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.
June 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
While we love to see the quirky wedding themes that certain couples pull out of the bag here at Brides Up North HQ, we also never tire a classic and romantic themed celebration like Emma and Mark’s big day.
After a decade together, Emma and Mark tied the knot during a traditional church ceremony followed by an elegant reception at Rockliffe Hall, complete with pretty styling in loved-up hues of pale pink and champagne.
Emma looked absolutely stunning in her lace Pronovias gown but was also keen for her maids to feel amazing on the big day too and so let them choose their dress style for the wedding. Certainly no sign of Bridezilla here then!
With images by Brides Up North featured supplier, Stan Seaton Photography.
emma says: Mark and I had been together for eight years when he proposed. We met at college at 16. Mark proposed to me in our flat in Gateshead on Christmas Day. I remember the morning vividly, in fact he hadn’t slept well all night! He woke very early on Christmas morning, showered and shaved and encouraged me to get dressed. I insisted on staying in my PJs like I always do on Christmas Day. Mark let me open my other presents under the Christmas tree. There was then a large box left at the back of the tree. As I unwrapped it I quickly saw there was a smaller box inside. At this point Mark went down on one knee and popped the question! My family were excitedly waiting to see the ring at Christmas dinner.
Our wedding was the 3rd August 2014. We were very keen to have a summer wedding and hoped for a warm sunny day which we were fortunate enough to get. With being a teacher it made sense having a summer wedding as we have lots of family and friends who are teachers who we wanted at the wedding. It also allowed a good amount of time off for our honeymoon.
We got married at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-Wear. I was born and raised in Witton village and the church was very meaningful to me and my family as it was where my younger brother and I were christened.
We then travelled to Rockliffe Hall for our reception. My mum encouraged me to visit Rockliffe Hall when we were first planning the wedding and as soon as we stepped inside we knew it had to be our venue. Rockliffe Hall is absolutely stunning and the staff are so accommodating.
We chose to get married in 2014 as that year we celebrated our tenth anniversary together. We chose a ‘Ten Years in Love’ theme where each table name was a year we had spent together with a picture of something special we had done during that year. We were both keen to keep the style of the wedding as traditional as possible and so went for a romantic feel with pink and cream roses.
We chose champagne as our wedding colour scheme as it fitted well with our romantic theme. My bridesmaids were at the front of my mind when picking the colours for the wedding as I wanted a colour that they would all feel comfortable wearing.
I knew from the beginning of planning the wedding that I wanted a lace wedding dress. Though I did make sure to try on other styles too. I was keen to wear a fitted lace dress and chose a beautiful Pronovias gown from Mia Sposa in Newcastle.
Mark was keen to buy himself and the other groomsmen a suit that fitted well. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks as we had to find a suit that would fit both my 16-year-old brother and our dads! We purchased the suits from T M Lewin. We hired the ivory waistcoats from Affleck and Moffat in Darlington and bought the champagne ties and pocket squares from Moss in Newcastle.
The bridesmaids were a great help in finding their dresses. I was keen for them to help shop for them as I wanted them to feel comfortable and happy on the day. We found their champagne BIBA dresses in House of Fraser. They looked beautiful.
For the big day we hired a Daimler and a Beauford from Classic Wedding Cars. My dad and I travelled in the Beauford and our bridesmaids and my mum travelled in the Daimler. Mark travelled with our best man in his car alongside my brother and his brother. Mark and I then travelled to Rockliffe in the Beauford.
Our photographers were Jane Miller and Stan Seaton from Stan Seaton Photography in Darlington. There was no question about choosing Stan and Jane as our photographers as my family had already worked with them before on a family photo shoot. We took a look at their wedding albums at a wedding fayre and were blown away by the quality of their work. They are both extremely professional but also very friendly and helpful.
On the day they felt more like our guests than photographers. Many of our guests commented on their work on the day of the wedding and also since seeing our wedding album. We would highly recommend them and can’t wait to work with them again in the future – perhaps when we have a family of our own!
I carried a beautiful bouquet made by Flowers by Nattrass in Darlington. I chose to have pink and avalanche roses in my bouquet as they are my favourite flowers. The flowers also worked extremely well with the colour scheme and complemented both my dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Nattrass also supplied our flowers for the church and reception. Laura from Nattrass was extremely helpful when we were choosing our flowers as we were unsure how to decorate the room. Laura invited us down to the Rockliffe during a wedding fayre to see an idea set up on the table. It was a great help to visualise the room and we ended up going for that display. We had roses inside large martini glasses.
We had our wedding stationery designed by Kristen from Noble Fine Art. She was an excellent help and certainly very patient as we made our decision. We could not have asked for nicer wedding stationary. They complemented the tables in the orangery extremely well.
We wanted to keep the traditional part of the wedding of cutting the cake but neither of us were too worried about spending lots of money on a cake. As such, we bought a jam and sponge wedding cake from Marks & Spencer and decorated it ourselves with fresh roses from Nattrass and champagne ribbon.
Choosing the menu for the wedding breakfast was a huge highlight of our wedding planning (especially for Mark). We knew all the food at Rockliffe would be stunning and we found it extremely difficult to choose.
For our wedding day entertainment we chose to have David Ball play the piano during the drinks reception. Later in the evening he also performed a live set with his guitar and sang a range of songs from Buble to Kings of Leon. We also had a photo booth for guests to have fun with the props. This worked well as our guestbook too as they stuck their photos in alongside a message and then had a set of photos to take away with them as a wedding favour.
A very special touch to our wedding day was my younger brother Patrick playing me down the aisle. He played Trumpet Voluntary on his trumpet. A family friend of ours Ali Cochlan also sung a modern version of Ave Maria whilst we signed the register.
Later in the day my parents surprised us with another performance by Ali and Richi of May You Stay Forever Young by Bob Dylan as part of my dad’s speech. That was a real tear jerker for all the guests but a wonderful surprise too.
Rockliffe Hall is a stunning venue and we would certainly recommend it to others. We especially enjoyed having our wedding breakfast in the orangery as it was so light and airy. It felt so private to us and the guests. The staff are extremely helpful and on the day everything felt seamless. The grounds of Rockliffe are superb and made for great photo opportunities. Overall it was a perfect experience and we certainly didn’t want to leave the next day!
Our favourite part of the day has to be exchanging our vows in front of all our family and friends. We had both known from an early age that we wanted to marry each other and when the day finally came we couldn’t wait. We both also enjoyed the evening reception where we got to relax and party with our close friends and family, some of which had travelled some distance to be there so it was great to catch up with them!
We went to Santorini in Greece on our honeymoon. Mark actually booked it as a surprise and I had no clue where we were going until we reached the departure lounge! It was a great feeling having the surprise after a busy 22 months planning the wedding. The only difficulty I had was knowing what to pack! Lots of my friends asked me how I felt leaving the honeymoon plans to Mark but I knew I could trust his decisions. We spent a glorious two weeks away in the sun eating lots of beautiful Greek food.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be that although at times you can get carried away with the wedding plans (and sometimes get stressed) remember what the big day is really all about. The only important thing that matters on the day is that you are committing to spend the rest of your life with your best friend and the person you love. Don’t let the small things worry you!
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March 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
In the latest instalment of our wedding alphabet on the blog we wrote about love and urged brides-to-be to remember the real reason they’re tying the knot when in the midst of the planning pressure.
Today’s couple are a great example of how couples can enjoy the tasks that come with organising a wedding whilst also truly reflecting their love for one another, and those closest to them, on the big day itself.
Leigh and Ben (and Leigh’s mum) certainly made the most of the wedding planning with numerous fun days out to piece together their perfect wedding in the Lake District. The celebrations then featured special gifts, personalised vows and surprise readings to make for one incredibly loved-up big day.
Can you feel the love?
With images by Dave Greaves Photography.
leigh says: We got engaged in the Lake District. After a gorgeous walk along Lake Windermere and a picnic Ben pulled out 12 gerbera flowers, each with a brown parcel tag attached and on them was each month we’d been together and a special memory from that month. Of course, by now, the butterflies had started fluttering about in my stomach, wondering what all this effort was for! Ben asked me to go and stand by the lake for a photo, and as we’d been setting the camera up with the tripod all week, I thought nothing of it so went to stand with my toes in the lake – turned around and there he was on one knee with my ring in a beautiful glass box filled with rose petals. Needless to say I cried and Ben got the whole thing on film.
We chose to set the date for 16th August 2014, at 2pm, because it was the exact time and date that Ben proposed the year before. Allowing a year gave us just the right amount of time to plan and organise everything that we wanted without having to wait too long!
Since I was little, the Lake District has always had a special place in my heart and Silverholme was everything we could have wanted and more in a venue. It was our home for the week of the wedding and could not have been more perfect: immaculate and intricate detail and décor, breath-taking views, right on the lake, gorgeous grounds and most of all, enough rooms and space to accommodate all of our family and bridal party members. It allowed us to enjoy the set up over a few days and dine together, and most certainly laugh together! There are some very amusing photos somewhere of my brother pretending to set up the whole wedding singlehandedly!
We wanted a wedding that would be us, and represent us as a couple. With that in mind, we didn’t necessarily go for a theme of sorts, just classic, elegant and natural. There were a few items to tie it to the Lake District running through that were made from maps. My mother and I made 50 gift bags and confetti cones out of old maps, which took what seemed like forever but we just loved the time together!
I’ve always been a pink girl at heart, so we decided on dusky pink and grey as our colour theme. I originally wanted the bridesmaids in the pink, but we just couldn’t find anything in the exact colour we wanted, unless we were going to pay extortionate amounts so in the end we accented everything with the pink, but the bridesmaids wore grey, like the groomsmen. These colours were also reflected in our invites, which Ben and I designed together, and then he and his mother sat for a few hours, meticulously making sure all corners and edges were perpendicular and equal distances from each other as they made them.
My dress was actually my second dress! In my ‘I’m-newly-engaged-and-so-excited-to-be-married-I-want-a-dress-now!’ state, we went to a factory retail store where I could try on loads of dresses. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t need the whole bridal boutique experience, and was just so eager to get a dress, I ended up buying a princess style dress with huge tulle skirt and feathers on the bust. It was lovely but by Christmas I’d decided I hated it! So, my parents, who have the most patience in the world came with me for a whole day of five boutique appointments back to back. Thankfully after trying on every single style imaginable I had an idea of what I wanted. Lots of internet browsing, a few emails later and I walked into Adele Louise Bridal, tried on a sample of the dress I’d tracked down as perfect and wow! It could not have fitted more perfectly, or looked more ‘me’. It was the 8659 design by Justin Alexander. Adele looked after me very well, and I loved the bridal boutique experience so much!
I bought a gorgeous pair of dusky pink diamante shoes from Black Sand by Dune. They glistened every time they caught the light. I didn’t want my jewellery to detract from the dress so I found a simple diamond and pearl drop earring and necklace set in Cupitt jewellers, in Bromsgrove. My parents got me a delicate pearl bracelet for Christmas, to match.
The final piece I bought was my hairpiece. I had seen one similar, but anyone that knows me well will understand why I had a hard time coming to terms with paying more for a giant hair clip than for a pair of KG’s! Luckily for me, a friend of mine, Melonie Jane, is a jewellery maker and made me my own version for a fraction of the price! It was so lovely to know that it was a one off and tied in with the whole outfit so perfectly.
All of the above was classed as my ‘Something New’; my ‘Something Old’ was my Nan’s brooch, which was incorporated into my bouquet to make her a part of the day; my ‘Something Borrowed’ was my other Nan’s brooch, also attached to my bouquet; and my ‘Something Blue’ was my garter.
Ben wears a suit for work every single day, therefore he wanted something different for the wedding that would make him feel special. We had two choices – the country style tweed look, or the top hat and tails get up. Nothing about the tweed went with anything we had set our hearts on, and wasn’t really Ben at all. He had his heart set on tails from the start and, after scouring a few wedding fayres, we found his perfect suit, which he hired from 1860. I safely steered him away from the idea of a top hat. Little did I know though that on the day Ben had chosen to wear a little something else under his suit, which he and the other groomsmen revealed in an excellent photo. Each one of them ripped open their shirts to reveal a superhero T-shirt, then set about different poses that had every guest, and me, in absolute stitches!
The groomsmen all had matching suits from 1860, separating them apart from Ben with the colour of their waistcoats.
My best friend Heather, sister-in-law-to-be Jenna, and sister-in-law-on-the-day Lou, were my gorgeous bridesmaids. We had a really fun day out trying dresses on together, and eventually, after some more online searching, came to the floor length grey designs from House Of Fraser. They looked gorgeous in them. We teamed them with some heels from Dune. On the morning of the wedding I gave them all a gift box to say thank you and inside there was: a Fossil purse (each individualised to their taste), a photo from the hen do in a frame, a pair of grey pearl earrings, a grey pearl necklace that I had made for each of them, a pink pashmina, in case they got cold and a pair of pretty flat sandals too, for when their feet got tired.
Dave Greaves was our amazing photographer. We first met him for our engagement shoot just outside of Lakeside, he put us at ease and produced some beautiful, natural photos of the two of us just being us. Every single bit of contact was responded to swiftly and he was extremely accommodating in capturing the types of shots we asked for. As for the photos of the day itself, they tell the story of the day so perfectly. From the silliness and giddiness of the bridal suite, the tears and laughter of the ceremony, the stunning couple shots and the fun of the first dances. We cannot recommend Dave highly enough.
I’m not a fan of flowers at all. That said, my parents are florists and own Danckert’s Florist (maybe I just grew up around so many flowers that I didn’t learn to appreciate them). So originally I wasn’t going to have flowers at all, but one day, when scrolling through my daily dose of wedding blogs, I fell in love with a very whimsical, unstructured bouquet that had trailing ivory and millet hanging gracefully down that I spotted on Brides Up North. I sent a picture to my Mom, who then mocked up my perfect bouquet, incorporating raspberry roses and gerberas into the mix. Simple, elegant and slightly whimsical – me to a tee! The centrepiece decorations were designed around large, silver candlesticks and matched my bouquet perfectly.
Whenever we visit The Lakes, we always make a trip into Hawkshead to visit Hawkshead Relish. Their jams and chutneys are delicious so we bought mini jams and chutneys as favours and attached a little tag with a poem on it.We put them in the bags that Mom and I had squirrelled away over and attached a photo of each guest as a child in a little frame to the top. When everyone arrived at the meal, there wasn’t a seating plan, just a case of finding their childhood memory and sitting down. So many guests said they loved the idea!Also in the bags were Help For Heroes key rings. Ben’s brother is part of the army and had recently completed a tour in Afghanistan where we all worried about him non-stop, so we thought it fitting to donate the money to a cause close to our hearts.
As neither of us are cake fans, we decided not to have one! Instead, we had a cheese tower that my Mom sourced from Ansteys Cheese. We had layers of Brie, Wensleydale and Cranberry, Cheddar, Stilton, and Garlic Roule, which my mom entwined with roses and ivy, served with some quirky crackers, biscuits and Hawkshead Relish chutneys.
For something sweet I went to Chesters By the River, where Ben had our proposal lunch from, and picked up a selection of their sweet things then chopped them into smaller pieces and set them out on slate platters. Ben’s sister, and my bridesmaid, Lou, who is an amazing baker, also made us a selection of delicious cupcakes.
On our first trip to The Lakes as a couple, we went with my parents to The Brown Horse at Winster, where they’ve been going for food for many years. We decided we wanted to give our nearest and dearest a proper Lake District experience and take them to a traditional pub for our food for the day. At 5pm we all boarded a coach at the top of the drive and had a scenic trip over to Winster, where the staff were absolutely amazing. The food was out of this world amazing. We then made our way back to the coach for the return journey, which was slightly more alcohol fuelled than the first leg.
Rustic Roast Kitchen, my best friend Heather’s company, provided our canapés. She and the ever so helpful bridesmaids helped to prepare it all on the morning; they were absolutely delicious, and there was not a single morsel left in sight! We also put on a free bar, provided by Bar Thirty Two, for all of our guests.
We love a night out at The Jam House, Birmingham. Dino Baptiste plays there regularly, and whips the crowds up into a right frenzy with his eclectic style and well-chosen repertoire of songs. We booked him pretty much straight away. With only having a small room and a small amount of people, we didn’t want a full band, and Dino and his drummer, Matt Tovey, did a sterling job. We were dancing all night long. During the break, my Dad dropped out that we are an acoustic duo and they even let me sing an impromptu song for Ben!
We organised a few special touches and gifts for our nearest and dearest to thank them for their support. As well as the gifts for the bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding I’d laid out matching outfits for the girls and both mothers outside all of their rooms – PJ bottoms, a white vest top and a hoodie with their names in diamantes on the back. I had also hung everyone’s outfits up on their own pretty, personalised hangers that I got from my own company, LoveLeigh Designs. I sent the groomsmen gifts of superhero socks and attached each guy’s favourite alcohol miniature to them.
Ben sent me over a gift – a beautiful pearl earring and necklace set and card. The words had me in floods of tears – good job it was pre-make up! I also sent him a gift – a leather overnight bag that he could keep and use forever. We bought special thank you gifts for our parents too.
I’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. If you want a wedding based around family, where everyone can be together in drop dead gorgeous surroundings, relax in luxury and plan your day your way, then Silverholme is the right choice.
It’s so hard to pinpoint one favourite part of the wedding day! I can tell you that we made the most of every single opportunity to celebrate the occasion – my mom and I had so many days out, lunches, and so on together. The family time the planning created was magical. Ben and I did every ounce of planning together, all decisions were the both of us, and we made some great days out together because of it too – every part of the lead up was exciting and full of fun.
The day after the wedding we met everyone still staying in the area for a ‘dip’ in the lake then went to Go Ape. We finished the night off with a barbecue and opening of our cards and gifts. Perfect end to a perfect week.
We had a one night mini-moon in a gorgeously quirky favourite Lakeland place of mine called Randy Pike where Andy and Chrissy looked after us like family. Our official honeymoon will be in Chicago to go and visit my godparents who couldn’t make it to the wedding – we have yet to organise it!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is enjoy and savour every moment of everything. From the planning to the saying thank you at the end. Do things together and acknowledge each other’s differences in opinion and see how you can combine both ideas to come together with something even better – it all works out in the end. Stay true to ‘your day, your way,’ and it will be.
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