Charlotte Balbier

true chemistry. a fairy-tale wedding in durham city – michelle & anthony

April 3rd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Fairy Tale Wedding In Durham (c) Teardrop Photography (37)

Today, we’re escaping to beautiful Durham City for a vintage inspired wedding that celebrates all those wonderful bridal traditions we often find ourselves daydreaming about.

The couple – Michelle and Anthony – created a special day brimming with understated elegance – we’re talking an ivory and sage green palette, 1920s cars, beautifully decorated candelabras and exquisite floral arrangements. Just look at the bride’s pretty gown and we promise you’ll be swept away by their captivating fairy-tale theme.

With images by Teardrop Photography

A Fairy Tale Wedding In Durham (c) Teardrop Photography (26)

michelle says: After five years together, we got engaged on 15th July 2015, in Santa Ponsa, Spain. We went for a posh meal at a cliff-side restaurant followed by a stroll along the beach. The sun was just beginning to set and I remember thinking to myself how romantic it was – we stopped to admire the view and when I turned around Anthony was down on one knee asking me to marry him…and, of course, I said yes! Anthony had picked the most beautiful engagement ring with the help from the staff at ROX Newcastle.

Our special day was Saturday 27th August 2016. We wanted a summer wedding and it fell perfectly on the Bank Holiday weekend. We were very fortunate with the weather as the sun kept shining all day long!

We were married at St. Patrick’s RC Church, Langley Moor. I had always dreamt of being married in church and this church has a special meaning to Anthony as he went to the neighbouring catholic school. The church was breathtakingly beautiful without the need for accessories and decoration.

A Fairy Tale Wedding In Durham (c) Teardrop Photography (51)

Our wedding breakfast through to evening reception was at St. Mary’s College in the heart of Durham city. This venue is primarily used for Durham University students and we had to seek permission to hold our wedding at this prestigious building with its ornate great hall and lavish landscaped grounds. My grandad was a Professor of Chemistry at the University and his ongoing involvement enabled us to be granted approval.

Our wedding day embraced fairy-tale romantic elegance, which included many bridal traditions. Anthony and I had the wedding rehearsal a few days before the big day then did not see each other until my dad walked me down the aisle on our magical day to the traditional Bridal March played by our organist. I incorporated the “something old, something new…” tradition as I wore my mam’s blue garter (which she wore on her wedding day 27 years ago) along with wearing a matching earring and necklace set which I borrowed from my mother-in-law. We also greeted each and every guest by doing a “line up” which gave our reception a personal feel and took the time to welcome and thank all our loved ones for sharing our special day with us. Another tradition I embraced was that my cousin Emma, who was also one of my bridesmaids, wore my engagement ring until after our ceremony – and not forgetting Anthony carrying me over the threshold of our new home the following day!

A Fairy Tale Wedding In Durham (c) Teardrop Photography (28)

Our wedding colour scheme was a mixture of sage green with ivory, we opted for very natural colours which matched perfectly with the foliage and flowers we used to decorate most of the venue.

A Fairy Tale Wedding In Durham (c) Teardrop Photography (29)

When I first started looking at wedding dresses, I had a completely different style of what I would like in mind. I originally wanted lots of lace with sleeves – completely different to the wedding dress I chose in the end! As soon as I tried on my fairy-tale princess style gown, with my full-length veil and tiara, I fell in love with it and knew instantly it was ‘the one’. This was then confirmed as I walked out of the fitting room and my mum and mother-in-law were in tears! It was such an emotional experience and I think all brides will agree this is one of the most special moments of the whole wedding process.

I got my wedding dress from Alice Elizabeth, a local boutique bridal shop in Coxhoe. The owner and dress maker Heather, and bridal consultant, Anne-Marie were truly amazing from the moment I walked through the door to find my dress, even to the moment I was just about to walk down the aisle! Heather surprised me and was waiting outside the church on my special day to give me a good luck hug and ensured my dress and veil was looking incredible! I was blown away by this touching moment! I couldn’t recommend Alice Elizabeth enough – they transformed my dream dress into a reality and I will be forever grateful to them both.

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magic in the air. diane legrand for an elegant fairy-tale wedding at peckforton castle – charlotte & tom

February 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Luxury Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c)Agam Riley Photography (41)

Today’s bride and groom visited Peckforton Castle and fell hard for the venue’s vintage, other-worldly charm – so much so that they introduced a subtle fairy-tale theme as they planned their wedding. Everything from the ornate script of their stationery, to the blossom trees lining the aisle, is a nod to the romance of a perfect storybook.

Charlotte looked every inch the perfect princess bride in her Diane Legrand gown and blue Manolo Blahniks, and she’s a girl after our own hearts – her advice to brides-to-be touring venues and bridal boutiques is, “Enjoy all of the free champagne”. We totally agree.

With photography by Adam Riley Photography

A Luxury Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c)Agam Riley Photography (21)

charlotte says: We got engaged on 18th June 2015 on a quiet beach in Portugal exactly nine years after we officially became a couple. Tom had set up his camera to record the whole proposal but told me that he wanted get some nice shots of us together using the self-timer on the camera. I had no idea that he would propose and instantly burst into tears (after saying yes, of course)!

We originally wanted the wedding to take place on 18th June 2016 (exactly one year after the proposal and ten years of being together) – however, when we found our dream venue they had no availability for that date. We tried to get it as close as we could and chose 7th July 2016.

A Luxury Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c)Agam Riley Photography (33)

We got married at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire. It was the first venue we looked at and before we had even walked into the main grounds I was in tears – so were our mums! It just felt so magical and enchanting. When we walked into the Great Hall there were even more tears and we all knew that was the place where we wanted to make our promises to each other. We made a provisional booking there and then!

A Luxury Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c)Agam Riley Photography (40)

When we first started planning our day we didn’t have a theme in mind. We were getting married in a castle and thought vaguely about having a subtle fairy-tale theme. It wasn’t until we started thinking about our stationery and flowers that we really started to entertain the idea. Our invites were in the style of a vintage fairy-tale book complete with a drawing of the castle and a poem that we wrote ourselves which wouldn’t be out of place in a Dr Seuss book. Instead of table numbers we chose to write chapters of a book with each table having a chapter number and a short story of our relationship at that time. We called our top table ‘The Next Chapter…’

Colour-wise, we wanted to keep everything neutral and all our flowers were white with green accents. The bridesmaid’s dresses were a very soft pink and the boys’ morning suits were navy which provided a nice contrast.

A Luxury Wedding at Peckforton Castle (c)Agam Riley Photography (44)

My dress was by German designer Diane Legrand and purchased at Society Brides in Liverpool. When I originally set out to find the perfect dress I thought I wanted a simple fishtail – how wrong I was. After trying on a few dresses in this style I wasn’t really feeling like a ‘bride’ and decided to try on a princess style gown. I instantly fell in love with the style and quickly narrowed down my specifications: namely, lace bodice, detailing at the waist and a huge train! I then decided to go for a long double layer veil with lace detailing. I then finished my look with blue Manolo Blanhik shoes: my ‘something blue’.

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pretty to a tee. a pale palette for a rustic wedding in the north east – emma & chris

August 11th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Wedding at High House Farm (c) Paul Liddement Photography (19)

Today’s gorgeous real wedding provides oodles of inspiration for those of you planning pretty country style weddings.

Chris and Emma’s rustic celebration was pieced together perfectly with an elegant colour palette, homemade décor and seasonal blooms. We’re also huge fans of the wedding party’s fine attire, with Emma and her leading ladies in long flowing dresses and the boys in tweed, waistcoats and chinos.

Finally we must give a special mention to Chris’s gran for the stunning cake (48 eggs you say?!)

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at High House Farm (c) Paul Liddement Photography (35)

emma says: We got engaged on 18th April 2015. We were going for a picnic in Keswick and decided to hire a rowing boat to row to one of the islands in Derwent water. Chris seemed really nervous, but we carried on rowing until we got there and then walked around the beach area of the island. Chris decided it was a good place to take a picture, so he set the camera up and I posed, unbeknown to me he was recording it. He positioned the camera on a tree then ran into the picture too and got down on one knee to propose.

The wedding date was 23rd of April 2016. We choose the date because we had found a venue we really liked, but there was only a few dates left in the April, or one date in the October, and we were too excited to wait that long, plus we thought the weather might be a bit better in April.

A Rustic Wedding at High House Farm (c) Paul Liddement Photography (43)

We got married at St Nicholas Church in Gosforth and then had the reception at High House Farm Brewery in Matfen, Northumberland, with a marquee provided by Collingwood Marquees. We chose this venue because we are both from farming/country backgrounds. We had initially thought of having the reception on my parents’ farm but they were moving and it was going to be too complicated. We also liked the flexibility of High House, as they don’t offer a package – you can create your own wedding unique to you.

We went for a country rustic theme. As weddings nowadays are so expensive we tried to cut costs in various areas, so I created a lot of the decorations myself; I made signs from floorboards that we had salvaged from our house refurbishment, I decorated jam jars and created a candy corner with a bookshelf that I had upcycled. My mum meanwhile made 150 meters of bunting from curtains from charity shops that I had found in the desired colours.

A Rustic Wedding at High House Farm (c) Paul Liddement Photography (46)

We had pale pastel colour palette of pale blue, pinks and greens. Blue has always been my favourite colour so the bridesmaids wore pale blue lace dresses from ASOS while the bunting was more pinks – it all worked together so well.

During my search for the perfect wedding dress, I had been to a lot of shops around Newcastle and tried on a lot of dresses but not found anything that I felt was very “me”. Chris’s mum Kathryn and I were chatting when we were visiting them in Dalston, Cumbria, I knew there was a little dress shop in the village, called The Wedding Boutique, and had asked Kathryn if she would like to come with me to look at the dresses there. She was delighted as she had two sons so never thought she would get to do that sort of thing.

When we were looking I found a dress that I absolutely loved! It was very elegant and floaty. I had an extra lace train added on to add a bit more sparkle and had it personalised by the seamstress Julie. It was a Great bonding experience for Kathryn and I, as we both went to all the fittings together, she was very touched that we got to share that experience together and my mum was happy that I had found a dress that I loved.

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we are family. a homemade wedding at hazlewood castle – anna & sam

February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (49)

Sam and Anna wanted their wedding to be a relaxed and informal affair that their family (including their adorable nieces and nephew) and friends could both enjoy and feel a part of.

Everyone pitched in with friends loaning and providing décor and family members baking tractor-shaped cakes, making props and providing musical entertainment. What a talented bunch they are.

So let’s take a trip down Paradise Lane for this inspirational summer wedding.

Images by Ian Wallace Photography.

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anna says: We got engaged in September 2013 in the woodland walk around the edge of Ripley Castle. Me and Sam have been together from a young age and for a long time which I’ve always found a bit cheesy and cringey so I‘d always worried about how I would feel if he actually asked me to marry him! Because of this he always said he would only ask me to marry him when he knew I was ready.

We’d planned a week off work and Sam wanted to book the first night as a surprise before we headed up to Newcastle for a few days. When we pulled up at Ripley Castle, I was happy but not suspicious as we really like it up there so go quite a lot. Sam always says he had to follow me around to try and ask me because every time he started to try and get serious I would walk off looking at something else. In the end his beautiful speech started with a tugging me around and ‘will you just come here and stand still…’ before quickly getting down on his knee and waiting for me to stop crying and give him an answer. I of course said yes and we spent the next few minutes trying to get signal in the countryside to let our parents and family know. Afterward we spent the night in Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington which was amazing!

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We set the date for 11th August 2014. We wanted to get married in the summer to give us a good chance of sunshine for at least some of the day. The wedding package we picked was a midweek deal to try and keep our costs down so we just hoped that the people we wanted there would be able to get the day off.

Hazlewood Castle in Tadcaster was our chosen venue. We wanted a venue that could house a lot of people and a lot of children for an entire day if it rained and Hazlewood Castle was great for this because it had various rooms that people could go and have a bit of space in. We also wanted somewhere where we could all have breakfast together the day after and there were plenty of rooms for people to stay over. We loved the overall style and feel of the castle and grounds and knew we’d be able to get some beautiful pictures there. A few people had recommended it to us that had been to weddings there which helps. And who doesn’t want to get married in a castle that’s on Paradise Lane?

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (10)

We wanted a really natural, vintage/country feel to the wedding without a strong theme throughout. We were really focused on it being as unstructured as possible and letting things flow. I didn’t want to hide the castle décor so just added small bits to complement it and add a homely yet special feel. Our home is full of candles and flowers so these were a must! We didn’t really want a strong colour theme throughout the wedding either but wanted to keep everything very pastel based and natural so that it would blend well with the castle and nature elements.

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I wore an ivory boat necked fit and flare dress with lots of lace detail from Elegance Bridal Boutique in Skirlaugh. I loved the intricacy of the lace detail on the sleeves and wanted something that I wouldn’t have to keep pulling up all day. It was really important that I could bend down and pick up little children in it (which I practised a lot when trying on) because our wedding was full of our nieces and nephew. I decided not to wear any hair accessories other than a veil so that the focus was on the detail of the dress.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (14)

Sam’s wore a blue three-piece suit from Next with a white shirt and blue tie. He had amazing Kurt Geiger shoes too!

Sam’s brother Joe wore a matching suit with different colour tie and shoes and my sister Rachel wore a lovely one shoulder dress from Coast. It was a beautiful pastel purple and gave her lots of room to pick up her two children and carry them down the aisle.

Our six nieces wore some really pretty dresses from Monsoon. They were pastel pink with little flowers on and some pink sparkly shoes. Jack our nephew wore a really cute suit from Monsoon with some cool trainers from Next. He was very proud of his outfit!

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Ian Wallace was our photographer and he was fantastic. He was recommended to us by a work colleague who is his close friend so I was initially reluctant to ask him but once we’d seen his images and style we knew he’d be great. We really didn’t want a photo album full of forced smiles and standing in a line so Ian was a perfect choice for us. Ian was really relaxed and made us both comfortable. Our pre-wedding photo shoot really helped and I’d recommend it to anyone. He worked really hard on the day and had a lot of little people to try and capture as well as us! We love the relaxed and genuine feel of the photos he’s given us. I think his quote on his photography blog was ‘you broke me a little bit that day, but it was worth it’.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (19)

My flowers were from The Flower Shop in Easingwold. Again we wanted a really relaxed style and I wanted it to look like I’d just swept them up off the woodland floor (Disney style). It was a collection of woodland type flowers and herbs including rosemary, lavender and thyme, which smelt amazing!

We used the same florist to decorate our table centrepiece jam jars with similar flowers to my bouquet. Lots of our decorations were loans or bits and pieces that already had a meaning to them.

All the centrepieces were placed on a tree trunk base that our lovely friend chopped down and sliced for us for a wedding gift. We wanted each table to be slightly different, so used different types of jars and candles. Each table had a champagne bottle with a candle or flower in (we used bottles that we received as gifts for our engagement so they all had a special meaning. The smaller ones were from the travel company Kuoni where we booked our honeymoon). Our chairs were hired from Blacks, they provided a very efficient service.

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For our favours we decided to go down the lucky in love route and give everyone a scratch card – I was convinced we would make someone (hopefully us) millionaires. For my nieces I made them each a locket with their initials in to thank them for being our flower girls. Jack got a good old fashioned whoopee cushion for his page boy duties! For all their support we also gave special gifts to our parents and siblings.

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Our cake was a strange choice but reflected us both quite well! Early on I was determined for this wedding to be about both of us and wanted Sam to be expressed somewhere so what better way to do it than have a tractor cake! My brother’s long term girlfriend Chelsea, is a fantastic baker and offered her services to help make a cake. Two nights before the wedding, Chelsea had spent all day perfecting our orange flavoured tractor cake and all looked good. Then my dad arrived with the trailer he had made to house the children’s animal cupcakes (also made by Chelsea) and the tractor to trailer ratio was all off – our tractor looked like a little toy next a giant trailer! I will always remember that night, sat on Tesco’s cake aisle floor, with my mum, laughing and trying to piece together a tractor shape out of fruit cake and Madeira slabs to make a bigger tractor! In the end, we had two tractors, the small handmade one’s fate was a prize for the children’s dance competition so all’s well that ends well. Chelsea also made gorgeous cupcakes for us to have a more traditional style tower with a bride and groom.

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For our wedding meal we chose a typical Yorkshire main of beef and Yorkshire pudding because Sam wouldn’t have had it any other way. We had Eton mess for desert. We had Pimms straight after the wedding because it’s one of my favourite drinks.

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My four brothers are all talented musicians so we were really pleased when they agreed to play for our wedding evening. I don’t think we’ve ever seen our dad more proud! A DJ was part of the wedding package so he also played later on into the night – his only requests being from our 3-year-old nieces to play ‘Let it Go’ again! As part of our invitation and RSVP, we’d asked our guests to give us a song to add to our playlist. This way we could cater for everyone’s tastes and ensure everyone had at least something they could shake to!

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Special touches to the wedding included two of my brothers playing me down the aisle, which was a really heart-warming and special experience. My dad built an amazing photo prop of a moon and clouds with starry background. Instead of a guest book, we decided to have a guest tree. We left tags for people to hang their wishes/ message/ advice on. Because we left for our honeymoon the day after it was really nice to come home and read all the messages people had left. We’ve saved the message in our photo album to look back on and our blossom tree is now planted in the garden to grow over the years. If we move, it’s coming with us!

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We’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. The staff were always helpful and on the day just seemed to merge into the background. The grounds and castle are beautiful for photos and gives you and your guests the space for an escape if needed.

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It’s really hard to pin point a certain part of the day as a favourite because it was all a genuinely beautiful day. Spending time with family is a massive part of our lives and I never feel more at peace when I’m surrounded by them so my whole day was lovely. I enjoyed getting ready and having my family and the children there.

Before the wedding, we’d both seen the actual ceremony as something that just needed to be done to get married but actually this part was amazing and really special. The personal parts always make things more special and laughing during our vows about respect will always be memorable! The speeches were also fantastic. My dad always has a way of entertaining a crowd so a detailed description of my conception was a must in his book!

There was a ten minute period later on in the evening where we both snuck off outside to have a few minutes to ourselves. Sneakily Ian had managed to find us! But we didn’t know he was there so now we just have the photo to remind us.

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We booked our honeymoon late and decided on a trip around Sri Lanka followed by a week in the Maldives, which was pure heaven. Sri Lanka was full of culture and a wonderful experience. We spent time in various places and it was quite fast paced so we were both ready for a bit of rest and relaxation in the Maldives. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (55)

My top tips to other brides up north is when planning, don’t get bogged down with little logistical issues – on the day they really won’t matter. Always be true to what you want to do as a couple – there are so many ways to do a wedding, just make sure yours is your way. On the day, make sure you find a few moments to stand back and watch what a beautiful day you’ve created full the people you love the most. And really consider a videographer – we originally decided not to have one however, the night before the wedding Sam’s grandma feel ill and unfortunately her and his granddad were unable to attend the wedding. Thankfully, a lovely friend stepped in a filmed the whole day which we all watched as a united family when she was well again. When your wedding is over, you’ll want as many memories of it as possible.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (58)

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