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.
November 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime
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
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.
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.
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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December 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
For us today’s wedding sums up romance and elegance perfectly.
Choosing one of the dreamiest destinations for their big day, the Lake District, Tracy and Carl already had the wow factor in their hotel setting and so simply added beautiful touches in blush pink and ivory to bring their wedding day vision together.
Just looking at the gorgeous images makes us feel relaxed and loved up – stunning!
With images by Tiree Dawson.
tracy says: We visited New York last December and Carl proposed at the top of the Empire State Building. It was so romantic!
We got married on Friday 11th September 2015. The date was one of only a handful still available for our venue when we booked in January of this year, and as we didn’t want to wait too long we booked there and then.
We got married at the beautiful Inn on the Lake, Glenridding, Ullswater. We live in the Lake District and there are so many studding wedding venues available. We knew we wanted to get married outside and the Inn on the Lake was the first venue we visited. As soon as we saw it we fell in love and knew that it was where we wanted to have our special day. The lakeside gazebo is licensed for civil ceremonies and the views over the lake are just breath-taking.
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November 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This morning on the blog we’re travelling to the beautiful Lakes to relive Emily and Neil’s big day.`
Following a proposal at the top of Coniston Old Man, Emily and Neil felt it fitting to hold their wedding in the Lake District too, and so decided on a relaxed & homemade affair in a venue at the base of the mountain where they got engaged.
So grab your walking boots and trekking poles, as we join the happy couple in Cumbria.
With images from Darren Athersmith.
emily says: We got engaged in January 2014, it was a surprise engagement at the top of Coniston Old Man, Neil had asked my dad the day before, he planned to be at the top for sunrise however the top was covered in a snow blizzard so it was an icy proposal but we soon dropped down out of the blizzard to a lovely January sunrise.
Our wedding was on the 25th July 2015; we chose the date as Neil is a school teacher so we wanted to tie it into his school holidays.
We got married at Coniston Coppermines Mountain Cottages – we chose the venue as we live locally and both love the Lake District. We are at our happiest when up in the hills and knew we didn’t want a traditional church/hotel wedding. We also felt it so fitting that there was a wedding venue at the base of the mountain we go engaged at the top of. We loved the flexibility that the Coppermines offered us, the venue being ours for the whole weekend. We wanted guests to have a mini holiday as well as celebrating our marriage, plus we wanted family and friends travelling from around the country to see the surroundings we love. We had a marquee put up on the side of the cottages by Evans Marquee Hire, the front elevation of the marquee was all windows to make the most of the beautiful views down the valley towards Coniston Water.
We wanted a small intimate ceremony of just our immediate family, then as we were away having some photos taken our guests arrived for afternoon tea, it was great to get back to find everyone had joined us. More friends and family then joined us in the evening for the party.
We didn’t want a themed wedding and wanted the feel of the wedding to be relaxed and to suit the mountainous surroundings so all materials were natural and rustic. It was important to us that as much of the wedding as possible was home made. We didn’t want the wedding to be just about one day; it was a real family effort over the 18 months of our engagement. We did call on friends for help too – my good friend and owner of Dotty Flamingo laser cut the lace design on our wedding stationery and I then put together the cards for invitations and place names.
I didn’t want a colour scheme as such either and so had limited colour palette of white and natural tones. I wanted to use varying materials rather than have a ‘colour theme’ I loved the contrast of using the hessian and lace together teamed with simple flowers and lots of timber.
My fair colouring and red hair means white just washes me out so I found a nude coloured wedding dress online that had the warmth I needed and my mum was able to customise it for me. I chose a tea length dress as I didn’t want to spend the day worrying about my dress trailing on the ground as I knew we would be having photos taken in the mountainous surroundings.
The only splash of colour I had was my bright orange hunter wellies – thankfully the weather was glorious so the wellies weren’t critical. My shoes were from Dune, they were the same nude tone as my dress and had coloured stones on the T-bar. I got the same shoes in flats and heels if I needed to change for the dancing later in the night. I liked the fact that the shoes weren’t traditionally bridal so I could wear them after the wedding.
I made my hair piece myself, I bought a selection of wires and beads from Bojangle Beads in Loughborough and twisted the beads and wire around a thin gold Alice band. My jewellery was all borrowed from my mum, I wore pearl stud earrings, bracelet and pendant. My mum always used to wear the pendant when I was a child, it brings back lovely childhood memories every time I see it so I wanted to wear it on the day.
Neil wore a grey-brown slim fit tweed wool suit from Next.
Our two nieces (18-months-old and 4-years-old) were flower girls and wore sundresses from Marks and Spencer, in a soft mint green with flowery lace overlay and shoes from Next.
Our photographer was locally based Darren Athersmith. As soon as we met Darren we knew he was the photographer for us, not only did we want him to capture our wedding day, it was important to capture the mountain landscape we were in and he has a love of Lakeland landscape photography as well as portraits. We didn’t want any formal posed line up photos, we just wanted him to disappear into the day and capture us, our family and friends enjoying themselves again keeping that relaxed feel to the day. His whole approach is relaxed and puts you immediately at ease.
I wanted all white flowers and grew our own sweet peas that I had in my bouquet, they are my favourite flowers, and I love the scent.
We also grew other flowers to be dotted around the venue; we then topped up the flowers with green foliage from the garden and bought some white stocks, freesia (again for their scent) and sprays of gypsophila.
We made an arbour from silver birch branches that we added to with greenery from the garden, it was great as a natural frame for some of the photos. As an extra special touch, we used my grandad’s old watering can and steel bucket to arrange some flowers in, it was a small touch that meant a lot to me.
We made silver birch candle holders and jam jars covered in hessian and lace as small flower vases for the table centre pieces. Our table names were all mountains we have summited.
As mentioned the wedding was a real family effort and everyone pitched in to help. Mum and I set about making all the bunting that adorned the ceiling of the marquee, it took months and months to make, but was well worth it. The most special flags have lace that my mum took from her own wedding dress for us to use.
My dad made planters from old pallets that we put branches into with fairy lights on, they were a great backdrop during the day behind Neil and I during the afternoon tea and looked lovely when lit up in the evening.
Being outdoorsy we wanted favours that would remind guests of the day longer than just a mouthful of sugared almond so we made seed packets for each guest to take away to (hopefully) plant, grow and enjoy.
Neil’s mum made the three tiers of fruit wedding cake for us and I decorated it myself with lots of advice from friend and local cake maker Bird Bakes from Ulverston. I made the wooden dolly peg cake topper people myself and my 4-year-old niece painted some pegs as ‘the congregation’ that we stuck into the large timber homemade cake stand.
Our catering was by local company Premier Outside Catering of Baycliff, they served champagne and canapés (the canapés were made by Neil’s brother-in-law who is a chef) to family after the ceremony. We then had and afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches, pastries and cakes. Later in the evening we had pie and peas.
We didn’t have a bar and asked people to bring their own drinks for the day/evening whilst we provided Pimms on arrival then wine and Prosecco for the afternoon tea and speeches.
To provide entertainment, put together playlists for the ceremony and afternoon tea and hired a speaker/PA system from local company SAP Pro Audio in Kendal. It was so much fun putting together songs we both liked in the months leading up to the wedding and we still listen to the playlists now.
It was really important for us to have live music at the evening part of the wedding as we wanted everyone up and dancing – we even provided a hamper full of flip flops so there was no excuse for sore feet! Local band Ulpha590 played into the night as we danced away.
We loved having our wedding at the Coppermines and thankfully the sun shone all day; we felt the whole place reflected us as a couple perfectly. It was great that we had use of the venue all weekend; we had a barbeque on the Sunday and guests had use of the four hot tubs which overlooked the surrounding hillside.
I couldn’t really say I have a favourite part of the day; all of it, including the run up was great fun. I think because we wanted everything to feel relaxed we didn’t feel under pressure at all.
We went to the Isle of Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides for our honeymoon. We used my parent’s campervan to tour for two weeks with our dog. We had an amazing time, the weather was kind to us so we got to explore the many beaches that really are incredible, the sand was so white and sea so clear blue plus it was lovely and quiet.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to get sucked into what you think is expected of you as a bride or groom; it’s your day so do whatever feels right for you. Also take some time, just the two of you, stand back and take in all that’s going on around you as the day will fly by.
August 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s story starts off with a proposal by the bride! That’s right, brave Christina seized a leap year as the perfect opportunity to pop the question to her partner Ross after five happy years together.
Upon receiving a ‘yes’, Christina quickly got to work planning her dream day in The Lake District which featured two of her favourite things; birds and shabby chic wedding styling.
The result is an, oh so pretty big day, complete with elegant colour theme, stunning lace dress and a cute barn owl ring bearer. This one certainly sweeps us off our feet!
With images by Paul Swift Photography.
christina says: Ross is in the RAF and he had been posted near Cambridge in 2010, I’d decided to continue living with my parents in the north. After being together for more than five years in 2012 and having a long distance relationship, I decided it was time for us to get married. I found a venue that was perfect for us and in leap year tradition, I proposed to Ross.
Our wedding date was 13th July 2013. We always wanted a summer wedding and I had always dreamed of being married in the sunshine, outdoors and surrounded by nature.
We were married at the Broadoaks Country Hotel and initially booked the venue because of its location in Windermere, bridging the gaps between my husband’s family in Cumbria and my own family coming from Yorkshire and Lancashire. As the wedding planning began we realised there were many other qualities to the hotel which made us feel like it was made for us. The hotel itself is in a quiet area above Windermere, surrounded by trees and a babbling brook, which enabled our Labradors to be part of our wedding day too (they were a big part of the day and even wore their own doggy tuxedos).
Our ceremony took place in the pergola on the helipad surrounded by nature in 30 degree heat, everything I wanted. We paid for our guests to stay from Friday to Sunday. Friday night was Mexican night followed by drinks and dancing. Saturday morning was a full Cumbrian breakfast followed by clay pigeon shooting and cream tea and cakes for the bridal party.
I was 15 minutes late to my own wedding and got a telling off by the registrar but as I explained to her, trying to get a tiered dress and corset on in 30 degree heat is a very sticky job. It took ten minutes in an ice cold shower and then all three of my bridesmaids to help pull up and arrange my under skirts!
We had a shabby chic, bird theme, complete with lots of bird cages, salt and pepper bird favours, china tea sets and a sweetie table. I have always loved birds and rather than having my wedding look like I was an avid ‘twitcher’, the shabby chic look made it elegant and was definitely more me.
To complement the theme, our colour scheme was baby pinks, cream, turquoise and peach – pastel summer colours.
I wore Jessie by Augusta Jones with the Mantilla veil. An all lace, sweetheart neckline, slim dress. The pictures of the dress on the website do not do it justice. It wasn’t until I put it on that I knew this was the dress I wanted to wear for me and for my husband. I found a waist belt on Etsy decorated with crystals and pearls that I added to the dress. I had never felt more beautiful than I did on my wedding day and when I saw the look on my husband’s face as I walked down aisle, I knew it was the perfect choice.
Harriet Dickens of JGs, Northallerton, did my hair and makeup on the wedding day and then at the last minute managed to do almost everyone else’s makeup and hair too! She was amazing and made sure I’d started my beauty prep the week before sending me reminders of what I need to do when and how hot it was going to be so I would remember I was wearing a strapless dress and didn’t want any strap marks!
Ross wore the Help for Heroes kilt from Cameron Ross and so did the groomsmen. Being in the RAF, he chose this tartan so that a percentage of the hire price would go to the Help for Heroes charity.
All our bridesmaid and flower girl dresses were pink and were purchased from lightinthebox.com.
Paul Swift was our photographer on the wedding day. To those currently planning a wedding I would say if you’re going to pay for a professional photographer don’t skimp on the research. Look at what they have done before and remember that just because you’ve met them it doesn’t mean that you’re obliged to choose them. Go with your instinct and any photographer that cannot cater for your needs or that tries to pressurise you to choose them for your big day probably isn’t right for you.
Paul was the best and even catered for the doggies and just proves that if you’re passionate about what you do for your work it will always show in the end result. My photos are amazing and truly show the fun and excitement of the day. Everyone loves them and I have photographs that will forever be a reminder of my amazing day.
My flower bouquets and arrangements were all done by Valerie Ann’s Florist in Windermere. I wanted flowers and herbs that were highly scented so that I would have those scents as a memory of the day. I chose rosemary, lavender, dianthus, peonies, roses and carnations, wrapped in a ribbon with my late nana’s St. Christopher medallion attached (my something borrowed/blue). My bridesmaids had three large peonies and my three flowers girls had mini rose spheres.
I used birdcages, old tea sets, cake stands, loads of candles, hanging hearts, bunting, wreaths and cream rococo frames as décor.
For my sweetie table I had my favourite jelly belly beans with recipe cards. I had raided old charity shops for glass Bon Bon dishes, bowls and vases. I had my own pink striped paper sweetie bags with mini scoops and filled every container with as many different sweets as I could find.
As favours we gave out mini porcelain salt and pepper birds and chocolate hearts. For our gluten free guests we had macaroons.
I chose a white chocolate cake from Robineaus in Darlington. It was a three tiered cake with white chocolate roses. The top was a traditional fruit cake, the middle was lemon sponge (my favourite) and the bottom was dark chocolate cake.
The evening entertainment was a disco, put on by friends of ours.
As a special touch to our big day (and in keeping with the bird theme), we had an owl ring bearer called Olly the Barn Owl. It was an amazing experience and everyone got to hold him and have pictures.
Our guests also enjoyed clay pigeon shooting, croquet and golf on the lawn and paddling in the little brook in the grounds.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others, it’s a magical, beautiful place perfect if you want a quiet family/friend orientated wedding. You book out the whole hotel so that you have every room and you don’t have anyone disturbing your celebrations for the whole weekend. The bridal suite is divine and the hotel is spacious enough so that if you want a break from it all there are plenty of hidden places you can regroup in. Every room has a different decoration theme, decorated to the highest standard with four poster beds and full amenities. During your planning stages the staff are there on hand and offer discounted rates if you are living further afield and need to stay over whilst arranging other services.
My favourite part of the wedding day has to be walking down the aisle with my dad and then as he handed me over to my husband he could barely whisper and then suddenly got his act together and stated to my husband ‘she’s yours now’.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon just yet but we have some exotic plans for when we do.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy it! Everyone told me it would be over in a flash- they were right! Enjoy every minute don’t worry about anyone else. The whole day is just for you two, don’t ponder whether everyone is enjoying themselves, they are there to watch you, laugh and cry your way through the day so cherish every minute and do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it! Also, become a delegation queen, you don’t have to do everything as people will be more than happy to do some things for you.
I’m forever grateful to all my guests as everyone did a little something either in preparation for or on the big day! I love my husband so much for giving me everything that I wanted.
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