Charlotte Balbier

eye candy: ian stuart runway rebel 2016

October 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime



While we love elegant and classic wedding gowns we also lust after designers that dare to push the boundaries by offering ladies something a little different to the norm with their imaginative bridal creations.

Perhaps one of the most daring (and talented) is British designer Ian Stuart, who never fails to impress with his theatrical and head-turning collections. As such, this morning on the blog we‘re sharing with you Mr Stuart’s latest collection, runway rebel, in all its beauty.



The most highly anticipated collection of the White Gallery 2016 catwalk, buyers and brides alike are always eager to see what the fearless designer has come up with next.

For the Runway Rebel collection, Ian focused his energy on designing for different body shapes, ages and personalities. In doing so, he created a collection that is diverse and versatile, giving every bride the opportunity to find her own style within the Ian Stuart label.



Experimenting with softer fabrics and fluid silhouettes, Ian used his unique flair and couture construction to reach a different spirit of bride and – as the unprecedented ‘king of colour’ – he also introduced stunning softer shades of silver, pink and taupe.



The result is a gutsy and glamorous collection featuring four stand out themes: Ian Stuart Signature Style – textured, playful and dramatic; Sexy and Statuesque – figure hugging with plunging lines and dynamic silhouettes; Romantic and Regal – fairy tale ball gowns, exquisite laces and glittering touches and Fashionista Glamour – modern, unconventional and daring.



Commenting on Runway Rebel, the Ian Stuart design house says: “Adversary to ‘plain and commercial’, Ian is as rebellious in his own nature as he is in his approach to designing bridal wear. He dares to break rules and take risks while keeping the traditional essential beauty of a wedding gown. Runway Rebel pays homage to Ian’s intrinsic values of design, as well as the attitude of the daring modern bride who chooses to wear his creations.”



“Runway Rebel is an uplifting celebration, an ode to life and the freedom to be expressive, creative and rebellious in it.”


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flower bomb. ian stuart for a winter celebration at crow hill – emily & mitchell

July 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (3)

Where on earth to start with today’s real wedding, this one has it all!

Following a very romantic proposal (we like your style Mitchell) Emily and her beau decided on a glam winter wedding without a Santa in sight. Instead of a typical festive celebration colour scheme of red this pair went for a lavish palette of taupes, lilac, latte and gold, which looked stunning. To complete their setting vision for the big day they then enlisted the help of Red Floral Architecture to take care of the flowers and décor – and the result? Wow!

The high level of style is continued in Emily and Mitchell’s attire choices with the groom opting for a cool burgundy suit and bow tie and the bride falling for one of Ian Stuart’s most iconic dress designs to date – the fabulous Flower Bomb!

Prepare to take note ladies, there are lots of great special touches and tips in here too. Take it away Emily!

With images by Tim Simpson Photography.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (15)
emily says: Mitchell proposed on the 22nd of September 2013 in Filey, North Yorkshire. He asked me to meet him out on the boat house over the lake where we were staying. As I approached the boat house to my utter amazement Mitchell had arranged lots of lanterns and candles in and around the boat house and as I got nearer began to play Bruno Mars Marry You – the rest is history!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (10)
Our wedding date was 6th December 2014, which we chose as I have always wanted a winter wedding! There is something so glamorous and magical about winter and Christmas time! We 100% did not want a Christmas themed wedding but did want it near enough to Christmas that our guests would be feeling festive, magical and ready to party! We decided the first Saturday in December would be perfect.

Our wedding venue was Crow Hill in the beautiful unspoilt village of Marsden, Huddersfield. Both Mitchell and I fell in love with Crow Hill and couldn’t have found a better venue for the type of wedding we wanted to plan! We both have large close families with Mitchell’s family all living in London and so having somewhere to house all these guests the night before the wedding and the wedding night was vital for us! Crow Hill is a beautiful country house estate with accommodation for 32 guests across three beautiful properties! This enabled us to have all our close family, bridesmaids, best man etc. stay with us for two whole nights making it the ultimate wedding weekend! Serving a beautiful cosy supper on the Friday night around the open fire of the main property was just the perfect way to start our winter wedding weekend! Our guests could then flit between all properties making the whole thing so relaxed and with the definite ‘house party’ feel we wanted to achieve.

Crow Hill added with the amazing marquee provided a gorgeous, crisp, clean and glamorous space that was important to me when creating the feel for the reception. We didn’t want anything taking away from the decoration for the reception so a marquee was very important. The marquee at Crow Hill is huge with a chandelier gracing the draped ceiling, a built in modern and classy bar area all complete with bar tables, stools and a chic lounge area! Team the venue with beautiful scenery and amazing in-house chef it is just hands down the best venue for this type of wedding. We married in the equally fabulous St Bartholomew’s Church in Marsden village which also was incredibly important to Mitchell and I. A church as magnificent as St Bartholomew’s was just the icing on the cake when choosing this venue.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (8)

When it came to styling the wedding we had very definite ideas of what we wanted to achieve. We wanted a glamorous, glittering winter wedding without the ‘Christmassy’ theme. This included using tons of gold and champagne glitter, baroque style candle holders and tons of glamour. We wanted the style to feel really special but still tasteful with a magical, cosy and wintery feel. We decided having lots of twinkling candles, tons of textures and plenty of glitter was the way to achieve this. Our stylists Mat Hepplestone from Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca from Crow Hill where paramount in helping us achieve this!

The colour scheme for the wedding was always something I struggled with. Coming from an artistic background it was hard for me when people asked what is your colour scheme? And expected a one colour answer back! For us it was important to include various colours and tones and not just stick to one typical ‘wedding colour’. The colours included taupes, minks, dirty lilacs, creamy lattes and gold. We felt these colours helped us achieve the magical wintery feel without the usual red and green colours.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (2)

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (38)
I wore an Ian Stuart dress for the wedding which was from the amazingly beautiful Bridal Collection in Harrogate. It was the Flower Bomb dress in Taupe with multi flowers and featured a sweetheart neckline encrusted in Swarovski crystals. The dress had a tight bodice with a dropped waist and then exploded into a skirt full of mixed tulle, flowers and silk with a large train. The dress was completed with a cathedral length waterfall veil and a grey/mink coloured cropped fur jacket. I first saw this amazing dress gracing the window of The Bridal Collection way before we were engaged! I instantly vowed that I would wear the dress for my wedding day and that one day I would get to go inside The Bridal Collection and experience the excitement and awe of all the blushing brides I could see inside. I kept my vow and the whole experience was so special. Trying on that dress for the first time years from when I first saw it was magical and I really did feel like a princess!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (5)

My hair and makeup artists on the day were the utterly amazing Flossy and Leigh. Head stylist Sam did me, my mum and bridesmaids’ hair and makeup for the wedding day. They then also touched my makeup up after photographs and before to ensure that I was looking my best. For the evening reception they then totally changed the style of mine, my mum’s and the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. They are incredible and I couldn’t recommend them enough!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (39)

Mitchell wore an amazing suit bought from Next. It was an incredibly stylish, classy dinner suit in an aubergine/burgundy colour. It was then professionally tailored and finished off with a Thomas Pink shirt, matching bow tie and Ted Baker shoes. He wanted an old school Motown look with a modern twist.

The bridesmaids wore full length strapless lace gowns with rouched side and a glam split up the leg. These where bought online. They then wore faux fur stoles and gold glittering shoes! The little flower girls wore handmade tutu dresses made by myself which took inspiration from the Ian Stuart dress and were made from masses of soft tulle and adorned with sparkles and silk flowers! They carried small gold glitter handbags from Monsoon and finished with gold glitter tights and fur trimmed cardigans from Monsoon also.

The groomsmen meanwhile wore classic black dinner suits with aubergine/burgundy bow ties as did the page boys. These were all bought from Moss Bros.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (12)
For the big day we hired a glossy black Volkswagen camper van called Stanley, who stylishly transported the groom and groomsmen to the church and also the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids. We hired this beauty from Love Dub Campers, York – an amazing down to earth and friendly company. I travelled in a fabulously glam pale pink 1950s Cadillac hired from Cartwright Cars in Huddersfield, another amazing company! The car looked stunning against the crisp frost and really added to the glamour of the wedding. Both companies where especially fab as they even took guests back up to Crow Hill while we were having photographs, much to our guests’ delight!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (20)

Our photographers on the day were the amazing Tim Simpson Photography! We would hugely recommend these guys for their laid back, friendly and amazingly artistic style. They are just gorgeous lovely people who are so amazing at what they do! They are not invasive, they put you at instant ease, they mingle in with your guests capturing the true feel of the day and don’t waste time capturing boring structured traditional shots, instead putting their huge creative and artistic skills to perfect use and really getting those natural professional shots. We love Tim Simpson Photography and feel their connection and the team they have allows them to just cover absolutely everything that great wedding photography should.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (24)

My bouquet was designed to reflect the taupe shades of the Ian Stuart Flower Bomb bridal gown. The bouquet was a hand tied style made from masses of mink and taupe flowers including Quicksand, Sahara and Safi roses. The bouquet was accessorized with masses of pearls, crystals and diamantes to reflect the adornments on the bridal gown. Shards of tulle and birdcage veiling also featured throughout the design to reflect the skirt of the gown. The stem of the bouquet was finished with taupe material and finished with an amazing sparkling adornment. It was created and designed by Mat Hepplestone at Red Floral Architecture.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (23)

The styling in the marquee reception was also done by Mat at Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca at Crow Hill. The flower centrepieces were a mixture of designs including huge flower balls on ornate gold stands, huge blossom trees, beautiful boxed designs, tall cherub candle designs and a huge central piece which was suspended from the marquee chandelier and hung over the central table! Each design featured masses of roses in the chosen colours.

Each table was also adorned with hanging glass tea lights, hordes of flickering candles on a mixture of candle sticks and mercury glass holders, masses of flower petals and rose heads and each table had luxury linens draping in a mix of champagne and gold sequin cloths and designer bridal lace cloths. The chair covers matched these also with added satin fabric ties on some allowing us to achieve the mix of colours and textures that we really wanted. We also had huge light up letters saying ‘love’ and ‘dance’ provided by Typical Type. These added such drama and a wow factor to the marquee. We also had a light up monogram with our names projected onto the dance floor. Finally we had a tree for our table plan with hanging tags for our guests to find their tables and we had various ornate gold gilt frames around the reception encouraging people to Instagram/Facebook their wedding pictures using a hash tag unique to us.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (29)

We gave out favours to each of our day guests, these consisted of little mercury glass heart Christmas tree baubles. These were boxed in small lilac boxes and hand tied with a latte coloured ribbon and each finished with a pearl and diamanté embellishment, which were handmade and finished by Mitchell and myself.

We chose a six tier cake made and designed by Sarah Small at Choose Cake! Along with Sarah we designed and adapted the cake until it was perfect. It featured and ombré ruffle effect on the bottom tier, lace and brushed gold effects throughout the rest of the tiers including a monogrammed plaque with our initials. The final tier finished the cake off with cascading gold sequins and a large sugar paste flower arrangement to add to the overall theme of the wedding. The tiers included chocolate orange, white chocolate and red velvet flavours.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (45)
We had a reception welcome drink of hot winter Pimms for guests on arrival and a selection of gourmet canapés. Guests also had access to a hot chocolate bar with a winter lodge theme where they were served hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and various other toppings in takeaway cups monogrammed with our initials and wedding date. We also had a winter candy bar where guests could choose from traditional Scottish tablet hearts. Ferrero Rochers and eggnog lolly pops! The menu was created and provided by Tracy Keppie at Crow Hill who is amazing! The food is to die for and is honestly the best I’ve tasted! She is incredible!

We added quite a few special touches on the day including providing glittering flip flops for guests’ ‘dancing feet’ and a basket of blankets for guests to keep warm outside! We also had a DIY photo booth with a huge array of props for guests to create their own photo memories. At the end of the night each guest was handed a mini bottle of Baileys and a golden box of wedding cake to enjoy as a midnight taxi snack.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (30)

We also had makeup stand in the main house of Crow Hill for guests to go get their makeup ‘touched up’ which was provided by the fabulous Flossy and Leigh. Guests could get their eye makeup intensified, try a new lipstick and even have false lashes applied for a small cost. We also had toiletries in the toilets for guests to use to freshen up including deodorant, hair spray, dry shampoo, chewing gum, hair clips etc.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (33)
We would 100% recommend our venue to others! Crow Hill is an amazing venue with fabulous staff. They know exactly what they are doing and manage the whole day with a professionalism. The venue is perfect for the ‘house party’ style wedding weekend which is what we wanted. It’s a total gem of a venue that will totally wow your guests! It’s perfect!

Our favourite part of the day was standing at the alter and just taking in the sheer beauty of what was happening, it was a moment we will never forget. We felt so relaxed and serene at this point with an indescribable peace upon the both of us, so beautiful and our most treasured part of the day.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (44)
We went on our honeymoon on the Monday after the wedding to Vienna! I’m a complete Christmas lover and Vienna was so magical at that time of year! It was so romantic. We wrapped up in our warmest clothing and visited the amazing Christmas markets, sipping on sweet ameretto liquor punch, took a horse drawn carriage ride around the beautiful city, visited the glamorous hotel coffee houses and soaked up the festive atmosphere! We stayed in a suite at the famous Hotel Sacher and sampled the famous Sacher torte!

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be marry as early in the day as you can! People always say the day goes by too fast and so I decided I wanted to get married as early as I could to ensure I actually had a wedding day rather than a wedding ‘late afternoon’.

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in the navy. ian stuart for a glamorous wedding at allerton castle – kathryn & kelechi

June 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (45)

Here at Brides Up North we just love a glam wedding and today’s has it all – a striking gown, opulent colour scheme and men in uniform!

Kathryn and Kelechi chose the grand Allerton Castle as the setting for their dream wedding, which was then styled in keeping with the historic venue’s décor and to suit the couple’s personal taste.

Posh transport, sparkling stationery and lavish centrepieces all help to create a wedding day as alluring as the bride and groom’s attire. Glam to a tee.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Laura Calderwood Photography.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (1)

kathryn says: We got engaged in Sydney, Australia, my hometown at the time. After meeting three years prior, Kelechi came over on a two-week holiday from the US Navy. Palm Beach is a favourite spot of mine so on day one of the trip we decided to go there and climb to the lighthouse, little did we know it wasn’t a pleasant stroll up but a hike! At the top and covered in sweat, I looked around and said “just think, this may be the last time we come here” – then turned back to Kelechi who said “we better make sure we remember it then” – he was down on one knee!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (4)

Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We chose this date mainly due to Kelechi’s work schedule. Spring in the UK is a beautiful time, so that helped too!

We got married at Allerton Castle, which we chose due to the grandness of the building, its Great Hall and the beautiful countryside location. As a lot of our guests were coming from overseas, we needed the wow factor!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (2)

We didn’t really have a theme but kept everything very glamorous. We used a lot of candles, fairy lights and crystals. I picked this style due to the castle’s decor and so that it would be in keeping with what Kelechi and I like.

Black and Gold was the colour scheme. We choose this combination to match with Kelechi’s military uniform – dinner dress blues. Although the tux is actually black!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (16)

I chose a dress that was the complete opposite of what I thought I’d choose! The dress was called Amalfi by Ian Stuart, which I bought from Limelight Occasions in Huddersfield. I was drawn to the dress due to its uniqueness. It was two colours and had beautiful detailing. It was like nothing I’d seen anyone wear before. As soon as I put the dress on, I knew I had to have it!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (20)

Kelechi wore his military US Dinner Dress Blues uniform and the groomsmen who weren’t in uniform also wore black tuxedos.

My bridesmaids wore black maxi dresses with gold detailing around the top half of the dress, from Quiz. They were very flattering on all shapes and the girls looked fabulous whilst feeling comfortable at the same time. My ‘Mate of Honour’ wore a black tuxedo, hired from Greenwoods. He also invested in some gold shoes which looked amazing!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (26)

As I was getting ready at the castle, I decided to drive my little white Fiat 500 there in the morning with some of my bridesmaids. I decorated the car and we had a great laugh on the way! I organised an Aston Martin as a surprise wedding present for Kelechi. The car picked him up in York and took him and his best man to the castle. We then organised a vintage double decker bus to bring our guests to the venue from York.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (28)

Laura Calderwood was our photographer. She’s an absolute gem and was very patient with some of our more demanding guests. Nothing was too much trouble and the pictures taken speak for themselves and how great Laura’s work really is.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (32)

Joanna at Twisted Willow provided all our flowers, centrepieces and dressed the Great Hall for our ceremony – it looked magical.

My flowers were a mixed white bouquet with crystal detailing. For the wedding reception we had tall candelabras on each table surrounded by candles and draped in crystals. I had a vase on our sweetheart table for my flowers to be shown off in.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (35)

Another great supplier was Katie from Tigerlily Creations. Katie made all our stationery for our day from the invitations to the wishing well. Everyone commented on the quality and luxury feel she gave to our day.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (42)

Our wedding cake was wheels of cheese and therefore our favours were jars of chutneys with the words ‘Spread the Love’ on. We also gave little red double decker bus key rings to all our guests as a lot of them were visiting from abroad.

We had a dessert included in our menu, which is why we chose a cake made of cheese. It was something different for a lot of people and we loved it! Matt at The Cheese & Chutney Co couldn’t have been nicer either.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (49)

I wanted a fun cake topper so searched online and found Feats of Clay. Sarah is amazing and made both myself and Kelechi out of clay. A great talking point for guests and a great souvenir for us to keep.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (56)

We used the Dine for the food, who are provided through the Castle. They were fabulous!

We had champagne and canapés of mini Yorkshire puddings, chicken skewers and goats cheese tarts, during the drinks reception. For the wedding breakfast we had fishcakes to start, followed by a sirloin of beef, rounded off with a glorious sticky toffee pudding. Everyone commented on the quality of the food. We organised cheeseburger and chips for the evening reception – it made our guests’ night!

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (54)

Entertainment wise, we had a string quartet playing for the guests’ arrival and during the drinks reception. It made for an elegant start to our day. For the evening entertainment we used Alive Network and booked the band Munch. Kelechi and I love live music so a band was a must. They played a whole host of music and catered for all ages.

During the band’s break we surprised our guests with a five-minute firework display. At first I was reluctant to do this but Kelechi pushed for it – I’m now so glad we did, it was magical and the guests loved it.

A Glam Wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (59)

My favourite part of the day was the build-up and then finally seeing Kelechi as I stood at the top of the stairs before walking down the aisle. They are two moments that will stay with me forever. The dancing during the evening was pretty great too!  Kelechi literally burnt the stitching off the bottom of his shoes!

For our honeymoon we went to a Sandals resort in St Lucia. It was fantastic, they couldn’t do enough for us and helped make the week very romantic and assisted Kelechi is organising lots of little surprises along the way. One thing to note though – everyone there is on their honeymoon so bear that in mind.

My top tip for other Brides Up North is a tip that everyone gave me – make sure you take a step back, look around and enjoy the day so you can remember it. I made a conscious effort to do this and I’m glad I did. Kelechi and I also chose to have a sweetheart top table to make sure we got some time to just sit down with each other and take it all in – a great decision.

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winter opulence. ian stuart for a romantic wedding in the lake district – emma & andy

June 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (34)

When planning their wedding, today’s couple say they very much wanted the occasion to revolve around the most important things in their lives – family, friends and love.

Taking just one look at the images below, it’s clear to see that they achieved their aim perfectly, making the day both loving and personable.

We adore Emma’s classic Ian Stuart gown and her maids’ pretty sparkling dresses, all of which tie beautifully with the elegant décor and dreamy hotel setting.

Regardless of what the weather is doing outside today, this wonderful winter wedding is guaranteed to make you feel all warm inside.

With images by Steven Taylor Photography and video by Silver Sixpence Films.

Andy and Emma from Silver Sixpence Films on Vimeo.

emma says: Andy proposed to me at home. It was the 20th October 2012 and I was getting ready to go out on one of our ‘date nights’. As I walked into a candle-lit living room with champagne filled glasses out on the table, my heart started racing. Andy got down on knee and then went on to tell me why he wanted to marry me before popping the question. As you can imagine, I was a blubbering wreck by the end, and of course I blurted out ‘yes’!

We booked our wedding for Saturday 31st January as we both wanted a romantic winter wedding and we thought it was the perfect time of year to hold it. Funnily enough, it was only afterwards that we realised it was exactly four years to the day that we actually met. It was obviously fate and we were meant to book that date.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (16)

We held our wedding at the stunning Merewood Country House Hotel in the Lake District. We both love the lakes and have spent a lot of time there so it seemed only natural – being one of the most romantic places in England, we knew it was the place for us to get married. We chose the Merewood as we really wanted our family and friends to feel like they were coming to somewhere homely, rather than a hotel, which was helped with us having exclusivity of the venue. As soon as you walk in it has such a cosy and warm feel to it with the open fires greeting you in the reception. It’s grand but still intimate at the same time.

I asked my two best friends and my sister to be bridesmaids and my beautiful little niece and they were all just amazing. I also asked four of my closest friends to walk down the aisle in front of me as sadly my beloved Dad passed away from cancer in September 2012. It was lovely to have all my closest girlfriends there with me right before I walked down as they have all been a great support to me over the years and it was definitely the right choice as I felt secure in the fact that if I did have a wobble, they were there. Luckily I walked in and saw everyone’s beaming faces and then I caught my future husband’s eye and he just gave me a reassuring look that he wasn’t far away – I just took a deep breath and I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked towards him.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (18)

We didn’t have a theme as such, but there were parts of the day that hinted at our styles and influences. For example my late Granddad, my Dad’s father, was a film buff and the manager of a cinema when it was all on film. I just loved to watch all of the old movies with him so Andy and I did our wedding invites like an old Hollywood cinema ticket (which our guests tore off and then sent back as an rsvp).

There is something so romantic about a winter wedding, so for my colour scheme I wanted to keep it very simple, classic and beautiful with elegance to it. I just adore whites, creams, greys and soft colours together, and it was fabulous that all the bridal party coordinated their outfits around that palette too. I wanted it to look magical, with a touch of glamour and sparkle!

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (27)

The dress I chose was an Ian Stuart couture gown from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, Yorkshire. I knew I had found the one, as it not only exuded glamour with an edge to it, but it was also timeless and feminine. I found inspiration from Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress that she wore when she married JFK in 1953. I just adored the neckline and I found something similar with my gown which gave it that Hollywood Glamour feel to it and I just fell in love instantly.

Andy wore a slim fit dark blue three-piece suit that he bought from Slaters in Leeds with a white shirt and a white tie and he also wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues. He had tried on Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and viewed many other suits, but Slater’s had a huge variety and the fits were perfect – not to mention the price!

For my beautiful bridesmaids I chose dresses from a website called Virgos Lounge. I loved that they were a bit different and very glamorous and with it being winter the soft light grey and the iridescent leaf shaped embellishment on the dresses looked stunning.

The best man, usher and the father of the groom all wore suits also bought from Slaters in Leeds. We went for something slightly different from Andy’s suit, so we picked out a very similar one for the men but in a dark grey with light blue/grey spotted white ties, which really complemented all the girls’ dresses. The boys also all wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (28)

When it came to the wedding photos we sought advice from our wedding co-ordinator and chose a local award-winning photographer known very well by the venue. Steven Taylor was superb from our first meeting to the end of our wedding day. He listened to our thoughts and did the most amazing job on the day with his son Josh and after receiving the proofs back recently, we understand why they are award-winning – they captured the whole day perfectly. We also had Silver Sixpence Films to capture the day on video for us.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (40)

On the day I carried a beautiful, opulent massed posy bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthus and gypsophila bound with ivory satin ribbon. They were provided by Kevin from Brackens of Bowness.

With us deciding on a romantic ivory and cream wedding, we opted to have tall vases for the reception centrepieces, filled with acorns with tall willow branches and hanging glass tea-light holders. On the other tables we had round shallow glass bowls filled with acorns and twisted ivory willow with a cluster of candles in the centre. Down the staircase we had willow and foliage wound down the banister with fairy lights intertwined. Kevin from Brackens of Bowness again supplied these stunning arrangements. He was amazing and listened to everything that I wanted to achieve. With Kevin’s talent and creativity he helped make the venue look like the fairy-tale wedding I had always dreamed of.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (37)

We didn’t do favours at the wedding breakfast. Instead we had personalised chocolate bars created for our family and friends who were staying at the hotel and placed them in their rooms for their arrival.

We opted for a four-course wedding breakfast. It took us a little while to decide on the menu as all of the food is so delicious and it is also locally sourced. In the evening, we had mini fish and chips served in traditional newspaper cones. It was all absolutely delicious!

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (39)

We both enjoy music, so it featured heavily throughout the day. The thinking was to have very much beautiful and relaxing music, building as the day went on so we had a string quartet to entertain people before and after the ceremony. Andy recorded a live DJ mix for the wedding breakfast containing music from our favourite films interlaced with famous quotes from cinema.

To get the evening started, Andy had also prepared some warm up before a fantastic rock band called Blue Star Tattoo from West Yorkshire performed on the night with classics by AC/DC, ZZ Top and The Who, through to more current hits by The Killers, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. We chose this band as a nod to my Dad Geoff (and Andy’s Dad John) who both love rock and roll.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (46)

In the library we displayed family photos of our nearest and dearest to give a homely feel and also in remembrance to special people who could not be there with us that weekend. With candles lit and love quotes added around the fireplaces, it added to the romantic and relaxing ambience of the venue.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (48)

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (47)

We used Purple Swan for the hire of our chair covers, which were white with crystal vintage brooches on ivory lace sashes and bows. The company were fabulous and made everything so easy and stress free by dressing the room the night before and they were so professional. I bought the lanterns and candles from the shop The Range in Leeds to add a touch of romance down the aisle as well.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (49)

We would most definitely recommend our venue to others. Everything about it is fabulous, from the views to the food, and the first class service. The venue has so much character, it still has many of the original features, which include magnificent fireplaces and gorgeous stained glass windows. We felt at home as soon as we walked in. No matter how many times you visit, when it’s time to go home, you just don’t want to leave.

My favourite part of the day was sitting down to eat the amazing food at the wedding breakfast next to my new husband and looking around at all of our favourite people in the world, all sat together and there just for us was simply the best feeling in the whole world.

A romantic winter wedding in The Lake District (c) Steven Taylor Photography (58)

We are planning to go on honeymoon to Santorini this summer to catch some sun and some amazing scenery, and as Andy is obsessed with sunsets (apparently they have some of the best in the world), we couldn’t think of anywhere more romantic to go.

My top tip to other Brides Up North is to make sure you enjoy the lead up to your wedding day, enjoy being engaged. The day itself goes so fast, I know it sounds cliché but it does so take time out with your new groom/bride for a few moments during the day and evening as you are both in demand and so busy. It’s lovely to have a few moments now and again to both look around and think – ‘This is our wedding day, how amazing is this?’

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love is in the air. ian stuart for a classic wedding in the north west – linzi and leigh

May 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (33)

This wedding has it all – glamour, sparkles, a pretty princess dress and even a helicopter.

Bride Linzi chose simple and elegant styling to create her classic dream wedding in various tones of romantic ivory at Davenport Green Hall, and my goodness didn’t it look gorgeous!

Between Linzi’s words and fabulous images by Ally M Photography you can really feel the love in this wedding, not only between the bride and groom but also their friends and family who clearly mean the world to them (this one made us teary).

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (6)

linzi says: We got engaged on 18th March 2010 on a trip to Venice. We’d travelled to Venice for the weekend as it was Leigh’s birthday. On the first evening we went out for dinner and on our way back to the river taxi we went through St Mark’s Square, that’s when Leigh bent down on one knee and popped the question. Of course my answer was yes. Venice is such a spectacular place and so romantic, it was just so perfect.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (5)

We set the date for 8th August 2014. We chose August as it would still be warm but hopefully not too hot. The day itself started off with heavy rain but after the ceremony we had glorious sunshine throughout the rest of the day.

Our wedding venue was Davenport Green Hall. The first time we viewed this venue we knew this place was perfect for us as its set in its own grounds and meant that we had the entire estate to ourselves and our guests. The venue itself combined both old Tudor style with immaculate and modern décor inside which was perfect for our tastes. Better yet, the bridal suite was in the grounds and so was only a stone’s throw away when we had partied the night away.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (7)

We did not have a certain theme but I wanted a wedding that suited our tastes as couple. With that in mind I kept the theme simple, classic, elegant and natural in all ivory tones. It began with our beautiful wedding invitations which were pure ivory with pearl and diamante fronting and pearlised envelopes right down to our exquisite wedding cake which we kept to all ivory tones too. I always knew that I wanted to keep to ivory as it creates a beautiful and romantic feel.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (13)

My dress was by Ian Stuart. I had tried on about ten dresses before this one but as soon I put it on, I knew it was the one for me – I felt like a princess! I also knew that my daughters, Ella and Chloe would love the dress because of the heavy sparkle detail to it and the princess look. I purchased the dress from Bridal Italia in Bolton. I had quite a few fittings in the dress and each and every time, I was sorry to take it off.

My chief bridesmaid Vicki surprised me with my beautiful earrings on my hen do. I had said that as my dress was quite detailed, I needed a simple drop earing and they were so perfect, I couldn’t have made a better choice myself.

The night before my wedding, I had all the female members of my family and my friends around to my house to have a final pamper from my sister who is a beauty therapist. In the midst of hair dying and nail painting, my bridesmaids provided me with a box which contained my something old, new, borrowed and blue. The something old was a broche with a picture of my dad who passed away when I was younger and to which they then tied to my bouquet so he could walk down the aisle with me the following day. The something new was a new bottle of perfume which I loved so the scent would always remind me of our special day. The something borrowed was a simple diamond bracelet to wear with my dress as I didn’t want anything heavy and wanted the dress to do all the talking. The something blue was a blue garter which although they had measured my leg previously, still managed to continually fall down all day!

On the morning of my wedding, myself and my bridesmaids, along with my mother-in-law, all attended a local salon to have our hair done. Whilst there we had our makeup done by my lovely friend and makeup artist Natalie Marie. Ally, the photographer, even came to the salon so he could get some pics of us all getting prepared for the day.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (17)

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (18)

Leigh wore three piece tails in grey with an ivory tie to match myself and our daughters. We decided against top hats as it was a warm day. These were rented from Groom at the Wedding House in Liverpool.

My four older bridesmaids wore grey dresses from Coast with diamante sparkle belts to match my theme and my wedding dress.

My two daughters Ella and Chloe wore ivory dresses. I didn’t like the thought of having a coloured sash put on their dresses so I had a band of three flowers sewn onto each dress to tie in with the theme of romance. They also had their hair delicately designed into crowns so they felt like little princesses too.

The groomsmen wore grey three piece suits with the same shade of grey as the girls’ Coast bridesmaid dresses. These were also from Groom at The Wedding House in Liverpool.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (20)

On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in a Bentley, which was hired from AJ Limousines in Manchester, who we would recommend. My husband meanwhile travelled to the venue by helicopter which was amazing as all our guests stood outside to watch and all the bridesmaids watched from a bedroom window of venue. Although he was nearly an hour late due to nearly not being able to fly as there was heavy rain and a serious accident on the motorway on the way to the airport! Leigh is late for everything, so it was no surprise he was an hour late for his own wedding!

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (21)

Our photographer was Ally Hedeyati of Ally M Photography. We met Ally about ten months before our wedding and we instantly knew he was the one for us. We had our pre-wedding shoot in Southport with our children and the pictures he produced were just amazing and so natural! We knew we had made the right choice when it came to our wedding pictures. Ally is so friendly and professional and extremely funny which immediately puts you at ease. Neither I nor Leigh were particularly confident in front of the camera but Ally made sure that he got the best from us. I would definitely recommend Ally as his pictures tell a story and one thing from your wedding is that it all goes past so fast that you need the expertise of a great photographer who can capture these moments that you will never get back – Ally is definitely the person to do this.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (31)

All my flowers were artificial. My bridal flowers were by Alison by Lasting Memories in Timperley who also dressed the venue. My bouquet was half flower and half broche as I wanted this to complement my detailed dress which sparkled. I asked Alison to place a diamante initial in each of my bridesmaids’ bouquets for individuality which such a nice touch.

I had seen quite a lot of Alison’s work so I knew that I would love the way she had set up the civil ceremony room and then the conversion into the wedding breakfast. It was just the romantic look I was trying to achieve with candles, flowers and glass everywhere. I would highly recommend Alison.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (30)

For our favours we provided the men with mini Jaeger bottles and the woman mini bottles of wine.   We had quite a few children at our wedding and I made them each an individual bag which contained lots of things for keeping them entertained. The older children received perfume and jewellery. All the name tags were painstakingly hand made by me and my mother-in-law to add a personal touch.

We chose a three tier cake in the style of a bird cage. Each tier was a different flavour. The top was sponge, the middle tier was lemon and the bottom was chocolate. The cake was then surrounded by more than 30 mini cakes to match. We did re-design the cake to incorporate touches that we specifically wanted. For example I asked them to put ‘L&L’ on the front and also our daughters’ names were placed on tags which hung from it. The cake was from Occasion Cakes in Bolton.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (35)

For entertainment we had a live six piece swing and jazz band called The Young Swing Things that we hired through Garston Entertainments who were very professional and got back to us quickly. Kayleigh, the main singer was phenomenal and everyone commented on how powerful and emotional her voice was. They sang our first dance which was Run by Leona Lewis as my husband and I had a little crush on her for some time and so she was the obvious choice when picking a first dance. My brother took over from my husband mid dance which was very emotional as my father had passed away.

We also had a photo booth which I must say, kept everyone in stitches and was a real highlight of the wedding – a definite must I would recommend. We hired a chocolate fountain too which went down well with the children at the party! I bought hundreds of sparklers and had personalised cards made with our names on and placed them in a huge basket. When it went dark, the guests gathered outside and created a kind of arch and whilst lit, Leigh and I walked through it – magical!

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (36)

We added a few special/personal touches to the day too which included a white tree in the corner of the room with a box of personalised cards so that our guests could write personal messages of luck and wishes to us and then hang on the tree. Our photographer Ally, also gave us a beautiful picture from our shoot and mounted it onto card. We placed this on an easel and our guests were given the opportunity to write their messages around the border.

To help keep guests feeling fresh both the male and female toilets contained a basket with deodorants, hairbrushes, tablets, plasters etc just in case they needed anything. My auntie also made a huge basket and filled with white diamond flip flops in various sizes for all the women when their feet began to hurt as they partied the night away.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (43)

It’s difficult to choose one particular part of the day as my favourite as there were so many. If I was to choose, it would be walking down the aisle and saying my vows. I wasn’t nervous at all until I stood outside waiting to walk towards Leigh. As I approached him, I knew he was as nervous as I was. My daughters’ together read a really funny reading which had everyone in stitches during our ceremony and I eventually got to say “I do” to the most amazing man on earth. It was definitely the best part of our day.

Other special moments of the day included my brother giving me away and he wore his army uniform to do so with all his medals attached. I also made a speech which heavily referred to my aunt and uncle, Elaine and Trevor, as they have been my parents throughout my life and provided me with so much. My speech was dedicated to them and how I wished for a marriage as normal and loving as they have. I cried through my speech but I got to the end where I thanked my lovely new husband.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (45)

We had decided not to go on honeymoon as we wanted to go back to Florida the following year however during our first dance my husband told me that we were going to Barcelona for five days the Sunday after our wedding. You can only imagine my excitement! Even my children knew this secret and had managed to keep it from me. Barcelona was a perfect place for honeymoon – very quaint and historic and gorgeous food. My husband is a massive Liverpool fan and whilst there we obviously couldn’t escape a visit to the New Camp.

a classic wedding in Cheshire (c) Ally M Photography (44)

If I was to give a tip to other Brides Up North, it would be to not scrimp on a photographer. I’m so happy that a great photographer was something that we had at our wedding so that we can always look back at the pictures and remember the little things and the things that made us laugh on our special day.

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lookbook. collars & capes.

March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jasmine - Enzoani

Several of our previous lookbook features have focused on wedding dress trends that encourage brides to flash some flesh, but today we are swooning over graceful gowns where modesty is key.

Somewhat unexpectedly dresses featuring high collars and capes (sorry Madge) have come to rule recent bridal runways promoting sophisticated styles that scream high fashion.


Though it didn’t work out for Madonna at The Brits (awkward) capes are a stylish accessory and can prove an incredibly practical choice for ladies having religious ceremonies that need to cover up that bit more, as well as brides with body hang ups that want to detract from the bits they’re less keen on.

A cape is a demure alternative to a shrug, bolero or jacket that comes in a variety of lengths and designs so brides can choose the type of style statement they wish to make.

The shorter options are fabulous for covering shoulders and the tops of arms while still showing off the main spectacle – the dress. Meanwhile long capes are particularly popular with brides looking to make a dramatic entrance on their wedding day without the use of a regular veil or train.

Solange Knowles is one high-profile bride that recently rocked this look on her wedding day, donning a cape with both her elegant gown and edgy jumpsuit outfits.

High low capes provide an option between the two either as a full coverlet or semi open design depending on how much of the dress a bride wants to be on show.
When it comes to detailing ladies opting for plainer dresses can add interest with laced and blinged-up designs. Meanwhile brides with highly detailed gowns are likely to stick to a simple sheer design though there are no hard rules to abide by.

Whichever option, caped brides can remove the additional garment for the evening celebrations giving them two different looks for their big day whilst also ensuring the all-important dress gets the exposure it deserves.

Designers that we think are executing the caped look exceptionally well within their collections include Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone, though our favourite has to be Jasmine from Enzoani, which combines modern elegance with vintage glamour for one gorgeous dress.


Moving on to another covered-up trend – collars. Overtime the wedding dress neckline has crept up and where once the strapless sweetheart gown reigned supreme there are now full-sleeved designs as well as those with illusion necklines and high-necks.

In some cases the neckline has developed into a fully-fledged collar creating an incredibly regal look, which was favoured by one of the most elegant ladies in history on her wedding day – Grace Kelly.

Similar to the cape, a collard neckline can offer that bit more cover-up for body conscious brides whilst also emitting a theatrical look that’s bound to make a statement.

Many of the collared designs feature delicate lace collars but alternatives can be found in striking shirt necklines and super cute Peter Pan collars. Designers doing up the collar look perfectly include Pronovias, Ian Stuart and Charlotte Balbier – we heart her oh so sweet Flora dress.

All gowns featured are credited in our gallery.

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