September 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We love the relaxed vibe of today’s real wedding with Matt and Kay deciding on a fun garden party style big day, complete with Pimms and tug of war!
The pretty mint green and ivory theme works perfectly with the summer season and both Kay and her maids look absolutely gorgeous in their gowns.
The smiles, laughter and love shared on the day is easy to see in the beautiful images that follow…
With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.
kay says: After nine years together I’d love to say that our engagement was a fairy-tale proposal! In 2013 Matt made a deal with me, he said that if I got him tickets to the Ashes that year, he would marry me. As you can imagine, tickets for matches at this level kind of sell out pretty quickly and often about a year before so it was quite a challenge. Not one to back down, I went on the hunt and after pulling lots of strings and calling in favours I managed to secure two tickets to the test at Trent Bridge. We had a great day and he promised that one day he would keep to his side of the bargain. He finally proposed the week before Christmas a few months later. He popped the question at about 10.30pm whilst I was trying to get sleep! I’d been away all week with work and I think he’d stressed himself out so much he just blurted it out! He didn’t even have a ring! Of course I said yes, and we went shopping for a ring a few days later. On the way home we stopped off at my grandma’s house to tell her the news and as we pulled up outside he got the ring out of the box and asked me again – it was where he had picked me up from for our first date and he’d remembered – he got the romance right second time around!
We got married on Friday 10th July 2015 (two years to the date of the weekend we spent at the Ashes match – although this is a huge coincidence). We wanted a summer wedding so that there was a chance we could spend the day outside. We were both really keen that the day was quite chilled out and wanted to have the atmosphere of a big family/friends gathering – like you would have at a barbecue party! I did a bit of research (ok, quite a bit) on the weather over the last four years which narrowed it down to a few weeks in July where there had been zero rainfall. Luckily the venue only had a few dates left so it was a perfect fit!
We got married at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield and fell in love with it the minute we got there. After lots of research on venues close to where we lived, I’d narrowed it down to three options. We visited each of them over a weekend and as we approached the long sweeping driveway of Whirlowbrook I was won over! It was perfect and had the country house/rustic feel that I wanted, but also had the laid back/modern feel that Matt was looking for. The outdoor lawn was just right for my plans, but the indoor space was perfect if the typical English weather decided to make an appearance!
We met with Judith at the hall and her enthusiasm, knowledge and approach was just what we wanted. It felt like she had been a friend of ours for years and encouraged my ideas of doing things a bit differently!
I wanted the theme to feel like a country garden – lots of fresh summery colours, wild flowers, lace and bunting! It was the style that I was drawn towards the most and fitted in with the outdoor approach that we wanted. I also wanted everything to just be simple and pretty without feeling over the top and to make sure that the day was laid back and not too formal – we just wanted a party really.
Our chosen colours were mint green and ivory with a few pastels thrown in to add a bit of colour where needed! I love the freshness of mint green, and daisies are also one of my favourite flowers so it all fitted in well!
I wanted my dress to be simple, elegant and unique. I almost had a bit of a bridezilla breakdown as I’d visited several boutiques and looked online at different designers but I wasn’t finding anything that matched my vision. After several months of searching, I came across Kate Halfpenny who is based in London and I was mesmerised by her collection. I loved them all! I got in touch with Kate to find out her price range as I didn’t fancy a trip to London to fall in love with a dress that I couldn’t afford. Her reply was even more comforting as she was about to launch her collection outside of London for the first time…in Sheffield! I went to visit her at the launch day which was held at The White Room boutique. After ten minutes of chatting to Kate about what I liked I was being dressed in the Iris slip and jacket – I had that ‘tears’ moment (so did my bridesmaids) and the rest is history!
My hair was done by Katie and Jenny at Parkers in Sheffield. Jo Singleton was my knight in shining armour and made my makeup look fantastic – natural but visible. She also did the makeup for my four bridesmaids.
Matt had his suit tailor made by Sean at Ashford Menswear in Sheffield. He wears suits most days for his job, so wanted something a bit different. Sean was brilliant – he helped him to choose fabrics, explained alternative cuts to make the suit feel unique and suggested ways to add personal touches – this included our names and wedding date being embroidered into the lining of his jacket! He got brownie points from me for this!
Our groomsmen wore whatever they chose and felt comfortable in. They each have their own style and we weren’t bothered about everyone matching.
Our bridesmaids meanwhile all wore dresses that I had found online. Trying to please four girls that are different shapes and sizes wasn’t an easy task (I’m sure many brides experience this), but the one shoulder, fitted on top/floaty on bottom, knee-length style looked perfect on all of them. Their shoes were from BHS.
The amazing Jo and Simon at Shoot Photography captured our day for us. We met them at our friend’s wedding four years ago and had followed their work ever since. There was only ever one choice of photographer for us and I checked they were available before confirming the venue! They are just wonderful – so professional, but laid back and they make you feel at ease from the minute you meet them. Neither of us like our photograph being taken, but their sense of humour helped us to relax and actually enjoy it!
I wanted my bouquet to look like I’d picked it from the garden, so quite wild looking and not very neat! Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield did an amazing job with a very minimal brief. The colours were green and white and it included lots of daisies.
Jo Price Flowers also assisted with the flowers for the décor by helping me to fill several jugs and jam jars (that I’d been collecting for over a year). I collected other bits from a variety of places – Etsy, The Range, Hobbycraft and other online websites – to make pretty much all of our decorations. My maid of honour was very handy with a sewing machine and so made all of the bunting that was used in the Oak Room! Matt’s dad made all of the outdoor signage from old bits of wood. It was a collective effort and a lot of the items were homemade – I wanted it to have a personal touch.
We didn’t give favours to guests as such, but I put in a rush order of paper heart shaped fans on the Monday when I knew the temperatures were going to reach 25/26c – they went down a treat! I also bought lots of flip flops for our female guests to wear – no one likes heels on the grass!
In terms of food and drink, we had canapés and Pimms to start with and then had a full barbecue with a choice of wines as the main dinner. We had picnic blankets spread across the lawn and picnic basket stations with wine glasses, bottle coolers and cutlery etc. I think a fair few bottles of prosecco were drunk too!
For the entertainment, we had a fantastic band called Highway Child to play – they actually learnt our first dance and played it live for us. I’ve known the lead singer of the band for a number of years and have seen them play several times – I wouldn’t have had anyone else!
We also had garden games spread out across the lawn for our guests to entertain themselves with the space hopper race, limbo pole and Stags v Hens tug of war going down a treat! We also had giant Twister, giant Connect Four and Quoits. Everyone just seemed to be having fun and it was so nice to see everyone smiling and laughing.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The team were brilliant from start to finish. Judith listened to my ideas and was always at the end of the phone/email if I had any concerns or needed a recommendation. I always felt like they were I complete control and that’s a must for any bride. It was also the personal touches on the day which made a big difference, they knew exactly how we would be feeling at every point and they really looked after us. Danny and his team were great throughout the day and they always had a smile on their faces. We felt like we were with friends who had known us for years.
I loved all of it the wedding but I think my favourite bit was when we were walking back up the driveway after we had been to do photographs (just Matt and I) – all we could hear was laughter and we just saw everyone having fun. It was exactly how I had wanted it to be.
Following the wedding we had a mini-moon in Ibiza for five days…I needed sunshine! We delayed our two-week honeymoon to America until this month. We have booked four days in New York, then we fly to San Francisco and spend four days there before picking up a convertible Mustang (super excited to drive this!) and driving down the coast of California to Carmel. We then have four days of exploring (and hopefully relaxing) before we travel home.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure that you take time off in the lead up to the big day. Also, ask people to help as there is so much to do and don’t forget to book in time to treat yourself! I spent the day before being completely pampered (nails etc.) with my maid of honour and it was definitely needed!
September 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we have another wedding that stands out, not for having an unusual theme or vibrant colour scheme, but due to its simplicity.
After finding a dream venue in the West Tower, bride Victoria set to work adding elegant touches for the classic wedding she’d always dreamed of.
We love Victoria’s stunning Ronald Joyce gown, her maids’ lovely latte coloured dresses, the chic looking cake and all the pretty peonies. Just perfect!
With images by Teresa C Photography.
victoria says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012, three months after having our little boy so Christian asked me when he had got in from work as he was working that Christmas Day. Not very romantic but it was nice.
We picked the date the 30th May 2015 for the wedding because ever since we have been together the weather has always been nice around that time of year.
We got married at West Tower, Ormskirk. I was told about the venue by my florist, who I have known for more than 15 years. We went and took a look around and fell I love with it that much it made me cry. It was just what we were looking for, it had character but was modern at the same so was perfect for us.
I wanted an elegant theme just because it looks so lovely and classy. I think I went for this theme once we had found our venue and I had found my dress as it made me feel elegant so everything just fell into place.
I went with a latte type of colour scheme as again I thought it looked elegant and classy. I just knew I didn’t want bright colours.
I chose a dress I didn’t think I would have as it had a high neckline and I always thought I would go for a strapless. It also had a lot of Swarovski crystals, which again I didn’t think of having initially. When I tried it on I was very surprised as it made stand up straight and made me feel so elegant – I just loved it. I did keep looking for a while but I just kept going back to the first one so that’s how I knew it was ‘the one’.
My dress was by Ronald Joyce and my full length vail was by Joyce Jackson, both bought from Romantica in Wigan. My headdress was by Richard Designs and that was from a friend’s bridal shop, Bride 2 Be, in Leigh. My shoes where Jenny Packham from Debenhams and all jewellery was from Debenhams too.
My husband, the best man and ushers all wore Moss London slim fitted suits with bid like waistcoats, which we thought really set them off. Their shoes were from Aldo and Topman and shirts from TM Lewin. Sue at The Wow Factor (who is amazing) made our son Harry’s full suit, the men’s ties and pocket ties and the bridesmaid dresses.
For transport on the wedding day we hired a Daimler car from Grace Wedding Cars in Ashton Wigan, which was lovely.
Our photographer was Teresa C Photography, who had already done photos for us in the past which we love so we didn’t hesitate at all in asking her would she do our wedding and the outcome was amazing. She is a very talented photographer and we would highly recommend her, as we always do.
Our cake was made by Jane at Coco Cakes. I wanted a simple cake with pearls and a faded colour effect. We also wanted it to be all different flavours, as it was going to be our evening desert after our barbecue. We went for Victoria sponge, carrot, chocolate and then lemon drizzle, plus more chocolate in 50 cupcakes. It was all delicious. She is amazing at cake making and I’ve always got my cakes made by her. It was a three-day proses to make the cake, which was well worth it – she is a perfectionist!
Stacey Whitaker from Perfect Daze, in Wigan, created all the flower arrangements, including those carried by me and my bridesmaids. I wanted all flowers for table arrangements to be mainly hydrangeas and peonies so left Stacey to work her magic. She is an amazing florist and would highly recommend her and her team.
As favours we gave soaps to the ladies and scratch cards to the men.
The entertainment for the evening was a band called Kings of the Dance Floor, who we found on the intern. They were an indie type of band and really got the place rocking! They were excellent all night and the dance floor was packed from beginning to end, which I guess you get with a very good band.
Special touches on the day included my one of my best friends Olie, giving me away as my mum and dad have both passed away. I also had an old picture of my parents displayed on the day. The best man David did an amazing job of his speech and everybody has been talking about it since. He managed to get everyone clicking their fingers to the Adams Family!
We would highly recommend West Tower to other couples, as they couldn’t do enough for us and the whole day ran smoothly. It was an amazing day, and one we will never forget!
We have yet to go on honeymoon. We are planning that for next year as we have just done the two of the most stressful things in life – buying a house and getting married.
June 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Well what can we say about today’s wedding – it’s just so pretty! From the idyllic Lake District setting to the romantic styling and gorgeous wedding attire, we love it all!
Debra’s choice of a soft pastel palette for the décor, flowers and bridesmaid dresses works perfectly with the spring season and surrounding countryside, making for an incredibly elegant and romantic big day.
Here at Brides Up North we just love to see couples having fun with their wedding photography and so adore the mix of documentary and staged shots from Richard and Debra’s special day (particularly the ones of the maids with the giant balloons – how fabulous are they!)
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Helen Russell Photography.
debra says: We got engaged at Gleneagles on 22nd April 2012. Richard had booked a surprise weekend away. I had no idea! The day we arrived we used the spa and had a bite to eat. Later, we got dressed ready for dinner and took a walk in the grounds. Richard proposed to me by the fountain, and I said yes! It was lovely. When we went back inside we were taken to a reserved table where Richard had arranged for a special bottle of champagne to be waiting for us, then we ate dinner in the restaurant and celebrated with some cocktails afterwards. We enjoyed a very special time at Gleneagles. For me, it was one of the most memorable and happy weekends of my life!
We got married on 25th May 2015. We both liked the idea of getting married in Bowness in The Lake District as it’s a place that we have frequently visited since we started dating almost eight years ago. As we both love spring time we decided on a date in May. Timing it on a bank holiday also allowed our family and friends more time to travel to The Lake District and we thought it would be more relaxing for everyone.
Our chosen wedding venue was Linthwaite House in Bowness-on-Windermere. We chose our venue as it’s located in the area we have been visiting regularly since we met. Linthwaite House is in a truly beautiful setting with stunning views over Lake Windermere and we were fortunate to be able to take over the hotel and exclusively use it for our wedding. Linthwaite House offered everything we were looking for and we felt it was the idyllic, intimate wedding venue for us to enjoy with all of our guests.
We didn’t have a particular theme, although I’d say our wedding style was romantic and elegant. My flowers were made up with a range of different roses in soft pastel shades and featured David Austin roses. Other little details such as the vintage postcards, signage and table plan I made myself with the help of my mam and sister added to the feel of the day. To introduce a bit of sparkle I wore a diamante headpiece and cuff. The bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes also had a hint of sparkle and they each wore diamante slides, earrings and bracelets.
Our colour scheme was made up of soft pastel colours, mainly soft spring greens and pale pinks, purely because I wanted it to look clean, fresh and romantic.
My dress was by Justin Alexander and I purchased it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. I chose the dress because it was elegant and I loved how the fabric felt. It was a fitted ivory duchess satin dress which tailed out slightly at the bottom. I loved that it was plain and featured some subtle diamante details on the shoulders and a scoop back with buttons all the way down the chapel length train. I also wore a plain chapel length veil which I loved. My shoes were by Rainbow and were very plain mid-heeled ivory court shoes. It all felt lovely on and I was very comfortable.
Richard wore a stylish three-piece suit, tie, socks and shoes from Reiss which we purchased in Leeds.
We booked the transport for me to get from Linthwaite House to the church and back through Lakeland Wedding Cars. I ordered an ivory coloured 1947 silver wraith.
Our photographer was the amazing Helen Russell! Richard already knew Helen and she was the first person we contacted regarding photography. We didn’t consider anyone else and I could not recommend Helen highly enough. She is friendly, professional and has a great eye. Helen is without a doubt an excellent photographer and I would assure any couple getting married that she is brilliant at what she does. I had 100 per cent confidence that Helen would capture our wedding day perfectly in the images she’d create, and she did just that.
Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal provided all of the flowers at our wedding and she was great! My four bridesmaids and I carried bouquets. These were made up of soft country pastel peonies, hydrangea and David Austin roses. My flower girl carried a pomander made up of similar flowers. Richard wore a button hole made up of peony, hydrangea plus greenery and the groomsmen wore smaller versions with foliage. The mum’s wore corsages in the same flowers and colours.
Kerry provided eight table arrangements at our wedding reception which were made up with the same type of flowers that I carried in my bouquet. The table arrangements were displayed in glass stands with some flowers overflowing. Kerry also provided a fresh floral display for the newel post in Linthwite House, fresh flowers for the top of our wedding cake and ribbons trails for the church gate. The church florist meanwhile provided soft clean pale coloured fresh flowers inside the church, which were mainly ivory roses.
The decorations at our wedding included wicker hearts which were placed in the entrance to the church and on the pew ends. We had paper pom poms in the trees and floral vintage bunting placed in and around the outside of the venue. I did a little DIY and made the confetti cones, the table plan, the table name cards, tags for the favours and other decorative signage.
The ladies favour was ‘a love nest’ – a set of miniature ceramic love bird salt and pepper shakers presented in a box. The men each had a miniature bottle of spirit and the junior guests had a Cadbury’s Freddo sweet tree and colouring books.
A friend made our delicious three-tier wedding cake which I designed myself using the same lace and ribbon which I used to create our ‘message in a bottle’ vintage themed wedding invitations. We chose three flavours, fruit for the bottom tier, lemon sponge in the middle and chocolate on the top. Delicious!
Canapes were served upon our arrival at the Linthwaite House with celebratory drinks of prosecco. For our wedding breakfast we had pea and smoked Cumbrian ham risotto topped with a crispy hens egg to start, roast sirloin of beef, fondant potato, mushroom duxelle, onion puree in a red wine jus for main and baked lemon tart with raspberries and raspberry sorbet for dessert. To finish the meal we had coffee and petit fours, which included salted caramel, peppermint cream, dark chocolate and pecan nut fudge. On the evening we had hot bacon and sausage baps and the wedding cake was also served during this time.
To provide entertainment we chose a local North East band called The Rattlers, who travelled from Sunderland to play at our wedding. We then had local a DJ in the evening named DJ Travis who was recommended to us by Linthwaite House. We also had a wedding wishing tree and small sweet buffet during the evening reception.
Others suppliers we used that we would recommend are Imelda Lantern, who provided our tea lights for the tables, and Balloons in the Lakes, who supplied some large ivory balloons to be used as photo props. These were excellent!
The entire day was perfect but leaving the church as Mr and Mrs was definitely our favourite part. We thoroughly enjoyed the photography too as it allowed us to spend some precious time on our own and reflect on our special day together.
For our honeymoon we went to California. It was amazing! We travelled to San Francisco and on the first day cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was fantastic. We then hired a car there and drove onto Pebble Beach where Richard played golf. I walked around the course with him as the scenery was so incredibly beautiful. Our next destination was Los Angeles, which is where I found out that we were expecting a baby (Freddie was born on 8th February 2015 weighing 8lb 0.5oz and is just perfect – we are completely besotted with him). After a few days we drove onto San Diego and finished up in Las Vegas. All excellent places and well worth a visit. A very memorable holiday to top off our wedding. It was all a truly magical experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the lead up to your wedding as it is all part and parcel of your special day. Take your time when making your choices and decisions and most of all trust your own judgement. It’s amazing to see everything come together. On the day, relax and take it all in. It’s the most wonderful day of your lives.
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June 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
The well-known saying there’s no place like home rang true for today’s bride Jenny when she decide the perfect place to stage her wedding reception would be at her parents’ seaside abode.
Looking at the images of Jenny and Tim’s big day we can see why. The whole day has a lovely relaxed feel to it as the wedding party enjoyed a traditional church ceremony before taking a leisurely stroll down the road to Jenny’s parent’s house. Here a beautifully decorated marquee and seaside views provided standout setting for the big day celebrations to continue.
We also have to give Jenny’s beautifully detailed Packham gown a mention *swoon*.
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Daniel Lloyd Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged in August 2013 in Andalucia on the beach. It was midnight and a couple of boats were sailing by, all lit up. I didn’t believe Tim when he first asked – it took him producing a ring from behind his back for me to realise it was real!
We decided to get married on 26th July 2014 as it was the same date as my grandparents’ wedding.
We got married at Blundellsands United Reformed Church, a beautiful church around the corner from where we live. We wanted the whole day to feel homely and relaxed and didn’t want people travelling large distances between the ceremony and the venue. We were fortunate to have a beautiful (albeit incomplete) reception venue in my parents’ house overlooking Crosby beach. A marquee was erected in the garden opening out to a beautiful view of the sea.
I wanted a really rustic and relaxed feel to the wedding. Our dream was to be married at home so I knew from the start that it was going to be a marquee wedding. My vision was wild flowers and bunting, a theme that ran throughout the wedding, from the homemade invitations to decorating the marquee.
I didn’t have a particular colour scheme in mind – I focused on the flowers and the bunting and everything fell into place from there!
I always knew I wanted a Jenny Packham dress – her designs are so beautiful. I had a wonderful time trying on as many styles as I could but I knew I had fallen in love with Muscari the moment I tried it on. The dress and veil were from Amy-Louise Bridal in Nantwitch.
Tim wore a navy Prince Edward suit from Moss Bros and the groomsmen wore the same.
As the church was only around the corner from the house that we held the reception in, myself and my bridesmaids walked to the church. It was so lovely to have the time to calm our nerves and the well wishes we received from passing drivers were a lovely and memorable surprise!
Our photographer on the day was Dan of Daniel Lloyd Photography. Dan was exactly what we wanted from a photographer – he was unobtrusive and he paid excellent attention to detail managing to capture the happiest moments. We are thrilled with our photographs!
The Flower Barn in Little Crosby Village provided the flowers for our big day. I knew from the moment I met Yvette in her gorgeous little barn that she would be able to provide the relaxed, wild flower look that I hoped for. I opted for gypsophila, freesia and lisianthus arranged loosely with cream roses for my bouquet.
Yvette also provided the flowers for the marquee which were arranged by my mum in mismatched vases and milk bottles to add to the rustic feel. The bridesmaids and our families spent the days leading up to the wedding decorating the marquee with bunting and the chairs with organza. Tim had the less exciting job of fitting a kitchen and doors in the house so that it would be ready to receive guests, a job that took him up to 10pm the night before the wedding!
Tim and I were in disagreement about the wedding favours. Whilst I was keen to treat the guests to local, handmade macarons from the Little Macaron Shop, Tim was leaning towards a more ‘entertaining’ favour which he felt would go well with the real ale and opted for, wait for it, pork scratchings! A compromise was reached where the female guests received the macarons and the male guests the pork scratchings. Both were presented in hand-made boxes decorated with lace.
We chose a plain three tiered cake from Marks & Spencer which was decorated with wild flowers.
The wine was a generous wedding gift from Tim’s Aunt and Uncle who live in Falset, a small town in Catalunya.They brought red wine from Cellar Capçanes, a small cooperative in the Monsant wine region and white from Terra Alta. The day before the wedding, we decanted the wine into bottles which we had personalised to match the wedding invitations and the order of service. Tim’s close friend Bob from Bury Repro printed our wedding invitations and order of service and did a wonderful job.
The cask ale was from Outstanding, a Brewery in Tim’s home town of Bury. Real ale was an important addition to the wedding for Tim and it proved very popular with the guests!
A sailboat was placed at the end of the garden and filled with ice and soft drinks for the children. The ice didn’t last for long in the glorious weather but the children loved it all the same!
Carringtons Caterers provided the food for the wedding breakfast and also the evening food. With the wedding being by the sea, we thought it was fitting to have mini fish and chips instead of a buffet – these also went down really well with our guests!
For entertainment, Tony Crotty played classical guitar in the church and in the garden during the champagne reception. We were both blown away when we heard Tony play the guitar and the lute and knew we had to have him play at our wedding. The evening entertainment was provided by the Trunk Monkeys, a local band from the Wirral. Although we had heard samples of their music on their website, nothing prepared us for how fantastic they were. I’ve lost count of the number of guests who asked for their details!
My favourite part of the day was the first dance with my new husband. Part-way through the song when all of the most important people in our lives joined in with our special moment was the happiest I have ever been.
We spent our honeymoon in a beautiful tree house in France. Each morning we hoisted up our breakfast in a wooden bucket then spent the day wandering around the grounds of the chateau in which the treehouse was built or exploring the pretty villages nearby. It was idyllic.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t fret about the details. No-one is going to notice that you forgot to tie twine around the favour boxes when they are having such a lovely time. It’s all about the bigger picture. Oh and enjoy it – it really does go so quickly!
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April 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Nowadays brides and grooms go beyond a colour scheme to theme their wedding day to reflect them as an individual couple – their personalities, passions and hobbies.
Today’s real wedding couple Nicola and Andrew did just that by arranging their ‘festival wedding’ around their love of music with vinyl decorations, gig ticket style invitations and live entertainment, in which the wedding couple themselves took part.
So grab your wellies and watch out for the mud as we share Nicola and Andrew’s soulful big day.
With images by Ricky Carrington Photography.
nicola says:We got engaged on 23rd Feb 2013 while we were away in Paris for the weekend. I’d always wanted to go, and it was a surprise weekend away which Andrew organised.
We set the date for 17th May 2014. It was in the rugby off-season and was an available date at the venue we wanted – Willington Hall Hotel in Tarporley, Cheshire. We both really liked the venue as it was easy on the eye and the team there were very relaxed in catering to our needs.
We decided on a festival/music theme for our big day – I play the electric guitar and Andrew plays the drums. We both played with the wedding band at our reception as a surprise to our guests. We played Spitting Games by Snow Patrol. Music is an important part of our lives and we wanted our wedding to reflect that.
To fit in with our theme the place names were old vinyls with guests’ names on them, the table names were groups/albums close to our hearts, our invitations were like gig tickets and we had lots of photographs with our guests in wellies.
To go along with our festival theme we had a yellow and blue colour scheme. I liked sunflowers and the idea stemmed from there really!
Before trying on any wedding dresses, I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted so I went into a shop and told the assistant this. She then helped me try on a wide range of different types of dresses. I fell in love with a Jenny Packham dress – it was the third dress I tried on! I then went to a further two shops and ended up going back to the original shop to get the Jenny Packham dress. I can’t really tell you why I picked I just loved wearing it. The shop I got my dress from is called The Wedding Club in Birmingham. The bridesmaids got their dresses from there too.
Makeup and hair on the day was organised by the spa attached to Willington Hall and was absolutely fabulous. The hairdresser was called Sian Dutton who was recommended to us by the spa.
All the male wedding party wore the same suit. It was from a local suit vendor called L & J Formal Hire. All the males wore converse rather than shoes which all matched, in keeping with our festival/music theme. I wore flat shoes for the wedding ceremony and converse which my friend had decorated especially for the day in the evening.
Ricky Carrington Photography did our wedding photos. Ricky was brilliant and made everyone feel at ease which is a big help on the day. Any request we made wasn’t a problem and the photographs were amazing.
The flowers were based around sunflowers with a few extra bits. Arrangements were done by Black Cat Floral Design who I would highly recommend. I’m not actually a big fan of flowers and Mel really helped bring out my one idea of sunflowers and made the flowers/venue look amazing. They arranged everything and everyone on the day, which is a lovely personal touch.
We didn’t have any favours as such on the tables, instead we had a retro sweet table which the florist also decorated and set up for us. We had cupcakes rather than one big wedding cake, which was made by my close friend Natasha and reflected our musical theme.
To provide entertainment we had live band for the evening called The Smooth Criminals. This was a true highlight of the day, especially when we played a song with them. Again, as music is a big part of our lives, it seems a good match to have a live band for the evening. To keep children (and some of the adults) entertained at the wedding we also had giant games such as snakes and ladders and Jenga.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others. The venue is gorgeous to look at and you can get married outside, which we did. We had the entire venue to ourselves, including accommodation for all of the wedding party. The staff were amazing and no request was too much trouble for them. They made me feel in control of the decisions made for the wedding which they were supportive in, it didn’t feel like a ‘package’ wedding – everything felt individual. Sue was our wedding co-ordinator who I would recommend also!
I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we loved all of it!
For our honeymoon we had a bit of adventure! As well as music, we also love to travel so we took full advantage of our three weeks off work and went to Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo and Dubai. We spent every day exploring – it was amazing, especially Tokyo.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is chill out – everything works out fine in the end!
March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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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