Charlotte Balbier

true blue. justin alexander for an eclectic wedding at the crab & lobster – ann-marie & matthew

July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (31)

Today’s real wedding took place at a quirky hotel and restaurant that has a sort of anything goes feel to it with its mismatched décor and furnishings. Rather than try and impose a set theme on such an individual venue, bride and groom Ann-Marie and Matthew cleverly blended styles they love into the setting for an elegant yet eclectic wedding day.

We love the 1950s influences in the bride and maid of honour’s dresses as well as the groom’s slightly unusual pale blue suit and patterned tie combo. Elsewhere there are pretty shabby chic touches in the décor and a country garden theme running through the flowers and cake designs.

Oh, and Ann-Marie didn’t just go for one ‘something blue’ but instead lots, with a colour palette made up of varying shades of the cool hue.

With images from Michael Cartwright Photography.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (2)

ann-marie says: We got engaged on 20th April 2013 at Drybeck Farm in Cumbria. It was our anniversary weekend and Matthew had booked a weekend to Drybeck Farm as a surprise. Drybeck was our first weekend away together when we first met so Matthew thought it would be romantic to rekindle the early days. Matthew had been working during the day and came back at lunch time to get ready and go. I jokingly asked him “Have you forgotten anything? Like a ring?” to which he replied “Seriously? You do know there isn’t a ring, don’t you?” That was enough to put me off the scent.

I’d made a lamb stew to take with us that we cooked over an open fire and we sat and drank red wine and ate stew and tiger bread under the stars, wrapped in blankets. Matthew finally popped the question down on one knee on the banks of the River Eden. I of course said a massive yes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (3)

We decided on 24th May 2015 as our wedding date and chose The Crab & Lobster near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, as our venue. We knew the hotel and restaurant because of its reputation in fine dining but we had never been to stay before. We went to a wedding open day and suddenly everything fell into place. The gardens are beautiful and the hotel is so wonderfully quirky that we instantly fell in love with it.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (10)

We wanted our wedding to be laid back but still beautiful. One of our major turn offs with all things wedding was the ‘fake grandeur’ that is automatically pushed on brides. We also didn’t like the idea of an outright theme. We preferred just to choose all the things we liked and try to link them together. If we had to try and shoehorn our wedding into any kind of theme I suppose it would be ‘50s shabby chic, English country garden glamour’ (if that can be a theme?).

This eclectic mix of styles matches our personalities and went perfectly with the venue, which is a mismatch of all sorts of memorabilia and oddities.

We chose blue for our colour scheme. We didn’t make any decision on one particular type of blue and decided to have a wonderful mix of shades and hues that all complemented each other. We used white and ivory with a touch of peach to complement the blues. On reason for choosing blue was because of its association with luck at weddings and we thought why stop at one ‘something blue’ when it can all be blue!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (12)

My dress was a 50s style ball gown by Justin Alexander and bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. It had a boat neckline and pleated sash waist with a small detailing of crystals and pearls. The dress was plain ivory silk and had a train. On my feet I wore peacock blue peep toe shoes from Faith, which had a T-bar encrusted in diamantes and peals.

My headpiece was custom made by The Libertarian. It was an ivory silk flower with crystals and pearls in the centre and a short 50s style veil with a sprinkling of diamantes. The crystals on the flower were my ‘something old’ and had been taken from a necklace my Grandmother left to me. My earrings were custom made by Mobeus in Hartlepool which also used the crystals from my Grandmother’s old necklace. Finally, I wore a jersey pearl bracelet that I borrowed from our daughter (she was bought it as a christening present).

On the big day, Nicholas at Hobson and Holmes in Darlington, did my hair while Jo Leversuch of Makeup by Jo, did my makeup.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (8)

Matthew wore a pale blue suit from Psyche in Middlesbrough with a coordinating dark blue tweed waistcoat from Debenhams. His shirt was plain white from M&S and shoes were brown brogues from Just Perfect Menswear at Shotton Colliery. Matthew’s tie and pocket square were from an online retailer called Dancys.

Our maid of honour wore a royal blue 50s style dress by LouLou Bridal and our flower girl wore an ivory satin and tulle ballerina style dress both bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. Their head pieces were both custom made by The Libertarian and featured handmade and custom dyed silk flowers.

The groomsmen all wore a suit of their choice with white M&S shirts and ties from Dancys. Our page boys wore pale blue linen suites from Next with coordinating bow-ties from Dancys.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (24)

Michael of Michael Cartwright Photography took our photographs. Michael is an old school friend of mine so we knew that we would be hiring a photographer that could put us at ease and who knew our personalities and tastes. Michael did a fantastic job of capturing the day without lots of posed or staged photos that will age and go out of fashion. We have ended up with a wonderful pictorial story of our day that will stand the test of time. Michael was a true professional and was so great at taking candid photos. We hardly even knew he was there throughout the day but we still got more than 1,000 pictures to choose from.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (32)

I carried a bouquet of wild and garden flowers in a range of blue and lavender tones including forget-me-nots, scabious, cornflowers, roses, lisianthus. They were tied with a bow with long tendrils of multi-coloured ribbons in different widths and textures. The brief to the florist was that I wanted to look like I had walked through a beautiful meadow and country garden and collected my flowers on the way to the ceremony – they did not disappoint.

The flowers were from Flowerhouse in Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees which until recently was my brother’s business which he and my mum started more than ten years ago. Ever since I was small I have grown up around flowers and flower shops as my mum has been an award winning florist for 50 years. I knew from being a little girl that the most special thing was for my mum to do my wedding flowers and with the help of the staff at Flowerhouse that wish came true and the flowers were spectacular!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (54)

Our table decorations were lots of smaller bunches of flowers using the same flowers as my bouquet. These were in jam jars which I decorated with ribbons and lace. Again the flowers were from Flowerhouse. We also decorated the tables with smaller jars with tea lights in them and set the table settings with sprigs of lavender and corn from Shropshire Petals, who also supplied our confetti.

I made all the decorations for the day including a number of hand painted signs and more than 30 metres of bunting as well as burlap signs and ribbon wands for the little people to carry. Instead of a guestbook I also made a hand painted canvas which everyone could write their messages on which has given us a beautiful momentum of the day.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (47)

As favours, each guest was given a packet of forget-me-not seeds from Not on the High Street. Due to the huge number of flowers at the wedding, each couple also got to take home a jar of fresh flowers at the end of the night.

We chose a three tier cake with a different flavour for each tier – fruit, chocolate and vanilla. A friend of ours (Jenny) made the cakes and a friend of my mum’s iced them for us. It was decorated with fresh flowers from Flowerhouse and a bunting cake topper from Beautiful Greys, a shop on Facebook.

Additionally we had a cheese and pork pie wedding cake from Earls Cheese Wedding Cakes in Stockton, which doubled as our evening buffet. This was topped with bride and groom mice from Cotton Reel Crafts. We served the wedding cake on the evening as dessert.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (49)

To keep guests entertained we had a jazz duo welcoming everyone to the ceremony and then playing in the gardens afterward. They were the Crab and Lobster resident musicians, Muttonchops, and were a fantastic addition to our day. During the ceremony Matthew’s brother, Robbie, and my friend Angela gave a rendition of Songbird by Oasis which was very special to us. On the evening we decided to have a jukebox instead of a DJ. That way the dancefloor was always full because the music was chosen by the guests.

To make the day all the more special we added a few individual touches, including inviting our guests to take part in a competition at The Crab and Lobster’s one-hole golf course to win a bottle of bubbles. It was a fun little addition and everyone had a go at getting their ball closest to the flag.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (70)

We would recommend all of our suppliers, they each provided exactly what we wished for and were full of professionalism. We would also definitely recommend our venue to other couples. It was so fantastic in every way. The staff were wonderfully attentive and understood our vision from the outset and ensured that everything went swimmingly. They were very willing for us to completely take over and decorate everything in sight and change things around as we saw fit. The wedding coordinator, John Lacey, was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – from helping me to change my shoes, to standing up ladders hanging bunting, carving up enormous pork pies and helping our daughter up and down the patio steps.

I don’t think we could pick a favourite part of the day as it was all absolutely amazing. That said, our highlights would include; seeing each other for the first time, spending an entire day with all the people we love and dancing the night away to a plethora of retro tunes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (72)

For our honeymoon we had four nights at Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrakech in Morocco. It was a wonderfully relaxing break full of delicious food and exploration. We were fully spoilt at Peacock Pavilions with private dining in a hand painted Berber tent, a private screening of Casablanca in an outdoor cinema with cocktails and a bridal henna party for me. No stone was unturned at this wonderful quirky little oasis. Pure bliss!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to start early! If you are anything like us and want to do a lot of work yourself or are interested in the finer details you need as much time as possible. We spent two years planning and it was only just enough time. We had an amazing day and all of the extra effort, hard work and sometimes stress was worth it all for the perfect amazing day.continue reading

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let love grow. a boho beach wedding at the alnwick garden – frankie & chris

September 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (24)

The days might officially be getting shorter, but look on the bright side Brides Up North, that just means lots of beautiful summer celebrations to recap on these pretty pages.

This morning we’re starting the week off in beautiful Northumberland, and paying a visit to the Alnwick Treehouse and Alnwick Garden (where Brides Up North is very proud to be hosting our gorgeous Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition on Sunday 5th October 2014, are you coming?).

Frankie and Chris’s colourful, natural, boho inspired wedding is bright and beautiful with authentic personal styling.  Let the love grow indeed…

With images by Wildhearts and Wishes Photography, with second shooter Jacqui Grigg.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (1)
a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (19)

Frankie says: We got engaged on 3 February 2013. The short and romantic version is that, one Sunday night, we went for a walk and Chris proposed along the banks of Thames in the old Naval College in Greenwich, underneath a 19th century lamp post. The longer, more accurate and less romantic story is that Chris proposed one Sunday night whilst wearing sweat pants in the house in the middle of an argument… a quick change into some nicer clothes and a short walk to our favourite location and we made it official against a more romantic setting!

We got married on Saturday 21st June 2014 at St Paul’s RC Catholic Church, Alnwick. The drinks reception and wedding breakfast was then in Alnwick Treehouse, before moving across to Alnwick Gardens for the evening do.

In terms of deciding location we knew we wanted somewhere meaningful to us so we started looking in three locations.  1) Greenwich in London where we have been living for 2 ½ years and where we got engaged, 2). Newcastle where we started living together for the first time, 3). Northumberland where we had both grown up and met.

We only looked round a few venues in London to know that something was missing, and that something was the North East.  When we looked round venues in Newcastle and Northumberland we knew straight away that that was where we should say our vows.

Having limited our choices to the North East, we were then still indecisive so greedily ended up choosing three venues instead of one!  Having both been brought up Roman Catholic, we were always going to get married in a RC Church.  We chose St Paul’s not only because of its location and its beautiful atheistic, but because we really gelled with the priest.  He was so supportive and down to earth; he sealed the deal for us!

We specifically chose Alnwick Gardens and Treehouse, as not only were they wonderfully characterful and beautiful venues in their own right, but because they also afforded us with the freedom and scope to reflect some of ourselves in the day.  Additionally, personalities played a part in helping us make our final venue choices, as the venue managers who showed us round both venues Arthur (at the Gardens) and David and Wendy (at the Treehouse) were both so friendly, accommodating and quirky that we knew they would understand the feel we were trying to create for the day.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (11)

We tried to ensure it was a feminist wedding – my Mum and Dad walked me down the aisle, but neither of them ‘gave me away’; my sister did a speech so that it was not an all male line up; and we changed some of the wording in the wedding ceremony to make it more ‘inclusive’.

Our themes/styles were quite broad; we wanted them to reflect our personalities and shared loves. In terms of style, we wanted to create a relaxed, free spirited (hence the no ties!) and environmentally conscious vibe (hence the tree planting, seed packet favour and recycled white-gold wedding ring).

Theme wise, it was primarily (a) music, to reflect our shared love of music; and (b) floral country garden to reflect our love of rural Northumberland and my love of big floral prints.  So as long as it was bright, colourful and fun, it was in!

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (22)

My dress was ‘Harper’ Rue De Seine.  I fell in love with it because it fitted the feel of both venues as well as my personal tastes; it combined both the bohemian, ethereal feel of the Treehouse with its flowing, loose fitting shape, whilst also encompassing the elegance and beauty of the Gardens through the beautifully detailed 1920’s style embellishments on the capped sleeves and midriff.

Both my mum and the lovely ladies in Luella’s Boudoir in Wimbledon Village must take a lot of credit for helping me choose my dress and I will be forever grateful to them for doing so. My shoes I bought online from Etsy.  They were embellished in an art deco design that matched the style of the dress.

The groom and groomsmen all wore grey, slim fit, limited edition suits from Marks and Spencer with white shirts.  Both Chris and I met whilst working in Marker and Spencer 8 years ago so it seemed fitting that they should be part of day in some way, as without M&S our romance never would have happened!  In keeping with Chris’ laid-back style and personality, the collars were all open necked.

The bridesmaids wore green and blue floral mix and match 1950’s swing style dresses. The dresses were bespoke; designed and made by a local seamstress in my hometown, Morpeth (The Sewing Box).  The material was Liberty of London, Lawn Denise Eva that I found in a fabric shop in London ClothHouse.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (26)

We hired a 28 seater 1940’s gray and white former RAF bus from a local bus enthusiast in Northumberland.   The owner of the bus does not run a business; he just does it for pleasure so we were really lucky to find him.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (31)

Our photographer was Paula Smart from Wildhearts and Wishes Photography.

We would absolutely recommend Paula.  Her photos are beautifully natural, understated and artistic.  We loved her laid-back, genuine style both in her photos and as a personality.  She was so thorough, accommodating and on the day, fitted in entirely with us so that photos were built around the day rather than dictated the day.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (32)

Our florist was Christine from Lavenders Blue in Morpeth.  I have been going to Christine’s shop since I was 3 years old (she even taught my mum floristry) so it was nice to have that personal and local link in the day.

My bouquet was a loose posy of wildflowers, including: blue delphiniums, pink freesia, gypsophlia, blue thistle, pink stock, clematis vine, ivory freesia and green bells, tied with ivory satin ribbon. In my hair I had a garland of flowers made with the vine of green bells with pink stock, pink freesia bud, blue delphinium and gypsophlia.

The bridesmaids had simple bouquets of gysophila to offset the patterns on their dresses.

Christine arranged our flowers for the church and for both venues. In the church we had 2 pedestals containing blue delphinium, hydrangea, lilac stock, green trailing amaranthus, viburnum opulus, thistle and astrantia. On the end of the pews, we had 16 jam jars – which we had hand decorated with craft and manuscript paper and flowers.  These jam jars were then used on the tables at the treehouse.

In the Gardens we used an eclectic selection of containers (vases, tea cups, jugs etc) that belonged to ourselves or members of our families, including family heirlooms such as a jug that was a wedding present to my granny.  These included the same selection of flowers as the jam jars. We also had vintage style buckets and watering cans filled with pink and blue hydrangeas dotted around all the venue which we provided ourselves.

Decorations wise, we had a mix of multicoloured pom poms, floral print lanterns and distressed white wooden lanterns with nightlights.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (34)

In the treehouse, our wedding favours were also our table settings.  We had mini-jam jars filled with raspberry and plum jam that had been made by my Granny.  Each jar had a hand stamped label attached to it with a guests name on one side and ‘Thank you from Frankie and Chris: Spread The Love’ on the other side’.

At the evening do we had seed packets for wedding favours. We planted a tree in the gardens, and had a washing line of string marking out the area, with seed packets on it.  The speed packets were hand stamped with ‘Frankie and Chris: Grow the Love’.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (41)

We chose an ‘All You Need is Love’ Beatles themed cake as part of our music theme, as well as because we loved its vibrant, psychedelic feel.  It was made by A Symphony in Sugar, a fantastic local couple based in Cramlington.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (51)

Chris is a musician so various combinations of his old band and a band that was born out of that provided the music on the day. And of course, Chris was playing too!  The tunes were a combination acoustic soul in the first set and punk rock-fused crowd pleasers in the second set – it went down a treat! Dominic Murphy pulled it all together.  He has fifteen years experience as a musician working all over the North East in original, covers and function bands. It was great to have our friends involved in the day like this – it produced a very personal connection.

The music theme started as early as in the church, so we walked in and out to two of our favourite songs: ‘Sweet Disposition’ by the Temper Trap on the way in and ‘You Make my Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oats on the way out.  This really made the service come to life and be very personal to us.  Plus it really got the party started early when we walked out to Hall & Oats with the congregation waving wedding wands with bells on!

In the Treehouse, we had a little room called the Roost, which we renamed ‘the sound track to our story.’  In this room we had all the key songs that had formed part of our story growing up and then together as a couple.  As this music was playing there was also a slide show of photos of both of us over the years chronicling our stories to the present day, which my mum had put together.

The handmade seating plan was also part of the music theme, with every table being named after one of out favourite songs.  The table names were displayed on vinyl CDs that were hung from an old 1930’s suitcase that belonged to my Great Grandpa.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (58)

We used etsy quite a bit, particularly for thank you presents for the wedding party and wedding stationary.  If you have an idea, however quirky, etsy will have it.  There are some amazingly individual suppliers.

Wendy from Just Perfect in Cramlington was particularly helpful.  She stocks a range of products from lots of local suppliers as well as hires accessories.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (38)

To tempt people out into the garden to begin with we planted a tree.  As die hard romantics (and a historian) we loved the concept that however fleeting the day was; there would always be a part of our wedding in Alnwick Garden and that future generations of our family can visit our tree long after we are gone.  We also felt that we were so lucky to be celebrating such a wonderful day with our friends and family that by planting a tree we were in some way putting something back into the environment.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (52)

My favourite moment was after the ceremony, Chris and I went to the beach for a few photographs.  The beach was quite secluded and despite being a public place and us being quite conspicuously dressed it felt like it was just the two of us.  It was a lovely personal time, in what was a brilliant but busy day, with a beautiful setting.

Also, I would have to say Chris’s fabulous speech was a highlight.  As was seeing him coming alive by being reunited with his old band mates and seeing how much he enjoyed performing with them and how much people enjoyed his performance.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (53)

For our honeymoon we went to Montenegro.  We wanted something that offered a bit of everything (history, culture, café culture, beaches and outdoor activities) and had been meaning to go Eastern Europe for a while. Montenegro offers so much variety within a fairly small area. Two days in Kotor with its café culture and beautiful, 15th century preserved surroundings, two days in Petrovac on the coast for some beach time and a week in rural and unspoiled Virpazar on an adventure holiday through Undiscovered Montenegro – hiking, kayaking, wine tasting and bike rides.

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (42)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t be afraid to deviate from what is considered tradition and the standard wedding format.  Make sure the day reflects you; don’t conform to something that doesn’t mean anything to you on the one day that is solely about you both. You get out what you put in!

a boho beach wedding (c) Wild Hearts & Wishes Photography (21)

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Let’s Get Ready To Rumble! The Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza At Hardwick Hall Hotel – THIS SUNDAY!

February 21st, 2014 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Grand Wedding Exhibition Spring 2014

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If you follow the blog over on Twitter and Facebook – you’ll probably have guessed that I am just a little bit excited about kicking off our jam packed season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions with one of my very favourite events, North East SUPER show, the Brides Up North Bridal Bonanza Grand Wedding Exhibition at the gorgeous 4* Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield, County Durham THIS SUNDAY (that’s come around quick!) on Sunday 23rd February 2014.  

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If the level of pre-registrations that Team Brides Up North has received from you lovely ladies is anything to go by, it’s going to be an amazing day!  We love hearing your little stories and getting excited with you and we can’t wait to meet so many of you in person.

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Other wedding fairs?  Pah!  What’s the point?! We are very proud to run OFFICIALLY the largest and most exciting FREE ENTRY bridal exhibitions in the North East (our last epic event at Hardwick’s sister hotel, Ramside Hall, attracted over 2,000 visitors in one afternoon – now that’s big!) with two specially choreographed professional fashion shows and almost (and sometimes over) 80 – 100 exhibitors at each, tempting on the day discounts and stuffed goody bags tailor made for each event. I might like things big and exciting, but I also like them personal.

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And yes, you read that right, the events are FREE ENTRY.  Cos I love ya, baby.

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Hardwick Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition Spring 2014

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So, get the first of our huge North East events firmly in the diary (in indelible pen please) and come along to support the most fabulous wedding suppliers in your area – I only work with the best, dahlings – for an inspiration packed afternoon of all that is pretty, new and super gorgeous in the wedding industry.  And the most important bit?  Local to YOU.

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And can I vouch for the beautiful 4* wedding venue that is Hardwick Hall Hotel?  Well, I chose it to host my own wedding day back in October 2012 – and what’s a better recommendation than that?!.

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If you would like to beat the queues, gain speedy entry and grab yourself a FREE Brides Up North Goody Bag packed with little treats from Brides Up North, the regions’ best bridal glossy magazines well as some fab on-the-day-only exhibitor discounts – while stocks last only – you can pre-register for VIP Bride to Be access now. What are you waiting for?

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To register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag fill in your details below, marking the Brides Up North event venue of choice e.g. “HARDWICK HALL” in the subject line and quoting “VIP”. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag upon entry to the Luxury Wedding Exhibitions.   Only the bride need register for larger groups.

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Your Name (required)

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You can also email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk if you do not wish to use the contact form. VIP Bride- To-Be Goody Bags are limited and subject to availability. We operate a first come, first served polic

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  – Images © 2013 Brides Up North

This is a Brides Up North Event

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Love & Laughter: A Tea Length Justin Alexander Gown For A Fun Filled Real Wedding At Rockliffe Hall – Rebecca & Philip

April 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We are in the North East this morning for an understated and elegant Real Wedding filled with pretty details, love and laughter.  Rebecca and Philip chose a stunning venue and used some excellent Brides Up North Featured Suppliers to make their big day super special. 

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Rebecca says:  Thank you for your blog! It became my bible in the run up to my wedding!  Not only was I able to source my photographer and entertainment through your directory but  many of my suppliers featured in your blog in the time leading up to my wedding which was always reassuring as your blog/you became my unofficial wedding planner. Thank you for the advice and the inspiration. I will still be checking in to get my fill of all things wedding.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Rebecca says: Phil and I were engaged in Newcastle the day after my 29th Birthday on January 8th 2010, after an 11 year “courtship”; we got together back in September 1999.

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Phil surprised me for my birthday with a magical mystery tour which saw us travel from our then home in Leeds to our home turf Newcastle for a weekend away. I was in the early stages of pregnancy and was in need of a rest before dinner and Phil said he would leave me in peace and go and do some shopping. At dinner I had asked Phil in jest if he had managed to find me a ring while he was out. His response was a yes and that if I wanted we could go and get it tomorrow! We went and purchased the ring and then went to meet our parents for lunch where Phil asked my Dad’s permission. I was presented with the ring at lunch in front of our parents who were all thrilled. I joke and say that Phil has never really asked me to marry him we just got engaged.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our wedding was on 21st July 2012. Two years after we got engaged; we had the small matter of having a baby to contend with first.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We were married at the gorgeous Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Hurwurth on Tees, Darlington. The ceremony was in the Old Hall Arches and the reception was in the Rockliffe Suite.

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Have you been to Rockliffe? If you have then I probably don’t need to tell you why we made the decision to get married there. Phil and I at the time of our engagement were both working in jobs that meant we travelled a lot staying in many hotels around the country and it was reaching the point where very few places we were staying for social occasions would make us stop and stay “wow”, but Rockliffe did. We stayed at Rockliffe for Phil’s birthday in the March after our engagement and asked to have a look around. It had everything we were looking for and more; a more traditional area for the ceremony; a large banqueting suite that would be appropriate for the large number of guests for the evening; fabulous bedrooms; a spa and for my parents a golf course. The staff during our stay were attentive and professional. The food was – in the words of my mother in law – “to die for “. Perfect!  We booked the wedding that weekend and I am looking forward to many anniversary meals.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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The theme for the wedding was understated and the focus was on fun, good food and music; a real party rather than a formal event. We wanted to treat our guests, which was made up primarily of our family, to fabulous surroundings and all that Rockliffe has to offer while feeling comfortable and not stuffy. We wanted the day to reflect us as a couple and what we enjoy doing together and good food has always been paramount in our relationship. From the canapés to the hog roast we made sure that our guests all had full tums.

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I had been to seven weddings the year before all beautiful in their own way but I was all “quirked out”, I wanted to keep things simple so the focus of the day became the entertainment.  I didn’t want to be to “matchy” with my colour theme and chose complementary tones of pale blue and pink. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My dress was a Justin Alexander tea length gown in style number 8555, I had never envisaged myself in a long gown and the dress helped set the tone of the day. I had seen a different Justin Alexander dress at a wedding fair and even paid a deposit before I had even tried it on. I went to try the dress on with bridesmaid and mum in tow and was asked by the shop to try on 8555 and quickly changed my mind, apparently my face changed when I put the dress on and the expressions on everyone else’s faces said that this was the one! I used a bridal shop in Shotton Colliery called Just Perfect and cannot praise the staff enough from allowing me to have a morning trying on as many dresses as I liked (even after I had made up my mind). From day one to picking the dress up they were fantastic! I wore Rainbow Club shoes called Coral and my hair I wore a hairband from Coast and a short veil.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My bridesmaid dresses were a similar length and gave a 1950’s feel to the day (Alfred Angelo Style 7188 from Wild Brides at Heart). My flower-girls wore shoes from Monsoon and a dress from BHS.

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My husband and I discussed outfits and we both decided that morning suits were a no go and so the groom wore a Reiss suit, while his groomsmen and the dads wore navy suits from Autograph Collection at M&S (the official suit of the England football team), and ties also M&S. The groomsmen were given the suits as a gift and it has been lovely when I have spied them wearing it again

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My hair was by Lesley and Rachel from Hooker and Young Darlington. I have always had short hair and had no intention of changing it for the big day by adding extensions (just not me) but I wanted it to look different. I wanted soft and feminine and Lesley delivered the goods! My make up was by Victoria Lees – Spa treatment manager at Rockliffe Hall. I have never been big on make-up and Victoria made sure that I felt comfortable.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Music throughout the day was a surprise for all of our guests. The string quartet and my chosen music for coming down the aisle was a surprise for Philip and set the tone for the day. I entered to “Dance of the Knights” by Prokofiev – this is the song that his team, Sunderland AFC, come out to on match days at the Stadium of light.  My favourite photo of Philip is one of him laughing as I am about to enter the music has started and the penny has dropped as to my choice. Walking down the aisle to laughter is not what every bride wants but it was the perfect way to start the party.

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Standing with Phil in front of our friends and family and our son Joe declaring to a silent room “That’s my Mammy and Daddy!” was a special moment and I am glad that Joe was part of our big day.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We followed the ceremony with reception drink entertainment from a West Yorkshire based singer songwriter we both fell in love with on a night in the Rodley Barge when we lived in Leeds; Roger Davies. We had a pianist during the wedding breakfast and the Blue House Band provided music for dancing the night away to. The music was aside from Roger Davies was supplied by the team at AMV Live Music, who went out of their way to make sure that the music was exactly what we wanted. Our first dance was to “Your Song” by Elton John sang by Andy Garner of AMV (whose version was better than the original). My dance with my dad was to Moondance by Van Morrison and I don’t think my dad has recovered from busting such a move.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our photographer was the fabulous Sean Elliott Photography! Sean is so personable it was just like having an extra friend to share our day. Sean also provided our “Picture Peg Project” at our evening reception.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Noble Fine Art supply stationery as part of the wedding package at Rockliffe (menus, name cards and table plan) and they also supplied my invitations and orders of service. The stationery was beautiful and they were a lovely team to work with.

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Simply Bows & Chair Covers dressed the room for the wedding breakfast. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our cake was supplied by my very talented Aunt, who only does cakes as a hobby, she did me proud.  It was a four tier cake in a mixture of sponge and fruit, covered in over a hundred individually handmade flowers. 

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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Our florist was Adam Prest. Adam was one of the nicest people I came into contact with during my wedding preparations. He is simply amazing. He worked his magic on our bouquets, button holes and on the table and pedestal arrangements. In an early meeting with Adam I had said that I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted but trusted him implicitly and he came up trumps.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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I have so many favourite parts of the day that it is hard to name just one but the spontaneous helicopter ride stands out! A guest of the hotel had flown his helicopter in for a game of golf so Phil and I asked if he would mind if we had a picture taken. He said he would to one better and would take us for a short flight.  It was totally unexpected and was the part of the day that Phil and I were together on our own (with the pilot).  Unfortunately and much to his disappointment we had lost Sean (our photographer) at this stage of the day and so we don’t have any professional photos.  There were stories of a man with a camera sprinting from one end of the hotel to the other to try and capture the moment once the rumour had spread. Poor Sean.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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The first dance spotlight shifting form me and Phil to my son and niece, both two, is still talked about as they took to the floor unexpectedly and camera shifted from the bride and groom to the far cuter pint sized couple.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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We honeymooned in Mexico at the Dreams resort, Puerto Adventuras which was the perfect resort for our family honeymoon. We were lucky enough to travel business class and after the wedding it was time for a lie down.

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(c) Sean Elliott Photography

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My top tips for other Brides Up North would be not to stress about the small details as no one will notice but you.  Pick suppliers that you like you are going to be spending a year planning your wedding with these people and you wanted to be able to enjoy the preparations. 

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Congratulations Rebecca & Philip!

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Want to see your own Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Sean Elliott Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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By Gina is Just Perfect! Launching In The North East This Weekend!

October 6th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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It’s time to get the champagne on ice! Following a small business award from Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis, Brides Up North Featured Supplier Gina of By Gina has has this week opened her doors to her first boutique!

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By Gina with Theo Paphitis

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Gina says: I have dreamed of running a wedding accessory boutique for the past seven years while building up my web-based jewellery business, but I knew I would have to offer something a little bit different in order to survive. Having travelled to Birmingham earlier this year to meet Theo Paphitis as the winner of a #SBS award on Twitter I was inspired by the experience and was even more determined to make my dream a reality.

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By Gina had been successfully displayed in a wedding and event gallery based in Cramlington and I soon recognised what an excellent concept the wedding gallery is. Just Perfect Cramlington was opened in 2010 by Wendy Reed (another Brides Up North Featured Supplier, no less!) with the aim of bringing together a full range of the best regional wedding and special event services under one roof. After realising how popular it was with brides and seeing the potential for expansion, I approached Wendy with the idea of opening a second branch in South Tyneside, and the idea of Just Perfect Washington was born.

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Just Perfect

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Through a wide network of North East companies specialising in all aspects of wedding services Just Perfect offers customers a free no obligation referral service in a stylish, friendly and relaxed environment.

As well as featuring wedding suppliers including a photographer, florist, DJ, singer, candy buffet, event dresser and makeup artist, the Washington branch also stocks my jewellery designs and other UK handmade jewellery from an array of talented designers. In addition the boutique also displays an extensive range of wedding accessories including handmade fascinators, shoes, umbrellas and even wellies!

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Just Perfect

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Just Perfect Washington, situated on Station Road, will be hosting an official launch weekend on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October from 10am – 4pm and will be celebrating with drinks and nibbles throughout the two days.  Public, press and wedding service providers are invited to come along to the gallery at any point over the weekend with the official ribbon cutting taking place at 10am on Saturday.

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The Washington branch is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-6pm, Thursday 11am-7pm and Saturday 9am-5pm and also offers an appointment only system one Sunday per month.

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For more information on the Just Perfect concept visit www.just-perfect-uk.co.uk

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  – Image © 2012 supplied by By Gina

By Gina is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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