Charlotte Balbier

love is all around. a week-long wedding in the lake district – leigh and ben

March 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (34)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (3)

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!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (4)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (2)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (21)

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.

My hair was exactly what I wanted, and was created by Katie, at First Class Hair and Beauty. My make up was done perfectly by Aimee Chorley.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (24)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (27)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (32)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (31)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (37)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (40)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (39)

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!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (41)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (44)

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.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (54)

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!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (55)

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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graceful grandeur. sottero & midgley for a romantic wedding at allerton castle – angela & riccardo

March 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (25)

Today we join Angela and Riccardo for a wedding celebration in a wonderfully grand setting, complete with elegant 1920s touches.

But it isn’t just the venue and décor that’s looking good. Angela makes for a sparkling and stunning bride in a slinky Sottero and Midgley gown embellished with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads while her maids look incredibly pretty in flattering floor-length Coast designs.

The men don’t brush up half bad either as they work their dapper blue suits and mustard bow ties – cue some serious man posing!

With images by Andy Crozier of Insight Photography.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (41)

angela says: Riccardo proposed to me in Beijing on the Great Wall of China. We were on holiday just the two of us, the proposal was a great surprise. We had both always wanted to travel to China so we went and visited a few destinations including Beijing, Xian, Shanghai. When we returned we had an engagement party at Laazats in Hull. We chose to hold it on the anniversary of the date we first got together – February 15th. During the party we announced who we had chosen for our bridesmaids/best man and groomsmen. Keeping this information quiet for so long was very difficult. If anybody wanted to give a gift we asked for a donation to be made to the Macmillan charity due to recently losing a good friend to ovarian cancer at a young age.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (10)

Our wedding date was 26th July 2014 and was held at Allerton Castle. We’d always wanted a summer wedding.

Allerton Castle is the most beautiful and amazing location we’d ever seen. This was the first and the last place we visited – we instantly fell in love and never turned back. It has such character and amazing grounds. We also loved the fact that we could celebrate our complete wedding in one location. From staying over the night before in the nearby log cabins to the finishing touches and pre wedding drinks for the girls in the bridal suite and for the boys in the billiard room. We celebrated the civil ceremony within Allerton and had our wedding breakfast and reception within the castle too.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (3)

Our theme was focused around the 1920s. We felt the whole elegance of the era fitted in well with the setting for our wedding. Our colour palette was different shades of blues/purples/white and ivory.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (9)

I wore a floor-length Sottero and Midgley dress bought from a well-established bridal shop called Deborah Moore in Hessle, Hull. Deborah helped to ensure I found the perfect dress and even did all the alterations. The dress was called Lola. It was a slim A-line cut, with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads. I also opted for the choice of adding the capped sleeves. The dress colour was diamond white and pewter. I had tried on many dresses before I found this one. When I put it on I knew it was the one. I kept my dress a secret from everyone – the only people who knew were my brother’s girlfriend and my mother.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (13)

Riccardo got his suit at a shop called Rees. He wore a three-piece dark blue suit with a white shirt. He wore a mustard bow tie with matching coloured socks and brown shoes. He also had a pocket. He got his suit tailored to a high level by a local source Gillian Long, who was previously a Saville Row seamstress and is now the owner of Cock of the Walk in Hull.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (27)

The bridesmaids wore floor-length purple/grey coloured dresses bought from Coast in House of Fraser, again in Hull. They all wore diamond studs which were a present from us. Following the wedding speeches as a surprise on the big day my bridesmaids read out a poem they had written together which went through the journey of me and Riccardo meeting until the present day. This was truly amazing and very emotional!

The boys (groomsmen/best man/father of the bride) all got their suits from Next. They wore two-piece blue suits with a white shirt, brown shoes, matching coloured bow tie and socks. They all also wore a pocket watch which were individually engraved with a personal message. These were again bought by us as a gift to the groomsmen. They were all lined up in the billiard room for when the boys arrived, which was a surprise to all!

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (6)

All the ushers, best man, groom, bridesmaids and bride arrived at the nearby cabins the day before the wedding. Both groups were separated once arriving – the boys had a barbecue and beers while the girls had nibbles and a pamper session. On the day of the wedding the men walked to the castle and the girls drove.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (19)

Our photographer was Andy Crozier of Insight Photography, based in Hull. Andy captured our whole day and even stayed beyond the time we’d arranged. He went above and beyond for us throughout the day, never too pushy but ensured we got exactly what we said we wanted. Andy was great with all of our guests, young and old, and made every single person there on the day felt special. Our images were truly amazing and we would highly recommend Insight to anyone.

I knew Andy personally from childhood, we both lived on the same street since I was the age of eight. Riccardo didn’t know Andy but soon felt at ease and felt comfortable following our initial meet up. We also did a pre-wedding photo shoot at Allerton Castle which we both felt was a great touch. Andy used our favourite image as a message board for guests to sign on the day.

We also had a videographer who helped capture the memories of our wonderful day. It was a lovely and very professional guy called Dan Cain.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (32)

Our flowers were provided by Twisted Willow and were done to such a high level. We had great customer service and felt automatically at ease that the flowers and decorations were to be done professionally. Again we would definitely recommend them. My bouquet consisted of mainly white and ivory colours with a touch of pastel shades. The flowers had a lovely lace ribbon which I then attached a blue brooch to (I used this as my something blue). The brooch was borrowed from a very special friend.

In terms of décor we had a candelabra at either side of us when we read our vows which were decorated with white and pastel coloured flowers draped with crystals. We had candles on either side of the staircase and the reception tables all had tall vases with balls of flowers draped in crystals and pearls. We also had scattered tea light candles around the room.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (31)

As favours we gave small bottles of sparkling rose wine to the ladies and white sparkling wine for the men. The wedding favours had a custom made ribbon around them in dark blue with gold text which said ‘Mr and Mrs Seaton’. Also attached to the ribbon was the person’s name tag and a cluster of vintage keys. Keys being the symbol of the key to a happy life/key to success and key to a happy future. The children had loom bands and sweets.

Our wedding cake was again from a locally sourced supplier. The lady who designed and made it was the sister of a long term friend of Riccardo’s, who was also one of our ushers. The cake maker owns a shop in Sutton, Hull, called Cake-licious. We followed our 1920s theme through with our cake design. The cake was a four-tier hexagonal shape with lots of geometric prints/designs. We had different flavours: lemon, chocolate and vanilla. All of our ushers put towards buying us our cake as a gift from them.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (29)

Brides Up North Featured Supplier Dine provided our food and drinks. For our drinks post ceremony we had bottled beers and Pimms. We made our own sweetie table display with lots of retro sweets.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (39)

Music during the day was provided by the events company Trio Vivo. During the wedding breakfast we also arranged a surprise. Using the events company we set up a staged performance pretending to have a very drunk guest and a waitress who then broke out into singing opera. These two were truly amazing and left many without a dry eye. To end our celebrations we then partied through into the evening at the castle with the music supplied by Chris Hilton’s Little Big Band. We were very impressed with all!

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (38)

Towards the end of the evening we also had a five-minute firework display (and sparklers), provided by Ferrensby Fireworks. We would recommend using this service along with other fab suppliers we used on the day including hair stylists and beauticians from Bows in Anlaby for the hair and make-up and a good friend of ours Rachel Peterson from Hull who had recently completed her wedding planner course. Rachel worked with us from the beginning right until the end and ensured we both felt at ease and kept us both in line and very organised with all the planning and finer details.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (43)

We would also most definitely recommend Allerton Castle to other couples. It’s an amazing location and I’m yet to see a more perfect location.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (45)

We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we enjoyed it all! This may sound cheesy but we can genuinely describe it as the best day of our lives to date.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (49)

For our honeymoon we went to New York and Orlando, Florida. We spent one week each location. With some of the money guests gave we booked a limo trip around New York City by night which was an experience we would definitely recommend.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (50)

My top tip or other Brides Up North is enjoy every single minute of the day. People told us it would go quick and it sure did. Cherish every moment.

As an extra special touch on the wedding day we set up a message in a bottle for our guests to each put a message in for us. The plan is that we will smash it open on our first wedding anniversary (which we’re hoping to celebrate in Hawaii) and read all of the messages.

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roses and lace. maggie sottero for an elegant wedding at Hassop Hall – laura & giles

March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (29)

Today’s real wedding is one classy do. Laura and Giles chose a traditional church wedding followed by a reception and the stately Hassop Hall.

Their big day is brimming with elegance, from the bride’s wedding attire to the beautiful blooms and transportation in the form of a horse-drawn carriage.

Though clearly a sophisticated couple, they didn’t take all elements too seriously as their wedding album features a rather unusual image. Their photographer Kate Cooper explains: “Giles and Laura requested a shot that I’ve seen online where a dinosaur is superimposed on a photo of a screaming bridal party – I joked that I could superimpose whatever I liked, cue the giant hamster artwork from the Beastie Boys Intergalactic single.”

Images by Kate Cooper Photography.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (3)

laura says: We were on a walk in the countryside near one of our favourite pubs when Giles suddenly asked me to marry him on the first warm day of spring 2013. Although I’d hoped he would propose sooner or later, it was a complete surprise and I was very touched that he’d secretly asked my father for my hand in marriage the day before.

We both really love the month of September, so thought it would be a good time to get married – we set the date for 20th September 2014.

We had our ceremony at St Giles Church in Great Longstone, Derbyshire, and the reception was held at Hassop Hall which is about 1.5 miles away. Although we live in London, we decided to get married in the Peak District which is where Giles grew up and where a lot of his family live. It was important to us to get married in a church. St Giles is the parish church in the village in which Giles’ mother lives. It is a beautiful medieval church and we also liked its name! Once we’d chosen the church, we started looking at reception venues. We were absolutely thrilled to have our reception at Hassop Hall which we cannot praise highly enough.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (6)

We didn’t have a theme as such, it was just a complete jumble of stuff that we liked. For the reception stationery we had a loose travel theme (a seating plan map, luggage tag name cards etc) but this theme wasn’t reflected in our save the dates or wedding invitations. We didn’t have a colour scheme as such either, although I was quite keen on the idea of having muted dusky shades in the girls’ dresses and the flowers because I thought they’d look nice together.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (7)

I wore a Maggie Sottero lace and tulle dress called Bronwyn which was customised by a local seamstress who removed the top of the keyhole back to make a low v back and altered the sleeves. I bought it from Allison Jayne in Clifton, Bristol, which is where one of my sisters lives. To be honest, in the run up to our wedding, the dress felt like a real compromise. I chose it because it was comfortable, in budget and I liked the warm ivory colour. In my heart I would have liked a Jenny Packham dress but we needed a new boiler so I was determined to be good! However, on our actual wedding day I loved my dress, especially when it was combined with all my lovely accessories.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (11)

I wore Rachel Simpson shoes, a veil that was custom made to match the dress by Ali Rouse at Unique Dress and pearl drop earrings that were a gift from Giles. In the evening, I wore art deco style earrings, headband and a matching belt. I also wore a faux fur stole which was borrowed from a friend.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (10)

One of my sisters lives in Sheffield so she was able to winkle out some fabulous contacts for us. She recommended Jenn Edwards and her team who did hair and makeup for me, the bridesmaids and my mother on the day of the wedding. I’d wholeheartedly recommend Jenn and her team. They were very funny, incredibly talented and we all felt like more beautiful versions of ourselves.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (16)

Giles wore a three-piece made-to-measure suit from A Suit That Fits in a grey herringbone fabric and Oliver Sweeny brown shoes.

The bridesmaids wore mismatched dresses in dusky shades – blue, green and grey – cream cardigans and nude shoes. I wanted them to have a romantic country feel, but wear colours that they liked and styles that they might feasibly wear again. The mismatched dresses were much more difficult to find than I had envisaged. After many hours of trawling the internet and a thorough search of the high street we bought the dresses from Ariella (available at House of Fraser), Debenhams and Monsoon. The cardigans were from Boden and the girls wore their own shoes. The groomsmen wore their own suits and ties to tone in with the girls’ dresses.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (21)

My mother-in-law hired a horse drawn carriage for the travel to and from the church. I was initially a bit apprehensive as I was worried it might be a bit Big Fat Gypsy Wedding but it was a really thoughtful touch and one of my favourite parts of the day. It was wonderful travelling in the carriage with my father from the cottage that we had hired in Little Longstone to St Giles Church and hearing the wedding bells ring across the fields.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (22)

Kate Cooper was our photographer. She was recommended by one of my sisters who met her through friends. I would 100 per cent recommend Kate – she’s very good at catching little intimate moments and managed to take some lovely photos of two people who don’t really like having their photo taken. We felt very relaxed and laughed a lot when Kate was taking our photos and I think that shows in the end results.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (24)

My vintage style bouquet was made by Swallows & Damsons, based in Sheffield. It was made up of dusky pink roses, pepita spray roses, ivory waxflower, steel berries, astilbe, dusky pink astrantia and purple veronica and eucalyptus. I loved it so much but was still happy to throw my bouquet at the end of the evening!

We had lots of flowers from Swallows & Damsons at our reception too – similar to the flowers in my bouquet. The urns and small vases were at the church to begin with, as pedestals and pew ends, and were then transported to Hassop Hall for the reception. Before the wedding day I also spent hours writing names on luggage tags in straggling calligraphy then tying these on to rolled napkins with ribbons and lavender sprigs for the tables.

Instead of giving out favours we made a donation to the Disasters Emergency Commission.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (33)

My lovely sisters and mother made our wedding cake. Extra special thanks go to my sister Miranda who made hundreds of sugar flowers to match our wedding flowers which cascaded down the side of the cake. I’m not a huge fan of fruit cake, so we had a chocolate tier, an orange and almond tier and a coffee tier. It was delicious!

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (39)

For our wedding meal we had a smoked chicken and bacon salad with a honey and orange dressing, followed by onion soup, then roast pork with all the trimmings and to finish, individual summer puddings. We went to Hassop Hall for Sunday lunch with our parents so we could taste different menu options. It was a difficult choice as they were all delicious but these were our favourite dishes.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (43)

Giles’ school friend Emlyn, was kind enough to arrange a pair of jazz musicians for us as a wedding present to provide entertainment. They played during the drinks reception. We also had a disco provided by Spirits High after dinner.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (44)

I can’t praise Hassop Hall enough. We live in London so weren’t able to visit the venue very often but Helen thought of every last detail and ensured that the day ran absolutely seamlessly. The service was excellent and the wedding breakfast was one of the best mass catered meals that I have ever eaten.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (48)

My favourite part of the wedding would be the horse and carriage ride with my new husband from the church to Hassop Hall, it was really lovely to be able to have ten minutes to take everything in together. I also enjoyed the impromptu midnight feast that Hassop Hall rustled up for a hungry bride at the end of the night.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (54)

For our honeymoon we went to Scotland for ten days, breaking our journey in the Lake District. We were blessed with good weather so enjoyed lots of wonderful walks together in the stunning scenery as well as some fabulous food. Our favourite places that we stayed were The Gilpin and Monarchyle Mhor.

a classy wedding at Hassop Hall (c) Kate Cooper Photography (38)

My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to outsource where possible – the less you have to do in the days before the wedding, the better, as there will always be last minute issues. Spend some time working out the logistics of the wedding day and the days either side. We had a plan of who was doing what when and how things (flowers that were re-used, luggage etc) were moving from one venue to the other. We circulated this plan to the bridesmaids and groomsmen and think it really helped the day to go without a hitch.

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get it on the gift list. blissful bathrooms

February 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Debenhams

Debenhams

A little ‘me time’ becomes all the more essential when co-habiting and continues throughout marriage. For us ladies our bathrooms are the perfect place to escape to for some low-key pampering when the Sky Sports becomes just a little too much.

Whether it’s to slap on a little fake tan, apply a face mask or totally indulge in a tub full of bubbles with a glass of wine to hand, bathrooms are the haven of the home. For me that makes anything that will make your bathroom all the more blissful an ideal item for the wedding gift list.

From luxurious Egyptian cotton towels and top-notch toiletries to opulent accessories, there are plenty of options to choose from.

House of Fraser

House Of Fraser

When setting up home together it could be that you made do with the odd towels you and your partner had between you, so a stylish bundle of fluffy bath sheets and hand towels is a perfect pressie – along with a matching bath mat.

Scented candles can be decorative as well as sensual for when you choose to invite your hubby to share a romantic bubble bath with you. Oh and of course you’ll need some posh hotel-style his and hers robes for when you emerge.

Though not quite as exciting attractive storage boxes and wicker clothes baskets are great for keeping the bathroom neat and tidy, so you can unwind without explosions of toiletries or dirty clothes playing on your mind.

Decorative items such as mirrors, vases, art work and soap dispensers can also help set the scene and can add the perfect finishing touches to an area of the home that you’ve been longing to complete to a Vogue Living standard.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer

For feminine style bathrooms I particularly like Next’s lilac and green floral designs in towels, bathmats and shower curtains (see gallery), as well as Debenham’s Butterfly Home by Matthew Williamson range, which includes cerise pink towels and jewel-tone glass vases.

Meanwhile for something more unisex friendly there are plenty of crisp blue and white offerings, perfect for those who like to bring a by-the-beach feel to their bathroom, plus grey and white designs for those in search of clean elegance.

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vintage coral. a pretty easter wedding at taitlands – helen & joe

February 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (30)

Unless you follow Brides Up North over on Instagram (ahem!) then you probably won’t have noticed that I’ve been off skiing in the Alps for the past seven days… a sneaky little holiday before the Brides Up North wedding exhibition madness begins, but things certainly weren’t any less pretty or less busy on these pages this last week!

I’ve left one set of mountains to come home to an email mountain of my own, so whilst I get cracking on that lot, I’ll leave you with our first beautiful wedding of the week, Helen and Joe’s stunning vintage inspired celebration in the Yorkshire Dales.

And breathe…

With images by Joe Stenson.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (17)

helen says: For my 33rd birthday we went to Manchester to watch Eddie Izzard Live.  We had booked an apartment and Joe had secretly upgraded us to the penthouse suite.  On the morning of my birthday Joe surprised me on the roof terrace with a champagne breakfast and my birthday presents.  The last present I opened was an empty box… when I looked over to Joe he was beside me and down on one knee with a ring in his pocket.  I was shocked that he had finally proposed to me and I hadn’t even seen it coming!

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (19)

We were married on 19th April 2014.  We made the most of the long Easter weekend with our friends and family.

I am from Staffordshire and Joe is from North Yorkshire so we looked at venues in both counties. We wanted to get married at a venue that had everything on one site and could offer us the whole weekend.  After doing lots of internet research on our summer holiday we had shortlisted it down to three places. After visits to all three we quickly decided on Taitlands in Stainforth, North Yorkshire.  This beautiful venue had everything on site: a coach house with marquee, a grade II listed house with guest bedrooms, a smaller cottage and beautiful walled garden with the amazing Yorkshire Dales as a backdrop.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (29)

As the venue was fairly vintage and rustic I knew to keep it in with that theme.  There were lots of homemade bunting and fabric hearts which I had spent months making and with the help of family and friends collected lots of vintage bottles from car boot sales, vintage fairs and antique shops for the flowers.  I also spray painted vintage lace doilies with coral fabric paint and used these for the table centres – a job I really loved. For the marquee we hired some huge letters of our initials from Add Vintage who I met at a vintage fair in Leeds.

My favourite colour is coral so I wanted the bridesmaids and the flowers to follow that.  I also wanted spring colours so ivory and sage green went perfectly with the coral.  The colour theme wasn’t too obvious but there were subtle hints.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (6)

After trying on about fifty different dresses (!) I had a good idea about what suited me (and what really didn’t). After trips to 13 different shops, I found a beautiful ivory gold vintage lace design by Justin Alexander at Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden and knew it was the one. I chose my veil from Ava Rose and purchased some beautiful vintage hair pieces from Chez Bec after seeing them on a wedding blog. My pearl earrings and bracelet were also from Chez Bec and I had personalised bracelets made for the bridesmaids, each with their birthstone on.  I wore beautiful vintage closed toe shoes called Orla from Rachel Simpson.

My hair and make-up was all done by Helen Whincup from Harrogate, a self-employed hairdresser.  She travelled to the venue very early and was a huge help at calming me down and getting us all ready on time.

Joe wore a blue three piece suit which he bought from Reiss in the January sales.  He accessorised with tan brown shoes from Barker Shoes and a coral and blue tie from House of Fraser.  His outfit was finished off with his Granddad’s 1970s gold pocket watch which was a surprise from me on the wedding morning enclosed in an engraved pocket pouch. He really looked very handsome.

My bridesmaids, my sister Sarah and two closest friends Thea and Jenny, wore coral lace mid length dresses from an American supplier on Etsy complimented with patent nude shoes from BHS, again in the January sales.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (20)

I walked in to ‘I will wait for you’ by Mumford and Sons (I had been waiting nearly 14 years!) and as I got to the front and Joe finally turned round I stopped crying and started to sing the lyrics to him.  I hadn’t planned to do this and afterwards I learnt that the entrance song had been played in full when they thought I was ready to come in so really he had been waiting for me!

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (4)

After seeing two or three florists I visited Twisted Willow Floristry in Ripon.  Joanna was absolutely lovely and really got the idea of what look I wanted without me knowing much about flowers.  She came up with some amazing bouquets, buttonholes and corsages made up of peonies, roses, gypsophila, lily of the valley, ranunculus, anemones, larkspur and muscari. She also provided dried confetti for my DIY paper doily confetti holders and the same flowers as the bouquets for the table centres and venue which my mother-in-law then put together in a very natural way. Joe’s mum did such an amazing job the day before putting this all together.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (21)

After the ceremony we had an Easter egg hunt and also hired some outdoor games (croquet and giant jenga) from Add Vintage to keep guests entertained.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (23)

RSVP Candy helped us produce all of our fantastic wedding stationery from the amazing personalised wedding story invite and poster to the personalised name badges, wedding programmes, table plan, table names and signs for our photo booth, easter egg hunt and sweet table.

We used vintage postcards of the Yorkshire Dales and a stamp from Not On The High Street for our save the dates.  As we had lots spare my creative sister used the leftover postcards and created us a print of our names which we hung up on the day in the ceremony room.

We also had photo bunting hung around the coach house of all our guests from over the years.  This created a lot of laughter and some embarrassment for our guests.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (25)

The food was all supplied by Taitlands’ caterers and we had a selection of Yorkshire canapés out on the lawns followed by country terrine, slow cooked Taitlands lamb and lemon tarte for the wedding breakfast.  Locally produced and perfect for spring.

The fizz and wine was all supplied by Majestic.  We had gin and elderflower tonic for when guests arrived, prosecco and raspberry liqueur for after the ceremony and a sauvignon blanc and rioja for the wedding breakfast which complimented the lamb perfectly.

We had two cakes, a 6 tier wedding cheesecake made by The Courtyard in Settle which was the main part of the evening supper with pork pies. Our good friend Hannah made three different flavoured cupcakes with a top tier fruit cake.  These were amazing and I really can’t recommend Hann-made cakes enough.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (1)

During the wedding breakfast we had a wedding quiz (all about our guests) and later on in the evening we had a DIY photobooth and polaroid camera so guests could leave their photos and messages in a guestbook.

Our favours also doubled up as pin badge place names in coral for the girls and sage green for the boys.  By the end of the day everyone was wearing them, which also helped with introductions.  We also had a sweet table and wedding quiz for our guests to enjoy.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (7)

Joe researched the entertainment for months and we were so pleased with the Leeds band that we finally chose.  Vibetown provided two great sets of live music, with two singers, brass, guitar and drums.  Our first dance was ‘Hey Ho’ by the Lumineers as we didn’t want a slow smoochy one and we both loved the lyrics.  By the second set everyone had bought the photo booth masks and props onto the dancefloor which the band found hilarious.  We also had a spontaneous breakdance competition between guests and there were one or two power cuts when the generator kept cutting out but the saxophonist kept playing solo until the power came back on. Superb.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (32)

We managed to find a top guy to take our wedding photos at a vintage fair in Leeds. Joe Stenson is unbelievably talented and such a kind, great guy to work with!  We did two engagement shoots before the wedding, including a trip to the pub which made us feel right at ease with Joe.  A month or so before the wedding Joe asked if Jemma, a friend of his, could come along as a second photographer as she wanted to shoot some more film so we got two fantastic photographers for the price of one. Jemma was so good at making the girls feel relaxed on the morning of the wedding and Joe was so great at capturing the real feel of the day. We would give them both the best possible recommendation to anybody looking for a wedding photographer.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (27)

The venue and the backdrop of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales was perfect.  Everything was on site, including accommodation for the bridal party and all our other guests stayed locally in Settle, only a 10 minute taxi ride away.

Emma the owner and her husband Martin were very good at accommodating our requests.  We wanted the wedding breakfast in the marquee which they didn’t usually do, we were able to set up the venue on the Thursday and our bridal party could arrive early on the Friday so we could relax the day before.  Emma let us use her home as if it was our own and was very relaxed about most things.  Her staff on the day were great too.

I can’t wait to go back there one day for a visit when we are walking in the Dales.

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (26)

Our favourite moments from the day included our entrance to the wedding breakfast.  We came into the A-Team and high-fived everyone as we went round the room.  We loved the speeches and the surprise video messages from guests that couldn’t be there, including my nan and a few words from one of Joe’s favourite comedians Richard Herring!

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (12)

A couple of days after the wedding we flew to Miami beach for a short stay and then went onto Belize and Mexico for jungle trekking, visits to lots of ruins, snorkelling and lazing on beautiful Caribbean beaches. It was great to spend some quality time with my new husband after 10 months of wedding planning and the scenery and weather was amazing.  It was tough going back to work after nearly 4 weeks off!

a rustic Easter wedding at Taitlands by Joe Stenson (33)

Joe and I planned the wedding we wanted in 10 months!  We did have ‘wedmin’ to do pretty much every day but we really enjoyed it.  I would say spend your budget on the food, drink and music – that’s what all your guests will appreciate the most. We wanted those special little touches too so made time to have or make things that were personal to us, that others may not have noticed.

My top planning tips for other Brides Up North would be to set budgets and make decisions early to give yourselves time at the end for all the fun things.  On the day itself, try and relax and take it all in as it can be quite overwhelming.  We had half an hour by ourselves just as the sun was setting, when we went off with the photographer, and it was lovely just to catch up and relive some of our favourite moments.

Finally, never put your drink down, you’ll never remember where you put it!

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