Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Shows Spring 2017

fairy lights & flamingoes. a magical wedding at as you like it in newcastle – jess & stephen

February 16th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Quirky Wedding at As You Like It (c) Bennett Media (24)

If a bucket load of quirkiness is your thing, then you’re going to love this afternoon’s third installment of gorgeous – one beauty of a real wedding, set in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Jess and Stephen tied the knot at As You Like It in Jesmond last year, transforming the intimate city venue into a hullabaloo of rainbow-bright colours, gorgeous flowers, fairy lights, flamingoes and even Prosecco gummy bears!

We don’t want to spoil it for you though, so scroll down for all the oh-so-pretty pictures and wonderful details…

With images by Bennett Media

Jess & Stephen | Wedding Film from Bennett Media on Vimeo.

jess says: We got engaged in Italy. We were at Marina Grande in Sorrento, which is a local fishing harbour where Sophia Loren starred in Italian cinema. The local fishermen bring in their catch of the day and take it straight to the restaurants to dish up on your plate. Stephen drank lots and lots of Chianti and proposed, down on one knee, on the beach by the harbour. It was a complete surprise…

“Jess my darling on this Italian night

I hope that you will think it’s right,

To take this ring a gift for life

To honour me and be my wife”

I jumped up and down in the sand screaming yes then it was off for Champagne and gelato.

A Quirky Wedding at As You Like It (c) Bennett Media (19)

We got married on 12th August 2016. Summer is our favourite time of year as everyone is in good spirits because it’s the best chance of sunshine and, luckily for us, the sun had his hat on that day!

We only ever looked at one venue  – As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle. It’s cool, quirky and has fairy lights – what more could anyone want? It suited us and our vibe, and we are both big cocktail fans (well, one of us more than the other!).

A Quirky Wedding at As You Like It (c) Bennett Media (45)

There was no religious element to our wedding, just tears of laughter, joy and happiness. It really was the best day of our lives.

The style was vintage meets quirky, weird, wacky and wonderful. My mum and me collected all sorts of quirky weird wonderfulness ranging from pink flamingoes to gold parrots. We had a full vintage tea set, old records, black and white postcards, hibiscus flowers for the Prosecco, along with Prosecco gummy bears. There were cocktails, magicians and a whole tropical rainforest – it was the best vintage mish mash ever!

A Quirky Wedding at As You Like It (c) Bennett Media (42)

My colour scheme was every colour under the rainbow! (Seriously, it was!)

The bridesmaids were in pastels, meanwhile the groom was in burgundy red tweed, and the ushers and best man wore dogtooth tweed and burgundy braces with vintage badges.

My flowers were breathtaking – boho gypsy style with lots of peonies. Some of the flowers were even imported especially; they were so unusual.

A Quirky Wedding at As You Like It (c) Bennett Media (50)

My hair was like Rapunzel and plaited with flowers and gold feathers. I wanted to look like Downton Abbey meets boho bride, so I went with a dress from The Wedding Dress Company in Corbridge. It was ivory lace over cafe latte silk encrusted with old-fashioned antique jewels. It was divine! Stella York made it and I got Alexander McQueen shoes to match, and finished off the look with a Swarovski veil.

Stephen wore a burgundy tweed skinny fit suit from Next along with a shirt and cravat from Woven in Durham paired with brown brogues. The groomsmen wore summer tweed from Woven in Durham and the bridesmaids wore pastel 1950’s style dresses with petticoats from ASOS.

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pretty personal. mori lee for a homemade wedding at newton hall – shona & lee

September 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (35)

Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely inspiration for crafty brides-to-be that are planning to hand make a lot of elements for their big day.

Having decided on a relaxed and pretty rose pink theme, bride Shona worked her magic on everything from the flowers and stationery, to the décor, and the results are nothing short of stunning.

So we’ll leave you to take note..

With images by Sue Pell and video by Top Table Films.

Shona & Lee | Newton Hall from Top Table Films on Vimeo.

shona says: We got engaged at home in our front room on 10th December 2013, having already argued about the fact we were putting the tree up two days early. Little did I know Lee had more to think about than just putting up the decorations.

One of Lee’s family traditions is to close your eyes and make a wish when the lights of the tree are turned on. I was sat patiently with our Labrador Boulmer, waiting for the big light turn on when Lee told me to keep my eyes closed for a second longer. When I was allowed to open them he was down on one knee with a huge plastic flashing ring in front of me. Lee knows how picky I am so thankfully let me chose my own ring, which I had designed by a good friend of mine at a local jeweller. And in case you are wondering the wish I made (and had made every day up until that point) was that Lee would ask me to marry him!

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (1)

We got married on 30th March 2015 at the amazing Newton Hall in Northumberland. I had already been to two of their open days with both of our mothers for a look around and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Years before we got engaged Lee had told me that we could only get married if I found a venue that could allow us to have a relaxed wedding, next to the beach or countryside and involving our dog – I actually think I couldn’t have found a better venue. I love the quirky styling and the fact that we could make the day exactly what we wanted.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (14)

By the power of Pinterest I had about a million themes/styles in my head to begin with and I did find it difficult to stop pinning and start planning! I knew the day needed to be informal to suit our personalities and I wanted to create many of the decorations myself. So I suppose you can say we had a relaxed homemade theme with lots of pretty details. I decorated lots of jam jars and glass bottles, painted some old books and folded some of them to create beautiful centrepieces. Lee cut me lots of wood slices which were perfect for adding some rustic detailing. We had lots of fairly lights and tea light candles to soften the look.

As the wedding was in March I wanted to look at some lovely pastel spring colours. I ordered some fabric swatches online of colours I liked and literally bought everything and anything that matched them so I could see it in a bigger form. I sat with my bridesmaids and went through greens, blues, corals, pinks until we found a light rose colour we all loved. It is such a romantic colour and suited the time of year perfectly.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (21)

As with most brides I had an idea of the type of dress I wanted and then went for the exact opposite! I only tried on about six or seven dresses and ended up finding mine by pure chance when visiting L’Amour Bridal Boutique in South Shields. The staff were really nice and helpful and helped narrow down my search very quickly. My mum began flicking through a Mori Lee catalogue and spotted ‘the one’ – Mori Lee Blu style 5108. By chance the store had it in stock, it was stunning and very figure hugging! We narrowed it down to a final two but when I came away all I could think about was the Mori Lee. In the end I didn’t actually buy it from L’Amour as my uncle picked the dress up in America for me – however the girls in the store were fantastic and I would definitely recommend them.

I had wanted Lee and the boys to wear grey as I thought it would match the rose colour theme well but he argued for navy and I’m very pleased he did too! Lee wore a tailored suit from Marks & Spencer and the boys were in a very similar one from Matalan. All in all I’d say they looked very smart, and it went perfectly with the rose of the bridesmaids.

The girls dresses I actually just picked up from the high street, I went on my own in my lunch hour and spotted them out the corner of my eye. They were exactly what I wanted and suited all the girls really well. I was worried the short length would mean they were a bit chilly so I matched it with a gorgeous grey cashmere pashmina and told them to brave the cold if they could!

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (24)

On the wedding day, Irene Roozbayani did mine and my bridesmaids’ makeup, which looked perfect all day, Our hair was by Paula at Northburn Hair.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (40)

Lee and I, along with six of our close friends, spent the night before the wedding at Newton Hall. We went for the last supper at The Joiners Arms and then had some drinks and treats back in our room. It made it so much easier being at the hall on the day! Waking up the morning of the wedding next to Lee was so exciting and much more special than being apart I think.

Lee got dressed at the cottage his family had hired down the road and made his grand entrance to Newton Hall on his beloved Mountain Bike with Boulmer trotting along by his side.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (28)

Our photographer was a very dear friend of mine Sue Pell. I actually work with Sue and she had long since retired from wedding photography when I met her. However before we met she photographed my cousin’s wedding six years ago which I was unable to attend. In my place I sent a life sized cardboard cut-out of myself and Sue could not believe it when we worked out the connection. She thought it was a sign and agreed to do our wedding photography as a gift to us! She is amazing, and we had a great connection on the day. I would recommend her to everyone although I’m not sure they would be able to persuade her back out of retirement now!

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (33)

I knew from the start I wanted a lovely romantic bouquet which wasn’t too formed or structured. I love a challenge so I decided to do my own flowers! I ordered a mixture of Avalanche, Memory Lane and Amnesia roses as the colours matched the theme perfectly, then to add some texture and scent we included Freesia, Gypsophila and some gorgeous Silver Brunia. My auntie has been involved in the flowers for all of our family weddings over the years and was amazing at helping me tie them all up and get them looking just perfect. Because we had ordered the flowers from a wholesaler we had so many left over that the glass jam jars and bottles I had ready for decoration were filled with the same flowers as my bouquet.

I was concerned that favours wouldn’t work well as we didn’t have a table plan, however I did want the guests to have a little memento of the day. I packed up some wildflower seeds and let our guests take a pack from a basked we placed on the bar.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (41)

To save some money we decided to make our cake stand a little more special and buy our favourite Costco cakes! This way we got a little bit of variety and weren’t concerned if they didn’t get eaten. Lee cut some wooden discs as cake stands and we decorated the table with fairy lights and wicker hearts.

To continue with our relaxed wedding day theme we invited guests to meet us on the beach on the morning of the wedding. We had a lovely walk with all the dogs and our family and friends and then retreated to The Joiners Arms for a good old pub lunch. As our ceremony was later in the day we simply had a hot food buffet later in the evening once or night time guests had arrived. We decided on a Thai curry with sticky rice and some really good side dishes.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (39)

I was set on my chosen entertainment from the start. We booked the band Hip Operation as I had seen them several times before and they never fail to put on a performance. The mixture of music they perform was fantastic and they had everyone up dancing. They really get involved with the guests and even came out to join us on the dance floor a few times.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (43)

Five weeks before we got married we attended Lee’s sister’s wedding where she had booked a surprise caricaturist. He was so fantastic that Lee and I decided there and then that we wanted him too. Mike Giblin is such a fantastic artist and really mixed well with our guests.

As per Lee’s wedding day stipulations our Labrador Boulmer had to be by our sides all day and he really did make the day fantastic. Also, I think that so much of the wedding being handmade, from the stationery to the décor, really added to the day and made it so much more personal. It was a labour of love for me and I poured my heart and soul in to everything.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (36)

During my decoration research I spent a lot of time watching people’s wedding videos from Newton Hall but one really stuck with me. It was by Top Table Films and I realised we should have a video done. I called Jon and explained our unconventional dog walk and pub lunch and he was really enthusiastic. The final five minute preview video absolutely took my breath away. I love having it to look back on and it is by far the one thing I will recommend to every bride. We also got a full length DVD featuring all the speeches and the full ceremony, which I adore.

We would definitely recommend Newton Hall as it lets you be as unique or as traditional as you want. The styling of the venue means to really don’t have to add a lot to it to make it look special and the team that work there all wonderful. Jane was the manager on duty for the day and her organisation skills were fantastic. We had also specially requested John Parker to be our Master of Ceremony as he spent a lot of time talking to us at an open day and really put my mind at ease about doing things different.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (49)

Other than the ceremony I have to say my favourite part was getting ready with the girls. I don’t have any siblings and my best friends are like sisters to me. There was such a buzz in the bridal suite while we were getting ready and I didn’t want it to end. Lee’s speech was also a very special moment. It was really good, he made sure everyone was mentioned and thanked but also told some very special stories about the two of us. It was so sweet and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

To avoid the school holidays we waited a few weeks after the wedding for the main honeymoon and so as a surprise for Lee I booked us a minimoon at Singdean B&B in Keilder. We later went on an all-inclusive honeymoon in Playa Del Carman in Mexico. It was two weeks of pure relaxation and indulgence.

A Crafty Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Sue Pell (45)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to never settle for something you don’t want. There is always a way around it and if it doesn’t tick the right box for you then don’t do it. Also do not stress over the guest list! Talk to your partner and if you both aren’t completely happy then change it. When it comes down to it the only people that have to be there are you two!

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Outdoors, In. Benjamin Roberts For A Relaxed & Beautiful Real Wedding In North Yorkshire – Eleanor & Mike

August 5th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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We are in North Yorkshire this afternoon for a really lovely relaxed countryside wedding, full of beautiful smiles, pretty people and delectable details.  With images by Ruth Mitchell Photography, real bride Eleanor can’t wait to tell you all about her big day. 

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Eleanor says:  Mike proposed to me at the top of Arden Moor on Bonfire Night 2011. We’d gone up to watch the firework displays all around, the views are amazing! We took a mini barbeque for hot dogs and a flask of mulled wine… I remember telling him off for packing champagne glasses for the mulled wine, I had no idea what he was planning!

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We were married on 28th May 2013 at St Michael and All Angels Church Barningham, Nr. Richmond, followed by a marquee reception at Mike’s parents’ farm near Newsham.

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We opted for a relaxed, woodland theme with midnight blue for the bridesmaids and a mix of pinks, purples and white for the flowers.

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I chose a Benjamin Roberts bridal gown and a veil from the fantastic Ava Rose Hamilton in Durham (who I would recommend to everyone)!

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My hair was by Charlotte from SAKS at Sedbury Stables, and Make Up By Jo (a Brides Up North Featured Supplier) did my make up. 

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My bridesmaids wore a lovely Dessy dress from Joanna Kay Bridal Boutique in Stokesley and our groomsmen wore navy suits with silver waistcoats and dusky pink scrunch ties from Affleck and Moffat in Darlington.

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I carried a hand tied bouquet of dusty pink roses, pink peony, cream peony, astilbe, stock, clematis, purple veronica, astrantia and the herbs apple mint , sage and rosemary by Darling and Green Florist.

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My favourite part of the day was getting into the car with Mike after the ceremony… my first chance to tell him how nervous I was and giggle at the fact we had just got married!  Close second is our speeches by my beautiful mum and our two best men.  

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Barningham is where Mike grew up and first started his job as a gamekeeper. The church there holds some special memories. We went up onto Barningham Moor after the ceremony for our photographer to take some shots!

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Mike made all the wooden table centres and name card holders and created our fantastic cake stand. We collected wine crates and used them to display our seating plan and for the card box.  We used Brides Up North Featured Supplier Ruby Shoes for our pretty bunting and Oh Abigail for our message signs. 

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My Sister in Law makes the best fruit cake which she sells to local shops and at Christmas time, and she made our top tier cake. Carol Millman from Love Cupcakes iced the fruit cake and made some delicious cupcakes in different flavours with white chocolate dipped fruit on top.

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Oh Abigail made a sign reading “I do appreciate soft butter!” something Mike once said and is always remembered when we have cheese and crackers with a block of hard butter that is impossible to spread!

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Our food and bar were by The Game Kart, cheese by Lewis and Cooper and Howard Cross supplied the marquee. 

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In the evening we had the Hip Operation Band and DJ. They were fantastic well recommended and had everyone dancing!

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We made homemade plum gin for favours and sparklers for our guests to remember our wedding night. 

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After the wedding we had a few nights away at Rhinefield House in the New Forest and have just booked a Safari to Tanzania at Christmas…funded by our very generous wedding guests!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to ensure you book reliable, well recommended suppliers and your whole day will just happen around you, everything was under control on our day all I had to think about was having an amazing day! Oh, and add the personal touches. 

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Congratulations Eleanor & Mike!

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If you’d like to share your Real Wedding on these pretty pages, here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Ruth Mitchell Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Lucky Seven! A Real Wedding In The North East – Anna & James

November 8th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Close House Wedding by Pacific Studios

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Today’s Real Wedding is a bit of a special one as it’s the wedding of Anna, the sister of one of my lovely friends Charlotte.  I heard so much about Anna’s wedding in the run up to her and James’ big day from an excited Charlotte that I’m thrilled to be able to share their images with you today.  Knowing Anna’s little sister like I do, I just knew that it would be the perfectly classy affair, with lots of personal touches too. 

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With images by Pacific Studios

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Anna says:  On Valentine’s day in February 2011 James took me completely by surprise and treated me to a night in The Savoy in London. We normally go out for dinner but as James had been working abroad for five weeks he assured me he just wanted to treat me to something extra special. We went out for dinner and came back to the hotel for cocktails. We were led past the long queue to the gorgeous art-deco American Bar to our own bar stools and enjoyed a couple of delicious cocktails, until it was time to go. I thought it was still pretty early and wanted to stay for another, but when we got to our suite I found a huge bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us!

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The room had huge floor to ceiling windows with amazing views over the Thames; the lights of The London Eye and the rest of the South Bank twinkling at us. We could see and hear Big Ben chiming midnight and then James told me I had one more little pressie and to close my eyes… he got down on one knee, offered a sparkling diamond and asked me to marry him.

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We were married on 07.07.2012. I’d always wanted a summer wedding and as 7 is my lucky number this date was perfect! There weren’t many Saturday dates available at all at the venue so we were very happy.

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My parents live in Wylam in Northumberland and as I was brought up there we chose to have the service in the village at St Oswin’s Church. My sister got married there and her daughter was christened there so it already held lovely memories. It meant so much to get married at a church we knew, but logistically it was also very handy for my family as we all got ready at my parents house.

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After the service we held a reception at Close House Hotel in Wylam. We were very fortunate to have such a fantastic wedding venue so close to the church. We looked at a few other venues in the North East as we didn’t want a venue simply due to its proximity but we both knew it was the best venue for us regardless. The gorgeous grounds, beautiful views, delicious food and the fabulous newly renovated interior confirmed to us that it was the place we wanted to be with all our friends and family.

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The bridesmaids and groomsmen were co-ordinated in a gorgeous Persian plum colour but I kept everything else classic and romantic – white flowers for the bridal party and the church with contrasting bright flowers for the table centrepieces.

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James wanted to organise the car himself, keeping it a secret from me. It was an absolute delight to walk down the drive with my father to see a beautiful white 1948 Rolls Royce Tourer. It was better than my suggestion of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The bridesmaids travelled in a gorgeous vintage red Austin Taxi. My parents also arranged a vintage ‘Leyland Tiger’ bus from the church to Close House for all the wedding guests, and thanks to one of the groomsmen who donned the conductor’s cap and ticket machine, they each received a bus ticket personalised with our wedding date on it to keep as a memento.

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I had no idea what would be my perfect dress until I found it. It was a beautiful Ian Stuart design that we discovered in Rosina Brown‘s lovely bridal boutique in Stocksfield. I knew when I tried it on that it would be pretty hard to beat. An ivory, strapless bodice that was ornately detailed from the waistline with metallic lace, scattered sparkly beading and decorative tulle and lace train with a matching wrap. It was romantic, elegant and (eventually) fitted like a glove. However, as I live in London we thought it would be rude not to try others on so my mother and I had a wonderful time in lots of pretty wedding dress shops, but I always knew in my heart I’d found the dress for me and returned to Rosina Brown to try it on again. This time our eyes welled up and we knew it was the one!

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I carried a gorgeous bouquet of large white blooming peonies and roses to add softness and romance. The groomsmen had single white rose boutonnieres. All the flowers on the day were done by J.A. Stobo & Son Florists in Wylam, and they looked perfect.

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I had originally wanted light floaty bridesmaid dresses to compliment the romantic tone of the day but this was the tricky bit – two of my bridesmaids were pregnant and growing! What actually suited them the most were more structured styles so it wasn’t long before we chose the gorgeous long dresses from Dessy in a Persian Plum colour. I knew this colour was exactly what I wanted – not too dark, not too pink but still feminine and fun. The groomsmen and both our father’s wore suits from Jo McLaren with matching coloured accessories from Dessy to co-ordinate with the Bridesmaids.

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As soon as I woke up and saw the sun, which had previously been hiding behind storm clouds all week, I knew it was going to be a magical day. There were so many special moments but my favourite part was finally saying the vows to each other and walking down the aisle with my new hubby!

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I had no set ‘themes’ in mind but over the course of the planning a natural one of ‘travelling’ emerged. James and I have been fortunate enough to travel to many lovely places so we decided each table should be given the name of a hotel which had a special meaning for us, for example ‘The Savoy’ where we got engaged or ‘Gleneagles’ where we spent New Years Eve and where James asked my father’s permission if he could marry me. Rather than having a traditional table plan, we continued the ‘hotel’ idea and made individual room keys for everyone and hung these from a board with a vintage map background.

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The wedding favours were miniature bottles of drinks relating to the country of the hotel on the table name, for example Scottish Whisky for ‘Gleneagles’ and Portuguese Port for ‘Pine Cliffs’. Instead of a Guest Book each table had retro postcards specific to their country and my friend organised a vintage white royal mail letterbox to post them in!

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We are so fortunate that James’s mother is an exceptional cake-maker! It was only natural that we her asked if she would like to make it and luckily she said yes. A 4-tier tower of alternating fruit and chocolate-sponge layers covered in cream icing and decorated with edible lace, sugar peonies and roses; it was a work of art. We didn’t want to cut into it! We know how much time, effort and practice cakes she had to make (and therefore let us eat!) before it was perfect and then to carefully transport it all the way from Somerset was a massive undertaking and one which we will always appreciate.

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My parents surprised us (and the guests) by organising a magician and a caricaturist for the day! This was amazing – I had always wanted to be a magician and loved them at my birthday parties as a little girl. Plus the drawings were hilarious and gave the guests a memento of the day to take away. We also arranged a cocktail hour for the guests after dinner, which was in the greenhouse at Close House and helped everyone to have a good time. Having been to lots of weddings we know it’s so important that guests enjoy themselves and are entertained!

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During the ceremony my great friend from university Seb Thomson played the organ and accompanied the choir. We found a great jazz trio, ‘Contrajazz‘, to play outside Close House during the drinks reception to set the fun relaxed tone of the day. We also had my favourite 5-piece band, ‘Hip Operation’, playing and dj-ing throughout the evening. My family and our friends love a bit of a boogie and we chose a 100-song playlist for the DJ with songs ranging from The Beach Boys, to The Rolling Stones, to The Wurzels (James is from Bristol!). It was brilliant and the fairy-lit dance floor was packed all night.

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Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. It always seemed like the most exotic, far-away paradise, and I was thrilled when James said we should go there on our honeymoon! We stopped off in San Francisco on the way for a couple of days, enjoying a helicopter ride over the city, before a fabulous two weeks in Hawaii. A week on Maui and another week on the Big Island was a dream come true.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to work together to make it the day you both want. James and I always asked each other’s opinion before deciding anything; choosing the hymns and readings, the menu and the music all seem like small details but we know we both put our hearts and souls into making it the best day of both our lives. I also found family and friends loved being a part of the big day and making it special, so appreciate all their help and enjoy every minute!

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Congratulations Anna & James!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on these pages.

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  – Images © 2012 Pacific Studios

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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