July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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July 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime
With the help of her groom, today’s bride Emma pieced together a very pretty vintage wedding by combining handmade decorations, dainty china, cute bunting and beautiful country blooms.
In keeping with the theme, Emma also chose to wear a 1950s three-quarter length Justin Alexander dress, showing brides that hitching up the hemline can work particularly well for certain styled weddings.
As well as taking inspiration from all the pretty, be sure to look out for a special guest at the wedding too – Emma and Jonny’s cute dog Sadie, so cute!
With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography.
emma says: Following a first date on a rainy day at a Duck Race held in Manchester in 2012, plastic ducks have always been a bit of a ‘thing’ for us. I had bought a black plastic duck as a reminder of the first date, and this ended up in our bathroom. In October 2012 Jonny took me away to a lovely little cottage in Somerset that had a hot tub – I had been warned to bring a cozzie, so in I dived! Next thing I know, Jonny is coming towards me with an up-turned duck. He hands it to me in the hot tub and said those magical words…and the rest is history!
Our wedding date was 21st June 2014 and our venue was Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue for a number of reasons – firstly it is so pretty and picturesque. Secondly it is a blank canvas so we could pretty much do whatever we wanted in relation to decorations and the reception. Finally as it is in a country park it is dog friendly – we have a Jack Russell, called Sadie, who is very much a part of our family, so much so that she was involved in the pre-shoot and was present on the big day.
Our wedding style evolved from a love of vintage! Like many couples, we spent the 18 months prior to the wedding sourcing vintage decorations/ china/ games – anything that we could use to make our wedding super special. Flower vases were hand decorated and bunting was handmade along with signs and confetti cones. Anything that we could make – we did!
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such and instead chose to stick loosely to summer garden flower colours. My maid of honour and bridesmaid wore different colours and then on the groom’s side the men wore different coloured shirts and ties. I wanted the colour ‘scheme’ to match our ‘theme’ so it was miss-matched coloured!
In keeping with the vintage 1950s feel, I had a desire for a three-quarter length dress – however it took trying on all styles for me to realise that I truly did want a short dress. Once I got my Justin Alexander dress from Elegance of Scholes on there was no going back – I twirled and twirled like a loon! Dress – found!
I really couldn’t see Jonny in top hat and tails so his suit was handmade by a local suit maker using Yorkshire grey cloth. Chris, the best man, also had a suit made to complement Jonny’s attire.
As we live locally to the venue, the day before the wedding was spent doing up the hall where the reception was to be held. This involved all hands on deck! We had people putting bunting up, making up cake stands and arranging tables. The juke box had arrived so music was playing and the hall was a hive of activity.
The night before the big day the wedding party went out for a curry to our local Indian. I said bye-bye to Jonny as he was spending his last night as a bachelor with his best man. My maid of honour and I went to mine and a bottle of fizz was opened (which I actually struggled to drink). The morning of wedding was actually really chilled. I remember sitting in the back yard with Jan in the sunshine! My hair was done by local hairdresser and my makeup was super natural and done by moi!
Jan and I were transported to the venue in a VW Camper, hired from a local company called VW Wedding Hire. The hitch we had was that the ordinal Camper that I had hired was having mechanical issues so they managed to source me a gorgeous cream VW Camper that was fantastic.
Photography is really important to Jonny and I. This was the one area that we did struggle with. We wanted someone that really ‘got’ us. We wanted this person to really capture the finer details of our day. We came into contact with Olivia Brabbs at a wedding fair we attended (as stall holders). She very kindly took some shots of my stall and through this we realised that we had our woman! Our whole wedding was the polar opposite of a package, as I knew that I didn’t want a package photographer. For example, Olivia didn’t attend the morning of the wedding but met me at the venue instead, which was my choice. We knew what to expect as we had hired Olivia for the pre-shoot and my word the photos of our day were sublime. I truly would recommend her!
My bouquet was a gorgeous work of art – so colourful with seasonal blooms and my favourite yellow roses with quirky textured foliage. My bridesmaid and maid-of-honour both had smaller versions of my bouquet.
Floral decorations were up there on the ‘required’ list. In keeping with the relaxed feel of our wedding we went for ‘hand-picked country garden’ style flowers. The floral display was a mix of supermarket bought and flower shop arranged blooms and the mix worked really well! We chose a local florist David from The Flower Garden in Brighouse, to assist and he really did do us proud! The jam jars looked amazing – and people took these away at the end of the night as a little gift.
To decorate the rest of the venue, Jonny and I collected all the china, deckchairs and decorations for months prior to our special day. Rather than sell our labour of love on, we decided to hire out items to other brides through our company called Vintage Wedding Daze. Our bunting has proved quite popular, so too have the deckchairs, handmade signs and suitcases. We love it when people love our style so much that they want to include it in their big day, and would welcome anyone to get in touch with us!
My mum is a freelance designer and so I allocated the task of designing me some seed packets. She filled them with wild flowers and they went on the tables for everyone as favours.
Our wedding cake was a little different to the norm. I love body products, and there is a local company to us called Yorkshire Soap who do the most amazing bath products. Whilst mooching in their York store I came across their Soap Cakes and that was it, I was sold! We chose a four-tiered cake with scents that meant a lot to us. As bath ducks basically brought us together, I had to have some ducks on top, and came by a bride and groom duck, which worked perfectly! Everyone commented that the Soap Cake was an ingenious ideas and I still get comments to this day!
We knew that the typical sit-down meal wasn’t something we wanted for the wedding breakfast and we wanted to use all the vintage china that we had collected to its maximum, so we went with a vintage-style afternoon tea produced by Dish and Spoon in Manchester. When it was all set out it looked truly stunning, and oh-my-word were the cakes scrummy! The cake stands that Jonny handmade were chock-a-block full of goodies. We hired a couple of waiting-on staff to serve tea and coffee out of china tea pots. It was all so civilised! In the evening we had hog roast provided by The Porkery. I don’t think there was any left – that’s how good it was!
As our venue was in the middle of nowhere we had a bar brought in by a local pub. This was invaluable as it meant that we didn’t have to consider drink for the evening reception, or the any part of the day, for that matter!
To keep our guests entertained, we hired a jukebox from Betterdaze for the whole weekend and put on songs that meant a lot to us. We also asked close friends and family, who were involved with the wedding, for their favourite songs and included them with a dedication, which made it even more personal. For the evening entertainment we had a three part female harmony group called The Memphis Belles, whose style is 40s/ 50s which was in keeping with our whole wedding.
Outdoors we hired hay bales for seating and covered them with British woollen vintage blankets. We also had some vintage style garden games for extra entertainment.
I would have absolutely no doubts in recommending our venue to other couples. At one point me and Jonny even took Sadie on a little walk into the woods (in our wedding gear) the looks we got were priceless! Having the venue for the weekend was fantastic as it made the event more than just one day – it was a weekend event!
Following the wedding we had two honeymoons; a minimoon to Cumbria straight after the wedding and then a longer break in the summer when we toured Scotland, The Highlands and Outer Hebrides.
I was so lucky that Jonny was as involved with the wedding prep as I was. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to divvy jobs out – don’t try to do it all yourself. Have people that you can rely on to help you out. For me it was the small things that got me stressed – but having such a reliable groom helped.
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July 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely personal touches with theming based around the venue and season as well as the couple’s interests.
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition venue Nostell Priory (have you got the date in your diary?) provided the perfect backdrop to Scott and Sarah’s vintage styled wedding with pretty dusky pink touches in the décor, attire and flowers.
Sarah’s bouquet is particularly stunning featuring pale roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, but the element of the wedding that caught my eye most was – surprisingly – the favours. Homemade sloe gin in pretty bottles, which tick boxes for looking good, tasting good and being a personalised and useful (well, sort of) gift. Cheers to that idea!
With images by Chris Chambers Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged when we were having dinner on the beach in Borneo in October 2013. Scott had somehow managed to buy a ring – which fit perfectly – and get it half way across the world without me knowing. We were having a pre-dinner Singapore Sling watching the sunset when he brought out the ring and popped the question!
We were married on 7th February 2015. We love winter but didn’t want the wedding to clash with the shooting season so waited until after February 1st.
We chose Nostell Priory as our venue because we love its Georgian style and the Robert Adam Top Hall is so beautiful. We walk our two cocker spaniels in the grounds quite often so it was nice to get married somewhere which meant something to us and where we will go back again and again. We also liked that Nostell is a bit of a blank canvas so we could have lots a personal touches and really make the day ours.
We wanted to complement Nostell’s lovely Georgian features and so we went for a classic, romantic, vintage-style theme for the big day.
Our colour scheme was dusky pink and ivory as we wanted winter tones but without being Christmassy. The dusky pink also worked well with Nostell’s neutral colours and went beautifully with ivory.
I’m a bit of a stickler for detail so even the confetti had to match the colour scheme. We bought our own mix of pink and white rose and delphinium petals from Shropshire Petals which we put into glassine envelopes for our guests.
I chose a Justin Alexander ball-gown cut, ivory satin dress with chapel length train from Mia Sposa in Huddersfield. Justin Alexander’s designs stood out for me when I was going through wedding magazines and the moment I saw this dress on Pinterest knew it was ‘the one’! Mia Sposa were absolutely amazing – the dress was hard to find but they managed to hunt one down and made sure it fit perfectly.
To complete my attire I also had an ivory marabou feather shrug – I’m not brave enough for bare shoulders in February! We ordered extra dress fabric and the ladies at Mia Sposa made the ties on the shrug so that they would match the dress perfectly.
To finish I wore a chapel-length lace veil from Etsy – I loved it and never wanted to take it off! I kept jewellery simple so that the dress detail wasn’t over powered and chose a beautiful diamante cuff by Debbie Carlisle at Beloved Bridal and wore a vintage cameo ring. Finally, I had a pair of Swarovski stud earrings.
Scott Beswick MUA did makeup on the wedding day and Danielle Wright did the hair for myself, the bridesmaids and my mum. Scott is so much fun as well as being a brilliant makeup artist. Danielle is incredibly talented and created a flawless look. They both made us all feel stunning on the day and finished the look perfectly.
Scott wore a grey three-piece suit with tailcoat from Ashworth & Bird. He had an ivory waistcoat and cravat. He had no intention of wearing tails, having initially thought he would prefer a lounge suit, but the lady in Ashworth & Bird convinced him to try the tails and they were perfect.
I made personalised cufflinks for Scott and the groomsmen; Scott’s had quotes from our readings whilst the groomsmen all had quotes relating to their role/ relationship or details about the day. To complete the look, I bought Scott a personalised pocket watch as his wedding present.
Our bridesmaids wore dusky pink floor-length dresses from House of Fraser and ivory fur shrugs and the groomsmen wore three piece suits to match the grooms, all from Ashworth & Bird. All the groomsmen also had dusky pink cravats.
The pageboys – our 18 month old nephews – wore grey suits with ivory waistcoats and cravats from Roco Clothing.
As transport we hired a 1937 Rolls Royce from Yesteryear Cars. It went perfectly with our vintage style and we loved that it was maroon rather than the usual white wedding car.
Chris of Chris Chambers Photography took our wedding photos. Chris was recommended to us and when we saw his style we knew that’s what we wanted. Not only does he take amazing photos, he is also really friendly and professional. We had an engagement shoot a few weeks ahead of the wedding which was great for getting used to the camera and Chris’s photos were so good we knew we didn’t need to worry about them at all. We would definitely recommend him – all the photos are incredible so it’s really hard choosing them for the album!
On the day I had a loose bouquet with ivory and dusky pink roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, wrapped in a ribbon made from the same fabric as my dress. The bridesmaids all had small versions of my bouquet. They were by BlossEm. Emily there is a fantastic florist; she has so much style and as soon as we met her we knew the flowers would be absolutely amazing. I was completely in love with my bouquet which looked, and smelled, beautiful.
Emily also made little bunches of gypsophila for our hair, instead of hairpieces. The groomsmen had buttonholes made with similar flowers but with small game bird feathers and the page boys had small gypsophila buttonholes.
Bloss Em provided all the flowers for the reception too. We had small bouquets at the ends of the aisles in the Top Hall. For the tables we had candelabras filled with flowers, complemented with game bird feathers – as it got dark the candles gave the room a really warm, romantic feel. The top table was filled with small vases and bottles full of flowers. Emily also made a garland for the balcony, filled with fairy lights. It was breath taking when we walked in and saw how beautiful the room was.
I had seen some lace chair hoods on Pinterest which were perfect for the reception but couldn’t find any UK stockists, so I whipped out the sewing machine and made my own! I also made lace table runners. They really softened the look and added to the vintage feel.
I bought signs and other bits and pieces in the run up to the wedding as and when I saw them to add to the decor. Instead of a guest book we had a white ‘wishing tree’ decorated with wicker hearts. My sister made tags to match the stationery which guests could write their wishes on.
As favours we made sloe gin using sloe berries that we had collected last winter and put it into personalised bottles made by my sister. The little ones had similar bottles filled with pink and white jelly beans, to match the wedding colours.
For our wedding cake we had a magnificent croquembouche (a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls bound with threads of caramel) made by Thierry Dumouchel. It was delicious and definitely had the wow-factor!
We wanted traditional but delicious food and our caterers Dine definitely delivered. Canapés included mini Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Beef and the wedding breakfast was Potted Shrimp, Sirloin Steak and Crème Brulee. We had bacon and sausage sandwiches in the evening, which were just the ticket after a few drinks!
As entertainment we had Silver Strings quartet for the ceremony and reception which complemented the classic styling. They even played the theme from Scott’s favourite movie – Indiana Jones.
In the evening we had a DJ sourced by Dine. We wanted everyone to get up and dance on the evening so we kicked things off with our first dance, Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News (from another classic movie, Back to the Future). The DJ said it was the first time in ten years he has played that as a first dance!
We also had a photobooth, run by Chris Chambers. It was great to see everyone from the toddlers to the nannas embrace their silly side!
To make the day more personal we added in some special touches such as asking our grandmas to sign the register – it was so nice that they could be involved in a special part of the day.
We also named the tables after game birds – another nod to the country sports – and for the table plan I hand-drew a tree filled with the birds. Emily at Bloss Em complemented this with the feathers in the candelabra flowers. My very talented sister made all our beautiful wedding stationery and all our invitations were sealed with a personalised wax stamp – another little vintage touch.
I sewed little trinkets into my dress for ‘old’, ‘blue’ and ‘borrowed’. My old was a tiny horseshoe charm which has been the ‘old’ for my mum and sister’s weddings before mine. My ‘borrowed’ was a pendant which Scott’s Nanna always wore. She passed away a few years ago so it was a way to have her with us on the day. I also had a small blue bow.
We would definitely recommend Nostell Priory to other wedding couples. The whole venue is stunning but especially the Top Hall. Craig at Dine was brilliant, accommodating every little detail and putting up with all my ‘bridezilla’ moments! His attention to detail on the day was second to none and he really did make sure everything was perfect.
After the wedding we had a few days in Oxford before jetting off for a week in Jamaica and a week in Barbados. It was nice to be able to relax together in the sun after spending so many months wedding planning. I think the highlight was swimming with turtles – it was an incredible experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute, from the engagement until the last day of the honeymoon. Oh and, do what you want to do – everyone will love being a part of your day simply because it is yours.
June 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Well what can we say about today’s wedding – it’s just so pretty! From the idyllic Lake District setting to the romantic styling and gorgeous wedding attire, we love it all!
Debra’s choice of a soft pastel palette for the décor, flowers and bridesmaid dresses works perfectly with the spring season and surrounding countryside, making for an incredibly elegant and romantic big day.
Here at Brides Up North we just love to see couples having fun with their wedding photography and so adore the mix of documentary and staged shots from Richard and Debra’s special day (particularly the ones of the maids with the giant balloons – how fabulous are they!)
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Helen Russell Photography.
debra says: We got engaged at Gleneagles on 22nd April 2012. Richard had booked a surprise weekend away. I had no idea! The day we arrived we used the spa and had a bite to eat. Later, we got dressed ready for dinner and took a walk in the grounds. Richard proposed to me by the fountain, and I said yes! It was lovely. When we went back inside we were taken to a reserved table where Richard had arranged for a special bottle of champagne to be waiting for us, then we ate dinner in the restaurant and celebrated with some cocktails afterwards. We enjoyed a very special time at Gleneagles. For me, it was one of the most memorable and happy weekends of my life!
We got married on 25th May 2015. We both liked the idea of getting married in Bowness in The Lake District as it’s a place that we have frequently visited since we started dating almost eight years ago. As we both love spring time we decided on a date in May. Timing it on a bank holiday also allowed our family and friends more time to travel to The Lake District and we thought it would be more relaxing for everyone.
Our chosen wedding venue was Linthwaite House in Bowness-on-Windermere. We chose our venue as it’s located in the area we have been visiting regularly since we met. Linthwaite House is in a truly beautiful setting with stunning views over Lake Windermere and we were fortunate to be able to take over the hotel and exclusively use it for our wedding. Linthwaite House offered everything we were looking for and we felt it was the idyllic, intimate wedding venue for us to enjoy with all of our guests.
We didn’t have a particular theme, although I’d say our wedding style was romantic and elegant. My flowers were made up with a range of different roses in soft pastel shades and featured David Austin roses. Other little details such as the vintage postcards, signage and table plan I made myself with the help of my mam and sister added to the feel of the day. To introduce a bit of sparkle I wore a diamante headpiece and cuff. The bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes also had a hint of sparkle and they each wore diamante slides, earrings and bracelets.
Our colour scheme was made up of soft pastel colours, mainly soft spring greens and pale pinks, purely because I wanted it to look clean, fresh and romantic.
My dress was by Justin Alexander and I purchased it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. I chose the dress because it was elegant and I loved how the fabric felt. It was a fitted ivory duchess satin dress which tailed out slightly at the bottom. I loved that it was plain and featured some subtle diamante details on the shoulders and a scoop back with buttons all the way down the chapel length train. I also wore a plain chapel length veil which I loved. My shoes were by Rainbow and were very plain mid-heeled ivory court shoes. It all felt lovely on and I was very comfortable.
Richard wore a stylish three-piece suit, tie, socks and shoes from Reiss which we purchased in Leeds.
We booked the transport for me to get from Linthwaite House to the church and back through Lakeland Wedding Cars. I ordered an ivory coloured 1947 silver wraith.
Our photographer was the amazing Helen Russell! Richard already knew Helen and she was the first person we contacted regarding photography. We didn’t consider anyone else and I could not recommend Helen highly enough. She is friendly, professional and has a great eye. Helen is without a doubt an excellent photographer and I would assure any couple getting married that she is brilliant at what she does. I had 100 per cent confidence that Helen would capture our wedding day perfectly in the images she’d create, and she did just that.
Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal provided all of the flowers at our wedding and she was great! My four bridesmaids and I carried bouquets. These were made up of soft country pastel peonies, hydrangea and David Austin roses. My flower girl carried a pomander made up of similar flowers. Richard wore a button hole made up of peony, hydrangea plus greenery and the groomsmen wore smaller versions with foliage. The mum’s wore corsages in the same flowers and colours.
Kerry provided eight table arrangements at our wedding reception which were made up with the same type of flowers that I carried in my bouquet. The table arrangements were displayed in glass stands with some flowers overflowing. Kerry also provided a fresh floral display for the newel post in Linthwite House, fresh flowers for the top of our wedding cake and ribbons trails for the church gate. The church florist meanwhile provided soft clean pale coloured fresh flowers inside the church, which were mainly ivory roses.
The decorations at our wedding included wicker hearts which were placed in the entrance to the church and on the pew ends. We had paper pom poms in the trees and floral vintage bunting placed in and around the outside of the venue. I did a little DIY and made the confetti cones, the table plan, the table name cards, tags for the favours and other decorative signage.
The ladies favour was ‘a love nest’ – a set of miniature ceramic love bird salt and pepper shakers presented in a box. The men each had a miniature bottle of spirit and the junior guests had a Cadbury’s Freddo sweet tree and colouring books.
A friend made our delicious three-tier wedding cake which I designed myself using the same lace and ribbon which I used to create our ‘message in a bottle’ vintage themed wedding invitations. We chose three flavours, fruit for the bottom tier, lemon sponge in the middle and chocolate on the top. Delicious!
Canapes were served upon our arrival at the Linthwaite House with celebratory drinks of prosecco. For our wedding breakfast we had pea and smoked Cumbrian ham risotto topped with a crispy hens egg to start, roast sirloin of beef, fondant potato, mushroom duxelle, onion puree in a red wine jus for main and baked lemon tart with raspberries and raspberry sorbet for dessert. To finish the meal we had coffee and petit fours, which included salted caramel, peppermint cream, dark chocolate and pecan nut fudge. On the evening we had hot bacon and sausage baps and the wedding cake was also served during this time.
To provide entertainment we chose a local North East band called The Rattlers, who travelled from Sunderland to play at our wedding. We then had local a DJ in the evening named DJ Travis who was recommended to us by Linthwaite House. We also had a wedding wishing tree and small sweet buffet during the evening reception.
Others suppliers we used that we would recommend are Imelda Lantern, who provided our tea lights for the tables, and Balloons in the Lakes, who supplied some large ivory balloons to be used as photo props. These were excellent!
The entire day was perfect but leaving the church as Mr and Mrs was definitely our favourite part. We thoroughly enjoyed the photography too as it allowed us to spend some precious time on our own and reflect on our special day together.
For our honeymoon we went to California. It was amazing! We travelled to San Francisco and on the first day cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was fantastic. We then hired a car there and drove onto Pebble Beach where Richard played golf. I walked around the course with him as the scenery was so incredibly beautiful. Our next destination was Los Angeles, which is where I found out that we were expecting a baby (Freddie was born on 8th February 2015 weighing 8lb 0.5oz and is just perfect – we are completely besotted with him). After a few days we drove onto San Diego and finished up in Las Vegas. All excellent places and well worth a visit. A very memorable holiday to top off our wedding. It was all a truly magical experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the lead up to your wedding as it is all part and parcel of your special day. Take your time when making your choices and decisions and most of all trust your own judgement. It’s amazing to see everything come together. On the day, relax and take it all in. It’s the most wonderful day of your lives.
balloons in the lakes, bhs, brides up north featured supplier, coast, dessy, helen russell photography, imelda lantern, Jenny Packham, justin alexander, lake district wedding, lakeland wedding cars, linthwaite house hotel, mia sposa, next, rainbow club, reiss, swagger and swoon, the floristry, the rattlers, uk wedding blog
June 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple had their heart set on their chosen wedding venue from the moment they viewed its website – and looking at the images below we can see why.
Meols Hall provided a wonderful rustic setting for Ben and Jen’s romantic big day with its exposed brick walls and large wooden beams tying in perfectly with the couple’s moss-green colour scheme.
To complete the desired look they added natural flower displays and a gorgeous naked wedding cake – rustic romance at its best!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
jen says: We got engaged in May 2012. It was a while back but we’ve never been a couple to rush things: we got together in 2004! Ben arranged a long weekend break to Paris for my 28th birthday. It was not the most original choice, but Ben was going for the double-bluff!
We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, but it wasn’t until the last day when Ben proposed. We went to Sacre Coeur on top of Montmatre (the telescope scene from Amelie, with a sweeping view of Paris). Despite us having been partners for more than seven years, Ben was shaking with nerves, and it ended up being a very emotional moment for both of us. He gave me a platted string ring that turned out to be impossible to put on! Ben knew that I would appreciate a say in the choice of ring so he was waiting until we could go ring shopping together.
We set the date for 28th March 2015. I’m a primary school teacher, so it coincided with the start of the Easter Holidays. We had a hearts set on the venue, and it was one of the very few dates left for 2015 that worked well for me.
Our chosen wedding venue was Meols Hall in Churchtown, Southport. Not far from Wigan, where my family live. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw their website. It is a wonderfully tasteful barn conversion that is more rustic than ostentatious. After we’d seen it, my parents went to visit it, and we were thrilled to hear that it was as beautiful in real life as it was in the website’s pictures.
We had a relatively informal feel to the day. We didn’t want things to be straight-laced and serious. It really helped us – we were as relaxed as we could have been throughout the day.
Our order of service matched the style of our invites. They were both designed by a close friend of ours and featured a collage of fonts and black and white photos of Ben and I. As we both now live in London we also had a London Underground theme on the day. We wanted to bring a bit of the south up north! Our table names were stations in London that have meaning to both of us. The table plan was presented with an old London Underground map. We wrote funny(ish) short blurbs of why we had chosen the stations on the flip side of the table signs, to help break the ice on the tables.
We went with a moss green colour scheme, to complement the rustic venue, but to also go well with my hair.
I wore a beautiful Justin Alexander dress which I bought from Angelica Bridal in London. It was simple, elegant and covered in lace. I absolutely loved it! I added a moss green belt with a lace applique to fit in with the theme which I’m really glad about because I think it made the dress come alive.
On the wedding day Samantha Marshall did my makeup. It was fantastic and made me look glamourous yet natural! I would highly recommend her. Meanwhile, one of my oldest friends, and now professional hair stylist, Nicola Farrell, made my hair look wonderful! She plaited gypsum into the back which fit beautifully with the tasteful flower arrangements at the venue.
Ben didn’t want to hire a morning suit because he wanted something he could be proud of wearing over and over again. He found a tailored-fit three piece dark grey suit from T M Lewin that fit like a glove. He wore a luxury wide-collared plain white dress shirt from M&S and a well-matching moss green tie from Debenhams. The grooms and my dad wore the same suits as Ben.
My bridesmaids wore a moss green dress from Monsoon. They were a bargain and looked amazing!
We hired a London cab to take us to the venue on the wedding day. We didn’t have any money left in the budget to hire a posh car, plus it fitted in with the London theme perfectly!
James Tracey was our wedding photographer. His ethos mirrored our intentions for the day perfectly. The photos on his website were of a very high quality, but what set him apart was the imaginative, playful and natural feel that they had. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He was unobtrusive and a lot of fun to be with throughout the wedding day, and we now have a gallery-worthy selection of photos of our special day to cherish for the rest of our lives.
I had a beautiful and simple bouquet of callow lily, white rose and gypsum. It was provided by a florist that Meols Hall deal exclusively with, called Mary Ambrose who provided flowers for the whole day.
Flowers were all white and mirrored the bouquet: callow lily, rose and gypsum. We were given a wonderful degree of choice for all aspects of the flower decorations, and Mary gave us exactly what we asked for. She was fantastic.
We didn’t give favours out on the day and instead are donating a sum to the National Brain Appeal. This was in appreciation of the work they and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery did for a close friend of ours, who sadly passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
For our wedding cake, we chose a slightly asymmetric naked Victoria sponge. It was based on a photo we had seen on the internet and was baked by All About Cakes in Southport. They recreated it perfectly and it tasted delicious!
Carringtons Catering deal with Meols Hall exclusively, so we chose a hot buffet with them for our wedding meal. We also chose a vegan stew to cater for Ben and a few other vegetarians. Before the meal we had canapés, and being a Wiganer, we had to have pies and peas for the evening celebrations!
When it came to choosing entertainment, we listened to a lot of bands online before stumbling across Toni James. She sounded head and shoulders better than anything else we had heard, so chose her instantly. Although Toni provided us with the option of having a bigger band accompanying her, a pesky sound limiter at the venue meant that we couldn’t really have more than a four-piece. We were anxious about what sound they would be able to make, but they absolutely rocked! They normally play a lot of pop music, but Ben is a big fan of funk and soul. They had enough in their repertoire to make him very happy, and even learnt Erma Franklin’s Piece of My Heart for the evening.
In addition, a friend of mine, Zoe Baldwin, is an opera singer, and she very kindly agreed to sing three arias during the signing of the register. Our guests – and the registrars – all appeared spellbound! It made the ceremony very special indeed.
As extra entertainment, we had little fun activities after the ceremony. There was a Polaroid camera and some old-fashioned fair games, like hoopla and a sweet stall, all made possible by our wonderful friends who created and operated everything.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples! It was a stunning back-drop, with the whole day based in the one location. There was enough space to make it suitable for all weather possibilities. Also, the staff at Meols Hall were friendly, relaxed and professional, and helped the day progress seamlessly.
It is hard to choose to favourite part of the day as we had a few; saying our vows which we wrote ourselves, listening to Zoe sing, and dancing the night away whilst eating a pie! Heaven!
For our honeymoon we went to Marrakech for five days. It was incredible. We stayed in a beautiful, scented and tranquil Riad just a few minutes’ walk of the main market. We took in the sights and sounds, bartered in the souks, ate like kings, pampered ourselves in one of the best spas the city had to offer and caught up on some much needed sleep! Although it flies by, no-one tells you how tiring your wedding day will be.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy yourself. As our photographer said, you get to be a rock star for the day – make the most of it! Also, use your friends and their talents. It made it really special, personal and unique.
We are hugely grateful to everyone who helped make our wedding the magical day that it was. In particular, my parents who gave so much of themselves on the day and the months leading up to it.
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