Brides Up North

lookbook: city sleek.

January 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Mae & detachable skirt - Stephanie Allin

Mae by Stephanie Allin

We were recently Highly Commended in the Wedding Blog Awards 2014′s “Best City Wedding Blog” category, and chic cosmopolitan styling is one of our favourite trends for wedding day fashion, like, ever.  goodbye meringues! A stylish city ceremony gives brides-to-be the opportunity to rock sleek attire that varies from the wedding norm.

Moving around busy urban areas and climbing staircases of grand city halls and hotels calls for a slim line, fluid number that isn’t going to slow you down or trip you up. And we’re not just talking dresses; a city centre do pushes the style boundaries wide open, inviting fashion forward brides to consider a two-piece skirt and top design, or even an all in jumpsuit, Solange Knowles style.

Those preferring to stick to tradition with a dress can always hitch up their hemline to free their feet ready for stepping out through bustling streets.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Pia by Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier has some particularly striking options for city brides, including stylish mini-length dresses and sophisticated two-piece designs.

Billie is a particular favourite of mine, not that I would be brave enough to work its cut-away silhouette. But for those that are, its gorgeous crisscross crop top and elegant illusion pencil skirt scream high fashion. Meanwhile, for those planning a more vintage affair, the pretty embroidered Charlotte top and ballerina skirt cover a little more flesh and are still easy to get around in.

Lhuillier’s short-length dresses are also incredibly swoon-worthy options, particularly the Pia and simple yet striking Zelda designs.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Billie by Monique Lhuillier

Zelda - Monique Lhuillier

Zelda by Monique Lhuillier

The princess of prettiness, Stephanie Allin boasts several slim line dresses within her collections that would most definitely stand out in a city scene.

Chicago, Eternal, Ingrid and Olivia are all stunning examples of city simplicity at its best, but for those wanting a more structured design there is the Ashlea or even Mae, which has a detachable skirt, to give brides two equally wonderful looks.

The pièce de résistance has to be Allin’s Garbo jumpsuit as she dares to go where few other designers would. The fabulous sweet-heart neckline and wide-leg design also has an optional lace shrug for that extra piece of prettiness and cover-up where required.

Chicago  - Stephanie Allin

Chicago by Stephanie Allin

Olivia  - Stephanie Allin

Olivia by Stephanie Allin

Eternal  - Stephanie Allin

Eternal by Stephanie Allin

Garbo  - Stephanie Allin

Garbo by Stephanie Allin

Finally, I’d encourage city brides to consider the svetle, sleek lines of Suzanne Neville’s Novello Collection (click here to see a preview on Brides Up North), the fab and flirty frocks in Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection (click here) or some of Sassi Holford’s cute designs as big day contenders.

For city brides wanting to bring a bit of bling to their big day, well, you can’t go wrong with a beaded Jenny Packham number, can you?

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham


Rio by Jenny Packham


Noa by Jenny Packham

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pretty perfection. a wedding at danby castle – chloe & dan

January 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (32)

Well, yesterday was all kinds of exciting wasn’t it? Click here to catch up on our big news. Today, it’s back to basics, and what we do best – sharing the prettiest weddings to insire our readers’ own big days.

The first Real Wedding of 2015 is lovely in every way (just the way we like it on these pages), from the sweet vintage summer theme to the delicate flower choices and idyllic seaside location.

Chloe and Dan clearly have excellent taste with the bride opting for a wonderfully detailed Jenny Packham gown and the groom having a suit tailor made, including its very special lining. They even sourced a bow tie for their special guest, Winston the Golden Retriever, to ensure he fitted in with the celebrations.

The organised couple picked their food choices carefully in order to pull the look together. Guests were treated to ice creams on arrival, a quaint afternoon tea and fish and chip supper!

So let’s tuck in to this delicious celebration.

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (1)

chloe says: Dan proposed on a beach on a tiny island off the east coast of mainland Malaysia in 2012. It was a complete surprise and he had the very well travelled ring ready. It was after dinner and already rather dark and so my immediate response was ‘I can’t see it!’ before running off to find some light so I could get a good look at the ring. Not quite what Dan was hoping for but I did say ‘yes’ eventually!

We married on 26th July 2014. Exactly two years to the day that we became engaged.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (2)

We got married in St Oswald’s Church, Lythe in  North Yorkshire. A beautiful old church overlooking the North Yorkshire coast. Our reception was held at Danby Castle on the North York Moors. We completely fell in love with the stunning views over the Esk Valley and the relaxed, can-do attitude of all of the wonderful people at Danby Castle. Nothing was too much trouble. We would highly recommend Danby Castle to other wedding couples. Jemma and Emily there both ensured the planning was as stress free as possible.

The theme for the day was relaxed vintage summer fayre. We didn’t want an overly stuffy or formal affair so this theme suited us well.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (3)

I struggled initially with the wedding dress hunt. I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew what I wasn’t looking for. I didn’t want a strapless gown (which at the time that I was looking was quite a challenge) and I wanted something a little different from the norm. After looking in a few boutiques and feeling a little despondent at the lack of variety in styles, I visited the wonderful White Room in Sheffield as I had seen online that they were stockists of Jenny Packham and Charlotte Pettibone. I initially tried on Jenny Packham’s Eden for a little bit of fun as I didn’t think I wanted a sparkly dress but I loved it. It was different, it was vintage inspired, it was me! My wedding shoes were from Manolo Blahnik and Debbie Carlisle of DC Bouquets made my beautiful hair comb and cuff.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (7)

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (8)

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (10)

Dan designed and had his suit made at A Suit That Fits in Manchester. It was a grey three piece suit and the pièce de résistance was the custom made jacket lining that Dan designed, full of photographs that meant something special to him. He teamed his suit with a checked shirt from Ralph Lauren and a pale blue tie from John Lewis.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (12)

We also had an extra special guest at our wedding – Winston, our Golden Retriever! He wore a blue bow tie to tie in with the groomsmen. Jackie from Supa Furry Animals handled him for us which was great as it meant that we could relax and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about taking care of Winston.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (14)

The bridesmaids wore pale coral dresses with a lace overlay from Monsoon. Unfortunately for me, by the time I discovered them on Pinterest and decided that they would fit the theme beautifully, they were no longer available in store. A mammoth eBay search ensued and luckily I managed to get my hands on four of them! The groomsmen wore grey suits of their choice and the each wore a pale blue tie from John Lewis to match Dan’s.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (17)

For our wedding transport we hired a camper van from All Cool Camper Hire. ‘Rose’ the 1965 campervan was beautifully retro and also practical – being big enough to transport all the bridesmaids to the church before coming back to collect my Dad and I.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (18)

Jo and Simon from Shoot Lifestyle were our photographers and were just wonderful. As someone who is admittedly not a massive fan of being in front of the camera, the idea of being the centre of attention for the day was a little daunting. However, from our very first meeting I knew that Jo and Simon would put me at ease as they are just such fun, gorgeous people who make you feel as though you have known them forever. I loved their informal, relaxed images and knew that they would do a fantastic job – which they did. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

In addition, the very talented Gareth Ashcroft created our three minute wedding video, which is fantastic. It captured the essence of the day beautifully and on the day he was so discrete that many of our guests didn’t even realise we were having a video made until we shared it with them later on!

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (21)

Audrey Foster arranged my flowers. My brief to her was that I wanted rustic, relaxed, hand tied bouquets and she did a great job. Audrey Foster also decorated the church and Danby Castle for us. Heather and wheat was tied to the pew ends with raffia and vintage jugs church filled with an assortment of wild flowers and roses decorated the church. The theme was carried through to Danby Castle, where relaxed flower arrangements in small glass bottles and jars adorned the tables and window ledges. The flowers used included sweet avalanche and peach avalanche roses, veronica, nigella, gyp, china grass, fountain grass, astilbe, very pale pink spray roses, santini, dried lavender, white stocks or white larkspur, wax flower, white freesias, wheat, scabious seedheads, heather.

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (23)

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (24)

a pretty wedding at Danby Castle (c) Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography (27)

My favourite part of the day was as we left the church in the camper van to head for Danby Castle. All our guests had lined up spontaneously to wave us off. Looking out of the back window of the campervan and seeing so many of our favourite people all together – all of whom had travelled so far to come and wish us well was such an overwhelming feeling.

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real wedding recap winter 2014: all things bright and beautiful for a city centre wedding – katy & tony

December 23rd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (39)

This bright and beautiful wedding is guaranteed to inject a big boost of colour and happiness into your day.

Creative couple Tony and Katy tied the knot in the super city of Sheffield, starting off with their ceremony in the stunning Town Hall before moving onto the nearby Workstation for a fabulous afternoon tea and evening celebrations.

To really make the day their own they included lots of vibrant decorations, quirky homemade touches and beautiful blooms, all of which was captured perfectly by their talented photographer.

With images by Photography34

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (27)

katy says: We got engaged on New Year’s Day 2013. We had been to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and Tony had taken the ring, but he couldn’t find the right moment when we were both alone.  The following morning we both woke up early and Tony asked me what I was doing for the rest of my life as he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and then produced my beautiful ring! I cried a little and then called the world.

We set the date for Saturday May 24th 2014. We wanted to get married over a Bank Holiday as we had lots of guests who would be travelling a distance so we were keen to make sure they had plenty of time to party and recover.

I think we must have viewed almost every venue in Yorkshire, but we couldn’t find anything which would allow us to create the different look and feel we were hoping for within our budget. We are both from Sheffield and love to city so when we found the Workstation which is part of the Showroom Cinema and met Mark the sales manager, it ticked all the boxes. He was so accommodating and because the venue is an exhibition centre he allowed us to dress it exactly how we wanted. We originally wanted to get married at the same place as our reception but this was not possible at the Workstation so we started to look for somewhere close by. We had walked past Sheffield Town Hall hundreds of times but had never been inside. Once we did we were blown away by how beautiful the building was, especially the fabulous staircase.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (13)

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (7)

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (16)

Very early on in our wedding planning I discovered Pinterest, and began pinning ideas to a mood board. We knew the venue was going to need a lot of dressing so we decided to hire someone to help with this. Jennie from Hansley Beard came highly recommended by our venue and she did a fabulous job of keeping me calm, my ideas focused and she planned the design to the finest detail, we could not have done it without her.

We knew we wanted to do things differently and we wanted the whole feel of the day to be bright, colourful, fun and homemade. We both like colour – our house is full of it. We originally found some bright material which we liked at The Range store, we used this as the basis for our colour scheme, they had paper, buttons etc all in the same collection which was great. Bright coloured ribbons and buttons then became the main theme throughout the wedding. We didn’t want a traditional wedding so decided that lots of bright colours would really help create a different atmosphere. We are so happy that we went with these colours in the end as our wedding day turned out to be raining and gloomy but the colours helped keep everyone bright and cheery!

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (14)

I always knew that I wanted a fitted lace dress and I fell in love with Pippa, a Sassi Holford dress which was well over my budget.  I searched the internet and to my complete amazement I found Silk Bridal in Litchfield selling a sample of this dress in my size. I would highly recommend this bridal shop – they made my wedding dress experience so memorable. Helen, the seamstress, could not do enough to help with my alterations and every time we visited the shop I was made to feel just as special as the last. My friend Serena, very kindly lent me her beautiful Jenny Packham headband for my something borrowed. I’m actually selling my dress it is currently listed on eBay and preloved. Although I will be very sad to see this dress go, it would give me great pleasure for another bride to have a chance to wear a fabulous Sassi Holford dress.

Tony wore a bright blue tailored three-piece suit from Moss Bros in Meadowhall, homemade emerald green tie and shoes from Ted Baker.

I knew that I didn’t want traditional bridesmaid dresses or anything too formal; I wanted something that they would wear again so they wore emerald green maxi dresses from Mango which were accessorised with belts from H&M.  The best man wore a bright blue suit from Moss Bros and our page boy, my nephew, wore a little navy suit from Next, a homemade emerald green bow tie and some white Converse boots which he loved!

Tony’s mum’s friend made all the bouquets and button holes. I picked the flowers for these, along with the flowers for the venue, from the Parkway Flower Market in Sheffield. I had a hand-tied bouquet with bright flowers including Gerberas,Ranunculus, Gentian and Craspedia. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar, just a bit smaller. All the bouquets had ribbons hanging from the stems.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (12)

We both share a love for VWs, especially retro split screen camper vans and we knew that we couldn’t arrive any other way. We hired the stunning ‘Johnny’ from Something old Something New. As our venues were close together we were able to use the same van for the whole wedding party.

We were let down by a friend who was originally planning on doing our photography, very close to the wedding day. Tony at Photography34 was recommended to us and to our delight he was available on our date. Choosing Tony was the best decision we made, after getting married of course! He had a very relaxed, natural style and went above and beyond. He made us, and our guests, feel relaxed all day. Our guests noted how hard he worked on the day. Most importantly he captured all the detail, fun and laughter of the day.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (24)

When we started planning we decided that we wanted things to be as personal as possible and make as much ourselves as we could. Having ‘Brown Owl’ as my mother-in-law-to-be made this a lot easier. Jennie from Hansley Beard helped us to create our desired look with lots of help from our bridesmaids, best man and friends. We had homemade bunting, pom poms, table numbers, seating plan, card box, paper covered jars as centre pieces. We also used fairy lights to decorate the mezzanine. We had bright coloured ribbons hanging from the back of all the chairs and a ribbon drop which cascaded from the mezzanine to the dance floor. I went to the Parkway Flower Market with Jennie, other than Gerberas which are my favourite flowers I wasn’t that particular, it was mainly the colours I was looking for. We incorporated all the flowers from the bouquets as well as Golden Glory, lime green and yellow bloom Chrysanthemums. Jennie then arranged all the flowers for the venue and centre pieces, and made these look great, she truly was amazing!

Tony’s mum and I made homemade rhubarb jam for our favours. The rhubarb was home grown in Tony’s dad’s allotment.

I love baking so the wedding cake was very important. We had a four-tiered cake covered with bright coloured hearts. The actual cake was striped coloured Victoria sponge with butter cream and made by Gemma at Iced Gems. We had two wooden birds with matching hearts as cake toppers which we got from Etsy.

We didn’t want to have a formal three-course wedding meal so we decided to have afternoon tea with prosecco for our wedding breakfast.  In the evening we had pie and peas with plenty of Henderson’s relish!

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (37)

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (47)

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (52)

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (53)

The entertainment was really important to us, we wanted a big party with all our friends and family, and I love to dance. For our ceremony we had a friend, Rebecca Guy sing and play her guitar. As a wedding present my parents got Paul Pashley, Sheffield’s answer to Michael Bublé, to sing at our evening reception. Not only does he have an amazing voice, he was a little bit of eye candy for the ladies. We then had a DJ who played us into the early hours.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (46)

We did include quite a few special touches in our big day. Tony’s mum made a very cute ring cushion for Reuben, our page boy, in the same material as the bunting and sewed buttons all over it, he was very proud of his special job.

We hired some beautiful vintage crockery from Jameson’s Tearoom for the afternoon tea, and one of the highlights was their teacup glasses which we served the prosecco in.

We chose big illuminated ‘LOVE’ letters from Typical Type as a backdrop to our dance floor, and our homemade photo booth and they were the talk of all our guests. Once we had decided on the letters it helped us decide on our first dance – L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole sang by Paul Pashley.

We both share a love of sweets, so a sweet table was a must. We brought in our theme by laying the table with ribbons, we used the same paper we had used for the centre pieces for the sweet labels and homemade pin wheels, and then had bright coloured paper fans as the backdrop to the table.

I found a finger print poster tree from Etsy which was a wonderful alternative to a guest book. Our guests added their fingerprints as ‘leaves’ to the tree and wrote their names. We now have this framed and it acts as a daily reminder of our special day and the guests we shared it with.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (55)

My favourite part of the wedding day came at the end of our first dance. Jennie, who had helped us to design our wedding day, had arranged with our guests to drop all the off cuts from the ribbons from the mezzanine above the dance floor. This was a total surprise and the only thing throughout the day which we had not planned for. This was an amazing moment which Tony, our photographer, captured perfectly and we have used one of these images for our thank you cards.

We went on honeymoon two days after or wedding; we spent two days is Dubai and eight in the Maldives. Dubai was very hot and we packed in a lot within the two days; tours of the city and a dessert safari. Then the Maldives, which was absolute paradise, was the total opposite to Dubai, quiet and relaxing, which was exactly what we needed after the wedding.

a bright and beautiful wedding in Sheffield (c) Photography34 (63)

My advice to other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you happy and have the day that you want, not what others expect of you. That is so important. You want to look back on your day and know that you had it exactly how you wanted it. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t follow traditions or you think people won’t like your ideas, as long as you do, that’s all that matters. Tony’s advice would be at some point during the wedding breakfast, to go around each table and speak with your guests and thank them for coming, as it’s a very busy day and you don’t get chance to spend very much time with anyone. Our collective advice is to make sure you both take time together to have a few moments to take everything in as the day will go past so fast.

It rained for the most of our day, but like Louis Armstrong sang, we didn’t care what the weather man said, when the weatherman said it was raining as you didn’t hear us or anyone else complaining!

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a wedding alphabet. G is for Gown

December 2nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Amaryllis - Claire Pettibone

Amaryllis by Claire Pettibone

A bride’s wedding attire had to appear somewhere in our wedding alphabet, so here it is under the letter G for gown.

This is the element of a wedding that most girls picture first, and that some dream about from being a little girl. Watching the Disney princesses flaunt their posh frocks when I was a youngster certainly helped me conjure up an image of what my very own ‘princess’ dress might look like for the day I would wed my prince charming.

My first thoughts were very much along the lines of Ariel’s wedding dress with corseted top, Princess Diana-esque puff sleeves and an almighty voluminous skirt. Of course over time our ideas and tastes change (thank God), and we come to realise the vast number of pretty bridal dresses there are to choose from beyond the standard fairytale gown.

But how do you find the one? When collating our fabulous real wedding posts for the blog, it becomes apparent that while some ladies find their dream dress almost instantly, others trawl numerous boutiques, toing and froing for months before making their decision.

Leila - Jenny Packham

Leila by Jenny Packham

While we can’t put a time on how long it, will take we can offer a little guidance. So, here are some top tips to help when wedding dress shopping, along with some of my favourite current designs for some extra inspiration:

money matters

Like a helpless moth to a flame, it’s easy to be drawn to stunning full lace gowns, those with intricate detailing or a dress with a killer train to rival Kim Kardashian’s. But if it carries a price tag that is well out of your league it really is pointless, if not a little heartbreaking. So to save you the pain, set a budget and look for designers/boutiques that fall into your price bracket. Also bear in mind that your attire allowance needs to also cater for the accessories that will complete your look, such as shoes, veil, under garments, jewellery and hair accessories.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier‘s Iscoyd Park Collection

early bird

One panic buy you don’t want to make is your wedding dress so be sure to give yourself a suitable amount of time (usually around eight months) to shop around and have alterations made. At the same time, be careful not to start too early or you run the risk of buying something too far in advance and then see something you prefer closer to the big day.

Alchemy - Claire Pettibone

Alchemy by Claire Pettibone

picture perfect

Build up an image of the types of dresses you like using magazine cuttings and Pintrest to record your findings. As well as basing choices on your personal style preferences, also take into account elements of the wedding, such as the venue and season and how your dress might work with this in terms of its colour, fabric and design.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection

bookable boutiques

When booking appointments at bridal boutiques, make sure they stock designers that you like, that are within your budget and that go up to your size. If you have your heart set on trying on a certain design ring ahead and make sure they stock it. Once you have made your bookings be sure to go along prepared with suitable nude underwear and heels of a height similar to what you plan to wear on your wedding day so you can see how the dress falls.

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham

keep an open mind

During the search if a bridal shop owner or assistant suggests trying on something you wouldn’t pick out yourself, don’t dismiss it straight away. These people are experts in the field, and don’t forget, a dress can look completely different on the hanger to what it does when it’s on. A real bride featured on the blog recently (the lovely Fiona) is a great example of how being open minded can work in a bride’s favour. She took up the suggestion of trying on a pink gown (more out of politeness than anything else) and ended up falling head over heels for it.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection

don’t crowd me

Too many cooks and all that! You need to select your dress shopping companions carefully. It’s advisable to take just two or three people when trying on dresses in the early stages. For most it’s a combination of their mum, sisters, best friend and/or nan. Basically the people whose opinion you value the most. What you need is honest and reliable thoughts, not confusing and conflicting opinions. Once you have made your decision you can always take a few other friends or relatives along to a later fitting for a sneak peek.

Julia - Claire Pettibone

Julia (great name!) by Claire Pettibone

be true to yourself

Ultimately the final decision comes down to you so trust your instinct and don’t be swayed by others. You might not have that teary, speechless, dramatic moment, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident with your choice. When you do find ‘the one’ be sure to order it in the size you currently are, not what you aim to be. Organising a wedding can be stressful enough without putting yourself under added pressure to drop several dress sizes before the big day. If you do lose weight in the meantime, you can always have the dress taken in.

Above all remember that shopping for your wedding dress should be an exciting and memorable experience so keep calm and enjoy!

Garbo - Jenny Packham

Garbo by Jenny Packham

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that’s amore! an Italian themed wedding at Kirkstall Abbey – faye & rob

November 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (107)

It’s Frrrrrrrrrrrrrriday! Let’s celebrate with this sweet Yorkshire/ Italian celebration in Leeds, sent to me by newlyweds Faye and Rob and Brides Up North Sponsor Jane of JB Creatives.

Limoncellos on ice for a moment though, as I’ve to tell you about Jane’s shiny new website, which has just landed over at  Go see!  To celebrate, she’s offering a free engagement shoot to all those couples who book their full day wedding photography before the end of the year.  Quote love stories to get involved.


But for now, it’s all about today’s pretty wedding.

With images by JB Creatives.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (81)

faye says: Rob asked me to marry him on a private boat off the coast of Paxos, Greece in August 2013, and we were married on 5th April 2014 at St Stephen’s Church, Kirkstall. Our reception was at Kirkstall Abbey then The Gatehouse.

We had one of our first dates there and have both always loved it. We never even considered another venue!

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (72)

We opted for a Yorkshire meets Italy theme (having previously lived in Milan together), using lemon and turquoise as base colours for the scheme.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (86)

I wore Maggie Sottero “Cassidy” dress from Angel Brides, Horsforth and my bridesmaids were in turquoise Jenny Packham. I carried a simple lemon rose bouquet with stems from Rose & Bud Flowers, Horsforth.

Rob wore a royal blue morning suit, a white shirt and a Jeff Banks navy and turquoise flowered tie.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (87)

My hair was by Simon Warner Hair, Headingley and I used a make up artist from Harvey Nichols using Laura Mercier products.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (89)

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (93)

We put together a sweet table from Haribo (as I am from Pontefract) and our favours were Italian-themed Limoncello and Disaronno mini bottles. Rob also made cartoon place-settings for every guest.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (101)

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (102)

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (105)

We were entertained by the Otley Ukulele Orchestra, followed by a DJ in the evening.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (108)

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (109)

We chose an iced chocolate cake with caricatures made by a family friend, Lucy.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (110)

My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to Rob, and Rob’s was performing our personalised first dance, which I choreographed.  The crowd reaction was amazing!

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (111)

For our honeymoon we visited Bangkok and Koh Samui, Thailand and then Singapore.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (54)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to chill out – It’s all very doable and you don’t need years to do it! We organised it in 9 months.

a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey & The Gatehouse (c) JB Creatives (61)

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lookbook: ’bout that base

November 18th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Jenny Packham -  Isabella

Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham

Shopping for a wedding dress should be an exciting experience for a bride-to-be, no matter what her style, age or size.

That said I’ve heard upsetting stories from a number of fuller-figured brides when searching for the dress, which have hindered their enjoyment. From tales of being asked to squeeze into small sample dresses and to ‘imagine’ how it might fit, to being told collections don’t go up to their size, or simply feeling that there is nothing out there for them.

I’ll bet Kim Kardashian had no such problems at Givenchy.

Well, even if you’re not quite ready to ‘break the internet‘ with your own booty, I’m pleased to report there are some truly stunning plus-size wedding dress collections out there, with certain gowns going up to a size 32. And better yet, more designers are beginning to branch out into plus-size creations by extending their size range.

Jenny Packham - Josephine

The queen of bridal prettiness Jenny Packham, included flattering gowns for plus-sized brides in her Spring 2015 collection which were showcased by gorgeous fuller-figured models on the catwalk. Her Josephine dress in steely grey features incredibly elegant lace sleeves, a pretty sash and signature intricate detailing, drawing the eye to all the right places. Likewise Packham’s Isabella dress covers up the tops of the arms with a delicate and stylish cape, while sparkling crystal detailing frames the under-bust area of the dress perfectly.

Veromia is another designer that offers stunning plus-size dresses with support and structure so that brides feel both confident and comfortable during their moment in the limelight. Veromia’s Sonsie collection offers designs to suit a wide range of tastes, from the fluid SON91452 with fluttery capped sleeves, to the 1950s tea-length SON91462 and the fuller SON91465 with illusion neckline detail.  Meanwhile for autumn and winter brides who crave more dramatic dress designs, Veromia’s SON91208 in ravishing gold, and S91051 in deep regal red, are bound to tick boxes.

Jenny Packham SP2015

Bonny Bridal’s Unforgettable collection has further stunning offerings in plus sizes. Standout designs include 1207 and 1304, which boast fairytale style ruffle detailing, as well as 1424 and 1206, which feature feminine lace sleeves.

Style and structure can also be found within Cara Mai’s wonderful collection. Again brides-to-be are given a choice of both fitted and fuller gowns. The simple, strapless 29228 is a firm favourite within the collection, but for those brides in search of a little more support, the 29244 with tulle overlay and pretty lace appliqués frames curvaceous ladies’ figures beautifully.

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outdoor elegance. a romantic real wedding in the north west – kerry & anthony

November 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (38)

This morning we join newlyweds Kerry and Anthony for their oh-so-pretty wedding in the North West.  A gorgeous gown, beautiful blooms and a softly romantic colour palette proved the perfect recipe for a stunning celebration.

Le sigh.

With images by Julie Lomax Photography.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (9)

Kerry says: We got engaged in Barcelona. Anthony took me away for the week after my birthday, he made a scrap book with pictures and quotes in it of our time together over the previous 5 years. It included our first Christmas and our first holiday together along with other special occasions. On the back page it read ‘Will you marry me?’ and he was down on one knee when I looked up.

The women in my family all share our wedding anniversary in August. Keeping up with family tradition we chose 9th August 2014. We were married at St Peters Church RC, Middleton. This is a family church, my dad and my granddad made built the entrance to this church and the original altar.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (10)

The wedding had a rustic country garden feel, with a vintage twist. We are both very down to earth people and wanted people to feel comfortable and enjoy the day. We feel like this came across on the day, a lot of people commented on the feeling of romance in the theme and style.

We chose a colour scheme of vintage mauve, in keeping with the country feel.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (18)

My wedding dress was a Jenny Packham gown, called Ruby (also my birth stone)! I only tried three wedding dresses on and knew straight away that ‘she’ was the one. It was in keeping with the style and feel of the wedding and I felt a million dollars wearing it.

I bought her from the girls at The White Closet in Didsbury.

Anthony wore a morning suit, in deep navy, with an ivory cravat from Groom in Manchester.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (22)

The girls wore twobirds Bridesmaid dresses, They loved them! Everyone commented on how gorgeous they looked. The girls wore their dresses differently, to reflect their different personalities and styles. The colour I wanted had not been released in the UK so had to be shipped to the shop from America.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (26)

We had a VW camper Van, our all-time favourite! We hired her from Nick Connah Camper Hire. The guests travelled in a 1961 AEC Bridge Master vintage bus hired from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (34)

Our photographer was Julie Lomax, We met her at a wedding fair in Manchester. She was very approachable and very professional, however after spending time with her felt like she was a long-time friend. She knew exactly how we wanted our wedding photographing and it really felt like she was one of our guests on our wedding day. We were totally at ease working with her.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (39)

Rebecca Reville was our videographer.  We cant wait to see her master piece from our wedding day, another amazingly talented person who made our day so special. She worked amazingly well with Julie our photographer!

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (41)

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (48)

We had birdcages with tea lights hanging from the inner side of the cage. This sat on a bed of flowers (in keeping with flowers in my bouquet) and in the centre was a layer of moss, sitting on a tree trunk plinth.

Scattered on the table were numerous tea light holder in different sizes and styles. These really added to the country garden effect and added that extra romance in the evening once it had gone dark.

Our flowers were by the amazing Victoria from Lancashire Floristry. Her hard work and commitment in the run up to our wedding day was outstanding. I loved my flowers!

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (45)

Everyone received a scratch card and a miniature spirit bottle, these were in a personalised favour box with our names and the date of the wedding. These were printed by Cotton Letterpress. We individualised the favour boxes by giving each person their favourite spirit.

Our cake was four tiers made by the wonderful Rachel Hanna, owner of Marie Antoinette Cakes.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (52)

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (47)

Sheila O’Sullivan our wedding singer sang in the Church, adding to the romance with her perfect voice. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church! Our wedding guests still comment on her talent.

We hired a casino and a magician to keep everyone entertained whilst we had our pictures.

Our band for the evening cancelled on us on the week before the wedding, after being booked for 14months. After everyone chipping in to help find a replacement, Champagne Skies came to the rescue. They were amazing and totally pulled it out of the bag for us.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (54)

My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle. It was day I dreamt about for so long. I couldn’t wait to see Anthony and his reaction when he saw me, but I also knew that once I got to the end of the aisle and met him, I’d soon be his wife. After 9 years together, it was a moment I was so looking forward to.

For our honeymoon we went to Mexico, Rivera Maya. It was total luxury and relaxation. We had both worked so hard in the 12 months before the wedding and it was just what we needed. We spent two weeks bonding and being together. Plus Anthony surprised me to swimming with Dolphins during our second week out there, number one on my bucket list! Daily massages on the beach, tea on the beach in the evenings and plenty of drunken nights on tequila.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (56)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that although at times the planning can be very stressful, remember the main reason why you are doing it. It really will be the best day of your lives if you relax and take it all in. Make sure you make time for each other on the day too! It goes so quickly and before you know it, it’s the last dance, but make sure to enjoy the day together, we stayed by each other’s side throughout the day.

If I had the chance to do it all again tomorrow… I would!

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silver screen. jenny packham for a 1920s inspired cinema wedding in Manchester – melanie & chris

September 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (25)

Let’s get the week of to a really fabulous start with this old Hollywood inspired – and super cool – cinema wedding in Manchester, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Melanie.

Popcorn at the ready.  Roll film.

With images by Miki Photography.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (4)

Melanie says: We got engaged in Wembley Stadium. We had spent the day at Wembley waiting to see my favourite artist Bruce Springsteen. When he played an acoustic version of Thunder Road to finish the set, Chris got down on one knee in the middle of the crowd and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

We were married on 7th June 2014. With a World Cup year and Glastonbury tickets booked we were limited to which dates we could pick, we would hate to miss an important football match! The 7th June was sports and festival free! Our engagement was just under one year which was the timeframe we wanted.

We chose Cornerhouse Cinema on Oxford Road in Manchester. We wanted somewhere that we had been before and had a connection with. We’re not church people and we felt that the town hall was a right of passage for Mancunians – which neither of us are! So when we realised the Cornerhouse was licensed to do weddings, it was an easy decision to make. We go there regularly and it’s somewhere we enjoy spending time.

The cinema venue seemed to naturally lend itself to influence the theme for the day which was 1920s Hollywood glamour.

Tying in with the theme, we tried to keep the colours classic with deep navy, burgundy and rosewater (bridesmaid dresses) the main colours. The groom and the best men were in navy and our flowers were a mix of nude, rosewater and burgundy.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (6)

My dress was ‘Eden’ by Jenny Packham which I bought from The White Closet in Didsbury.

Anyone who knows me will not that I’m not the girliest girl or someone who would be naturally drawn to a floor-length dress. I always thought I was too short to wear one. Originally I was looking for a tea-length dress. So I tried on many beautiful dresses but nothing seemed to click. Then the lady at The White Closet suggested ‘Eden’, immediately I said it wouldn’t suit me but she encouraged me to try it ‘even just to rule it out’, when I put it on I couldn’t believe how it looked and I knew straight away that this was the dress for such a special occasion.

Chris wore a tailor made suit which was made in Italy but measured and designed at Doherty Evans & Stott in Manchester. It wasn’t cheap but their service was perfect, not too stuffy but very informative in terms of etiquettes. Chris learned some valuable life lessons!

The bridesmaids wore floor length twobirds dresses in Rosewater, ordered through The White Closet and the groomsmen wore navy blue suits from Austin Reed.

I carried an orchid bouquet, provided by a great little florist in the Northern Quarter called Frog Flowers.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (7)

I was chauffeured to the venue in a classic Jaguar. It was beautiful, really classy and fitted with our theme really nicely. It was provided by Platinum Wedding Cars who were great, particularly the driver who held the brolly at the photo shoot with aplomb!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (8)

Mick from Miki Photography was our photographer on the day and I would 100% recommend him to anyone. He was upbeat, organised and a total pro on the day, as well as being a great guy and easy to get along with.

Mick made us feel comfortable and relaxed and played a big part in bringing a relaxed atmosphere to the wedding.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (12)

We packaged up traditional cinema sweets to give out to the guests: popcorn for some and pick and mix for others.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (15)

We had a beer brewed for the occasion – a light, citrus IPA (my favourite) from local Manchester brewery Blackjack Beers.

We had a four-course menu of asparagus with pancetta, sea bass, steak and then chocolate brownie. The first two courses were paired with a white Gavi and the latter were paired with a red Nero D’avola. During the meal tasting we tried several wines and we felt like these were the best options to suit all tastes.

We wanted a four course menu to extend the length of the meal to really appreciate and enjoy it. We followed the meal with a special selection of Whisky, Port and Sherry chosen by my father.

We had a red velvet two-tiered cake with coconut buttercream icing piped in a floral pattern. The cake was made by Bakeorama (Charlotte) who provides the cakes for Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (17)

My favourite part of the day was the drinks reception we had at the Cornerhouse immediately after the ceremony, and it was just a great chance to go and soak up everyone’s excitement and share that feeling with all our close friends and family.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (21)

We used props and uplighters from i Catching based in Hyde. The props were really cool, and they were really helpful and easy to deal with so would definitely recommend them as well.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (24)

In the evening, we had a photo booth with fancy-dress accessories which provided good fun for everyone.

We also had a local band, The Coolers, play two fantastic sets. Our good friend Roger Hughes works in the music industry organising session bands and wedding bands so we left the music in his more than capable hands, he even played keyboard on the night!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (26)

We were getting a lot of help from my Dad and Step-mum in organising the wedding, and since they were living abroad at the time they decided to get some help with a wedding planner, Andrea from Fabulous Day. At first we weren’t sure we needed it, but by the end of the day we knew the day wouldn’t have been the same without her. Absolutely everything was taken care of and we were all able to relax and totally enjoy the day. 100% recommend her services to anyone.

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (32)

We went to Croatia two days after the wedding. We spent the first four nights in a private villa on Vis Island in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. It was lovely and peaceful where we could just relax in the aftermath of the wedding. We then had three nights in Split, just as the World Cup started, so we were able to catch some games on the big screens!

a wedding at the Castlefield Rooms (c) Miki2 Photography (36)

Everybody advised us to soak up every moment of the day and try to take it all in because it goes by in a flash. This was brilliant advice and I think we both tried to do it and really enjoy every minute of the day. There were some nerves at times, but we didn’t let it get the better of us and we just had enjoyed the day.

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lookbook: dip it low

September 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Nina - Jenny Packham

Wedding dress necklines have officially reached new depths.

While once an innocent sweetheart neckline was as far as designers dared to dip, there are now an increasing number of dresses reveal that much more of the chest area. But this doesn’t mean the dresses look at all cheap, tacky or tarty. Instead the designs scream high-fashion, ooze elegance and have just the right amount of sass and sexiness.

A perfect choice for confident brides who dare to bare, this style of dress can be highly flattering and incredibly striking. So let’s get the lowdown on the designers that are endorsing the new lowered neckline.

Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham, images in gallery as tagged.

Noa - Jenny Packham

Monique Lhuillier has several wonderfully dipped dresses in her collections. Clever designs such as Sylvie, Karlotta and Logan feature a lowered neckline but keep a good amount of flesh under wraps through the use of broad shoulder straps, illusion necklines and elegant lace sleeves. Meanwhile, the likes of Valletta and Teagan, which boast deep necklines but with thinner shoulder straps, give brides the opportunity to flash some extra flesh.

Claire Pettibone’s lowered necklines also retain modesty through the use of sleeves and shoulder detail. Lily is a stunning example for brides wanting to keep their arms covered. The elegant slim-line design features a highly detailed lowered neckline, exquisite long lace sleeves and a to-die-for sheer lace back. Minuet meanwhile is a much more revealing design with a dipped sweetheart neckline and pretty keyhole back detail.

Rio - Jenny Packham

Queen of vintage glamour, Jenny Packham has also jumped onboard the lowered necklines bandwagon. For brides wanting to keep their look simple but flash just a little flesh, there is Lavinia and Nina. Other brides will look to Packham for a dose of that intricate detailing that she does oh so well. This can be found in Noa and Marina, both of which feature plunging necklines as well as pretty, sparkling embellishment. Gatsby-style brides meanwhile will find it almost impossible to resist the sophisticated yet sexy charm of Rio – it’s a real head-turner!

Finally Justin Alexander, which produces perfect princess style gown, has a few lowered neckline creations to add to the offering. Interestingly, many of the dresses that feature deep necklines in the front are mirrored in the back of the gown. So for example the 8737 fit and flare gown, with heavily beaded pearl and crystal deep V-neckline also has a plunging back neckline. Similarly the 8652 mermaid style dress features a V-tank neckline in the front and is finished with a deep V-neckline in the back.

Marina - Jenny Packham

So the only question that remains is how low will you go?

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lookbook: cold shoulder

August 21st, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Hepburn - Jenny Packham

It’s not unusual for brides to expose their shoulders on their wedding day with bridal boutiques boasting numerous stunning strapless dress designs. But while fashion forward brides might like the idea of flashing a little flesh on their big day, they may well want a gown that pushes the design boundaries that bit further.

Luckily for such brides highly stylish off-the-shoulder wedding dresses crept into a number of 2014 collections and it looks like they’re here to stay as the sophisticated silhouette has been making a strong appearance on 2015 bridal catwalks.

Garbo - Jenny Packham

The lowered neckline offers a romantic and timeless look, beautifully framing shoulders and collar bones. There is a hint of sexiness about such dresses and yet they are still oh so elegant by revealing just the right amount of skin.

Better yet, fashionistas will be pleased to hear that there aren’t just one or two standard off-the-shoulder dress designs, but instead a wonderful array of varying styles, from floaty bohemian and Grecian inspired gowns to structured asymmetrical creations and dresses with dreamy draped sleeves.

Jenny Packham is particularly fond of the lowered neckline and includes a number of super stunning off-the-shoulder gowns in her collection – each with something different to offer. For brides wanting to expose their full shoulders and chest area the Hepburn dress is the perfect option. It keeps the majority of the focus at the top of the floor-length dress whilst adding just a hint of extra detailing to the waistline with a sparking bow. The Monroe dress in an elegant pink/taupe hue exposes a similar area but dares brides to step outside their ivory comfort zone. Meanwhile Billie and Garbo are perfect options for glam brides-to-be looking to add some sparkle to their attire. Both have plunging necklines and glitzy shoulder straps with added detailing in draped capped sleeves which reveal just the tops of the shoulders (often referred to as ‘cold shoulder’ dress designs).

Billie - Jenny Packham

Maggie Sottero has a number of equally attractive designs in her collection. Anna and Maurine both feature pretty cold shoulder flutter sleeves. While one dress is adorned in glistening Swarovski crystals the other is finished with fabulously feminine lace appliqués. The ultra girly June dress in playful blush pink is fit for a Grecian goddess with its floor-length silhouette and draped cold shoulder sleeves. Sottero’s Calypso dress offers a different look with its soft scalloped-edged lowered neckline framing bare shoulders beautifully.

Varying off-the-shoulder designs can also be found in Cymbeline’s current collections. Agadir is a simple slim-line design which would be well suited to brides looking for a subtle design that they can make their own with the addition of striking accessories. Lovers of lace meanwhile will fall head over heels for Habanita which features super thin shoulder straps and a gorgeous lace overlay with elegant elbow-length sleeves. Hossana’s romantic ruffles and relaxed shoulders makes it the perfect choice for bohemian brides while those wanting to make a stronger style statement on the aisle should consider the voluminous Heliante.

When it comes to bridal style statements Ian Stuart instantly springs to mind and his show-stopping off-the-shoulder designs certainly don’t disappoint. Several of Stuart’s designs, such as Evita and Frederique, are reminiscent with regal dresses featured in period dramas. Both feature portrait necklines which leave the colllar bones, shoulders and top of the chest bare. Further flesh-revealing offerings come in the form of Nightingale, Mandalay and Waikiki, each with varying detail including decorative fairytale flowers and delicate beaded lace. And last but by no means least, there is the super cute three-quarter length Sophia lace gown for fifties- style brides brave enough to bare their shoulders whilst also hitching up their hemline a little.

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