March 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Hollie dreamt of a summer wedding with pretty pink touches and along with the help of her groom Mark the two executed the brief perfectly.
From the beautiful blooms, bunting and ‘love bug’ to the ombre pink cake, rustic centre pieces and adorable sweetie table, this is one seriously well styled wedding.
As huge fans of all things pink here at Brides Up North, Hollie and Mark we salute you!
With images by our Featured Supplier Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Hollie says: We got engaged on 28th September 2012 whilst we were on holiday in Cuba. Mark took me by surprise when he got down on one knee and proposed on the first night with a beautiful bespoke ring!
We decided straight away that we wanted a summer wedding, with high hopes of sunshine and so set the date for 9th August 2014.
We got married at our local church, St John the Baptist in Adel, followed by an evening reception at East Riddlesden Hall. We wanted a traditional church wedding and St John The Baptist is a beautiful old church with a striking Norman doorway and gargoyle sculptures dotted around which was just perfect. After looking at a number of evening venues, we fell in love with the converted barn and gorgeous surroundings at East Riddlesden Hall as it gave us a blank canvas to let our imaginations run wild and create a day that truly reflected us as a couple.
We had a rustic theme to complement the barn, with vintage touches. I spent hours scouring Pinterest for ideas, earning myself a reputation as a Pinterest addict in the process!
The colour palette was dusky pinks, cream and rose gold. This is my favourite colour combination (in fact most of our home is decorated in these colours) so after ruling out the Leeds United colours pretty early on (!), it seemed like a no-brainer.
After looking at lots of wedding dresses on Pinterest, I pictured myself in a fitted lace dress with cap sleeves but ended up falling in love with quite the opposite! I found a gorgeous strapless dress by Essence of Australia at Ava Rose Hamilton in Sildsen with a sweetheart neckline and big tiered lace skirt and the moment I tried it on I thought ‘now thisis a wedding dress’ and at that point I knew I’d found the one! The service at Ava Rose Hamilton was second to none and Rebecca made the whole experience from choosing my dress to getting last minute alternations done an absolute breeze!
As the dress was so detailed, I chose a simple one tiered veil and purchased a pearl necklace and earrings from Azendi. My little sister gave me her pearl bracelet from Tiffany & Co to wear on the day as my something borrowed. I found some beautiful rose gold strappy heels by Ivanka Trump on Pinterest, which went perfectly with my colour scheme. When I realised the style was called Hara (my maiden name is O’Hara), I knew I had to have them and had the shoes shipped over from America!
Mark wore a grey three-piece suit which he hired from Yorkshire Menswear in Rodley, Leeds. He accessorised with an ivory tie and black shoes. I surprised him with personalised cufflinks and socks, and a Hugo Boss watch. He looked very handsome! The groomsmen wore matching grey three-piece suits with blush pink ties and personalised cufflinks.
My four beautiful bridesmaids wore blush pink maxi dresses from Oh My Love, with a cream and rose gold belt which had a cute bow on the front. I gave each of them a rose gold pearl bracelet on the morning of the wedding with their initials, which they wore on the day.
For the transport we hired a convertible 1970’s cream Beetle from Love Bug Celebrations. They dressed the car with pink ribbons and flowers to match the colour scheme and included a bottle of champagne for Mark and I to enjoy on the drive from the church to East Riddlesden Hall, which was a lovely touch. Mark and the groomsmen arrived to church in a black customised Range Rover, which his parents arranged as a surprise.
Choosing the right photographer was very important to us and when we met Lissa Alexandra at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall we knew she was the right lady for the job! Her photography is very natural with a vintage edge, which is exactly what we wanted. We had an engagement shoot in Knaresborough a month before the wedding and, although it was pouring down with rain on the day, Lissa made us feel totally at ease and took some brilliant photos.
On the wedding day she brought her assistant photographer Jamie and they both did an amazing job of capturing all the special moments of our big day. They were both so friendly and it was an absolute joy to have them there on the day! Lissa is exceptionally talented and I can’t recommend her highly enough.
I carried a bouquet of dusky pink and cream roses, mixed with gypsophila and bound with lace and pearls. The bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and church flowers were all supplied by Lily’s of Bramhope. Rachel was extremely helpful and went the extra mile to find the perfect roses to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
We bought a selection of pink and cream roses and bunches of gypsophila from the Morrisons Flower Shop to decorate the barn, which helped us keep within our budget.
In the lead-up to the wedding we collected lots of little trinkets and did a lot of crafting to decorate the barn. My friend Zoe was an absolute Godsend and spent many a late night designing and printing stationery for us and other friends also helped out making metres of hessian and lace bunting and chalkboard signage. The parents of one of my bridesmaids then kindly dressed the barn for us on the morning of the wedding along with the East Riddlesden Hall wedding team and did an amazing job of bringing our vision to life.
As favours everybody received a personalised wooden heart and we had a sweet table for everyone to tuck into, which went down an absolute treat!
My friend Sally kindly offered to make our wedding cake and did an absolutely fantastic job! She made a beautiful three-tiered cake with a mixture of chocolate and Victoria sponge and pink and white ombre frilled icing, which we displayed on a tree stump with our initials and wedding date carved into it.
We chose GFS Catering as our caterers as they allowed us to create a completely bespoke menu. We had Pimms and canapés on arrival and a gourmet barbecue later in the afternoon, followed by a trio of desserts including cherry crème brule (my favourite), profiteroles (Mark’s favourite) and New York cheesecake (failsafe). We then a choice of either Thai green curry or tikka masala curry in the evening.
We wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and for everyone to let their hair down and have fun, so entertainment was a very important element when planning the wedding. We had giant Jenga set up outside the barn and we also hired the Booth Revolution photo booth for the evening, which our guests loved. As part of the wedding package we received a wedding album full of photos and messages from all our friends and family, which is a lovely keepsake.
Luckily my bridesmaid Kelly knows an amazing wedding band called Tom Rocks & The Replicants – her dad is the bassist! They played a mixture of covers from old classics to recent hits and got everyone up and dancing – somebody took a brilliant photo of my dad doing the twist! Lots of people commented on how brilliant the band were and they’ve also had a couple of booking from guests for their own weddings since which is a real testament to their talent!
We worked in a few extra touches through the day too. We hired hay bales to create seating alongside the lake which opposite the barn and provided bags of duck food which the children enjoyed feeding to the ducks! We also hired large illuminated M&H letters from Add Vintage which we positioned on the stage next to the band. These made an amazing backdrop for the photos of our first dance!
East Riddlesden Hall has a golf buggy that can be hired to transport guests to and from the restrooms, which are separate to the barn itself. We decorated it with fairy lights and our guests absolutely loved taking a ride up and down the path! We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. East Riddlesden Hall is stunning and unlike many other venues, it gives you a blank canvas to create your vision for your wedding. Emma and the wedding team are also great at what they do and they made the whole planning process as straightforward and stress free as possible.
Saying our vows in front of all our nearest and dearest was so special and a moment I’ll treasure forever. The speeches were also great and had me in tears one minute and in fits of laughter the next, but it was also lovely to have some time just myself and Mark on the journey from church to East Riddlesden Hall to take everything in.
Following the wedding we went to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a five-day ‘minimoon’ and have recently returned from a three-week honeymoon in Hong Kong and Thailand, which was beyond amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding day personal to you. It’s the one day you can have everything just the way you want it to be so embrace it!
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January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.
It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!
After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.
After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”
We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.
We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.
We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.
We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.
The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.
We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!
Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.
On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!
Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.
I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.
My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.
I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!
She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!
We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!
My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!
We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!
We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!
We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.
The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!
Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.
It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.
The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.
We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.
My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.
Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.
We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.
We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!
Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.
January 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Yes I know. Last time I checked, Sandhurst Military Academy wasn’t in the North either. However, I still wanted to share this classy and beautiful Real Wedding with you this frosty Monday morning, because (as well as a wedding at this usually private establishment being really rather cool) Northern bride Hannah – despite getting married out of the area – still sourced most of her fabulous wedding day suppliers Up North. And isn’t showing what we can do what Brides Up North is all about?
With images by friend of the wedding blog Lissa Alexandra Photography, Hannah and Joel’s big day is a study in elegance. Be inspired.
Hannah says: We got engaged on 1st March 2012 whilst on holiday in South Africa (Joel had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan). Joel proposed on a secluded beach when visiting the Cape of Good Hope.
We were married on 2nd March 2013 at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. We met just before Joel went off to Sandhurst, and we formed many good memories and friendships whilst he was there. As a result, wanted to share this otherwise inaccessible venue with friends and family.
My favourite colour is blue and our colour scheme it all took its lead from my engagement ring, which is a sapphire. As luck would have it, Joel’s uniform is also blue! The bridesmaids were in blue and our best-man and usher’s suits were blue, with a pale blue shirt and a mustard colour tie.
Our flowers were a fresh palette of greens and creams/whites using unusual flowers. Family wore mint green carnations.
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November 14th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Today’s stunning Real Wedding proves that a celebration jam packed with handmade touches and DIY details needn’t look amateur. Kirsty and Tom managed to pull of a gorgeously elegant big day whilst still retaining that personal touch. Be inspired, as we join them for their elegant wedding day in the Lake District.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Kirsty says: Tom and I got engaged on 28th October 2011 in New York City and were married on 13th April 2013 at Our Lady of the Wayside, Grasmere with an evening reception at Merewood Country House, Windermere.
We loved our venue from the moment we walked in. We always wanted a country house, with lots of character, where family and friends could stay for the weekend. The Merewood was perfect. Our wedding had a vintage theme inspired by the character of the the property, and a colour scheme of dusky lilac and ivory.
The bridesmaids wore long dusky lilac dresses with a pearl detail necklace and our groomsmen wore traditional black suits accessorised with a grey tweed tie and pocket square.
We genuinely enjoyed every second of our wedding day. If I had to pick one moment it would be walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time surrounded by all our family and friends.
Our photographer was the amazing Lissa Alexandra who captured every moment perfectly.
I carried a large bouquet of cream roses tied with lace and the bridesmaids had smaller versions. Tom, the best man and ushers wore a single cream rose to keep it simplistic. At the venue, we had vintage birdcages filled with a lilac, cream and sage flower arrangement.
All our flowers were by Julie Sharrock.
We travelled in a white Rolls Royce Wraith to fit with the vintage theme.
We had a string trio playing in the church and then our evening wedding singer was Phil Fryer of Just To Be Frank who is a Frank Sinatra tribute followed by DJ Ken Harper.
Tom and I love to be creative and really enjoyed making all the personalised touches for our wedding.
We had framed photographs of both of our parents on their wedding day, with a thank you poem on display in the hotel reception. We also had two frames with a personalised ‘He’ and ‘she’ description for each other and a vintage typewriter for people to write us well wishes and words of advice for the guest book.
We bought a polaroid camera and made a vintage pin board for people to capture their own moments which we now have hung up in our hallway.
We handmade tea cup candles for every table (which was a lovely touch when they were lit in the evening) and hand painted table frame numbers and made all the stationery ourselves including our menu and order of service.
We handmade chocolate moustache and lips with a personalised tag for the wedding favours which our nephews handed round to everyone following the wedding breakfast. This created lots of laughs.
Our wedding cake was a three tier classic Victoria sponge cake decorated with real cream rose flowers.This was made at Patisserie Viennoise of Otley, West Yorkshire.
After the wedding we jetted off to Rome on honeymoon.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding personal to the both of you, and enjoy every second of it.
Congratulations Kirsty & Tom!
This is not a sponsored post
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November 5th, 2013 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we are fusing country wedding pretty with city glamour as we join Lucy and Darren for their gorgeous Leeds City Centre Real Wedding. After a major setback (read on) which derailed Lucy’s original plans, this beautiful bride came back fighting to create a celebration that was even better than she’d imagined.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Lucy says: We got engaged on 29th February 2012 – it was the leap year so I took the opportunity to propose to him!
I proposed at home, he came home from work to a candlelit bath, the table was set with candles, I had prepared a three course home cooked meal – I bought his wedding ring, put it in his desert bowl & popped the question!
We got married on 29th June 2013 at Leeds Town Hall then the Malmaison Hotel.
We originally booked Anthony’s Piazza Restaurant in the Corn Exchange, but on Friday 21st June (one week before the wedding) they sent me an email to say they were closing the business & could no longer do our ‘event’! So, in a mad panic a very distressed bride to be went in to the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds who said very calmly not to panic and they would sort everything out for me! They took a copy of the menu that Anthony’s were going to produce for us and copied it. They upgraded me to the Suite and the staff were so helpful, I didn’t feel like my wedding collapsed the week before. The wedding ended up being 100% better than what was originally booked.
The wedding had an English rose, vintage, romantic feel with a lilac colour base.
I carried a big bouquet of Peony, Sweet Pea, Hydrangea, Stocks and freesia – I wanted the wild flower look.
We kept it simple at the venue and used lots of candles and low lighting to create a romantic setting.
We bought everyone a Lotto ticket for a favour, held in a brown card holder with a Good Luck verse, tied with brown string and dotted vintage disposable cameras around the tables for our guests to take some snaps.
Our cutting cake was Victoria Sponge and we also had cupcakes in Cherry Bakewell, Lemon Meringue & Chocolate.
My favourite part of the day was seeing all the evening guests arrive & dancing to the band, twirling to the music in my wedding dress!
After the wedding we honeymooned at Loch Long in Scotland. We rented a cottage overlooking the Loch.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax & enjoy the day as it goes too quickly!
Congratulations Lucy & Darren!
This is not a sponsored post
October 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime
It’s bloomin’ beautiful on the wedding blog today isn’t it?! After this morning’s gorgeous wildflower wedding, I’m proud to introduce you to Yorkshire based florist and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Fiona of Firenza Floral Design. This talented lady is a wizard with wedding flowers. You need her in your life.
How and when did you become a floral designer?
I’ve always had a passion for flowers and love being at work in my garden, although I actually trained and worked for many years in the print industry. I loved what I did but it was very technical and I am a naturally creative soul. Having always wanted to venture into floristry, I realised I’d regret not trying and so, in 2005, I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it.
I continued working full time and spent my weekends gaining invaluable work experience at a local flower shop. I volunteered help on an ad hoc basis for almost two years before I had the confidence to leave full time employment, retrain and pursue my dream career as a florist.
So, in 2005, I waved goodbye to my company car and pension and headed off to London to attend the Jane Packer Flower School career course. I rented a flat opposite Selfridges, within walking distance of the Flower School and had an inspirational and liberating month living back in London and learning the skills that I’d dreamt of.
Where does the name Firenza come from?
The business is named after my nana, Florence, or “Firenza” in Italian. I wanted to make the business name personal to me and after I had chosen it I found out that the meaning of the name “Florence” is “flowering” or “blossoming”, so it was even more appropriate than I had first realised!
Where are you located and will you travel?
Our large workshop is near my home just outside Halifax, West Yorkshire, overlooking the hills towards Ripponden and beyond. It consists of a large consultation area, an office, workshop, and of course, the all-important cutting gardens. We are very close to the Yorkshire/Lancashire border and we also have a private workshop near Cheadle in Cheshire. Distance isn’t a problem and we regularly travel far and wide – wherever the weddings take us!
What services do you offer for Brides To Be?
Firenza Floral Design is a specialist wedding and event florist and provide flowers for every part of the day. We aim to make the whole process enjoyable and special; from the initial meeting; to the wedding itself where we set up the church and/or venue flowers; delivering the bridal flowers on the morning of the wedding; then taking all the hired items away again afterwards, so our couples don’t have to worry about a thing.
Our style is a very natural, relaxed, garden style, using the sort of flowers you would see growing in a beautiful cottage garden, especially scented flowers and herbs.
What about extra little details? Do you offer a hire service for accessories and decorations?
We have a large collection of accessories including vases, lanterns, candelabra and tea-light holders, to name a few, all of which are available for our couples to hire. All these are on view at our workshop in Halifax and provide a source of inspiration during consultations.
Tell Brides Up North about your “home grown” flowers?
I am already growing a large amount of herbs and foliage for use in our weddings, but this year I have started work to convert an area of ridiculously steep waste grassland within our gardens to grow more cut flowers and herbs, which combined with our established gardens will provide a lot of flowers as well.
Work is well underway on our cutting beds – we have three raised beds all ready to start growing properly into 2014. They are on the steepest land imaginable and have been a challenge to build, especially when combined with a very busy wedding season!
This is something I feel really passionate about, I have always adored gardening and the last few years have been so busy with weddings my poor garden has just been totally neglected, which was making me very frustrated. So my (possibly rather strange) logic was if I make it part of the business I HAVE to do it and it has actually proved to be the case! I must admit though my first foray into serious seed growing was not particularly successful but I don’t yet have a greenhouse so that’s going on my list to Santa!
As part of this process I have met some fabulous growers across the country and I always use British growers where possible. I am also part of the lovely “Flowers from the Farm” network where I keep in touch with, and support, local flower growers.
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
As well as the above, we specialise in using scented flowers and herbs, a lot of which are grown in my own garden. The unique ability of a particular smell to remind us of times, places and memories, is the reason why I’m so keen to use scent as much as possible in my weddings.
We use a lot of typical garden flowers like forget-me-nots, aquilegia, clematis and even buttercups, which give our flowers their very distinctive natural, garden style.
Tell us about some of the industry connections you have made and shoots that you have worked on since launching your business?
We have met some lovely people along the way and have built up some fabulous relationships with many fellow suppliers. We’ve worked a lot with the lovely people from PapaKata and have worked on many of their 2013 weddings, they are great to work with and our natural style flowers particularly suit their tipis.
Since setting up in 2005, we’ve worked on several shoots with great photographers including Damian Hall, Barnaby Aldrick, Shelly from Toast, Sarah Mason and Lissa Alexandra, to name a few. One of our former brides has recently set up her own photography business, Laura Calderwood Photography, her work is beautiful and we have worked a lot together this year as well. We’re currently working on a series of shoots with local photographer James Melia and make up artist Jo BLiham. We all share a similar style and the shoots we’ve worked on so far have been truly beautiful, some of which have been picked up by the wedding media.
What have been your professional highlights to date?
In July 2012 we were commissioned to provide flowers for Her Majesty The Queen. This was so exciting, although a little terrifying, if I’m honest. The brief was not to be “too weddingy”, so I stuck with my natural, gathered, garden style and imagined the sort of flowers that she would choose. I opted for bright cerise Yves Piaget rose, which is gloriously scented, with lilac delphinium, blackberries, purple clematis, mint, pink campanula, Artemisia, antirrhinum, stocks and hydrangea. The presentation bouquet for Her Majesty had a selection of these, with pink peony and monarda – it was an absolute honour and a very proud day!
What are your favourite wedding floristry looks for 2013? What trends do you see emerging?
Our style of floristry is timeless and not particularly trend-led and I will always be a huge fan of very natural and unfussy designs. The just-picked look is still very popular and will remain so into 2014. There is a move towards more mixed and bright colours and in a much more unstructured style – less rose domes and more wild, natural and untamed designs.
What would be your top tips for a Bride To Be when choosing her wedding flowers?
Allow your florist to have as much free reign as possible – I don’t mean just let them do what they want, but rather guide them with an idea of the sort of look you are after, what flowers you like and dislike, and then let the florist do the rest. This way you benefit far more from their creativity and you get a totally bespoke look designed specifically for you. If the florist understands your vision, it gives them the confidence that if they see the most beautiful but unexpected flower at the market that week, they can use it and you will love it. The more prescriptive a bride to be is, the less creative the florist can be.
Also, take some time to look at previous work the florist has done and consider whether it is in line with what you want, before asking them to give you a quote. I wouldn’t expect someone to come to us looking for a contemporary and off-the-wall design, because that just isn’t our style. All florists have their own natural style and pictures on their website blog or Facebook page or displays at wedding fairs will reflect this and help to show you their signature style.
Finally, don’t feel you always have to use the colour of the bridesmaid dresses in the flowers, especially if it is an unusual colour, instead you could use the dresses as a backdrop for a different colour scheme. For example, if you have a royal blue colour scheme you could consider opting for flowers that compliment it instead, perhaps using ivories, greens and blush pinks or maybe ivories, peaches and oranges. If your chosen colour scheme is particularly dark, I would always recommend using tones of the colour as well, to prevent a clash of dark and light colours, so instead of just using red and white flowers for example, introduce ivories as well as pale and darker pinks as this gives a far more cohesive appearance.
What would be your no-nos?
I really dislike dyed or artificially coloured flowers, especially the rainbow rose, which in my eyes is just wrong I’m afraid! Nature is so beautiful on it’s own so we should use what nature gave us. I would suggest finding other ways of bringing in unusual colour schemes, maybe through ribbon, or brooches.
Who would be your dream client and why?
George Clooney. He seems to be the sort of person who would choose our flowers, his style is so understated and classy, with nothing too glitzy or bling. I think he would want very natural and beautiful flowers. He has a villa on Lake Como (one of my favourite places) and I have a vision of a ceremony outside, under rose covered pergolas on a late spring/early summer day, it’s sunny but not too hot, with the lake in the background and oodles of displays of scented garden roses, scented stocks, herbs, peonies, delphiniums and hydrangea. His bride is carrying a very simple but beautiful bouquet of herbs, roses and peonies in blush pinks and ivories…ah well…we can all dream… (the number is below George if you’re interested)!
Are there any really memorable weddings that you have worked on?
They are all memorable in their own way, but a recent one we worked on was a little different. Flowers were really important to Georgie, she wanted a very natural, forest floor type theme, which all worked fabulously with her tipi wedding and we created a lot of beautiful displays for her. But, the memorable thing for me was that she arrived at the wedding breakfast on a white horse (something I’d always wanted to do) and I just love this shot of her with her bouquet. Apparently the horse bucked at one point but she clung determinedly onto her bouquet throughout!
Which weddings or shoots do you have coming up that you are really excited about?
We worked on a wedding a couple of months ago where not only did the bride wear a crown of ivy and daisies in her hair, but the groom wore a flower crown as well, which he was most excited about. I imagine this will be the first and last time I design a flower crown for a groom and it was great to get creative!
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
It’s a bit “how long is piece of string?” I’m afraid. That is almost impossible to answer as everything is totally designed around each couple, I will say that working on a percentage of your wedding spend, which a lot of magazines seem to suggest, is not always the way to go as it doesn’t take into account whether you want a lot of flowers at the church, whether there are a lot of bridesmaids or table centres, how time consuming the set-up is, or even the sort of flowers/herbs you want and it seems to result in some very unrealistic expectations! It may seem very obvious but the more flowers you want the more it will cost. There is a very rough price guide on our website which can help with budgeting purposes but we always suggest a full consultation before giving more specific ideas on price.
How can Brides Up North see examples of your work or find out more?
We offer consultations our beautiful studio and workshop in West Yorkshire. For more information visit www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk or ring 01422 835540.
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