April 6th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Who says you have to play by the rules on your wedding day? Well, today’s couple are breaking with convention – and they’re doing it by the bucket-load! Favours, bridesmaids, best men, a wedding breakfast, top table…all nowhere to be seen. But Fi and Kev’s day is all the more special for it.
And, something we’re sure will turn a few heads – hubby Kev helped his bride-to-be shop for her wedding dress, and they even woke up together on the morning of their nuptials. Could this couple be any more unique, daring to be different and putting a big personal stamp on their big day?
Tying the knot in the stunning Lake District, the couple’s intimate wedding had so many wonderful touches – from their guests jingling a line of bells in unison following the ceremony, to their fabulous cheese cake and veggie spread, and the most eye-wateringly beautiful picture of the couple looking up at the twinkly night sky. We’re in love with this unconventional but truly inspiring wedding, and we think you’re going to be head over heels about it, too!
With images by Jo Greenfield Photography.
fi says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2016. We have a couple of traditions, one being that we love to send each other cards or write little notes to each other and leave them in random places; the other is that we like to return to a particular park bench, where we first held hands, on the 25th of each month. On Christmas Day 2016 I was excited to give Kev a card, telling him how wonderful 2016 had been and how much love and happiness he had brought to my world. He had also written a card for me which had an extra little note inside saying ‘will you marry me?’. Kev had planned to give me his card at the park bench but because I was so excited to give him mine on Christmas morning, he gave me his while we were standing in the kitchen at home. That’s where he proposed, with his little note, standing in the very spot where he had asked me to move in with him. Perhaps not as romantic as being in the park sitting on our bench, but simple and just perfect.
We got married on 30th September 2017. We didn’t want a long engagement – why wait?! Neither of us particularly had any attachment to the Midlands, where we live, but we both love the Lake District so decided to tie the knot there. We hoped the September date might offer us better weather conditions and colours in the mountains at that time of the year.
We got married and held our reception at the Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. Kev and I are both uncomplicated people and the thought of having a massive wedding just didn’t appeal – we do not like being centre of attention so keeping our wedding small and intimate was really important.
We found the Haweswater Hotel purely by chance. We had gone to visit a different location and had been recommended by the owner of this other venue that we could stay at the Haweswater Hotel on the night of our wedding. So, we thought we’d take a look. We parked up outside and were mesmerised by the location and how beautifully isolated it was. The reception staff offered to show us round and we left that afternoon knowing we wanted to get married there.
We didn’t have a theme. We just wanted a simple and uncomplicated day. No unnecessary extras, no over-the-top flamboyance, just simple, relaxed and informal, a gathering of our friends and family.
We knew what colours we liked and a scheme evolved from that. I knew I wanted to wear ivory and Kev knew he wanted a deep blue herringbone tweed suit. Kev had been on holiday to India just as we met and whilst he was there he met the Dalai Lama who had given him a knotted red string bracelet. We decided to use this red band as inspiration for a vibrant accent colour, with pops of deep red in our flowers and Kev’s button hole and tie. So, in the end, we had a mix of ivory, dark blue, pops of deep red, dusky pinks and creams.
Right from the first day we met, Kev and I have always shared everything, and I couldn’t comprehend dress shopping without him. We wanted all our wedding decisions to be made together, so Kev was involved in the dress process with me.
I’d hoped it would be really exciting to walk into wedding dress shops and pick up lots of beautiful dresses to try on; this was never the case. I did some internet browsing to find a shop that stocked some dresses I did like, and Kev came with me for my appointment. However, I was even more demoralised when everything I tried on was a size 8. Being a size 12/14 I never thought I was that big, but this experience soon made me feel self-conscious about my size, something that had never really worried me before.
All this really got me down and I thought I’d never find ‘the’ dress, but the one thing I was able to take from the experience was what did and didn’t suit me. I decided to have my dress made so that I could incorporate all the ideas that I had really liked from the dresses I had tried on. In the end a family friend made my dress. Kev and I designed it together and were involved in the whole process.
January 25th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Michelle and Steve’s small but perfectly formed celebration has us all a-quiver here at Brides Up North. They were determined to keep things intimate, elegant and classic and, looking at these stunning images, we’re sure you’ll agree that they achieved their goals.
Brides Up North Sponsor, the stunning Bowcliffe Hall hosted their ceremony and reception and this classy couple opted make to use of the entire venue. Steve was already a Bowcliffe fan, but for Michelle it was love at first viewing – the different rooms and idiosyncratic layout provided endless potential for wedding day planning. They were even lucky enough to have a private blessing in the tiny garden Chapel – a beautiful moment of still and calm reflection before the partying began.
Over to the lovely Michelle to spill the gorgeous details…
With images by Catherine Kerr at Boho Chic Weddings.
michelle says: Steve and I met through work and had been together for four years. Steve proposed whilst on holiday in the Maldives and we were married exactly a year later.
Steve hadn’t really planned the actual proposal in advance; he just felt the time was right and that it would be good to have some time alone whilst we were on holiday. The biggest challenge, apparently, was keeping the ring hidden and safe until he actually proposed. He was paranoid I’d find it, or he’d lose it before he actually popped the question! Luckily, though, he kept it safe and decided to ask me mid-way through our holiday one morning after breakfast. He’d written the big question in the sand before we went to breakfast and thankfully it was still there when we headed to the beach!
We live locally to Bowcliffe Hall and Steve is also a member of the Drivers Club, so he knew the venue well. He thought from the beginning that it might fit the bill but hadn’t mentioned it to me. When I saw the Hall for the first time, however, I knew instantly that it was going to be the place where we would get married. It was fantastic – it made the decision so easy, we didn’t even visit anywhere else. It was the perfect choice.
From the start we were both focused on ensuring that the wedding would be intimate and tailored to the things we love the most. We had a vision of a small family wedding with approximately 50 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast and an additional 20 joining us for the evening celebrations. The Hall is so unique with the various rooms that we decided to use the entire venue including the wing and the chapel – after the main ceremony we had a wedding blessing with only our parents present, which was incredibly special. It was a moment of calm and reflection which gave us all time to truly appreciate our wedding and the day.
In terms of a colour scheme, we went for cream with a touch of pink – very subtle and classic. The venue accommodated our every wish and the rooms looked amazing, utilising the lighting with hints of pink throughout.
I went with my mum to choose my wedding dress from Abigail’s Brides and I was more than delighted with the end result. It was by British designer Nicola Anne from her Vintage collection. I’ve never felt so amazing in a dress and I absolutely loved the lace detail and the fish tail. I got my shoes from Nine West.
Steve had always wanted bespoke tailored suit, so he treated himself to one for our special day. He tracked down a tailor, James Shipton, he’d met at a dinner a few years earlier as he’d promised him that if he ever was going to have a suit tailored then he’d ask him. He did a fantastic job. Steve completed the outfit with a pair of navy Jeffery West navy.
July 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Imagine being the very first couple to tie the knot in a stunning new venue. That’s something today’s couple, Donna and Darren, can lay claim to – and we might just be a little bit jealous!
Marrying last summer at the spectacular Tanfield House on the banks of the River Ure in Ripon – the newlyweds created a rustic, laid-back garden party for their guests, complete with bunting, pom poms, chalkboards and origami heart place names. They quite literally put their heart and soul into their big day and this can be seen in every minute detail.
Asking their guests to bring along baked goodies as part of their bake-off competition, Donna and Darren also served up a Spanish feast and a dreamy four-tiered wedding cake. The epitome of vintage chic, this is the picture-perfect summer wedding we all secretly wish for…
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
donna says: We got engaged in July 2015, while on a weekend away in Barcelona. We had a ridiculously action-packed day which Darren had planned, including a Segway tour of Barcelona in the morning, a lovely tapas lunch followed by a visit to the Gaudi fountains in the park and then hiring a rowing boat on the lake.
After returning to the hotel room we quickly got ready and dashed out for a lovely meal and enjoyed a late-night walk along the beach. We stopped for cocktails before finally heading back to the hotel where he then wanted to go up to the rooftop bar, which was unfortunately closed. As I had pretty much been dragged around non-stop all day, I was absolutely shattered and just requested that we go to our room and go to bed. I pretty much passed out in bed, but Darren asked me to open my eyes and when I did, he had the open ring box in his hand and proposed. I was completely overwhelmed (mainly from exhaustion) but absolutely ecstatic. The ring was a beautiful vintage style diamond surrounded by cluster diamonds.
It turned out that the reason for the action-packed day was because he had been trying to find the right spot/moment to propose which never appeared. There had been a couple of occasions where he had pulled the ring out and then put it back in his pocket because I’d made some stupid joke or wandered off distracted. Even earlier in the evening when we were getting ready there had been a failed proposal attempt where he had written the proposal in steam on the shower wall whilst I was showering but I had been so intent on getting out for food I hadn’t even seen it! So it was quite funny and really lovely.
We got married on Friday 1st July 2016. We were really keen to get married the following year as I didn’t want to have a long drawn out engagement consumed with wedding planning. We were very limited with registrar slots and I had already decided on my photographer who had limited availability too. I liked the 1st July too as it was a nice easy date to remember!
We married at a new venue – Tanfield House in a village called West Tanfield near Ripon. I had my heart set on an outdoor rustic wedding in an intimate setting. I wanted the wedding to be very relaxed – like a chilled garden party – and having searched everywhere within a one hour radius, could not find anything which was suitable or was not already completely booked up. I had pretty much given up when luckily my search threw up Tanfield House, which was a brand-new venue. As soon as we looked around it and saw its stunning setting, and met Allanah the owner and wedding planner – we knew that it was absolutely perfect for us.
The venue sells itself on being a home-from-home where you dress the venue to your specifications and have the wedding exactly as you would like it, including having your own caterers, etc. Being their first booking and first large wedding in the diary, I knew that we would get a very personal service and it was exciting to be part of a new business venture and have a wedding that was completely original.
We chose a rustic relaxed theme. We both envisaged a really relaxed fun day celebrating with our closest friends and family. We are not religious, both very chilled and quite creative and good at crafting and wanted the wedding to reflect our personalities.
The rustic garden party wedding was ideal for us as it is exactly how I envisage a romantic summer wedding to be – full of garden blooms, chalkboards and vintage details. It enabled us to really personalise our wedding with decorating jars, homemade invites, flowers arranged by my friends and family from the local flower market, Darren’s self-crafted bar, cake table and light-up marquee letter initials from old wooden pallets, homemade chalkboards, a bake-off, origami heart place names, the list goes on…
We didn’t have a set wedding colour scheme. Given the theme, colours were just in keeping with summer blooms. Accessories were mainly cream, hessian and twine, and the flowers were just beautiful summer flowers from the markets in array of pinks, purples, creams and corals with lots of beautiful foliage.
I wore a vintage style lace mermaid Enzoani gown from The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering. I had my heart set on a form fitting lace gown but had initially wanted one with a detailed back – however when trying them on, detailed backs came with high necks which just didn’t suit my petite frame. My dress shopping was actually done in quite a panic with appointments booked during my lunch hour as I started shopping after New Year so had left myself less than six months. On one of these lunch time appointments my good friend and photographer Hayley came with me and encouraged me to try the dress on which I initially did not like, as I thought the mermaid flare would be over the top – however upon trying it on the flare made my figure look amazing and the lace eyelash detail on the bodice and the scallop lace bottom was so romantic and beautiful – I knew it was the one!
November 16th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh
Laura and Peter’s intimate wedding at Hipping Hall was full of luxurious details: a Maggie Sottero Ettia gown, Jimmy Choo heels and home-grown seasonal blooms that packed a real punch – just take a look at those peonies!
This pair of foodies also created a menu to die for, agonising over canape and course choices until they were sure their perfect day could boast the perfect wedding breakfast.
Laura is full of praise for photographer Rachel Joyce and it’s easy to see why: these photographs sparkle with joy, love and summer sun.
With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.
laura says: Peter proposed on Boxing Day 2013, when we were in Australia visiting Peter’s brother, his wife and children. Peter was insistent that just the two of us head out on Boxing Day. However, Peter’s plan of proposing to me amongst the vineyards at Moet & Chandon didn’t work out so all day he was on edge and wanting to stop at every lookout or place of interest on our trip. Finally, after driving up mountains and through forests, he found a perfect spot at Sugarloaf Reservoir in Christmas Hills, Victoria. I wasn’t expecting it and we both cried!
We arranged our wedding for Saturday 30th July 2016. We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and for Peter’s family from Australia to be there.
We decided on Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale for our venue. We visited the hall in 2015 and loved that it was so small and intimate. Plus, there was snow and it looked so pretty. We couldn’t wait to see it in summer. Being foodies, we also loved that our guests would be well looked after and enjoy amazing food and wine.
There was no particular colour scheme to the wedding; we just wanted bright and fun colours. The venue was impressive enough without having to dress it too much. We did however, theme a lot of the wedding around the lyrics to our first dance song, All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar, as they’re so lovely.
I wore a Maggie Sottero dress called Ettia. I adored it from the first time I tried it on. I’d always wanted quite a straight dress and thought that the vintage style of this particular gown was just stunning, especially the pearl and crystal embellishment. I bought it from Aristocrats in Chester, who were fabulous. Dress shopping was unexpectedly easy. Aristocrats was the first shop I visited. I tried about ten dresses on and they were all lace apart from the Ettia, which I eventually went for. To this day I’ve no idea how I even ended up trying it on – it was nothing like the others I was trying. My mum and two friends all cried (so did I!) so I knew it was ‘the one’. I bought Jimmy Choo shoes as a treat and on the wedding day Peter left a matching Jimmy Choo clutch bag in my room.
Peter wanted a less formal feel for his outfit and I’ve always known he doesn’t enjoy wearing a tie for work. So we asked ourselves why would he wear one for the wedding? He looked so handsome and smart in his Hugo Boss suit with crisp white shirt and no tie. His accessories also added a touch of style with his Oliver Sweeney shoes and handmade pocket square from Ylleanna, Biella in Italy, matching lapel pin and socks.
As we had such a small wedding (only 41 people), we decided that we didn’t want formal bridesmaids and groomsmen and wanted to make it a family day instead. I therefore had Peter’s three nieces as my bridesmaids. They looked stunning in pink floral dresses. Pete’s nephew kept the rings safe and presented them to us in the ceremony.
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March 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
A big wedding just isn’t for everyone and so it’s lovely to see couples organising small, intimate celebrations with just their very nearest and dearest as an alternative. Andy and Sarah had just 30 guests at their wedding and though small, it was perfectly formed.
The setting was a cosy hotel in the lovely village of Harome (one of my very favourite places) which provided a warm and homely environment for them to tie the knot.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged in summer 2011. Andy had surprised me and bought me a new watch. We had plans to go out for a meal that evening and when I’d finished getting ready Andy handed me the box which had my watch in it but he had replaced the watch with my engagement ring. Total surprise, never expected it.
We decided to set the date for 25th October 2014 as it’s a nice time of the year. Sort of the end of autumn, beginning of winter and still chance of a nice sunny day (which we had) but dusk early evening.
Our chosen venue was The Pheasant Hotel in Harome, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire. We hadn’t decided on anywhere but had been to Malton for the day. I had Googled venues in the area and The Pheasant caught my eye. The moment we walked in we knew this was the venue. It was Christmas at the time too so it was very festive and cosy with all the Christmas decorations.
We didn’t have a special theme as it was only a very small wedding with a total of 30 guests so just a very intimate celebration with a small group of very close friends and family. There wasn’t a colour theme as such either. I had my sister as maid of honour and my two-year-old daughter as my flower girl. I kept Tilly natural in an ivory dress and my sister wore a black evening gown. My husband wore a dark grey suit from Next and his best man wore a navy suit.
I didn’t want a big dress as the wedding and venue were only small. What I picked was plain but classic – a cream strapless dress from Coast with a lace, off the shoulder bolero which buttoned up the back from a local bridal shop.
James Tracey was our photographer. He was recommend by a couple of old work colleagues who both spoke very highly of him. I spoke to James several times before the wedding and instantly felt at ease and had every confidence in him. James made me feel very comfortable on my wedding day and it was a pleasure to have him be a part of my special day. I would highly recommend him to friends and family.
I carried a bouquet of blue and white thistle, agapanthus, white avalanche roses, blue veronica, white bouvardia, eucalyptus. My bridesmaids carried the same but a smaller version. They were put together by Busy Liz’s Floral Design in Kirbymoorside. The same flowers were used for the décor and the room where we got married was candlelit.
As favours we had pink chocolate lips lollipops for the ladies and milk chocolate moustaches for the men from a company called Cocoa Loco. Our cake was made by a family friend at Cakehouse on the Lane. We had a cream coloured cutting cake with a diamante ‘Mr & Mrs’ topper and cream cupcakes.
I would absolutely recommend The Pheasant Hotel to others. This venue is just perfect for a wedding, so romantic. We’ll definitely be returning for our anniversary. It is perfect for small weddings like ours or for larger weddings you can have exclusivity of the hotel.
I couldn’t possibly pick out a favourite part of the day – it was all perfect.
For our honeymoon we had a city break to Rome for four nights. Neither of us had ever visited Italy. What a way to end our wedding.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is relax and don’t stress. Whatever hasn’t been planned/booked doesn’t matter. No one else will know but you. Stand back and just take it all in.
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November 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re in the North East this afternoon as we join Kate and Andrew for their beautiful and intimate wedding at Blackfriars in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Not the keenest couple ever to dash down the aisle, when they finally ‘got around to it’ they definitely did it in style. Just look at the cut of that dress. Audrey Hepburn, eat your heart out.
Images by Duncan McCall Photography.
kate says: Back in 2010, we had a short break away to Bath. On my birthday we took a trip to see Stonehenge. After a secret chat with one of the security staff, Andrew persuaded me to hop over the barriers where we dashed up to the monument and Andrew got down on one knee to propose!
We got married on 21st June 2014. We had been engaged for a long time and had never made any serious wedding plans, knowing we would get around to it one day. Unintentionally we stumbled across the perfect wedding venue and spur of the moment booked it! We always knew we wanted a summer wedding so we thought the longest day of the year would be perfect.
We got married at Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle Upon Tyne. We loved it as soon as we saw it (we didn’t even look at any other venues!). It was local for all of our family and friends, and Andrew is very keen on history so it made sense to get married in a 13th century friary! We always wanted a small, laid-back wedding and what with their reputation for amazing food, we knew it was the venue for us.
We didn’t really choose a particular theme – as Blackfriars Restaurant was such a stunning setting, we tried to match everything to suit the venue. We went for a simple vintage look, with lots of lace, flowers and foliage and chose a nude/taupe colour scheme, with lots of ivory lace and hints of dusky pink.
I wore a full length ivory lace fish tail dress made by White Rose. It was bought from Truly Madly Deeply in Monkseaton. This was accompanied by a handmade Swarovski floral head piece, also purchased from Truly Madly Deeply.
My bridesmaid wore a full length nude/taupe coloured dress with a cinched in waist. This was made by my Auntie who is a seamstress.
Andrew wore a three piece grey morning suit, teamed with a wing collared shirt and nude coloured cravat. This was hired from Slaters Menswear in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
As the ceremony and the reception were all based at the same venue, there was very little travelling for our guests. I arrived in an ivory and black vintage-style Regent Convertible, provided by AB Wedding Cars in Newburn.
All of the flowers were provided by Katherine’s Florists in Newcastle Upon Tyne. My bouquet was hand tied and very rustic, made up of mainly ivory and dusky pink roses with a lot of foliage. My bridesmaid carried a smaller version of the same bouquet.
To decorate the venue, we worked with a lovely lady called Dot from Katherine’s Florists, whose son had previously got married at Blackfriars Restaurant, so she knew the place like the back of her hand! We had three large floral arrangements and used rose petals and trails of ivy to decorate the room. For further decoration to the venue we used a huge amount of church candles and trimmed the chairs with ivory lace.
Our photographer for the day was Duncan McCall Photography. Duncan made us feel so relaxed and he captured every little memory from our big day. Amazing service and we were overwhelmed by the finished album. We have already been recommending Duncan to all of our family and friends.
We had a traditional three tiered fruit cake with ivory icing. It was decorated with ivory and dusky pink roses to match the flowers. This was made by the Andrew’s mum!
Blackfriars Restaurant is known for its fantastic food, so together we created a three course menu for our wedding breakfast. This consisted of a North Sea Fishcake to start, Northumbrian Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and spring veg, and Sticky Toffee Pudding and ice cream for dessert! All of the ingredients were locally sourced. This was accompanied by a choice of wines we had selected, along with Prosecco for toasts.
As we wanted a laid-back reception we treated our guests to a bacon or sausage sandwich later in the evening (both the sausage and the rolls were handmade at Blackfriars Restaurant that day)!
For the evening reception we created our own candy buffet, with all of our favourite sweets! Throughout the day we added lots of special touches to make the day as personal to us as we could – from asking our family and close friends to take part in readings during the ceremony, to providing guests with a small scratch-card quiz on love and marriage before the wedding breakfast (this was an after-thought and went down very well with our guests)!
We provided the entertainment ourselves by creating our own music playlist for guests to join us on the dance floor at the evening reception.
We would like a special mention to Toni & Guy hair salon in Newcastle Upon Tyne, who styled both our hair for the big day. Their service was fantastic and we were both really pleased with the results.
We would also recommend Dressmaking by Kaylean in Newcastle Upon Tyne who provided the alterations for the my dress.
We would definitely recommend Blackfriars Restaurant to another couple. The service was outstanding and they made us feel so special all day. The wedding coordinator, Lee, never stopped all day and made sure every small detail was just perfect.
Our favourite part of the day was later in the evening when we were having our photographs taken up on the balcony at Blackfriars. It was our first proper chance to relax and chat to each other as husband and wife. The weather was perfect and we were looking down into the terrace garden watching all of our family and friends having a great time – it certainly made us smile for the photographs!
We went to Rome for our honeymoon! Ever since we first met we always wanted to visit Rome to enjoy the amazing food, sunshine and soak up the history. It lived up to our expectations and more, and was the perfect romantic city to spend our honeymoon in.
The top tip that Andrew received before the wedding was to just remember to not be nervous, as chances are he had already made a bigger fool of himself in the past in front of everybody who was present at the wedding! We would certainly recommend this to any future bride and groom!
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