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festival chic. justin alexander for a tipi wedding in lancashire – emily & richard

August 22nd, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Festival Wedding in Lancashire (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (71)

The super gorgeous real wedding we’re bringing you today combines a smattering of our favourite things, including fairy-tale like tipis, a VW campervan and lots of glamping-inspired fun. What’s not to love about this wedding party?

Tying the knot back in May, Emily and Richard decided to hoist up some tipis in a neighbour’s garden and centre their celebrations around a dreamy festival theme! Cue some fabulously wild blooms, twinkly lights, wicker hearts and milk urns to complete their chic wedding day look.

Alongside their two-course wedding breakfast, the couple also hired prosecco and fish and chip vans, with marshmallows for toasting in the evening for a real laid-back vibe. The guests even had wristbands as little keepsakes from the day – perfectly in tune with the theme. Like all good parties, we like to reminisce, so let’s pass the blog over to Emily to share the ever so wonderful highlights from their special day.

With images by Ian MacMichael.

A Festival Wedding in Lancashire (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (40)

emily says: We were on a two-week holiday in Mexico in 2016, when Richard proposed. I decided I’d love for us to get a professional photo shoot done of the two of us and we booked the shoot for 15th June at around 4pm. We went to the beach to meet the photographer and had a couple of pictures together. I was then having a picture by myself and to my surprise Richard walked in front of the camera, got down on one knee and proposed. The photographer had no idea it was coming either – we then carried on with the shoot and got some beautiful pictures. We had an album made so all our family and friends could see the special moment.

A Festival Wedding in Lancashire (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (48)

We got married on 26th May 2018. We chose that date because we hoped the weather would be nice. It was also a bank holiday, which meant we could carry on the party until the Sunday, too.

We exchanged vows at St Mary’s Church in Rufford, and then celebrated in a tipi on my mum and dad’s next-door neighbour’s field at the back of the house. We chose this style of backdrop because we loved the feel of the tipis. We hired ours from All About Me Marquees and Events and would definitely recommend them, from the initial contact right through to the end – they were great.

A Festival Wedding in Lancashire (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (13)

We had a festival style theme, with hay bales laid out around the field, ten glamping tents for all the bridal party to stay in and a converted horse box – The Prosecco Pot – pulled up on the field from where we served our reception drinks of prosecco and Peroni. We also had a fish and chips van – Just For You Fish and Chips – serving fish, chips and a choice of gravy or mushy peas. Both companies were fab!

A Festival Wedding in Lancashire (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (97)

My dress was a Justin Alexander gown from a shop in Whalley, Lancashire called Lulu Browns Bridal, who were fab! I tried on so many different styles and always thought I would choose a lace mermaid style dress, but when I tried the dress on that I eventually bought – I fell in love with it instantly. In fact, I cried, as did my mum and mother-in-law.

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cool & chic: a vintage wedding at holmes mill – lauren & nick

July 13th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) Sarah Glynn Photography (63)

Our fabulous Friday real wedding between Lauren and Nick begins with a rather novel proposal – a one carrot gold proposal, if you will (yes, we did say carrot!). It sets the tone for a cool and quirky wedding at the stylish Holmes Mill, Lancashire, where industrial meets luxury.

We love Lauren’s original 1950s below-the-knee dress in blush pink with its flirty skirt, lace detail and wide sash nipping in at the waist. It suits Lauren down to the ground as she conveys an air of vintage charm and her wonderful lively personality, shines through in all the images. She completes her individual attire with a pair of sparkly, striped shoes topped with pink and blue ruffles. And groom Nick too has a strong sense of style – we more than approve of his slim tan tie and the two-tone brogues.

This carefree couple look comfortable throughout resulting to a relaxed and fun day filled with entertaining interludes; from calling up some of the guests to take on carving duties (complete with chef’s hats) to competitive ice-cream-eating and one seriously happening ceilidh. So, join us as we two-step this way to hear more about their truly awesome celebrations.

With images by Sarah Glynn Photography.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) Sarah Glynn Photography (31)

lauren says: We got engaged on Christmas morning 2015. We grow a lot of our own food in our garden, and whilst preparing dinner we went outside to pick some carrots. Nick kept suggesting a specific one, but I didn’t think it looked any good. He eventually convinced me to pick it and there was a piece of string attached to the carrot. At the end of the string was a bag; in the bag was an engagement ring! It was his maternal grandmother’s ring and it still had the original receipt from 1910!

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) Sarah Glynn Photography (49)

We got married on Saturday 9th June 2018 at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. We were driving our daughter to a music gig in a library in Lancaster and talking about weddings; Nick mentioned he’d seen “somewhere pretty cool” on a website, so I checked it out and called three days later. The venue and everyone involved there were totally unbelievable! Everyone at Holmes Mill went above and beyond to ensure we had the most perfect day. They accommodated everything and took any stress away from us – even when I asked that someone bring Nick eight ice creams throughout the day. (We once attended a wedding where the groom managed to eat six ice creams. Nick later described him as an “absolute hero” and so I wanted Nick to be a hero at his own wedding!) Communication and organisation was second to none and we were thrilled with everything about the day.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) Sarah Glynn Photography (39)

We didn’t have a specific theme – just that we wanted the wedding to be very ‘us’. That meant having lots of wine, good music, lots of friends and the odd cycling reference here and there. I guess the wedding colour scheme was dictated by my dress really. With the dress being pale pink, it felt right that flowers, etc. should be muted and very ‘earthy’.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) Sarah Glynn Photography (51)

When it came to my dress, Nick actually bought it for me. I’m a real lover of everything vintage and second hand and it’s a genuine 50s dress. I had seen the dress on Susan Hayward’s Facebook page and loved it. On Christmas day it arrived wrapped up. I mentioned on the day that I had seen the dress and imagined it as my wedding dress, he agreed and it sat in the wardrobe until this year. Thank goodness it still fitted! Nick has always been great at choosing clothes for me; I‘m very lucky.

My hair was done by Rachel Wigle at Watermelon Studio in Liverpool. She’s an amazing hairdresser and a fantastic friend; she was invited to the wedding and insisted I wasn’t to do my own hair for my own wedding! It was perfect.

My makeup was done by my wonderful sister Emma Parker. She’d just completed her Level 2 in beauty and so I was really keen for her to do my makeup. We had a few trials and she knew exactly what I wanted. Again, it was perfect.

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what’s your jam? alive network’s top lancashire wedding entertainers

June 27th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

6 - Andy Billington_Side On Dancefloor

Andrew Billington Photography

Up there as one of couples’ main concerns when planning a wedding is “what if guests become bored?”. As your nearest and dearest there to witness you make a life-long declaration of love to one another this is highly unlikely as they will just be thrilled to be a part of your big day. But in a somewhat Bride Wars mindset, there’s always the desire to top any wedding you’ve been to before with your own, and hope that it creates memories that guests harp back to long after the celebrations have been and gone.

As such it’s important to get your entertainment in order – which elements of the day require music to keep the vibe high and what other live acts could you incorporate into your day to make it all the more special?

Being our true helpful selves, we’ve called upon our rocking Sponsor, entertainment agency Alive Network, to talk us through all options for the wedding day, from the ceremony to the evening par-tay! Better still, for those of you in the North West, the Alive Network team have pinpointed some of their very favourite Lancashire-based acts that can deliver that added wow-factor to your proceedings. Over to the experts…

the ceremony

It’s the biggest moment of your day. So, it’s no wonder couples aren’t waiting for their evening band to get goosebumps. More of you than ever are choosing live ceremony music to make things super special from the start. #itsoktocry

Prelude: As your guests gather – and the nerves kick in – how about a little musical calm? Your prelude is usually 30 minutes of live music, and a great way to warm things up for your big entrance.

Processional: Your musician can play your special ceremony music as you take to the aisle for your processional, which is usually one song. Top tip: Go through the version with your artist (see if they can send you a recording of them playing it) and time your walk during rehearsal so that you hit your favourite bit of the song at the right time!

Signing of the registers: This is usually two to three songs. Depending on your style of ceremony, this could take a bit of time, so live music is a great way to keep the excitement up for your guests and make the moment even more special.

Recessional: Your joyful, hand-in-hand jaunt back down the aisle as a couple! Choose something upbeat that reflects the crazy-happy moment.

1 - Andy Billington_Ceremony_Holding_Hands

 Andrew Billington Photography

our picks for the ceremony

Harpist – Bella Rose creates a sound that’s ethereal, subtle and pretty.

String quartet – Lancashire String Quartet perform elegant, classical versions of chart tracks, which is perfect for a modern-classic feel at your ceremony.

Classical singer – Rousing and captivating, Gemma La Voce performs your choice of operatic arias, show tunes, and modern classics.

Acoustic singer-guitarist – A guitarist is by far the most popular choice for chilled ceremonies. James T or John Gough both perform beautiful, unplugged music to underscore one of the most emotional parts of your big day.

Live taster. See Lancashire String Quartet perform A Thousand Years here.

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real wedding recap 2018: savannah miller for an urban luxe wedding at holmes mill – stacy & andy

May 31st, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) S6 Photography (18)

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 4th June 2018 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.

Stacy and Andy’s stunning day represents the best of two very different wedding worlds, with wild, windy Wuthering Heights-style portraits at the top of Pendle Hill placed alongside the laidback industrial cool of Holmes Mill in Clitheroe.

From the moment this decisive pair stepped foot in the venue they just knew it was for them – falling instantly in love with its exposed stone walls, cool lighting and chic industrial features. Their theme evolved organically, with lots of dark red, evergreens, candlelight and Stacy’s Edwardian-style dress setting an effortlessly elegant tone for a spectacular winter feast. The Northern Soul and Hacienda-influenced playlist and pie, pea and chips supper gets a big thumbs up from us and, quite frankly, pushes Stacy and Andy into poll position as our current festive wedspo favourites.

There’s so much to crush on in these images, from the vintage cocktail glasses to the unfettered emotion in those triumphant fist-pumping shots taken outside the church. So, without further ado, it’s time to indulge in some beauty!

With images by S6 Photography.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) S6 Photography (39)

stacy says: Andy’s proposal was a complete surprise. We were spending Christmas 2016 separately with our families (mine in Lancashire, Andy’s in Berkshire) as we both live and work in London so don’t get much time with them throughout the year. On Christmas morning, Andy made the four-hour drive up to surprise me at my parents’. I answered the door, and my mum and dad – who knew he was coming – were so excited that they appeared at the door too, along with my brother. When I opened it to find him on the doorstep on one knee, he proposed to all of us! We had such an amazing Christmas Day – my mum had already set the table for five (I hadn’t even noticed), and we all ate Christmas dinner together, then drank champagne and danced into the small hours.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) S6 Photography (17)

Our wedding was 30th December 2017. The date wasn’t significant, we just didn’t want to be engaged for a long time, and I always liked the idea of a winter wedding over a summer wedding because of all the aesthetics, with cosy candlelight and dark colours and foliage.

The ceremony was at St Peter & St Joseph RC church in Rossendale, Lancashire. The church is special to me because my parents were married there in 1984, and my grandparents in 1946. My grandparents Nellie and Jack attended mass there until their deaths, and we reserved their usual bench with a sign and two red roses, so it felt like they were there. Throughout the ceremony I felt that if I’d turned around I would have seen them, which was a lovely feeling.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) S6 Photography (41)

Our reception was at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. My dad Stuart found the venue, and as soon as we walked in (it was the first venue we saw), we knew it was the one. We’re quite decisive! We loved how it felt almost like a private members’ club, with potted palms and nooks and crannies with comfy sofas. I love all things Victorian and Edwardian, and loved the way they’d made all the old mill equipment the focus of each room. Upstairs the function room was perfect, with exposed walls, Edison bulbs and a glass wall overlooking the brewery. I think we made our minds up before we’d even talked prices.

There wasn’t a theme but I suppose we wanted everything to be seasonal, with natural lighting, dark colours and foliage. There ended up being a lot of dark red – my flowers, my shoes, Andy’s tie – which wasn’t planned but came together well.

A Cool Wedding at Holmes Mill (c) S6 Photography (21)

My dress was from Savannah Miller’s collection at Debenhams. I knew I wanted long sleeves and a high neck; when I was looking at dresses I was drawn over and over again to Edwardian-style dresses with narrow shapes and beautiful detailing. It made it easy to shop for one because at every showroom or boutique I visited (about four in total), they only had one or two long-sleeved dresses. When I tried the Savannah Miller dress on it was just perfect – and it helped that it was about a third of the price of everything else I’d tried!

I shopped around for bridal shoes but found most of them weren’t my style. I eventually chose a pair of Bordeaux velvet court shoes from the V&A collection at Ravel, which was a beautiful contrast to the ivory dress. My earrings were from Latelita London, and I bought an ivory fur cape from Helen Moore to wear outside. My veil was from Kimberley Anne Bridal Boutique in Clitheroe.

Frankie Noone did my make-up, who I know from school, and Victoria at Spectrum One did my hair.

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love blooms. ronald joyce for a sophisticated wedding at west tower – imogen & neil

May 16th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (34)

A romantic venue that dates back to the late 1800s is the picture-perfect setting for today’s beautiful wedding in the heart of Lancashire. Say hello to Imogen and Neil, who tied the knot at the fabulous West Tower manor house in February.

Opting for a classic, elegant theme, the couple’s big day is brimming with prettiness and sophistication in every imaginable way. The ivory flowers, the blossom trees, the buttercream sponge cake, and that stunning Ronald Joyce gown – we think you’ll be coveting all these exquisite details just as much as we are!

Swapping a traditional guest book for a Polaroid camera, serving shots of Limoncello (yes, please!) and even hosting a competition relating to their first dance with a £50 bar tab up for grabs – there are lots of personal touches to inspire all the brides-to-be among you, and so much more besides. We think it’s time to hand the blog over to Imogen to talk us through all the dreamy highlights from their special day. Enjoy!

With images by Ian MacMichael.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (38)

imogen says: We got engaged at home. Neil attached the ring to our new Boston Terrier puppy, Michael. He proposed just before our 11-year anniversary.

We got married on 11th February – there was no particular significance associated with this date, but we decided that we didn’t necessarily want a summer wedding because the weather wouldn’t be guaranteed. We chose February half term because I’m a teacher.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (17)

We tied the knot at West Tower in Aughton, Ormskirk. We wanted somewhere close to home and this venue is just a short drive away. We went to a wedding open day and thought the venue was lovely. We only viewed two different venues, but it quickly became clear to us that West Tower was the ideal choice.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (42)

We wanted to keep the theme classic and elegant. We didn’t want anything that would date too easily, so we kept it simple. Above all, we just wanted everyone to have a good time and look back in years to come and think ‘that was a fantastic day’.

We chose to keep the colour scheme quite neutral. The groom and groomsmen wore grey and navy suits, and the bridesmaids wore dark green as I saw the dresses and loved the colour. We wanted to have lots of green and ivory in the flowers, and both like thistles so a few of those were included. All of this tied in with the dress and suit choices.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (58)

I bought my dress from Always and Forever Bridal Boutique in St Helens. It is a local wedding dress shop and the service was great! I went back for a second time and they had taken the dress out of the window for me to try. I loved it. It felt comfortable and was quite traditional except for the scooped back and beading. The designer was Ronald Joyce and the dress was called Jillian.

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foliage & finery: elizabeth gregory couture for a winter wedding at samlesbury hall – suzanne & bevan

March 26th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (34)

We may currently be praying for even the tiniest glimpse of spring, but today on the blog we have some breathtakingly beautiful wintery wedding inspiration, perfect for those of you planning a seasonal celebration.

The festivities were in full swing for today’s couple, Suzanne and Bevan, who invited Christmas into their wedding and threw a jewel-coloured, lively celebration that incorporated guest participation, with each guest asked to sing a line from The 12 Days of Christmas during the wedding breakfast.

Suzanne’s desire for foliage and no flowers to keep the decorations seasonal shows how incredible a bouquet can look without the traditional floral additions. Another show-stopper is the cake – an exquisite naked confection studded with foliage and feathers, which perfectly complements the Tudor theme of the wedding breakfast. With an artfully dressed chandelier presiding over long tables in the great hall, Suzanne’s love of this bygone period is evident in the evocative yet simple styling. If this was history coursework, we’d give her an A-star!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (42)

suzanne says: Bevan and I met in Singapore on Tinder, despite both living around the corner from each other in London! One of the first places we headed to as a couple when we were back visiting the UK was Grasmere, where we walked up the Lion and the Lamb. So, when Bevan decided he wanted to propose, he took me back to Grasmere and up to the top of the Lion and the Lamb, where he suggested we take a break. He then pulled from his rucksack what appeared to be a Christmas present (Bevan proposed on 21st December 2016). I opened the gift and it was a book entitled ‘Our Adventures’. Each page was a different picture of our life together so far. When I reached the final page, there was a picture of a jewellery shop with the caption, “I want to ask you to begin another adventure with me” and the next page said, “Will you marry me?” Bevan got down on one knee with a vintage engagement ring – a 1930s blue sapphire with two diamonds either side.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (23)

We got married on 22nd December 2017, at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. As we live overseas, we tried to pick a date when our overseas friends would also be back in the UK. We liked the idea of making the day a big Christmas party. The venue is in my home town of Preston and I love history, especially the Tudor period, so a Tudor house seemed ideal. The ceremony was in the old chapel, the drinks reception in the antechamber and the wedding breakfast in the great hall. Some of our guests stayed overnight in the shepherd’s huts, which are located in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall. Angela, who runs the venue, is amazing at making your day run smoothly and the venue is bursting with character.

The wedding was not a religious ceremony. However, the ceremony itself was very personal to us. We used Cate Baines at The Ceremony Company and she was fantastic. She really set the scene with a flamboyant explanation of how we met.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (19)

In terms of a theme, I was keen to have a vintage feel to my dress because of my engagement ring but we didn’t really have a specific theme, other than telling everybody it was first and foremost a Christmas party.

For the colour scheme, I went with champagne (because of my dress having that vintage look), dark green, dark red and dark blue. I wanted to keep the colours simple and in tune with Christmas.

A Winter Wedding at Samlesbury Hall (c) Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (39)

My dress was designed for me by an Irish designer based in Singapore called Elizabeth Gregory Couture. It was great working with Elizabeth. She designed my dress around my engagement ring and she also designed and made my fake fur stole, which I finished off with a vintage brooch that belonged to Bevan’s great grandmother. I added a back necklace by Tilly Thomas Lux and matching hairpins. I’d like to give a shout out to Chloe and Sarah for the fantastic hair and makeup – two lovely working mummies!

Bevan wore a suit, also designed and made by Elizabeth. Her suit brand is called Elizabeth Grace. Bevan wore navy with a beautiful grey waistcoat sporting bright red lining.

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