Charlotte Balbier

you belong with me. mori Lee for a gatsby-inspired wedding at in the lakes – lauren & ash

June 15th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Gatsby Inspired Wedding in The Lakes (c) Kelly Cotter Photography (45)

Merewood Country House Hotel won Lauren and Ash over as soon as they visited, and its luxurious interiors, quirky library and spellbinding views became the inspiration behind their glamorous wedding day.

Except this couple’s celebration was more than just a day, with their lucky guests heading to the Lake District for a whole weekend of celebrations. They hosted a Friday night party with a Gatsby-esque 1920s dress code, organised a champagne lake cruise, a classic crooner, a mind-reading magician and much, much more.

Of course, a weekend wedding requires more than one outfit too, and Lauren swapped her Friday night feathery flapper frock for a customised fishtail Mori Lee gown on Saturday – please do yourself a favour, readers, and check out that killer back detail. You can thank us later!

With images by Kelly Cotter Photography

A Gatsby Inspired Wedding in The Lakes (c) Kelly Cotter Photography (20)

lauren says: We got engaged in Edinburgh at Carlton Hill. We’d been together over five years, but Ash had wanted to become a PE teacher and be able to purchase a ring himself before he proposed. He took me up to Edinburgh the first weekend after he had been teaching for a year. We arrived at the Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile, where we were instantly upgraded to a suite (alarm bells, but I kept quiet!) We walked up Carlton Hill, and while I was looking over the city, I turned around to find him on one knee!

Our wedding was on 8th April 2017. It was the middle weekend of Ash’s Easter holiday. Turns out it was the hottest day of the year so far!

A Gatsby Inspired Wedding in The Lakes (c) Kelly Cotter Photography (57)

We got married at St Martin’s Church Bowness, had a drinks reception on a Windermere Lake Cruise and our wedding breakfast and evening reception at Merewood Country House Hotel.

We both have fond childhood memories of the Lake District and have family breaks away very regularly – we‘d already discussed prior to getting engaged that we would marry up there. We walked into the entrance hall at Merewood with its wingback chairs and a roaring fire, looked at each other and knew it was the one!

We completely took over the venue for the weekend off the wedding. The house felt like our home from Friday at 11am till Sunday lunch time.

A Gatsby Inspired Wedding in The Lakes (c) Kelly Cotter Photography (30)

Before we were engaged I had, like many girls, a Pinterest board of that wedding that might happen one day. Mine was full of rustic burlap, lavender pots and bunting. However, when we walked into Merewood, that was all forgotten. The art deco conservatory bar and eclectic library just screamed 1920s/1930s Gatsby Glamour and our (subtle) theme was born!

Our floor-length gold sequin bridesmaid dresses added glamour and the flowers were elegant and timeless handtied bouquets of anemones, roses, ranunculus, succulents, eucalyptus and freesias. The venue flowers followed the same suit with a eucalyptus top table runner, a staircase garland of sweet smelling neutral coloured flowers and cut-glass vases which we filled ourselves with flowers from the florist, Made in Flowers.

A Gatsby Inspired Wedding in The Lakes (c) Kelly Cotter Photography (63)

I didn’t want to ‘put’ a colour into Merewood. The venue was already full of golds, rich greens and reds and dark wood and I didn’t feel that adding a bright colour would work. So, I took the gold and creams of the main Lonsdale suite and carried it through the whole wedding. As the wedding planning progressed, blue seemed to pop up a little – as it’s the Lakes, I wasn’t surprised. The men were in navy suits, which was where the blue started to naturally appear. Our colour scheme evolved organically over time, which I loved.

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soulmates. a laidback lake district wedding at the mortal man – louise & pete

May 30th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (32)

You’re in for a treat – today’s real wedding is a corker. Louise and Pete broke with convention by having a poignant humanist ceremony, giving them the opportunity to find traditions that made sense and meaning for them. So they wrote their own vows, made wishes for a happy future together and their rings were passed around and warmed in their family and friends’ hands.

Louise and Pete’s big day wasn’t actually big in numbers – nineteen guests, pub grub and then back to a cosy cottage for cake and cocktails – but the detailing is just perfect. Their customised denim jackets are fiercely cool and their record invites, inspired by their love of all things American country, blues and jazz, earn them muso points galore.

There’s something just a bit special about this one – in a world of Pinterest clones, these photographs feel honest and authentic. I mean, at the end of the night they donned Bride and Groom T-shirts, played beer pong and ate Tunnocks tea cakes. Zero contrivance, yet massive impact – we love it!

With photography by Weddings Vintage.

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (38)

louise says: We got engaged in October 2015 while doing a road trip in Southern USA taking in all our favourite music stops – Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. We were in the Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge in Nashville one night having a few beers and listening to live music when Pete popped the question.

Our wedding day was 17th March 2017 – St. Patrick’s Day (unintentionally!) We’d decided we wanted to turn our wedding into a bit of a getaway/trip for everyone and make it as relaxed as possible with the aim of generating plenty of memories. So we were trying to tie in finding a wedding venue with booking a cottage for us all to stay in and these dates seemed to work before everything got too pricey at Easter time!

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (34)

We chose to get married in the Lakes as Pete is from the South Lakes, Ulverston. It’s a beautiful part of the world we visit regularly from our home in Manchester.

We wanted a very informal ceremony and reception so decided to find a pub with a function room; we’d always really liked the idea of having some pub grub in a relaxed setting. When we came across The Mortal Man in Troutbeck, we instantly knew it was perfect. They have a garden room with fantastic views over a valley, rave reviews for their food plus lovely traditional touches such as log fires and their own homebrewed ciders. The Mortal Man were happy for us to have our ceremony in the garden room as well. We’d decided on a humanist wedding which can be made very personal and unique. The Mortal Man isn’t licensed for weddings so we’d already taken care of the legal part on the Monday before the wedding at Manchester Registry Office before we set off to our cottage – The Terrace in Windermere. It was such an amazing house for a party/gathering – really well equipped and the décor was amazing.

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (21)

Debra of Inspirational Ceremonies who conducted our humanist ceremony gave us lots of options and guidance on writing our vows and selecting readings. We really loved the idea of warming the rings, where during the start of the ceremony your rings are passed around the guests so they can place their hands over them and make good wishes for your marriage. As we only had 19 guests this worked really well – I’m sure it could take a long time if you had quite a lot more guests.

Although there was no strict theme, we were keen to incorporate our joint love of music throughout the wedding and tie in little hints relating to our American music road trip when we got engaged. Our playlists and the songs we started and ended the ceremony were all by musicians from the South of America covering Country, Soul, Blues and Jazz.

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (39)
We customised denim jackets with patches and pin badges, mostly relating to music and our American road trip and wore double denim on the Monday for our legal vows in Manchester. The jackets appeared again at the ceremony on the Friday where we wore them over our dress and suit to keep the rain off!

Our wedding invites also followed the American music theme. We went to Weddings Vintage with inspiration from Hatch Show Print, an old print house we visited in Nashville famous for its iconic printed gig posters. Hayley at Weddings Vintage translated our idea perfectly and the finished invite was a 7” inch vinyl cover, each with a record inside that Pete and I had picked up from a local charity shop. We liked the idea that our guests wouldn’t know what songs were on the records until they played them.

I suppose, more than anything, we tried to approach everything with a very DIY theme. We decorated the cottage ourselves with fairy lights and daffodils everywhere, and tried to add cheap and cheerful touches where we could. All cakes were made by friends, plus our friend and guest Lynn did my hair on the day.

We didn’t have a colour scheme – apart from the bouquet which tied in with buttonholes and the flowers on tables. These were dusky pink, lavender, white and natural greens.

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boho bliss. a fun-filled wedding at park house barn, cumbria – charlotte & anthony

January 30th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Beautiful Barn Wedding in Cumbria (c) Jessic Grace Photography (31)

Today on the blog, we have our umbrellas at the ready, as we meet a couple who show us how to make the most of a rainy wedding day in Cumbria.

Park House Barn provided the rustic backdrop to Charlotte and Anthony’s laid-back boho wedding, complete with a BBQ, woodfired pizza van, ceilidh, games and an actual cheese cake for a wedding cake.

With images by Jessica Grace Photography

A Beautiful Barn Wedding in Cumbria (c) Jessic Grace Photography (23)

charlotte says: We got engaged whilst on a road trip in south west USA. We were camping in the desert in Utah – Anthony had been planning a romantic proposal by the campfire on a starlit night, but on the night he’d planned, a storm hit. He decided to go on ahead and ask anyway, sheltering from the gales and rain in the tent! It was definitely unexpected!

We got married on Saturday 3 September. We both love that time of year – and we thought it was a good bet for some good weather!

A Beautiful Barn Wedding in Cumbria (c) Jessic Grace Photography (28)

We tied the knot at Park House Barn in the south Lakes. We chose this venue because it’s a stunning, rustic building, and we could see that it had so much potential. We loved the idea of just being able to do our own thing – and use thousands of fairy lights! We’re both from the north west and have always felt that the Lakes are a beautiful part of the world.

The general style was relaxed, fun, colourful and a little bit bohemian. An accidental vintage map theme also developed as everything came together! My grandfather used to draw these amazing intricate maps as a hobby, and I’ve just always loved old maps and atlases. As we have grand plans of a belated travelling-honeymoon in 2018, it seemed like a fitting theme.

There wasn’t a strict colour theme. The flowers were simply white wildflowers and gypsophila (with a few blush roses for the bridal bouquet) with lots of greens and herbs. We wanted to let the building and lighting to do a lot of the talking. We had rainbow umbrellas, colourful signs and multi-coloured macarons to add some colour and lots of fun.

A Beautiful Barn Wedding in Cumbria (c) Jessic Grace Photography (21)

My dress was by Anna Campbell, and we got it from Jean Jackson Couture NQ in Manchester – I’d seen it on the internet, and instantly fell in love with it. I’d tried a handful of other dresses on, but this one just felt so comfortable and natural. I think I was always going to end up in lace.

Anthony was keen to keep it simple. He bought about eight high street suits and then picked his favourite!

The bridesmaids were all in Needle and Thread dresses, which they picked themselves. I didn’t really mind what they wore, as long as they were broadly in keeping with the venue/vibe of the wedding, and moreover, that they were all happy. The groomsmen all wore navy blue suits, and ‘granddad’ collars – which was Anthony’s idea.

A Beautiful Barn Wedding in Cumbria (c) Jessic Grace Photography (34)

Our photographer was Jesse, of Jessica Grace Photography, who we heard about from a friend-of-a-friend. She did a brilliant job on the day – making us feel at ease and taking lots of natural photos, which is what we asked for. The weather was certainly challenging from a photographer’s point of view, but Jesse just got on with it.

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autumnal amour. charlotte balbier for a magical lake district wedding – laura & rich

January 26th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (41)

Today’s gorgeous couple were married at Broadoaks Country House in the heart of the Lake District.

Shabby chic vintage vibes? Check. Moody autumnal skies? Check. Jaw-dropping lakeside photographs? Check. Readers, you’re going to love this.

And flower fans, get those Pinterest-clicking fingers ready – I guarantee that this is the most beautiful bouquet you’ll see this year.

With images by James Tracey Photography

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

laura says: We got engaged on 29th September 2015. Rich took me to the Lake District, our favourite place, and had set up a proposal at Broadoaks Country House – we’d stayed there before and loved it. Rich had arranged for his brother to be there to secretly photograph the proposal. We had afternoon tea out on the terrace and Rich had bought a mug that said ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ The staff brought it out with the afternoon tea and Rich said ‘I think this is for you.’ Suddenly he was down on one knee and proposed with a ring that he’d chosen himself.

We wanted an autumn wedding and so we set the date for the 27th October 2016. We chose Broadoaks where we got engaged for our venue. Rich set up an appointment with the wedding planner there and we knew that was the only place we would want to get married.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

We had a small wedding and didn’t want everyone to have to wear matching suits and so on. In fact, the whole day was really laidback. Our theme was vintage/shabby chic because I just love that style.

We didn’t really have a colour scheme. I don’t particularly like reds and oranges but wanted my flowers to reflect autumn; I eventually opted for berry colours and dusky pinks. My sister was my bridesmaid and I told her she could pick her own dress to go with the flowers, so she chose a dress in a mink colour.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

I knew from the start what style of wedding dress I wanted and I had an idea in my head. I must have tried on more than 50 dresses, but none of them were right and then I found my dress at Lace and Co Bridal in Horbury, Wakefield. I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. It was a Charlotte Balbier dress and was called Tabitha. I absolutely loved it. I thought it needed something extra, though, and my mum found a sparkly brooch which I added to the front of the dress to personalise it.

My bridal makeup was done by Lisa from Lime Beauty at Equinox in Bowness, and my hair was by Louise from Equinox. They came to the venue and were absolutely fab! I’d recommend them to anyone, they’re so friendly and put us completely at ease.

Charlotte Balbier for a magical Lake District Wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (56)

Rich decided he didn’t want to hire a suit and so he bought one from Hugo Boss that he could keep. It was a blue two piece and he added a grey waistcoat also from Hugo Boss which went really well.

For our wedding party we just had my sister, Amy, as my bridesmaid and Rich’s best friend Matt as best man. As Rich had bought his own suit, we asked Matt and my dad to wear what they wanted – they didn’t have to match.

My sister’s dress was a mink coloured 50’s style dress, which we ordered online. She also bought a pink petticoat which she wore to make her skirt flare out more.

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shore thing. ronald joyce for a pretty pastel wedding at the inn on the lake – emma & nick

December 13th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today’s real wedding couple were set on their wedding venue from the very start – and they certainly picked an impressive one!

Marrying in an outdoor ceremony with the natural beauty of the Lake District as their backdrop, Emma and Nick’s big day is brimming with effortless elegance and romance.

Throw into the mix a gorgeous princess-style wedding gown, some delicate blooms and a soft pastel colour scheme and you’ve got one very pretty wedding day indeed!

With images by Bethany Clarke Photography.

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nick says: I had planned to propose to Emma at our special place – The Inn on the Lake, by the lake where we would sit and have picnics and talk about our future plans together. Sadly, the Cumbrian weather wasn’t to be as it rained for months on end. I finally proposed to Emma three months later than planned on 20th March 2014, while at Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow. Thankfully, she said yes!

We held our ceremony and reception at the only place we ever wanted to; The Inn on the Lake, on 27th May 2016. As well as it holding a special place in our hearts, The Inn on the Lake is a very successful wedding venue, never have we ever read a single negative comment for anyone getting married there. In addition to being a beautiful venue, the staff at the hotel are fantastic and you are made to feel part of the family there.

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Simple elegance was the main aim of the wedding and so we decided to let the setting do most of the talking and chose to complement the beautiful venue and bride’s dress with a pastel colour scheme, reflected through the flowers.

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Emma chose the Eliza dress in champagne by Ronald Joyce, which she bought from Bijoux Bridal Boutique, Hamilton. She teamed the dress with a train-length nude veil with crystal detailing.

My groomsmen and I wore navy three-piece suits with a pink tie, which we got from T.M.Lewin.

The bridesmaid meanwhile wore Tu Es Belle dresses from That Special Day Warehouse in Bathgate.

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Our wonderful wedding photographers were the incredibly talented Bethany Clarke and Matthew Lloyd. Having seen a lot of their photo journalistic style work, we knew they were exactly what we were looking for. Their work on the day was perfect. A huge thank you to Matt and Beth for capturing our special day perfectly.

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sunshine & smiles. pronovias for a fun filled wedding at knipe hall, cumbria – alexandra & andrew

November 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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We are totally head over heels for this morning’s gorgeous real wedding which features a super-stylish wedding party, pretty pastel colour scheme and lots of outdoor fun and frolics.

Highlights? There are many! Though for us the delicate décor, on-trend attire and super cute four-legged guest are among our very favourite bits!

With images by Darren Mack Photography

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alexandra says: We got engaged whilst we were staying at some vineyards in Yorkshire with friends for my 30th birthday in June 2014. Unbeknown to me, the day before we went Andrew had “Alex will you marry me?” Tattooed on his chest. We went out for dinner and drinks in Holmfirth then to a Billy Bragg gig. After an amazing evening, we got back to our apartment and much to my utter shock and disbelief Andrew revealed his new chest art to me! I said yes and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne with the rest of the bunch that we were away with!

Our wedding day was exactly two years after the weekend that we got engaged, so 18th June 2016, the day before my 32nd birthday.

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We got married at Knipe Hall in Cumbria, where we are from. We wanted a rustic blank canvas venue and this fit the bill! It’s an old farm that has been converted into luxury holiday cottages and has a barn and old dairy and huge outdoor space to host your wedding. This meant that whole wedding party could stay over making it a full weekend celebration and we could do as we wanted with the venue.

We didn’t really have a specific wedding theme as such, we just wanted it to be relaxed and fun! I guess it had a bit of a rustic country wedding feel to it. Our colour scheme was pastels and metallic. I was just drawn to those colours from day one and I love a bit of gold/sequins/glitter – just a touch though.

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My dress was by Pronovias bought from Olivia James Bridal in Egremont. When I first got engaged I saw a similar Rosa Clara dress in a wedding mag, which I loved – it reminded me of the wedding dress Audrey Hepburn wears in Roman Holiday. This dress was only in one shop in the UK so I travelled all the way down to London to try it on. It was lovely but wasn’t quite right so I walked away. I then decided I wanted a more boho 70s style gown so proceeded to try on around 30 more dresses; some vintage, some high street, designer, bridal couture, you name it but discovered I didn’t really suit a lot of the lace and nothing felt special enough. I was starting to lose faith and decided I just don’t like wedding dresses then I came across this dress online and found out it was in a shop not far from home and like I said, very similar to the first dress I liked. As soon as I tried it on it felt right. Still very much a wedding dress with the full skirt and long train but no added bling or lace; plain but beautiful details like the low scoop back and simple bows at the waist. It was such a relief to find the one!

My hairdresser for the wedding was Sarah Redding from Halo in Carlisle, and she was amazing, working relentlessly to get us all ready in time. A very talented lady. I own my own beauty salon in Carlisle called Rock and Fairy so I did everyone’s beauty treatments a couple of nights before the wedding and did my own makeup on the day using Mac products.

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Andrew wore a fitted black suit and white shirt with little gold buttons, all bought from Zara. He accessorised his outfit with gold braces and bow tie from Etsy and black patent loafers by Grenson.

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