June 27th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
When it comes to wedding themes, today’s is certainly different and this we like very much. Newlyweds Esther and Jake peppered their special day with subtle – and not so subtle – nods to their unusual theme: War of the Roses.
We’re talking dainty rose cupcakes, red and white paper bouquets, Lancashire and Yorkshire flags and games galore for the guests (tug of war anyone?).
Throw in the mesmerising backdrop of Park House Barn in Milnthorpe, an alternative wedding breakfast and an oh-so-pretty sparkler send-off for the couple, and you’ve got the makings for a truly memorable, fun-filled day. Read on and let the battle commence…
With images by Ian Brookes Photography
esther says: We got engaged on 10th October 2015, at the top of Helvellyn, the highest of the Eastern Fells in the Lake District. Jake booked us a weekend away at the Kings Head on Thirlmere for our one-year anniversary. We walked up Helvellyn on the Saturday afternoon, but Jake took us the wrong way so the walk took six hours instead of four! I threw many tantrums on the way up to the top – Jake kept coaxing me on, saying that he had a gift for me. When I opened the box, it was an 18-carat white gold ring with a princess cut diamond. Needless to say, I skipped down the bottom merrily, where we were greeted with a bottle of champagne in our lovely room.
Our wedding date was 22nd October 2016. This was the closest date to our anniversary that was available in the church we both wanted, Wythburn Church on Lake Thirlmere.
The church is located at the bottom of Helvellyn and near to the Kings Head, where we got engaged, so it has sentimental value to us. The church has no electricity or heating, so the service had to be conducted by candlelight. Members of our family and friends played flute, violin, accordion and guitar to accompany the service.
The reception was then held 45 minutes away at Park House Barn in Milnthorpe. This is a functioning cow shed and hay barn, which is transformed into a beautiful venue for certain months of the year. When we first saw it, it had a tractor inside so we had to use our imagination! It was large enough to accommodate our guests and fit with the desired look that we wanted. Plus, it was a DIY barn so we could make it whatever we wanted it to be.
We stayed on the wedding night at Heversham Hall, a listed building, situated near to the barn. It really added to the experience, and Lesley was an amazing host.
Our theme was War of the Roses as I am from Lancashire and Jake is from Yorkshire, and we often joke about the rivalry. When looking at our venue, we realised that it would make an amazing theme for the wedding – we even hosted our own battle on the day!
To complement the theme, our colour scheme was red and white to reflect the respective roses of both regions.
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October 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
For this afternoon’s real wedding we are heading North West to the beautiful Lake District to relive Emma and Ryan’s big day.
You’re all in for a treat, as there’s lots of fabulous elements to admire in this wedding, in addition to the breath-taking views! We love Emma’s gorgeous Maggie Sottero dress as well as her chosen colour palette of elegant blush pink and grey which is reflected beautifully in the numerous flower arrangements and décor.
Our favourite bit however has to be the boat ride for the bride, groom and their guests part way through the day. We’d quite like to be aboard that boat ourselves, sipping on prosecco and taking in the surroundings. Just stunning!
With images by Bethany Sunners Photography.
emma says: We got engaged at home after an evening out at a wedding reception, where it was just the two of us. Ryan had something planned a couple of weeks before this but I ruined it when I picked up some shifts at work.
We were married on 8th August 2015. We chose the date because it was mid-summer and right in the middle of some special family events.
We got married in our local parish church, St Mungo’s in Dearham, Cumbria. My parents, and grandparents got married there so it is a special place. It’s a beautiful little church. Our reception was at the Lodore Falls Hotel at the bottom of Borrowdale Valley. We chose this venue as the scenery is out of this world, it’s on the edge of a beautiful lake in the middle of the Lake District. Perfect for a summer wedding.
We didn’t have a theme as such, we just wanted a summer wedding with a relaxed feel to it. The words ‘all you need is love’ was also a big feature.
Our colour scheme was grey and blush colours, with a bit of silver sparkle. I chose these colours as grey is my absolute favourite colour. It makes the blush colours really stand out and looks really pretty.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero from I Do Bridal, Cockermouth. It was an ivory slim A-line design with a delicate sweetheart neckline, with gorgeous beaded lace across it. It had a corset back with a short train. I first saw the dress online and immediately knew it was the one for me. It was the first dress I tried on, I felt so elegant in it. It was also called Emma. Fate! My veil and headband was by Linzi Jay. My shoes were Vivienne Westwood, I seen them in the window of a Vivienne Westwood store. They were ivory with a big red heart on the front. Really quirky, I loved them and had to have them for our wedding. I also had a vintage sapphire ring, which my nan gave me before the wedding as my something blue, which meant the world.
Ryan had a two piece slim-fit grey suit from Debenhams. He wore it with a slim fit white shirt, silver grey slim tie and pocket square from ASOS, grey braces and tan brogues. We just wanted a relaxed look. The groomsmen all wore the same.
My bridesmaids’ outfits were grey bandeau midi length dresses from ASOS and silver sparkly barely there sandals from Next. They all looked stunning. My little flower girl had an ivory lace beaded dress from John Lewis and ivory lace shoes from Monsoon. Our pageboys had grey waist coat and trousers from Next and white Converse.
Mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup was done at my parents’ house the morning of the wedding. Jazz Hair Studio and Elegant Touch both of Maryport, did an amazing job. We all felt a million dollars!
Our chosen wedding transport was a 1964 VW splitscreen camper van and a 1973 Cabrio VW Beetle in white, from Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars. My dad and I travelled in the Beetle with the roof down to the church, it was a gorgeous summer’s day. My mum and bridesmaids travelled in the camper van. Following the ceremony, my new husband and I then travelled to our reception in the Beetle and we enjoyed a complimentary bottle of fizz. Paul who owns the company is fantastic, very professional.
Bethany Sunners, was our photographer. She was amazing from the very start. Constantly keeping in touch right up until the wedding day. She met us in person to discuss ideas and listened to exactly what we wanted. On the actual day, Bethany arrived early at my parents’ house to take pictures of my bridal party whilst getting ready, she was so discreet. She built up a brilliant rapport with our vicar, meaning she was able to get the best shots at the front of church. She also put all our family and friends at ease. Bethany literally captured every moment of our special day with the most perfect natural shots. We would most definitely recommend her.
We also had our wedding captured on film by Lake District Weddings Videos.
For my flowers, I had a beautiful hand tied bouquet of white hydrangea, white and ivory roses and spray roses with a little eucalyptus (to add to my obsession with the colour grey). My bridesmaids had hand tied bouquets of peach, blush and ivory roses and spray roses. My flower girl had a little flower crown of spray roses and gypsophila. Ryan had an ivory rose button hole and the groomsmen and page boys had blush rose button holes. The bouquets and button holes were provided by the Floral Boutique, Cockermouth. We got a fantastic service from them, Elizabeth was extremely helpful.
My auntie Karen, who I must say is amazing with flowers, made all our arrangements for the church and reception. In total she made five window arrangements for church, one arrangement for the alter, 20 pew ends, an arrangement for the milk churn we had outside the church gates, a flower arch for outside the church, ten hand tied bouquets for the table centre pieces, two top table arrangements and two cake table arrangements (I know what you’re thinking, wow!)
She used a combination of white hydrangea, peach, blush and white roses and spray roses, white and pink lyzianthus, gypsophila and eucalyptus were used. The Wholesaler Dutch Flower Auction is where we purchased the flowers and we would recommend them for DIY wedding flowers, they deliver all over and the flowers lasted ages. My auntie did the most fantastic job with the flowers, she got so many well deserved compliments. They were stunning – evidently she’s now got a part time job at the Floral Boutique shop.
Our venue decorations included some bunting, handmade signs and DIY table decorations. Chair covers and bows were provided by Finishing Touches. We also had giant light up ‘love’ letters provided by a close friend at Love in Lights.
For the ladies favours, my auntie Helen made homemade strawberry jam. For the men my Grandad made home brewed Sloe Gin in miniature bottles. Both went down extremely well and just added a bit more of a personal touch. A friend also made gingerbread brides and grooms for the children.
A local cake maker Jules Huck (The Cake Fairy) made a fantastic cake for us. Our guests were amazed by it and it tasted even better then it looked. My uncle Graeme, a chef made us the most brilliant cheese wedding cake too. It had every single cheese you could think of on it, he even personalised the covers of some cheeses with our picture and date of our wedding on. I made a fruit wedding cake just for the toasts, during the speeches.
After the wedding breakfast before our evening reception got underway, we all went out on a launch boat around Derwent Water for an hour’s cruise. We all just sat back, relaxed and had a glass of prosecco or two whilst taking in the breath-taking views of the Lake District. Keswick Launch Company provided the launch, they even let my sister who was also my maid of honour drive.
For the evening entertainment we hired The Heist, a cover band from the North East. They sing songs from the 1960s up to current hits. They delivered a great set, had the dance floor full all night. Genuine, nice guys. We also had a sweet cart as an extra treat for our guests which was provided by Love in Lights.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Lodore Falls as a wedding venue to other brides and grooms. The staff were fantastic, nothing was too much trouble for them. There is so much choice with their packages and the food was delicious. The actual location speaks for its self, simply stunning!
We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the da as we loved all of it. From the lead up to the wedding, making all the personal little touches, getting pampered in the morning, putting on the most beautiful dress, the actual ceremony, watching all our favourite people have an amazing time. It really was the best day of our lives.
We are going on honeymoon in November to Las Vegas then flying on to Cancun, Mexico. We intend on doing lots of touristy things in Vegas and having a chill out on a beach in Mexico. We delayed the honeymoon as we didn’t want everything to be over at once.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – sit back and have a moment to yourselves to take it all in because the day is over before you know it. Also enjoy yourselves, don’t worry about others it’s your special day!
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September 15th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The unique venue for Ben and Amanda’s well-planned wedding is what made their big day really stand out to me. The couple and their guests partied through to the small hours in beautifully decorated tipis pitched next to the picturesque back-drop of Lake Coniston. Stunning, just stunning!
Better yet, they stretched their wedding celebrations across three days (hell yeah!) to take full advantage of the breathtaking location.
The couple’s rustic barn/tea party theme came together perfectly with wonderful décor, individual touches and a mouth-watering menu, which was rounded-off with one heck of a party.
So let’s dive straight into the magic with details of the couple’s engagement.
With images by James Stewart Photograpy.
Amanda says: We got engaged on June 26, 2012. Ben chose this date as it’s his birthday and says it’s the only day of the year that he gets to choose what we do! We were camping in Crantock, Cornwall (which is our favourite holiday location). In the days leading up to the engagement we had walked around the headland looking for a nice birthday picnic spot, little did I know that it would actually be the engagement spot. Ben’s insistence on me choosing the exact spot made sense afterwards! We went surfing in the morning then after a nice hot shower, we headed off with our cream tea inspired picnic, with the obligatory champagne and strawberries!
After setting out our picnic blanket Ben made me close my eyes for a ‘surprise’ and when I opened them, he was knelt down with the ring in his hand. Lots of nice words and champagne followed, and then the second surprise of the day was that he’d booked us into Watergate Bay Hotel for the night, so we could enjoy our engagement night in the a bed rather that a tent!
We set the date for June 28, 2014. We’re both in the RAF and have lots of friends in the RAF too, so we always have to plan very far in advance for everything. We wanted to give everyone at least a year’s notice, so drew-up a plot of availability of my bridesmaid being back from Afghanistan and then the big items we needed to hire: tipi, venue, toilets, transport etc, and just chose the date that would work the best.
When deciding on a venue for the wedding, we were always on the lookout for somewhere we could use exclusively, somewhere that was slightly different from the norm, but ultimately somewhere that we could have a relaxed and intimate wedding, which we could hopefully spread out over more than more day.
We’d seen tipis in a wedding magazine and knew straight away that they provided exactly what we wanted, so we then went on an internet hunt for an amazing location; that’s how we found Bank Ground Farm in the Lake District. It’s a working farm, with cottages, a guesthouse, dog kennels, a tea room, boats for hire and bikes for hire, so it had a lot of what we needed under one roof. We didn’t do the legal bits at Bank Ground but it is where the real celebrations happened. We had a civil ceremony at Belmount Hall first which we chose because of its beautifully rustic interior and its proximity to Bank Ground Farm. The farm offered us the intimacy we wanted, gave us the ability to accommodate a large number of our guests and had a very relaxed feel about it. There are lots of different elements to Bank Ground, from the beautifully manicured lawns at the front of the house, the terrace overlooking Old Man Coniston and the lounge areas and bar inside the guesthouse; we were fortunate to be able to utilise all of them over the course of our three-day celebrations.
We didn’t have a specific theme to begin with, but over the course of the planning, we naturally swayed towards a rustic barn type of style. There were exposed beams in the tipis which we covered in fairy lights, we scattered bales of hay around for seats and displays, we up-cycled bottles and jars for flowers and candles, and brought everything together by using lace and burlap throughout. Relaxation had been the driving factor with choices; we didn’t want anything formal or stuffy, we just wanted people to feel that they could kick off their shoes and swap them for flip-flops or even wellies (weather dependent). The tea party food theme came out of our love for cream tea and the link back to our engagement with the champagne, strawberries, scones and clotted cream.
We wanted to keep the colour theme soft and romantic to tie in with the burlap and lace so all colours used were pale pinks, creams and some light gold.
My wedding dress was couture, and pre-loved. I saw it hiding at the back of a rail and was instantly attracted to its big, floaty skirt. The ripples in the skirt made me think of water and the rough edges of the material was in keeping with the relaxed, vintage effect we were creating. I love my sparkles, so the Swarovski pearls and beads that covered the bodice kept it girly and romantic.
Ben wore a very striking navy tweed three-piece suit from Walker Slater, a bespoke tweed outfitter in Edinburgh, along with a white shirt, pink knitted tie, and tan brogues from Kurt Geiger. The groomsmen all wore different tweed waistcoats, all from Walker Slater, white shirts, pink ties (to match Ben’s) and navy chinos.
The bridesmaids and I have a passion for Irregular Choice shoes, so in keeping with the soft colour scheme, the girls wore beautiful champagne lace dresses, but brought a pop of colour to the outfits with some bright Irregular Choice shoes. We all wore the same style, but in a different colour.
We loved how everyone looked together; it was exactly how we’d imagined, just amazing!
My hairdresser was Vikki Nelson and I have to say she had the patience of a saint! The hair for myself, mum and bridesmaids was the one thing I got my knickers in a twist over, as I really wanted it to be perfect. And despite me changing my ideas slightly, and my handmade hairpiece not quite working out as I’d planned, Vikki remained calm and polite while I had a very minor melt down/moan! All of the hairstyles turned out better than planned, and stayed in place well into the early hours.
My make-up was done by my gorgeous and talented cousin Samantha Hill, who runs her own beauty salon Beau Chic Beauty in Latton, on the edge of the Cotswolds/Cirencester. Everyone commented on how flawless it was, and I didn’t even need to do one single touch-up throughout the whole day – just perfect!
On the big day, we travelled in a classic split screen VW camper. This had been one of our ‘must haves’ from the very beginning as we both love the classic VW’s and dream to actually own one someday! Paul Bradburn of Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars was just amazing. He was extremely friendly and very passionate about his VW – he even supplied us with a nice cold bottle of bubbles for the journey.
My favourite part of the day was stood at the stairs to the civil ceremony room, waiting for my entrance music to start, with my mum doing a little dance to make me laugh and hold back the tears, knowing that in less than a few minutes I’d be saying my vows and my life as I knew it would change forever. Knowing that my best friend was about to become my husband and that our next adventures together would soon begin was a wonderful feeling.
We have the bonus of having James Stewart as Ben’s cousin, so there was never any doubt that we would use him as our photographer. We’ve seen a lot of James’ work over the years, from his sporting shots to capturing many happy family events.
James has a very unobtrusive nature and manages to get the shots that you didn’t even notice. A week after the wedding he sent us a little taster of what was to come in the form of a slideshow set to music; shame he hadn’t prepared me to have the tissues at the ready! I’m not sure how he managed it, but his photos feel like they captured all of the emotions of the day magnificently. Quite a few people have commented on needing the tissues when they watched it. We truly couldn’t recommend him enough; thoroughly professional, amazingly talented and a pleasure to have had him as part of our day.
For our wedding flowers we used The Flower Basket in Coniston village. Anne was extremely helpful and totally understood the concept I was aiming for. We basically told her that we wanted it to be soft and relaxed, using mainly creams and pinks. I’d created a scrapbook of magazines pictures over the year, took it to show her and realised that the running theme in my scrapings were peonies, gypsophila and roses. So we gave her artistic licence to use anything else she thought would look good, and she did an absolutely amazing job and totally transformed the tipis and surrounding chill out areas. I really couldn’t have been happier with the end result and couldn’t recommend her enough. I didn’t carry a bouquet, instead choosing to have a wrist corsage, which had some large pink peonies and white roses.
I made a lot of the decorations myself; pom poms, up-cycled jars and bottles, table plan, and napkin cuffs. I also put Ben and his dad to good use with a chain saw, cutting up tree trunks for table centre, and stands for menus and notices. The final touches of vintage glamour came from suretosurpriseyou.co.uk.
We hired all of the vintage crockery, cake stands and other tableware essentials, but the real eye-catchers were all of the vintage items for decoration. My bridesmaid Amy also lent a hand with the table centre arrangements, using her eye for detail to incorporate my items with hers. She helped to make a unique table centre for each table, and helped create a central focal point out of bales of hay, blankets and vintage items.
For our favours I made individuals wine charms for all the guests, but also made boxes so that they could all add their charms to a box, take them home, and carry on using them for their own future parties.
My bridesmaid Amy is an absolute legend in the baking department, and so there was never any other option than to have her mouth-watering delights as our wedding cake. Sticking with the tea party theme, she made the most magnificent four-tier tea party inspired cake. There were edible teacups, real biscuits, edible bunting and a giant Belgium white chocolate teapot on top. Each layer was a different flavour; chocolate, Victoria sponge, carrot and lemon.
Bank Ground Farm made all of our food, using as many local ingredients as possible, even using produce from their own farm. We had a hog roast on the Friday night with lots of gorgeous breads and salads. We also had a barbecue fit for a king on the Sunday afternoon.
The Saturday wedding food started off with a large selection of canapés on the lawn while enjoying bubbles for the girls, and local ales for the boys. The wedding breakfast was simply ‘high tea’, which included Cumbrian honey roast ham sandwiches, local pink roast beef with horseradish, blue cheese and rocket sandwiches, local cheddar with homemade chutney on onion bread sandwiches, free range egg and watercress sandwiches, Cumberland sausage rolls with smoked bacon and mustard, mini vegetable wellingtons and stilton, bacon and spring onion potato skins. Dessert was homemade scones, homemade jam, local fresh strawberries and lashings of clotted cream. Wines and champagnes were served from the bar stock and we had kegs of Loweswater Gold and Esthwaite ales to keep the guys happy.
Ben is massively into his music, so this was one area that he was in charge of completely. We both believe that live music is the making of any event, so he spent hours trawling the internet, listening to bands, and reading reviews. He finally decided on The Rips, who are a five-piece band from Yorkshire. They play anything from The Beatles or Bryan Adams, to Kings of Leon and Maroon 5, so we knew we’d get a good range to keep all ages entertained. Ben’s research certainly paid off because the dance floor was bouncing all night long!
We would wholeheartedly recommend all of our suppliers to other couples. One thing we really loved about Bank Ground Farm is that it isn’t actually a wedding venue. Jonathon there believes that weddings need and deserve a lot of attention and time, therefore doesn’t allow more than a handful of weddings a year, allowing him to dedicate his time and attention to each one, and help to make it unique. This was a real bonus and Jonathon and his staff were like extensions of the family; unbelievably helpful, happy and eager to help things run smoothly.
Other suppliers we’d have to recommend are Special Event Tipis. Kate and Dave from there were fantastic to work with. They are a married couple, who used tipis for their own wedding, fell in love with them and decided to start their own business. You can really tell they have a passion for their job, as they were extremely enthusiastic, passionate and accommodating with everything. They also use very high quality items, which made my job of decorating much easier, as there was such a great starting point with their tipis and interiors.
A special touch to the wedding was certainly having our eight-month-old English Springer Spaniel, Murphy there to play a part in the weekend celebrations. He’s a huge part of our lives. He even had his own tweed collar and lead to match Ben’s outfit.
We went to Thailand on our honeymoon. We had a few nights in Bangkok where we sampled as many delights as possible; tuk tuk rides, street food, coconut water and street markets. We also had some cultural trips; temples, Bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass and war memorials. We visited the Tiger Temple, which was a dream come true, especially bathing and feeding the baby tigers and we stayed in a glamping site called Hintock River Camp. After these three whirlwind days, we jumped on another flight to Koh Samui, where we checked into a pool villa at Six Senses Samui. This was ultimate luxury; just what we both needed after six months of wedding crafting and preparations. Over the course of the next week we relaxed (a lot), went sightseeing on boats and kayaks, went elephant riding, relaxed some more and ate a lot!
My top tip to other Brides Up North has to be this (even though we still failed to do it) – try, try, try to take ten minutes aside together in the middle of the evening to step back and watch all of your loved ones having a blast. The evening really does just disappear in a heartbeat, and is over before anyone wants it to be!
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