June 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Not only is this wedding stunning to look at, but there’s real sentiment and thought behind the various elements of the day. In particular, the first dance that Rachel had with her dad pulls at the heart strings and hopefully encourages brides to plan details that will stay with them long beyond the big day itself.
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged while in Paris in February 2014 – the trip was a surprise organised by Daniel. He got down on one knee as we were walking along the banks of the River Seine in the shadow of Notre-Dame. It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on 12th August 2015, at Woodhill Hall in Northumberland. Exclusive use was very important to us. We also wanted to have an intimate gathering with close friends and family the night before the wedding and the self-catering facilities at Woodhill Hall made this possible. We also fell in love with the location, the distinctive décor and the flexibility that this venue provided.
Above all else I wanted the wedding to be elegant, timeless and pretty. We chose a colour scheme of muted pastel shades in blushes and mint, which suited our theme perfectly.
My dress was Poppy by House of Mooshki – a blush tea length, tulle and lace gown with illusion neckline and cap sleeves. It was love at first sight – the first dress I tried on! My shoes were Jimmy Choo.
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May 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime
As much as we love to see a colourful wedding, nothing quite says class like a simple black and white themed celebration, just like the one we are sharing with you on the blog today!
Bride Katie dreamt of a timeless wedding which led her to choose a monochrome palette with little pops of pastel added along the way as a nod to the summer season.
Tying the knot outdoors, Katie and Michael’s wedding is simple, elegant and sophisticated and provides lots of lovely inspiration for those of you planning open-air “I dos”.
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
katie says: Michael proposed at home just after we watched a romantic film. To me this was the best way of proposing because it was just us two in our new home, doing what we enjoy most.
Our wedding was on 26th July 2015 at Horton Grange in Northumberland. We chose this summer date because we wanted an outdoor ceremony and the venue appealed to us because we are a private couple and so the small intimate setting was just perfect. The venue’s band stand also provided the perfect option for our outdoor ceremony.
The theme for our wedding was a classic vintage look. I am very traditional and love old things. I also handmade most items for the wedding so that it was sentimental to us.
The colour scheme was black and white which we decided on because it makes a bold statement as well as being classically elegant and timeless. I added touches of grey and pastels to complement the black and white and just gave things a more summery feel when I felt it was necessary.
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December 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
There are so many gorgeous elements to this morning’s real wedding that make our knees go weak – in particular the bride’s striking dress, which we adore!
Other highlights for us include the super sweet cake table, the men’s ditzy bow ties, the elegant vintage décor and that pretty pink peony in Emma’s hair. Bloomin’ lovely!
Ladies, this is one wedding you will want to take note of!
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
emma says: We got engaged at Northwood Nuclear Naval Base in London on 7th December 2013. We had been invited to the Royal Naval Christmas/winter ball by my brother-in-law. Kris had said after he proposed that he was supposed to do it on Christmas Day, however he decided to do it early, but not while I was in my ball gown or while we were in the extravagant ball. Instead he went down on one knee afterwards while I was in my pyjamas!
Our wedding day was the 13th June 2015. We wanted a June wedding as we love peonies and the florist advised this was the best time for them.
The ceremony was at St Mary the Virgin Church in Seaham, followed by a reception at Lumley Castle. I have always thought that the church is beautiful on the inside and out, the coastal setting is beautiful and the church itself is one of the oldest in England. For the reception we had looked at a number of venues but Lumley Castle stood out by far as it wasn’t like any ‘usual’ hall or manor house. I also joked that I could have my own castle and be a princess for the day.
I’d describe our chosen theme was vintage, shabby chic/old fashioned. My mother and I made a lot of stuff and used a lot of old jewellery. We bought whatever caught our attention in vintage and charity shops.
December 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Where to start with today’s wedding? We love it all!
From the venue to the wedding party’s attire, everything about Lisa and Paul’s big day says elegance and class in an effective yet understated manner.
The pretty colour palette of peaches, pastels and nudes work effortlessly with the setting and with the gorgeous gold, sparkly decor that’s been added for the perfect touch of glamour.
Ladies, you might want to get pinning…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
lisa says: We got engaged in June 2013. I was on a hen weekend in Marbella and Paul decided to purchase the ring while I was away and proposed to me as soon as I returned home!
We set the date for 27th March 2015 as we wanted a spring wedding and plenty of time to plan! Matfen Hall was our chosen venue. It was the first place we looked at and following viewing numerous other venues, we always went back to Matfen. The east wing and basement, in particular, sold it to us!
We decided on a vintage/ art deco theme with a colour scheme of peaches, pastels and nudes. We worked around the colour of the bridesmaid dresses which were warm colours for the time of year that we were getting married.
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September 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
We love pink, we adore peonies and we’ve always got room for cake – these are just a few reasons why we fell head over heels for this morning’s real wedding (as we’re sure you will too) when it landed in our inbox.
Bride Caitlin wanted an elegant shabby chic feel to her big day and so teamed cute homemade decorative items with her favourite pastel tones of lemon and dusky pink.
The result is just beautiful and it’s not just the setting that looks stunning, for the wedding party themselves are pushing the bar high in the style stakes. We love the maids’ girly full-length dresses, the guys’ smart suits and of course Caitlin’s gorgeous Mori Lee lace dress, complete with a pretty bespoke belt.
With images by the fabulous Helen Russell Photography.
caitlin says: We got engaged at home, in our cosy little bungalow! Matthew decided to wine and dine me with a Chinese box from the supermarket (good job I love things like that!) and surrounded by candles he got down on one knee and popped the question! Matthew is not the type to make a scene in front of people in a posh restaurant, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
We set the date for Friday 10th July 2015. We were hoping it would be a perfect sunny day and luckily enough, it was!
Wynyard Hall was our chosen venue. I just loved the stately home, picturesque feel it had. The terrace out of the back had amazing views of the lake and it just felt perfect. The first time I visited I was with my mam and she loved it just as much as I did (good job Matthew liked it too!)
The theme I had in mind was a vintage, rustic, shabby chic theme. I love all things like this and we decided to make/source as many of the decorations we could ourselves. We recycled glass jars for months on end and decorated everyone differently! I made all of the save the dates, invitations, order of services and loved every minute! Not only did this keep costs down, but it also made things feel extra special.
Our colour scheme was pale lemon and dusty pink. I loved these pastel colours as I thought they were summery but classy!
I was lucky enough to find my amazing Mori Lee dress in a lovely little family run boutique called Dobinsons of Darlington. It was a beautiful mermaid style with lace detail throughout. Initially the dress had straps and I thought it didn’t suit me, however with a few changes to make it a sweetheart neckline, it was perfect! A friend of mine made my wedding belt and I wore Kurt Geiger sandals to complete my look.
Matthew wore a Paul Costello charcoal grey suit with faint checks from Slaters in Newcastle. He wanted a three piece suit with a waistcoat and wore a dusty pink tie, pocket watch and tan Ted Baker shoes!
All six of our bridesmaids wore gorgeous, floaty, one-shouldered, pale lemon dresses from Coast and the groomsmen wore charcoal suits, also from Slaters in Newcastle, with pale lemon ties and hessian flower shaped button holes.
Helen Russell was our photographer. Helen was absolutely amazing, she was the best photographer we could have asked for and made everyone feel so comfortable on the day. We loved the natural photographs Helen takes and we would 100 per cent recommend her to anyone. We had our pre wedding shoot the month before which made us so relaxed and excited for the day and are over the moon with all of our photographs!
When it came to the flowers, I carried dusty pink peonies with pale lemon roses and the bridesmaids and flower girl carried the same in smaller bouquets.
We wanted to keep with the peony theme in the décor and so used the same flowers in jugs placed on pieces of wood for the centrepieces along with rustic jars and candles. We also had single peonies and carnations in jars along the aisle and on the fireplaces at Wynyard. My family helped so much with sourcing the jars and centrepieces and made the day extra special.
For the reception we also hired chiavari chairs from The Finishing Touch Company, which made the rooms look perfect!
As favours we gave small jam jars filled with pink alcohol for the adults and filled with sweeties for the children. Also a chocolate truffle heart for an extra treat!
Our guests were also treated to an amazing cake table, made by Bernadette from Dreamworld Cakes in Newcastle. Our wedding cake had four tiers, two being Belgian chocolate and the other two being white chocolate and raspberry, it was then decorated with rustic theme in mind with peonies and raffia. We also had Baileys chocolate and Victoria sponge mini cakes, lemon and passion fruit cupcakes, cake pops and strawberry and pistachio macaroons!
For the entertainment we decided to hire wedding pianists, Daniel Ackerley and Martin Dack, who played throughout the ceremony and right through the wedding breakfast. We also had Paul Lytton who was a fantastic magician and The Ultimate Wedding DJ for the disco. As an extra special touch we also hired large ‘C & M’ letters from Coco Luminaire and a vintage photo booth from Snaparazzi.
I would recommend all of ours suppliers and also our venue to other couples. Our wedding coordinator Emily made the day go as smooth as possible and I felt confident everything would go to plan! Wynyard made our rooms look amazing and all the staff were friendly and helpful. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue!
It’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the wedding as the whole day was amazing, but I think it would be walking in to the conservatory being announced as Mr & Mrs Summerbell ready to cut the cake and have our first dance!
For our honeymoon we went to El Dorado Casitas Royale in Riveria Maya, Mexico! This place was heaven and we were so lucky so spend our honeymoon in such luxury! The restaurants were all a la carte and on the beach front, it was so relaxing and we would definitely revisit on our anniversary – one day! We are now expecting our first baby. After unexpectedly finding out on our honeymoon, we are so shocked but so excited and can’t wait for the future!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to stress too much about all the tiny details leading up to the wedding, and for the groom I’d say try and help take some of this stress away from the bride! I was so worried about the room looking how I imagined however the staff at the venue were so good they made it look better than I ever could have. Brides and grooms should also try to take in as much of the day as possible as it goes so fast, enjoy every minute.
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September 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding captivated us as soon as it landed in the Brides Up North inbox. Not only because it’s up there with the prettiest weddings we’ve seen, but also because so much thought and love has been poured into all the different elements of the day to ensure it is both personal & pretty!
When submitting her wedding, bride Lisa said some very kind words about our blog, which she used as the main source of guidance and inspiration for planning her own big day. We are blown away with the results and are so pleased that what we post on our pretty pages is of such use to our creative and stylish brides.
Prepare to swoon (a lot)…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
lisa says: We got engaged all the way back in July 2013. We used to date in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, and James proposed where we used to frequent on the cliff top ‘Lover’s Walk’ overlooking the town, on one knee with an amazing vintage inspired engagement ring! It was how I’d always imagined us getting engaged, and luckily he’d had the same idea without us ever speaking about it!
We chose July 31st as our wedding date as we wanted a weekday summer wedding and knew for family with children the summer holidays would be best. We chose to wait two years to give us enough time to save up and have the wedding we wanted without rushing things or compromising on what we wanted, which really took the pressure off! The date is also one day after my grandparents’ wedding anniversary date, so tied that in beautifully.
We came across The Ashes venue whilst searching Derbyshire wedding venues. I’m from Derby, and the place has always been special to us, as well as the Peak District and the North of England generally being stunning anyway! As soon as we walked into the ceremony barn at The Ashes for our first viewing we knew it was where we were meant to be married, and didn’t look anywhere else, it just felt right! We wanted somewhere beautiful but with a laid back and rustic feel at the same time, and The Ashes had all of that and more.
The theme naturally evolved into an English rose/country theme the more we chose! My dress started that as it’s covered in lace and chiffon roses, and the flowers followed suit. I’m so pale I’ve always been called an English Rose anyway! James works on a farm and as a tree surgeon, so lots of the country elements were inspired by him and his job, such as incorporating lots of wood (he cut all the centrepiece tree logs himself), the wheat in the boutonnieres, and the peonies, which he grows. The venue really helped complement our choice of theme. We’re quite laid back people, so things like just having the rolled up shirts and braces and mismatched bridesmaids dresses just worked for us.
We chose pale pinks and mint greens as the colour scheme to keep things natural but pretty. The venue was a great blank canvas, with lots of natural earthy wooden and stone colours, so pinks and greens stood out as soft and summery without being too over the top and distracting.
My dress was Justin Alexander style 8711, a lace ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and cathedral length train in ivory, with lace and chiffon laser cut roses. I went into Courtyard Bridal Boutique in Kettering near where we now live to try a different Justin Alexander dress, but that one just wasn’t quite ‘the one’. I chose this to try on too while we were waiting as I loved the quirkiness of the roses, and once I tried it on and came out of the dressing room I was convinced – everyone gasped and there were a few tears! The dress was the perfect combination of fairy tale wedding with a fun quirky twist that suited us well. For the evening I switched to a Chi Chi London lace midi dress from ASOS, as I knew I couldn’t run about and dance all night in my daytime one!
James wore a pair of grey/brown tweed trousers, with a white shirt rolled up at the sleeves, brown leather braces and brown leather shoes. All the groomsmen were similar but with different braces. This was to keep with the laid back style and just to suit us. James also wanted to show off his amazing half sleeve tattoo, which had elements inspired by our engagement, and we had hoped it was going to be a hot day (we were right!) so opted to have no jackets.
The bridesmaids were all in pale pink, but all the dresses were completely different. I wanted them all to feel comfortable on the day, and we didn’t want the uniformed look of all girls being the same. This way they all got to pick a dress they felt suited them and their body types. The dresses were from Debenhams, BHS, and ASOS. The flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon, and she looked like an angelic little fairy princess!
Jenn Edwards hair and makeup team were on hand to help me and my bridesmaids complete our looks. Jenn and the team really put us at ease on the morning of the wedding. They were so professional and got to work right away making everyone look fabulous and were a great girly addition to the wedding morning, which should be a fun and girly part of the day. I would highly recommend!
On the morning of the wedding the girls and I got ready on site in the lovely Old Dairy cottage, which meant we didn’t require transport. For James, as a surprise a hired a DeLorean! This wasn’t in keeping with the theme of the day at all, but I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the day was as much about him and his loves as much as it was mine, and he does love that car! It collected him from where he was staying the night before and he was in total shock! It was great fun to have in the pictures too, and a once in a lifetime experience for him.
Our photographer was Helen Russell Photography. Choosing a photographer was one of the most, if not the most important element for us, as once the day is over the photos are what you have left to treasure. We wanted a photographer that had a slightly more artistic and soft almost vintage style, without being too over processed and cheesy, and after lots of Googling we found Helen! We had an amazing engagement shoot with her, and she was a joy to work with, so professional and creative. On the day she was like a wedding ninja, appearing everywhere at the right place at the right time to get some amazing shots. She captured some really great moments for us, and the images feel soft and romantic.
The flowers were all provided by Campbell’s Flowers in Sheffield. After finding them online and meeting the owner, Tracy, we knew they were the florist for us. They really care about creating the right flowers for your day, and have a wonderful fresh, handpicked feel to their arrangements. The bouquet was mostly roses, with hydrangeas, dahlias and peonies, and was a great mix of soft pastel colours. They also provided the flowers for my hair, which was perhaps one of my favourite elements of the day! The most beautiful big pale pink rose, with smaller foliage and tea roses – they just finished off my outfit and looked stunning.
The flowers used for decoration were also from Campbell’s. We had an assortment of vases for the centrepieces on the tables and windows to add to the relaxed feel, and Campbell’s filled them with gypsophila, roses and dahlias. It all just looked so fresh picked and colourful. They even filled our teapot and teacups on the top table which suits our love of tea so well! We had rose petals to decorate the aisle, and hydrangea petals for confetti.
Most of the decorations were handmade, and my good friend Angela really helped craft some of the more amazing decorations, such as our welcome sign, Mr & Mrs light up letters, and our amazing wreath for our ceremony. We had more than 70 meters of bunting in the reception barn, and lots of lovely handmade lace bunting in the ceremony barn too. We wanted little personal handmade touches everywhere to bring our personalities and love of crafts into the day, so we had handmade confetti cones and programme fans too.
We decided not to do favours on people’s places, as so often they seem to get left behind, so we opted to do napkins with personalised luggage tags and engraved wooden cookies with wheat and lavender for the tables, and had a separate table with homemade jams, honey, teabags and wild flower seeds for people to collect after the meal. That way guests could choose what they wanted to take home and nothing was wasted or left behind.
Our cake was from Pretty Fancy Cakes in Derbyshire. Faye at PFC was brilliant in listening to us describe our day and create a cake around that. It was four tiers of white icing, with the same lace piped on that was on my dress, icing peonies and petals, and our tattoo emblem (we have a matching LJ logo tattoo on both our wrists!). I also, as another surprise for James, had a Lego cake made with little Lego toppers – I know he loves Lego, and again wanted him to have special touches on the day that I knew would represent him and his hobbies.
The wedding breakfast food was a quite traditional, an English three course meal with ratatouille tart or salmon for starters, and a choice of chicken with a duck farce, beef with a Tio Pepe reduction, or butternut squash and pecorino crumble for mains. The dessert was a selection of three mini desserts so everyone could enjoy a bit of a variety. The food was so well presented at The Ashes – Jenkinsons were the caterers. For the drinks reception we kept it laid back and fun with Pimms with fresh fruit and fruity Old Mout ciders for the summer’s day.
As entertainment, we chose to have Dan and Jess from Replay Acoustic Duo sing throughout the day. They were a fantastic touch, as they played a great variety of non-cheesy songs from all genres with their own lovely laid back acoustic feel. Jess’ voice was angelic, and it again added to that laid back summer fun vibe.
We also had Polly’s Parlour vintage ice-cream van for an alternative to traditional canapés for the drinks reception post-ceremony. We’re big Volkswagen fans (all our tables were named after VW cars!) and Florence is such as fun and beautiful campervan. All the guests commented on how tasty and refreshing the ice-cream was, and it looked amazing in the photos, so colourful and cute.
We also chose to put on some lawn games on the grassy area and hired some huge light up ‘love’ letters for the dance floor. These were a great focal point for the day and the evening, especially as we opted to have an iPod disco rather than a DJ. Our first dance, which was a waltz (as we ballroom dance anyway) looked lovely against the sparkle of the letters.
We would definitely recommend The Ashes venue to other couples. First of all the location is stunning, the views are breath-taking and it’s immaculate inside and out! With its stone walls and wooden beams it’s a great blank canvas, no crazy carpets or curtains to try and work around, it’s just yours to play with! The other brilliant thing is that they set everything up and pack everything away for you – I can’t tell you how much of a help that was, you can just sit back and enjoy arriving on the day to everything being decorated, and at the end of the night can leave without a worry!
My favourite part of the day was our first look shoot. We knew it was something we wanted to do for a while, and we were so right to do it. It was probably the only part of the day that we got to experience just for us. No crowds of people watching. We got to keep the moment of seeing each other for the first time for ourselves, and weren’t at either ends of an aisle. We got to hug, kiss and high five and say how we felt before all the madness began! It really helped calm our nerves pre-ceremony, and made us feel like we went into the ceremony already united. We also got some lovely photo and video moments from it. I’d recommend a first look shoot to anyone considering it, as it really is a special moment to share.
We chose to visit Sri Lanka for our honeymoon. We wanted somewhere that was paradise with beauty and beaches, but also plenty to see and do, as we can’t sit still for long! This worked really well, as we spent some days lazing on the beach and by the pool with a good book and a cocktail, and some days seeing Sri Lanka, riding elephants, visiting tea and spice gardens, seeing the wildlife on boat tours, and taking in the culture. The weather and surroundings were incredible, and the people so friendly. We really got chance to unwind.
My top tip for other Brides Up North, apart from the first look shoot, would be to really enjoy the planning and the lead up to the wedding. The wedding day is just a few hours and goes so quick, so try to really stop and enjoy the time choosing lovely things with your suppliers, crafting those special details, trying on that dress, and having the family and friends time. There won’t be another time in your life like it, and it’s important to enjoy the wedding as a journey and an experience, not just for the day.
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