights and cans filled with baby breath. The centre of the tables had slices of tree trunks, jars and a wine bottle wrapped in a hessian bag filled with baby breath. Dotted around the marquee we had huge pots with branches in wrapped in fairy lights.

I love that all the decoration, table plan, invitations, menus and so on were all homemade; it made the day feel so special and unique.

We gave out jars of homemade raspberry jam and bottles of our personalised Wold Top beer…Top Tite Tipple.

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We used Florida Marquees to hire the marquee from which comes with tables, chairs, lights, dance floor etc. They’re a great company, very helpful.

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We had a sit down three course meal catered for by our very close friends Nabs Nosh. The wines were provided through Wold Top brewery with a mixture of white and red on each table.

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My favourite cake is Victoria sponge cake, so that’s what we had. A huge 4 tier Victoria sponge cake filled with berries and cream and laced with more berries and baby breath. The cake was made my talented sister-in-law Camilla.

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For the evening we hired a Vintage Ice Cream Bike from Casino Knights with a choice of our ice creams in. This was a hit with our guests, they absolutely loved it. It was perfect on a lovely summers evening in the courtyard at Wold Top Brewery.

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We hired a band called Grand Theft Audio and my brother was the amazing drummer. They played for the entire evening and were fantastic. They played requests on demand and guests never left the dance floor. The band was revealed in the evening in the entertainments marquee with the dance floor and starlit ceiling.

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I would 100% recommend Wold Top Brewery. The events coordinator is hugely helpful and there is plenty of time to set everything up before the day, and even better…the guests can camp on the evening! A lot of our guests camped and it was great.

I loved the whole day, everything about it, everything ran smoothly and just how we wanted it. We loved becoming husband and wife and sharing it with our family and friends. Everywhere we looked on our special day was full of smiling faces and people that we loved, an amazing feeling.

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We went on a mini-moon to Cornwall for 5 days the day after our wedding which was fab. The honeymoon will come one day!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to enjoy the build up to the wedding, the creativity, the panics and the laughter and when the day comes just enjoy every second, nothing else matters when the day finally arrives. Enjoy being the centre of attention and remember it’s your day, nobody else’s, it’s your day to have everything how you want it, it’s your day to be selfish!

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