Charlotte Balbier

fit for a princess. a romantic vintage style wedding at newton hall – amy & mark

May 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (21)

Today’s groom Mark certainly made Amy feel like a princess when he popped the question in front of Cinderella’s Castle in the heart of Disneyland – is there anywhere more magical?

Having put a ring on it, the pair began organising their vintage themed wedding at the stunning Newton Hall. They’d originally planned to wed indoors but at the last minute switched to an outdoor wedding owing to a rather unusual burst of warm British weather. Hurrah!

And the rays kept coming after the big day when Amy and Mark jetted off to the sunny state of California for their honeymoon. Having travelled this area of the US myself I totally understand the couple’s desire to return for more fun in the sun!

With images by Lee Scullion.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (1)

amy says: We got engaged on 12th May 2013 in front of the Cinderella Castle in the Disney Magic Kingdom, Florida. We had been enjoying a lazy Sunday at the Magic Kingdom after a couple of days in Miami. Mark was slowing up near the end of the day as we walked past the wishing well next to the Cinderella Castle. We carried on walking along round the front of the castle and then Mark shouted me back, saying he has something to give me. I shouted “I hope it is some sparkly Minnie Mouse ears”. To my surprise I was presented with a diamond ring and Mark asked me to marry him.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (6)

Our wedding day was on 29th September 2014. We wanted an after summer wedding with the chance of having nice weather and this date fitted perfectly with the time we wanted.

Our chosen venue was Newton Hall, Newton by Sea. We instantly fell in love with the building and all of the gardens. The quirky interior and rooms just felt right and knew it was the place to get married.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (4)

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (5)

Vintage was the style of wedding we went for, choosing decorations and flowers that would fit in with this. It was just something that appealed to myself and mark while discussing and organising the day. In terms of colour we kept the scheme quite neutral.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (7)

My dress was from Mia Sposa Bridal. It was Justin Alexander’s 8641. I fell in love with it when I tried it on. I knew it was the dress.

Mark wore a brown speckled suit which was from ASOS with a fitted white shirt, brown bow tie, braces, navy and camouflage Ask The Missus shoes, handmade bird skull cufflinks from California and a handmade deer head flower pin from also from California.

The bridesmaids wore dresses from Debenhams, they were a vintage rose pink in colour. The younger bridesmaids wore full length and the older ones wore a shorter length dress.

The groomsmen wore matching brown speckled trousers with white shirts and skinny ties and vintage brown brogues, all from ASOS.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (8)

Lee Scullion was our photographer and we would highly recommend him. He made us feel totally relaxed and went about his business. He was great fun and felt more of a guest at our day than a photographer doing their job. The photos we have are amazing and we could not have asked for more from Lee. He is special.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (11)

I carried a large vintage style bouquet which was made up vintage coloured roses.The bridesmaids all carried smaller versions of my vintage bouquet which were provided by The Finishing Touch Company.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (12)

To decorate we had a selection of roses in various shades to give a vintage feel. These were displayed in bottles and jars on the tables and hanging jars on the chairs with lace bows. We had centrepieces made of books, jars, bottles and roses.

The top table had a hessian runner and flowers displayed along the front of table in jars and milk bottles. The Finishing Touch Company provided and set up the decoration and flowers.A ‘true love’ banner was also displayed which was given to us by Poptastic as a gift for us to use on the day.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (13)

I had brought vintage suitcases to be used for the cards and gifts to be deposited in. I also created my own seating plan display using a vintage case, twine, pegs and pearls.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (17)

The favours for the younger guests were jars of sweets with vintage cloth and twine as decoration. These were all made by me.The older guests received a jar of chutney which was handmade by The Master Cakesmith. These also had been decorated with vintage cloth and twine.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (19)

We chose a single tier cake which was vanilla cream and jam. It was finished with butter cream and decorated with twine, hessian and mini ‘Mr & Mrs’ bunting.We also had individual cupcakes for every guest, the fillings were cookies and cream, millionaire shortbread, salted caramel and vanilla strawberry. Again these were provided by The Master Cakesmith.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (20)

After the ceremony the ladies were provided with a strawberry and ginger mojito, the men were provided with a beer from a local brewery. Non-drinkers were provided with a mocktail.Canapés of Thai fish cakes, cheese frittatas with tomato chutney and smoked chicken and mustard tarts, were also served.

For the main meal we had a hot fork buffet which we chose as it gave the wedding a more relaxed feel with guests being up and about mingling with each other, rather than the usual ‘sit at table and don’t move till it is over’ type affair.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (25)

We hired a DJ through AMV Live Music for the evening entertainment so that a good variation of music would be played and enjoyed by all during the reception.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (34)

The most special thing about our wedding day was the weather – it was bright sunshine and red hot. At the last minute we decided on an outdoor wedding which made the day. It was lovely to be outside.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (36)

Other special touches that we added to the day ourselves was a popcorn machine, large sweet table selection in glass jars on handmade wooden boxes from reclaimed wood. Surprise gifts for the bridesmaids and the best man were also special and we gave them some careful thought. The Wild Bunch supplied the bouquets which were given to the mothers and grans of the wedding party.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (40)

We also supplied our own prop box and Polaroid cameras for guests to use on the evening.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (42)

We would definitely recommend Newton Hall to other couples. The venue is spectacular and the staff are fantastic, they will do anything you ask of them through the day and into the evening. John the MC is a fantastic man who really made the day great and flow. Everything about Newton Hall as a venue is just amazing. When we first visited the venue it was pouring with rain and the place still looked spectacular, it will be a great choice of venue no matter what time of year.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (44)

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite part of the day, the whole day was special. Getting to spend it with all of our family and closest friends in a fantastic venue with gorgeous weather was great.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (46)

For our honeymoon we travelled to Las Vegas for three nights and then toured California by road. We visited San Diego, Hollywood, Marina Del Ray, Venice, Santa Monica, Valencia, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Cambria, San Francisco, Oakland and then made our way back to Las Vegas for three more nights before flying home.

It was a trip of a lifetime and we saw some unbelievable sights while making our way between destinations, from the street performers in the Gaslamp District to the elephant seals just outside of Cambria. There was just so much to see and do and we felt as if we did not even scratched the surface. We would love to return in future and see more of what California has offer.

an outdoor wedding at Newton Hall (c) Lee Scullion Photography (50)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to take a minute, relax and take it all in as it goes so fast.

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best dressed. supplier showcase: elegance of scholes

April 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Elegance Of Scholes (1)

Well, Brides Up North, last weekend’s events at Dine’s Allerton Castle and The Alnwick Garden were just magical! What an EPIC end to another amazing season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions… stellar turnouts and I swear our exhibitors just get more talented and creative! Thanks to everyone – brides, grooms, our suppliers and our stunning venues – for their support and brilliance. We love you.

One fabulous supplier who we all got to know a little better this season was the lovely Cat of Brides Up North Sponsor boutique, elegance of scholes.  Today, she opens the doors of her beautiful bridal shop for us to take a closer peek.

Oh and FYI: we’re already planning an autumn season of events to knock your socks off..! Stay tuned.

Elegance Of Scholes (2)

When did Elegance Of Scholes open and what is your background?

cat says: Elegance opened around six years ago, but I bought it last August after deciding to embark on a bit of a lifestyle change! Prior to owning Elegance I was a full-time Corporate Event Manager, and I also had my own Wedding Venue Décor business. Both of these have set me up well with a lot of the skills needed to run my own business, and having worked in the wedding industry for a number of years I understand how brides feel and what they go through… and it’s lovely to be able to help them out with such a huge, special and important part of the journey!

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Which wedding gown designers do you stock?

We stock Justin Alexander, Ellis Bridal and Mark Lesley. All three labels complement each other really well and we have a great selection of silhouettes and fabrics to suit all tastes.

What bridal accessories labels do you stock?

We stock tiaras and veils by Richard Designs, veils by Nieve Couture and Joyce Jackson, and tiaras/ jewellery by Blossom. We update our selection of bridal accessories on a regular basis so it’s worth keeping an eye out until we have your perfect piece! We also have a small selection of shoes by Rainbow, and are looking to expand this collection in the near future.

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What makes you different?

We are a luxury boutique with an extremely high level of service. People are always taken by surprise by the size of the boutique once they enter (we get a lot of ‘wow!’ comments!), and we have two spacious private fitting rooms at the rear of the boutique so guests can relax and enjoy their experience in comfort and privacy. We also have an in-house seamstress so all alterations are carried out on the premises, meaning the dress stays with us until your big day.

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Where are you located?

We are located in a small village called Scholes, which is close to Cleckheaton. Exit the M62 at J26 (Chain Barr roundabout), and we’re a couple of miles from there.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our gowns range from about £900-£1800, although we do also have a sale room for brides on a slightly lower budget.

Elegance Of Scholes (5)

Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

We do tend to run on an appointment basis, purely so that we can guarantee the bride our undivided attention. Our first bridal appointments tend to be around an hour long, and we would always start with an initial chat about a bride’s ideas/wedding/preferred dress styles. From there we let the bride (and any accompanying people!) browse the dresses and pull out those they want to try on. The appointment then evolves as we eliminate certain dresses from the running/ narrow the selection down to THE dress. Quite often we add in our own opinion of dresses that girls might like to try… with surprising results! It’s amazing how many girls come in with an idea of their perfect dress, and leave with something completely different!

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What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?

I have two current favourites (although it was pretty hard limiting myself to just two!)– Justin Alexander 8762 for the perfect princess ball-gown, and Ellis 11368, which is an absolutely stunning dress with lace sleeves and an amazing keyhole back… on the right figure it’s a definite show-stopper!

Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment? What trends do you see being popular this year?

Lace continues to be popular, with the fitted mermaid-style being a particular favourite. We’re also seeing a move towards much more brides wanting sleeves or straps over strapless gowns, and the ‘feature back’ is also becoming more and more popular. As we were told when buying our new collections – “the back is the new front”… and it appears to be true!

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How does Elegance Of Scholes provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

We pride ourselves on our relaxed and friendly service, and certainly are not pushy sales-people. Our priority first and foremost is making girls feel comfortable and happy in their search for their dress. There’s nothing nicer than the look on a girl’s face when they look in the mirror and see themselves as a ‘Bride’ for the first time, and it’s a privilege to us that we get to be the ones to put that look on their faces! We feel that we are definitely doing something right, as the majority of our appointments come from recommendations from past brides who have had the ‘Elegance Experience’ – and the comments, reviews and photos we receive after the big day are testament to this, and lovely for us to receive!

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Do you stock bridesmaid dresses?

Yes – we stock Kelsey Rose and Mark Lesley bridesmaid dresses, as well as flower girl’s dresses. Soft tulle seems to be the fabric of choice in bridesmaids this season (a lot of the new Kelsey Rose collection comes in this fabric), although chiffon is still (and I believe will remain) a very popular option. We continue to see dusky pink and pastels as key colour choices, but we have ensured we have a wide range of colours in stock to suit as many people as possible. Our bridesmaid dresses range in price from approx. £180-£280, and our flower girl dresses (from ages 6 months to 9/10 years) are approx. £69.

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Who would be an Elegance bride?

Elegance brides tend to be people that want to enjoy their experience in a relaxed and friendly setting, and who appreciate the quality behind a true designer gown such as the ones we stock. The purchase of a bridal gown doesn’t stop with just that one transaction, and with alterations and so on, we can see a bride many times in the run-up to her wedding. For this reason, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our brides and its always a proud moment when we see them for their final fitting right before their wedding, knowing that we’ve done everything in our power to make their dress perfect for them.

Whilst not wanting to limit ourselves to a particular ‘type’ of bride, our dresses do fall into a certain price bracket so when someone comes in with a £300-£500 budget, the only way we would be able to help out is by directing them to the dresses in our sale room (which are also stunning, but are often discontinued dresses, or ex-samples that we need to sell in order to make way for new collections).

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Are you married? 

I’m not yet married… but engaged and getting married on June 4th 2016! Everyone is always surprised to hear that I’m the owner of a Bridal Boutique and have never tried on a wedding dress in my life. Before being engaged I didn’t want to jinx it until it was my turn, and now that I am engaged I keep putting it off! Having fitted dresses to so many different people however, I have an idea of the style that will suit my figure so will be limiting myself slightly in that regard (although I can’t say what that style is, in case my fiancé reads this interview!) – and I change my mind every couple of days on my favourite dresses as I see girls trying on the different samples, so who knows which will be my final choice?!

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you?

Our website is, you can like us on Facebook, email Cat and the team at or call us on 01274 876659.

Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?

As well as stocking our beautiful designer gowns, our in-house seamstress (another Cat!) designs and makes bespoke bridal gowns… so if you’re struggling to find that perfect dress but have an idea of what you’re looking for, Cat will be able to make it for you. We also offer a dry-clean and box service, so you can keep your gown for years to come and re-live those memories as often as you like!

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all together now. justin alexander for an intimate wedding in the lakes – mikki & mark

April 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (36)

Today on the wedding blog we’re heading to one of my favourite parts of the country to relive Mikki and Mark’s wonderful big day.

This stylish couple hired an entire venue in the Lake District for their intimate celebration that brimmed with elegance, class and romance.

I especially love that Mikki and Mark chose to have one big banqueting table for their wedding meal to make it more like a relaxed family affair than a formal occasion.

Oh, and can we all just take a minute to admire those fabulous flowers. Just lovely.

With images from Chapter Photography and videography by Love Gets Sweeter.

Mikki and Marks Wedding Highlights from Love Gets Sweeter on Vimeo.

mikki says: We got engaged on 2nd October 2013 when we were on holiday in Menorca (which is our special place to relax). After a beautiful day lying on the beach having a picnic we went for a meal in a seafood restaurant at the top of a hill. We had the whole place to ourselves and Mark proposed in between courses. I couldn’t believe it, I was so overwhelmed. Obviously I said yes straight away.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (5)

We chose the 6th December for our wedding. I absolutely love winter and I thought it would be such a magical time for a wedding. I loved the thought of lots of candles and romantic lighting and what better time of year for that!

We got married at Broadoaks Country House in Windermere, Lake District. We love the lakes so much and it’s always a place we like to go. When we went to view the venue we knew straight away it was the one. It was perfect for the intimate wedding we were after. We hired the whole place which meant the whole wedding party could stay over.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (17)

We wanted the day to feel warm and welcoming. We didn’t have a theme as such but I wanted it to be romantic. The style was very romantic and our flowers were ivory and blush roses with gypsophila free flowing around the table surrounded by lots of candles. As we wanted an intimate setting we decided to have a banquet table so everyone was sat together.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (14)

Our colour scheme was navy, grey and blush. We picked it because it was quite a wintery combination and the blush just added a girly and warm touch.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (16)

My dress was from 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton and the designer was Justin Alexander. It was a lovely lace mermaid gown that has a bateau neckline. It came with a detachable train with matching appliques which Helen from 7th Heaven turned into a veil for me.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (20)

Mark wore a navy three piece lounge which was from Marks & Spencer and the groomsmen wore navy suits too to tie in with him.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (24)

Our bridesmaids wore navy dresses with navy lace which were from Warehouse and our flower girl’s dress was from Tesco.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (30)

On the morning of the wedding I got ready at the Macdonald hotel in Windermere along with my bridesmaids. When it was time to go to the wedding venue my father-in-law drove me and my dad in his car. It was a nice touch to begin the day. My sister-in-law’s husband drove the bridesmaids.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (38)

Our photographers are very good friends of ours, Evie and Jamie Wroe from Chapter Photography. It was the obvious choice for us, their work is amazing and they make you feel so relaxed and comfortable.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (41)

My flowers were a mix of ivory and blush roses with gypsophila running through by Red Floral Architecture – again, an obvious choice for us as I love their work so much.

Red Floral Architecture also did out the whole wedding venue with flowers and decorations. We had a banquet table which was full of roses and gypsophila and lots of floating candles. It was such a stunning table, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (44)

Some of our friends call us M&M (Mark & Mikki) so we thought it would be funny to actually get personalised M&M chocolates for our favours. We also has a mini Laurent Perrier Champagne for everyone.

Caroline of Caroline’s Cake Company did our cake. We couldn’t decide which flavour to have as they all tasted so good. In the end we had three flavours: ginger, lemon and chocolate. We had lots of cupcakes and a traditional top tier.

As a little extra we had a sweet table go alongside the wedding cupcakes and instead of a guest book we had a signing frame. Next to these we had pictures of our parents from the day they got married.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (51)

In the evening we hired a DJ for our entertainment. We also wanted to add a little something different to the evening so we went with a cartoonist called Robin Grenville-Evans to draw all of our guests. This went down really well as everyone had something to remember the wedding by.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (50)

We would absolutely recommend our venue to anyone who wants a magical romantic feel to their wedding. It’s great for small wedding parties like ours as you can hire the whole place. It’s like having your own private house. I also would recommend all of our suppliers as they were all so, so helpful. My hair piece was custom made from Ann McKavney Eleventh Heaven, Love Gets Sweeter did our videography, Flossy and Leigh did our hair and makeup andSteve Lewis was our DJ.

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (53)

The day was so perfect I don’t think I could actually pick one part that was my favourite. Obviously marrying my best friend was a pretty special part!

an elegant wedding in the Lake District (c) Chapter Photography (54)

We haven’t had our main honeymoon yet, we are going to Dubai and the Maldives in May. We had a minimoon the day after the wedding. We went to Loch Lomond in Scotland for three nights. It was just a complete chill out, we went to the spa and ate lots of lovely food. It was a great time just to sit back and relax after all the planning. It is a special place to us as it’s the first place Mark ever took me when we were dating, so we thought it perfect to be the first place we go as a newly married couple.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be something that a lot of people told me to do – take a minute to look around at everything on the day and take it all in. It’s surprising what you don’t see because you’re on such a high! This really was a great tip. Also take time out, just five minutes or so with your husband, again to take it all in. The day really does go so fast, I didn’t want it to end!

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look book: a cut above

April 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Hayley Paige HP6450

Hayley Paige - HP6450

If we said cut-out wedding dress to you there’s a good chance horrifying thoughts of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding would spring to mind. But fear not, the type of dresses we’re referring to in today’s look book post are oh-so-elegant designs that reveal just the right amount of flesh and are set to be one of the biggest bridal trends on the 2015 catwalks.

We’ve witnessed cut-out detailing on in the fashion world over the past year or so, and while some designs brought out the inner-Jordan (cue the revealing bodycon) others demonstrate how baring just a little skin can be both sexy & sophisticated.

Reem Acra (2)

Reem Acra

In bridal wear designers are using cut-out detailing in numerous different ways to create dresses with graceful peek-a-boo charm. This means brides can choose which part of their figure they wish to flaunt – whether it be their chest, shoulders or midriff.

Hayley Paige HP6513

Hayley Paige - HP6513

Dresses with keyhole detailing in the back have been popular for a while now though designers appear to be getting bolder with their creations by cutting away more fabric than before. Some have also chosen to lower the keyhole from the shoulder blade area down to the lower back, which is considered a more flirtatious area of the body to reveal. Braver still, designers such as Hayley Paige offer gowns that border on being completely backless. Pretty detailing in floral corsages and intricate embellishing ensure that such dresses remain tasteful rather than tarty.

Keyhole detailing has also crept around to the front of some dress designs to reveal a little of the chest area, or even a glimpse of cleavage. These designs suit small framed brides beautifully but perhaps larger-busted ladies should give them a swerve so not to shock their vicar.

Claire Pettibone Adagio

Claire Pettibone - Adagio

Elsewhere designers are using cut-out detailing by getting creative with straps for a high fashion look. Again, Hayley Paige offers some head-turning examples within her collections – HP6450 and HP6513 being standout designs.

Hayley Paige HP6463

Hayley Paige - HP6463

For body confident brides there are some incredibly striking gowns with cut out detailing in the bodice of the dress which expose areas of the waist, hips and stomach. Reem Acra and Badgley Mischka are particularly talented at producing such dresses.

The level of exposure varies from small slits or triangles in the side of the dress, which can help accentuate a bride’s curves, to fuller areas of the torso being revealed, which might require a fair few pre-wedding-day planks to pull off.

Claire Pettibone Rachel 9back)

Claire Pettibone - Rachel

If you like the idea of flashing a your midriff but don’t want to strip back to the bare skin, there are designs that use pretty sheer fabrics to create an illusion cut away for that extra bit of coverage. Those that would prefer to keep the cut-out detailing at the top of the dress can also take advantage of effective illusion designs adorned with pretty embellishing for that extra wow factor.

Reem Acra

Reem Acra

Read on for more gowns in our Gallery…

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love is all around. a week-long wedding in the lake district – leigh and ben

March 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (34)

In the latest instalment of our wedding alphabet on the blog we wrote about love and urged brides-to-be to remember the real reason they’re tying the knot when in the midst of the planning pressure.

Today’s couple are a great example of how couples can enjoy the tasks that come with organising a wedding whilst also truly reflecting their love for one another, and those closest to them, on the big day itself.

Leigh and Ben (and Leigh’s mum) certainly made the most of the wedding planning with numerous fun days out to piece together their perfect wedding in the Lake District. The celebrations then featured special gifts, personalised vows and surprise readings to make for one incredibly loved-up big day.

Can you feel the love?

With images by Dave Greaves Photography.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (3)

leigh says: We got engaged in the Lake District. After a gorgeous walk along Lake Windermere and a picnic Ben pulled out 12 gerbera flowers, each with a brown parcel tag attached and on them was each month we’d been together and a special memory from that month. Of course, by now, the butterflies had started fluttering about in my stomach, wondering what all this effort was for! Ben asked me to go and stand by the lake for a photo, and as we’d been setting the camera up with the tripod all week, I thought nothing of it so went to stand with my toes in the lake – turned around and there he was on one knee with my ring in a beautiful glass box filled with rose petals. Needless to say I cried and Ben got the whole thing on film.

We chose to set the date for 16th August 2014, at 2pm, because it was the exact time and date that Ben proposed the year before. Allowing a year gave us just the right amount of time to plan and organise everything that we wanted without having to wait too long!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (4)

Since I was little, the Lake District has always had a special place in my heart and Silverholme was everything we could have wanted and more in a venue. It was our home for the week of the wedding and could not have been more perfect: immaculate and intricate detail and décor, breath-taking views, right on the lake, gorgeous grounds and most of all, enough rooms and space to accommodate all of our family and bridal party members. It allowed us to enjoy the set up over a few days and dine together, and most certainly laugh together! There are some very amusing photos somewhere of my brother pretending to set up the whole wedding singlehandedly!

We wanted a wedding that would be us, and represent us as a couple. With that in mind, we didn’t necessarily go for a theme of sorts, just classic, elegant and natural. There were a few items to tie it to the Lake District running through that were made from maps. My mother and I made 50 gift bags and confetti cones out of old maps, which took what seemed like forever but we just loved the time together!

I’ve always been a pink girl at heart, so we decided on dusky pink and grey as our colour theme. I originally wanted the bridesmaids in the pink, but we just couldn’t find anything in the exact colour we wanted, unless we were going to pay extortionate amounts so in the end we accented everything with the pink, but the bridesmaids wore grey, like the groomsmen. These colours were also reflected in our invites, which Ben and I designed together, and then he and his mother sat for a few hours, meticulously making sure all corners and edges were perpendicular and equal distances from each other as they made them.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (2)

My dress was actually my second dress! In my ‘I’m-newly-engaged-and-so-excited-to-be-married-I-want-a-dress-now!’ state, we went to a factory retail store where I could try on loads of dresses. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t need the whole bridal boutique experience, and was just so eager to get a dress, I ended up buying a princess style dress with huge tulle skirt and feathers on the bust. It was lovely but by Christmas I’d decided I hated it! So, my parents, who have the most patience in the world came with me for a whole day of five boutique appointments back to back. Thankfully after trying on every single style imaginable I had an idea of what I wanted. Lots of internet browsing, a few emails later and I walked into Adele Louise Bridal, tried on a sample of the dress I’d tracked down as perfect and wow! It could not have fitted more perfectly, or looked more ‘me’. It was the 8659 design by Justin Alexander. Adele looked after me very well, and I loved the bridal boutique experience so much!

I bought a gorgeous pair of dusky pink diamante shoes from Black Sand by Dune. They glistened every time they caught the light. I didn’t want my jewellery to detract from the dress so I found a simple diamond and pearl drop earring and necklace set in Cupitt jewellers, in Bromsgrove. My parents got me a delicate pearl bracelet for Christmas, to match.

The final piece I bought was my hairpiece. I had seen one similar, but anyone that knows me well will understand why I had a hard time coming to terms with paying more for a giant hair clip than for a pair of KG’s! Luckily for me, a friend of mine, Melonie Jane, is a jewellery maker and made me my own version for a fraction of the price! It was so lovely to know that it was a one off and tied in with the whole outfit so perfectly.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (21)

All of the above was classed as my ‘Something New’; my ‘Something Old’ was my Nan’s brooch, which was incorporated into my bouquet to make her a part of the day; my ‘Something Borrowed’ was my other Nan’s brooch, also attached to my bouquet; and my ‘Something Blue’ was my garter.

My hair was exactly what I wanted, and was created by Katie, at First Class Hair and Beauty. My make up was done perfectly by Aimee Chorley.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (24)

Ben wears a suit for work every single day, therefore he wanted something different for the wedding that would make him feel special. We had two choices – the country style tweed look, or the top hat and tails get up. Nothing about the tweed went with anything we had set our hearts on, and wasn’t really Ben at all. He had his heart set on tails from the start and, after scouring a few wedding fayres, we found his perfect suit, which he hired from 1860. I safely steered him away from the idea of a top hat. Little did I know though that on the day Ben had chosen to wear a little something else under his suit, which he and the other groomsmen revealed in an excellent photo. Each one of them ripped open their shirts to reveal a superhero T-shirt, then set about different poses that had every guest, and me, in absolute stitches!

The groomsmen all had matching suits from 1860, separating them apart from Ben with the colour of their waistcoats.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (27)

My best friend Heather, sister-in-law-to-be Jenna, and sister-in-law-on-the-day Lou, were my gorgeous bridesmaids. We had a really fun day out trying dresses on together, and eventually, after some more online searching, came to the floor length grey designs from House Of Fraser. They looked gorgeous in them. We teamed them with some heels from Dune. On the morning of the wedding I gave them all a gift box to say thank you and inside there was: a Fossil purse (each individualised to their taste), a photo from the hen do in a frame, a pair of grey pearl earrings, a grey pearl necklace that I had made for each of them, a pink pashmina, in case they got cold and a pair of pretty flat sandals too, for when their feet got tired.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (32)

Dave Greaves was our amazing photographer. We first met him for our engagement shoot just outside of Lakeside, he put us at ease and produced some beautiful, natural photos of the two of us just being us. Every single bit of contact was responded to swiftly and he was extremely accommodating in capturing the types of shots we asked for. As for the photos of the day itself, they tell the story of the day so perfectly. From the silliness and giddiness of the bridal suite, the tears and laughter of the ceremony, the stunning couple shots and the fun of the first dances. We cannot recommend Dave highly enough.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (31)

I’m not a fan of flowers at all. That said, my parents are florists and own Danckert’s Florist (maybe I just grew up around so many flowers that I didn’t learn to appreciate them). So originally I wasn’t going to have flowers at all, but one day, when scrolling through my daily dose of wedding blogs, I fell in love with a very whimsical, unstructured bouquet that had trailing ivory and millet hanging gracefully down that I spotted on Brides Up North. I sent a picture to my Mom, who then mocked up my perfect bouquet, incorporating raspberry roses and gerberas into the mix. Simple, elegant and slightly whimsical – me to a tee! The centrepiece decorations were designed around large, silver candlesticks and matched my bouquet perfectly.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (37)

Whenever we visit The Lakes, we always make a trip into Hawkshead to visit Hawkshead Relish. Their jams and chutneys are delicious so we bought mini jams and chutneys as favours and attached a little tag with a poem on it.We put them in the bags that Mom and I had squirrelled away over and attached a photo of each guest as a child in a little frame to the top. When everyone arrived at the meal, there wasn’t a seating plan, just a case of finding their childhood memory and sitting down. So many guests said they loved the idea!Also in the bags were Help For Heroes key rings. Ben’s brother is part of the army and had recently completed a tour in Afghanistan where we all worried about him non-stop, so we thought it fitting to donate the money to a cause close to our hearts.

As neither of us are cake fans, we decided not to have one! Instead, we had a cheese tower that my Mom sourced from Ansteys Cheese. We had layers of Brie, Wensleydale and Cranberry, Cheddar, Stilton, and Garlic Roule, which my mom entwined with roses and ivy, served with some quirky crackers, biscuits and Hawkshead Relish chutneys.

For something sweet I went to Chesters By the River, where Ben had our proposal lunch from, and picked up a selection of their sweet things then chopped them into smaller pieces and set them out on slate platters. Ben’s sister, and my bridesmaid, Lou, who is an amazing baker, also made us a selection of delicious cupcakes.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (40)

On our first trip to The Lakes as a couple, we went with my parents to The Brown Horse at Winster, where they’ve been going for food for many years. We decided we wanted to give our nearest and dearest a proper Lake District experience and take them to a traditional pub for our food for the day. At 5pm we all boarded a coach at the top of the drive and had a scenic trip over to Winster, where the staff were absolutely amazing. The food was out of this world amazing. We then made our way back to the coach for the return journey, which was slightly more alcohol fuelled than the first leg.

Rustic Roast Kitchen, my best friend Heather’s company, provided our canapés. She and the ever so helpful bridesmaids helped to prepare it all on the morning; they were absolutely delicious, and there was not a single morsel left in sight! We also put on a free bar, provided by Bar Thirty Two, for all of our guests.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (39)

We love a night out at The Jam House, Birmingham. Dino Baptiste plays there regularly, and whips the crowds up into a right frenzy with his eclectic style and well-chosen repertoire of songs. We booked him pretty much straight away. With only having a small room and a small amount of people, we didn’t want a full band, and Dino and his drummer, Matt Tovey, did a sterling job. We were dancing all night long. During the break, my Dad dropped out that we are an acoustic duo and they even let me sing an impromptu song for Ben!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (41)

We organised a few special touches and gifts for our nearest and dearest to thank them for their support. As well as the gifts for the bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding I’d laid out matching outfits for the girls and both mothers outside all of their rooms – PJ bottoms, a white vest top and a hoodie with their names in diamantes on the back. I had also hung everyone’s outfits up on their own pretty, personalised hangers that I got from my own company, LoveLeigh Designs. I sent the groomsmen gifts of superhero socks and attached each guy’s favourite alcohol miniature to them.

Ben sent me over a gift – a beautiful pearl earring and necklace set and card. The words had me in floods of tears – good job it was pre-make up! I also sent him a gift – a leather overnight bag that he could keep and use forever. We bought special thank you gifts for our parents too.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (44)

I’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. If you want a wedding based around family, where everyone can be together in drop dead gorgeous surroundings, relax in luxury and plan your day your way, then Silverholme is the right choice.

It’s so hard to pinpoint one favourite part of the wedding day! I can tell you that we made the most of every single opportunity to celebrate the occasion – my mom and I had so many days out, lunches, and so on together. The family time the planning created was magical. Ben and I did every ounce of planning together, all decisions were the both of us, and we made some great days out together because of it too – every part of the lead up was exciting and full of fun.

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (54)

The day after the wedding we met everyone still staying in the area for a ‘dip’ in the lake then went to Go Ape. We finished the night off with a barbecue and opening of our cards and gifts. Perfect end to a perfect week.

We had a one night mini-moon in a gorgeously quirky favourite Lakeland place of mine called Randy Pike where Andy and Chrissy looked after us like family. Our official honeymoon will be in Chicago to go and visit my godparents who couldn’t make it to the wedding – we have yet to organise it!

a wedding in the Lake District (c) Dave Greaves Photography (55)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is enjoy and savour every moment of everything. From the planning to the saying thank you at the end. Do things together and acknowledge each other’s differences in opinion and see how you can combine both ideas to come together with something even better – it all works out in the end. Stay true to ‘your day, your way,’ and it will be.

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