June 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning their wedding, today’s couple say they very much wanted the occasion to revolve around the most important things in their lives – family, friends and love.
Taking just one look at the images below, it’s clear to see that they achieved their aim perfectly, making the day both loving and personable.
We adore Emma’s classic Ian Stuart gown and her maids’ pretty sparkling dresses, all of which tie beautifully with the elegant décor and dreamy hotel setting.
Regardless of what the weather is doing outside today, this wonderful winter wedding is guaranteed to make you feel all warm inside.
emma says: Andy proposed to me at home. It was the 20th October 2012 and I was getting ready to go out on one of our ‘date nights’. As I walked into a candle-lit living room with champagne filled glasses out on the table, my heart started racing. Andy got down on knee and then went on to tell me why he wanted to marry me before popping the question. As you can imagine, I was a blubbering wreck by the end, and of course I blurted out ‘yes’!
We booked our wedding for Saturday 31st January as we both wanted a romantic winter wedding and we thought it was the perfect time of year to hold it. Funnily enough, it was only afterwards that we realised it was exactly four years to the day that we actually met. It was obviously fate and we were meant to book that date.
We held our wedding at the stunning Merewood Country House Hotel in the Lake District. We both love the lakes and have spent a lot of time there so it seemed only natural – being one of the most romantic places in England, we knew it was the place for us to get married. We chose the Merewood as we really wanted our family and friends to feel like they were coming to somewhere homely, rather than a hotel, which was helped with us having exclusivity of the venue. As soon as you walk in it has such a cosy and warm feel to it with the open fires greeting you in the reception. It’s grand but still intimate at the same time.
I asked my two best friends and my sister to be bridesmaids and my beautiful little niece and they were all just amazing. I also asked four of my closest friends to walk down the aisle in front of me as sadly my beloved Dad passed away from cancer in September 2012. It was lovely to have all my closest girlfriends there with me right before I walked down as they have all been a great support to me over the years and it was definitely the right choice as I felt secure in the fact that if I did have a wobble, they were there. Luckily I walked in and saw everyone’s beaming faces and then I caught my future husband’s eye and he just gave me a reassuring look that he wasn’t far away – I just took a deep breath and I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked towards him.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but there were parts of the day that hinted at our styles and influences. For example my late Granddad, my Dad’s father, was a film buff and the manager of a cinema when it was all on film. I just loved to watch all of the old movies with him so Andy and I did our wedding invites like an old Hollywood cinema ticket (which our guests tore off and then sent back as an rsvp).
There is something so romantic about a winter wedding, so for my colour scheme I wanted to keep it very simple, classic and beautiful with elegance to it. I just adore whites, creams, greys and soft colours together, and it was fabulous that all the bridal party coordinated their outfits around that palette too. I wanted it to look magical, with a touch of glamour and sparkle!
The dress I chose was an Ian Stuart couture gown from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, Yorkshire. I knew I had found the one, as it not only exuded glamour with an edge to it, but it was also timeless and feminine. I found inspiration from Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress that she wore when she married JFK in 1953. I just adored the neckline and I found something similar with my gown which gave it that Hollywood Glamour feel to it and I just fell in love instantly.
Andy wore a slim fit dark blue three-piece suit that he bought from Slaters in Leeds with a white shirt and a white tie and he also wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues. He had tried on Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and viewed many other suits, but Slater’s had a huge variety and the fits were perfect – not to mention the price!
For my beautiful bridesmaids I chose dresses from a website called Virgos Lounge. I loved that they were a bit different and very glamorous and with it being winter the soft light grey and the iridescent leaf shaped embellishment on the dresses looked stunning.
The best man, usher and the father of the groom all wore suits also bought from Slaters in Leeds. We went for something slightly different from Andy’s suit, so we picked out a very similar one for the men but in a dark grey with light blue/grey spotted white ties, which really complemented all the girls’ dresses. The boys also all wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues.
When it came to the wedding photos we sought advice from our wedding co-ordinator and chose a local award-winning photographer known very well by the venue. Steven Taylor was superb from our first meeting to the end of our wedding day. He listened to our thoughts and did the most amazing job on the day with his son Josh and after receiving the proofs back recently, we understand why they are award-winning – they captured the whole day perfectly. We also had Silver Sixpence Films to capture the day on video for us.
On the day I carried a beautiful, opulent massed posy bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthus and gypsophila bound with ivory satin ribbon. They were provided by Kevin from Brackens of Bowness.
With us deciding on a romantic ivory and cream wedding, we opted to have tall vases for the reception centrepieces, filled with acorns with tall willow branches and hanging glass tea-light holders. On the other tables we had round shallow glass bowls filled with acorns and twisted ivory willow with a cluster of candles in the centre. Down the staircase we had willow and foliage wound down the banister with fairy lights intertwined. Kevin from Brackens of Bowness again supplied these stunning arrangements. He was amazing and listened to everything that I wanted to achieve. With Kevin’s talent and creativity he helped make the venue look like the fairy-tale wedding I had always dreamed of.
We didn’t do favours at the wedding breakfast. Instead we had personalised chocolate bars created for our family and friends who were staying at the hotel and placed them in their rooms for their arrival.
We opted for a four-course wedding breakfast. It took us a little while to decide on the menu as all of the food is so delicious and it is also locally sourced. In the evening, we had mini fish and chips served in traditional newspaper cones. It was all absolutely delicious!
We both enjoy music, so it featured heavily throughout the day. The thinking was to have very much beautiful and relaxing music, building as the day went on so we had a string quartet to entertain people before and after the ceremony. Andy recorded a live DJ mix for the wedding breakfast containing music from our favourite films interlaced with famous quotes from cinema.
To get the evening started, Andy had also prepared some warm up before a fantastic rock band called Blue Star Tattoo from West Yorkshire performed on the night with classics by AC/DC, ZZ Top and The Who, through to more current hits by The Killers, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. We chose this band as a nod to my Dad Geoff (and Andy’s Dad John) who both love rock and roll.
In the library we displayed family photos of our nearest and dearest to give a homely feel and also in remembrance to special people who could not be there with us that weekend. With candles lit and love quotes added around the fireplaces, it added to the romantic and relaxing ambience of the venue.
We used Purple Swan for the hire of our chair covers, which were white with crystal vintage brooches on ivory lace sashes and bows. The company were fabulous and made everything so easy and stress free by dressing the room the night before and they were so professional. I bought the lanterns and candles from the shop The Range in Leeds to add a touch of romance down the aisle as well.
We would most definitely recommend our venue to others. Everything about it is fabulous, from the views to the food, and the first class service. The venue has so much character, it still has many of the original features, which include magnificent fireplaces and gorgeous stained glass windows. We felt at home as soon as we walked in. No matter how many times you visit, when it’s time to go home, you just don’t want to leave.
My favourite part of the day was sitting down to eat the amazing food at the wedding breakfast next to my new husband and looking around at all of our favourite people in the world, all sat together and there just for us was simply the best feeling in the whole world.
We are planning to go on honeymoon to Santorini this summer to catch some sun and some amazing scenery, and as Andy is obsessed with sunsets (apparently they have some of the best in the world), we couldn’t think of anywhere more romantic to go.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to make sure you enjoy the lead up to your wedding day, enjoy being engaged. The day itself goes so fast, I know it sounds cliché but it does so take time out with your new groom/bride for a few moments during the day and evening as you are both in demand and so busy. It’s lovely to have a few moments now and again to both look around and think – ‘This is our wedding day, how amazing is this?’
ava rose hamilton, blue star tatoo, brackens of bowness, brides up north featured supplier, ian stuart, kurt geiger, lake district wedding, merewood country house hotel, purple swan hire, real wedding, Silver Sixpence Films, slaters, steven taylor photography, virgos lounge, wedding video, wedding videographer
May 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
That’s some pretty fierce sparkle, right there.
February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Whether you consider it a day of passion or a commercial con, valentine’s day is the perfect time to swindle a lovely gift out of your other half.
You might be lucky enough to have a romantic fella whose already got your pressie all wrapped up, as well as a table booked at your favourite restaurant. However, if like many of us you fear your beau is more likely to remember when Pancake Day is in February rather than Valentine’s there is still time to drop some major hints so he’ll hot-foot it to the shops before Saturday.
So get leaving your laptop open on web pages displaying your top Valentine’s picks, circle wish list items in magazines and remember to mention that your perfume is running exceptionally low.
And if you’re in need of a little inspiration we’ve put together some top Valentine’s gift ideas right here – good luck ladies!
french connection Rhea clutch bag, £75
This block colour clutch bag in Brides Up North’s favourite hue – pink – is big enough to cradle ladies’ essentials during both the day and night making it a great all rounder.
kurt geiger Sharkie shoes, £250
As the warmer spring/summer season approaches ladies’ wardrobes will be crying out for a pair of killer nude heels – and Geiger’s Sharkie heels certainly tick the boxes. The classic court-shoe design is brought bang up to date by featuring one of the season’s top material effects – mesh.
lancome La vie est belle Eau de Parfum Légère 50ml, £52
It might not take too much thinking outside the box, but a bottle of perfume will land most men in the good books. Lancôme’s latest feminine fragrance, La vie est belle Eau de Parfum Légère blends jasmine sambac, orange blossom and patchouli essence for an irresistible spritz contained in an elegant bottle.
marks & spencer silk lace bra and knickers, £27.50, £12.50
She’s only gone and done it again! Stunning model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has created yet another swoon-worthy lingerie set for her Autograph collection and M&S. Pretty in pink this set is the epitome of romance, featuring silk and lace, all topped off with a pretty bow. A treat for both him and her!
molton brown Pink Pepperpod gift set, £72
There’s nothing us girls love more than an indulgent soak in the tub when the daily grind gets that little bit too much, which is why this decadent bath and body gift set makes an perfect Valentine’s pressie. Blended with notes of ginger, patchouli and pink pepperpods, these gorgeous goodies will leave you feeling pampered from top to toe.
miu miu purse, £330
While some ladies like to splurge on the bag, others like a posh purse to do the talking. This metallic Matelasse’ purse from Miu Miu is high up the style ranks and is guaranteed to earn partners a bucket-load of brownie points.
oliver bonas silver bracelet, £19.50
As they say, it’s the thought that counts. So if you and your other half agree to buy each other just a small gift on Valentine’s Day this is a great choice for all you accessories lovers.
tiffany & co. Grace ring, from £9,850
Ok, so a girl can dream. While this amazing platinum band with a princess-cut diamond may be a little out of some blokes’ price range, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year for proposals. In which case we should be welcoming a surge of new readers to our pretty Brides Up North pages shortly!
yves saint laurent rouge volupte, £26
Red lips are a top beauty trend at the moment making this award-winning Yves Saint Laurent lippy in ‘rouge a danger’ a fabulous addition to any girls’ make-up bag. According to its creators, the long-lasting, comforting formula is highlighted with a unique colour-shine complex that leaves lips visibly smoother, plumper and more radiant – all the better for kissing!
dachshund puppy, POA
Because who doesn’t love a puppy? Popular with celebs including Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue and previously mentioned model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, this on-trend pooch fast becoming the next Chihuahua.
December 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
There’s absolutely no doubt about it that the big day is drawing near – cue an afternoon spent dashing round the shops like a headless chicken, toddler in tow, as I realised that today was my only possible shopping day till the big man comes down the chimney.
(Sorry about the late feature, and all that, but at least there’ll be presents under the tree!)
My Christmas shopping’s done (albeit hastily), but here’s what would be on my wish list for the 25th, if anyone out there’s paying any attention by this stage…
Or have I lost you all to a reality TV and mulled wine blur?
ruby & ed ballerina slippers, £39
Soft, snuggly and stylish, these ballerina slippers come in the prettiest berry shades, perfect for cosy Christmas evenings in. Plus they do a tiny pair, just right for my little mini me!
charlotte tilbury Supermodel Body, £45
Her make up line is sensational, so I’m hoping that her Supermodel Body cream will do what it says on the tin. After skipping the gym in favour of more screen time, let’s hope that Charlotte’s promise of a “slimmer shimmer” comes to fruition.
jimmy choo Rebel cross body bag, £795
I’m dreaming of a Jimmy Christmas, and this little number works for day or night. I’d chose the silver for maximum sparkle.
nails inc nail polish in Porchester Square, £14
My staple colour, and in need of a restock. This pale grey is endlessly flattering and goes with almost any outfit (including a wedding gown). I pray this stuff is never discontinued.
topshop sequin christmas tree sweater, £46
If you’re going to join the Christmas jumper madness, then why not do it in style? If you’re gong to join ’em, you may as well beat ’em. In sequins.
alex monroe teeny tiny diamond ring, £265
Fragile, different and contains diamonds. I’d love my digits to be adorned with this little number.
kurt geiger london Bond heels in pink, £270
Strong, sexy and in my very favourite colour. I’d never take them off.
ted bakersequinned pencil skirt, £139
Perfect for a glitzy night on the tiles with the girls, or dressed down for a dinner date with the other half. This skirt has drama and sass, but it’s got plenty of class too.
clarisonic Aria in gold, £155
I dream of the perfect complexion, and apparently this little gadget is going to deliver. A must for ladies getting aisle ready and apparently for the rest of us too. Sign me up.
labrador puppy, POA
Do I even need to explain?
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