January 16th, 2017 | Julia Braime
Though Christmas has been and gone it’s still very much winter outdoors and so to start the week in style we’re sharing the seasonal wedding of Stuart and Kerry. Taking place in late December, their big day celebrations include subtle hints to the season and a stunning white, midnight blue and metallic colour scheme.
We adore the atmospheric candle light décor, elegant floral displays and sparkling cake, not to mention Kerry’s gorgeous Suzanne Neville dress – pure perfection!
With images by Andy Gaines.
kerry says: We got engaged on October 5th 2013, in the mirror garden at the Palace of Versaille, Paris. The lake there had fountains in that played to classical music. Stuart said we have the fountains on one side and a statue of Venus on the other, then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
We set the date for 28th December 2014. We decided we wanted a small, intimate wedding and Christmas time seemed ideal for this.
Our chosen venue was Middleton Lodge in North Yorkshire. It ticked all of our boxes and meant that we could get married on site and get ready in our rooms. It is a beautiful home and has a really cool cellar bar to party in. It also wasn’t too far for relatives and friends to travel. I also love the area having spent a lot of time at my auntie and uncle’s house nearby.
The venue had also recently opened up a restaurant called The Coach House and guest rooms in the grounds. This meant we could have people stay there as well as the house. We chose to have dinner at The Coach House the night before the wedding with our family and friends; they gave us the private dining room and the food was fabulous. It was also a good celebration for my dad’s birthday on the 27th.
I gave up on a theme for the wedding quite early and decided I wanted it to be elegant, informal but timeless. So I stuck with a colour theme of white, silver and golds for the flowers, cake and decorations. The bridesmaids wore midnight blue, which suited them all and again, I hoped it would look elegant and wouldn’t make us all cringe in 20 years when we look back on photos!
Stuart also requested that all of the males who attended that had medals, wear them. Stuart’s always had an interest in them after learning about the medals his grandfather was awarded in WWII; he also has his own from serving as a police officer. Stuart asked his nephew to wear miniatures of his late grandpa’s medals, which made him really proud as his grandpa was very important to him.
When it came choosing my dress, I selected a simple, fitted gown from Suzanne Neville called Memoire, which was from the Vintage Rose 2014 collection. It was ivory with pearls scattered across the top front and back. Suzanne fitted a corset for me so that I didn’t have to worry about finding the right underwear! I had seen it in on the website before I went for my appointment. I had a fine silk cathedral veil with tiny pearls embroidered on. Despite trying many on before, I just knew I would find my dress at Suzanne’s showroom. She was lovely, as were all of her staff.
Cat Johnson, from Harrogate, did my make-up as well as my mama’s and all of the bridesmaids. She did a brilliant job and my godmother’s daughter used her for her wedding last year.
October 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Stunning scenery, rainbow blooms, tartan trews and spinning a reel… Clair and Nick show how an elegant wedding needn’t be a stuffy affair. Combining traditional charm with modern and personal touches, the couple’s colourful celebration is a bonnie day indeed.
Images by AnnaJoy Photography.
Clair says: Nick and I met while studying at St Andrews in 2008. Our first little holiday together as a couple was to a lovely little guesthouse outside of Ballachulish in the Scottish Highlands. We had a lovely few days together as a fairly new couple. One of the things we both enjoy most is documenting our little adventures – we found an amazing, almost deserted road in Glen Nevis and realised it could be a lot of fun to take a series of stills of the both of us in the road, sort of like the flip books you get where when you look at the images quickly they tell a little story. As our new year celebrations finished in the early hours of 1st Jan 2013 Nick told me he was taking me back to that same guesthouse as a surprise gift! We went back to the same spot on the deserted road to make a new “flip book” of photos of us 4 years later and then Nick got down on one knee. It was beautifully romantic and entirely unique! Those pictures now have even more meaning!
We were married on 12th July 2014. We picked that date because both of us had extremely tight schedules at the time. I was in between graduating for a second time and starting work and had four weeks that I could totally devote to the last minute frantic preparations.
We got married at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews. It’s the chapel associated with the University we both studied at and it just felt right to go back there. I wanted a very traditional service but in a place that was familiar, so the Chapel was perfect! Our reception was across the lawn at Upper and Lower College Hall, a beautiful building from the early 17th century. The grassy lawn in between the Chapel and the Hall was the perfect spot for drinks after the service and for the littlies to tear around. We were on a very tight budget funding the wedding ourselves – the Chapel and College offered the opportunity to put our own stamp on our wedding whilst fitting within a well-rehearsed framework for a very agreeable price.
We decided that our wedding would have a ‘hint’ of vintage but that in order to really work with the venue it also had to be elegant. We decided that additions such as vintage china and pastel handkerchiefs would work with the room whilst I had to forgo the likes of bunting, as it just wouldn’t have worked. We also wanted lots of homemade elements – we are crafty people but also wanted the really personal feel that this adds. It also saves lots of pennies if you can make things yourselves!
We wanted it to be bright. And beyond that I didn’t want to complicate matters by having a colour scheme. As many of the fine details were done by ourselves, it was much easier to have a loose colour scheme for resourcing what we wanted at the price we wanted it for. I wanted my bridesmaids to have dresses they had picked and could wear again and shoes they liked rather than enforcing my choices on them – they all agreed that they would wear navy and between them all picked the same dress! But their shoes were all different. They all had a bright pink shawl and a posy of brightly coloured flowers – many of the same flowers that were elsewhere in the venue. Very loosely we tried to stick to oranges, yellows, pinks and purples but all sorts of other colours crept in too!
The dress I thought I wanted and the one I picked were worlds apart. I have very much a pear shape, and realised that the dresses I thought I liked only accentuated my wide hips and left me feeling frumpy. I ditched my original ideas and in Pretty Woman in Edinburgh riffled through dresses they had hanging. I knew I wanted lace somewhere, and I had realised that something that fit snuggly at the waist but then skimmed out over my hips was going to be most flattering. With new thinking, the first dress I tried on was strapless – something I knew I just didn’t want on its own, but had been told I could add a lace jacket to. It had a sweetheart neckline, fit tightly at the waist and then had layers of tuille and a lot of taffeta to give a very full skirt and chapel length train. The instant I put the jacket on over the top I knew the look was exactly what I wanted. Both were made by Justin Alexander. The girls I was with at the time said it was the first time I had smiled as looked at in the mirror. That was it. I decided there and then that the dress and jacket were the ones I wanted.
Nick wore a pair of McNaughton Muted Tartan Trews I had bought him as a Christmas gift. His father was Scottish and this was his family tartan (McKendrick). His bow tie was in the same tartan to match. The Prince Charlie jacket his Mum had bought him a Christmas later, so that he had a complete outfit. His lovely shoes were Loake – his favourite brand of shoes, and compensation for all the pennies spent on my dress. The dress shirt came from TM Lewin and his copper cufflinks I had bought on Etsy as an engagement gift – they had the co-ordinates on them of the exact spot in Glen Nevis at which he had proposed.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by LightInTheBox – a company based in China which make beautiful quality gowns to order. I sent them the girls’ exact measurements and the dresses arrived and needed only the smallest of tweaks. The groomsmen wore a mix of their own Highland wear or suits. We were flexible with what the boys wanted to wear – it fit with the relaxed colour scheme. Each of them had a set of pirate Lego cufflinks – Nick’s stag had been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads that the boys had customised into a pirate ship.
We hired a beautiful Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from Prestige Cars of Fife – a company owned by Tom McKean. The car worked with our loosely vintage theme and was a definite luxury. Tom was the perfect driver, putting our nerves at ease and then drove us around St Andrews for some of our photos after the service.
Our photographer was Anna Hamill of AnnaJoy Photography. She was perfect. We knew at our engagement shoot we had found a real treasure. She was wonderfully discrete but also somehow captured every single moment beautifully. She didn’t mind being punted into taxi’s across town to be a part of everything and in the midst of relative madness, she was calm. There are lots of little touches Anna brings that others don’t – beautiful little business cards with pictures of you on, USB sticks sent with edible goodies, emails that are more friendly than blunt business, and the rights to do with your photos as you wish. And Nick and I would recommend her in a heartbeat for all of this.
My bridesmaids and I carried bouquets of flowers constructed by my beautiful and incredibly talented Mama. We ordered them wholesale from Triangle Nursery who delivered them to where the bridal party had gathered for a few days prior to the wedding. Mum then assembled them into beautiful creations and somehow knew what flowers would work where. She was magical.
Our flowers for the venue came from the same wholesalers. In keeping with as much being made by the people we love most, we got a bunch of my girlfriends, my sister, Nicks Mum and Great Aunt together and led by my Mama they each made one of the decorations. Each one had the same flowers and greenery in, but was assembled however they wanted. And they all looked fantastic. We had peonies, dozens and dozens of roses, freesias, gerbera, chrysanthemums, gypsophila, thistles and more!
We had a wedding tree as an alternative to a guest book – it’s now framed and hanging on our wall as a memory of all of those that joined us. We also asked every guest to bring their favourite recipe so we could create a ‘wedding cookbook’.
Perhaps the most personal thing for us was that our family and closest friends joined us for five days in total – a few days before preparing, and a couple of days after the wedding. Having our favourite people around us for a little bit more time was so important to us both.
We used Gordon’s Cater Hire for our vintage crockery and chairs – I wanted lime-washed chairs as I am not a fan of chair covers or sashes. They were excellent and provided an excellent service.
As favours, we gave ladies vintage handkerchiefs for “happy tears” and men brightly coloured silk pocket squares. Everyone also had a personalised name tag made from salt dough – something else people could take home and hang somewhere if they wanted.
We chose traditional Scottish options for our food. We sent guests a selection of three options for main course and dessert and asked them to get back to us – we wanted our guests to eat food they wanted to eat! St Andrews University created delicious dishes and many of our guests complimented the quality of the food. We sourced our favourite wines from the supermarket – we just waited until they were on offer and bulk bought. We had to pay corkage but felt for the same cost as the cheapest wines on the wine list we had wines we loved and that we thought other people would enjoy.
My favourite cake of all time is the fruit cake that my Mum makes for Christmas and this was the only cake I ever considered for our wedding. She also made a madeira cake for those people that don’t like fruit cake. She decorated them beautifully with hearts and pearls and lace and ribbon. Oh they were gorgeous. And to please Nick, who, if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life it would be cheese, we had a stack-of-cheeses cake. We served the cheeses and cakes as our evening buffet and they went down a treat!
One of our cheeses came from Cote Hill, a farm in Lincolnshire where Nick’s family is from – it was delicious!
We are largely a Scottish family and many of our friends are Scottish. We had been to a friend’s wedding and were amazed at how a ceilidh got everyone up and dancing – so we emailed a dozen bands and eventually settled on one we liked the look of – Ceilidh Sound. We also had a close friend who did a fantastic job of MC during the speeches – he had everyone in stitches.
The whole day was perfect. The moments we had as just the two of us were just as precious as those we shared with our friends and family. Our mothers gave us kisses right before we said our vows, our ‘last kisses’, and dancing with my Dad was one of those moments every little girl wants. The whole day was completely wonderful and we are off to Barbados in just 8 days! We are so excited!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan plan plan. It’s never too early. We had all of our big things booked well in advance, including our band, Anna, the venues, the accommodation, my dress, our rings. It meant closer to the time we had plenty of time to focus on the fine details. Also, an Excel spreadsheet is a girl’s best friend.
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