September 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s real wedding couple enjoyed a rather public engagement on board the Orient Express sister train. Agreeing to the proposal, Lisa and beau Richard then went full steam into planning their city centre Manchester wedding.
Picking the iconic town hall in which to say their ‘I dos’, the bride, groom and their guests then enjoyed a relaxed reception with lots of pretty blue and white touches before the evening party got underway.
Controversially (but cool we say), Lisa chose to wear a pair of sparkling Nike high top wedges underneath her princess gown to ensure she could comfortably dance the night away!
With images by Jules Fortune Photography.
lisa says: We got engaged on the Orient Express sister train. Richard had booked the Valentine’s meal on board the train, which took us on a round trip from Manchester to Wigan. He got down on one knee and ripped off his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with him on it with his thumbs up and the words ‘Marry Me’ on it. When I said yes, the carriage cheered and a brass band played Congratulations.
We set the date for 27th July 2015, hoping for sunny weather, which is exactly what we got.
We didn’t have a theme as such but we knew that after the town hall we would want to relax and party with our friends and family.
The colour scheme was baby blue and white. There was no particular reason for this choice other than that it would work well with the colour we chose for the bridesmaid dresses.
My dress was very much the princess, fairy tale look. I just wanted to be a princess for the day. I chose it from a bridal show at Manchester Central.
Richard wore a navy blue suit from Moss Bros. The best men also wore navy blue suits, but they were purchased on their own.
My lovely bridesmaids looked elegant in long blue dresses which we found in Debenhams.
Jules Fortune was our photographer and we would definitely recommend her. She did us proud with our pictures and made us feel so relaxed on our special day. The photographs were exactly how we hoped.
To fit in with the colour scheme mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were all made up of cream roses and blue thistles. To create a striking centrepiece at the venue we used white roses, blue thistles and allium flowers which were hung upside down from the ceiling. All the flowers were provided by Karen at Leon Van-Berkel in Warrington.
Other décor included two large tigers made from polystyrene from Tony at 3dsetco in the entrance at the reception venue and a poly picture frame with ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ written at the bottom from Ian Axon at Poly Logo. Sue at Hire Requirements provided the tables and chairs and Celebration Chaircovers styled up the venue in terms of chair covers and sashes.
As favours we gave jam jars and put a personal message inside for each of our guests, along with a few sweets.
Jay Tailor at Vintage Cupcake Tower created our wonderful cutting cake and cupcakes, which again fitted in with the blue and white colour scheme.
To keep our guests entertained we hired a band called Twisted. We had seen them at the Parklife Festival and we just knew that they would get everybody on the dance floor – and they did!
For our honeymoon, we jetted off to Barcelona. It was the first time we had been and it was brilliant! Everything is in one place – the city, the beach and so many amazing restaurants.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to wear trainers if your dress is big a cover them. I did this and I was so comfortable all day, plus I get to wear them again, rather than having a white/cream pair of shoes stuck in the wardrobe. Richard’s tip to other grooms would be not to get too drunk and to enjoy every minute of the day!
August 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North readers Jessica and Tim are about to tie the knot this Bank Holiday weekend, so we thought it was only right that they share their love story and colourful engagement shoot images with us on the pages of their favourite wedding blog. Over to the bride to be… (and congratulations from Team Brides Up North!)
With images by Steve Bridgwood Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged in June 2014, it was my first weekend home after knee surgery and Tim brought me breakfast in bed. On the plate he has spelt out “Will you marry me?” in alphabetti spaghetti and it was a fantastic surprise to come home to.
We are getting married on 30th August this year at Heaton House Farm.
We first met in our local pub in 2005, I was wearing a Ramones T shirt and Tim (who likes the Ramones) came up to me and started talking about them and what my favourite album was. I wasn’t able to answer as I didn’t really know a lot about them and we had a joke about it and hit it off from there.
On our first date we went to cinema, it didn’t start particularly well as we nearly crashed on the way there. Then we went to see a Jim Carey film and it was only after I told Tim that he (Jim Carey, not Tim) really annoys me. So it wasn’t an ideal start.
We never really had that defining “this is it” moment, but the more time we were with one another the more we knew something special was there and wanted to be with each other.
I love all of the sweet little things Tim does for me. I love how he has always been there for me no matter what. I love how we love each other after being together for almost a decade and our love is getting stronger.
tim says: What I love most about Jess is how kind and conscientious she is to others, which makes me think what a great mother she will be.
Tim’s annoying little habit is that he is too clean and always tidying up. Mine is that I’m a bit messy, so our annoying little habits work well together.
Our greatest wish for married life is to carry on growing together and to continue enjoying all of life’s little adventures with one another… and to start a family.
We chose to have an engagement shoot as it was something different for us both and was a great way for us to get to know Steve better and how he works.
We had a great time on the engagement shoot with Steve in the Northern Quarter. He really made us feel a lot more relaxed for the big day as neither of us are big on having our photo taken, but now we’ve got a really good feel for it. The photographs are going to be used on the day for our memory board and we’re going to use them at home too.
We both have found Brides Up North really useful in planning our own wedding and it has helped us to channel our own ideas in how we want our wedding to look – and we’ll be back to share the results!
July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.
Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.
Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.
But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.
With images by Yana Photography.
sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.
We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.
We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.
The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.
My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.
Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.
I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.
My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.
Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!
Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.
All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.
Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.
To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!
For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.
As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.
Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.
Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.
July 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime
This wedding is a very glam occasion indeed with an evening wear dress code and classic black, white and silver colour scheme.
We love the men’s choice of smart suits with braces and dicky bows as well as the bridesmaids’ elegant floor-length lace dresses. Stealing the show bride Holly completes the well-dressed wedding party in her gorgeous princess style gown with simple detailing.
Puling the whole classy affair together there are stunning arrangements and elegant décor by Red Floral Architecture and sparkling stationery by Love Invited.
With images by Martin Hambleton Photography.
holly says: We got engaged on 7th September 2011. Will had organised a meal at Piccalino’s in Manchester, which I thought was just a treat for me finishing a course I’d been doing. My mum and step-dad were there so everything seemed pretty much ordinary (barring the fact looking back Will had his best shirt on). Once we had sat at our table a beautiful bunch of red roses were given to me by the waiter and next thing Will was down on one knee in the middle of the restaurant showing me my gorgeous engagement ring. The whole restaurant, even the chefs were cheering. It was a very memorable moment.
We set our wedding date for 6th December 2014. I had always wanted a winter wedding, as I knew living in Manchester we could never depend on the weather being nice. I didn’t want it to be any closer to Christmas so the first weekend in December it was (which happened to be my 27th Birthday).
Our chosen venue was Colshaw Hall at Over Peover, Cheshire. We just fell in love with this venue the minute we stepped foot inside. There are no other venues like it in the area!
We didn’t really have a style/theme but I knew I wanted all my guests in evening wear so there had to be quite a chic and glamorous feel to the day. In terms of colour I like everything quite white and minimal so all the flowers were white and we had stunning Perspex accessories and lots of candles.
Overall the colour scheme was black, white and silver sparkle which I chose because I wanted everything to look clean and simple.
When it came to my dress, I chose a design that was the complete opposite to what I first thought I would chose. My dress was quite ‘princessy’ but not too over the top with an ivory satin, strapless bodice and quite a full skirt. Around the waist it had delicate silver detail. I found my dress in Maria Modes in Macclesfield. The ladies in there were so welcoming and helpful!
Will wore a suit from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow. He went for a black evening suit with a dickey bow and braces. Will didn’t want anything too traditional. The groomsmen also wore suits from Whitfield & Ward – the same as Will’s but without a waistcoat.
My six bridesmaids meanwhile wore long black lace dresses. They had a low V shaped dip at the back with a satin belt. I got them from Adeava in Macclesfield.
We were lucky enough to not to have to hire transport on the day, as Will’s dad owns a Classic Car Restoration Company in Denton called Ratcliffe Accident Repair Centre. So we both had beautiful Bentleys to use on the day.
Martin Hambleton Photography took our photographs. I chose Martin to be our photographer after seeing what a stunning job he did for a close friend of mine. Martin really helped with any questions or worries I had leading up to our wedding, he was always on the end of an email or phone. Will and I felt so at ease on our big day and Martin captured such beautiful photographs. We would recommend him to everyone.
We also hired a videographer called Unforgettable Memories who was recommend by Martin. We wanted to have a video of our day so that we wouldn’t miss out on the moments we wouldn’t be able to be a part of. Craig was great from Unforgettable Memories and we are so happy with the final video.
I carried a stunning bouquet of calla lilies that were created by Matt at Red Floral Architecture. Red Floral also provided beautiful arrangements of white roses, Perspex candelabras and lots of candles to decorate. I made our super sparkly silver table numbers.
Our wedding stationery was provided by Love Invited Ltd. Amanda there created the most beautiful stationery. I knew what I wanted so getting that printed just how I imagined was great.
I decided to not give favours to the adult guests. I wanted the evening to be fun so put silly moustaches, lips and hats on a stick props for each guest. I did give the children a little present each though to keep them entertained during the meal.
We didn’t want a traditional cake so went for a sweetie cake instead. I did want it to look like a wedding cake but then be able to be separated in the evening for everyone to enjoy. It was made by Gemma Kelly of Little Gem’s Sweetie Cakes.
Barrett’s Caterers provided the catering on the day and we chose a menu made up of our favourite foods.
As a special touch, Will and my family surprised me with a birthday cake at the beginning of the speeches. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, I have no idea how we will top my birthday celebrations to come!
For an extra but of fun in the evening we hired a photo booth from Hipswing Entertainments, which turned out to be a great idea. The photographs are great and Hipswing provided a great service.
I would recommend every company that was involved in making our day run so smoothly, including our venue. Georgina and the team that run it are all great and couldn’t have done more to make our day special. I loved every minute of it!
For our honeymoon we went to Mexico and stayed in a beautiful hotel called Excellence Playa Mujeres, somewhere we had never been before and it was just paradise. We had ten days to just relax together. We had dinner on the beach, danced all night at CoCo Bongos and found a new favourite cocktail – Banana Mamas.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every moment of planning and try not to get into arguments about anything as everything always works out in the end. On the big day take everything in as much as you can and to sneak a few moments on your own with your partner. Finally, don’t wear your heels all day, it’s just not worth the pain the next day!
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June 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Sorry to go all girl crush but I’m totally besotted by today’s bride Louise. Now here’s a lady that hasn’t conformed to the stereotypical bridal dress, hair or makeup. Instead Louise chose to stay true to her own personal taste and style with her fabulous blunt bob, red lippy and a gorgeous bespoke dress, complete with dreamy bell sleeves.
And Louise wasn’t the only one injecting personality into the big day. Groom David kept his wedding attire modern and relaxed opting for a blue Reiss suit, white shirt and no tie.
In fact the whole day is a perfect reflection of Louise and David, both individually and as a couple, from their stylish dress to the unusual venue and informal dining.
As Louise points out it’s important not to be swayed too much by other people’s opinions so that the bride and groom become detached from the celebrations – guys take note, you’ve got to do it your way.
With images by Elisabeth Kurtis.
louise says: We got engaged our four year anniversary, which is January 1st. We went out for a meal to celebrate and when we got back home Dave proposed in our kitchen. He thought it would be too cheesy if he did it in the restaurant, even though he did take the ring with him. He asked me what my New Year’s resolution was, then he said that his was to marry me and produced the ring!
We set the date for 27th April 2013. We wanted to get married in spring when the weather could possibly be sunny but not too warm as I always knew I wanted a long sleeve dress. I also really like the flowers that are around in spring time. To determine the date we then checked all our close friends’ birthdays and picked a date that wouldn’t clash with anything.
We got married at Ordsall Hall in Salford and held our reception at Islington Mill. We knew we wanted our reception at The Mill because it suited our budget and we had enjoyed some great nights out there over the years. Plus it was quite an unusual venue where we would have a free reign on decorating the place how we wanted and was licensing until 3am!
There was no particular theme, it just all came together to represent us as a couple. We never wanted a colour scheme as such either and instead flowers and decorations were chosen simply because we liked them.
I tried on lots of dresses in various wedding shops around Manchester and hated all of them. I wanted something stylish, almost catwalk like and nothing off the shelf seemed to fit the bill. This was when I knew I would be best to design and have one made. I did lots of research on the internet and found the images of the style I wanted. I then took my pictures to a few wedding dress makers and that’s when I met Jean Jackson. As soon as I met her I knew she was on the same wave length, she just got me and knew exactly what I was after.
We wanted it to be a relaxed wedding, nothing too formal so Dave opted for a blue suit from Reiss and chose not to wear a tie.
I really didn’t want matching bridesmaids. Everyone is different and if you were a guest at a wedding you wouldn’t want to be seen wearing the same dress as another guest, so why should a bridesmaid be any different? Each of my bridesmaids have their own style, personality and shape so they both chose a dress they liked and would wear again.
Our venues we’re only five minute drive from each other so we didn’t feel the need to spend money on transport. Instead we ended up using our own car, which is Mark1 Golf GTI soft top.
We had two photographers. Our friend Ciara Leeming took photos of the ceremony which she offered to do as a wedding gift. Elisabeth Kurtis, who is a friend of friend, then took our portrait shots and covered our wedding reception. Both are such amazing photographers I would highly recommend both of them.
We bought our wedding flowers from a wholesaler at Smithfield Market and a family friend arranged them for us.
In the run up to the wedding we spent six months during our evenings and weekends making paper decorations to dress our venue. We bought ten sets of fairy lights and hundreds of jam jars were collected over a year for tea light and flower table decorations. The reception flowers were also from the wholesales which friends helped to arrange into jam jars and vases to spread around the venue. We hired tables and chairs from a company called Dale Event Hire which were great to deal with and good value for money.
As favours we had a bowl of sweets with candy coloured bags for guest to help themselves to on the dessert table. We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake. Instead our close friends made cakes and desserts which were displayed on a table for guest to help themselves.
We wanted a relaxed informal dinner so opted for a help yourself barbecue by Kro Catering. We had always heard good things about Kro Catering and they were so helpful and accommodating. Due to The Mill not really having kitchen facilities as such this was the perfect solution.
For entertainment, Dave organised playlists for different parts of the day, such as while guests were arriving and eating. Then after the speeches we then had various friends DJing into the early hours.
In addition we bought a Polaroid camera and set up our own photo booth area with props that related to each of us. Guests then hung the photos onto ribbons that were strung along a wall with small pegs. With the help of our friends we also made a ‘love’ sign out of rope light that was illuminated on the back wall. This seemed to attract lots of guests having their photograph taken with it has a background.
We would recommend both of venues to other couples. Ordsall Hall is a great alternative to the town hall and is still close to other venues in the city which you could then go onto for reception afterwards. We really liked the feel of it and liked that no one we knew had got married there. Everyone seems to always opt for the town hall. Islington Mill meanwhile is a great venue if you are looking for somewhere a bit different to the usual standard wedding venue. It does require a lot of effort on your part, but if you have a vision and are prepared to put lots of work into dressing the venue it is well worth it.
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, particularly when Dave’s best friend Niamh, who was his best man (lady), made her speech – it was excellent, everyone loved it!
We had two honeymoons. Straight after the wedding we went to a friend’s apartment in Ibiza for five days. A few months later after saving up some money we then went on a two week honeymoon to Santorini.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to make the wedding day about you and your groom as a couple and don’t get too bogged down with trying to please family members. Also, it doesn’t matter what your budget you can still make it the best day ever, even if you spend very little. Finally, plan in advance and be as organised as possible.
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