August 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom were faced with organising their wedding from overseas as they now live in Melbourne but returned Rachael’s family roots for their big day. The distance didn’t appear to cause too many problems though as their winter wedding at Cheshire’s Belle Epoque came together beautifully.
Letting the venue speak for itself, Rachael added a few extra sparkling touches, including glitter and candles, for the twinkling, cosy winter wedding she desired.
Another touch of sparkle was added at the end of the wedding with a sparkler arch in the street, which attracted the attention of local pub goers and the even the police, who were all keen to pass on their congratulations to the happy couple.
Images by Adam Riley Photography.
rachael says: We got engaged on the top of Kilimanjaro in December 2013. It was the start of a three month trip overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. I was really sick from altitude sickness and it took a whole lot of willpower to get to the summit. When we did get to the top, James got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – it was the first smile in 36 hours of non-stop vomiting up the last 1,000m of mountain! He had planned on waiting until Cape Town where we were meeting my parents and asking dad’s permission, but he was so impressed with me getting to the top of the mountain he did it there instead. The other story his three brothers like to tell is that he capitalised on my lack of oxygen to the brain!
Our wedding date was 10th January 2015. We chose it because I was re-training to be a teacher during 2014 and was busy studying full time so didn’t want a UK summer wedding. We were planning on coming back to the UK (we live near Melbourne) for Christmas so we thought it seemed like a good time to get married. Plus James has a very big family – including nine nieces and nephews – so we knew that if there was any chance of them making a UK wedding it would be during Australian summer school holidays. Rather than wait for 18 months so we could have a UK summer wedding I thought I would embrace a twinkly, cosy winter wedding instead.
The wedding was at my mum and dad’s local church in Cotebrook near Tarporley, and the reception was held at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We chose Belle Epoque for several reasons, firstly a lot of the more traditional wedding venues we felt were a bit too over the top and grand for what we wanted, but we wanted something that had character and a heritage feel to it. Secondly we felt that Belle Epoque was ideal for a winter wedding as all the guests were in a relatively small area which made it easier for us to spend time with everyone. Obviously the food was also a big reason to have it there!
Eventually we did have a theme that came about, but it wasn’t something that I struck upon from day dot! I used to cringe when asked what theme we were having! We had a theme in as much as the table names were named after the mountain huts and summit points on Kilimanjaro and we ended up having the most fabulous Kilimanjaro wedding cake (my husband’s genius idea!), plus our first dance was Wimoweh!
Again, the colour scheme just happened, it wasn’t at all planned. My sister Lorna (who has a stationery company called Toots Designs) designed our beautiful wedding stationery and took her cue for colours from the Belle Epoque period so they were a sort of hyacinth blue/purple and silver combination. I chose bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser that I loved that were a very dark navy blue, and we had hyacinths in our bouquets. Then there was a lot of silver sparkle on the tables.
I had planned on picking my dress in the UK while I was back for three weeks last July so that I could have my mum and sister there with me. That didn’t happen quite as planned! I went to check out some bridesmaid dresses in Melbourne that my sister had found but had to wait for an appointment to view them. In the meantime I headed into a few of the other bridal shops and found my dress. I didn’t love it on the rack but once it was on I really loved the way it looked and the detail on the back of it. The wedding dress shop were really difficult about taking photos of it to send to my mum and sister, so I ended up skyping them both a week or so later while trying it on!
James wore a really nice suit from Austin Reed, a grey silk suit and his waistcoat and tie were navy blue with small white squares on. The best man and ushers wore grey suits with a navy blue tie.
Our wedding transport for the day was a beautiful Jaguar hired from Decadence Wedding Carriages.
Adam Riley was our photographer. My mum and dad had met him at a wedding fair in January 2014 and picked up his brochure. I picked him out straight away and mum and dad said he was their choice too but hadn’t wanted to sway me! I followed Adam’s page on Facebook before we got married and was so excited to see how our photos would turn out. I had such high expectations which can be a bit dangerous…but Adam exceeded them with what he captured. All of our guests commented how well the photos captured the fun and atmosphere of the day. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Adam to anyone. On the day I don’t know how he got the shots he did as you barely noticed he was there!
My wedding flowers were a mix of thistles and roses (I’m half Scottish), with some eucalyptus as a nod to the Australian part! The bridesmaids had hyacinths in their bouquets too, which are my favourite smelling flowers. Charlotte at the Little Potting Shed worked wonders on the day too decorating the church. I have no idea how she did it, but she managed to get into the church after our service, untie all of the pew ends and take them across to Belle Epoque and place them around the venue there!
One of the reasons I liked Belle Epoque was that they have quite ornate decorations around the venue anyway and it didn’t need too much decorating. As I was out of the country I wanted to make the wedding venue decorating part as easy as possible. The extra decorations were very simple – I ordered different silver candle holders from Amazon along with table sparkly bits and kept each table quite simple. My sister did all the place cards, table plan and table names and menus which looked fantastic.
Gemma McGrillis at Baked in Bunbury made us the most amazing cake. She spent about half an hour taking a brief on what my dress was like, the colour of the flowers etc and then produced mocked up images of some potential designs. They were all beautiful and we were spoilt for choice. But then James had the idea of having a Kilimanjaro cake, and what Gemma produced was a masterpiece – and delicious too.
I also put together a photobook to go on the cake table of our pictures from the Kilimanjaro climb, lots of people wouldn’t have seen them and many commented how nice it was to look through them.
As entertainment we had a ceilidh provided by Triple Scotch as my dad’s Scottish. All of the weddings I have been to with my Scottish family have had ceilidhs and are great fun. Everyone takes part and joins in which makes it lots of fun. We also had a disco.
Our first dance was Wimoweh (the original ‘In the Jungle’ song) as this was our silly song we played while we were planning our trip to Africa, and kind of became the theme song for the trip. I knew I was going to be quitting my job to go so we jokingly code named the trip project wimbaway in any emails to family and friends just in case my bosses were reading emails! My sister and mum thought we should have it as our first dance as we don’t have a particular song we are both attached to, but I thought it was a bit too silly and was a bit worried about what people might think! But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea, then we had a few dancing lessons to put a routine together for it – although we messed it up on the day because we were laughing too much!
Instead of a guestbook my sister designed the most fabulous poster to sign which is now framed at home. It is a heart shape made out of half British icons and half Australian icons with our names and the date on it. Most of our guests signed this and it’s lovely to be able to display it. My sister is one talented girl and what she did for our stationery I know other people would have paid a lot for, I can’t thank her enough for all of her help and brilliant work.
There were so many brilliant moments during the wedding, but the sparkler arch at the end of the day was amazing. I had seen the idea and thought it was a nice way to end the evening and had it all cleared with the venue that we would do it on the roof terrace. While I was putting my nanna in a taxi to take her home I got chatting to the security man on the door who was lovely – turned out he had climbed Kilimanjaro too and his parents were from Uganda. I told him the plans for the sparkler arch and he said to leave it with him and he would get the road shut off to traffic while we did it! He did just that and we had a sparkler arch down King Street in Knutsford! People from the Rose and Crown came out to watch and I got hugs and congratulations from total strangers. However, the best part was the fact that the first car that had been stopped in the traffic was a police car. He put on his flashing lights and put on his PA system to congratulate us both. It was something that couldn’t have been organised but was such a special and unique way to end a fantastic day.
The best tip I got given that I would pass on to other Brides Up North is to take time together to enjoy the day. It goes so quickly (everyone told me that but I didn’t realise how quickly), so make sure you take the time just to sit back and watch what is happening. Our car ride to the venue after our service was a really nice chance to do that.
August 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
With a clear eye for design, today’s bride Rachel, used her creative skills to put the all-important finishing touches to her wedding inspired by the roaring 1920s.
Her stunning Enzoani dress, with amazing back detail, helped to set the theme which Rachel then built upon by designing her own signage and stationery using silent movie and art deco influences.
A soft colour scheme of cornflower blue and yellow complements the men’s grey suits and helps to tie all elements together resulting in a well styled big day.
With images by Ragdoll Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged on 13th June 2014 at Queen’s Bridge in Chester. Mike had booked a night in Chester for our anniversary (the date we officially got together) and I had no idea he had a ring with him. He carried it around all day inside his phone case (I wondered why he looked uneasy when I borrowed his phone to take pictures) waiting for the perfect moment to propose. It eventually happened after dinner, we went for a stroll over the bridge. Mike had said that he’d been looking for the perfect moment, but nothing had felt right, then suddenly we were on that bridge, it was just us, the sun was going down and it was as if someone had just gone “there you go, this is the time and place”.
We decided to set the wedding date for 11th June 2015 – five years to the day from when we first met at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, North Wales, which is my parents’ local church in the village where I grew up, and the reception at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Chester. We’ve stayed at the hotel a couple of times on special occasions and love it, but what sold it to us was the Abbey Suite – we’d been looking at converted barns for our reception and this had both the lovely modern hotel with the converted stables attached, plus beautiful grounds.
The theme was subtly based on 1920s. I love this era; the fashions, the crazy dancing, art deco styling etc. I think it oozes class and elegance. Luckily my favourite wedding dress was very 20s too so it followed on from there. From the 20s came the ‘silent movie’ idea – we used it in the design of our invitations and placemats/place settings and then carried it through in the chalkboard style table numbers and bunting.
Our colour scheme was cornflower blue and yellow. We wanted a summery, cheerful theme and it looked amazing against the blue sky and sunshine. Mike supports Everton too, which made it an easy choice for us both.
My dress was an Enzoani number. I didn’t want anything big or OTT and this particular dress struck me as simple and elegant with a touch of glamour and sparkle. It is 1920s inspired which suited our theme well. I chose it for those reasons but also because it struck me as so different from all of the dresses I’d seen. I bought it from Cheshire Rose Bridal, Chester. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson, my necklace, bracelet and earrings from Debenhams and my headpiece was also from Cheshire Rose Bridal.
Mike wore a light grey three piece suit from Reiss with a cornflower blue tie. He chose to buy a good suit over hiring tails as neither of us are huge fans of tails and he now has a very special suit to keep. Along with his suit he wore shoes by Jeffery West and a tie pin from The Little Homebird on Etsty, which was a gift from me. It was personalised with the coordinates of Queen’s Bridge where Mike proposed.
Our adult bridesmaids wore a light blue Biba maxi dress from House of Fraser and the flower girl had an ivory dress with blue ribbon from a local occasion wear shop. The groomsmen all had a three piece suit from Next and blue ties.
We used Grosvenor Classic Cars to transport us on the day of the wedding. Mike and I travelled in a blue and silver Beauford and the bridesmaids in a Daimler.
Rosie of Ragdoll photography was our photographer and she was brilliant, we would definitely recommend her! She put everyone at ease on the day with her fun, down to earth nature which resulted in a fun, relaxed series of photographs. She captured us and our family and friends and the essence of the day beautifully. I would recommend Rosie to anyone who wants a natural, relaxed, fun feel to their wedding album. We couldn’t have wished for better. We also used Gray Weddings to film our big day. They were also amazing and so discreet you wouldn’t have known they were there. I can’t wait to see the video when it arrives to find out what we missed! They were so accommodating and flexible in our pre wedding meeting and on the day itself.
Fresh of Chester provided our flowers. The beautiful natural bouquets for the bridesmaids and I were made up of lovely blooms in yellow, blue and white.
The reception flowers by Fresh of Chester were placed in vintage vases, provided by Pollyanna Vintage who also provided vintage books and pearls for centre pieces and on the card table, along with a vintage suitcase for cards and a large picture frame with easel for the seating plan. Other knickknacks such as old cameras and photo frames I borrowed or bought from vintage and charity shops and my mum provided lots of candles! I’m a graphic designer and so made my own 1920s inspired signs for the guest book/photo booth instructions, cocktail menu, cake quote and ladies toilets perfume quote. I also designed our invites and save the dates, plus some unique placemats/place settings inspired by silent movie frames, through my company Racoon Graphic Design.
As favours we gave sweets from the past provided by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in personalised sweet bags.
Cake Chester provided our lovely wedding cake. It was a simple 1920s design, inspired by a combination of cakes I found in my search for the perfect cake! I made a feather brooch which they kindly added onto the front for me. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the top tier was Madeira sponge.
As entertainment we had a 1920s jazz band called 52 Skidoo who were great! They played upbeat jazz for a couple of hours and then the resident DJ played until 1am. He played all our favourite songs and finished with Hey Jude, which is really special to us as we met at The IOW Festival where Paul McCartney was the headline act. At the end we all linked arms in a big circle singing ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah…’ it was epic!
One special touch of the day was our first dance. Dancing is really dear to me so I wanted to really go for it! We learnt the Argentine Tango and danced it to Coldplay’s, Magic. The song starts with a 1920s introduction so I started with a Charleston as Mike stood and looked perplexed (intentional). We loved it.
We would definitely recommend The Doubletree as a venue to other couples, it’s an amazing setting. It has the best of both worlds – a lovely modern hotel and the gorgeous Abbey Suite (converted stables), perfect for photographs. The grounds are also beautiful. The staff on the day were brilliant, in particular the toast master. He couldn’t do enough for us. The venue was perfect for – smart and sophisticated but relaxed and not over the top.
I couldn’t possibly choose one moment from the wedding as my favourite but there are some moments in my head that stand out: coming down the stairs to my dad who was waiting to see me in my dress for the first time and travelling in the car with him to the church. The ceremony, we both surprisingly enjoyed that part more than we expected to. We didn’t feel nervous, just elated and excited and the vicar put everyone at ease and cracked a couple of jokes! And the speeches, they were all brilliant, funny and heartfelt in their own way.
We haven’t booked a honeymoon yet but we are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime in January next year with a stop off on the way.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t try to include everything you want on your wedding day. I had so many ideas, some I wasn’t able to make happen but they really didn’t matter on the day. Simplicity and personality are key. Think about who you are as a couple and how you would like your wedding to be remembered. Our guests all said what a ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ day it was and in hindsight we wouldn’t want it any other way. And, enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of marriage with all of your favourite people.
52 skidoo, art deco, art deco wedding, cake chester, cheshire rose bridal, chester wedding, debenhams, doubletree chester, Enzoani, fresh of chester, gray weddings, grosvenor classic cars, hilton, House Of Fraser, jeffery west, mr simms olde sweet shoppe, next, pollyanna vintage, rachel simpson, racoon graphic design, ragdoll photography, reiss, the little homebird
July 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime
With the help of her groom, today’s bride Emma pieced together a very pretty vintage wedding by combining handmade decorations, dainty china, cute bunting and beautiful country blooms.
In keeping with the theme, Emma also chose to wear a 1950s three-quarter length Justin Alexander dress, showing brides that hitching up the hemline can work particularly well for certain styled weddings.
As well as taking inspiration from all the pretty, be sure to look out for a special guest at the wedding too – Emma and Jonny’s cute dog Sadie, so cute!
With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography.
emma says: Following a first date on a rainy day at a Duck Race held in Manchester in 2012, plastic ducks have always been a bit of a ‘thing’ for us. I had bought a black plastic duck as a reminder of the first date, and this ended up in our bathroom. In October 2012 Jonny took me away to a lovely little cottage in Somerset that had a hot tub – I had been warned to bring a cozzie, so in I dived! Next thing I know, Jonny is coming towards me with an up-turned duck. He hands it to me in the hot tub and said those magical words…and the rest is history!
Our wedding date was 21st June 2014 and our venue was Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue for a number of reasons – firstly it is so pretty and picturesque. Secondly it is a blank canvas so we could pretty much do whatever we wanted in relation to decorations and the reception. Finally as it is in a country park it is dog friendly – we have a Jack Russell, called Sadie, who is very much a part of our family, so much so that she was involved in the pre-shoot and was present on the big day.
Our wedding style evolved from a love of vintage! Like many couples, we spent the 18 months prior to the wedding sourcing vintage decorations/ china/ games – anything that we could use to make our wedding super special. Flower vases were hand decorated and bunting was handmade along with signs and confetti cones. Anything that we could make – we did!
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such and instead chose to stick loosely to summer garden flower colours. My maid of honour and bridesmaid wore different colours and then on the groom’s side the men wore different coloured shirts and ties. I wanted the colour ‘scheme’ to match our ‘theme’ so it was miss-matched coloured!
In keeping with the vintage 1950s feel, I had a desire for a three-quarter length dress – however it took trying on all styles for me to realise that I truly did want a short dress. Once I got my Justin Alexander dress from Elegance of Scholes on there was no going back – I twirled and twirled like a loon! Dress – found!
I really couldn’t see Jonny in top hat and tails so his suit was handmade by a local suit maker using Yorkshire grey cloth. Chris, the best man, also had a suit made to complement Jonny’s attire.
As we live locally to the venue, the day before the wedding was spent doing up the hall where the reception was to be held. This involved all hands on deck! We had people putting bunting up, making up cake stands and arranging tables. The juke box had arrived so music was playing and the hall was a hive of activity.
The night before the big day the wedding party went out for a curry to our local Indian. I said bye-bye to Jonny as he was spending his last night as a bachelor with his best man. My maid of honour and I went to mine and a bottle of fizz was opened (which I actually struggled to drink). The morning of wedding was actually really chilled. I remember sitting in the back yard with Jan in the sunshine! My hair was done by local hairdresser and my makeup was super natural and done by moi!
Jan and I were transported to the venue in a VW Camper, hired from a local company called VW Wedding Hire. The hitch we had was that the ordinal Camper that I had hired was having mechanical issues so they managed to source me a gorgeous cream VW Camper that was fantastic.
Photography is really important to Jonny and I. This was the one area that we did struggle with. We wanted someone that really ‘got’ us. We wanted this person to really capture the finer details of our day. We came into contact with Olivia Brabbs at a wedding fair we attended (as stall holders). She very kindly took some shots of my stall and through this we realised that we had our woman! Our whole wedding was the polar opposite of a package, as I knew that I didn’t want a package photographer. For example, Olivia didn’t attend the morning of the wedding but met me at the venue instead, which was my choice. We knew what to expect as we had hired Olivia for the pre-shoot and my word the photos of our day were sublime. I truly would recommend her!
My bouquet was a gorgeous work of art – so colourful with seasonal blooms and my favourite yellow roses with quirky textured foliage. My bridesmaid and maid-of-honour both had smaller versions of my bouquet.
Floral decorations were up there on the ‘required’ list. In keeping with the relaxed feel of our wedding we went for ‘hand-picked country garden’ style flowers. The floral display was a mix of supermarket bought and flower shop arranged blooms and the mix worked really well! We chose a local florist David from The Flower Garden in Brighouse, to assist and he really did do us proud! The jam jars looked amazing – and people took these away at the end of the night as a little gift.
To decorate the rest of the venue, Jonny and I collected all the china, deckchairs and decorations for months prior to our special day. Rather than sell our labour of love on, we decided to hire out items to other brides through our company called Vintage Wedding Daze. Our bunting has proved quite popular, so too have the deckchairs, handmade signs and suitcases. We love it when people love our style so much that they want to include it in their big day, and would welcome anyone to get in touch with us!
My mum is a freelance designer and so I allocated the task of designing me some seed packets. She filled them with wild flowers and they went on the tables for everyone as favours.
Our wedding cake was a little different to the norm. I love body products, and there is a local company to us called Yorkshire Soap who do the most amazing bath products. Whilst mooching in their York store I came across their Soap Cakes and that was it, I was sold! We chose a four-tiered cake with scents that meant a lot to us. As bath ducks basically brought us together, I had to have some ducks on top, and came by a bride and groom duck, which worked perfectly! Everyone commented that the Soap Cake was an ingenious ideas and I still get comments to this day!
We knew that the typical sit-down meal wasn’t something we wanted for the wedding breakfast and we wanted to use all the vintage china that we had collected to its maximum, so we went with a vintage-style afternoon tea produced by Dish and Spoon in Manchester. When it was all set out it looked truly stunning, and oh-my-word were the cakes scrummy! The cake stands that Jonny handmade were chock-a-block full of goodies. We hired a couple of waiting-on staff to serve tea and coffee out of china tea pots. It was all so civilised! In the evening we had hog roast provided by The Porkery. I don’t think there was any left – that’s how good it was!
As our venue was in the middle of nowhere we had a bar brought in by a local pub. This was invaluable as it meant that we didn’t have to consider drink for the evening reception, or the any part of the day, for that matter!
To keep our guests entertained, we hired a jukebox from Betterdaze for the whole weekend and put on songs that meant a lot to us. We also asked close friends and family, who were involved with the wedding, for their favourite songs and included them with a dedication, which made it even more personal. For the evening entertainment we had a three part female harmony group called The Memphis Belles, whose style is 40s/ 50s which was in keeping with our whole wedding.
Outdoors we hired hay bales for seating and covered them with British woollen vintage blankets. We also had some vintage style garden games for extra entertainment.
I would have absolutely no doubts in recommending our venue to other couples. At one point me and Jonny even took Sadie on a little walk into the woods (in our wedding gear) the looks we got were priceless! Having the venue for the weekend was fantastic as it made the event more than just one day – it was a weekend event!
Following the wedding we had two honeymoons; a minimoon to Cumbria straight after the wedding and then a longer break in the summer when we toured Scotland, The Highlands and Outer Hebrides.
I was so lucky that Jonny was as involved with the wedding prep as I was. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to divvy jobs out – don’t try to do it all yourself. Have people that you can rely on to help you out. For me it was the small things that got me stressed – but having such a reliable groom helped.
betterdaze, bhs, dish and spoon, elegance of scholes, garden wedding, House Of Fraser, justin alexander, oakwell hall country park, olivia brabbs photography, real wedding, the flower garden, the memphis belles, uk wedding blog, vintage wedding, vintage wedding daze, vw wedding hire, yorkshire soap, yorkshire wedding
July 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely personal touches with theming based around the venue and season as well as the couple’s interests.
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition venue Nostell Priory (have you got the date in your diary?) provided the perfect backdrop to Scott and Sarah’s vintage styled wedding with pretty dusky pink touches in the décor, attire and flowers.
Sarah’s bouquet is particularly stunning featuring pale roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, but the element of the wedding that caught my eye most was – surprisingly – the favours. Homemade sloe gin in pretty bottles, which tick boxes for looking good, tasting good and being a personalised and useful (well, sort of) gift. Cheers to that idea!
With images by Chris Chambers Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged when we were having dinner on the beach in Borneo in October 2013. Scott had somehow managed to buy a ring – which fit perfectly – and get it half way across the world without me knowing. We were having a pre-dinner Singapore Sling watching the sunset when he brought out the ring and popped the question!
We were married on 7th February 2015. We love winter but didn’t want the wedding to clash with the shooting season so waited until after February 1st.
We chose Nostell Priory as our venue because we love its Georgian style and the Robert Adam Top Hall is so beautiful. We walk our two cocker spaniels in the grounds quite often so it was nice to get married somewhere which meant something to us and where we will go back again and again. We also liked that Nostell is a bit of a blank canvas so we could have lots a personal touches and really make the day ours.
We wanted to complement Nostell’s lovely Georgian features and so we went for a classic, romantic, vintage-style theme for the big day.
Our colour scheme was dusky pink and ivory as we wanted winter tones but without being Christmassy. The dusky pink also worked well with Nostell’s neutral colours and went beautifully with ivory.
I’m a bit of a stickler for detail so even the confetti had to match the colour scheme. We bought our own mix of pink and white rose and delphinium petals from Shropshire Petals which we put into glassine envelopes for our guests.
I chose a Justin Alexander ball-gown cut, ivory satin dress with chapel length train from Mia Sposa in Huddersfield. Justin Alexander’s designs stood out for me when I was going through wedding magazines and the moment I saw this dress on Pinterest knew it was ‘the one’! Mia Sposa were absolutely amazing – the dress was hard to find but they managed to hunt one down and made sure it fit perfectly.
To complete my attire I also had an ivory marabou feather shrug – I’m not brave enough for bare shoulders in February! We ordered extra dress fabric and the ladies at Mia Sposa made the ties on the shrug so that they would match the dress perfectly.
To finish I wore a chapel-length lace veil from Etsy – I loved it and never wanted to take it off! I kept jewellery simple so that the dress detail wasn’t over powered and chose a beautiful diamante cuff by Debbie Carlisle at Beloved Bridal and wore a vintage cameo ring. Finally, I had a pair of Swarovski stud earrings.
Scott Beswick MUA did makeup on the wedding day and Danielle Wright did the hair for myself, the bridesmaids and my mum. Scott is so much fun as well as being a brilliant makeup artist. Danielle is incredibly talented and created a flawless look. They both made us all feel stunning on the day and finished the look perfectly.
Scott wore a grey three-piece suit with tailcoat from Ashworth & Bird. He had an ivory waistcoat and cravat. He had no intention of wearing tails, having initially thought he would prefer a lounge suit, but the lady in Ashworth & Bird convinced him to try the tails and they were perfect.
I made personalised cufflinks for Scott and the groomsmen; Scott’s had quotes from our readings whilst the groomsmen all had quotes relating to their role/ relationship or details about the day. To complete the look, I bought Scott a personalised pocket watch as his wedding present.
Our bridesmaids wore dusky pink floor-length dresses from House of Fraser and ivory fur shrugs and the groomsmen wore three piece suits to match the grooms, all from Ashworth & Bird. All the groomsmen also had dusky pink cravats.
The pageboys – our 18 month old nephews – wore grey suits with ivory waistcoats and cravats from Roco Clothing.
As transport we hired a 1937 Rolls Royce from Yesteryear Cars. It went perfectly with our vintage style and we loved that it was maroon rather than the usual white wedding car.
Chris of Chris Chambers Photography took our wedding photos. Chris was recommended to us and when we saw his style we knew that’s what we wanted. Not only does he take amazing photos, he is also really friendly and professional. We had an engagement shoot a few weeks ahead of the wedding which was great for getting used to the camera and Chris’s photos were so good we knew we didn’t need to worry about them at all. We would definitely recommend him – all the photos are incredible so it’s really hard choosing them for the album!
On the day I had a loose bouquet with ivory and dusky pink roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, wrapped in a ribbon made from the same fabric as my dress. The bridesmaids all had small versions of my bouquet. They were by BlossEm. Emily there is a fantastic florist; she has so much style and as soon as we met her we knew the flowers would be absolutely amazing. I was completely in love with my bouquet which looked, and smelled, beautiful.
Emily also made little bunches of gypsophila for our hair, instead of hairpieces. The groomsmen had buttonholes made with similar flowers but with small game bird feathers and the page boys had small gypsophila buttonholes.
Bloss Em provided all the flowers for the reception too. We had small bouquets at the ends of the aisles in the Top Hall. For the tables we had candelabras filled with flowers, complemented with game bird feathers – as it got dark the candles gave the room a really warm, romantic feel. The top table was filled with small vases and bottles full of flowers. Emily also made a garland for the balcony, filled with fairy lights. It was breath taking when we walked in and saw how beautiful the room was.
I had seen some lace chair hoods on Pinterest which were perfect for the reception but couldn’t find any UK stockists, so I whipped out the sewing machine and made my own! I also made lace table runners. They really softened the look and added to the vintage feel.
I bought signs and other bits and pieces in the run up to the wedding as and when I saw them to add to the decor. Instead of a guest book we had a white ‘wishing tree’ decorated with wicker hearts. My sister made tags to match the stationery which guests could write their wishes on.
As favours we made sloe gin using sloe berries that we had collected last winter and put it into personalised bottles made by my sister. The little ones had similar bottles filled with pink and white jelly beans, to match the wedding colours.
For our wedding cake we had a magnificent croquembouche (a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls bound with threads of caramel) made by Thierry Dumouchel. It was delicious and definitely had the wow-factor!
We wanted traditional but delicious food and our caterers Dine definitely delivered. Canapés included mini Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Beef and the wedding breakfast was Potted Shrimp, Sirloin Steak and Crème Brulee. We had bacon and sausage sandwiches in the evening, which were just the ticket after a few drinks!
As entertainment we had Silver Strings quartet for the ceremony and reception which complemented the classic styling. They even played the theme from Scott’s favourite movie – Indiana Jones.
In the evening we had a DJ sourced by Dine. We wanted everyone to get up and dance on the evening so we kicked things off with our first dance, Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News (from another classic movie, Back to the Future). The DJ said it was the first time in ten years he has played that as a first dance!
We also had a photobooth, run by Chris Chambers. It was great to see everyone from the toddlers to the nannas embrace their silly side!
To make the day more personal we added in some special touches such as asking our grandmas to sign the register – it was so nice that they could be involved in a special part of the day.
We also named the tables after game birds – another nod to the country sports – and for the table plan I hand-drew a tree filled with the birds. Emily at Bloss Em complemented this with the feathers in the candelabra flowers. My very talented sister made all our beautiful wedding stationery and all our invitations were sealed with a personalised wax stamp – another little vintage touch.
I sewed little trinkets into my dress for ‘old’, ‘blue’ and ‘borrowed’. My old was a tiny horseshoe charm which has been the ‘old’ for my mum and sister’s weddings before mine. My ‘borrowed’ was a pendant which Scott’s Nanna always wore. She passed away a few years ago so it was a way to have her with us on the day. I also had a small blue bow.
We would definitely recommend Nostell Priory to other wedding couples. The whole venue is stunning but especially the Top Hall. Craig at Dine was brilliant, accommodating every little detail and putting up with all my ‘bridezilla’ moments! His attention to detail on the day was second to none and he really did make sure everything was perfect.
After the wedding we had a few days in Oxford before jetting off for a week in Jamaica and a week in Barbados. It was nice to be able to relax together in the sun after spending so many months wedding planning. I think the highlight was swimming with turtles – it was an incredible experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute, from the engagement until the last day of the honeymoon. Oh and, do what you want to do – everyone will love being a part of your day simply because it is yours.
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