November 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple, Tracey and Steven, know it pays to keep things classic. Their celebration at the soon to reopen fire ravaged Crathorne Hall (click here for the full story) with traditional detailing, fabulous florals and one killer frock, is a masterclass in elegance.
With images by Phil Smith Photography.
Tracey says: Steven proposed on our two week road trip holiday through Europe, travelling through Germany, Austria, Italy and France in May 2012.
Whilst in Austria we spent some time camping and trekking in the Alps. On the day of our engagement we trekked up one of the most beautiful mountains in Austria. On the way back down the mountain, surrounded by the most stunning Alpine scenery, Steven paused to tie his laces and asked me to take some photos. Whilst I was taking some photos of the amazing scenery, Steven sounding startled asked me to look at the lump that had appeared in his walking socks. He then revealed a personalised wooden ring box and proceeded to ask me to marry him. Of course I was overwhelmed and completely shocked, of course I said yes!
Unbelievably Steven had driven from Sheffield to Alpendorf two months earlier, a 35 hour, 2000 miles round trip, just to find the perfect location to propose! Once he had found the perfect setting, he dug a parcel into the mountain, behind a tree, containing the Champagne, flutes and a little note in German, asking if found, for the parcel to not be removed!
As you can imagine, I was astonished at the time, trouble and effort Steven had gone to, to make our engagement so special. I couldn’t believe someone could have done this for me. The final surprise came from Steve’s back pack, when he revealed a brochure of a 5* spa hotel in Alpendorf for that night! This made a refreshing and romantic change to the Camping.
We were married on 11th July 2014 at Crathorne Hall Hotel. Crathorne Hall Hotel was the venue of one of our 1st Weekends away and after view dozens of other venues it was clear that we had been comparing them all to Crathorne Hall. Its such a beautiful building in superb surroundings. The staff had also always been to friendly and professional.
With such an amazing venue, we wanted to best complement Crathorne Hall and so went with an English Country Rose theme. The flowers were really important in accomplishing this. We chose a colour scheme of dusky pinks, green foliage and champagnes.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero gown, Ivanka Marie. I chose this dress because I wanted a statement dress. The dress has a sweetheart neck line, fitted corset, huge fluffy layered tulle and a very long train with Swarovski detail. When I first saw the dress on a mannequin I didn’t like but when I tried it on I knew it was the dress for me.
Steven wore a grey three piece suit from House of Fraser in Birmingham.
My adult bridesmaids wore dusky pink maxi dresses from House Of Fraser in Meadowhall and the flowergirls wore ivory embellished dresses from Debenhams in Sheffield.
Phil Smith was our photographer. Choosing the right photographer was one of our most important decisions, when planning our wedding. We had decided that we would sacrifice having a professional videographer to ensure we could have the perfect photographer and the best quality photo album we could. Phil certainly was the perfect photographer.
From the first time we met Phil at a wedding fair at Crathorne Hall, we knew he was the man for us. Phil was such an easy person to talk to and nothing seemed too much trouble, but more importantly it was Phil’s portfolio of work that really caught our eye. Phil’s ability to really capture the mood in his shots stood out from the competition. This was really important to us, as we didn’t just want traditional shots.
I carried a bouquet of pink peonies, mixed English garden herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, finished with large oyster pearls and pink blush German lace. All flowers were supplied and designed by Michelle Meehan owner of The Grange Wedding Flowers from Sheffield. The help and guidance Michelle provided was second to none, she really is a superb florist, that’s willing to go the extra mile.
During the ceremony and also outside for reception drinks we had Arco String Quartet playing personally selected tracks, including my entrance music ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri from the Twilight Saga.
During the reception drinks we also had Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, this went down very well with all the guests, especially as we had keep this a secret. The Class Laser Clay Team were ultra-professional and extremely friendly, I would certainly recommend them.
We also had a selection of garden games, such as lawn darts, croquet and French boules.
As we had a lovely summer’s day, we had Strawberry Daiquiris and bottles of Peroni for welcome drinks served with a selection of lovely canapés.
For favours, we had lemon drizzle butter cream cupcakes, iced in the colour scheme of the flowers with a Alice In Wonderland style eat me flag. These were placed inside vintage tea cups and saucers on the table. We used Kiss Me Cake Bakery, based near Holmfirth. They allowed us to keep our own vintage tea cup and saucer as a memento.
I choose an Alice In Wonderland inspired three tier cake, two tiers were toffee and the middle tier lemon. The cake was made by Angel Cakes in Rotherham. The cake design was even better than I had imagined. We tried many cake samples at wedding fairs and Angel Cakes was by far the best, extremely moist and lovely flavours.
It’s so difficult to pick a perfect part to our wedding. The ceremony was amazing and the speeches were great fun but the quiet times when we went off with our photographer for some couple shots were a nice way to break up the day and help it all sink in.
We left for our honeymoon the morning after the wedding. We had breakfast with our guests and set off to the Airport at 11am. We flew to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to the Masai Mara for 3 nights safari at the Kicheche Bush Camp.
The Camp was amazing, with zebra and wildebeest coming right up to our tent at night. We literally saw everything whilst on safari, including lion, cheetah and leopard. An evening watching two lionesses and seven cubs play only 20 metres away, whilst the sun went down was a real highlight.
From Kenya we flew to the Seychelles and stayed at the Constance Ephelia Resort on Mahe Island. Rather than just spending our time on the beach, we managed to explore the Island, with some trekking and even managed to try the local delicacy of Fruit Bat Curry!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to visit and research venues, it is so important to get the perfect venue for you. Similarly ensure you find the right photographer for you, your photographs along with your memories are the items that will last the longest. It’s so important to be happy with them.
For our First Anniversary we plan to visit the spot of our engagement in Austria. I wonder if Steven will be planting anything in the Mountain this time!
November 3rd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Upon returning from your five-star honeymoon would it not be a dream as Mr and Mrs to sink into an equally luxurious bed at home as the one you left behind at the hotel? I’m talking smooth, crisp sheets and opulent bedspread, complete with cosy throw and decorative cushions.
As cohabitating couples we easily put off treating ourselves to something new and instead continue to make do with what we’ve already got – some Matalan sheets picked up on a great offer and Ikea bedding spontaneously thrown into the trolley when on a candle restock mission.
Therefore I see high quality quilt covers, and those all little extras that come along with it, as perfect pressies for the wedding gift list. Not only are they affordable options for your guests, but putting these items on your wish list allows you to build up your dream bed all in one go, rather than spreading the cost over so many months.
Scouring the high street, Debenhams and House of Fraser have some super plush options for newlyweds looking to posh up their boudoirs.
A rich colour palette of jewel tones, such as violet, emerald, turquoise, burnt orange and royal blue, can instantly inject opulence into areas of relaxation. Debenhams has several options in this area of heavily patterned bedspreads designed by Matthew Williamson, which can be further dressed-up with soft velvet throws and cushions.
Further regal offerings come in black, white and gold pattered covers layered up with faux fur throws and pillows encrusted with diamantes, for that extra touch of glamour.
Meanwhile for those in search of something a little lighter – all the shades of grey you can imagine remain on trend and can help to create simple and peaceful surroundings for chilled-out bedrooms. Those who go for something mild in colour, or subtle in pattern, can add interest with bedding accessories in darker shades, vibrant colours or varying textures.
My favourite is the pale grey and white bed spread by Betty Jackson, available from Debenhams, which is paired up a simple mid-grey blanket and striking zigzag, citrus and sequined cushions, for that classy hotel finish.
As well as some heavily detailed options, House of Fraser also has more neutral, stripped back offerings that still offer an element of indulgence, but in a less OTT kind of way.
So to ensure you sleep like king and queen as newlyweds, be sure to add blissful bedding to your gift list.
All images as credited in gallery.
October 27th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
So the clocks may have gone back drawing the darkness in that bit earlier every night but today we have a super stylish wedding full of uplifting pastel tones that is bound to brighten up your day.
Rob and Mia wanted a simple and relaxed outdoor celebration made up of pretty colour and natural, simple décor.
Despite working on a budget, the creative couple pulled their desired look off beautifully showing others that even if you haven’t got bucket loads of cash to blow you can still have a flippin gorgeous big day.
Just like Mia I’m head over heels for pretty pastels and it was her bridesmaids’ lovely lilac dresses that attracted me to the wedding in the first instance. Add to this a stunning bride, fabulous blooms and an impressive venue and you’ve got all the ingredients for an incredibly swoon-worthy wedding.
With images by EverThine Photography.
Mia says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary of being together when we were celebrating at a spa hotel. Rob got down on one knee and proposed in the hotel room before we went out for a beautiful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Thames.
We set the date for Saturday 16 August 2014 as we wanted to get married after I’d graduated. We choose the summer because we both wanted an outdoor ceremony.
We both grew up in Yorkshire and knew we wanted to get married back there even though we were both living in London at the time. My mum came across our venue, Saltmarshe Hall pretty quickly which was great. It’s a beautiful venue in Howden, a gorgeous stately home with lovely gardens and surrounded by countryside – it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, which was perfect for us. The house itself is stunning and has lots of different rooms downstairs that can be used for different things and with the gardens it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted which was an outdoor ceremony (depending on the weather). It had just been bought by new owners and opened for weddings the year before so that was very lucky for us!
We didn’t really have a theme for the wedding. We wanted to get married outside so we started by basing things around a garden ceremony, like having a simple dress and bridesmaid dresses and natural flowers. The hall itself is stunning so didn’t need much decorating, just small details and then we went with our own choices so having black tie and summer dresses for the dress code and our own choice of music and the vows and readings within the ceremony to make it personal.
I love pastel colours and decided on lilac for the bridesmaid dresses because it’s a really pretty colour. The colour scheme wasn’t strict; we just had a range of pastels because it kept with the idea of a garden wedding and suited it being in summer. The bridesmaid dresses were all slightly different shades of lilac, the flowers were creams, pale pinks and lilacs and then the table decorations were pale pink, lilac, pale blue and mint green
I had an idea in my head of what dress I wanted. Quite simple, nothing too big (as I am quite short) and with it being quite a simple ceremony in summer I wanted something suitable to that – light and comfortable. After A LOT of shopping, which was fun but got frustrating after a while, I found my dress in a shop in Beverley called Bridal Reloved. Kate there sells second hand and sample dresses, so beautiful dresses with a reduction. She was so helpful and honest about everything. I knew I wanted white/cream with some lace, and I really wanted an open/pretty back. I think the dress I chose was the perfect dress because it had all those things but was also something different that I hadn’t seen before. It was simple but still ‘wedding’ enough and had stunning details like the lace edge at the bottom and cross straps at the back. My veil was something borrowed from my oldest sister Lauren, who got married the year before me, and my shoes were cream lace peep toes from Next. For my something blue my sister India sewed a little blue tag into the inside of my dress with the wedding date and our names on the front and inside was a sixpence given to me from the lady who sold me the dress, for good luck.
Rob wore a black dinner suit from House of Fraser with a dicky bow. He also wore blue superman socks, which were a little wedding present from me.
My bridesmaids all chose their own dresses. I said I wanted lilac but wanted them to be comfortable and find something that they loved and that suited them. They were all slightly different shades of lilac and different lengths and styles that showed off their personalities and own styles. The groomsmen all hired black dinner suits from Slaters in Hull with black dicky bows.
Lucy and Nate Aspray at EverThine Photography did our photography. I would absolutely recommend them to anyone. I’ve known Lucy for a long time as she is best friends with my sister so it was lovely to have someone I knew there taking the photos. She is very talented and takes stunning photos. We asked for very natural shots of the day, wanted the small details captured and asked for a few specific shots – for example I wanted a photo of my bridesmaids and me holding the bouquets over our faces. They really made everyone feel comfortable and took great photos but without imposing. Looking back through them they captured the happiness of the day perfectly and I hardly remember most of the photos being taken!
Gill Tomkinson, a local florist/plant seller from Broomfleet, did my bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets. I asked for natural, hand held bouquets which were lilac with some pale pinks and creams tied together with lace. She did an amazing job and did the button-holes and corsages for the wedding party which were beautiful and really suited the garden/outdoor style.
The venue flowers were by Hannah from Vintage Rose, a florist from Newport. Again I asked for lilacs, pale pinks and creams and I wanted some gypsophila and roses – the lilac roses were particularly stunning! The table flowers were in little milk bottles and there were hanging jam jars of flowers on the sides of the seats in the ceremony. The rest of the decoration was all done by me pretty much. I painted wooden numbers in pastels for the tables, and blackboard hanging hearts for the place names. Rob wanted photos of us at each of the tables so on table one there was a picture of us both at aged one, right up to table seven. We used those photos for the table plan, tea lights and photos of us as decoration around the venue, lace bunting made by my sister India and a wedding sign made by my sister Talitha and an old painted suitcase to hold our cards.
As a special touch Rob and I wrote our own vows and chose the readings from film quotes and lyrics that we loved, which made it really personal.
We enjoyed the whole day so much! It was great to see it all come together after a year-and-a-half of planning, and to share it with family and friends. I think my favourite part was the ceremony – we got to have it outside which is what we both really wanted, it was so personal to us and it was just amazing to get to marry the love of my life and my best friend.
We had little chocolate heart lollipops as favours as well as the place names, which were blackboard hearts which could be hung up by lilac lace.
Jan Harker made the wedding cake, who is my best friend’s mum. We wanted a three-layer round cake with a layer of vanilla, chocolate and fruit cake. The icing was white with a ruffled effect, there was a bow on the middle layer and white roses on the top.
Croft Kitchen provided the catering for the day. We served canapés and prosseco after the ceremony and then had a sit down dinner with three courses. For starter we had Italian meats and anti pasti, for main rosemary chicken and vegetables and for dessert mini banoffee pies (Rob’s favourite pudding).
We would definitely recommend all our suppliers including the venue. The food by Croft Kitchen was lovely, well presented and a very reasonable price. Vintage Rose and Gill Tomkinson did exactly what we wanted them to and the flowers were stunning. EverThine Photography captured the day perfectly, we are so so happy with the photographs and have had many compliments on them. Saltmarshe Hall is a beautiful venue and with the many rooms and gardens it really is left open for you to do what you want with it. The owner Kate was so great and suggested vendors and ideas but also allowed us to do what we wanted with our special day.
We went to Riviera Maya in Mexico for two weeks for our honeymoon. We both love the sun and spent a fortnight in a gorgeous hotel and laid on the beach, just relaxing after the wedding and spending time together. It was perfect.
We were on quite a tight budget with our wedding. The advice I would give to other Brides Up North would be don’t settle with what you first find. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and a lot of frustrating hours sat at a computer or on the phone to find the right thing but researching and looking is the only way to find it and it’s definitely worth it.
Personally I loved planning it and being involved, it was stressful at times but being able to make things like the table decorations was a lot of fun and I felt really proud on the wedding day when I saw everything together.
August 28th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wow – just wow! This wedding knocked my socks off the moment I received the images of Amy and Andy’s big day set in good old Yorkshire.
The beautiful colour palette of coral, yellow, creams and gold sets the prettiness level sky high and Amy makes one of the most stunning brides I’ve ever seen in her customised Maggie Sottero dress and ethereal twisted-twig flower crown.
There are lots of cute personal touches in this wedding that made for a memorable, stylish and super enjoyable day.
So let’s go back to the start – the proposal. Be warned ladies, it’s a tear jerker (excellent work Andy)!
With photography by Kate Cooper.
Amy says: Andy proposed on February 16th 2013. He had taken me out for an Italian and when we got home he asked me to stay in the car for a minute and, although confused, I did as I was told. After about five minutes, and almost freezing to death, he came out to get me. When I walked into the house he’d covered the living room in candles and our favourite song, A Real Human by College and Electric Youth, was playing. It was beautiful. As I walked further into the house he’d lit candles up the stairs and alongside the candles were little notes tied to a long ribbon. As I went up the stairs the notes went through all of the best moments we’d had so far including moving in together, our first holiday and bringing home our miniature schnauzer, Enzo.
The ribbon went up the stairs and into the bedroom where it stopped on the bed. The card on the bed told me to turn around and he was down on one knee behind me. We both cried, I said yes and then cried some more down the phone to anyone who’d answer my calls! I loved my proposal and he’d put so much thought into everything. It was such a perfect evening and it made it more special that it was just us two at home.
We set the date for Saturday May 31st 2014. Our plan was to get married later on in the year but my grandparents fell ill and so the most important thing was that they shared our day with us. Unfortunately, two of my grandparents passed away during our engagement but we know they were looking down on us and we tried to make them proud.
We chose the Whiston Manorial Barn in Rotherham as our wedding venue. We had always loved the idea of having a barn wedding but found it difficult to find exactly what we wanted. When we finally looked around the Manorial Barn we instantly knew it was where we’d marry. It is such a breath-taking place and it was exactly what we’d spent so long looking for. We would definitely recommend this venue to other couples. The women who co-ordinate the weddings at the barn, Claire and Karen, were so helpful and were always at the other end of an email or phone call whenever we needed advice or help.
We didn’t necessarily have a theme for our wedding, but just wanted it to be a fun atmosphere full of colour. We were very unsure about the colour scheme at first but as it was a summer wedding we decided to go for something bright. My favourite colours are coral and yellow and so we wanted to incorporate these and we tied them with creams and gold. We wanted the flowers to be the main focus of the decorations as they added so much colour so we kept everything else quite neutral and it seemed to work well.
We hired a cream Daimler V4 1/2 to transport the bridal party to the venue. As the company were based only 15 minutes away we decided to have just one car to do two trips so my bridesmaids and mum went first and then it came back to collect me and my dad. I remember the wait feeling like forever when really it was only half-an-hour. The service we used was called American Pie Limos, based in Wales, South Yorkshire. We would highly recommend them as they were perfectly on time and free Champagne is always a winner!
I’m quite into textiles and sewing and so my initial plan was to make my own wedding dress. I had help from my grandma as she used to be a seamstress and we bought a few Vogue patterns to use and modify. Unfortunately around August last year my granddad was diagnosed with cancer and so everything was put on hold. As it was such a stressful time for the family, I decided to visit a bridal shop called Blushes in Sheffield. The shop assistant Zoe, took down my details and potential styles I liked. After describing my ideal dress she pulled one out and it was perfect – well almost. The dress was Dalton by Maggie Sottero but I had it altered quite a lot to fit the design that me and my grandma were initially going to make ourselves. It was supposed to have a zip right up the back which was made into a ‘V’ back and we shortened the sleeves. We also added netting underneath to make it kick out more.
Andy wore a three-piece Hugo Boss suit in steel grey which fitted him perfectly! He had a white shirt with ivory wool tie. He’d also bought a pair of dark brown brogues. He looked so dapper!
We didn’t really have set rules on what our bridesmaids/groomsmen would wear. This was mainly because we wanted them to be able to wear their outfits again and so it was important that they really liked them. The adult bridesmaids, Katherine, Laura and Beth, wore art-deco style taupe gowns embellished with steel beads by Adrianna Papell from House of Fraser. The dresses were gorgeous and the girls looked absolutely stunning! Our nieces and flower girls, Lily and Josie, wore dresses from Monsoon and looked so adorable.
The groomsmen all wore different suits and whatever they felt comfortable in. We just wanted everyone to feel relaxed – and they really brushed up well!
When it came to our wedding flowers, I carried a bouquet made up of Garden Roses, Peonies, Scabia seed heads, Eucalyptus, Freesia, Craspedia, Panicum Fountain Grasses, Larkspur and Nigella. As mentioned, we wanted the flowers to be the focus of our wedding and they were the main decoration for the barn. The coral, orange and yellow colours tied together beautifully and the florist did such a great job at putting them all together. I also wore a flower crown with just a few flowers on one front side of the band. This was made from twisted stems/twigs and I loved it!
My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet but the colours were a bit more subtle. Lily had an even smaller bouquet and Josie had a single peony wrapped in ribbon. It was all put together by the very talented Kath who owns Of The Wild in Broomhill, Sheffield. She got everything absolutely spot-on and I actually cried when I saw our flowers because they were so stunning and were exactly what we had asked for. Kath is very highly recommended if you’re after something a little different and more detailed than your average bouquet.
Our photographer on the day was the amazing Kate Cooper. We arranged an engagement shoot with her beforehand just because Andy and I aren’t the most graceful people in front of a camera. She made us feel so comfortable and laughed along with us when it was a little awkward – it was fun overall and we soon loosened up. We did get some lovely photos and it definitely set us up for the main event.
We had always liked the idea of our photos being natural and we wanted someone to capture people in naturally happy settings and record the general mood of the day. We did have a few staged photos of family but the rest we left completely to Kate. We put a great amount of trust in her (sorry Kate) but we knew she’d do an amazing job. We are going to recommend her to anyone in need of a photographer because she is honestly one of the nicest people we have ever met and worked with. We are so thankful that she was there, not only to capture our day, but to help us celebrate. Knowing that Kate was around meant that we could enjoy our day so much more without the worry that the atmosphere wouldn’t be captured and that things would get missed. Kate covered absolutely everything from table settings, venue details, to our terrible first dance and we were speechless when we received our photos. They were simply incredible.
Our floral decorations added an amazing boost of colour to our tables and brought a summery feel to the venue. To add to the decor, I made a trip to Ikea where I bought polka dot lace fabric and made table runners. We had yellow and orange candles scattered around and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law made some lovely bunting for us to tie from the beams. Andy is very artistic and he did a great job of designing all of our table names, seating plan and stationery himself. We had our chair covers done by a lady named Paula from Cover in Style and she also put up some fairy lights for us which looked gorgeous at night when the main lights were dimmed.
Andy’s mum, Margaret, is the best at baking so there was never any question about who would make our wedding cake. We had a few designs in mind but wanted to keep it quite simple. We finally decided on a deep two-tier cake with little icing beads at the bases and a large pink peony on top. One tier was Victoria sponge and the other chocolate and we decorated the cake board with gold glitter to tie it all together. It was so delicious! Margaret also made us our wedding favours which were little heart shaped shortbread biscuits topped with white icing and gold glitter sprinkles – yum!
Our wedding menu consisted of pate for starters, ‘Chicken Manorial Barn’ for main, which was chicken in puff pastry served with vegetables, and then Andy’s favourite for dessert – treacle sponge. The food was provided by the staff at the Manorial Barn and it was well presented and gorgeous! For the reception we also hired Emily’s Ice Cream Bike who provided our guests with yummy ice cream in all sorts of flavours. If anyone hires them they’d be a fool not to choose Jaffa Cake ice cream, it was so good!
We wanted to keep things simple at the reception and just enjoy ourselves in a relaxed environment so we simply had a DJ provided by the barn as our entertainment. He was great and we were able to put together our own playlist before the night. We incorporated this into our wedding invites and asked guests to suggest a song to dance to. The responses were somewhat interesting but it just made it that bit more personal for the guests and everyone really enjoyed it. We had dance-offs, dirty dancing lifts (ending with collapsed tables and red wine on white shirts) and general sassiness, especially from the boys!
There were several special touches on the day which helped to make it all the more personal and memorable. We both wrote our own vows for the ceremony as we found the standard vows very basic and not very personal. We decided not to show each other until we read them in front of each other on the day which made it that much more exciting! They were both very different but it is something we will both remember and we kept the books we wrote them in so we can look back at them from time to time.
My nan also lent me her wedding pearls for the ceremony which I thought was very touching. The pearls had been worn by my nan, my mum and my auntie on their wedding days so it was an honour to be able to wear them. I had decided to put the necklace on just before leaving my parents house but as I put it on one of the strings snapped and it was then a mad rush to fix it. Luckily my matron of honour, Katherine, whipped out a sewing kit and gave it to me all brand new when I arrived at the barn. My other nan had always kept a bottle cork with a penny stuck through the middle of it. I was told this was supposed to be good luck but with my bouquet I was unable to carry it, so it got stuck in my bra – classy!
Andy’s dancing also added a certain special touch to the day. It’s not possible to describe this – it has to be seen to be believed, trust me!
I have so many favourite moments but if I had to choose just one, it would have to be the ceremony. I loved that we were able to say our own vows and that it was so personal to us. It was made more perfect that all of our family and friends were together in one space and the moment we became husband and wife was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Secondary to that would have to be the moment Andy threw himself at his best man, James, when Time of Our Lives (Dirty Dancing) came on. They both flew backwards, into a table and ended up covered in red wine. Andy got up the next morning and said “where did all of this wine come from?” He was mortified when I told him!
Andy surprised me with a trip to America for our honeymoon. We flew to Washington and once on the plane Andy told me what we would be doing. I cried when he started telling me that we would be transferring from Washington to San Francisco then renting an RV to drive around California and back up the coast. Andy arranged everything perfectly and I’m so grateful to him!
Our advice to other couples would be don’t dwell too much on the materialistic things. Sometimes things don’t work out how you imagine them to and it’s not the end of the world. Of course there are bound to be problems along the way, but for us it all came down to family. All we wanted was to be surrounded by the ones we love the most and to make sure that everyone had as much of a good time as we did. Planning our wedding has taught us to think about the bigger picture and to try not to get carried away with things that really don’t matter that much in hindsight. Our parents and families helped us every step of the way during our wedding planning and we are still completely overwhelmed with how amazing these people are. We will never forget their generosity and kindness.
August 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Jen and Jonny’s fun and fresh, 50′s themed, DIY wedding at Brides Up North Featured Supplier venue, the KP Club, is just what the doctor ordered to get us through Tuesday morning. And hey, don’t forget it’s a bank holiday weekend coming up… win,win or what?!
Be bright, be beautiful.
With images by SDS Photography.
Jennifer says: We got engaged on New Years Eve 2010, in Disneyland, Paris! Jonny proposed in one of the few quiet spots in Disney (in the Swiss Family Robinson tree house!) where we had a great view of Cinderella Castle, all lit up.
We were married on 21st June 2014. We chose this date because it was the first day of British summertime, and also the longest day of the year.
We got married in the village church where Jonny grew up (St Catherine’s Church, Barmby Moor, York), which was only a few miles from where I grew up. We both live in the South now, so it was lovely to travel home for a few days to see our friends and family. The vicar who Jonny grew up with had long since retired, but agreed to come back and perform the ceremony for us.
The reception venue was the KP Club, a few miles from the church. It is in the town where we went to secondary school (Pocklington) – which is where we they first met! It has beautiful views over the Yorkshire wolds.
We would definitely recommend the KP Club. At first we were unsure whether we could make the place unique, but we certainly did! It is a (beautiful) blank canvas for you to do whatever you want with, but would also look amazing without decorations! It was very spacious (we had the whole top floor, with two rooms and a bar area) but still felt very intimate. There were huge windows with views over the golf course, and the Yorkshire wolds. The staff were very helpful and pleasant and everything ran so smoothly. There are even lodges on the site where guests could stay over without worrying about travel. We both stayed in a honeymoon suite which had a hot tub!
We orginally planned on a 1950s theme – primarily because we both love Frankie & Bennys! My wedding dress was based on a 1950s, Grace Kelly style and the bridesmaid dresses were also very 50s. We had music playing by ‘The Baseballs’ who are a modern band but their style is very much in that era.
We opted for a colour palette of sea green and pinks. We wanted a colour that wasn’t too girly and was less common in weddings, so we went for the turquiose colour. Pale and hot pinks went with it really well, and after finding the bridesmaid dresses to match, it was perfect!
I am a graphic designer and lovs crafty things, so handmade a lot of the wedding. I made a seating plan out of wooden pegs, which I put each guest’s name on and allowed them to take theirs home at the end of the night.
We are also grateful to have such talented friends and family who helped us out and made sure the wedding was personal. It was also important to us to make them all feel involved in the wedding and had a part to play.
My dress was from Wedding Warehouse, a shop in Leeds which sells ex-wedding fayre dresses. They were a year ahead in terms of style, so my dress will be available to buy in 2015. I tried on a few first that I thought were what I was after (long lace sleeves, high neck) but I felt I looked too old in them all! I went back into the room and there was one hanging up, out of its bag. It was nothing like what I was looking for (very big and princess-like!) but my best friend told me to try it on, so I did. I went home to think it over, and decided I had to back and get it! It was all lace, with little lace cap sleeves and a keyhole back (very beautiful, which is why I decided to have my hair swept to the side to show it off!). It puffed out from just below the waist, with beautiful delicate lace all over the skirt. My full length veil was borrowed from my sister from her wedding, which went perfectly with my dress.
My bridesmaids wore 1950s style rockabilly dresses with a lovely turquoise and pink floral pattern – bought from Amazon from a seller called bluemagik. The bridesmaids were different shapes and sizes but the style looked great on them all. They each wore their own shoes which were different colours – we just wanted them to feel comfortable! One of the bridesmaids Kath, who is also one of my sisters, handmade little pink paper roses – some of which the bridesmaids had in their hair. I also gave each of them a handbag bought from Ebay, personalised with each of their initials on.
The bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets were put together by my bridesmaids. They just had bunches of baby’s breath (gypsophila) tied together with ribbon, and I had baby’s breath with flowers from a family friend’s garden (including pink roses and peonies).
Our photographers were Sarah-Jane & Simon, from SDS Photography. We would hugely recommend them, because they were just perfect. They have the skills to make amazing photos, but also the creativity to try new things and make sure your wedding is truly unique. Their attention to detail is exceptional, and their incredible efficiency meant that the formal group photos were over so quickly (a relief for everybody!) They completely understand that everybody is different. We didn’t want any awkward poses or generic wedding photos, but we didn’t even have to tell them – they just seemed to know what was ‘us’. We wanted a ‘pretty, informal’ style and they nailed it. They captured expressions we didn’t know we’d made and hugs we didn’t know we’d given.
In the church, I put other flowers from the garden in painted bean cans, and in paper cones (made from wallpaper samples) on the end of the pews. A lovely old lady in the village started a flower arrangement for us, which my bridesmaid and I went to finish the day before the wedding, using flowers bought from the market and from friends’ gardens.
After the church ceremony we decided to have afternoon tea. It was lovely because it meant people could have nibbles and refreshments, so they weren’t too hungry waiting for the meal at 5pm! It also meant that people could stay and chat, including the vicar and organist, who don’t usually get to see guests. Family members made all the cakes, including my mum, Jonny’s mum and Jonny’s grandma. We had vintage tea cups and saucers laid out, and big drinks dispensers filled with pink lemonade.
Oringially we wanted a cake of different cheeses, but didn’t want the guests who like traditional wedding cake to be left out – so we had both! My mum made the fruit cakes, and Jonny’s mum made sponge cakes and decorated the whole cake. She handmade peonies made from icing using our wedding colours, and cascaded them down the cake. My best friend Claire made two little birds out of clay to go on the top – it was perfect! We then had a cake of cheeses brought out in the evening (we both love cheese!).
For our favours, we gave out jars of goodies! They were filled with homemade strawberry jam, rhubarb jam, apple chutney and gooseberry chutney which me and my mum made. I made labels for each one and tied fabric around the top. Each guest was given a sticker with their name on, which they were to stick to a jar of their choice.
As a secret wedding present, I bought Jonny a pair of personalised Converse All Stars, which I gave to him on the day. I also got a pair for myself (of course) which matched the wedding colour scheme! We each had their new surname on (Ledger) and we put them on in the evening so we could dance the night away! (very comfy).
We didn’t really want to do a first dance – we love dancing, but not slow dancing (with everybody watching!). However, we both love music, so decided to write a song and perform it to the guests. It was called “When we’re old”, and had funny lyrics about what we’ll still be doing when we’ve been married for many years. As a further surprise, the band we hired for the evening (Move it like Friday) suggested providing backing music for us – which we accepted! They came in with drums and bass in the chorus – it was great!
We used Abbey Sound & Light, based in Selby, to hire our dancefloor and stage for the band. We would highly recommend them – mainly because we booked them very last minute, and they managed to sort us out with something! They’re very reasonably priced and were efficient delivering and collecting the items. The black and white checked dancefloor looked great!
Another thing which made the day very special was the arrival of our first niece, Olivia. My sister gave birth the day before the wedding, but still managed to make it to the ceremony with the baby! We had photographs taken with her, which will be lovely to look back on.
For our honeymoon, we went to Disneyworld, Florida! We both love theme parks (particularly Disney ones!) and having got engaged at Disneyland Paris, we felt it was appropriate We went for two weeks and alternated between the four main parks and waterparks. We were on a dining plan so got loads to eat – too much! Many burgers and chicken nuggets, but it was delicious. We each got a novelty hat – I got white Minnie Mouse ears with a veil attached, and Jonny got a Goofy hat with Micky ears (many people commented on how I had married Goofy!). We went on all our favourite rides, and I even got to meet my favourite character, Baloo!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the planning stage – don’t do too much at once, and don’t leave things to do on the day before or on the day! (like I did – eek!). Do ask friends and family for help – they love to feel involved.
And most of all, enjoy the day. Guests will have a good time no matter what, so just focus on the two of you making memories.
May 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Gemma and Ivan started out with an all white theme. That didn’t last long.
Instead, this fun couple opted for bold brights, glam detail, fabulous florals and lots of entertaining extras.
Images by Phil Nunez Photography.
Gemma says: Ivan asked me to marry him at T3, London Heathrow just prior to boarding on holiday to Mauritius! We actually met at T2 four years earlier after meeting on the internet. I was refusing to meet him and he knew I was flying out on business so just turned up, really glad he did now!
We said I do at Newton Hall, Newton-by-the-Sea on 15th March 2014.
Northumberland has been a second home to me since a child as we have a family holiday home in Alnwick, so when we stumbled across Newton Hall whilst supping cocktails in Mauritius shortly after getting engaged it seemed fate.
We had to wait a few months before we could make the 300 mile journey up north to see the real thing so anticipation was high on the day.
We looked at other venues but for us nothing else came close to ticking the boxes – the location, the quirky style, the superior service & attention to detail, it felt completely right.
Our theme developed over the months, but from the offset we wanted something a bit different. We didn’t want pretty: we wanted full on, bold, fun, glam, quirky & wow. We wanted a wedding that reflected our taste and likes.
We found a Liberty print fabric that we fell in love with – we used this as basis for our colours scheme and the fabric itself for custom made ties & handkerchiefs. We also used the stag silhouette from Newton Hall as the stationery theme.
We started out with an all white colour palette and decided to turn it all on its head as the theme developed using bold colours: pinks, blues, purples mixed with neutral colours and textures.
We really loved the idea of having a fun & colourful glam theme, especially at the weather in March was likely to be dull.
I chose a BIG dress – which was a complete shock. I set out thinking slinky & plain and landed up very fitted with a massive flamenco like bottom with a huge train.
I used Mariposa, a small bridal boutique close to home. They encouraged me to try different styles which was really helpful. Being a size 14 I felt nervous that everything would look awful but they were really good at choosing flattering styles.
In the end I wanted to wear something I would never had dreamt of, or have occasion to wear again.
My bridesmaid wore an aubergine dress from House of Fraser’s own collection. Again we didn’t want a traditional dress, we wanted glam: it had a beautiful metal collar and a thigh high split with towering LK Bennett heels. Having just a single bridesmaid made the choices super easy.
We hired navy tails for the groom’s party and teamed them with duck egg linen waistcoats. Ivan wore the Liberty print tie, and the rest of the party ruches with Liberty print handkerchiefs. They looked super smart but edgy.
Amy from Rose & Bird did our make-up and totally nailed what I wanted from the start. Kara from Kara Scott Hair catered for our hair needs. I didn’t have any specific ideas on hair so she worked through lots of ideas with me which was great. Both Amy & Kara we brilliant company on the day putting everyone at ease…and the make-up & hair lasted all day despite the crazy winds on the beach!
Phil Nunez was our photographer and such an important part of the day. We wanted natural pictures, no posed formal shots – this was really important for us. Phil’s work is incredible, he gets the most beautiful of shots in the most simple of surroundings, such a talent. When we saw the results of the pre-wedding shoot we knew we’d hit gold.
I carried a hand tied bouquet of mainly deep and hot pink David Austin roses with elements of flowers being used in the table centres such as a splash sensation, lisisanthus, freesia & thistles to link to the buttonholes.
My favourite part of the day has to be walking back down the aisle as Mrs Scott under the raining confetti, to the whooping & cheering of friends & family – unforgettable.
I had requested that the ladies go for fantastical headwear, keeping in line with the bold & glam theme. Newton Hall installed a hat line which we hung messages from – I loved this idea.
The Finishing Touch Company catered for all our flower and decorative needs. From the start Charlotte was great – lots of ideas and patience! Her work really did make our day. I actually cried when I saw our wedding I saw the rooms. I’m so glad we went for it with the flowers.
We gave our guests a tea towel as a favour. A designer friend helped us create the design and then we had them printed on natural calico
Our table flowers were huge displays of roses in pinks of different shades, thistles, pink lisianthus, pink freesia, splash sensation, muscari, veronica, ranunculus, pink anemone and bouvardia – they looked spectacular!
We hired in a photo booth from Snaparazzi and this really made the evening. The guests loved it and the pictures are a fantastic memory.
We also hired in big illuminated letters from Coco Luminaire which we used around the venue – such a cool backdrop.
For our evening entertainment wee hired in Func on the Rocks – we chose them by blind listening and they stood out a mile. They were fabulous on the night and totally played to the audience. We had so many compliments on the band.
One of my closest friends Jojo made our wedding cake – inspiration came from a wedding show we visited. She decided to create the wedding cake as our wedding gift and she certainly delivered. Jojo can barely cook an evening meal so this was a massive challenge and she delivered 1000%… even if she did leave half of it accidentally on the train to Edinburgh, only just getting it back in the nick of time!
After the wedding we headed out to Marrakech for a mini-moon and are booked for two weeks in Bangkok & Phuket in the Autumn.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have the day you want, don’t worry about what you think your guests expect. It’s such a monumental occasion, so make sure you research your photographer – their work will be your lasting physical memory for decades to come.
Congratulations Gemma & Ivan!
This is not a sponsored post
February 21st, 2014 | Julia Braime
If you follow the blog over on Twitter and Facebook – you’ll probably have guessed that I am just a little bit excited about kicking off our jam packed season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions with one of my very favourite events, North East SUPER show, the Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza Grand Wedding Exhibition at the gorgeous 4* Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield, County Durham THIS SUNDAY (that’s come around quick!) on Sunday 23rd February 2014.
If the level of pre-registrations that Team Brides Up North has received from you lovely ladies is anything to go by, it’s going to be an amazing day! We love hearing your little stories and getting excited with you and we can’t wait to meet so many of you in person.
Other wedding fairs? Pah! What’s the point?! We are very proud to run OFFICIALLY the largest and most exciting FREE ENTRY bridal exhibitions in the North East (our last epic event at Hardwick’s sister hotel, Ramside Hall, attracted over 2,000 visitors in one afternoon – now that’s big!) with two specially choreographed professional fashion shows and almost (and sometimes over) 80 – 100 exhibitors at each, tempting on the day discounts and stuffed goody bags tailor made for each event. I might like things big and exciting, but I also like them personal.
And yes, you read that right, the events are FREE ENTRY. Cos I love ya, baby.
So, get the first of our huge North East events firmly in the diary (in indelible pen please) and come along to support the most fabulous wedding suppliers in your area – I only work with the best, dahlings – for an inspiration packed afternoon of all that is pretty, new and super gorgeous in the wedding industry. And the most important bit? Local to YOU.
And can I vouch for the beautiful 4* wedding venue that is Hardwick Hall Hotel? Well, I chose it to host my own wedding day back in October 2012 – and what’s a better recommendation than that?!.
If you would like to beat the queues, gain speedy entry and grab yourself a FREE Brides Up North Goody Bag packed with little treats from Brides Up North, the regions’ best bridal glossy magazines well as some fab on-the-day-only exhibitor discounts – while stocks last only – you can pre-register for VIP Bride to Be access now. What are you waiting for?
To register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag fill in your details below, marking the Brides Up North event venue of choice e.g. “HARDWICK HALL” in the subject line and quoting “VIP”. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag upon entry to the Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. Only the bride need register for larger groups.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not wish to use the contact form. VIP Bride- To-Be Goody Bags are limited and subject to availability. We operate a first come, first served polic
This is a Brides Up North Event
Accent Bridal, Beckwith Events, Belle Bridal Magazine, brides up north wedding exhibition, brides up north wedding fair, Cavanagh Couture, celebration cakes, Chiyo McMillan Photography, Cordelia & Co, damian hall photography, dandy events, Daniel Lewis Photography, Darlington Weddings, Debenhams Wedding Gifts Metro Centre, durham wedding, Elliott McCarthy, Enchantments Florist, Eve Photography, Everything But The Dress, Exclusively Yours, Glitz and Glamour Hair & Makeup, Grange Photography, Gray Events Ltd, greenwoods, gs studio photography, GW Holmes & Son, Hardwick Hall Hotel, hardwick hall wedding, hardwick hall wedding fair, House Of Fraser, Ideal Photos, IsaBelles Brides, jeff dingle, just perfect, Kellen Dance Academy, Kellys Event Boutique, Kiss The Bride Magazine, limelight photobooth hire, Little B Stationery, LMS Events & Entertainments, love is sweet company, lovedub cars, LPG Endermologie Clinic, Martin Ker Photography, Mia Sposa Bridal & Menswear, Millenium Limousines, mobeus jewellers, Molton & Brown, nigel playle photography, north east wedding fair, Paul Lytton Magician, Pure Wedding Stationery, Roger Burlison Photography, Rosemount Designs, Ruby Shoes, Sarah Ford Textiles, Sareli Jewellery, sedgefield wedding, Snaparazzi Photo Booths, Susans Bridal, The Psyche Department Store, the wedding guide, uk wedding blog, Village Photography, Vision Hair & Beauty, Wedding APP UK, wedding pages, what katy did next, Wild & Wonderful, wynard hall wedding
October 7th, 2013 | Julia Braime
So, with 160 brides and their families at yesterday’s beautiful show at The Mansion, and well over 1,000 people in total at last week’s massive North East event at Hardwick Hall Hotel, is there a Northern bride to be who doesn’t know about our Revolution yet?! Thank you all for your wonderful support at these and our other events so far this season.
There’s still more where those came from, including another gorgeous Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Nostell Priory this Sunday 13th October and a quick stop across the Pennines at The Bowdon Rooms on Sunday 3rd November, before we close the season in style at The National Railway Museum, York on Sunday 17th November 2013 with our big vintage event. Click here to pre-register for any of these events, pronto.
More about all that later, but this morning it’s back to the Real Wedding inspiration here on the blog as we join Brides Up North reader Claire and her new husband Chris for their simple yet stylish country canvas celebration. Their day is perfectly personal and looks like a load of fun: when the Soup of the Day is “whisky” you always know that you are in for a proper party!
With images by Grazia Louise.
Claire says: We got engaged in Paris, on a freezing February day in 2011 and were married on Saturday 3rd August 2013 at a lovely traditional church in the Village of North Ferriby, East Yorkshire. We celebrated afterwards at The Wildflower Meadow, which belongs to The Keepers Lodge, in the picturesque village of Brantingham.
We knew we wanted a church service, both being teachers we’re well versed at most hymns! Our dream was to hold a relaxed reception in the countryside, and we were really lucky to find such a quiet corner of Brantingham. We went to view the field in the depths of winter when the trees were bare and the ground was frozen. We were sold as soon as we got out of the car – the view is incredible; there’s a real sense of being blissfully lost in the middle of nowhere and we knew it was somewhere we could imagine and friends and family relaxing on the big day. It also helped that the landowners were lovely, genuine people.
We tried to avoid giving the wedding a set theme; we just tended to go for things we liked. Naturally, we gravitated towards anything a bit rustic and a little less than perfect. I collected a whole host of images in the planning stages, and I was always drawn to the idea of having a relaxed country style, where nothing was too matchy.
Our colour theme began as peach, when I chose peach dresses for the bridesmaids. It quickly became apparent that peach is actually pretty hard to come by in the wedding world (popular in the 80’s apparently?!) so our palette ending up including dusky pink, pale green, sky blue and all things pastel!
My dress was chosen a full year before the wedding. I saw it in the shop window, when I wasn’t wedding dress shopping at all. I tried it on straight away and fell in love. It was only the second dress I had tried, but it had all the things I’d been looking for – lace, buttons up the back, a high neckline and cap sleeves. It was from a Phase Eight outlet, and I have lost count of how many people have commented that they couldn’t believe it was such a steal. I knew I didn’t want a veil, but invested in a beautiful flower crown which I adore.
My bridesmaids each wore a peach dress by Almari at House of Fraser. Being the amazing friends that they are, the bridesmaids used a spare dress to make part of a patchwork quilt that they gave me the night before the wedding. It prompted my first wedding tears!
I carried a bouquet of mixed pastel coloured flowers including delphinium, flock, peonies and lavender to reflect the buttonholes.
We travelled in a vintage Bramwith. The bridesmaids were ferried around in Chris’ dad’s Land Rover!
We tried very hard to support local suppliers and independent businesses. Our guy rope marquee was supplied by the lovely Will’s Marquees, a family company based in York. The catering was provided by Dine on the Rowe, based in Beverley. I sourced most of the flowers through a website called ‘Flowers from the Farm’, the best man and I drove to a local farm two days before the wedding and picked up three huge buckets full of home grown wildflowers. Our photographers were Grazia Louise, who were incredible.
We knew from the start that a formal three course meal wasn’t right for our setting – cooking up 80 chicken dishes in the middle of a field in the height of summer just didn’t feel right. Instead, we provided Yorkshire themed canapés as guests arrived at the field, followed by huge picnic hampers on each table. The hampers were crammed full of local specialities and seemed to go down an absolute treat! We served some extra nibbles later in the evening, but had lots left over by the time the night was drawing to a close.
Outside the marquee we used old deck chairs and hay bales to provide seating and Chris set up cricket and croquet to satisfy the PE teacher in him. I handmade all the stationery myself, including the table plan, place names, invites and order of service. It was time consuming but enjoyable and made everything feel so much more personal.
A friend and colleague who is an incredible artist painted a huge banner of the two of us which hung behind the dance floor and we asked guests to write messages on postcards instead of the traditional guestbook.
We played music from an iPod during dinner then enjoyed lots of laid back guitar courtesy of The Travelling Polar Bears, a band consisting of our best man’s gardeners! They were absolutely fantastic at playing old classics and personal favourites. Towards the end of the night, I could be found barefooted on the dance floor.
I love listening to Jerusalem, and hearing it in the church was really lovely. The most incredible moment though, was my new husband’s funny/touching/ridiculous/gorgeous speech.
For our honeymoon, we went to Kuala Lumpur, followed by a private island off the coast of Malaysia and then Hong Kong. For us, the trip of a lifetime.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to stay true to yourselves and your priorities- we wanted a to provide all the guest drinks, and managed to do it by creating a makeshift bar and sacrificing things we weren’t as concerned about, like individual favours. Ultimately, when people look back on your day, it should reflect the two of you and your lifestyle. Oh, and leave yourself longer than you think to get ready!
Congratulations Claire & Chris!
This is not a sponsored post
Subscribe to receive the FREE weekly Brides Up North e-shot, our newletters and notifications of events, giveaways and offers
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.