Charlotte Balbier

true blue. justin alexander for an eclectic wedding at the crab & lobster – ann-marie & matthew

July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (31)

Today’s real wedding took place at a quirky hotel and restaurant that has a sort of anything goes feel to it with its mismatched décor and furnishings. Rather than try and impose a set theme on such an individual venue, bride and groom Ann-Marie and Matthew cleverly blended styles they love into the setting for an elegant yet eclectic wedding day.

We love the 1950s influences in the bride and maid of honour’s dresses as well as the groom’s slightly unusual pale blue suit and patterned tie combo. Elsewhere there are pretty shabby chic touches in the décor and a country garden theme running through the flowers and cake designs.

Oh, and Ann-Marie didn’t just go for one ‘something blue’ but instead lots, with a colour palette made up of varying shades of the cool hue.

With images from Michael Cartwright Photography.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (2)

ann-marie says: We got engaged on 20th April 2013 at Drybeck Farm in Cumbria. It was our anniversary weekend and Matthew had booked a weekend to Drybeck Farm as a surprise. Drybeck was our first weekend away together when we first met so Matthew thought it would be romantic to rekindle the early days. Matthew had been working during the day and came back at lunch time to get ready and go. I jokingly asked him “Have you forgotten anything? Like a ring?” to which he replied “Seriously? You do know there isn’t a ring, don’t you?” That was enough to put me off the scent.

I’d made a lamb stew to take with us that we cooked over an open fire and we sat and drank red wine and ate stew and tiger bread under the stars, wrapped in blankets. Matthew finally popped the question down on one knee on the banks of the River Eden. I of course said a massive yes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (3)

We decided on 24th May 2015 as our wedding date and chose The Crab & Lobster near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, as our venue. We knew the hotel and restaurant because of its reputation in fine dining but we had never been to stay before. We went to a wedding open day and suddenly everything fell into place. The gardens are beautiful and the hotel is so wonderfully quirky that we instantly fell in love with it.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (10)

We wanted our wedding to be laid back but still beautiful. One of our major turn offs with all things wedding was the ‘fake grandeur’ that is automatically pushed on brides. We also didn’t like the idea of an outright theme. We preferred just to choose all the things we liked and try to link them together. If we had to try and shoehorn our wedding into any kind of theme I suppose it would be ‘50s shabby chic, English country garden glamour’ (if that can be a theme?).

This eclectic mix of styles matches our personalities and went perfectly with the venue, which is a mismatch of all sorts of memorabilia and oddities.

We chose blue for our colour scheme. We didn’t make any decision on one particular type of blue and decided to have a wonderful mix of shades and hues that all complemented each other. We used white and ivory with a touch of peach to complement the blues. On reason for choosing blue was because of its association with luck at weddings and we thought why stop at one ‘something blue’ when it can all be blue!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (12)

My dress was a 50s style ball gown by Justin Alexander and bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. It had a boat neckline and pleated sash waist with a small detailing of crystals and pearls. The dress was plain ivory silk and had a train. On my feet I wore peacock blue peep toe shoes from Faith, which had a T-bar encrusted in diamantes and peals.

My headpiece was custom made by The Libertarian. It was an ivory silk flower with crystals and pearls in the centre and a short 50s style veil with a sprinkling of diamantes. The crystals on the flower were my ‘something old’ and had been taken from a necklace my Grandmother left to me. My earrings were custom made by Mobeus in Hartlepool which also used the crystals from my Grandmother’s old necklace. Finally, I wore a jersey pearl bracelet that I borrowed from our daughter (she was bought it as a christening present).

On the big day, Nicholas at Hobson and Holmes in Darlington, did my hair while Jo Leversuch of Makeup by Jo, did my makeup.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (8)

Matthew wore a pale blue suit from Psyche in Middlesbrough with a coordinating dark blue tweed waistcoat from Debenhams. His shirt was plain white from M&S and shoes were brown brogues from Just Perfect Menswear at Shotton Colliery. Matthew’s tie and pocket square were from an online retailer called Dancys.

Our maid of honour wore a royal blue 50s style dress by LouLou Bridal and our flower girl wore an ivory satin and tulle ballerina style dress both bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. Their head pieces were both custom made by The Libertarian and featured handmade and custom dyed silk flowers.

The groomsmen all wore a suit of their choice with white M&S shirts and ties from Dancys. Our page boys wore pale blue linen suites from Next with coordinating bow-ties from Dancys.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (24)

Michael of Michael Cartwright Photography took our photographs. Michael is an old school friend of mine so we knew that we would be hiring a photographer that could put us at ease and who knew our personalities and tastes. Michael did a fantastic job of capturing the day without lots of posed or staged photos that will age and go out of fashion. We have ended up with a wonderful pictorial story of our day that will stand the test of time. Michael was a true professional and was so great at taking candid photos. We hardly even knew he was there throughout the day but we still got more than 1,000 pictures to choose from.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (32)

I carried a bouquet of wild and garden flowers in a range of blue and lavender tones including forget-me-nots, scabious, cornflowers, roses, lisianthus. They were tied with a bow with long tendrils of multi-coloured ribbons in different widths and textures. The brief to the florist was that I wanted to look like I had walked through a beautiful meadow and country garden and collected my flowers on the way to the ceremony – they did not disappoint.

The flowers were from Flowerhouse in Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees which until recently was my brother’s business which he and my mum started more than ten years ago. Ever since I was small I have grown up around flowers and flower shops as my mum has been an award winning florist for 50 years. I knew from being a little girl that the most special thing was for my mum to do my wedding flowers and with the help of the staff at Flowerhouse that wish came true and the flowers were spectacular!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (54)

Our table decorations were lots of smaller bunches of flowers using the same flowers as my bouquet. These were in jam jars which I decorated with ribbons and lace. Again the flowers were from Flowerhouse. We also decorated the tables with smaller jars with tea lights in them and set the table settings with sprigs of lavender and corn from Shropshire Petals, who also supplied our confetti.

I made all the decorations for the day including a number of hand painted signs and more than 30 metres of bunting as well as burlap signs and ribbon wands for the little people to carry. Instead of a guestbook I also made a hand painted canvas which everyone could write their messages on which has given us a beautiful momentum of the day.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (47)

As favours, each guest was given a packet of forget-me-not seeds from Not on the High Street. Due to the huge number of flowers at the wedding, each couple also got to take home a jar of fresh flowers at the end of the night.

We chose a three tier cake with a different flavour for each tier – fruit, chocolate and vanilla. A friend of ours (Jenny) made the cakes and a friend of my mum’s iced them for us. It was decorated with fresh flowers from Flowerhouse and a bunting cake topper from Beautiful Greys, a shop on Facebook.

Additionally we had a cheese and pork pie wedding cake from Earls Cheese Wedding Cakes in Stockton, which doubled as our evening buffet. This was topped with bride and groom mice from Cotton Reel Crafts. We served the wedding cake on the evening as dessert.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (49)

To keep guests entertained we had a jazz duo welcoming everyone to the ceremony and then playing in the gardens afterward. They were the Crab and Lobster resident musicians, Muttonchops, and were a fantastic addition to our day. During the ceremony Matthew’s brother, Robbie, and my friend Angela gave a rendition of Songbird by Oasis which was very special to us. On the evening we decided to have a jukebox instead of a DJ. That way the dancefloor was always full because the music was chosen by the guests.

To make the day all the more special we added a few individual touches, including inviting our guests to take part in a competition at The Crab and Lobster’s one-hole golf course to win a bottle of bubbles. It was a fun little addition and everyone had a go at getting their ball closest to the flag.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (70)

We would recommend all of our suppliers, they each provided exactly what we wished for and were full of professionalism. We would also definitely recommend our venue to other couples. It was so fantastic in every way. The staff were wonderfully attentive and understood our vision from the outset and ensured that everything went swimmingly. They were very willing for us to completely take over and decorate everything in sight and change things around as we saw fit. The wedding coordinator, John Lacey, was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – from helping me to change my shoes, to standing up ladders hanging bunting, carving up enormous pork pies and helping our daughter up and down the patio steps.

I don’t think we could pick a favourite part of the day as it was all absolutely amazing. That said, our highlights would include; seeing each other for the first time, spending an entire day with all the people we love and dancing the night away to a plethora of retro tunes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (72)

For our honeymoon we had four nights at Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrakech in Morocco. It was a wonderfully relaxing break full of delicious food and exploration. We were fully spoilt at Peacock Pavilions with private dining in a hand painted Berber tent, a private screening of Casablanca in an outdoor cinema with cocktails and a bridal henna party for me. No stone was unturned at this wonderful quirky little oasis. Pure bliss!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to start early! If you are anything like us and want to do a lot of work yourself or are interested in the finer details you need as much time as possible. We spent two years planning and it was only just enough time. We had an amazing day and all of the extra effort, hard work and sometimes stress was worth it all for the perfect amazing day.continue reading

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Real Wedding Recap 2012: The Farmer Wants A Wife! A Real Wedding In Cumbria – Lisa & Gavin

December 27th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Over the festive period I’ll be recapping some of my very favourite Real Weddings from the last 12 months on the wedding blog. It’s been a tough choice! In true Brides Up North style, each wedding featured on these pages is unique, beautiful and gorgeously personal. It’s been an exceptionally fabulous year! Enjoy…

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This afternoon, I bring you the beautiful Real Wedding of Brides Up North reader Lisa and her new husband Gavin.  Lisa and Gavin’s Cumbrian countryside celebration was full of all my favourite things – cool cars, beautiful blooms, individuality, steak pies (served at the table), paper pom poms, pink roses, huge smiles and buckets of confetti.  Just one thing was missing – my invitation!

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Enjoy!  With images by Joe Mather.

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Lisa says:  We got engaged on the last night of our holiday in Cyprus last October, it was typical laid back Gavin style, we were just chilling in our hotel room, I thought he was joking! We celebrated with a glass of shandy… all we had in the room was a can of lager and some lemonade!

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We were married on Saturday 25th August 2012 at St Johns Church, Levens, near Kendal, Cumbria, with reception a mile up the road at Heaves Farm, Levens – my parent’s farm where I grew up.

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Since I was little me and my Dad joked about having my wedding reception in the big stone barn at the top of the farmyard, so when we got engaged it was the obvious choice, we wanted something different, unique and personal for our wedding, and the barn was all those things. It was a lot of work but it looked magical and everyone absolutely loved it. Unfortunately it did have baby calves in it until three weeks before the day which was a bit of a worry…

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We stuck to a vintage rose, village fete type theme, with old fashioned cut glass cake stands filled with flowers for the centre pieces, lots of bunting and vintage inspired stationary designed by my brother with a dusky pink and pale green colour scheme. 

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I wore a Lou Lou Bridal tea length dress from Kokoa Bride in Penrith. I’d always wanted a short wedding dress and it made perfect sense with our wedding being on a farm, no worries about my dress getting dirty! It was so easy and fun to wear, I absolutely loved wearing it and loved that it was so unusual. I wanted to totally surprise people.

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My hair was by Shelley Knowles and make up by Beauty Simply

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My three adult bridesmaids wore dusky pink tea length dresses from Very.com and the two little flower girls wore beautifully embroidered ivory dresses from M&S and flower garlands, they chose the dresses themselves because they were the most twirly! The boys all wore grey suits, silver polka dotted waistcoats and green ties/cravats from Marrime in Kendal.

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Gavin’s sister Joanne and his Mum’s friend Sue took charge of the flowers, the main flowers were vintage looking roses and the rest I left up to them, they were beautiful. Each bouquet was tied with a piece of lace from my Nan’s wedding dress.

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Gavin is the most laid back last minute person ever, so to get him involved we agreed he’d be in charge of sorting the transport… I was honestly expecting a tractor and trailer when a beautiful vintage VW camper arrived for the bridesmaids and a VW white soft top beetle for me and my Dad. I was over the moon and they were perfect, the boy did good.

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Gavin’s sister and brother in law have a shop in Kendal called Armstrong Ward Lifestore, its beautiful so we asked them to help with decorations, they came up with the giant pink and green tissue paper pom poms we suspended with fishing wire from the ceiling, all 120 of them!

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We used local caterer Liz Clarke for the food, when discussing potential mains we both immediately suggested Liz’s famous auction mart steak pie, it is a massive hit in the auction! It went down a storm and just suited our day perfectly. We also served rose veal burgers from our farm (Heaves Farm Veal) for the evening meal which were delicious.

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Our photographer, Joe Mather was a friend of mine from school, it was nice to have him there taking pictures instead of a complete stranger and we are absolutely delighted with our photos, he captured the feeling of our wedding day perfectly.

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We surprised one person on each table with a parcel, the tag said ‘here’s a little gift for you, please DO NOT OPEN until we ask you to’. After the starters were cleared we asked those people to stand and open it, each parcel had an individual novelty apron in especially chosen for them, and asked them to serve the steak pie we’d chosen for lunch! It was very funny seeing people’s reactions, the whole room just erupted in laughter, it really set the atmosphere for the rest of the day.

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We had both a DJ and a live band, 24-7 who had been recommended to us by a friend, we loved them, they were perfect for our relaxed, party atmosphere, the dance floor was full all night.

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For evening dessert we surprised everyone by arranging a local ice cream van to arrive with its music blaring, my Dad told the story in his speech of how when I was a little girl I always heard the ice cream van go passed down to the village and it never stopped for us up at the farm, my Dad always promised one day he’d get it to come… it was brilliant, and such a great, no fuss novelty dessert.

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I had a few favourite bits! loved walking in to the church, kissing my new husband, walking out of the church as man and wife, seeing everyone open their aprons at dinner, the speeches, dancing all night and the ice cream van!

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I also loved the run up to the day, the barn was a hive of activity for about three weeks before the wedding, it was so much fun and so many people were involved; from ironing the borrowed bunting to fluffing or tying up pom poms, putting up the tent, painting signs and even the aunties and grandmas helping with the constant supply of tea and cake!

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After the wedding we travelled around New Zealand for three weeks in a camper van, it was amazing! We swam with dolphins, climbed a glacier, went white water rafting and even milked some cows (Gavin’s a farmer…!)

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to be as organised as you possibly can well before the day, use your family and friends wherever possible  -they really do want to be involved, and finally accept that something will go wrong…it’s how you deal with it that matters! Enjoy every second of it and relax!

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HEARTCongratulations Lisa & Gavin! HEART

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Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding featured on these pages?  I’d love to hear from you – get in touch!

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  – Images © 2012 Joe Mather

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