Charlotte Balbier

floral fairytale. a bespoke gown for an elegant wedding at upper house – clare & nick

August 15th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (34)

This celebration feels a bit like a fairytale: a wonderful extended stay at an ancient 14th century farmstead, photographs featuring chandeliers and roof beams, fur throws and flowers galore – and, of course, a picture-perfect princess in a bespoke gown.

Details really mattered for this discerning bride, and what beautiful details they were: a colour palette that echoed the springtime cherry blossom, flowers everywhere, a menu planned to perfection, a fun caravan photobooth and raspberry gin – mmm!

And as well as having a keen eye for elegant decor, Clare is a wise sage on the subject of wedding planning. She advises brides-to-be to make no apologies – “If it’s important to you, that’s all that matters.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Over to Clare to tell us more…

With photography by Hayley Baxter Photography

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

clare says: We got engaged during a surprise weekend away for Valentine’s Day in 2016 to Loch Lomond. After the long drive, Nick suggested that we go for a walk and find a pub for some lunch. As we were walking along the edge of the loch, Nick kept stopping to look at the view and trying to get me close to the water’s edge – but I was more concerned about the mud, utterly clueless as to what he was trying to do! Nick got down on one knee – I was so surprised! Of course, I said yes!

We booked our wedding for 29th April 2017 – it was the Bank Holiday weekend, so ideal with the extra day off work for our guests.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (43)

We got married at St John the Evangelist Church in Charlesworth, Derbyshire. I grew up in Charlesworth and my mum still lives in the village, so it was a perfect choice.

Our reception was at Upper House in Hayfield, about ten minutes away from Charlesworth. We fell in love with the venue the moment we first went to see it – the views over Kinder are incredible and the building itself is beautiful and full of history. The great thing about Upper House was that we had it for the whole weekend, so arrived on the Friday morning and left on the Monday morning – all our family and wedding party stayed with us for the three nights and it was so special to spend the whole weekend with family and friends in such a stunning location.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (23)

We didn’t have a theme as such; as the venue is so beautiful, it didn’t really need it. However, flowers played a large part, from our wedding stationery to the décor in the marquee.

We went for a spring colour palette of blush pinks, sage greens and golds. We chose it because I love cherry blossom and it was in bloom at that time of year.

An Elegant Wedding at Upper House (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (29)

I had a bespoke wedding dress. I didn’t initially set out thinking that I wanted to have my dress made for me – I was so excited about going to different shops to find ‘the one’. I made an appointment at Mariée Bridal Boutique in Nantwich, without even considering the bespoke service they offer, but then after trying a few things on the conversation started moving towards creating a design just for me. Kate drew up a sketch and I was sold! The whole process of having a dress created is wonderful: you see it evolve at each appointment and can tweak things right up to the last minute. Kate also made my mum’s outfit and my flower girl’s dress, and they both looked beautiful.

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blooms & bunting. enzoani for a rustic wedding at tanfield house – donna & darren

July 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pretty Riverside Wedding (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (41)

Imagine being the very first couple to tie the knot in a stunning new venue. That’s something today’s couple, Donna and Darren, can lay claim to – and we might just be a little bit jealous!

Marrying last summer at the spectacular Tanfield House on the banks of the River Ure in Ripon – the newlyweds created a rustic, laid-back garden party for their guests, complete with bunting, pom poms, chalkboards and origami heart place names. They quite literally put their heart and soul into their big day and this can be seen in every minute detail.

Asking their guests to bring along baked goodies as part of their bake-off competition, Donna and Darren also served up a Spanish feast and a dreamy four-tiered wedding cake. The epitome of vintage chic, this is the picture-perfect summer wedding we all secretly wish for…

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

A Pretty Riverside Wedding (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (14)

donna says: We got engaged in July 2015, while on a weekend away in Barcelona. We had a ridiculously action-packed day which Darren had planned, including a Segway tour of Barcelona in the morning, a lovely tapas lunch followed by a visit to the Gaudi fountains in the park and then hiring a rowing boat on the lake.

After returning to the hotel room we quickly got ready and dashed out for a lovely meal and enjoyed a late-night walk along the beach. We stopped for cocktails before finally heading back to the hotel where he then wanted to go up to the rooftop bar, which was unfortunately closed. As I had pretty much been dragged around non-stop all day, I was absolutely shattered and just requested that we go to our room and go to bed. I pretty much passed out in bed, but Darren asked me to open my eyes and when I did, he had the open ring box in his hand and proposed. I was completely overwhelmed (mainly from exhaustion) but absolutely ecstatic. The ring was a beautiful vintage style diamond surrounded by cluster diamonds.

It turned out that the reason for the action-packed day was because he had been trying to find the right spot/moment to propose which never appeared. There had been a couple of occasions where he had pulled the ring out and then put it back in his pocket because I’d made some stupid joke or wandered off distracted. Even earlier in the evening when we were getting ready there had been a failed proposal attempt where he had written the proposal in steam on the shower wall whilst I was showering but I had been so intent on getting out for food I hadn’t even seen it! So it was quite funny and really lovely.

A Pretty Riverside Wedding (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (21)

We got married on Friday 1st July 2016. We were really keen to get married the following year as I didn’t want to have a long drawn out engagement consumed with wedding planning. We were very limited with registrar slots and I had already decided on my photographer who had limited availability too. I liked the 1st July too as it was a nice easy date to remember!

We married at a new venue – Tanfield House in a village called West Tanfield near Ripon. I had my heart set on an outdoor rustic wedding in an intimate setting. I wanted the wedding to be very relaxed – like a chilled garden party – and having searched everywhere within a one hour radius, could not find anything which was suitable or was not already completely booked up. I had pretty much given up when luckily my search threw up Tanfield House, which was a brand-new venue. As soon as we looked around it and saw its stunning setting, and met Allanah the owner and wedding planner – we knew that it was absolutely perfect for us.

The venue sells itself on being a home-from-home where you dress the venue to your specifications and have the wedding exactly as you would like it, including having your own caterers, etc. Being their first booking and first large wedding in the diary, I knew that we would get a very personal service and it was exciting to be part of a new business venture and have a wedding that was completely original.

A Pretty Riverside Wedding (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (58)

We chose a rustic relaxed theme. We both envisaged a really relaxed fun day celebrating with our closest friends and family. We are not religious, both very chilled and quite creative and good at crafting and wanted the wedding to reflect our personalities.

The rustic garden party wedding was ideal for us as it is exactly how I envisage a romantic summer wedding to be – full of garden blooms, chalkboards and vintage details. It enabled us to really personalise our wedding with decorating jars, homemade invites, flowers arranged by my friends and family from the local flower market, Darren’s self-crafted bar, cake table and light-up marquee letter initials from old wooden pallets, homemade chalkboards, a bake-off, origami heart place names, the list goes on…

We didn’t have a set wedding colour scheme. Given the theme, colours were just in keeping with summer blooms. Accessories were mainly cream, hessian and twine, and the flowers were just beautiful summer flowers from the markets in array of pinks, purples, creams and corals with lots of beautiful foliage.

A Pretty Riverside Wedding (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

I wore a vintage style lace mermaid Enzoani gown from The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering. I had my heart set on a form fitting lace gown but had initially wanted one with a detailed back – however when trying them on, detailed backs came with high necks which just didn’t suit my petite frame. My dress shopping was actually done in quite a panic with appointments booked during my lunch hour as I started shopping after New Year so had left myself less than six months. On one of these lunch time appointments my good friend and photographer Hayley came with me and encouraged me to try the dress on which I initially did not like, as I thought the mermaid flare would be over the top – however upon trying it on the flare made my figure look amazing and the lace eyelash detail on the bodice and the scallop lace bottom was so romantic and beautiful – I knew it was the one!

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roses are red. a romantic wedding in manchester – rebecca & jonathan

June 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Romantic Wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

Where do we start with today’s real wedding? Bride and groom Rebecca and Jonathan worked together on all aspects of their big day to make it as personal and ‘local’ as possible; an aim that was most certainly achieved.

We love all the little details – from the sweet stationery, to the homemade favours and ice cream dessert, not to mention the wedding party’s sophisticated get-up. Looking good guys!

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

A Romantic Wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (7)

rebecca says: We got engaged in my mum’s kitchen on our four year anniversary. To put it into context, we were saving for our first house so we both moved back in with our parents to save money for a mortgage. As a result we thought we’d just have a meal in for our anniversary but it ended up being much more than just a meal.

Jon got the jewellery store, which was Geralds based in Knutsford, to wrap the ring up in a big box with a box of chocolates so that I wouldn’t suspect anything, which worked! I even shook the box trying to guess what it was. After washing up Jon said it was time for presents so I opened up the big box to find a box of chocolates and a small jewellery box, which I thought were earrings. I was so surprised that I couldn’t stop laughing, all whilst Jon was on one knee waiting for a response. I obviously said yes and we cracked open some champagne whilst I called all our friends and family to tell them the good news. It was the perfect proposal as it was a complete surprise, and just proved how well Jon knew me.

A Romantic Wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (11)

We set the date for 5th September 2015 because we bought our house in 2013 so we needed plenty of time to save for the wedding. I also love the number 5 and wanted it to be in September as the weather is usually good (which it was).

We got married at St Vincent de Paul Church in Altrincham, where I had my first holy communion and my confirmation so it is filled with lots of happy memories. As a couple we go there every year on Christmas Eve so it was great to get the opportunity to marry there. Our reception was held at Manchester Town Hall.

A Romantic Wedding at Manchester Town Hall (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (25) - Copy

We didn’t really have a theme but we are both very Manchester proud and wanted our wedding to be really personal so we picked everything for the wedding together that we love. The two wedding buses chosen to take guests from the church to the reception, used to do routes in Kent and a route in Yorkshire where our parents are from. The cocktails on arrival were ‘his’ and ‘hers’ made from Bermudian rum that my dad and his wife brought over for us as I was born in Bermuda and my dad currently lives there. We also gave miniature versions of the rum as a keepsake to our guests. All of the food at the wedding was locally sourced including the dessert, which was provided by a local ice cream maker.

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la dolce vita. a tuscan style wedding shoot at the upper house

March 1st, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Tuscan Styled Shoot (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (40)

This afternoon we’re bringing a little warmth to your day with this beautiful tuscan style wedding shoot that was captured right here in the UK.

Featuring stunning dresses from fabulous designer and Brides Up North Sponsor Charlotte Balbier, we were instantly taken with effortless simplicity of this elegant shoot, which draws inspiration from the Mediterranean. With contributions from talented suppliers in the North West and Yorkshire, the wonderful styling just goes to show that you don’t have to leave the UK to add a little Italian charm to your big day.

To tell us more about the details included, we’ll hand over the blogging reins to lady that captured it all, Yorkshire-based photographer Hayley Baxter.

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

A Tuscan Styled Shoot (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (15)

hayley says: The aim of the shoot was to create a beautiful Tuscan Italian style wedding in the heart of England. A typical Tuscan style wedding is elegant yet rustic, charming, warm, passionate – and full of life!

We sprinkled our shoot with Tuscan magic through rustic touches, including displays of lemons, bouquets of pretty pink flowers and a beautiful flower crown to complement Charlotte Balbier’s gorgeous gowns. Of course, there was also a bottle of Amaroni della Valpolocel present at the shoot – a rich Italian red wine.

A Tuscan Styled Shoot (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (35)

The backdrop for the shoot also added to the romantic rustic feel. We chose The Upper House for its stunning architecture and remote location. The pretty courtyard and rustic doorways are reminiscent of an Italian retreat. It’s such a peaceful and tranquil venue – you really could be anywhere!

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perfect pastels. claire pettibone for a relaxed & elegant wedding at samlesbury hall – donna & ric

August 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (34)

This is another one if those weddings that’s so pretty we actually gasped when we first saw the images.

We adore Donna’s choice of a delicate lace Claire Pettibone dress, which complements her soft colour scheme of pale cornflower blue and antique pink to a tee.

Keeping things simple, Donna and Ric didn’t go OTT with their décor, instead opting for dreamy floral arrangements to bring the colour and leaving the rest of the detail to the venue. For us, this is pure perfection!

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (6)

donna says: We got engaged in May 2014 on our hotel balcony in Montmartre, Paris. Ric was hoping to pop the question in Jardins du Luxembourg earlier in the day during a picnic, but as it was a sunny bank holiday Sunday in Paris, there were crowds and never quite the right moment! We celebrated on Monday with a gastro lunch on Bateaux Parisiens cruise on the Seine, which was fantastic.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (2)

We set the date for 18th July 2015, hoping for a sunny summer’s day and our chosen venue, Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire, only had two Saturday dates left in 2015.

We chose the venue as we wanted a civil ceremony, and also somewhere with history and where we could show our family in years to come. As a historic home with bags of character and a really welcoming team, we knew Samlesbury was for us. The Whittaker Room where we were married was the old family chapel of the family that used to live there, so felt so special and unique.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (10)

We didn’t want a clear theme as such. However, soon into planning our marriage, we tended to like vintage glamour, antique type styles. We also wanted to reflect the summer and a relaxed, elegant style. We also noticed a ‘scallop’ theme emerging in our choices – our stationery pattern, the lace in my dress and my jewellery.

Our colour scheme was pale cornflower blue (Dessy – Larkspur) and pale antique pink. We both love cornflower, and it fitted perfectly against the backdrop of Samlesbury’s black and white buildings and green lawns.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (12)

A wonderful friend of ours Nikki Graeme is director of The White Closet in West Didsbury, and it was top of my list for dress shopping! I did look at a number of different designs before making my choice. The new gown Estelle in Claire Pettibone’s Romantique collection just felt right as soon as I tried it on. I wanted something that was light and comfortable whilst also elegant with a touch of glamour. When I tried it on Sweet Disposition came on the radio and I found myself twirling around in the dressing room, so I knew it was the one!

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (15)

Ric and the ushers wore ties and pocket squares from Dessy and hired navy three piece suits from Youngs at Debenhams.

My two bridesmaids Imogen and Jen wore knee length Dessy dresses in Larkspur and our flower girls wore ivory satin dresses with netted skirts with Dessy accessories to match the older bridesmaids.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (20)

Our hair and makeup artists was Nathan Hynes. We couldn’t recommend him enough, such a lovely friendly guy and really creative and talented with hair and makeup using Charlotte Tilbury products.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (22)

On the day of the wedding, my mum, two bridesmaids and I travelled in a silver Bentley Flying Spur from David Anthony Chauffeur Services in Manchester. They were wonderful and incredibly reliable and professional.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (23)

Hayley Baxter was our photographer and she was truly exceptional. From the moment we met Hayley on our pre-wedding shoot at Dunham Massey, we felt totally relaxed in her company, and really confident in her professionalism and technical skills.

On the big day Hayley arrived at our home whilst we were having hair and make-up done, she subtly starting capturing special moments, and felt like part of the day immediately. Hayley was so discreet, yet in these quiet moments was brilliantly capturing the details of the day. Hayley has a real knack of making sure the photographs progress swiftly, whilst being charming and friendly and put all our family and friends at ease. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (26)

I had a loose bouquet of summer flowers, including peonies and roses. I cried when I saw them, they were so beautiful! We also had a flower arch over the doorway at Samlesbury Hall which looked beautiful too. The Flower Lounge provided these as well as our floral decorations for the reception. We had silver candelabras with the same theme of peonies and roses on each of our top tables.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (28)

We used Amanda at Love Invited, who was wonderful, for all our stationery using her ‘Hollywood Glamour’ designs. She was thoroughly professional and the quality of her stationery was fantastic.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (30)

To continue our Parisian theme we gave our guests favours of colourful sweet Macaroons from Sam Joseph chocolatiers in Altrincham Market. They are a local supplier who we had seen at our local market and their macaroons were exquisite!

For our wedding cake, we decided to go for a simple iced sponge cake with three tiers of different flavours: orange and raspberry, blueberry and walnut, and lemon on top. This again was from a local supplier who we have tried and tested in the past from visits to The White Closet – The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon on Burton Road. We chose a ‘The Smiths’ cake topper from Not on the High Street for a bit of fun.

There was plenty of choice on the wedding breakfast menu from Samlesbury’s chef. At our tasting we loved the lamb, so this was an obvious choice for us. Starters and dessert were a bit more of a challenge, however we went for a summery Caprese salad with parma ham to start, and finished with our favourite – an unseasonal sticky toffee pudding!

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (31)

Music was a really important element of the wedding to us and so we chose John Gilmore to play live Saxophone outside on the lawn during our canapés. We also chose songs during signing of the register and walking back down the aisle which were light hearted and set the mood of the day – happiness and celebrations.

Rick Cropper was our DJ for the evening entertainment. We met him back in September at Samlesbury Hall and were impressed by his friendly relaxed style. The dance floor was busy all night! We provided some fun kiddies packs for the little ones to keep them entertained too.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (32)

My favourite part of the day was saying our vows in front of family and friends and looking into Ric’s eyes – it was magical. For Ric it was (apparently) me walking down the aisle with my dad Peter! And the first dance, which was lots of fun and very improvised.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (39)

Following the wedding, we had a lovely relaxing minimoon in North Yorkshire, near Helmsley, in a little cottage. We are lucky enough to be visiting South Africa (Safari, Capetown and the Winelands) and Dubai next month for a longer break.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (45)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to remember that however challenging the planning might feel at times (when working long hours and decorating a new house, it can be tough) it will all be worth it the moment your day begins and all your hard work and vision pays off. You should relax and enjoy it – a few people commented that we both seemed very relaxed and involved in enjoying our day. That was absolutely the case and this was due to wonderful suppliers and time invested up front.

Claire Pettibone for a pastel wedding in Lancashire (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (48)

My other top tip would be to leave a couple of days before the wedding when you literally are all planned out and have time to relax. We finished all of the final details the weekend before so I had two days with my bridesmaids and my mum and had time to write cards, wrap presents and be pampered!

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crafted with care. a pretty homemade wedding at priory cottages – jenny & james

August 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (51)

Today’s real wedding is yet another carefully crafted beauty with lots of pretty homemade and personal touches created by talented bride Jenny, along with the help of her equally talented family.

Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire provided the perfect backdrop for the rustic theme Jenny had in mind, which featured lots of beautiful blooms in sweet, sugary tones.

And it wasn’t just the décor that the bride got crafty with, as Jenny made her own hair flower accessory and gorgeous statement necklace to complete her modern big day look. Fabulous work girl!

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (3)

jenny says: We got engaged in Malta. James and I love our cheeky getaways. I had no idea that on this particular one he planned to propose, it was such a lovely surprise! The proposal was very ‘us’ – low key and nothing extravagant. It was our first full day there, we were having a great day exploring the town, lunch and drinks by the sea and we had headed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening and have a few drinks on the balcony. I remember laughing and joking and saying what a perfect start to the holiday it had been, next thing I know James had disappeared and when he returned he was down on one knee asking if I’d be his wifey – it was perfect!

We chose to get married on 13th June 2015 as it was exactly two years to the date we got engaged.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (2)

Our chosen venue was The Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire. Working in the wedding industry myself I read a lot of wedding blogs. This venue has always stood out to me as something special and it was the first place I mentioned to James when we got engaged. When we went to take a look around, I fell more in love with it and James had a cheeky little smile on his face. We both knew it was perfect and could see our special day taking place there.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (1)

We didn’t have a theme as such, but I have always wanted a ‘handmade’ wedding. I love making things and being creative so I literally saw it as a blank canvas that I could do all the things I love to. The result was quite a rustic-styled day.

We were not really strict on a colour scheme; it kind of just fell into place. I always wanted the boys to wear blue suits as I just think they look great. This helped me to decide on nude tones for the girls’ dresses then I pulled in my two favourite colours – coral and mint – and combined it with lots of peaches and whites.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (7)

My dress was literally the dress I always said I would never wear! So many of my friends said to me before I started looking to keep an open mind but I went to one bridal shop in particular because they stocked a gorgeous Mori Lee gown I had pinned as my dream dress for the past five or so years, even before we were engaged! I tried it on and whilst it was nice, it wasn’t wow. The lovely lady in the bridal shop made me try on ‘the dress’ just to see what it looked like. I wasn’t keen but I tried it on and it felt amazing! It made my mum cry so I knew it was the one!

To go with my dress, I scoured the internet and shops constantly to find the perfect hair flower. I couldn’t find one that I liked in the end so I thought why not make my own! I created it using some gorgeous silk flowers from Country Baskets, a hair slide and some small brooches to sit inside the flowers as the centre. I bound it with florist wire and ribbon. I also created a statement necklace by combining two necklaces from Marks & Spencer. I wore my outfit with some gold Kurt Geiger shoes.

My hairdresser’s partner specialises in wedding hair (they work at Fusion Hair Design) so he did mine and the girls’ hair. He did a fantastic job! My cousin Abi is a makeup artist so she did our makeup. Abi is so talented at what she does and I was so pleased with the finished look. The bridesmaids looked stunning and it lasted all day despite the hot weather.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (24)

We wanted to buy suits rather than hire. James wore a three piece from Slaters. It was a very fine puppytooth patterned blue suit. He wore with a tailored white shirt and a pale pink tie to match the bridesmaids. On his feet he wore some tan brogues which complemented the suit perfectly. The groomsmen wore the same suits and shoes as James but wore with a matching blue tie instead of pink.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (28)

The girls wore gorgeous pale pink dresses from Untold at House of Fraser. I wanted to get something they could wear again rather than a traditional bridesmaid dress. They were teamed with gold heels similar to mine from New Look.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (35)

Hayley Baxter was our photographer. When we initially began looking we were steering clear of the very formal styles as we both are not the biggest fan of being photographed and much prefer the more relaxed, creative style that Hayley produced.

We would 100% recommend Hayley. She has such a lovely personality – very warm and friendly. She instantly made us both feel at ease like we’d known her for years and she managed to produce the most amazing collection of natural photographs that we really never thought would be possible!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (38)

I had the bright idea of doing all the wedding flowers myself soon after we got engaged. I spent months and months researching and trying to figure out how it would work and eventually came across an amazing woman through a website called Flowers from the Farm. Gill runs her own flower farm not far from where we live so after a quick visit to see her and discuss, everything was confirmed and I was all set to pick up eight big buckets of freshly cut flowers two days before the wedding.

I really enjoyed making the bouquets and buttonholes. I used roses in peach and pink shades with white peonies and coral berries to add more colour. I finished them with some foliage and wrapped with jute string. For the buttonholes I used blues and green. The focal flower was nigella, which I absolutely love! I wrapped them with a small piece of hessian and they were secured with a heart pin.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (18)

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (8)

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (15)

For the table centrepieces my dad made us some amazing wooden log stands on two levels. I decorated and sprayed bottles with lace, hessian, ribbon and filled with flowers. Also I decorated jam jars as tea light holders and made hessian table circles for everything to sit on decorated with hearts punched from woodgrain card, Kraft card and an atlas. For the top table we had a hollowed out log filled with the left over flowers that my aunties helped with the day before – it looked amazing and was one of my favourite pieces from the day!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (39)

I have my own wedding stationery business, Only by Knight, so I created all the on-the-day stationery/invites etc. myself.

My dad wanted to bring a little bit of Liverpool to our Yorkshire wedding so we gave the gents a Liverpool ale as favours and the ladies got a bottle of fizz.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (10)

We had the most amazing wedding cake. I’m lucky enough to have a very creative family; it must run in our blood! My cousin runs a small cake business, Betty and Junes Bakery. She is amazing, super talented and I knew straight away I wanted her to make our cake as her creativity is endless!

I’m not the biggest fan of traditional wedding cakes so straight away knew I’d want something a little different. I love the hand painted cake styles and to fit in with our rustic theme we decided we would like the tiers to resemble logs. That was literally the brief I gave to Katie and she really excelled! It was absolutely exquisite from the cute love heart to the handmade sugar flowers. Each tier of the cake was a different flavour; we had lemon drizzle with jam and butter cream, raspberry and white chocolate and a chocolate layer. It was finished up with some fresh flowers and a laser cut cake topper that I sourced from Etsy.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

We used Taste Cuisine as our caterers. They are really are amazing at what they do. James is from Leeds and I am originally from Liverpool so for the canapés we had mini ‘pans’ of scouse and beef with Yorkshire puds along with a couple of others. For the wedding breakfast we had a Greek mezze platter, followed by lamb shank then a mix of two desserts (three layer chocolate torte and white chocolate cheesecake) as they were just too good to choose between!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (53)

Straight away we knew we wanted a band to provide entertainment. I stumbled across The One Step through Warble Entertainment and I was just drawn towards them. The lead singer Nick also did acoustic sets so we had him singing through the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast. Our friends and family absolutely loved him. They were great as a three piece too. Everyone was up dancing and having fun, and we especially enjoyed our rendition of Mr Brightside at the end to close the show!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (17)

In terms of special touches, the table plan was one of my favourite pieces from the day! My dad made us the giant frame and I decorated with flower garlands. Each table was named after a place James and I had visited together. The board had an envelope for each guest with a postcard inside that I’d created of an image of James and I in that particular location. We asked our guests to write us a message on the reverse and pin it back to the table plan so it doubled up as our guest book. I am going to make it into a piece of wall art now so we have a constant interactive reminder of the day. My dad also made us the sign for outside the venue; I made stencils and spray-painted the wording onto it. I decorated with flower garlands again and it was a great touch to the exterior of the venue.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (58)

We would 100% recommend our venue to others. Serena first off is one incredible woman! She was always on hand to help with whatever we needed and she really helped us to pull everything together ready for the big day. The venue itself is absolutely stunning. The fact it has the cottages built around it made it such a memorable weekend, not only for us but for our bridal party as we all got to experience everything together.

Funnily enough the part of the wedding I was dreading the most was, the ceremony, turned out to be one of my favourite bits. I’m naturally quite a shy person so the thought of everyone looking at me whilst me and pops made our way up the aisle filled me with dread and I really thought I would be a blubbering mess. But I really did enjoy it and no tears were shed! That along with the speeches – which were just fantastic – and seeing all of our friends and family laughing, joking and having the best time together was really special.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (56)

For our honeymoon we decided to go to Central America. We both love to travel and James has been around the world. We went to Costa Rica and Panama. It was the most amazing experience. We saw and did so much in two and a half weeks and have memories that we can now cherish forever.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (60)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be organised! We had two years between our engagement and big day. I bought a wedding planner book, created a budget spreadsheet but still life got in the way occasionally and it was quite stressful getting everything ready towards the end! Also get stuck in! Try to personalise your day as much as you can so it’s meaningful to you and your groom. I can’t tell you how great it feels to sit back on the day and look at everyone admiring all the hard work you’ve put in. It was a very proud moment! Finally, accept help! I can be a terrible control freak and like to do everything myself in my own way, sometimes you need to let go and accept that it’s just not possible! Besides you’ll find that a lot of your friends and family want to get involved and help. I would never have finished setting up on time without the help of my nearest and dearest the day before, they were all incredible!

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