December 5th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
After tying the knot across the pond in Las Vegas, Toni and James decided that it was time to celebrate with family and friends back in the UK. And, boy, did they do it in style.
Their big day was all about the party vibes, combining their wedding not only with New Year’s Eve celebrations, but James’ birthday too.
Their plush black, white and gold theme was an inspired choice, complete with a nod, or three, to their new life in America. And as Toni reveals, the couple really did turn a few bridal traditions right on their head.
With images by Joe Stenson
toni says: After two years together James moved to San Diego in California. When he was offered a permanent job, we had to decide whether to leave our family and friends and start a new life together in the US, and that meant taking the plunge and getting married quicker than anticipated. So we did! It all happened within the space of three months; engagement, and a wedding in Vegas with just three friends.
James proposed when I was visiting him in Huntington Beach, Orange County, on 18th February 2013. We hired a little boat to cruise around Balboa Island in Newport Beach and then returned to Huntington Beach to watch the sunset. He encouraged me to go for a walk on the beach and we ended up sitting on the Number 1 Lifeguard Tower Stand. My 30th birthday was only a couple of weeks away and so he started telling me that he wanted to get me something I would love, keep and wear all the time. And then he held out my ring!
Our original wedding was on 5th April 2013 in Las Vegas, but that’s not how I imagined my wedding would be. So two years on we started planning a wedding celebration that we could share with our family and friends in the UK.
We wanted the emphasis to be on throwing an amazing party, and that’s why we chose New Year’s Eve, 2015. Not only did we think that NYE would add an extra element of excitement for our guests, but it’s also James’ birthday! I also liked the thought of having a winter wedding, which meant we weren’t relying on the weather.
It was tricky finding a venue in Leeds that would be available on NYE, serve past midnight and hold 150 guests. After researching several venues, I had a dream that featured The Faversham, Leeds – I woke up and knew it would be the perfect venue. The great thing about The Faversham is that it’s not only a beautiful building set in the grounds of Leeds University, but you have exclusive use of the venue too.
We wanted our wedding to be unique, with quirky touches that were personal to us. We wanted a glam yet simple style with a party vibe. The theme was centered on NYE/time, with an element of USA v UK.
September 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you were too busy playing out this Bank Holiday to catch up on all things Brides Up North, make sure you click here to catch up on yesterday’s news… the new season and Unveiled Magazine, Issue #04 has landed! No rest for us wicked ones though, we’re getting busy with the pretty right away today… today’s bride and groom don’t like things too over the top and so decided to keep their big day simple and elegant, with both modern and traditional touches.
Following a church ceremony Jessica, Chris and their guests carried on the proceedings at the stunning Lartington Hall, which (having visited ourselves) we can say is a splendid choice of venue.
We love how chic this wedding is. With pretty pastel blooms, classic wedding transport and a dreamy satin wedding gown (in which Jessica looks gorgeous) it might be simple, but it sure is stylish!
With images by Joe Stenson.
jessica says: Chris attempted to propose on two different occasions. The first time was a surprise trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately there was an issue with the ring he had chosen so he didn’t have one and choose not to propose (but we did get to see the lights!).
The second was a surprise weekend to Paris but it was the week in 2014 when we had terrible storms and we got stuck in Dover for nine hours as the port was closed so we ended up missing the restaurant booking and arrived at 1am! Again he chose not to propose.
Third time lucky was an impromptu picnic in the New Forrest (we live in Surrey although I’m from County Durham) with our little dog Frank. Chris was acting very strangely, pacing up and down and eventually got down on one knee and popped the question. It couldn’t have been more perfect – beautiful scenery, wellies on and dog by our side!
We set the date for 25th April 2015. We originally wanted a winter wedding but as Chris proposed in March, I was worried there wasn’t enough time to organise a wedding for that winter. I love spring so this was our next option.
We got married at St. Romald’s Church, Romaldkirk, Teesdale, but we had our wedding weekend, including the reception at Lartington Hall.
My family have connections to the area and St. Romald’s is a beautiful church. We also fell in love with Lartington Hall and the two are only a few miles apart so it worked really well when transporting our guests. We chose Lartington Hall because it was exactly what we had dreamed of for a reception venue. It has all the English countryside charm of a stately home, but is stylish and elegant with a modern twist but doesn’t lose its fabulous history and appeal. John and the team at Lartington Hall are also just fantastic and put us at ease that we had chosen the right venue on our first meeting.
Simple elegance was our theme. We aren’t a fussy couple, we don’t really like lots of bling or making a big statement so we wanted the day to reflect our personalities. It was all about having a traditional, English country wedding with everyone we love around us having a relaxed day and loads of fun.
I’d always wanted my bridesmaids to wear navy dresses, however when we decided on a spring wedding we were worried they might look a little wintery. Rather than change the colour of their dresses, we decided to lighten the colour palette by having beautiful spring flowers in shades of light pinks, purples and blues. The stationary, cake and groomsmen’s accessories all followed the lighter spring colour theme.
I wanted a simple, classic and elegant dress. After trying on loads, I finally found my one at Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique in Beaconsfield. My dress was Anna by Augusta Jones. It is a structured ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, waist defining sash, and a full skirt, made in cream coloured Satin de Chine. I chose an organza overlay skirt also by Augusta Jones which I wore for the church service with a satin edge cathedral veil. For the evening I changed my sash and wore an Austrian crystal sash called Virginia from Ivory & Co. to give me a different look. My shoes were by Emmy London and were customised with mother of pearl T-bar.
Chris and all of the groomsmen wore traditional navy tails from Moss Bros. Chris wore an ivory waistcoat and cravat, while the groomsmen wore silver waistcoats and Creswell pink cravats. Our nephews (aged seven and ten) had top hats to match their suits.
On the wedding day Sally Ward from La Belle Vous, did hair and makeup for me and my three bridesmaids. She did a fantastic job and was lovely to have around on what could have been a very stressful morning! Everyone looked gorgeous but most importantly felt really good after she had worked her magic.
We hired traditional cars from Brooklands Wedding Cars in Durham, to transport all of the wedding party. My mum and I travelled in a 1930s Beauford convertible in navy and cream. The bridesmaids travelled in a 1920s Regent Landaulette in navy and cream, and the groom and family travelled in a cream Daimler State Limousine.
As we met in Nottingham and moved to the south and with Chris’ family being from Hampshire, the vast majority of our guests had to travel to our wedding. Because of this we wanted to put on a coach transfer from the hotels they were staying to the wedding and back again. We organised this through Enterprise Travel, based in Darlington.
When it came to booking a photographer, we contacted Joe Stenson who was based in Leeds and he travelled to meet us for an initial chat. We instantly knew we had picked the right photographer. He is hugely talented with a very laidback approach and was an absolute pleasure to have as part of our big day. We can’t stop looking at our photos – they are just fantastic and really capture what a happy, fun day it was. We would highly recommend Joe, and his colleague George, who also photographed our day.
Kirsty and Katy from Darling & Green, created all of our flower arrangements for church and venue and our bouquets and button holes, Hydrangea were our main theme for the flowers and these were arranged along with a selection of ranunculus, tulips, astrantia, allium sphaerocephalon and hellebores, following our spring colour palette of light dusky pink, soft shades of pink and purple with touches of very light blue and soft foliage.
Darling & Green arranged all of the venue flowers as well in the same theme as above. We had hurricane vases with candles and flowers and tall goblet vases with flowers on alternate tables. We also had mantelpiece arrangements of flowers and candles in the main ball room as well as vintage bottles containing hydrangea heads dotted around the different rooms of Lartington Hall. At the church we had the archway into the church decorated with willow and our chosen flowers, pew ends of hydrangeas and pedestal arrangements containing flowers and candles.
Jill Ellis who owns Hope You Can Make It, in Middlesbrough, designed all of our stationary in shades of the pinks and purples of the hydrangeas so the theme was continued through to the table plan, table names, menus and place settings.
We created a table plan using an antique picture frame, antique keys and old luggage tags. Guests were invited to ‘find the key to their seat’ from the keys hung on the table plan and on each individuals key was the name of their table. We also purchased a drop top guest book where guests could write messages on wooden hearts and post them in the top of an oak frame to create a keepsake of the day.
On our recent trip to Paris we fell in love with traditional Parisian macaroons and so decided to give these as favours to our guests. Chris Burnett at Burnetts 4 Cakes, created traditional macaroons in blush pink and each guest had two macaroons presented in a gift bag at their place setting.
Chris also created our cake. We wanted a simple, elegant, statement cake with oversized tiers and squared edges. Chris took our ideas and created a stunning cake. Each tier was a different flavour: fruit, carrot, chocolate orange and red velvet. The tiers were very plain with ivory icing, except for the bottom tier which was covered in intricate blush pink iced frills. My only regret was I didn’t get any! But we have saved the fruit tier so there is still hope!
Following canapés served during the drinks reception, we had a wedding breakfast of Smoked Salmon to start, Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings for mains and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. In the evening we had hog roast sandwiches served on the dance floor in large baskets – not to interrupt proceedings!
To provide entertainment during the church service we booked Dr Robin Harrison, who is a fantastically talented organ player, and his choir The Bobby Dazzlers. They performed while we were signing the register and were very popular among the guests. We then hired Purple Supper Band for the entertainment back at Lartington Hall and they played jazz piano during our drinks reception, followed by two very lively sets by the band and the DJ finished the night off. The dance floor was full from start to finish!
To make the wedding all the more special, we invited our immediate wedding party to stay with us for the weekend at Lartington Hall, which has 12 beautiful bedrooms. We had a lovely rehearsal dinner on the Friday prior to the wedding and the Saturday preparations were very relaxed as everyone was in the same place.
We would absolutely recommend Lartintgon Hall to all. It is a truly stunning venue, but also the team are so friendly and accommodating – nothing is too much trouble. They make the weekend an extremely relaxing one so the wedding couple can concentrate on enjoying their special day. We could not have asked for more from them.
The wedding service was obviously very special to us, but I think our favourite part of the day was walking into the ball room at Lartington Hall to greet our guests for dinner and seeing everyone together for us – we also got a huge cheer which was fantastic!
Neither I nor Chris had been to Asia or the Far East so we wanted to visit this part of the world for our honeymoon. We chose Vietnam with a one-night stopover in Singapore on the way home. We were away for three weeks and had a fabulous time visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Halong Bay with a ten day stay on a private cove at the fabulous Six Senses Resort Nimh Van Bay. The best things we did were a Vietnamese cookery course, conducted in a tropical garden and a private dining experience in a cave for my birthday. Singapore was a fabulous end to the trip as it was a total contrast to the cities of Vietnam with its modern infrastructure, sky scraper buildings and super clean streets.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – lists, lists and more lists! I make lists in my sleep so this was the way I organised myself during the planning stages. On the day itself, I would say make sure everything is done by the day before so you can really relax and enjoy every little second of the day – it is over so fast. Also, take a step back and observe just for a few seconds at different stages of the day. It is such a blur when it’s all over you will be pleased you took mental pictures of everything that is going on around you.
I can honestly say it was the best day of our lives!
February 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Unless you follow Brides Up North over on Instagram (ahem!) then you probably won’t have noticed that I’ve been off skiing in the Alps for the past seven days… a sneaky little holiday before the Brides Up North wedding exhibition madness begins, but things certainly weren’t any less pretty or less busy on these pages this last week!
I’ve left one set of mountains to come home to an email mountain of my own, so whilst I get cracking on that lot, I’ll leave you with our first beautiful wedding of the week, Helen and Joe’s stunning vintage inspired celebration in the Yorkshire Dales.
With images by Joe Stenson.
helen says: For my 33rd birthday we went to Manchester to watch Eddie Izzard Live. We had booked an apartment and Joe had secretly upgraded us to the penthouse suite. On the morning of my birthday Joe surprised me on the roof terrace with a champagne breakfast and my birthday presents. The last present I opened was an empty box… when I looked over to Joe he was beside me and down on one knee with a ring in his pocket. I was shocked that he had finally proposed to me and I hadn’t even seen it coming!
We were married on 19th April 2014. We made the most of the long Easter weekend with our friends and family.
I am from Staffordshire and Joe is from North Yorkshire so we looked at venues in both counties. We wanted to get married at a venue that had everything on one site and could offer us the whole weekend. After doing lots of internet research on our summer holiday we had shortlisted it down to three places. After visits to all three we quickly decided on Taitlands in Stainforth, North Yorkshire. This beautiful venue had everything on site: a coach house with marquee, a grade II listed house with guest bedrooms, a smaller cottage and beautiful walled garden with the amazing Yorkshire Dales as a backdrop.
As the venue was fairly vintage and rustic I knew to keep it in with that theme. There were lots of homemade bunting and fabric hearts which I had spent months making and with the help of family and friends collected lots of vintage bottles from car boot sales, vintage fairs and antique shops for the flowers. I also spray painted vintage lace doilies with coral fabric paint and used these for the table centres – a job I really loved. For the marquee we hired some huge letters of our initials from Add Vintage who I met at a vintage fair in Leeds.
My favourite colour is coral so I wanted the bridesmaids and the flowers to follow that. I also wanted spring colours so ivory and sage green went perfectly with the coral. The colour theme wasn’t too obvious but there were subtle hints.
After trying on about fifty different dresses (!) I had a good idea about what suited me (and what really didn’t). After trips to 13 different shops, I found a beautiful ivory gold vintage lace design by Justin Alexander at Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden and knew it was the one. I chose my veil from Ava Rose and purchased some beautiful vintage hair pieces from Chez Bec after seeing them on a wedding blog. My pearl earrings and bracelet were also from Chez Bec and I had personalised bracelets made for the bridesmaids, each with their birthstone on. I wore beautiful vintage closed toe shoes called Orla from Rachel Simpson.
My hair and make-up was all done by Helen Whincup from Harrogate, a self-employed hairdresser. She travelled to the venue very early and was a huge help at calming me down and getting us all ready on time.
Joe wore a blue three piece suit which he bought from Reiss in the January sales. He accessorised with tan brown shoes from Barker Shoes and a coral and blue tie from House of Fraser. His outfit was finished off with his Granddad’s 1970s gold pocket watch which was a surprise from me on the wedding morning enclosed in an engraved pocket pouch. He really looked very handsome.
My bridesmaids, my sister Sarah and two closest friends Thea and Jenny, wore coral lace mid length dresses from an American supplier on Etsy complimented with patent nude shoes from BHS, again in the January sales.
I walked in to ‘I will wait for you’ by Mumford and Sons (I had been waiting nearly 14 years!) and as I got to the front and Joe finally turned round I stopped crying and started to sing the lyrics to him. I hadn’t planned to do this and afterwards I learnt that the entrance song had been played in full when they thought I was ready to come in so really he had been waiting for me!
After seeing two or three florists I visited Twisted Willow Floristry in Ripon. Joanna was absolutely lovely and really got the idea of what look I wanted without me knowing much about flowers. She came up with some amazing bouquets, buttonholes and corsages made up of peonies, roses, gypsophila, lily of the valley, ranunculus, anemones, larkspur and muscari. She also provided dried confetti for my DIY paper doily confetti holders and the same flowers as the bouquets for the table centres and venue which my mother-in-law then put together in a very natural way. Joe’s mum did such an amazing job the day before putting this all together.
After the ceremony we had an Easter egg hunt and also hired some outdoor games (croquet and giant jenga) from Add Vintage to keep guests entertained.
RSVP Candy helped us produce all of our fantastic wedding stationery from the amazing personalised wedding story invite and poster to the personalised name badges, wedding programmes, table plan, table names and signs for our photo booth, easter egg hunt and sweet table.
We used vintage postcards of the Yorkshire Dales and a stamp from Not On The High Street for our save the dates. As we had lots spare my creative sister used the leftover postcards and created us a print of our names which we hung up on the day in the ceremony room.
We also had photo bunting hung around the coach house of all our guests from over the years. This created a lot of laughter and some embarrassment for our guests.
The food was all supplied by Taitlands’ caterers and we had a selection of Yorkshire canapés out on the lawns followed by country terrine, slow cooked Taitlands lamb and lemon tarte for the wedding breakfast. Locally produced and perfect for spring.
The fizz and wine was all supplied by Majestic. We had gin and elderflower tonic for when guests arrived, prosecco and raspberry liqueur for after the ceremony and a sauvignon blanc and rioja for the wedding breakfast which complimented the lamb perfectly.
We had two cakes, a 6 tier wedding cheesecake made by The Courtyard in Settle which was the main part of the evening supper with pork pies. Our good friend Hannah made three different flavoured cupcakes with a top tier fruit cake. These were amazing and I really can’t recommend Hann-made cakes enough.
During the wedding breakfast we had a wedding quiz (all about our guests) and later on in the evening we had a DIY photobooth and polaroid camera so guests could leave their photos and messages in a guestbook.
Our favours also doubled up as pin badge place names in coral for the girls and sage green for the boys. By the end of the day everyone was wearing them, which also helped with introductions. We also had a sweet table and wedding quiz for our guests to enjoy.
Joe researched the entertainment for months and we were so pleased with the Leeds band that we finally chose. Vibetown provided two great sets of live music, with two singers, brass, guitar and drums. Our first dance was ‘Hey Ho’ by the Lumineers as we didn’t want a slow smoochy one and we both loved the lyrics. By the second set everyone had bought the photo booth masks and props onto the dancefloor which the band found hilarious. We also had a spontaneous breakdance competition between guests and there were one or two power cuts when the generator kept cutting out but the saxophonist kept playing solo until the power came back on. Superb.
We managed to find a top guy to take our wedding photos at a vintage fair in Leeds. Joe Stenson is unbelievably talented and such a kind, great guy to work with! We did two engagement shoots before the wedding, including a trip to the pub which made us feel right at ease with Joe. A month or so before the wedding Joe asked if Jemma, a friend of his, could come along as a second photographer as she wanted to shoot some more film so we got two fantastic photographers for the price of one. Jemma was so good at making the girls feel relaxed on the morning of the wedding and Joe was so great at capturing the real feel of the day. We would give them both the best possible recommendation to anybody looking for a wedding photographer.
The venue and the backdrop of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales was perfect. Everything was on site, including accommodation for the bridal party and all our other guests stayed locally in Settle, only a 10 minute taxi ride away.
Emma the owner and her husband Martin were very good at accommodating our requests. We wanted the wedding breakfast in the marquee which they didn’t usually do, we were able to set up the venue on the Thursday and our bridal party could arrive early on the Friday so we could relax the day before. Emma let us use her home as if it was our own and was very relaxed about most things. Her staff on the day were great too.
I can’t wait to go back there one day for a visit when we are walking in the Dales.
Our favourite moments from the day included our entrance to the wedding breakfast. We came into the A-Team and high-fived everyone as we went round the room. We loved the speeches and the surprise video messages from guests that couldn’t be there, including my nan and a few words from one of Joe’s favourite comedians Richard Herring!
A couple of days after the wedding we flew to Miami beach for a short stay and then went onto Belize and Mexico for jungle trekking, visits to lots of ruins, snorkelling and lazing on beautiful Caribbean beaches. It was great to spend some quality time with my new husband after 10 months of wedding planning and the scenery and weather was amazing. It was tough going back to work after nearly 4 weeks off!
Joe and I planned the wedding we wanted in 10 months! We did have ‘wedmin’ to do pretty much every day but we really enjoyed it. I would say spend your budget on the food, drink and music – that’s what all your guests will appreciate the most. We wanted those special little touches too so made time to have or make things that were personal to us, that others may not have noticed.
My top planning tips for other Brides Up North would be to set budgets and make decisions early to give yourselves time at the end for all the fun things. On the day itself, try and relax and take it all in as it can be quite overwhelming. We had half an hour by ourselves just as the sun was setting, when we went off with the photographer, and it was lovely just to catch up and relive some of our favourite moments.
Finally, never put your drink down, you’ll never remember where you put it!
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