Our summer break’s over and it’s back in the saddle here at Brides Up North HQ. In fact, we never actually stopped – at all! – using our editorial down time to complete work on our brand new website (which debuts on these pages very, very soon now – it’s been emotional!), put together a really inspirational and exciting new features schedule and work hard on some lovely new events to add to our autumn schedule. I can’t wait to share the fruits of our labour with you, but for now it’s time to do what we do best here at Brides Up North: enjoy some stupendous Real Wedding pretty.
Kicking off the week and keeping things simple (but lovely) with Lizzie & Ben’s sweet and intimate Real Wedding in North Wales, it feels great to be back.
With images by Gill Jones Photography.
Lizzie says: We got engaged in our new home on the day we completed on the purchase – 30 April 2013. We’ve been together for years but we’d been through some pretty difficult times as Ben had been seriously ill with anorexia. We’d moved a couple of times during his illness but our last rented houses had all ended up being “tainted” by him being ill and grumpy. We picked up the keys and went to look around our empty new house. We were stood looking out of the window of our bedroom talking about making a fresh start, and then Ben said that we should do it properly. I turned around and he was holding out a ring box. He’d spent ages telling me that he wasn’t fussed about us getting married, so I didn’t believe him – in fact my response was “are you serious?” which isn’t really what you’re supposed to say!
We were married on 10 May 2014 – no significance to the date, simply that we wanted a spring wedding and it was the first weekend that our chosen venue, registrar and photographer were all free.
We chose The Outbuildings on Anglesey, North Wales. Although we live in Norwich now, we’re both originally from North Wales and our families still live there. It was really important to us that my granddad (who’s 91, and too frail to travel) would be able to come, so we knew it would be a Welsh wedding.
We made a shortlist of possible venues where we could have both the wedding and the reception. We looked at a hotel first, but it didn’t feel “us”. By contrast, The Outbuildings is such a beautiful, less formal venue and the staff made us feel really at home. We were so confident it was for us that we cancelled all our other appointments and booked it!
On the day they were great – everything was managed brilliantly, the staff were attentive without being obtrusive, and the food was amazing. They had even pre-ordered in a special gin for the bar on our request.
We wanted a relaxed day with all our close friends and family, good food and drink, and great photos to look back on. The venue is a converted barn so we picked flower styles and decorations that tied in with this.
As we were getting married in North Wales, we thought it would be nice to have slate colours, hence the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses and flowers. I decided to introduce a dusky pink to lift the colours and tie them together after I saw a lovely bouquet in similar colours in a florist’s catalogue.
My dress was “Danbury D” by Blue by Enzoani. I knew I wanted a tea length dress all along – I tried on longer ones but I felt a bit silly in them, like I was dressing up. I knew as soon as I saw mine that it was the one – it was such fun, and made me smile every time I put it on. My brilliant dressmaker Kate added the straps for me using some tulle and extra lace I ordered with the dress.
My shoes were by Pink by Paradox and were really comfy – I’m known for my shoe addiction and the tea length dress was perfect to show them off.
My hair was by Julia Nicholls and make up by Rhiannon Pritchard. I’d highly recommend both – they’re totally very professional and both experts in their areas, but also nice people to spend the morning of your wedding day with. To be honest I’m useless with hair and make up so what they managed to produce from my vague ideas of what I wanted to look like, was really impressive!
Ben wore a grey three piece bespoke suit from Austin Reed – he’s very tall with very long limbs so struggles to buy any clothes off the peg. I made Ben’s tie, and he wore odd socks because he always does – he hates it when everything matches!
Ben’s cufflinks were actually mine – Ben’s brother Christy used to be a silversmith and he made them for me a while ago, to wear when I have to look smart at work.
I and one of my bridesmaids made the bridesmaids’ dresses based on a Vogue dress pattern which I adapted. I wanted a classic Audrey Hepburn look, and I also wanted them to have a dress that wasn’t so obviously “bridesmaidy” that they would never wear it again. The fabric was James Hare dupion silk in a beautiful slatey blue-grey, we used petticoats to make the skirts fuller and finished off the look with lace and ribbon sashes I found on Etsy. Their shoes were a Debenhams bargain.
Christy, as best man, wore a three piece suit which he found in a London charity shop, and blue brogues. I made his tie and he made his cufflinks.
All our flowers were by Helen at Bluebells in Llanfairpwll. When I made my booking it was actually with a different florist, but Helen took over the business and I’m so glad she did.
She suggested putting together a Pinterest board to show her the type of flowers and arrangements we like, and she knew the venue so was able to suggest what would look good on the tables. We used different sized jam jars filled with a range of country flowers – stocks, gyp, roses, sea holly – and guests took individual jars home with them at the end of the night.
I wanted a tidier, vintage look for the bouquets, and all five buttonholes were slightly different, but all the flowers worked together.