Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

and kiss! rebecca ingram for a rustic wedding at combermere abbey – jessica & michael

February 8th, 2018 | Julia Braime

A Rustic Wedding at Combermere Abbey (c) Jess Yarwood (49)

What do a horsebox, a pizza oven and a donut wall all have in common? Nope, this isn’t our attempt at a bad joke, but rather they all feature in today’s stunner of a real wedding.

The lovely Jessica and her beau Mike booked out all of the cottages at their stunning rural venue the night before the main event and treated their guests to the finest in laidback outdoor cuisine to get everyone in the mood for the celebration ahead. Family and friends ate, drank and were merry, turning their wedding into a whole weekend to remember.

In planning their rustic big day, Jessica and Mike wanted to create the sense that the colours and textures were “organic…the same indoors as out”. Looking at their gorgeous autumnal palette, the groom’s tweed and the bride’s woodland blooms, we think they definitely achieved their mission.

With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Combermere Abbey (c) Jess Yarwood (63)

jessica says: We got engaged on a mini road trip. Mike simply came into the house one afternoon and said “let’s go!’ We started at Drury where we stopped at the chippy, drove all the way to the top of Hope Mountain, found a rocky outcrop and sat and ate chips. As I was looking out over the beautiful views of Wales and Cheshire a ring box caught my eye.

Our wedding date was 27th November 2017. There was no particular reason behind the date, but I’d always liked the idea of an autumn wedding. The colours of the leaves are so beautiful, although I was a little bit worried about unpredictable weather.

A Rustic Wedding at Combermere Abbey (c) Jess Yarwood (66)

Our ceremony and reception was at Combermere Abbey in Whitchurch. We booked the accommodation at Combermere for the night before meaning that both sets of family and friends could stay over and get to know each other. We had a total of nine cottages, which easily accommodated 49 guests. We transported a pizza oven in a horse box and served pizza, nibbles and drinks all night. The bridal party moved onto the Stone Lodge later on, and continued the party.

The theme we picked was rustic to fit in with our surroundings and the Abbey grounds, so we incorporated lots of wood and greenery. Our colour scheme was autumnal to fit in with what was going on outdoors – we wanted everything to flow and feel quite organic; that the colours and textures were the same indoors as out.

A Rustic Wedding at Combermere Abbey (c) Jess Yarwood (43)

I chose a Rebecca Ingram dress – it was a lace and tulle dress in a blush pink colour with white lace and matching veil purchased from Aristocrats in Chester. The staff were extremely helpful and made the process very easy. I chose it because I loved it on the hanger, and my mum told me before I’d even tried it on that it was the one for me. She was 100% right!

Mike wore a tweed suit jacket and waistcoat bought from Chester City Gate. He hired the trousers from Swarbricks in Manchester to match with the ushers’ suits. We’d seen Swarbricks at a wedding show and we loved their range of tweed.

A Rustic Wedding at Combermere Abbey (c) Jess Yarwood (61)

We had three sets of bridesmaids: the older girls wore Jenny Packham from Debenhams, the younger ones wore Next dresses and the babies wore Monsoon. They were all in shades of burgundy and pinks to complement my gown.

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look book: glitz & glam

December 7th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

Eliza Jane Howell-Hope

Eliza Jane Howell

T’is the season to be festive and that means going all out with the glitz and the glamour – we’re talking heavily embellished, glittering gowns to send your betrothed weak at the knees, full-on swishy skirts a princess would be proud of (take note, Meghan) and gold and silver metallics to make your guests’ jaws drop. Feast your eyes on these glitz and glam gowns.

Jenny Packham_euphoria

Jenny Packham

First stop on the train to destination sparkle is Jenny Packham, an expert at marrying glittery gorgeousness with an elegant silhouette. Take the romantically named Valentine – an extravagantly detailed bodice balanced with a crepe lace skirt – and the Euphoria, which is embellished from head to toe in flattering vertical contours. Awe epitomises daring sophistication – a crystal-encrusted figure-hugging number that balances a plunging neckline with beautiful cap sleeves – while Rapture is star-studded and glorious.


Hayley Paige

For serious swishability style points, Hayley Paige is right on the money, with dreamy skirts just begging to be whisked around a fairy-tale dance floor. We’re awarding the Gael a whopping 10/10 on the swishability scale – an embellished ball gown with dimensional floral beading and embroidery, a rhinestone-beaded strap, a low open back and, of course, that glorious full tulle skirt. Hot on its heels is the Lincoln, a sequin- and crystal-encrusted ball gown with a full, layered tulle skirt and the Rory, a lace ball gown with cashmere lining and a full, cascading tulle skirt. Just don’t swish too close to the candles.

Zeta-with-Mitzi-cape - Eliza Jane Howell

Eliza Jane Howell

Eliza Jane Howell’s collections take us on a historical journey, each gown evoking an era and style that is breath-taking. Within the Stardust collection you’ll find sassy silver dresses exploding with pizzazz. Take Portia, Zeta and Comet – you could be forgiven for thinking real stars lie captured in the shimmering fabrics. Full-on, unforgettable dazzle with a vintage vibe: not what your guests will expect. If you love a bit of silver but want to tone it down a bit, take a look at the Fredrika, a flapper-style, rather regal gown, and the Hope, with its art deco vibe. Both rock a beautiful silvery accent that delivers more than just a nod to the party season.

Ruth Milliam Tatiana

Ruth Milliam

From shimmering silver to glimmering gold, Ruth Milliam is showcasing statement gold-kissed gowns this season – some a little whacky, like the yellow-tinted Orphelia. We love the Tatiana, with its hand-sewn gold-leaf beading, and the Bianca, a voluminous tulle skirt with delicate floral lace topped with gold detailed straps. For the bold bride there’s the Ianthe, a long-sleeved gold and silver hand-beaded gown that doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination but is balanced with a full, silk organza skirt. Milliam gowns are made to order and can be hand-dyed to any colour so, if you fancy a jolly Father Christmas red for your Christmas Eve wedding, you can go for it! Who said a bride should wear white?

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look book: fringing & finery

August 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

NK Chrysler

Naeem Khan – Chrysler

Today’s look book is all about those subtle details and gorgeous embellishments that can transform an otherwise ordinary wedding dress into something extra special and utterly Instagram-worthy.

Usually – and quite rightly so – we focus on the overall style and fit of a gown, not to mention the sumptuous lace, tulle or silk fabrics and such like. But, for us, the delicate embroidery and finer detailing are where it’s at when it comes to choosing your dream dress.

Whether it’s flapper-esque fringes (we’ll never ever tire of a Gatsby throwback), intricate beading or dazzling diamantes, there’s lots to capture the imagination of the discerning bride-to-be – and add a touch of sparkle too, of course. Vintage, glamorous, kitsch, contemporary – whatever the style or theme, there’s an embellishment out there to make your gown quite literally the perfect fit for your special day.

As always, here at Brides Up North, we’re looking to some of our favourite designers as well as the runways for top bridal fashion inspo and have rounded up a few of the most coveted looks you’ll find on the rails this season.

JP - Harmonica

Jenny Packham – Harmonica

Jenny Packham’s demure styles ooze a feminine aesthetic and timeless elegance; and we can see why her designs are so popular among the celebrity elite, thanks to their floaty, slinky silhouettes. Treasure is one of our favourites from the new 2018 collection – a beautifully embellished ivory gown, brimming in sparkle but by no means OTT. Combining plush silk chiffon with a fringe studded lace panel – Harmony is another gorgeous creation guaranteed to make a statement. By contrast, the barley-hued Dare gown is all about the shimmer, with a heady dose of sequins for a full-on spectacle, and the ever so pretty Verity & Bloom halter neck dress is altogether more understated, with a pretty pearl and crystal-adorned bodice.

Fringing, feathers and floral appliques feature heavily in the new collection from designer Naeem Khan. Be warned though, these designs aren’t for the fainthearted bride! The Chrysler gown is embellishment at its best, with swathes of fringes and flashes of silver tumbling from the fabric, head to toe. We just love the flapper look embodied by the Argentina dress; skimming the knee with frivolous fringing and plenty of sparkle. Then there’s the Sedona from the Fall 2017 collection – an ultra-chic and glam gown – we’re talking silk fringes (perfect for swishing around on the dance floor!) and a jewel-embroidered neck. If you’re daring to be different on your big day and fancy a couture-inspired moment while walking down the aisle, then this is the designer for you.

EJH - Stardust 1

Eliza Jane Howell – Luna

Sabrina Dahan’s ethereal styled gowns are dreamy creations, pairing lavish fabrics with dainty beading and subtle hints of shimmer. The Isabelle gown brings the pretty by the bucket load and is, we think, the epitome of bridal elegance. As for the stylish Liliane – who could resist that beautiful tulle wrap and pretty floral detailing? The Sylvie, meanwhile, is a gorgeous backless number from the new spring 2018 collection, boasting that sought-after fuller skirt and a sprinkling of twinkly sequins.

For supreme vintage glamour, look no further than Eliza Jane Howell, another favourite of ours whose designs look to the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s for bridal inspiration. The new Stardust Collection is brimming with decadent, unstructured gowns, adorned with exquisite embroidery – perfect for the modern-day bride after a retro twist. The Tucana with its fabulous billowing sleeves and the Aerial with its floral detailing are just two of this season’s stunning highlights.

With so many options (and let’s be honest, we’ve only featured a mere snapshot of what’s out there!), any sparkle-loving brides-to-be will certainly be spoilt for choice.

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invisible kisses. a glamorous, gatsby-inspired winter wedding in manchester – rebecca & james

July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (30)

When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.

Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed –  but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.

With images by Shane Webber.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (25)

rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!)  We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)

Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that.  We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (36)

We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there.  We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around!  It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.

We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well.  We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure.  In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”.  Sums it up, really!

So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men.  And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (33)

I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton.  It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it.  Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (18)

James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss.  The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little.  They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties.  I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome.  James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.

The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams.  I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.

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love equation. jenny packham for a glamorous wedding at rise hall – katie & aaron

March 28th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Jenny Packham for a Wedding at Rise Hall (c) Bethany Jane Clarke (49)

When mathematicians Aaron and Katie decided to get hitched, their love of all things numeric found their way into their planning; from the Venn diagrams on their Save the Dates, to infinity symbols on their stationery.

And what a day it was, with nods to Katie’s Scottish heritage in the gorgeous blooms, Jimmy Choo heels and a menu that’s guaranteed to make you drool rather inelegantly over your keyboard. We’re sorry (not sorry).

With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography

Jenny Packham for a Wedding at Rise Hall (c) Bethany Jane Clarke (16)

katie says: Aaron and I got engaged in May 2014. Aaron and I had planned a long weekend away in Northumberland as a treat, and we spent one day in a beautiful fishing village called Craster. We were walking around a totally deserted castle, taking in the beautiful views when he dropped to one knee and said “I have something else I want to ask you”. In all honesty, it was a complete shock. He spent a good minute getting a wet knee, assuring me he was serious, he‘d asked my dad, and that he was taking me to buy a ring the following weekend. Of course, I said yes!

We got married on 10th September 2016 at Rise Hall in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Rise Hall was suggested to us by a friend, and it got pushed down the list due to the distance from Leeds. However, the minute (and I mean the actual minute) we walked into Rise Hall and were greeted by Helen (the lady of the house) we just knew it was everything we wanted.

Jenny Packham for a Wedding at Rise Hall (c) Bethany Jane Clarke (54)

We were able to have exactly the type of wedding we wanted at Rise Hall – you have the venue from Friday until Sunday. We had our family and wedding party join us for an informal meal on the Friday night, which was wonderful.

Our blessing took place at All Saints Church, about half-a-mile down the lane from the Hall and was overseen by Rev Andy Simpson, the vespa-driving, guitar-playing vicar. We had countless compliments about Andy; he really and truly made our blessing one of the best parts of the day.

Jenny Packham for a Wedding at Rise Hall (c) Bethany Jane Clarke (43)

We didn’t have a theme for our wedding – instead, we had lots of things that mean a lot to us. The flowers in the bouquets, the boys’ buttonholes and the ladies’ corsages had thistles in them and they were tied together with tartan ribbon to reflect the fact that I was born and grew up in Scotland. Aaron has supported Middlesbrough Football Club since he was tiny, so our table names were a selection of his favourite Middlesbrough players. We also both studied Maths at university, so our save the dates were Venn-diagrams, and our invites and other stationery were embossed with an infinity symbol.

Jenny Packham for a Wedding at Rise Hall (c) Bethany Jane Clarke (48)

I chose a Jenny Packham gown called Lilya, which I bought from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden. As soon as we got engaged, so many people said “Oh, I can just see you in a Jenny Packham gown!” However, I refused to try them on as they were way out of my price range. I tried on quite a few gowns, and there were definitely a few that I could have happily got married in. As luck would have it, though, Ava Rose were having a sample sale on their Jenny Packham dresses, so I went along (first in the queue with two of my friends). Lilya was the first one I tried on and I loved it so much. However, I definitely didn’t have that  ‘this is the one’ moment that everyone talks about – I spent a good hour taking it off and on again while deciding. Eventually I bought it, and also went for a long cream veil. My shoes were Jimmy Choo Langs, in steel grey glitter. My dress had a slit up the front, so I knew they’d also be on show!

On the morning of the wedding, Aaron sent a beautiful bottle of champagne to my room, along with a Tiffany infinity bracelet he’d bought as a wedding present.

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botanical beauty. jenny packham for a natural wedding at trafford hall – sarah & matt

January 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Natural Wedding at Trafford Hall (c) Jess Yarwood (55)

Sarah and Matt’s relaxed, family-focused wedding combines two of our favourite themes at Brides Up North: plenty of organic woodland elements with a gorgeous blush, gold, mocha and burgundy colour scheme.

However, as these photographs show, you don’t have to compromise on style to have the informal, child-friendly wedding of your dreams. Sarah’s Jenny Packham gown and breathtaking oversized bouquet are just two super-stylish details from this stunning day.

With images by Jess Yarwood.

A Natural Wedding at Trafford Hall (c) Jess Yarwood (28)

sarah says: We got engaged on Christmas Day almost seven years before the wedding. We’d been together five years and I was pregnant with our eldest daughter. Matt proposed with a big flower ring (not the real ring!) in bed on Christmas morning.

We were married on 7th October 2016. There was no special reason behind the date – in fact, getting married in 2016 was only an idea at the start of the year. We went to a family party (my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary) in April 2016, and loved the family being together so much that we decided we should get married the same year. So, we had to crack on and find a venue/date! I knew I wanted it to be in autumn but as early as possible so that it might still be warm enough.

A Natural Wedding at Trafford Hall (c) Jess Yarwood (85)

We got married at Trafford Hall near Chester. A couple of people had recommended it as they’d been to weddings there but we had never been. We went to a wedding fair there and fell in love with it. We didn’t look at any other venues – we just knew straight away that it was the right venue for us.

Because of the nature of the venue we decided on a loose nature/woodland/botanical theme for the wedding. I love trees and plants and flowers and wanted to incorporate some greenery into the day.

The main colour scheme was mocha and burgundy with dusky pink, gold and lots of green! Originally the bridesmaids dressed were dusky pink but we had a few issues with the dresses and ended up having to change everything mid-August!

A Natural Wedding at Trafford Hall (c) Jess Yarwood (42)

I chose a Jenny Packham dress called Betty, which I bought from Lillya Grace Bridal Boutique in Nantwich. I actually bought another dress in Chester first and realised quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted; it wasn’t in keeping with the style of the rest of the wedding and I had to find something else instead. When I saw the Jenny Packham I knew straight away that this was the perfect dress for me. I wanted something that was natural and elegant and not too structured. A little bit vintage with some detail but not over the top. It was amazing – it fell perfectly and looked fabulous in the pictures.

Holly Lander did my makeup – she was fantastic and helped out with other things too – she even went to the bar to get a bottle of pre-wedding bubbly! Emily Banks did the hair for me and the bridesmaids and Amy Lofthouse did the flower girls’.

A Natural Wedding at Trafford Hall (c) Jess Yarwood (76)

Matt and the groomsmen wore blue suits from Next. The groom wore a mocha tie while the groomsmen wore burgundy ties.

My bridesmaids wore full-length, mocha Veromia dresses from Wedding Belles in Frodsham. The flower girls wore ivory dresses from John Rocha and gold sandals and Converse.

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