May 15th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
“When Laura and Ryan come your way, throw in the air and shout hooray!” the confetti bags sweetly proclaimed at Laura and Ryan’s Cumbrian wedding that we are sharing with you on the blog today.
Their special celebrations were choc-full of personal touches; from personalised dress hangers sporting each bridesmaid’s name and the wedding date, to the thoughtful gift from the groom to his bride in the form of a book entitled ‘Our Love Story (So Far)’. In return, Laura gifted Ryan a Daniel Wellington watch to remind him to arrive on time to the ceremony! Guests also had a part to play, filling in ‘My Advice for the Bride and Groom’ cards, stored safely in a jar for the couple to open up and read on their first anniversary.
Against a backdrop of rolling Cumbrian hills, Laura and Ryan’s big day was a real lakeside love story.
With images by Joe Mather Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on 24th March 2016. We had just been handed the keys to our first house together (which was very exciting). We were eagerly looking around, taking photos for friends and family and, when I turned around, Ryan was on one knee with a ring. It was a complete surprise. Ryan had to prompt me to give him an answer, I was so shocked! It was very emotional. The surprises kept on coming, as that evening Ryan booked a table at a restaurant and surprised me by inviting my best friends along to celebrate with us.
We got married on 19th May 2017. I always wanted a May wedding; it’s one of my favourite months, probably due to the fact we both have our birthdays in May. Over the last few years it has been lovely weather in May, so we were hoping this would be true for 2017. We were very lucky and the weather stayed fine throughout the day.
We had our ceremony at St Mark’s Church, a beautiful little church in the village of Natland, Cumbria. Ryan was christened there and it has close connections with the family. Our reception was held at The Daffodil Hotel, Grasmere. It had recently undergone a revamp and we love the contemporary style it has. Being from the Lake District, we wanted to make sure we made the most of this beautiful place; the stunning landscape and views The Daffodil Hotel definitely made choosing a venue easier. We would absolutely recommend the venue to future brides and grooms. Katie, our wedding coordinator, was lovely and very helpful in assisting us to make our day exactly how we wanted. Not to mention the amazing location of the hotel right on the lake; the scenery is just amazing.
We wanted a classy and elegant look to our wedding, so we opted for a ‘black tie’ style theme. I wanted to keep the colours subtle and classic, mainly black, white and ivory with elements of grey and silver.
For my dress, although I had a set style in mind, I went to several bridal shops and tried on gowns of all shapes and styles but nothing stood out. As my mum and sister had anticipated, it was becoming a bit of a nightmare. We then went to Julia Tasker Bridal Couture in Bowness, where I tried on my dress; although I was still reluctant to commit, I knew this was the dress that was most ‘me’ and that I envisaged myself getting married in. It was an ivory strapless fishtail gown by British designer Sassi Holford, with a bespoke belt created by Julia Tasker. I loved the simple but elegant look it gave with the sweetheart neckline and buttoned detail down the back. I wanted something timeless, so in years to come it still had that classy feel without looking dated.
My hair was done by a close friend, Beth Nelson, who created a gorgeous up do, exactly how I imagined. My makeup was by the fabulous Aimee Chorley, with a little help from Tash Julian-Warwick, who helped with the bridesmaids’ makeup.
April 6th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Who says you have to play by the rules on your wedding day? Well, today’s couple are breaking with convention – and they’re doing it by the bucket-load! Favours, bridesmaids, best men, a wedding breakfast, top table…all nowhere to be seen. But Fi and Kev’s day is all the more special for it.
And, something we’re sure will turn a few heads – hubby Kev helped his bride-to-be shop for her wedding dress, and they even woke up together on the morning of their nuptials. Could this couple be any more unique, daring to be different and putting a big personal stamp on their big day?
Tying the knot in the stunning Lake District, the couple’s intimate wedding had so many wonderful touches – from their guests jingling a line of bells in unison following the ceremony, to their fabulous cheese cake and veggie spread, and the most eye-wateringly beautiful picture of the couple looking up at the twinkly night sky. We’re in love with this unconventional but truly inspiring wedding, and we think you’re going to be head over heels about it, too!
With images by Jo Greenfield Photography.
fi says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2016. We have a couple of traditions, one being that we love to send each other cards or write little notes to each other and leave them in random places; the other is that we like to return to a particular park bench, where we first held hands, on the 25th of each month. On Christmas Day 2016 I was excited to give Kev a card, telling him how wonderful 2016 had been and how much love and happiness he had brought to my world. He had also written a card for me which had an extra little note inside saying ‘will you marry me?’. Kev had planned to give me his card at the park bench but because I was so excited to give him mine on Christmas morning, he gave me his while we were standing in the kitchen at home. That’s where he proposed, with his little note, standing in the very spot where he had asked me to move in with him. Perhaps not as romantic as being in the park sitting on our bench, but simple and just perfect.
We got married on 30th September 2017. We didn’t want a long engagement – why wait?! Neither of us particularly had any attachment to the Midlands, where we live, but we both love the Lake District so decided to tie the knot there. We hoped the September date might offer us better weather conditions and colours in the mountains at that time of the year.
We got married and held our reception at the Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. Kev and I are both uncomplicated people and the thought of having a massive wedding just didn’t appeal – we do not like being centre of attention so keeping our wedding small and intimate was really important.
We found the Haweswater Hotel purely by chance. We had gone to visit a different location and had been recommended by the owner of this other venue that we could stay at the Haweswater Hotel on the night of our wedding. So, we thought we’d take a look. We parked up outside and were mesmerised by the location and how beautifully isolated it was. The reception staff offered to show us round and we left that afternoon knowing we wanted to get married there.
We didn’t have a theme. We just wanted a simple and uncomplicated day. No unnecessary extras, no over-the-top flamboyance, just simple, relaxed and informal, a gathering of our friends and family.
We knew what colours we liked and a scheme evolved from that. I knew I wanted to wear ivory and Kev knew he wanted a deep blue herringbone tweed suit. Kev had been on holiday to India just as we met and whilst he was there he met the Dalai Lama who had given him a knotted red string bracelet. We decided to use this red band as inspiration for a vibrant accent colour, with pops of deep red in our flowers and Kev’s button hole and tie. So, in the end, we had a mix of ivory, dark blue, pops of deep red, dusky pinks and creams.
Right from the first day we met, Kev and I have always shared everything, and I couldn’t comprehend dress shopping without him. We wanted all our wedding decisions to be made together, so Kev was involved in the dress process with me.
I’d hoped it would be really exciting to walk into wedding dress shops and pick up lots of beautiful dresses to try on; this was never the case. I did some internet browsing to find a shop that stocked some dresses I did like, and Kev came with me for my appointment. However, I was even more demoralised when everything I tried on was a size 8. Being a size 12/14 I never thought I was that big, but this experience soon made me feel self-conscious about my size, something that had never really worried me before.
All this really got me down and I thought I’d never find ‘the’ dress, but the one thing I was able to take from the experience was what did and didn’t suit me. I decided to have my dress made so that I could incorporate all the ideas that I had really liked from the dresses I had tried on. In the end a family friend made my dress. Kev and I designed it together and were involved in the whole process.
April 4th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s bride and groom, Erin and Matt got engaged in Kenya, but decided to tie the knot back in the UK, in the stunning Lake District, won over by the location’s rugged, rural landscape – perfect for such an outdoorsy couple, if we do say so ourselves!
They chose the adorable Knipe Hall for their reception – a period farmhouse which offered the versatility they very much craved, enabling them to really put a personal stamp on things – encompassing everything from the catering and décor to the entertainment.
Bamboo hearts, paper lanterns, a handmade cake stand, love themed books hidden in the crevasses of the barn wall, and a specially composed piece of music…we think you’ll be smitten with some of the couple’s creative ideas. As for the food, afternoon tea followed by a fish and chip van in the evening sounds like the perfect combination to us! We only wish we could have been there, too…
With images by Mr Sleeve.
erin says: We got engaged while living and working in Kenya, teaching in an international school, after we first met 18 months before at Heathrow, on the way out to Kenya to work in the same school. We were on holiday in Ethiopia during the Easter holidays in 2016 and were walking in the Simien Mountains when Matt proposed, sat on the edge of a very high cliff. We had no mobile or internet signal for a few days, so it was lovely knowing that it was only us who knew about the engagement for a while.
Our wedding took place on 12th August 2017. As teachers, we wanted a date in the holidays and were also hoping for some nice weather.
Our ceremony was held in The Parish Church of St. Peter’s, Martindale. As Matt is from Kent and I am from the Yorkshire Dales, we didn’t have a place in the UK that held shared memories for us both. We both love the wild and rugged fells of the Lake District and fell in love with this little church on a hill. The views of Lake Ullswater were amazing.
We chose Knipe Hall, Bampton Grange, for our reception as it has such a rustic and authentic location. We could choose whatever caterers, decor and style of wedding we wanted, but still have all the basics catered for, like clearing up, linens, cutlery etc. It was such a good compromise as we could be involved in all the exciting bits and leave the other parts to someone else. The flexibility and rurality of the location and the friendliness of the Knipe Hall team, as well as being great value for money, were real selling points to us.
It was also lovely to have our wedding in two places that have differing rural English landscapes; the steep volcanic mountains and beautiful lakes of the Lake District, as well as the more rolling and farming/estate land of the Lowther Estate.
Our theme was outdoor adventure and rustic vintage, with a creative twist. The outdoor adventure part was because we both love the outdoors and adventure. The vintage part came from the idea of an afternoon tea for our wedding breakfast, both for practical reasons and because everybody loves cake, right?! The rustic part was important because, when we looked at other ‘grander’ venues with wedding packages, we just felt it wasn’t really ‘us’. We wanted a venue that reflected our personalities and that we could put our stamp on, and this was certainly it, sheep and all! As for the creative part – this was based on the many parts of the wedding that were ‘created’ in some way by family and friends.
We didn’t have too much of a colour theme, but the bridesmaids were all in mint green. The green was echoed through the men’s ties and bunting too, but not much else.
March 8th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Victoria was just one of the legions of brides-to-be who walked into a bridal boutique claiming she knew what she wanted only to find herself disappointed. Thankfully, she was persuaded to try this classic Jesus Peiro number with ultra-elegant high neck and heavy silk, satisfyingly-swishy princess skirt and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her wedding to the lovely Christopher (full marks for that surprise Italian balcony proposal, Chris!) has sophistication in spades – we particularly love the dreamy peach and sage colour-scheme, just perfect for a summer bash, and the way these gorgeous images glow with a champagne-y light.
And we have a Brides Up North first! Have you ever seen a GoPro camera on a bottle of whisky? No? Us neither! We bow down to your ingenuity, guys – and we would love to see the footage…
With images by Shane Webber Photography.
victoria says: Chris took me away in October 2016 as a surprise 30th birthday present. – I had no idea where I was going until we were checking in at Gatwick! We went to Cinque Terre in Italy and on the second day we were making breakfast to enjoy on our balcony. When I walked outside, Chris was waiting for me on one knee. It was the day of our 5th anniversary.
Our wedding date was set for 5th August 2017. I’m a teacher, so I really wanted it to be during the summer holidays – I knew I’d be so much more relaxed and it meant we could go on a three-week honeymoon straight afterwards. Chris also wanted a day where it was more likely to be sunny!
Our venue was The Grange Hotel, Grange Over Sands, for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted to have the wedding in the Lake District as it’s somewhere we love and visit often. We spent a whole day visiting venues and fell in love with The Grange Hotel straight away; it was just what we wanted and luckily the perfect date was free!
The idea of a theme only came up once we started designing our seating plan, table names and favours. We were already considering using holiday photos and destinations as our table names as they were responsible for some of our best memories in our five years together. When looking for favours and seating plan ideas, I came across some DIY suitcases on Amazon that we could use for both, so a travelling theme became a small part of our wedding!
Palette-wise, sage was the primary colour, with peach as a secondary. We just love those subtle, natural, summery colours.
I wore a Jesús Peiró dress purchased from Marrime Bridal Wear. I was really struggling to get ‘that’ feeling in any of the dresses I’d been picking out on visits to other bridal shops. However, I instantly loved the thick silk material used in the Jesús Peiró selection, so decided to try some with a fuller skirt for fun (one of the many styles I was certain I didn’t want!) Once it was on I knew I couldn’t go back; I was so excited. I’d found my dress! I used Belles and Bows on the Isle of Man for my alterations. Rachel was so patient and went out of her way to make the dress fit perfectly; I’d recommend them to anyone looking for dress alterations.
October 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
If today’s real bride would have got things her way, she and beau Chris would have eloped to marry but we’re sure glad that Sharon was swayed by a larger-scale celebration in the Lake District – as we get to share all the pretty details of their big day with you today!
Surrounded by their family and friends, Sharon and Chris combined a pretty pastel colour scheme with a fun theme that gave nods to both of their passions (films and cats, need we say more!)
We love the relaxed vibes as guests have fun in the sun, entertained by garden games and live music. Other standouts for us include the super-cool choice of wedding transport and Sharon’s beautiful Nottingham lace dress and flower-crown combo for boho bride perfection!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Clarke.
sharon says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary, on August bank holiday weekend in Dolgellau, Snowdonia.
We had spent the day wandering around Portmeirion, which is a little fantasy village perched on a cliff, filled dreamy Italianate architecture and with lovely views over the bay. It’s a beautiful but surreal place, which is why it was chosen as the setting for the 1960s TV show The Prisoner. Later that night we went out for dinner and Chris insisted on driving. He is a keen photographer and so he decided we would drive out somewhere after dinner so he could take photos of the stars.
I had been trying to talk him out of it all night as it was actually very cloudy and there was not a star in the sky, but he was insistent. We drove out for about half an hour, trying to get the best vantage point at the top of the hill, and eventually Chris pulled over into a layby and got his tripod out. I was in the car, playing on my phone and wondering how long he was going to be as I really needed to pee, when he came back to the car and asked me to take a look at his photos. I looked at the screen on his camera and he had taken a beautiful photo… of the clouds. “Aw hon… it’s a bit cloudy, isn’t it?” I said. “Yeah,” he sighed, disheartened. Then suddenly he pulled out a box. “Anyway, I have a present for you… I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind marrying me?”
It turned out he had been hoping to get a shot of the stars on the night we got engaged. I think I had previously said that my worst nightmare would be to get engaged in a public place with loads of people around. He’d decided to find the most isolated and private place he could find; under the moon, with just the stars over us and no one else around.
In the box was a ring with an amethyst stone (my birthstone). He had been trying for about two years to figure out my ring size, but as I don’t normally wear rings he’d failed at every turn. He had tried getting friends to ask if I knew my ring size (I don’t) and had tried measuring my finger with a piece of string as I slept – all with no luck. Rather than guess, he decided to let me pick out the kind of ring wanted and get his friend, a jewellery designer in Birmingham, to make it just for me.
We got married on 17th June, 2017. I really wanted to get married in the summer as I desperately wanted some sunshine on the day and we didn’t want to wait until 2018. Unfortunately, this left us with less than ten months to plan a wedding in the Lake District in peak season, so the date was very much down to whether we could get the venue and the registrar. We also renovated and moved into our house this year, so it was a busy time for us.
I spent about two months trying to convince Chris to elope to Iceland or Vegas. I hate being the centre of attention and the stress and expense of a big wedding felt like a terrible way to start married life. Somehow Chris talked me round – he said we deserved to have a day with all our friends and family making fuss of us.
Having been convinced to go the whole hog, we agreed to get married to in the Lake District, where I grew up. We got married at Belmount Hall, between Ambleside and Hawkshead. The building is part of Beatrix Potter’s estate, but the main reason we chose it was for the incredible setting with views of Esthwaite Water and Gummers How in the distance. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were blown away by the surroundings. Belmount was the blank canvas we were looking for; small enough that we could have the whole site to ourselves but with vast and beautiful grounds in which to enjoy the sunshine (I was adamant that there would be sunshine).
Once we had the venue, we knew it was going to be a ‘Pinterest wedding’; rustic and a bit bohemian with lots of little touches that would make people say, “That is so Chris and Sharon”. We’re both big film fans and cat lovers (Chris is a film and TV lecturer and I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady), so our tables were named after feline film puns. The Big Meowski, The Great Catsby, Furris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. An extremely talented young artist called Amy Lewis took our silly ideas and transformed them into some adorable cartoons for each table and I designed the table plan myself.
I don’t like matchy matchy colour schemes so I went for a pastel rainbow of dusty pink, light blue, dove grey and soft peach.
As a big girl with big boobs, wedding dress shopping was a nightmare experience and I hated every minute. I had been dreaming of a 1920s-style beaded dress, in the style of Jenny Packham or Eliza Jane Howell, but whenever I managed to track one down the samples were all size 10 or 12.
I had almost given up hope when I walked past Kula Tsurdiu’s studio in Nottingham. Kula is a Greek designer, but her base is in the historic lace market of Nottingham, where she sources a lot of her materials. I made an appointment with Kula’s manager Laura Summerson and she was one of the few people to really listen to what I wanted. She didn’t try to force me into a stiff, ruffled, strapless A-line monstrosity, like almost every other store I tried. The dress I eventually settled on was all-over Nottingham lace with a natural waist, long sleeves with tiny sparkly sequins sewn into the fabric. Knowing that the dress would be made to my exact measurements was a relief and Laura managed to make the whole process as stress-free as it could be.
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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